Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Foundry's Haiti Ministry Team Welcomes Thomas Kemper

This Sunday, June 19, promises to bring mission into focus when Foundry welcomes Thomas Kemper, general secretary of the General Board of Global Ministries (GBGM) of the United Methodist Church, and a former missionary in Brazil.

A recent blog post by Kemper reveals the reverence and humility he experienced alongside dispossessed Brazilians that deeply affected his own sense of mission. As Foundry has chosen to emphasize Haiti as a sustained global mission focus through 2014, Kemper will no doubt excite insight into our ministry.

A special offering will be collected Sunday, June 19, as part of Foundry's ministry focus on Haiti. Donations will support teachers’ salaries in Haiti—through the UM Volunteers in Mission program—and the school lunch program—through the UM Committee on Relief (UMCOR), the mission agency of GBGM. Foundry’s Haiti Ministry Team is seeking to raise $5,000 before the next VIM trip this October.

While in the village of Mellier in February 2011, Haiti VIM team members appreciated the importance of advocating for, and ministering with, children in poverty. “Ultimately, these children will take their places in their communities as educated citizens and leaders,” said mission participant Margaret Yao. “They are the future, the next generation, who will lead and strengthen their own nation.” Mellier was near the epicenter of the 2010 earthquake.

Purpose and hope must be nourished in the near term. "We witnessed firsthand the educational needs of the children of Haiti,” said Laurie Watkins, another team member. “Unfortunately, the Haitian communities, nongovernmental organizations, and religious organizations have been unable to adequately fund education due to the challenging poor conditions.”

Kemper, who will base his sermon “Jesus at the Gate” on Hebrews 13:12-16, visited Haiti in January at the one-year anniversary of the earthquake. Kemper was elected to his post a day after the earthquake that devastated much of Haiti. GBGM’s relief and partnership efforts in Haiti include supporting programs for teacher training in camps in Port-Au-Prince, housing and construction, work training, agriculture, and microfinance.

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