Serving Our Local Neighbors
• The monthly Family Table meal
Monthly Focus - (December2013)
2013 Missions Advent Letter
The Christmas season is a time to open our hearts and enjoy the wonderful feeling of giving in response to God’s wondrous gift to us—Jesus, born as a baby on earth. At our church, this is the time we fulfill our covenants with two powerful ministries: Habitat for Humanity and support of Gordon and Ardell Graner, missionaries.
Habitat for Humanity began in 1976, and has been working with communities here and around the world to provide safe, affordable homes for people ever since. The receivers of homes invest their own time and work on their homes. Last year, Habitat served 94,618 families, helping them obtain the tools they needed to move into new or rehabilitated Habitat homes. However, the number of families living in substandard housing keeps growing. Many people are facing dire living situations and overwhelming challenges due to the economy, disasters and other factors. Habitat gives them a chance to rebuild their lives. Through the years many people from our church have worked for Habitat. We have seen firsthand how effective and rewarding this program is! Our annual commitment to Habitat is $1,000.
Through many years of very hard work and Christian dedication, Gordon and Ardell Graner, UM missionaries, built a thriving ministry in Bolivia. We began supporting them when they began with agriculture, and gradually expanded in a wide variety of ways to bring hope and a better life to the people they served. Under their direction both a retreat center and a gymnasium were built and put to good use. Training was offered to Bolivians who were interested in ministry. Members from our church traveled to Bolivia on a mission trip, and experienced a loving community, as for a time they became a working part of the mission at Tiu Rancho in Cochabamba. Gordon and Ardell have visited us a few times in the past, and we have a beautiful picture in our church hallway of this mission that was given to us as a gift from them for our shared friendship and support.
The Graners have now begun a new chapter in their mission lives. The Board of Global Ministries has determined that they are now needed in the Dominican Republic. It takes a lot of faith, spirit and energy to start again! They moved last spring, and have been busy learning, making connections, and listening with compassionate hearts while trying to discern the ways they will serve God in their new environment. Some ideas so far are building resources for Christian education for children. Sunday School and Vacation Bible school take place in people’s yards. Ardell is ready to start working with women’s groups and to begin Sunday School curriculum writing workshops. Gordon is interested in water purification systems. We are confident they will discover an abundance of ways to share God’s love. Our yearly support of the Graners is $2500.
It is a joy to know our gifts can be put to work in significant, dynamic ways! May this season bring you the richest of God’s blessings!
In God’s Love,
Your Mission Commission
To contribute: Write a check payable to Fridley United Methodist Church. Write Advent Offering on the memo line, or go to our online giving webpage.
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