Still Reaching a Hand Across the Globe

How do you show your love on the other side of the globe when the globe has shut its doors? After 2019’s seven global mission trips to four countries (and three million miles collectively traveled by teams!), PRUMC’s Global Missions staff and volunteers are building a new paradigm – doing all they can at a distance while planning for a safer way to show love and commitment in 2021 and the “next normal”.

We spoke recently with Dawn Hawkins, PRUMC’s Director of Global Missions, about how PRUMC is supporting global efforts during this time. As she notes, “There are two ways in which we walk alongside our partners in global ministries: by providing financial support and by sending teams. We’ve been able to continue financial partnering, and we’re staying in close touch with our friends on the ground. We also recognize that the loss of our teams on the ground is hard for these missionaries and these ministries. Missionaries are already, by the nature of their work, cut off from their families, and now they’re cut off from the world. They depend on incoming teams to feed their souls, and on those interactions to bring money, resources and in-kind donations. All of that has come to a halt around the world at a time when scarcity was already there.”

Our global partners (currently in Belize, the country of Georgia, Guatemala and Kenya) are so fortunate to have the generosity of our congregation during COVID, she emphasizes. “The donations earmarked for global missions have remained on target year-to-date. But that’s only a portion of our budget. We also get a significant portion from The Dogwood Shop proceeds, and the closing of the church has dramatically impacted the revenue stream there. Last year we were able to donate $50,000 in Dogwood profits to Global Missions. This year will be a fraction of that, but we are so grateful for our faithful shoppers, who have kept buying from us during this time when so many stores are experiencing zero revenues! In May 2019 we did $35,000 in sales, and this May we did $4,000, much of which was online sales. Thankfully, we were able to launch the online store during COVID, and that has covered our costs and kept us from losing money.”

When will they start rescheduling mission trips after the world reopens? That will vary by region, she says. “All 2020 trips are already cancelled. We’ll look at each destination separately for 2021, and our team demographics, which vary with the regions, will play a role.”

And then there’s timing. “Normally we lock down tickets and dates a year ahead of a trip, so we would have already planned, registered and finalized logistics for our trips through next summer. Obviously we can’t do that. So once we determine it’s safe to travel, our teams will go with less notice, maybe four to six months. We will probably have smaller groups, with schedule flexibility and low-risk health factors.” The Methodist Church’s global missions arm also provides guidance that will influence plans, she notes.

Dawn and the teams are watching their ministries’ continuing progress and excited about getting back “in country” with their partners. The Dogwood reopened in May with limited hours. (“Bill Britt was our first shopper. We were so excited to see him come in!”) She invites all of you to continue to shop online at the Dogwood and to come in for a visit as soon as you’re ready. They’re happy to see you during regular store hours or to make an appointment with you at your convenience.

Thanks to the hands you continue to reach across the globe, PRUMC moves forward, making a difference in the lives of families around the world. (Watch for upcoming updates on what’s going on with each country and partner ministry!)

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