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Faith in action for June 18

June 18, 2010
By the Rev. Wesley Johnson

Wesley United Methodist Church

Wesley United Methodist church saw and heard how its faith has been put into action on Sunday, June 13. One of the three United Methodist missionaries the church is supporting came and shared what our financial gifts and prayer support have been doing. The missionaries were Terry and Muriel Henderson who have been working in Mexico for 38 years.

In Mark 6:37 Jesus gives a challenge to his disciples. Jesus has been teaching a large crowd of thousands of people throughout a day and it was getting to be supper time so the disciples suggested he dismiss them so they could get something to eat before nightfall. Jesus replies, "You give them something to eat." From this challenge of Jesus,' a social and spiritual outreach of the Methodist Church of Mexico was started to combat hunger and poverty in the rural sector. The Hendersons have been directors of the program named "Give Ye Them to Eat" (GYTTE) founded in 1977 to strengthen the capabilities of marginalized people and communities to meet their basic needs, and to determine and sustain a just and integrated development process. The GYTTE headquarters is located in the city and state of Puebla, 75 miles southeast of Mexico City. They also have the "Tree of Life" Training Center for Integrated Development two hours southwest of Puebla.

The ministry works toward community development through providing appropriate technology and training in the construction of low-cost housing, dry composting toilets, fuel-efficient mud stoves and solar cookers, pumping systems, and the recycling of resources.

It also works toward agricultural development through offering courses in contour terracing and other methods of soil conservation; composting and manure usage, vermiculture, family gardens; planting and use of multipurpose trees and crops; and medicinal plants.

A third area is livestock development through training people in environmentally-sound livestock management practices and by selling food and income-producing animals at a subsidized price It further works with church and faith development by being supportive of the spiritual growth of Methodist congregations through training events for laity and clergy and retreats and camp experiences for children, youth and adults as well as the production and distribution of Christian education materials.

The Hendersons are looking toward retiring in another three years. By then they plan on having the whole ministry led and sustained by nationals. Not only have they greatly impacted families and communities through sustainable living training but also spiritual transformations. Christ calls us to meet needs through compassion and the sharing of God's life-changing Word. As we listened to them it reminded us how wasteful we are in the United States. Almost all churches have mission programs. This is a reminder for all of us to passionately support our church missionaries who are making a difference across national and cultural lines.



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