Summersville Memorial United Methodist Church
Sunday, April 21, 2024
To make Disciples of Jesus Christ
Search this site.View the site map.
Visit us on Facebook.

~Hallelujah Moments


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Celebrations of United Methodist Mission
from the Mission Education unit of the General Board of Global Ministries

Memorial's Hallelujah Moments
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

April 5, 2010

Hallelujah Moment from the Spirit Lake

"Ms. Franks, did you know that God made the gorillas?"

"Yes, I did," responded Charlotte Franks, counselor and tutor at the Warwick Public School on Spirit Lake in North Dakota.

Ms. Franks was teaching about gorillas when one of the young boys stood up to ask this question. She then began to talk about the food gorillas eat.

The young boy stood up again. “Ms. Franks, did you know that God made bananas and trees and leaves?” he asked.

"Yes, I did," she answered and went on to talk about the gorillas' water supply.

Again, the boy stood up and questioned, "Ms. Franks, did you know that God made the water, too?"
"Yes," she said. "I did know that. Where did you learn that God made all of these things?"

"I learned it at my playground. There are people that come during the summer with a trailer. They play with us, tell us stories, and teach us that God loves us."

The people are on the volunteer teams from all over the country who share the love of Jesus Christ with the children of the Spirit Lake Reservation. They spend a week at the Spirit Lake Ministry Center. They're making a difference.

Mike and Libby Flowers are Dakotas Conference missionaries serving the Spirit Lake Ministry Center.

You can support the Spirit Lake Ministry Center by sharing your gifts through The Advance:

You may learn more about volunteer opportunities like this one on Spirit Lake Nation in the Dakotas, or throughout the North Central Jurisdiction and USA by contacting Lorna Jost, or visit and click on the US Project List!

 April 16,2009

Hallelujah Moment from Bok Chitto
By Rev. Jon Walters and Jodi L. Cataldo

"Would you be able to help us with some gas?" asked a young Choctaw woman. "My mother has terminal cancer and we need gasoline so we can make several medical appointments over the next week." She and her family had arrived for her mother's appointment at Choctaw Health Services (next door to our complex) and decided to seek help. The mother had been referred to the university medical complex in Jackson, 75 miles away.

Thank God for the Choctaw Mission here in Mississippi. It is a constant reminder of the ministry of The United Methodist Church with Native American people who continue to be marginalized in their own land. The UMC invites attention to this reality and provides the opportunity to respond to the particular needs of the Native American community.

When I asked the young woman if they needed anything else, she began to cry. Finally through her tears she softly responded, "No one else has offered to help us at all, and we were afraid to ask for anything else. We are very hungry."

My wife and I went to Wendy's for some sandwiches for the woman and her children as they waited for her mother to complete a medical examination. When we returned with a big bag of "dollar menu" items, it seemed obvious they didn't think we would return with food. The young woman was overwhelmed and speechless. We all began to weep in appreciation for the food provided, and in anticipation of the deep sadness of the days to come for this family. Joined together in this surprising moment, we knew that we were all little children of God, a family--truly a hallelujah moment--for Native Americans who are often overlooked.

During the 1800s, most of the Choctaw people were forced to leave their land and relocate to Oklahoma. Some remained, however. Methodists have been in ministry with this band of Choctaws since 1827. The Mississippi United Methodist Choctaw Mission in Bok Chitto serves three Native American congregations and operates a community center. Rev. Jon Walters serves as the executive director of the mission. 


 April 4, 2009

Hallelujah Moment from USA
By Becky Holten and Russ Whaley

In the space of 10 minutes, a torrent of water and ice rushed through the grounds of Wesley Acres (United Methodist) Camp near Valley City, North Dakota, destroying the canoe shed and overflowing much of the property. The empty swimming pool was filled by the rising creek in under a minute. As the creek was rising, site directors Kevin and Anita Tulp were trying to rescue the canoes, kayaks, and paddle boats that didn't fit in the canoe cabin. Fortunately, ice prevented Anita from getting into the cabin to get more equipment out or she would have been inside when it was destroyed.

Heavy, wet snow along with strong winds further complicates the flooding problem in the Dakotas Conference. Drifts once melted are back, and the waterways are higher than ever. Kevin and Anita say that this is the highest they have ever seen the creek that runs along the property of Wesley Acres. "The ice in the creek appears to be all frozen together, so it will be interesting to see how things turn out when the weather gets warm enough to melt again," she said.

The havoc wreaked by the flooding and accompanying blizzard does not end at Wesley Acres. The devastation reaches from the east along the Red River valley all the way to the west where 50 homes in Beulah, ND, had to be evacuated. County roads are impassable and the Rev. Paul Baker, Wahpeton, ND, says, "There is water everywhere."

Thousands and thousands of sandwiches have been made by volunteers to help other flood-relief volunteers, some of whom left their own flood damage to help those who were even more devastated. The volunteers heaved heavy sandbags onto the growing dikes for hours on end to hold back the icy, swelling rivers. Other volunteers assembled flood buckets to assist in the unpleasant task of cleanup. The damaging effects, both physically and emotionally, of the floods will be long-lasting, but if it weren't for these dedicated volunteers, the outcome would be much worse.

March 20

Hallelujah Moment from the Congo
By Michelle Scott

"The bad news kept coming—every time we turned on the TV, we heard about the economy," said Pastor Scott Johnson as he described the climate in which Union United Methodist Church of Conway, South Carolina embarked on a campaign to raise funds for their church's desperately needed repairs. "With every news report, we felt like Elijah saying, "Pour another bucket of water on the altar!"

Still, faced with critical building needs of their own, the people of Union UMC felt God challenging them to do something different; something that looked beyond themselves into the needs of others. This was the seed for what would become "Union with the Congo".

Union with the Congo was this small church's initiative to raise not only capital funds for their building repairs but also an equal amount to construct wells and latrines in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in partnership with the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR).

Learning that illnesses caused by the lack of clean water and sanitation kill more people in the Congo than malaria or HIV/AIDS, the people of Union responded. As a tangible symbol, a well in front of the altar of the church was filled with bottles of clean drinking water for each church member to receive. Each bottle was labeled, "Union with the Congo—Thanks to you, people in Kamina have clean drinking water."

In the midst of hard financial times, they knew it would take a miracle, and a miracle is just what they got. This small town church of approximately 150 raised $14,200 for Union with the Congo—sufficient funds for building repairs and to dig one well and latrine in the Kamina area of Congo where people lack access to both. In 2009, they are doubling their goal.

Access to clean water is just one of the ways that UMCOR, with the help of partnerships like Union UMC, is meeting dire needs of poverty stricken areas of the world. You, too, can support the work of UMCOR by contributing to the "One Great Hour of Sharing" offering. Times are tough but if we dare think beyond ourselves, we will be surprised at what God can do!


You can support the ministry of UMCOR by sharing your gifts through the One Great Hour of Sharing Offering.

March 6, 2009

Hallelujah Moment from Kenya
By Jerri Savuto and Jodi Cataldo

Joy and excitement filled the room as Mary Gitari, President of the Women's Fellowship and nursing officer-in-charge at Maua Methodist Hospital, opened the first ever "Girls Alternative Rite of Passage" five-day event in Maua, Kenya, with 96 young female participants ranging in age from 14 to 18.
The Rev. Jacob Munoru, pastor of St. Joseph's Methodist Church in Maua, then told the myth of how female genital mutilation (FGM) began among the Igembi people. The myth is that many years ago, the Igembi went to war over their stolen cattle and goats, and all the men, except for the young boys, were gone from the village. When they came back, they found all the women pregnant. The men decided the women must be punished, and to prevent them from having further sexual desires, the practice of FGM started. When the girls undergo FGM, they make a vow with their blood that they will continue this tradition or bring down a curse upon their families and land.
Various attempts have been made to end the practice. In 1952, the Njuri Ncheke (a group of male elders given the authority to make final decisions for the Igembi people) declared that FGM was no longer needed. A 1998 Kenyan law banned it, but FGM continues nevertheless.
Mary dreamed of a "Girls Alternative Rite of Passage," and this dream took flight. She and the Women's Fellowship leaders recognized the need for a time of celebration to acknowledge when a teen takes her place as a woman in the community. They began planning educational sessions and a celebratory event. Although the team had hoped for 70 participants, they were blessed with 26 more than that.
Light blue tops and skirts were made for each girl to wear at the completion of their retreat, and sashes were pinned on their tops, identifying the program. Then the girls began their march through Maua. The people watched with delight and amazement as the girls, filled with new confidence and pride, marched and sang. As the graduation came to a climax in the church, the excitement soared. The congregation rose to its feet, singing loudly with the girls, "It is over, it is over! Female circumcision
is over!"

February 21, 2009

Hallelujah Moment from Nepal
By Jodi Cataldo and Rev. Devi Bhujel

As the faltering economy grips even the remotest parts of the earth, Nepal does not emerge unscathed. Politically, socially and economically, life is unstable. Even the ability to have a work day often revolves around the presence or absence of electricity. Crime has risen, the inflation rate is soaring, and it seems there is no solution in sight.

Despite all these seemingly insurmountable obstacles, The United Methodist Church in Nepal continues to grow. Not long ago, leaders and members of the UMC came together on a cold, wintry New Year's Eve to thank God and to pray for the future. These Nepalese Christians committed themselves to the Lord and asked God to make them and The United Methodist Church a channel of blessing in Nepal, despite the current economic realities.

Then they celebrated! They celebrated the creation of The United Methodist Church Centre in Nepal. They celebrated the first-ever training event in the Nepal UMC for pastors and leaders. They celebrated the licensing of six Nepalese pastors and the declared candidacy of twelve more. And they celebrated the many activities in the local churches and in the new UMC centre happening now for spiritual growth, community development, and church growth.

They also prayed for the future and their country. Nepal may be in upheaval politically, socially, and economically, but the church not only stands strong but is growing--because it is built on nothing less than the Rock of salvation, Jesus Christ.

Rev. Devi Bhujel is a United Methodist missionary in Kathmandu, Nepal, with responsibilities for church planting, community development, and theological education.




February 6, 2009

By Jodi L. Cataldo with Mike and Libby Flowers

View a web-formatted version of this story and photos at:

Kinew's little fingers worked ambitiously to unravel the knot securing the brightly wrapped shoebox. At last, the knot was free and Kinew, filled with anticipation, opened up the box. Just then a huge smile spread across her face as she lifted out a colorful, cuddly pair of slipper socks.

Ron carefully picked out each gift in his box. He peered in at the last package on the bottom of the box. Ron reached in and took out a toothbrush, showed it to his buddy and exclaimed: "Now I don't have to share with my brother"!

Kinew and Ron are two of over 3,000 children living on the Spirit Lake Reservation in North Dakota. For many years, children and elders of the Spirit Lake Nation went without food and serviceable clothing. Today, United Methodists through the Spirit Lake Ministry Center are working in relationship with the tribal council to engage in outreach ministry, and more and more needs are being met.

One ministry is "Shoebox Christmas." Each year, churches all over the Dakotas put together gifts of new hats, mittens, scarves, educational items, age-appropriate toys and personal items in a small shoebox to be delivered to the children of the reservation at Christmas. For some, the shoebox is the only gift they would receive.

In addition to the 4,539 Shoebox Christmas gifts delivered to Spirit Lake and other reservations in the Dakotas this year, 500 blankets and quilts were donated to the elders, many of whom who would pick a quilt or blanket and then immediately give it to a grandchild that had a need. One elder shared, "I just want to thank you for the gift of warmth you have provided me and my grandchildren. This is the best Christmas I can remember in a very long time."

Mike and Libby Flowers are Dakotas Conference Missionaries working with the Spirit Lake Ministry Center located on the Spirit Lake Nation Reservation in North Dakota. The Spirit Lake Ministry Center is an approved United Methodist Volunteer in Mission destination.


You can support the work of The Spirit Lake Ministry Center by sharing your gifts through The Advance or by designated giving through your local church:

# 3020453 — Spirit Lake Ministry Center, Assisting the children and elders through material help, building projects and vocational training.




January 23, 2009

HALLELUJAH MOMENTS - Celebrations of United Methodist Mission
from the Mission Education unit of the General Board of Global Ministries
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Hallelujah Moment from Liberia
By Dr. Albert Willicor and Jodi Cataldo

View a web-formatted version of this story and photos at:

The first of ten children born to rubber plantation workers, I was brought up in very modest circumstances.

However, with the help of a scholarship from the plantation, I was able to further my education
and went on to complete my medical internship and residency in 1983 at John F. Kennedy Medical
 Center in Liberia. I am Dr. Albert Willicor.

The coup d’état of 1980 plunged my country of Liberia into chaos. The general poverty and national
malaise that followed culminated in civil war. The first to suffer were the children. They died of
malnutrition and disease and were dumped from wheelbarrows into mass graves. In the chaos of war,
children were separated from their parents. Some of them never saw their mother or father again.

My oldest child became lost in the early days of the war when she was only four years old. We give
thanks to God that, after two years, she was found in a distant border town. She was suffering from
malnutrition but she was found. (Today she is well and in medical school in Liberia.)

With mass starvation, disease was rampant. The sick were left unattended. There was enormous
human suffering. But in the midst of this anguish and despair, churches of various denominations
and charity agencies stepped in--setting up food centers, orphanages, clinics, and places of worship
to raise spirits and give hope in Jesus Christ.

I found myself behind the line of battle, in refugee camps, and participating in relief activities where
I witnessed firsthand the role played by various church organizations in alleviating the suffering of the
people. This experience gave me the desire to serve the church today as a missionary.

As Chief Medical Officer of Ganta United Methodist Hospital, my work is focused on the delivery of
healthcare to people whose conditions have been worsened by 14 years of civil war. Children under
the age of five have been the hardest hit—predominantly by malaria with its complications, respiratory
disease, and diarrhea. However, as I move around the hospital on my morning rounds, my heart is blessed
and my spirit is renewed by the smiles of the patients who now have the opportunity to recover.