UMW UMVIM Susannah's House

August 27, 2015

A group of California-Nevada Conference United Methodist Women (UMW) members will participate in a UMW-Volunteer in Mission opportunity November 2 to 8 in Knoxville working at Susannah's House doing light maintenance, gardening, Bible stories, Book group, cooking and serving meals to members, and of course, sharing stories. The team recently completed their training at Central UMC in Stockton.  It was truly a wonderful day.  The team received their first donation of $ 2,000 from UMW Central Valley District.

Dearest Susannah’s House Travel and Support Team Members
Well our travel mission is complete. We have gone to Susannah’s House and given and received love. I can only say that this UMVIM trip was successful beyond my wildest imagination and dreams and fulfilled my goals in more ways than I can name. The specifics and details of our wonderful trip will be shared and discussed with “Ya’ All" for a long time. I must tell you, however, there were some outstanding experiences that I can’t wait to tell you about. Susannah’s House has only been open for a little over a year. There have been no other UMW UMVIM trips previous to ours. So it was wonderful that there were no “preconceived ideas”.

First, of course, most memorable were the staff (both volunteer and paid) and “members” of Susannah’s House. While we were on site at SH there were nineteen women enrolled along with the children, infants and toddlers, of some of them. These women work through fears of past and present supported by trained social workers, Lisa and Sarah. We shared stories of our brokenness and theirs. We shared prayer, and love and acceptance of each other in many ways for five days. We worshiped together on Friday with Holy Communion blessed by the Reverend Rebekah Fetzer, the director of Susannah’s House. We ate wonderful, nutritious, and VERY tasty meals prepared by program “volunteers”, Andi and Denise who cook for the Susannah’s House members three days a week! (and Denies’s husband who smoked a barbequed turkey for our “Thanksgiving” style dinner.) We were hosted by members of the Cokesbury, Tennessee United Methodist Women in a home that allowed each of us to have her own room! UMW members cooked complete meals with several types of salads and dessert, cookies and Halloween candy for us for three nights; I heard a number of expanding waistline stories. The home is owned and offered by Jean Klingerman who fed us breakfast every day. Jean has accepted our gift of the name of “Mama Jean” (no further explanation is possible).

As a team, we shared outside duties by raking the beautiful fall foliage and planting bulbs which will flower in the Spring. On the inside, we sorted and stacked clothing and accessories for members and their in the Susannah’s House Store, did some kitchen work, some secretarial duties, and cutting of angels for the Susannah’s House Angel Christmas tree. As UMW members of CA/NV UMW Conference who didn’t know each other at all, we also learned about each of our individual and group strengths, gifts and joys. We went on an outing to the Knoxville Zoo and to Smokey Mountain parks. We prayed together, and had a fun together, laughed together and together anguished over the amount of work that needs to be done for women and their children, at Susannah’s House and over our country.

As members of the Susannah’s House Support team who contributed to our Facebook page and prayed with us daily with our prayer list led by UMW Conference member Kat Teraji and who supplied “gifts” from your individual churches, and those of you who were able to donate to our trip fund, we certainly know and were always aware of your participation, even from a distance. And what a blessing to be able to present a donation of more than $2,400 from the CA/NV Conference of UMW to the programs at Susannah’s House that cost $1,000 a day to run. We will of course, be reunited at our “Reunion” where we will share (thousands) of pictures and a travelogue and stories of our trip. Of course, we expect ya’ all to be present at that event. (Date to be determined, probably after the Christmas Season.) (We also need to give Rebekah and Mama Jean time to make their travel arrangements.) But there is so much to do. The United Methodist Church and the United Methodist Women need to step up to the plate and address the question “What is it worth us as a society and to us as a church to ‘break the cycle of addiction’” for even one woman and her children.

Rosie Bachand Susannah’s House Travel Team