Salt Lake Mission Trip Journal
Subject: Monday's journal
Praise the Lord! Everybody woke up with good life. 8:00 a.m. devotion by Betty Jo. Breakfast and lunch: each person prepared their own lunch. 8:30: departed for UMCOR Warehouse, an 11-minute drive and 3.9 miles from the Episcopal Church Center Utah where we live.
At UMCOR, a 22,000 square foot warehouse with 3 sections, we were met by Brian (a United Methodist pastor assigned to UMCOR) and Maika (a Tongan in ministry). Explained the purpose of UMCOR and packing guidelines. Those who could sew also could make garments – newborn gowns and flannel diapers. For packing, no damaged item is to be packed. Health kits contain a hand towel, 1 facecloth, 6 full-size band-aids, bath soap (no Jergens or Ivory), toothpaste and toothbrush. No patriotic or religious symbols are allowed. The towels are flattened on the table and other contents are laid on top, folded firmly and put into a zip-lock bag. To strictly serve others, everything is done neatly, correctly and per requirements. 8 of us pack and 4 do the sewing.
For sewing, there is a nice air-conditioned sewing room, divided into 2 rooms for sewing and cutting. The sewing room has about 8 sewing machines and 4 sergers. A lot of material has been donated. Because the machines have been used by other volunteers, we struggled at first. Diane, the woman responsible for maintaining the sewing department, helped us. We sewed newborn gowns and flannel diapers. It was an interesting, slow and challenging day! Maika brought us an afternoon treat, a drink made of grated coconut, watermelon, pineapple and nuts and 2 loaves of coconut bread, just from the oven and baked by his sister. Thank you, Maika, for your kindness (malo).
4 p.m. – We came home and ate out at a buffet called Chuck-A-Rama – a beautiful, clean restaurant with variety of food. All of us enjoyed our dinner, money well spent! Came home satisfied and tired. Although it was tiring, we still loved what we had done and also our accompanying each other – women of faith and a wonderful gentleman, Art. Love flows within us and this makes everything easier. Good leadership of Judy Church, an instigater and mover of the events. Thank you, Judy. All looking forward to day 2!!
UMCOR WAREHOUSE MISSION JOURNAL – July 19, 2016
This morning began with an inspirational devotion by Sue Teranishi. Scripture was from 1 Corinthians 12:27. Sue told a story about no matter how small the job, that each act we do is important. A lady was invited to help with a sewing project, not knowing how to sew, she was reluctant to attend. However after some convincing and assurance that it was not requirement to be able to sew, she attended. She was so glad she did, as she was assigned a job of cutting out the fabric according to a pattern, which left the more experienced sewers to be able to sew more items for the project. And she felt very useful.
So we began our day at the warehouse by delivering the rest of the items we brought from our churches and from conference. I was especially glad to be able to deliver the book bags lovingly sewed by our 3 C’s (Creative Christian Crafters) group. After stowing our lunches, we set out to our different tasks; some who packaged tooth brushes yesterday, changed to checking and packing Health Kits. Sue taking the lead from her devotion, helped in the sewing room cutting out diaper patterns for Titilia and Betty Jo to sew. Judy was there to helping the morning too. The rest of us worked with the Health kits. Great excitement when we finished our first full palette, just before lunch and did the traditional Pallet prayer and drum roll!! When we ran out of pre-made kits we switched gears and began to make kits from the many bulk items sent in by many churches. Lots of challenges as Art switched off with Judy and then later Cathie for packing the boxes. More challenges as we re-organized from checking pre-made kits to creating our own, since the boxes, bags, packages that were sent in were not exactly sorted. I think poor Judy had the biggest challenges as she thought she lost her badge, which is also her key card for her room, then at end of day, not finding her keys, not to mention the nearly running a red light on the way home. But in the end we all got through it. We sang songs, had a break complete with a Popsicle treat from Maika.
Votive candle area
After we all dragged ourselves home, the dinner crew (Titilia, Sue & Dianne) got busy and prepared a Chicken Stir Fry feast!! After dinner some of us went to visit Cathedral of the Madeleine (Catholic Cathedral) just down the street. I nearly did not go, but Judy said she would drive if I went, so I did. We all know God certainly works in miraculous ways. After entering the sanctuary, I walked up to the votive candle area and decided to light a candle for my father who passed away 2 years ago, and who was very Catholic (in fact I was raised as a Catholic). As I lit the candle, I said “HI” to Dad, told him I missed him and loved him. Then I knelt, even though my knees were in pain, and I prayed that God watch over Dad and then said the Our Father and then 2 Hail Mary’s, like I used so many years ago. As I finished, I told Dad I loved him, and at that moment the pipe organ which had been silent all this time rang out a single chord. So that was MY “God Moment “ today, one I may have missed out on, had I not been convinced to go with Judy.
After we came back we talked about our challenges for the day and played a word game, had ice cream and most went to bed. Me? I’m taking this time to journal. For those of you following the progress of the Salt Lake City puzzle, it is almost complete, who knows, it may be complete before I go to bed, you will know by the time this Journal is posted.
Memorable moments today other than my moment in the church? The joy in finding Judy’s key card, finishing our first palette, ice cold popsicle in a very warm warehouse, singing Do-Re-Me and Michael Rowed and failing in singing rounds. But the thing that is most memorable each day is what I am learning about and from these wonderful women and one man. It is sometimes overwhelming to be in the midst of such spiritual, selfless, caring people. It is how we all work together, no we don’t always agree, but one thing we do agree on is keeping our focus on the mission and that is what keeps us going. After only 4 days with them, I already feel such a closeness that only comes from years of friendship. I thank the Lord for blessing me with Kathleen and Cathie who inspired and encouraged me to come on this trip. I am so looking forward to the next 4 days.
Prayerfully submitted,Chris Handley
Gloria’s devotion focused on keeping in touch with others (by phone, answering machine) and with God. God never has an answering machine: God is always there! We worked two hours at a most enjoyable job, sorting through donated items at the Deseret Industries, Welfare Square of the LDS church. Following our shopping spree afterwards, we split between lunch out at Victor’s Tire Store (Mexican) and Pacific Seas (Tongan). Wow! Warm afternoon work (100) at UMCOR completed another pallet…
Centenary UMC advertised a UMW potluck, and we invited ourselves. Art bowed out, but the 11 of us met such a fine group of new friends – Ruthenna and her twin, Betty Jo, Nancy, Karen, and Sandy. We heard their personal stories and Salt Lake City history. Afterwards we walked ½ block to the First Encampment Park memorializing the pioneers who arrived July 22, 1847. Names, including 3 women, were imprinted on boulders symbolizing the Wasach Mountains.
Praise God, we’re ready for another day…