Missions is a word that is used in church a lot, but beyond using the word a lot, do we really comprehend or know much about missions?  With that question in mind, I want to take some time in this newsletter article to inform and educate you on some “missions” we are doing as a church.  So let’s begin!

Packs of Kindness

Packs of Kindness is a program that is in its third year of operation.  It initially began with assistance from various groups within the Mexia community.  Other churches and communities also do this, but it may come under another name.  For instance, this type of program was being administered by several churches and groups in Cleburne when I was at St. Mark UMC, but there it was called Snack Sack.

The reason for Packs of Kindness and other so named programs is basically one thing:  To provide weekend food for a child that might otherwise go hungry on those days.  The good news is that we provide the food packaged in a plastic bag.  A teacher or counselor at the school will make the determination on which student is in need of the food.  The food bags or Packs of Kindness will then be placed in the backpack of the selected students or given to them on Friday afternoon.

The food items placed in a gallon size bag would be as follows:  small boxes of cereal, small containers of juice, one-two small containers of fruit, small containers of Vienna sausage, small can of beanie wieners, one-two health bars, a small box of raisins, packages of peanut-butter and crackers, and a small bag of instant oatmeal.  There may be some variation on these items, but hopefully you get the picture of the type food each bag will contain.

Each Thursday morning a total of sixty-two bags are delivered.  A set amount will go to Head Start, McBay Elementary, Simms Intermediate, and the high school.  This number may increase as more students are found in need.

So far you have heard the reasons for the why and how of the Packs of Kindness, now the other facts.  At no time ever has any of the food items jumped into the bags by themselves.  Further, at no time ever, has any of the food items knocked on the door of Fellowship Hall looking for a place to be used.  You see, before a bag can be filled, the food items must be ordered, picked up, sorted, and then individually bagged.  This is a labor intensive process.

The other fact that must be known is the cost involved for the Packs of Kindness.  Just as there is labor needed for each bag, money is also needed before a bag can be filled with food.  For example, even with careful purchasing of food items, it seems to take about $200 a week to support this current mission effort.  This amounts to a cost of just over $3.00 per bag.

Now, a look at the more difficult numbers and facts!  In order to carry on this mission project to the end of the school year, we are in need of just over $1,400.  Fortunately, we have received a $1,000 gift from Wal-Mart, otherwise the need would have been $2,400.  So what do we need to do to help Packs of Kindness?

First, we need, as a church, as a congregation, as individuals, to take a more serious and responsible effort in this mission project.

Second, there is a place of service where each can find a place to serve.  The good news is that it is not “rocket science” to count and place food items in a bag.  This means there is a place where each of us could be involved!

Third, we are in the process of planning different ways to raise money for Packs of Kindness, but have you ever considered one of the following: 

  • Making a gift to this mission fund to honor someone
  • Making a gift to this mission fund in memory of someone
  • Making a gift to this mission fund to cover one month
  • Making a gift to this mission fund to cover one week
  • Making a gift to this mission fund to cover a certain number of food bags

Fourth, if you cannot give of your time or

financial assistance, please consider praying for this ministry.  Pray that God will use this ministry to touch

the life of a child, a family, our church, our community.

              Finally, Packs of Kindness is a mission by the First United Methodist Church – Mexia to prevent children from being hungry on the weekends.  Currently, approximately sixty-two children are being ministered to in this program.  How do you want to help?

McCurdy Charter School

McCurdy Charter School has been part of a “mission” effort from this church for several years.   Located in Espanola, New Mexico, various individuals and couples from the church have gone to McCurdy in the summer to spend a week or more doing various tasks.  From painting, to cleaning, to working on computers, to assisting with the children, to doing other “fix-it” chores, McCurdy has a need for anyone wanting to get involved.

Those going to McCurdy typically spend a week assisting in the various areas.  This year, the dates set for going to McCurdy are June 21-27.  Remember, these are the working dates and travel time will come before and after these dates.

As in some years past, the trip this year will be with another church.  We will be joining FUMC – Breckenridge and their pastor, Cal Hoffman.  Rev. Hoffman should not be a stranger to anyone here, as he was your pastor here some years ago.

So if you want to get away and do some needed mission work, this could be the trip for you.  Please give Jackie Tidwell a call, as she has the information on this mission trip to McCurdy.

CTCYM

You may not be familiar with the initials CTCYM, but the initials stand for Central Texas Conference Youth in Mission.  Since 1994, when 300 youth were involved, the CTC has sponsored youth doing mission work during the summer months of June and July.  Last year, 1,900 youth participated in the mission efforts for Mississippi and East Texas.

This year from July 12-17, our youth, both junior high and senior high, will join other CTC youth in doing mission work in our own CTC.  While specific locations are not available at this time, we know that we will join other youth in doing an assortment of mission jobs.  From painting, to cleaning, to building handicap ramps, to other odd jobs, much will be accomplished during this short week. 

Our youth will join other youth and form a living center.  The living center, located at a large UMC, will serve as the headquarters for the various work teams and be the youth “home” for the week.  The youth will eat at the church, sleep at the church, and worship at the church.  Showers may or may not be at the church.  During the day, the youth will be divided into work teams and be placed according to their individual skill levels.

A work team will be composed of two adults and five youth.  Each team will be assigned projects according to their skill level.

In sending our youth on this mission trip, there are multiple things we must do in order to be fully prepared.  Some of these things include:

  • First, there are fees that must be paid and applications completed.  The fees are $210-$235 each.  The fees cover all food, snacks, and construction costs.  No other fees or money will be needed.  Scholarship funds are available from CTC and we hope to pay all but $100 for each youth and adult.
  • Second, there are the incidental items, such as a van and tools that need to be furnished.  For each five youth and two adults there must be a van and tools.  So if we had ten youth and four adults, we would need to have two vans for this mission trip.
  • Third, adult sponsors must accompany each group of youth.  For every five youth, there must be two adults.  If we had ten youth attending, there would need to be four adults attending.  Also, the adults are part of the “work teams,” which means they work with the youth on the mission projects.  No waiting at the living center for the youth to return.

As you can see there is much to be done as our youth prepare for this mission trip.  The youth will be seeking to raise money in various ways.  For example, on Wednesday, February 11, the evening church meal will be a money raising effort as the youth prepare and serve the meal.  Other items will be coming, so be on alert for ways to assist the youth.

Based on our initial information, it would appear that we will have between 5-7 youth attending, which means the need for two adults.  If any adult wishes to go on the trip, please let Chris or Pastor Danny know, because they are planning on being the adults, pending anyone else coming forward.

The 2015 mission trip for our youth marks a return of this church being involved with CTCYMAs Martha Stewart would say, “It’s a good thing!”  Not only is it a “good thing,” but just think of the opportunities God will have to work in the lives of the youth this summer.  Doing “missions” is life changing work.  So, please keep the youth in your prayers and in your financial support.

Conference Missional Giving

I mentioned last month that our 2015 Conference Missional Offering goal is set at $28,289.  To meet this goal, we have divided the amount into 48 payments and are making a payment to the CTC each week.  By doing this payment method, we should reach our Conference Missional Offering goal by the end of November or the first week of December at the latest.  Wouldn’t it be great to reach our goal and use the extra December payments (What we would normally pay each week.) to assist other churches in meeting their goals?  It is something to think about as we move toward meeting our 2015 goal.

Leadership Development

I want to extend a big THANK YOU to those that went to Corsicana for the recent District Leadership Development seminars.  We had individuals in three of the seminars, which is wonderful.

One of the seminars was related to the Single Board Model, which I am interested in our church doing.  I have made extensive notes from this seminar, book notes, and one church’s experience that I will be making available within the next week.  The notes will be sent out by email and hard copies made available in the church, so be looking for those in the next week.

Finally

In this email you have received a lot of information on various “mission” efforts that involve our church.  I hope the information is not “lost” on you, but is information that will provide you with more knowledge and a new desire to be involved.  My prayer is that we will become a “mission” focused church.

Being blessed more than I deserve,

Pastor Danny