Thursday, October 15, 2009

Long Term Volunteers—Called to Serve

Volunteers at UMCOR Sager Brown prepare and sew material to make school bags.

Howard and I are from the New England Annual Conference and serve on the Board of the Northeast Jurisdiction Volunteers in Mission. We are members and Commissioned Missionaries of the Center Conway United Methodist Church in New Hampshire.
We arrived at UMCOR Sager-Brown on August 9th to begin our nine week stay as Long Term Volunteers. Howard and I settled into our efficiency apartment and unpacked. Monday at breakfast we renewed friendships with the staff and met the team we would be working with. Howard was assigned to work in Facilities – upkeep of the 11 buildings and 20 acre campus, while I was to work in the sewing room at the Depot. After breakfast we went over to the chapel for orientation and Safe Sanctuary training, then off to our work assignments.

This year while at the sewing room, I was responsible for cutting out school bags, making sure they were sewed properly and keeping the sewing machines in working order. In past years, we would cut and sew baby gowns and receiving blankets.

During the time here I have been able to interact with people from many churches and while working share stories of our faith and love of volunteering to help others. I’ve met so many wonderful people - all willing to give of their time and talents. Each week brought in another group of wonderful volunteers all eager to help. One lady at home made quilts for the Linus Project (quilts for children at the local Ronald McDonald home) and she asked if she could go thru my trash and pull out scraps of material so she could make quilts. After she left I received an email saying that because of the scrap material she was able to make an additional 12 quilts – what a wonderful way to recycle. The following week a lady asked if she could have the threads and end pieces from cutting and the scraps from the serger machines – she would use them as stuffing to make dog and cat pads for use at the local animal shelter. Another wonderful example of recycling from what would have been our trash.

Howard this year worked around the campus doing the many things that were needed to keep the buildings in working order – changing filters, light bulbs, painting and any other jobs assigned.

We have been serving here at Sager-Brown for the past 10 years. The people and the campus have a special place in our hearts and we are very happy to know that we have been invited back next year to serve again as Long Term Volunteers.

We are called to serve. When we look to serve, to make a difference in this world, lives are changed, including our own. The world listens with their eyes not their ears.

By Howard and Joan McGlauflin, North Conway, New Hampshire

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