Last month, I participated in a Virtual Mission Trip. RioTexas Communication shared an invite and I immediately signed up–it was free! Traveling is out of my reach now; so, it sounded interesting.— Linda Harrison
Carrie Albin from Aldersgate UMC in Richmond, Virginia was our Mission Trip Leader. The Outreach Director, Madison Sweitzer, of the Highland Support Project, led the trip. Before we “left,” we viewed a documentary video on the Highland Support Project (HSP) and its sister organization, Asociacion de Mujeres del Altiplano (AMA), located in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala. It was an introduction to what HSP is doing for the Mayan communities in Guatemala.
HSP and AMA help women in Guatemala with a Stove Project. A stove gives a woman great pride because it helps her family. Women also learn leadership skills and assist with various aspects of the program. This is part of the mission work Christians are to be agents of in the “transformation of the world.” This transformation affords women time and empowerment to do other things in their community.
Their stoves are not like ours. Built of concrete, theirs have custom ventilation tubing and areas for wood. This was an important development. Women were dying of lung issues due to the smoke created when they would cook. Again, the Stove Project is part of the transformational process to make the world a better place for them. We can be a part of this process by contributing monetarily to this project. The stove cost approximately $250. Another part of HSP and AMA is that women who know how to weave can sell their projects to help support themselves and their families. Part of the virtual trip included a weaving demonstration from Paola in Guatemala. This was a live description and conversation via ZOOM. We also visited a family. We saw their living conditions and how the stove was being made in their home.
Iwanted to connect the Stove Project to our conference’s pursuit of mission projects. This is what I found:
The General Board of Global Ministries is the global mission agency of The United Methodist Church, its annual conferences, missionary conferences, and local congregations. Purpose: Connecting the Church in mission
Vision: The General Board of Global Ministries equips and transforms people and places for God’s mission around the world.
Four Mission Goals:
- Make disciples of Jesus Christ;
- Strengthen, develop, and renew Christian congregations and communities;
- Alleviate human suffering;
- Seek justice, freedom, and peace.
When we learn about something, it becomes important to us and gives meaning when we do offer help. They reminded us that “to who much is given, much is expected.” I am glad God put this mission trip in my path. It opened my eyes to a way I can help others.