|Listening to other people is important. It started in school when part of our training involved listening to directions. Our Home Touch Ministry teams continue to visit and stay in touch with those in our faith community who are unable to be with us in worship. And, from time to time, our children and youth chip in with cards and decorations to support this ministry. The Apostle Paul spoke of the value of people in the church supporting one another when he wrote, "My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love . . . " (Colossians 2:2)
Lois Smith continues to lead a team of eight members in our Home Touch Ministries program.
Serving our community is just more than a catch phrase. We currently dedicate one weekend a month as needed to do minor home repairs for those members who just need that "little bit of help". Some of those projects have been as diverse as installing hot water tanks to building ramps and hand railings. The only skill requirement is a willingness to serve.
Our hospitality is not limited to our immediate community. In the past few years mission teams from Unionville have traveled to Mississippi, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Iowa, Maryland and West Virginia. In addition we have had members participate with other teams who have served in Haiti and Paraguay.
As usually happens in mission work, we were blessed by those whom we served.
Missionaries We Support
Jesus set forth a clear and concise description of the mission of the Church when he spoke these words:
And Jesus came up to them saying, “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” Matthew 28:18-20
Understanding our mission is essential to the spiritual life of our church because God has called us into being to fulfill a unique purpose in the world. In that respect, “missions” is not simply something that we do as a Church but, rather, it is an expression of who we are as the people of God. The Church's very existence in the world is to glorify God and to bear witness to the nations of the truth of the Gospel.
Jim and Dene Wood
Jim and Dene Wood were saved at Unionville Methodist Church in 1963. Five years later they were impressed with the mandate to take the gospel to the world. They were accepted into New Tribes Mission and entered training in Durham, Ontario Canada in September 1968. After studying language and culture in Camdenton, Missouri, they went to Asuncion, Paraguay in December 1971 to begin 20 years of work with the Angaite Tribe in the jungle. They lived and worked with the Angaite people and through the years saw primitive people come to know Jesus Christ as their Savior. After much teaching and getting the Bible in the Angaite language they were able to leave a propagating church. The Angaite Church is on its own with missionaries visiting periodically.
Jim and Dene are now retired and living in Sanford, Florida at the New Tribes Retirement Homes. Their ministries include a singing ministry at a nursing home in the community and a teaching ministry with Child Evangelism at the local elementary school.
After college, Darlene was accepted as a missionary under Un evangelized Fields Mission (UFM). Darlene studied language before she went to the Dominican Republic where she teamed up with fellow missionary, Mary Wyllys. For twenty six years Darlene was in Santo Domingo, where she conducted Bible Clubs for children, gave Bible studies for adolescents and ladies, conducted Vacation Bible Schools and trained Sunday School teachers. Many souls were won for Jesus through her faithfulness.
After studying “Experiencing God”, Darlene and Mary felt that God was inviting them to join Him where He was working in Santiago. They moved to Santiago in 2002. It has been a big change but they are busy training Sunday School teachers, teaching Bible classes at a Christian school, conducting Bible Clubs, acting as a resource for youth leaders and doing God's work where ever they are called. Darlene is truly excited about all that is going on in the Dominican Republic.
“Digging a big hole to bury Voodoo in Haiti” is the mandate of Pastor Frantz Payoute and the Bethany Evangelical Church School in Duty-Haiti. Frantz went to Duty in 1982 after graduating from Bible School. Haiti is one of the world's poorest countries and Duty was considered the Voodoo capital of Haiti. Some said that Duty was reserved for the devil, but God had other plans for Duty and for Frantz. Frantz founded the Bethany Evangelical Church in Duty and then the school.
The church has grown in Duty and has several smaller churches in out lying areas. The school's attendance has also grown to about five hundred children. Because some of the classroom were in the church and that was against local ordinances, additional classrooms had to be built. Frantz said that if he has a child in school for five or six years, the child will forget his Voodoo background and will follow Christ.
The needs of the school are many. Frantz has instituted a sponsorship program so that more children can attend school and get to know Jesus. The school also needs money to pay the teachers on a timely basis, to buy food to feed the children, to buy wood to build benches, and to buy school supplies such as chalk, books and pencils. Many of the children are so poor that the food they receive at school is their main meal for the day.
The Crossman Family
Bob and Gertrude Murphy were members of Unionville United Methodist Church before joining Wycliffe Bible Translators in the 1969. After their training they were assigned to Bolivia, South America where Bob was on the DC3 maintenance crew and Gertrude worked in the Print Shop typing in 14 languages. They returned to the Jungle Aviation and Radio Service Center (JAARS) in Waxhaw, NC after two years to prepare another DC3 for service. In 1981 they were asked to start a new program called Jungle Jump Off (JJO). This was a hands on outdoor program that gave teens a taste of life on the mission field. Although the Murphy's retired from the program, JJO continues to challenge teens.
Although Bob and Gertrude have retired, they are still at the Wycliffe's JAARS Center in Waxhaw, North Carolina. They are living in the retirement apartments and working on a retired volunteer status. Bob helps with the grounds and building maintenance for the retirement apartments and Gertrude works at the Mexico Museum. Bob and Gertrude said it has been a privilege to service God in the mission field. Bob recently joined us on a mission trip to Biloxi Mississippi.