The Columns – January

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On Sunday, November 8, 2015, Geoff Westmoreland and Kay Ferguson led our panelists through questions and reflections of their experiences serving not only locally, but globally. Dr. Keith Payne enthusiastically told stories of clean water and solar power in Haiti. Dr. Betsy Harrel reminded us of the power and ministry of presence, as she told of an Ecuadorian saying to her, “You being here makes me feel like I matter.” Andy Obsorn recalled with joy sweating alongside Costa Ricans to dig the foundation for future university students’ houses. Jann Connell reflected on worshipping with Ugandan children and learning from their faithfulness. Sam Speed, having visited each of our partnership countries – Ecuador, Russia, Costa Rica, Haiti, & Uganda – presented a unique point-of-view of uniting the body of Christ throughout all the world.
This was a wonderful opportunity to hear directly from those who have served with our global missions ministry. Global & Local Missions will offer two opportunities much like this in 2016 – April 22 and November 13. Won’t you join us to find out more about those whose lives are being transformed through missions?!

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As Dr. Day prayed recently, he asked God to forgive us for not saying we are thankful all year long. The November GEMs Night Out was filled with lots of reminders that God has blessed us in many, many ways. First UMC feels blessed that our GEMs families share their children with us each month. As a way to say thank you to them, the GEMs Ministry Team gave a gift to each family to assist with their family’s Thanksgiving feast. The children enjoyed games, dinner, crafts, and a short movie. Thank you, God, for our children, and the adult and youth staff.

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November 22nd Deaf Community celebrated its third ASL Worship Service. Hearts of both deaf and hearing were warmed as our guest speaker, Michelle Menefee from Houston, Texas, shared an inspiring message on “Grace”. Michelle is a Certified Professional ASL Interpreter, helped author the resolution passed by the Texas Annual Conference establishing standards for ASL Interpreters for all Texas Annual Conference meetings. She also serves as part of an ASL team that interprets for General Conference. Most recently, Michelle was part of an ASL team project that worked on decoding, interpreting, and producing videos of terms and vocabulary of the United Methodist Glossary now available on the United Methodist Church website. (Visit www.umc.org/what-we-believe/glossary-discipleship to see one of these videos). Members of Deaf Community assisted in leading the worship service by offering the prayer, scripture reading, Apostles’ Creed, hymns, and more. Deaf and Hearing were blessed by the service. A potluck luncheon and fellowship immediately followed in Bain Hall. Our next ASL worship service will be at 3pm Sunday, March 20 in Bain Hall with guest worship leaders Expressions of Emmanuel acting and signing several Bible Stories.

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