Serving the World in Christ’s Love

– Beyond Helena

 

Mission Accomplished!!!!

Re-entry into the US atmosphere is imminent as this is being written. Before we peel off our flight suits and go through the post-mission debriefing with Mission Headquarters, it seems fitting to reflect on a few snapshots from this maiden Montana mission to Cuba.

* 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



HUMM Mission Project – Blackfoot United Methodist Parish – Shoebox Gifts

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.

This year St. Paul’s and Covenant will be teaming up with our United Methodist Women at both churches and Clancy UMC to create and collect shoe box gifts for children at the Blackfeet United Methodist Parish during the holiday season. By sharing in the shoe box ministry with BUMP (Blackfeet United Methodist Parish), we are listening and maintaining a relationship with the Blackfeet. this ministry is an example of BUMP listening for needs, and asking us to assist. Financial situations at the reservation have not resolved, so poverty continues to be the predominant condition. For some, the boxes are the only gifts the children receive.
 

Here are ways you can participate in this mission project:

 

 
1. Donate the contents and a shoe box and then join us for a Wrapping Par- ty at 6:30 PM on Wednesday, Nov. 30 at St. Paul’s UMC in the Choir Room. is is a multi-generational and family- friendly mission project. Come for Wednesday Night Dinner and help pack shoe boxes.
 

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:

 
• Infants: onesies, toys, teethers, infant toothbrush, baby shampoo, lo on.
• Pre-school: crayons, small color books, washable markers, toothbrush, toothpaste, brush, lotion, toy.
• Age 6-10: comb or pic, lotion, shampoo, crayons, markers, small notebooks, small color books, puzzles.
• Age 11-13: Caps, hair do-dads, pens, pencils, crayons, markers, small notebooks, puzzles.
•Age 12-17: For Boys: winter gloves, gum, candy cane, pencil. For girls: make up, hair stuff, lotion, shampoo, shower gel, markers, small notebooks, gel pens, colored pencils, craft items.
 

*All boxes should have toothbrushes, toothpaste, hats, mittens or gloves, combs or brushes.

 



Brazil Mission Trip Update

There has been a change in plans for the Brazil Mission Trip – July 2016.  There are not enough team members to justify using the medical boat for a mission, so the parameters have changed. Medical care and other mission activities will be done via small boat travel to small communities near Boa Vista. This includes an indigenous tribal village.

 

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.

 

Please contact Don Skillman for more information at 461-8061;

donskillman24@gmail.com

.


MISSION TRIP – BRAZIL – JULY 2016

You’ve heard about them. You’ve always wanted to go. You’ve seen the joy and sense of value in others when they return from a trip.  Now, it’s your turn. Don Skillman is putting together a team to go to Manaus, Brazil in late July 2016.  We will probably leave the USA on July 22, arriving in Manaus on July 23.  We will leave Manaus and come back to the USA on either July 31 or Aug 1.  It’s an overnight flight, so you’ll get to the USA a day after you leave Manaus.

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.

We are not on a mission to recruit people to our church or any other with preaching and evangelism.  It’s all about selfless service and building relations.  As John Wesley said “Preach constantly! When necessary, use words!”  (He also said, “Don’t send help to the needy.  Take it!”)
 

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.

Major expenses are airfare, a passport, a Brazilian visa, and possibly some vaccines.  (There are rumors that Brazil will waive the visa requirement this summer because of the Olympic games being there!)  Please contact Don Skillman for more information – and don’t delay!  406-461-8061; donskillman24@gmail.com
brazil boat don s

 



Brazil Mission Update 2

 
It’s encouraging to build things because you get a concrete vision of what your labor accomplished at the end of each day.  Our team (with no surprise) spontaneously evolved into a highly efficient “amorphous blob” (Ron Waterman’s term) that does everything and anything with the constantly changing combination of people and skill sets to get the job done. We’ll explain further when we can.
The local people learned that I am a doctor. Each day a few will approach and ask if I can help with an ailment or two. Our robust first aid kit is all that I’ve got, and it has helped a lot. In two occasions I was asked to follow someone home because someone there was too sick to come to me.
 
Once it was to see a man if 59 years old. Decades of untreated diabetes made him appear more like 75 years. He was super sick. That was immediately evident from the horrendous stench of decaying flesh that surrounded him. He was sitting in a chair with his feet elevated on another chair in front of him. Both feet were wrapped in bloody gauze. Frank pus oozed from under the bandages. His legs were tremendously swollen, to the point that edema fluid dripped through the skin. Blood and pus were all around his left ear. His abdomen was hugely swollen with fluid. He clearly had end-stage kidney failure with massive fluid overload, and was horribly infected as well.
 
The scene of suffering and the overwhelming smell of dead flesh was too much for the New York nurse with me. She left her meager supplies and had to go. The Brazilian girl who brought me to him had to leave the house and sit outside.
Somehow I was able to talk with him and change the dressing on the foot that hurt the most. It was terribly infected, deep into the flesh and bones, draining pus and dark blood.
 
I gave him all of our narcotics and a few supplies. Then I stretched the limits of my comfort zone and asked him if he wanted me to pray with him. He said, “yes, definitely.”  So I knelt by his side and held his filthy contaminated hand that id watched him pick at his wounds with and began to pray out loud for him. He started to sob deeply as I did so. It broke my heart. I had to go be alone for awhile. Much later when I was able to share this with Mike, I told him that I was doing OK until Jesus walked into the room and blessed us both. It was intensely powerful.
 
By Mission Team Leader – Don Skillman


Brazil Mission Update 1

Our Mission Team has sent another great group of disciples to Brazil this February to help build a church.  However, a church is not all they are building.  I learned from Don Skillman our team leader that the relationships they are forming, the personal care, and mostly the prayer they are providing are building bigger things that churches.  Don described praying with a person riddled with disease and the powerful experience of sharing grace and love with another.  Continue to pray for the team and enjoy the pictures.
 
 

by Pastor Tyler



Want to help build a church? – Brazil Trip February 2016

  • building2 amazonDepart Montana on 19 February
  • Arrive in Manaus 20 February
  • Work in Boa Vista 22 – 27 February
  • Leave Brazil 28 February
  • Arrive back in Montana 29 February

 

 The church is in a small town called Boa Vista, in a region referred to as “Alto Manaquiri”. The nearest real town is 40 minutes away, called Manaquiri. Manaus is about 4 hours down the Rio Solimoes from Manaquiri, by fast passenger boat.

 

Construction still needed:

Concrete sub-floor                    Doors                      Windows

Electrical work                             Bathrooms

building

In the photos I can see a lot of wood planks on the ground. These are for the walls. They will be nailed up. There may be some brick work, but a lot of bricks are not waiting there.

 

 

 

 

Tools On Site:

1 electric saw             1 big electric screwdriver             1 big square

1 small drill                                    Various screwdrivers                       Shovel, hoes

 

Tools NOT On Site:

Hammers                      Tape measures                                    Hand saws           Anything else

 

Other Information:

We can sleep in the Methodist Church in Manaus when there. On mats on the floor, for free.

Or we can get rooms in a nice hotel when in Manaus. About $65 per night x 3 nights total (the 5 of us coming from Helena have opted for the hotel.)

 

During the work week we will stay in a hotel in the town of Manaquiri

50 reais per person per night (US$14.00 x 6 = $81)

Air-conditioning; Real beds; Television (Portuguese)

Breakfast and Supper will be in Manaquiri

It’s 30 – 40 minutes by boat to the work site (this will be enjoyable)

Transport boat rental is 500 reais/day ($135/day x 6 days = $810). Boat holds 12 people

 

Lunch and afternoon snack will be in Boa Vista

Cook’s pay and food for the week = 5,000 reais = $1,351

Tools can be safely stored at Mr. Neca’s house (The community leader.)

Breakfast and Supper in Manaquiri ( ?? $20 per person per day ??)

 

Building Supplies: Estimated to be 13,000 reais.

1 dollar = 3.7 reais currently                         13,000 reais = US $3,513

 

Team Expenses (in US dollars):

Building Materials                                               3,513

Daily Boat, Manaquiri to Boa Vista             810

Cook and Food, etc in Boa Vista

1,351

Total = $5,674

[Fund raising has already reached about $1,500 for Team Expenses. So make this Total = $4,174.]

If the team is 10 people = $420 per person

If the team is 7 people = $600 per person

PLEASE NOTE: The exchange rate of reais per dollar can change at any time, for better or for worse. So these numbers are not exact.

 

Individual Expenses (In approximate US Dollars):

Manaus Hotel                                                         200 (total for 3 nights)

Manaquiri Hotel                                                    81 (total for six nights)

Meals in Manaquiri                                             85 (total for six days)

Meals in Manaus                                                  100 (total for 3 days)

Tourism

100

Total =   $566

 

Adding it All Up:

Team costs, assuming 7 people     600

Individual costs         566

Total = $1,166

Plus 10% because you’d be crazy not to plan for it = $120 + $1,166 = $1,286

 

Plus

Brazil Visa if you need one, costs about $200

Plus

 Your airfare (We have paid $952 – $1350 each coming from Helena).

 

NOTES
I have applied for $2,000 from our church which will be used to further reduce team expenses. If we get all of it, the total cost will go down by $285 for each mission team member.

 

Point of Contact
Don Skillman;   406-461-8061;                   Donskillman24@gmail.com


BUMP Boxes Sent

Sunday, NovembIMG_1852er 29, Helena United Methodist Ministry in cooperation with Clancy UMC packed 130 shoeboxes for thboxese Blackfoot United Methodist Parish(BUMP).  The day was a huge success with United Methodist Men(and one amazing woman) from St. Paul’s providing the chili for lunch, Covenant UMC for providing our rolls, and Clancy UMC bringing dessert.  People need great sustenance for mission work.  Lunch was followed by a coordinated effort of all in attendance(all ages) packing and wrapping shoeboxes from the supplies we had gathered, and at the end the ceremonial “loading of the truck.”
IMG_1854
For many children on the reservation this is the only gift they will receive this time of year. – Craig Cleveland, BUMP Lay Member
Thank you to JoAnn Hanson(Covenant) for helping manage the kitchen and dish washing, Carol Bruderer(St. Paul’s) for helping organize the supplies for our process, and Patti Wilbanks(Clancy) for giving us support and direction to complete the boxes.  This truly was a project of United Methodists connected in Mission.

A special thanks to Craig Cleveland for coming down and transporting our shoeboxes. Below is a thank you he had for the shoes and clothes we have also provided for their clothing store.  Craig’s dedication to the ministry at BUMP is making a huge impact in sharing God’s love there.

 



Gratitude from BUMP

22695_293515580758267_1716431945_nEarly in November, Craig Cleveland (who with his wife Vicki have relocated to an acreage outside Browning) picked up an entire pickup load of clothing from St. Paul’s.  We received this note of thanks from Craig:

I wanted to thank everyone at St. Paul’s for the clothes you have been sending to the BUMP clothing store. To say that they are really appreciated is a big understatement! Vicki, with the help of Sheri Hill and others, has taken over the clothing store in Browning! This week I helped  at the store.  Now that the snow and cold have arrived, to have all the clothes and warm coats from St. Paul’s was a GIANT blessing!! 

 

Every week there seems to be a story to touch your heart. Last week we had a visit from a lady from the Blackfeet Boarding School who was looking for clothes for a couple of middle school kids that were dropped off with just the clothes on their back! We had to stay open late, but were able to get those kids some clothes.

 

This week one of our trustees from Heart Butte called and said he had a niece show up at his house with two little ones that had only the clothes they were wearing. He was able to bring them in (using the church van, as he has no car) and we sent them away with a couple bags of clothes for the kids!

 

Thank you all so very much!!

 

Pastor Calvin Hill is helping reconnect with families in the Heart Butte Community. They plan to try and keep the Heart Butte Church open all winter.  The fires this summer that filled Heart Butte homes with smoke damage gave Yellowstone Conference Missions the opportunity to show support and UMCOR sent money to buy specific cleaning items for smoke damage.

 

Our regular donations make things happen.  Craig is expected to make another trip as we have at least another full truck load of clothing from our Clothing Drive.  Your support of this drive will make a great difference for the people of the Reservation.  Thanks so much for doing this mission work with us.

by Vicki Weida, UMW member



BUMP Shoeboxes – A ministry between nations.

22695_293515580758267_1716431945_n

Ministry with native people is challenging in a time when we understand the harm European Americans caused during colonization. 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.

This year HUMM (St. Paul’s and Covenant) will be teaming up with Clancy UMC to create and collect Shoe Box gifts for children at the Blackfeet United Methodist Parish during the holiday season. By sharing in the Shoebox ministry with BUMP (Blackfeet United Methodist Parish) we are listening and maintaining a relationship with the Blackfeet. This ministry is an example of BUMP listening for needs, and asking us to assist. Financial situations at the Reservation have11903899_747909435318877_4757819219401662950_n not resolved, so poverty continues to be the predominant condition. For some the boxes are the only gifts the children receive.

How to be a part of the shoebox gifting:

If you would like to help make a Shoe Box Gifts read below:

3 Different Ways to Complete the Gifting

1. Donate the contents and a shoebox and then join us for a wrapping party at 12:30 PM on Nov. 29 at Covenant UMC. This is a multi-generational and family friendly mission project. Come for lunch and help pack shoeboxes.

2. Wrap the bottom and top of a shoebox in Christmas paper – separately. Fill the box with gifts for a child of the age range you choose. Label the top with the age and gender of child you have chosen, tie with a ribbon to be sure top and bottom don’t separate and deliver it to the church office by Wednesday, Nov. 25. Please deliver M-F between 9 AM-1 PM.

3. Find a series of supplies from the list below list and donate them for our shoebox wrapping party by dropping them by the St. Paul’s office by Nov. 25.

Ideas to determine what to purchase to donate for the packing party, or to create your own shoe box gift:

1. Pick a Gender and Age Group ( Infants 0-2; Preschool 3-5; Age 6-10; Age 11-13; Age 12-17)

2. Shop for age appropriate ingredients to help us. Here are some ideas:

• Infants: onesies, toys, teethers, infant toothbrush, baby shampoo, lo on.
• Pre-school: crayons, small color books, washable markers, toothbrush, toothpaste, brush, lotion, toy.
• Age 6-10: comb or pic, lotion, shampoo, crayons, markers, small notebooks, small color books, puzzles.
• Age 11-13: Caps, hair do-dads, pens, pencils, crayons, markers, small notebooks, puzzles.
•Age 12-17: For Boys: winter gloves, gum, candy cane, pencil. For girls: make up, hair stuff, lotion, shampoo, shower gel, markers, small notebooks, gel pens, colored pencils, craft items.

*All boxes should have toothbrushes, toothpaste, hats, mittens or gloves, combs or brushes.