Fighting Malaria means Fighting Ebola

The ebola crisis is complicated by miscommunication and mistrust among people of western Africa.  Imagine No Malaria has been in place for seven years in western Africa, and as a result its workers are among those trusted as sources of information on both Ebola and Malaria.  Here are excerpts from an August 15 UMCOR post by Julia Frisbie, INM Coordinator in the Pacific Northwest.  You can read the entire article here.

United Methodist health workers equipped by Imagine No Malaria to fight malaria are now also fighting Ebola. The same trained and skilled health professionals are on the front lines. 

“It is a blessing and a gift that a strengthened infrastructure is in place, thanks to the ministry of Imagine No Malaria,” said the Rev. Gary Henderson, executive director of Imagine No Malaria.  “No one dreamed that the church would be called upon in this way.”

Today, fighting malaria means fighting Ebola. Imagine No Malaria alone is not equipped to launch an emergency response to the Ebola epidemic, but we are part of a global denomination armed with the belief that the world is our parish. The people of The United Methodist Church are responding with supplies, grant money and advocacy. Your donations are making a difference in this fight.

Imagine No Malaria supports programs in all four countries where Ebola is present, and our comprehensive approach has strengthened hospitals and health posts.

Misinformation and denial are keeping sick people from getting help. Some people are hiding from government officials and medical teams because they fear that if they go into quarantine, they will never see their loved ones again. Since the early symptoms of malaria and Ebola are similar, many malaria patients are not getting treatment. This crisis jeopardizes the progress The United Methodist Church has made toward improving access to health care.

A big part of the fight against Ebola is a fight against fear. “If people don’t trust the government and the health care providers, they’re not going to get help,” said Shannon Trilli, UMCOR global health consultant.

United Methodists are working to get correct information to the people who need it most. In a statement, Liberian Bishop John G. Innis wrote, “United Methodist pastors, district superintendents and Sunday school teachers must share the information about the Ebola virus with their local churches and districts.”

Advocacy, prayer needed

Bishop John K. Yambasu of Sierra Leone chairs the Religious Leaders Task Force on Ebola.

“Our major focus is teaching the people the practices of personal hygiene as the only effective and sustainable way of preventing the disease,” he said. He noted that 80 percent of Sierra Leoneans belong to a faith group. Because they often trust their faith leaders more than they trust their elected officials, faith groups will be key players in changing the public discourse. “We work towards increasing community awareness and education,” Yambasu said.

When you donate through Imagine No Malaria, you join a global movement of The United Methodist Church to end preventable deaths and improve lives while at the same time strengthening health systems.


UMCOR is at Work Around the World!

“How can we help?”  There are many crises around the world right now that make your heart ache but it’s hard to know how to offer help and hope.  UMCOR (the United Methodist Committee on Relief) is hard art work in many locations, and your prayers and  financial support make this possible.  You can donate to UMCOR in general or to specific projects, which are called Advances.  Read on for details on support projects and how to contribute to specific advances.
The United Methodist Church Responds to the Ebola Crisis
August 7, 2014—The United Methodist Church has been present with the people of West Africa since the beginning of the Ebola epidemic this spring. As the disease picks up speed, the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) is ramping up its response. A total of $87,000 in grant money has been distributed, and UMCOR stands ready to fund additional projects. Our healthcare networks have been activated to get the word out about prevention and treatment. Lifesaving supplies and protective equipment are on their way to Sierra Leone and Liberia right now.

As the Ebola virus spreads in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia, The United Methodist Church continues to be present and respond through West African United Methodist church leaders and regional health boards, denominational health facilities, missionaries, and the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR).  The church has three hospitals and five clinics in Sierra Leone and one hospital and three clinics in Liberia.
Updates on UMCOR’s work in response to Ebola  are available if you click on the green links: August 7 and August 5 .
Your gift to International Disaster Response, Advance #982450, empowers UMCOR to continue its crucial work in the fight against Ebola and in response to other natural and human-caused disasters.
UUMCOR Responds to the Immigration Crisis
June 25, 2014—The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) responded today to a plea by the Southwest Texas Conference/Rio Grande Conference for emergency assistance to meet urgent needs of a “rising flow” of refugees crossing into the United States from Mexico.
In response to an appeal by Bishop James E. Dorff, who heads the joined conferences, Greg Forrester, UMCOR executive in charge of U.S. Disaster Response, expedited an emergency grant and told Bishop Dorff, “Our prayers are with you and the conference as you respond to this humanitarian crisis.”
In a letter to UMCOR that detailed Bishop Dorff’s request, the Rev. Laura Merrill, a United Methodist district superintendent who oversees two districts at the border, described “a refugee crisis, with large numbers of women with children and unaccompanied children crossing our border in search of safe haven.”
Rev. Merrill said the communities of the districts she oversees “are all involved in interfaith response,” providing “welcome centers” that offer showers, a change of clothes, food, basic medical care and when possible, a place to sleep overnight.  Click here for more information on the Immigration Crisis and Texas Churches’ Response.  To support this work financially make a contribution to UMCOR U.S. Disaster Response, Advance #901670 .
Ukraine Conflict Relief
This is an excerpt from John Calhoun, missionary in Ukraine.
As you are aware, it has been an extremely difficult time for the people of Ukraine.  The shooting down of a civilian aircraft over eastern Ukraine killed 298 innocent people from 10 countries.  The intense fighting between Ukrainian military forces and separatist rebels in the region leaves many dead and hundreds displaced each day. Recent ceasefires have been short-lived, and a diplomatic path away from violence and toward peace remains elusive.
The eastern Ukrainian city of Luhansk has been the site of particularly intense battles in recent days.  A lay leader of the local UMC congregation in Luhansk reports that church members are safe, but that more than half of the members have fled the city, seeking shelter among relatives and friends outside the conflict zone.
Local UMC congregations in other parts of Ukraine and in western Russia are helping the displaced in ways large and small, including raising funds for relief efforts in eastern Ukraine and providing shelter and food to recent arrivals from the conflict zone.
In Kyiv, our local congregations have expanded their ministry to persons displaced by the conflict.  Last week, the UMC in Ukraine received a grant from UMCOR  to provide emergency food assistance to families who have fled Crimea in recent months and taken shelter in a refugee center in Kyiv.
Some people I spoke with found it ‘strange’ (in a good way) that some far away church organization based in America is willing to support them.  My personal hope is that through this, these people will be able to see Jesus’ love from us, and perhaps would be willing to know more about it.  The full letter from John Calhoun is available and his Advance number is #13970Z.
   Middle East
Mrs. Jalele Ayyad, a 60-year-old Palestinian Christian woman in Gaza, was killed when an Israeli missile hit her house earlier this week. According to General Board of Global Ministries missionary the Rev. Alex Awad, who serves in Bethlehem, “The family received a warning but before they could run, a deadly missile hit the house, killed Jalele, injured her husband, and crippled their son.”
As story after heartbreaking story continues to come out of Israel and Palestine, and in particular Gaza, people of faith are praying for peace.  Reports indicate that as of July 30, there have been more than 1,300 Palestinians killed, most of them civilians. On the Israeli side, 56 Israeli soldiers, and three civilians have been killed.
Jorge Lockward who leads the United Methodist Global Praise program offered some guidance for concerned people who want to respond.  “The first, unavoidable, necessary, indispensable step is finding a way—any way—of being present. Present to the heart of God. Present to each other. Present to God’s children in Gaza,” he said.
On August 7 and 8, United Methodists, along with representatives of Palestinian Christian communities, including Awad, will gather at Ginghamsburg United Methodist Church in Ohio to explore how to be present, particularly with Palestinian Christians in the West Bank, Gaza and Israel.  
Link above will provide other links as well.

VBS Mission Project Results

Vacation Bible School is an amazing event!  Hundreds of folks, young and old participate every June and get to share the love of Jesus, make new friends, help others and have lots of fun!  Each year there is a Mission Outreach project to benefit the community, and here’s what was collected this year:
Day 1.  Mission Outreach to BUILD helping RELATIONSHIPS: diapers/wipes/money for Children in Need in our community Donated dozens of packages of diapers and wipes, etc ; given to Family Promise and Love Inc.
Day 2.  Mission Outreach to BUILD loving HOMES: money for Habitat for Humanity.  Donated $107.00
Day 3.  Mission Outreach to BUILD strong FAITH:  money to help build chapel at Intermountain. Donated $812.00
Day 4.  Mission Outreach to BUILD healthy BODIES:  collect food for the Gallatin Valley Food Bank.  Donated 250 lbs.
Day 5   Mission Outreach to BUILD smart BRAINS: collect used books for Mobile Library.   Donated 80 books.
THANK YOU to everyone who donated, organized, and helped distribute these goods and funds.  Your generosity makes a big difference to many people.

A Mission Opportunity at Christus Collegium

Come join the Yellowstone Conference Mission Committee on an
UMVIM mission trip to Bozeman, Montana!


Christus Collegium, the campus ministry building for MSU, is in need of repairs and updating in order to better serve Tuesday Nights Together (a.k.a. TNT), a strong United Methodist program bringing together college students for dinner, singing, worship and fellowship every week.  The building also serves as a meeting place for international students, the Lutheran campus ministry, housing for about 18 students, and MSU student associations.According to Dean Richardson, member of the Christus Board, “our poor building has been neglected far too long and now needs many improvements. You folks are just what we need to get the ball rolling, THANK YOU!”   This mission project will be the start of a three phase plan that will end with an improved kitchen, nicer sanctuary, and handicapped accessible bathroom and showers. 

The dates for this project are August 8 through August 11.  Come for one or come for all!   There are  many different tasks for many different abilities.  If you can push a broom there will be a job for you!  We need to install drywall and perfi-tape to walls; paint new drywall; sand, clean and re-stain wood paneling and trim and stain kitchen cabinet doors as well as do outdoor garden work.  And for the truly ambitious a new walk-in pantry needs to be framed and drywalled.

We will have accommodations at the Hall and prepare our meals in the kitchen.  We are asking for a $25 per person per night donation to cover food and other miscellaneous expenses.  If you have dry wall taping tools and hand tools such as hammers, drill/drivers, saws, utility knives, etc. please bring them – they will be very welcome.  If your church would like to have a fundraiser to help purchase paint, drywall etc. that would be most appreciated.  Just like college students, the program is on a tight budget and all donations and cookies are gladly accepted!

Please contact Debbie Irby, UMVIM Coordinator for Yellowstone Conference if you would like to join the team!    We will need to know if you are coming by Tuesday, August  5 but registering much sooner if you can would be great!

Youth Mission 2014

Duffel bags, suitcases, sleeping bags, coolers, boxes of food, gloves, swimsuits, sunscreen, pillows, notebooks, tools, cheerful spirits and lots of energy — stuff them all into the van and hit the road for Colorado!  Our Youth Mission Team travels  July 13 – 21 to work on flood relief projects in the Boulder area.  Last fall the area was devastated by floods and our team will help rebuild.

This year’s team is made up of 19 youth ad 5 adults.  Youth must be going into high school through recent high school graduates.  Adult chaperones can be of any age as long as they’re willing to work hard, pray hard, cook, sleep on the floor, and spend a week with some wonderful kids.

Our congregation can support the Youth Mission Trip with your prayers and financial contributions.  There is a sign-up sheet in the narthex where you can sponsor a youth worker for only $25, and they will send you a postcard from their adventure.  If you won’t be at the church to sign up, just call the office at 586-5413.  Your support is greatly appreciated!

Vacation Bible School is for all ages!

One of the great things about Vacation Bible School (VBS) is that it lets people of all ages work together in a fun, exciting, loving environment.  For this year’s Workshop of Wonders we had folks from newborns to over 80 years old — this year there were 20 people in the 70 to 80 year-old age bracket!  VBS classes are for kids going into Kindergarten through 6th grade, but Middle School and High School kids get to be Youth Assistants.  They help the adult leaders and mentor the kids in their group. The result is a wonderful intergenerational experience where stories of Jesus’ love are shared.  Because VBS is sponsored by four churches in town, people from a variety of denominations get to work together, too.


           VBS1           vbs4           vbs3

An important part of VBS is Mission Outreach, and this year that meant supporting five different groups: 

 Monday  (Story of Esther…“Imagine with God!” ) Mission Outreach to BUILD helping RELATIONSHIPS: collect diapers/wipes/money for Children in Need in our community ie: Family Promise, Love Inc, etc) 

Tuesday –  (Ezra… “Build with God!”).  Mission Outreach to BUILD loving HOMES: collect money for Habitat for Humanity 

Wednesday –  (Jesus parable of Mustard Seed … “Grow with God!”).  Mission Outreach to BUILD strong FAITH:  Collect money to help build chapel at Intermountain.
Thursday – (Jesus Feeds 5000 … “Work with God!”).  Mission Outreach to BUILD healthy BODIES:  collect food for the Gallatin Valley Food Bank
Friday – (Emmaus … “Walk with God!”).  Mission Outreach to BUILD smart BRAINS: collect used books for Mobile Library




World Bicycle Relief

Sunday, June 22 is Bike to Church Sunday!  This has become an annual event, held on the Sunday before VBS, which features valet bicycle parking in our custom bike racks along Willson Avenue.  A tip jar is also available with all proceeds going to World Bicycle Relief, the group that provides sturdy bikes to Africa.  BUMC has bought 10 bikes in the past 3 years, and since the start of 2014, World Bicycle Relief has supplied more than 13,000 Buffalo bicycles in and beyond Africa.  A description of their Buffalo bikes follows; for more information visit the World Bicycle Relief web page.

 WBR banner

buffalo bike

Entrepreneurs, farmers, healthcare workers and students in rural Africa transport heavy loads long distances over rugged terrain to meet basic needs. Compared to walking, bicycles allow people to haul more goods over longer distances in less time – provided the bicycle is strong and durable. In Africa, the disconnect between suppliers and end-users has resulted in bicycles designed to be inexpensive rather than robust; most begin to fall apart within weeks because they are not suitable for rugged terrain and bulky loads. This has dire consequences for people without access to other transportation.

World Bicycle Relief has connected rural Africans with bicycle suppliers; the result is a robust bicycle engineered specifically for rural African terrain and load requirements. The Buffalo bike is designed, tested and assembled in Africa with close attention to end-user feedback and rigorous quality control. We are committed to providing the highest quality, most durable bicycles in Africa, and we operate with constant attention to innovation and product improvement to ensure that our bicycles meet their users’ needs. World Bicycle Relief’s Africa-based product management team oversees a fleet of riders who test current and potential components under the most punishing field conditions; their feedback is used to improve our bicycles. Furthermore, Buffalo bicycles are compatible with locally available spare parts, ensuring that with proper maintenance they will last for years. These design innovations make World Bicycle Relief’s Buffalo bicycles the best on the market: our bicycle is built for Africa.

Imagine No Malaria (INM)

This program is sponsored by the United Methodist Church and aims to partner with donors of many backgrounds to end preventable deaths by malaria in Africa.  The Yellowstone Annual Conference has a goal of saving 50,000 lives by raising $500,000.  BUMC donated $10,000 through the Rob Cox Mustard Seed gift, a matching grant of up to $1000 per church for YAC churches with an average worship attendance of 50 or fewer.  Our INM contact is Kristin Cates,  You can follow the Yellowstone Conference’s work here: Bite Malaria .


The INM webpage is a tremendous resource and the following information comes from that site:  

Imagine No Malaria will continue supporting Nothing But Nets because bed nets are an effective tool against the disease.  However, there is much more involved in this program.  First, INM will work in full partnership with communities  in Africa and provide necessary tools to empower people to be part of the solution.  The four-part solution includes prevention, treatment, education and communication.

Imagine No Malaria has partners to help make beating malaria a reality. We work with the United Nations Foundation, The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. These organizations are global leaders in the fight against malaria and other diseases of poverty.

Why do they need us? The United Methodist Church brings some very unique resources to the table.The financial support of 11 million United Methodists worldwide is a significant part of it.  But there’s much more. The United Methodist Church has worked in Africa for nearly 200 years. We operate churches, school, hospitals and clinics across the continent in places where no one else will go. Wherever the road runs out, you’ll find us bringing hope to the hopeless and empowering the powerless.

These partners recognize the United Methodist Church is a key to healthcare delivery in Africa. As a result,  your donation is multiplied many times by the support it provides.

2013 Mission Giving Summary

Do you ever wonder where our Mission money goes?  Here’s a brief overview.

BUMC is a connectinal church, which means we are closely associated with United Methodist Churches across the state and country, and around the globe.  One of our most basic financial obligations is our annual Mission Share Apportionment which supports our Yellowstone Annual Conference and the larger church nationwide.  In 2013 our congregation’s Apportionment was $97,400  When determining our annual budget, Apportionments must be covered before we consider giving to any other causes.

Conference Askings are another portion of our connection with the larger Methodist organization.  In 2013 we gave over $5600 to projects within the Yellowstone Conference.  These include Rocky Mountain College, which is a Methodist college in Billings; campus ministries at UM and MSU;  the Blackfoot United Methodist Parish (BUMP) in Browning, MT which is a mission project of the greater Methodist Church; and small church development within our conference.

We also support six church-wide special Sundays each year.  BUMC’s contributions to these were over $15,100 in 2013.  The Sundays include Human Relations Day, One Great Hour of Sharing, Native American Ministries Sunday, Peace with Justice Sunday, World Communion Sunday and United Methodist Student Day.

Financial donations to UMCOR (the United Methodist Committee on Relief) advances totaled $16,200.  This money went directly to support victims of Hurricane Sandy, Oklahoma tornadoes, Colorado floods, and Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.  Because the money collected during One Great Hour of Sharing covers administrative and overhead costs, UMCOR is able to send all your donations directly to advances.

Locally we donated over $55,000 to a wide variety of mission projects, particularly those related to the homeless and children.  We made significant contributions to the HRDC Warming Center, Community Cafe, Billings Free Store, Roundup (Montana) Rebuild mission trip and Intermountain Children’s Home.  Other recipients were the Homeless Youth Fund, Love INC, Family Promise, Haven, Habitat for Humanity and other groups.  The Food Bank received over 1000 pounds of food.

Our financial assistance spanned the globe in 2013 as we supported a wide variety of projects.  Funds and hands-on support were provided via the UMVIM trip to Haiti with college kids.  Financial support went to the Imagine No Malaria campaign, Angola Pastor Support, Helen Sheperd (missionary in Mongolia), Jubilee USA, World Bicycle Relief, Heifer International and Books for Africa.

Habitat for Humanity of Gallatin Valley

HABITAT FOR HUMANITY OF GALLATIN VALLEY is a locally run affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International, a nonprofit, ecumenical Christian housing organization. Habitat for Humanity works in partnership with qualified families to build and renovate decent, affordable housing. The houses then are sold to the families at no profit and with no interest charged.

Volunteers provide most of the labor, and individual and corporate donors  provide money and materials to build Habitat houses. Partner families themselves invest hundreds of hours of labor – “sweat equity” – into building their homes and the homes of others. Their mortgage payments go into a revolving Fund for Humanity that is used to build more houses.

Habitat for Humanity is always looking for volunteers.  Several women from our church worked at this year’s Women Build fundraiser in early May, but there are many more opportunities to help:

–You can work at the ReStore pricing, stocking shelves, or helping customers.  They are particularly in need of folks who can volunteer on a regular basis.  If you don’t want to work there you can donate good used building materials or shop at the ReStore which provides funds for Habitat and keeps materials out of the landfill.  The ReStore is located in Bruce Industrial Park in Belgrade; for more information call 388-2852 or visit What is the ReStore?

–You can make a financial contribution.

–You can volunteer at a construction site.  They need skilled and unskilled individuals and groups to partner with in building Habitat homes, as well as to assist with volunteer management. Expert sub-contractors such as installers, drywallers and carpenters are particularly needed.

For details on how to get involved, and additional ways to support Habitat for Humanity, visit their website at Habitat for Humanity of Gallatin Valley  or call 388-8225.

2 in the hole


front yard