- Collecting diapers for Good Samaritan and dollars for bus tokens for the Health Department.
- Support for the Cruz Overlook Community Garden behind Susanna’s Place.
- Collecting food and/ or financial donations for Food Share.
- Collecting Christmas gifts for low income children at the Helena Indian Alliance, the Health Department and other agencies with a Giving Tree project.
- Hosting Family Promise which is a ministry to help those who are homeless secure work and a home.
- Working with God’s Love and at times collecting items such as socks or toiletries for the homeless.
- Challenging Helena to look at issues of poverty and injustice, and to then attempt to change the systems that cause them.
- The Fair Trade Market in November which offers the opportunity to support Fair Trade ventures and other international aid programs by selling their products.
- Monthly Equal Exchange coffee, tea and chocolate sales.
- Mission Trips. Some past trips have been: Hurricane Katrina reconstruction work in New Orleans; medical mission teams to Mozambique and Brazil; and construction trips to Haiti.
- Collecting gently used clothes for the clothing store in Browning and developing a relationship with the pastor and congregations of the Blackfeet United Methodist Parish.
- Collecting items for UMCOR Health Kits
- Collecting School supplies for the Helena Stuff the Bus program
- The Harvest Bazaar and Dinner
- The Fall Art Walk and Dinner
* During the final stage of our launch to Cuba we endured a Mission “hold” of one day in Newark due to a “Nor’easter” snow storm. No flights were then available from Newark for two additional days. Fortunately, our Mission Navigator (Eric) established contact with Houston (… “HOUSTON WE HAVE A PROBLEM”…) and rearranged final launch from Houston. Thus an extra flight stage and night in that Texas city. Hence our Mission time in Cuba was shortened by several days.
* From Houston, gliding over the blue expanse of the Gulf, we spotted Cuba!! Surrounded by a turquoise patchwork quilt shallow sea sifting into sand and green shore vegetation. Touch down! First the asphalt of the Havana Airport, then the chaotic motions of the Cuban baggage claim and Customs…. Finally!!!….on Cuban soil!!
* Havana is ruggedly handsome in it’s old age and patina, with stewardship apparent in it’s historic buildings and vintage automobiles, yet it’s people are youthful regardless of their age!
* Church services in Cuba resonate with enthusiastic and passionate worship. Booming amplified voices of Pastors, colorful young dancers with tambourines, music and songs that literally vibrate your heart. Via con Dios!!
* Astounding contrasts are everywhere in Cuba….rusted-out holes in sidewalk utility covers (watch where you step!), juxtaposed with the beautiful old, old, buildings dripping with the romance of Spanish architecture, shortages of staple foods (two weeks of rations per month), but the absolute best ice cream (Coppela – from Havana) that you will ever eat.
* Cubans share among friends, guests, and strangers with Christ-like action, backing up their faith through their service – as the hands and feet of Jesus. On the day we left, Oscar told us, “Christ is in Cuba, and He has grace for his people, and He will be with us forever. They (the people) do not have much money, but when we ask, He does not fail.”
* Friendships in Cuba are like bread — flour, water, salt, and yeast mixed with love patted, and rolled and allowed to rise baked to perfection and savored. Jokes and laughs, hand slaps (high fives are now universal), hugs, exchanges of gifts, food and mementos, promises of emails to come, vows of remembrance, and many, many prayers. God has been our cook and baker.
* Our governments may have differences, and we may be separated by tariffs, blockades, diplomatic exclusions, executive decisions, and legislation from souls who have not yet set foot in both countries….but, we remain neighbors only 90 miles apart – brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, grandparents….all of God’s family – drinking the same Earth’s water, breathing the same Earth’s air, warmed by the same Sun, and held in the same comforting and nurturing hands of God, guided on the same paths by the teachings of Jesus. Our intentional sameness is overwhelming.
* As we glide to a touch down on US soil, and the wheels of our craft are stilled, baggage is reclaimed and we disperse back to familiarity, the Mission travel is concluded….but the Mission continues. Each of the twelve pioneer Montana missioners to Cuba must now spread and share the great images, sounds, tastes, smells, touches, music, worship services, friendships, occurrences, and spiritual wealth that God has endowed on us from our Cuban experiences. This is our Quest. Our prayer of thanks to all who supported us in the name of Jesus thank you!!! Via con Cristo!!!! Amen.
2017 Montana Methodist Mission to Cuba
Ministry with native people is challenging in a time when we understand the harm European Americans caused during colonization. With events like Standing Rock at the very center of our reality, we know that this is a time to build relationships of support. For many years we thought it was simply offering all the trappings of our culture to try and be more inclusive of native people. Slowly the process of listening to the damage caused by this attitude is sinking in and it is becoming clear that forcing our culture onto Native peoples has done significant damage. How then do we go about this ministry? There is no simple answer. The first thing we can do is to be in relationship with those who have been marginalized and listen to what the problems are. Then we need to work towards the solutions presented by the native culture.
Here are ways you can participate in this mission project:
2. Wrap the bottom and top of a shoe box in Christmas paper – separately (we must be able to remove the lid). Fill the box with gifts for a child of the age range you choose. Label the top with the age and gender of the child you have chosen, tie with a ribbon to be sure top and bottom don’t separate and deliver it to the church o ce by Monday, Nov. 28. Covenant folks may give shoe boxes to Berma Saxton by Sunday, Nov. 27. Please deliver to St. Paul’s church o ce Monday-Friday between 9 AM -3 PM.
3. Find a series of supplies appropariate for one of the age groups listed below and donate them for our shoe box wrapping party by dropping them by the St. Paul’s o ce by Monday, Nov. 28.
Ideas to determine what to purchase to donate for the packing party, or to create your own shoe box gift:
• Pre-school: crayons, small color books, washable markers, toothbrush, toothpaste, brush, lotion, toy.
*All boxes should have toothbrushes, toothpaste, hats, mittens or gloves, combs or brushes.
You can locate other teachers and staff at helenaschools.org/contact/staff-directory. Any connection we make to the education system will impact our community. Thanks for doing this ministry together as a church.
Central Elementary School
1325 Poplar Street
Helena, MT 59601
(School Employee’s Full Name),
I am writing to thank you for all you do to support children and families in our community. Your continued work educating, sharing compassion, and caring for our children makes a difference to the entire Helena community. As a neighbor to Central Elementary School (even with you across town), we at St. Paul’s United Methodist want to offer you any support you may need.
We have people of all ages in our church and we look forward to supporting you. We are dedicated to letting you know this each year and hope you will take this offer seriously. Perhaps you are seeking a retired person to read in a class, adults to provide support or special skills, or even teenagers to connect with younger kids. We hope you can dream of ways we may assist you.
As members/friends of St. Paul’s United Methodist, we are writing to Central School employees to offer our support. A core value at St. Paul’s is supporting our community through service. We offer this letter as a message of support for the work you do.
Blessings on your work,
The team is ready to accept donations of Tylenol, ibuprofen, vitamins, and children’s clothing. Pastor Augusto in Manaus will fill out our group with members from his church. We will need to buy antibiotics and worm pills in Brazil. So, instead of donating a big bottle of Tylenol, it would be just as helpful to receive a monetary donation for a similar amount. Cash or checks to the St. Paul’s July 2016 Brazil Mission would be extremely welcome.
Once we get to Manaus we’ll have 36-48 hours for tourism and acclimation while staying in a comfortable hotel. Then we’ll go to a large boat where we’ll sleep in cabins with bunks (or possibly in hammocks) for the next five nights. The boat will have a kitchen, bathrooms, showers, cooks, a meeting room, bathrooms, and perhaps a dental suite. Pastor Augusto in Manaus is choosing the boat and we’ll use it to travel to several very small communities along the Amazon River where we will provide basic medical care, teach dental hygiene, distribute toothbrushes, assess vision and give away reading glasses, play with children, and make friends with everybody. These last two items may be the most valuable thing we do, and it will be the part you enjoy the most.
I won’t promise that a trip like this will change your life, but I certainly won’t be surprised if it does. You will serve some of the very poorest people in the world. They are people with the warmest smiles, people with the most gracious hearts, people with a spirit just like your own.