Our mission around the world involves ministries of love and justice, where appropriate action is defined and taken in right relationship with, among, and by those we seek to serve- materially, spiritually, and otherwise. We all experience suffering and poverty, we all are in need of grace, and we all are called to serve one another.
Instead of focusing on deficiencies, community builders can focus on the skills and talents of community residents, the web of local voluntary associations, the strengths of local institutions (public, private, and non-profit), the available land and physical property, and the local economy. This approach does not require unlimited external funding. It builds the capacity of the community to solve its own problems and build its own future.
Ministry with the Poor is one of the Four Areas of Focus of The United Methodist Church. For more details on the purpose of this and the other Areas of Focus, visit the Four Areas of Focus page on UMC.org.
Ministry with the Poor is about following Jesus’ example of servant leadership. We seek to listen to, learn from, walk humbly with, and empower those at society’s margins. We are called to work as partners with the marginalized in eradicating poverty and transforming this world into a just and caring Kingdom of God.
Global Missions Opportunities
MFUMC makes regular mission trips to Chimbote, Peru to assist with building a school, hold Bible schools, install water purification projects, and experience the presence of God with the people of Chimbote.
Help with construction projects, teaching, and daily chores at La Senda Children’s Home, which serves 150 local children through education and spiritual development.
Republic of Georgia
MFUMC has been working in partnership with the Tbilisi Sea School in Tbilisi, Georgia, which serves internally displaced persons who lost their homes because of military conflict. We continue building relationships with the teachers, students and families of the Tbilisi Sea School by providing English lessons for the students and working on various construction projects.
About the missionaries:
Henry and Cindy Ethridge began their lives in Georgia, where Henry was a banker for 10 years, and Cindy an elementary school teacher. However, 30 years ago, to their shock and delight, J the Lord called them to leave home/careers, to enter full time ministry! Initially, their service began among the Snowbird Cherokees (Native Americans) of Western NC. They served 13 years, established Church of the Lamb (a native fellowship), which Henry pastored for 11 years.
To their surprise, the Lord then called them to Kyrgyzstan in Central Asia, where they served 7 years among the semi nomadic Kyrgyz, and began a home fellowship, which has branched out into several other national homes! Later, the Lord surprised the Ethridges again, and called them to Izmir, Turkey (Asia Minor), a 99.8% Muslim nation. While living there 5 years, they initiated an outreach team, and shared the Gospel with Turks. Currently, they serve the Mid Asia West Area Leadership team, recruiting new overseas workers for Turkey, Azerbaijan, the Republic of Georgia, Armenia, and for the millions of Farsi and Arabic refugees in Turkey. Since the passion of their hearts is to know Christ, and make Him known, the Ethridges continue to evangelize, teach and disciple the peoples of Kyrgyzstan and Turkey.
They are the proud parents of one beloved daughter, a dear son-in-law, and two precious granddaughters.
Community development projects include irrigation of an avocado orchard as well as bible school and education programs.
About the missionaries:
Tim and Daina Datwyler were born and raised in Sacramento, California and have been married for almost 30 years. Tim is a jack-of-all trades but worked most of the time as an industrial electrician. Daina stayed home with the kids and worked from home on a small farm and helped at the church. They had been in part time ministry for 15 years prior to jumping in full time when their kids approached teen-age years. They gained extensive experience first at Hope Church and then at Susanville UMC in a myriad of ministries. For a couple years they sensed that ‘part’ of their time and life was not enough, God wanted it ‘all’. As a family of 5 they set off on a lifelong adventure as cross cultural workers with The Mission Society.
Tim, Daina, Kellyann, Amanda and Kevin set off to Costa Rica in 1999 for a year of language/ cultural training. After a whirlwind of conjugating verbs and falling in love with the people they landed in very fast speaking Monterrey, Mexico. They continued acquiring language skills as they worked with a Methodist camp, started a neighborhood children’s ministry and finally dedicated lots of sweat and hours renovating (Extreme Seminary Makeover) the John Wesley Seminary while blessing and being blessed by over 150 short term mission teams. 3 years passed serving God by loving on our southern neighbors and it was time for furlough. God closed the doors to Mexico with a resounding ‘you’re done here, now go somewhere else’. They entered Mexico with 3 children and left with just Kevin the day after hurricane Katrina hit. Kellyann got married and stayed in Monterrey for another year before moving to the Atlanta area where she still lives with her husband Rodrigo (now an ordained UMC pastor) and our 3 grandkids. Amanda was living and working in WA and returned later to marry Elimelec in Monterrey where they still live. Kevin got his GED while stateside and endured the search for a new land/people to serve next. He is presently studying theology in the Nazarene Seminary in Quito as well as being invaluable in the ministry of Door of Hope.
It was much clearer recognizing the closed door to MX than it was to discern where to best serve next. God’s will and heart were at the top of the Datwyler’s prayer list as they visited supporting churches after assisting Hurricane Katrina victims in MS for a few weeks. During a visit to the Mission Society office they asked their dear friends Lauren and Joann Helveston where they would go. Hands down they said Ecuador where they had visited a year earlier as a possible new field for TMS. Tim, Daina and Kevin prayed, investigated and visited Ecuador with a couple short term teams and were then convinced that this incredible divers, small country was where God told them to ‘GO’. 6 years later they are still ‘digging in’ to show the Ecuadorians how to ‘dig out’ of their sin and hopelessness.
HOW DOOR OF HOPE- PUERTA DE ESPERANZA WAS BORN
The name came out of a simple conversation with a young mother in a small community called Chaquibamba. The IEMUE (Evangelical Methodist Church of Ecuador) asked us to develop 6 acres of land about an hour and a half northeast of Quito to bring income into the church to pay pastors. As we traveled through this community 2-3 days/week, God broke our hearts for these people- the church had never thought about the working with the people, just the land. As Daina walked through town one day to chat with the locals, she encountered a young mother with a toddler and a baby. They chatted a few minutes then Daina asked Sonya what hopes she had for her children. She responded apathetically with “that they live I guess”. That was it! It was as if the thought for anything else had never crossed her mind. Door of Hope (Puerta de Esperanza) which is none other than Jesus Christ was conceived that very day on the tearful drive back to Quito. So the end result that we strive for in all areas of ministry is to create hope in Jesus.
Mission Team Prayer Partners
Every mission team member has a prayer partner to offer support, encouragement, and daily prayer for the trip and the mission.
As a prayer partner, you would:
- pray for the mission team member each day,
- write 3 cards of encouragement that the mission team member will be given on the trip, and
- come forward with the mission team member when the team is commissioned in worship.
Everyone can participate in mission trips regardless of financial ability. The Beth Berman Mission Fund provides scholarships to team members who do not possess the full financial resources to pay for travel.