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Disciple-Making in the Gospels

August 30, 2017

The Sigourney United Methodist Church hosted a training event on August 19th for church leaders exploring the development of a discipleship pathway for their members.

wigThe Iowa Conference has embraced a Wildly Important Goal (WIG) to see that “All United Methodist churches in Iowa will have a process of intentionally forming disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world by the year 2020.”

Lilian Gallo Seagren, the conference superintendent for the Southeast District, first introduced a new study that she and her brother Gideon Gallo, our United Methodist pastor in Missouri Valley, are developing during our District Conference last April 29th. They presented their study of the four Gospels and the disciple-making practices espoused in each.

A disciple, she offered, is a learner who has a confession and conviction about who Jesus Christ is and a commitment to the mission of the church in a community of faith shaped by the example of Jesus.

The Sigourney church is one of the first churches in the district to request the event for their leaders. Participants learned about disciple-making practices in the morning, and in the afternoon they spent time beginning to develop ministry action plans for their church to implement their own.

We anticipate replicating this event in other parts of the Southeast District in the coming year. Be watching for more information and announcements.

Missionaries from Thailand

August 23, 2017

Two missionaries serving in Thailand will be visiting Iowa soon at the Cedar Valley United Methodist Church. For 39 years Gene and Mary Long have lived with the Mlabri, which means “people of the forest.”

Wikipedia describes this small ethnic group in southeast Asia as “a hill tribe in northern Thailand along the border with Laos.” They have been groups of nomadic hunter-gatherers historically, and the Longs have published several articles about what they have learned about the culture of the Mlabri over the course of their ministry.hammock

A recent article on their ministry sums up the Long’s accomplishments through their years of dedicated service:

The tribe now have Thai citizenship, the children go to a government school, their total numbers have increased to 400 and infant mortality was zero in 2013. “They plant their own rice on land we have obtained for them,” said Gene, and they “are able to earn more than the Bangkok minimum wage right here at home, making hammocks.”

A potluck meal for Gene and Mary Long will begin at noon on Sunday, September 3rd at the church, which is located south and east of West Liberty at 1791 – 155th Street (Hwy. F-70). The Longs will be speaking at 1 p.m.

Blessing Box in Muscatine

August 16, 2017

Lisa Nichols is a Difference Maker. She has enlisted the support of the people of the Musserville United Methodist Church to erect a Blessing Box to benefit the church’s neighbors on the south side of Muscatine. The new ministry provides food and toiletries for people in need.

BlessingBoxThe Blessing Box itself is just a few steps from the Little Library that the church put in their yard several months earlier. The Little Library holds books that are available for passersby to pick up and read. There’s even a bench beside it for readers to use while they are visiting. Some people bring their own books to share with others in exchange for the ones they take home the Little Library.

The Blessing Box idea is similar to the Little Library movement. It has caught on throughout the United States. Like the Little Library, people are encouraged to drop off what they can share and take what they need.

Lisa first heard about the idea on a Today Show broadcast last year. Now she checks the Blessing Box each day to be sure it remains clean and tidy. Her efforts were acknowledged in a recent story published in the Muscatine Journal.


Overcoming shyness

August 9, 2017

Cherie Miner, director of Mobile United Methodist Missionaries, has been busy helping local churches throughout the southern half of Iowa on Vacation Bible Schools this summer. She tells the story of a little boy whose life was change by his experience.


On our first night of our first VBS this summer in Randolph, Iowa, we met a young man about 8 years old. He is very shy, so his mother stayed each night to help with VBS. Paige Jensen, our summer assistant, immediately began talking with him and drawing him out.

The next night, I sat with him at dinner and talked with him. His mother was amazed at the conversation. Then on the final night, we celebrated with a short program followed by ice cream.

The boy’s mother came up afterwards to share that her son was so shy, he had melted into tears at every other program, whether at school or elsewhere. But that night, you would never have known. He was just one of the kids. She was thrilled! Time and attention—love actually—does amazing things.

MUMMS is one of seven ministries supported by District Askings gifts from the local United Methodist churches in southeast Iowa. Thank you for your support!

Appalachia Service Project

August 2, 2017

Ten persons (three adults and seven youth) from the Webster United Methodist Church went on a mission trip to Kentucky last month through the Appalachia Service Project.

ASP provides one of the most rewarding structured service opportunities in the nation—bringing thousands of volunteers from around the country to rural Central Appalachia to repair homes for low-income families.asp “For 48 years,” their website explains, “we’ve made homes warmersafer, and drier for families and provided transformational service experiences for volunteers.”

The team from Keokuk County joined up with a mission group from First United Methodist Church in Iowa City to make the trip together. “This 2-year effort has been well received and supported,” explained their pastor, Charles Klink, “by both the Keswick and Webster churches as well as the communities.”

This mission trip is the first such mission trip in memory that they have undertaken as a congregation. The team worked hard getting prepared for this trip. They received personal financial commitments from the participants. They raised funds with food events and by gathering up cans and bottles from the people of the community to recycle for deposit money. Most importantly, they provided personal mission clean-up and repairs for persons and families of the community in the spirit of the ASP experience in Kentucky.

Transitional Ministry for Women

July 26, 2017

W.I.S.H. (Women in Spiritual Hope) ministries at St. John’s United Methodist Church in Davenport is moving in God’s time. Their mission, says co-founder Lynn Johnson, is “to provide a safe faith-based nurturing transition for women from prison or jail, and to equip former inmates to return to society and live productive and happy lives.”


They have put a bid on a house that they plan to develop into a residence for women in transition—and the bid has been accepted! They are working with the city’s zoning commission to make sure that they are meeting the standards of existing ordinances. They are hoping to have everything finalized and running by this fall.

W.I.S.H. ministries is a recipient of a $3,000 Emerging Ministries grant from the Southeast District. Our District Askings gifts from local United Methodist churches in our part of the state help to support these sorts of new opportunities for outreach in our communities.

If you or your church would like to offer additional financial support for establishing their new residence, you can visit their GoFundMe webpage online. In their fundraiser description they summarize the need succinctly: “This is a second chance for women who never really had a first chance in life.”

What Is Pentecost?

July 19, 2017

The Fort Madison United Methodist Church wanted to help their community know more about a very important day in the life of the church. Pentecost, sometimes called the birthday of the church, is explained in an amusing Chuck Knows Church video, which they linked to their Facebook page from YouTube.

The video explores some of the basic symbols of this holy day, particularly light, fire and the Holy Spirit. Church leaders in Fort Madison simply posted the video link on June 1, just a few days before Pentecost Sunday, as teaser for morning worship and to give anyone who was interested some background about the festive occasion.

Chuck Knows Church videos are provided by Discipleship Ministries, an international agency of The United Methodist Church. The apportionment gifts of United Methodist churches around the world to The World Service Fund helps support Chuck Knows Church. The videos are offered on several different websites, including Chuck Knows Church, as well as YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.

All Chuck Knows Church videos may be viewed anywhere, posted anywhere, duplicated and given away as a part of our outreach in our communities. Changing the length, or in any way altering the content is strictly prohibited, and Discipleship Ministries of The United Methodist Church holds all copyrights to all Chuck Knows Church videos.