Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Leaning boldly into the New Year

Dear friends - near and far away...

First of all - welcome to a New Year! My only New Year's resolution this year was to live more boldly for the Gospel of Jesus. Who knew I'd have an opportunity to do just that so soon!

Monday morning a clergy colleague from Texas extended me an invitation to join a mission team to travel to Lesvos, Greece, to aid in refugee relief efforts. I am honored, blessed and humbled by the opportunity to serve and to witness to God's love in action on the front lines of the refugee crisis. The Trinity UMC Church Council gave me their blessing and encouragement to represent our community in these efforts Monday evening and so I began making arrangements to join with the 5 other United Methodists from North Texas to volunteer in Greece for ten days in late January.

The island of Lesvos is currently the primary landing spot for the majority of refugees fleeing Syria, Afghanistan, Yemen, and Iraq via Turkey. There is an ongoing need for volunteers to help with all sorts of practical hands-on responsibilities on the island, including: helping people get out of the boats, distribute aid, clothes and food, unpack boxes of donations and sort goods, drive donated goods to other places on the island, clean up beaches and roads, clean up around the camp and bus areas, pick up refugees who arrive on remote beaches, prepare food for refugees, prepare food for other volunteers, take care of children. There is also a great need for basic pastoral care: listening, comforting, and sitting with distraught people.

What I need: I have received enough funds to pay for my plane tickets! But I am still in need of funds for ground transportation, two nights of hotels, food and other necessities. In addition our entire team will need to be bathed in prayer for our time of travel, for the work that we will be called to do, for the people we will be in contact with, and for the physical, emotional and spiritual demands that will be placed on us.

We have learned from a young woman from Texas, who spent 2 weeks in December on Lesvos, that there are some specific material goods that are desperately needed. Here is the wish list, if you are able to donate any of these items I have been assured that nothing will go to waste.

Lightweight Wheel Chair
2-3 large (really big) suitcases that you don't want back to transport the donated items I am taking from Iowa.
Men's jackets (small and medium sizes)
Travel size Vaseline
Handwarmers (like Hothands)
Emergency/mylar blankets
New winter (thick/heavy) socks - Dickie's work boot socks are great
Pain and fever relievers like Tylenol or Ibuprofen
Men's sturdy walking shoes - European sizes 38-43 (Men'sAmerican sizes 6 to 9 1/2)

Thank you in advance for your prayers and for your generous contributions! I know that together we CAN make a difference. I am humbled to be given the opportunity to make this trip and I plan to bring back with me stories of hope and God's light in the midst of one of the most difficult situations in our world today.

Whether donated through my GoFundMe campaign ( or via mail, all funds and material goods need to be recieved by January 16, 2016. If you would like to receive tax credit for the donation please send a check to:

Trinity United Methodist Church
c/o Pastor Deborah - refugees
1400 W Bremer Avenue,
Waverly, Iowa, 50677

Any donations received in excess of my personal expenses and filling two-three suitcase of material goods will be donated via Trinity United Methodist Church to the UMCOR refugee efforts. Thank you so very much for your generous support!

‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you a drink? When did we see you as a stranger and welcome you, or naked and give you clothes to wear? When did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’

“Then the king will reply to them, ‘I assure you that when you have done it for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you have done it for me.’
(Matthew 25:37b-40)

in Christ, together,

Pastor Deborah