People throughout our Conference connection have been impacted by the many ripples and consequences of COVID-19. The challenges we face in our everyday lives have become more complex and at times insurmountable.
The faith family of Fale Maama Tongan United Methodist Church, Oakland, knows a thing or two about walking with one another and when the pandemic hit the Bay District, members of Fale Maama were determined to weather the storm together.
It was reported that many of the families in the church had not been working. Many of their corporations and industries had been heavily hit by shutdowns and some people in the community were ineligible for government assistance.
Although Fale Maama's families struggle economically they rarely, if ever, reach out for help. Knowing this, and seeing the extreme need in this time of COVID-19, Pastor Ahio and her church leaders took the initiative and configured a process for giving funds to each family, widow/widower/elderly and young adult.
A total of over 100,000 was distributed to families and individuals who received between $1,200-1,500 each.
How did the church raise 100,000 for these families so quickly? The funds were already in the bank. Every year Fale Maama members participate in Misinale, a Tongan celebration of giving to the church. As a result of the tremendous stewardship practiced by church members there were enough funds to give a meaningful gift to those in need.
Gratitude is overflowing on behalf of the congregation and those who have been blessed by these gifts.
Fale Maama Tongan United blesses each of us, most especially in this moment as we see church being a community of love and tangible support - truly more than a building.
Click here to see a video of Fale Maama's 2019 Misinale celebration.