|United Methodists keep on giving to quake survivors|
Audiologist Gilbert C. Hanke tests a Haitian girl’s
hearing during a mission trip.
A UMNS file photo courtesy of United Methodist Men.
A UMNS Report
By Barbara Dunlap-Berg*
Jan. 21, 2010
Like unconditional love, giving spurs giving.
As they hear the cries for help from the people of Haiti, United
Methodists are offering prayers, sending condolences to the families of
victims, giving generously to the United Methodist Committee on Relief,
packing health kits and planning to participate in rebuilding efforts as
soon as conditions permit.
Philip Bandy, interim director of Volunteers in Mission for the
California-Nevada Annual (regional) Conference, said he shared in a
Sunday service the stories of the Revs. Sam Dixon and Clinton Rabb, two
mission leaders who died of injuries received in the quake.
“And five people came forward to commit to doing mission work,” Bandy
said. The volunteers included a Peace Corps veteran experienced in
Volunteers vow to return
Seasoned volunteers pledged to return to Haiti as soon as feasible.
Ten men from Pilgrim United Methodist Church, St. Johns, Mich., were
in Haiti when the earthquake struck. They had just finished pouring a
concrete floor for a church and were traveling to Port-au-Prince for the
night when the earthquake occurred.
“All of a sudden, the pickup truck started doing strange things,
jumping up and down, rocking back and forth,” Howard Williams recalled.
“The chaos of people running up and down the street you can’t describe.”
The men returned safely home Jan. 17, but they plan to return soon.
Gilbert C. Hanke, newly elected general secretary of United Methodist
Men, has made 20 mission trips to Haiti. The audiologist from
Nacogdoches, Texas, has provided 1,000 hearing aids to Haitian children
in several schools for the deaf.
“Watching children hear for the first time is the most wonderful
reward anyone could receive,” Hanke said.
He has no word on the schools or the children, but he has informed
the Texas Annual Conference that he would like to be included in the
first rebuilding team from that conference.
Donations pour in
With more than $2 million in donations received by Jan. 20, UMCOR
already has provided emergency grants to the Methodist Church of Haiti
and GlobalMedic, a Canadian relief agency, to address immediate needs.
United Methodists across the connection are assembling critically
needed health kits.
United Methodist volunteers are assembling health kits for
A UMNS photo courtesy of UMCOR.
“We just finished loading a truck with 22,848 health kits,” said the
Rev. Brian Diggs, director of the UMCOR West Office and Depot. “That
pretty much cleaned out our supply. We’ve issued a plea for more health
kits to the annual conferences of the Western Jurisdiction.”
The nine days since the earthquake have been anything but typical, he
added. “Usually we have 10 to 20 volunteers come from a church for a
week. This week we’ve been swamped—with 300 to 400 volunteers. They’ve
done a phenomenal job. It’s been wonderful. We had so many volunteers
that Monday we had to stop production because we were out of materials.”
Meanwhile, the UMCOR Sager Brown Depot in Baldwin, La., has 68,000
health kits in their inventory. They expect 30,000 more by the end of
next week. Their next big need will be for layette kits and school kits.
They will send health kits as soon as they receive authorization from
“Out of death,” Bandy said, “the buds are already beginning to
*Dunlap-Berg is internal content editor for United Methodist
Communications, Nashville, Tenn.
News media contact: Barbara Dunlap-Berg, Nashville, Tenn., (615)
742-5470 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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