Mission Expo lifts up ministries of local churches

By Allison Trussell

GREENVILLE—Lay Leadership presented the 2018 Mission Expo Monday and Tuesday of Annual Conference.

Six missions were featured from churches and organizations around the state, allowing delegates the opportunity to try their hand at some of the work, ask questions and get ideas and instructions.

B.E.D.S.—Better Education Deserves Sleep—is a bed-building mission of Central United Methodist Church, Florence. Central recognizes that while a nutritious breakfast is a key to do well in school, so is a good night’s sleep. The church partners with local school districts to identify children who need a bed of their own.

Twice a year, the church provides wooden bed frames, mattresses, linens, pajamas and a book about Jesus. The frames are made during two workdays by church members. Children and youth of the church also contribute by writing and drawing messages on the bed slats.

As of May 2018, Central has provided more than 175 beds to children in the Florence area. They have also assisted three other churches in beginning similar ministries. For more information, contact Art Justice at [email protected].

The Early Response Team/Disaster Relief brought one of their trailers into the exhibitor’s hall and offered delegates hands-on demonstrations of tarping a roof, using a chainsaw and tearing out walls.

ERT teams make dwellings and properties safe, sanitary and secure through chainsaw work, debris clearing, applying tarps, etc. while providing a caring Christian ministry of listeners and support following disasters. They are the hands and feet of God showing the love of Jesus to others during their times of need.

For more information on ERT or United Methodist Volunteers in Mission, contact Billy Robinson at [email protected] or Matt Brodie at [email protected].

Wesley UMC, Ladson, has a ministry to mentor young girls. Girls Inspired for Total Success Expansion Ministry—G.I.F.T.S.—is a collaborative partnership among churches in the Charleston District that fosters an environment for young girls to create their own opportunities and are encouraged to become role models. As part of that, Wesley UMC makes pillowcase dresses for young children in third-world countries.

Pillowcases are easily accessible and come in a variety of patterns. The dresses are simple to make, and with a few embellishments become adorable little dresses. For more information or a pattern, contact Sarah Washington-Bozier at [email protected].

Making something out of nothing is the motto for the Plarn ministry at Virginia Wingard UMC, Columbia. Plarning Virginia uses plastic bags to make mats and pillows for the homeless. The re-purposing of material that would be thrown away reminds us of the value of our souls that can be easily lost or thrown away.

Using a loom or a crochet hook, plastic bags are woven or crocheted into colorful, water-proof mats, pillows and other items that can offer comfort, hope and love to a homeless person who may have nothing. For more information, contact Lucinda Daniels at [email protected].

Days for Girls is working to shift how women and girls see themselves and are seen by their communities by providing hygiene solutions that allow women and girls to stay in school, pursue opportunity and succeed during their monthly cycles.

Aldersgate UMC, Greenville, has taken this mission and run with it, sewing and collecting supplies since the fall of 2017. Shortly, they will send nearly 50 kits to DFG for distribution. The kits contain washable menstruation pads (made of a shield and a liner), washcloth, drawstring bags, panties and other essentials to ensure needs are met. For more information, contact Michelle Schultz at [email protected].

The Jack Meeks Memorial Wheelchair Ramp Ministry of St. John’s UMC, Aiken, was also featured in the expo. For more than 20 years, church members have been building ramps at no charge for people in the community.

Each ramp is built individually in accordance with local codes as well as the American Disability Act and based on the location and available area. The coordinator for the ministry is in contact with various agencies to receive requests. For more information on the ministry, contact Steve Lathrop at [email protected].

All the featured missions were well received. Organizers are looking forward to next year’s conference. For information on next year’s expo, contact Lisa Livingston, [email protected].

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