Mission Initiative Launches with Focus on Haiti
October 13, 2010
A UMNS Report
By Larry R. Hygh Jr.*
Nancy M. Thevenin spent the first few days after the Jan. 12 earthquake in her native Haiti frantically searching for any word of her family still in the country.
When she could not reach her brother, she called friends and then friends of friends until finally she talked on the phone to someone who had been in the same room with her brother and assured her he was fine.
"The tragedy," she said, "showed me we're all in this together."
That sense of togetherness was on display when Thevenin spoke about Haiti recovery efforts at the launch of The United Methodist Church's 10-day mission initiative, 10-Fold, which began on Oct. 10 (10/10/10).
Thevenin shared her experiences from the pulpit of The Church of the Village, a multi-ethnic United Methodist congregation in New York City's Greenwich Village. Viewers were also able to watch from their computers at home.
Each day, visitors to the website 10-Fold.org will get to see United Methodist mission programs around the world. The website uses current technology, including Skype, streaming videos, online chats and downloadable podcasts.
In addition, people can help just by clicking on the link of a particular project. For each click from Oct. 10 to Oct. 19, various church groups will donate one dollar to the selected project, up to $10,000. Organizers hope to get 10,000 advocates each day to raise a total of $100,000.
"We are embarking on a mission movement for the 21st century," said Thomas Kemper, the top executive of the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries. "Today, we will bridge the gap of generations."
Each day, the website will feature live webcasts for people to learn about projects that are related to a daily theme. Those themes include children's health and wholeness, missionaries in the United States, missionaries around the world, church leader training, church planting worldwide, justice for our neighbors, clean water and sanitation, health care in Africa and sustainable agriculture.
The projects receive support from The Advance, the designated-giving program of The United Methodist Church.
There is also a presence on social-networking sites. On the first day, the initiative received more than 7,000 visitors to the 10-Fold website, 3,000 project advocates, 500 fans on the Facebook site and 200 Twitter followers.
The first day focused on the denomination's work in Haiti.
Since January, Melissa Hinnen, the director of communications for the United Methodist Committee on Relief, has made frequent visits to the country - the poorest in the western hemisphere.
"As I met with people and glimpsed their day-to-day reality, I was reminded that while our personal sadness is justified, the magnitude of what the Haitian people face still lies before us," she said. "They have all lost people they love, and they are all still struggling to survive, and they do it with grace and purpose."
Shortly after the earthquake, UMCOR distributed food to 160 of the most vulnerable families in a community in Haiti called Mellier.
"I was so moved to learn that volunteers from the Methodist Church in Haiti helped our team package the food, identify those most in need regardless of religious affiliation, and distribute the provisions," Hinnen said.
The 10-Fold site offers more information about how to help church work in Haiti and other places in need.
Kemper said, "Talk to your friends, your neighbors…we not only want to raise funds, but we want to raise awareness."
More information about the 10-Fold initiative and a full schedule of events is available at www.10-Fold.org.
*Hygh is the associate general secretary, director of mission communications for the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries of The United Methodist Church.