Thursday, January 29, 2009

A Missionary of note

Elizabeth Thiombiano

Assigned to the EMANA Project (Methodist Extention to Andean Youth) in Iquique, Chile, Ms. Elizabeth Yingling Thiombiano is a missionary through the Mission Intern Program with the Board of Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church. (For information on the Mission Intern Program see end of bio).

Working with Becky Harrell, also a GBGM missionary, Beth assists with ‘Serenity', an after-school tutoring program for children whose parents are absent due to drug abuse or immigration issues. She travels with a mobile eyeglass clinic sponsored by EMANA as the clinic visits various pueblos to perform check-ups. Beth also assists with English classes in three Methodist schools as well as working with the Family and Violence Project, a program that provides weekly prevention workshops and works closely with ‘illegal’ immigrants from Peru.

A VIM trip to Jamaica as a young teenager and a Global Justice Volunteer for three months while in college deepened Beth’s understanding of her call to mission. ”It was through these two experiences that I learned the importance of building relationships and walking in solidarity. I hope through this experience I will be able to build relationships, learn from the people I’m working with and walk with them while working towards social justice.”

Beth was born in Westminster, Maryland. She received a diploma in General Studies from Carroll Community College and earned her Bachelor of Arts in Social Work from Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisburg, VA. She worked for Commonwealth Center for Children and Adolescents and Target Community and Educational Services, Inc.

Westminster United Methodist Church in Westminster, MD in the Baltimore-Washington Annual Conference is Beth’s home church.

(The Mission Intern Program is a three-year leadership development and mission service opportunity for young adults between the ages of 20 and 30 to be actively involved in mission service and social justice in both an international and a domestic context. The program encourages young adults to live with and learn from communities that struggle with injustice. Mission Interns have worked as community developers, educators, advocates, and grass-roots organizers, and their unique experiences provide vision for new opportunities and ministries within the church. The program offers an opportunity for Mission Interns to serve half of their time abroad, and their remaining time in a placement site in their home country).

Project websites: or
Make an online donation to: Elizabeth Thiombiano #13105Z
Taken from the GBGM website.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Pay it Forward

When I was a child, my mother told me, “I hope you have a kid just like you when you grow up!” I always viewed that as a compliment since I was an angelic kid.

Ok, even I can’t type that without snickering.

While I wasn’t quite angelic per se, I was essentially a good kid. I stayed on the Honor Roll, was active in church and took dance lessons. Sure, I did the normal rebellion antics, which is what spurred my mother’s comment I’m sure.

Nevertheless, if there was one thing I was – it was giving. Each Sunday, I made sure I had at least a quarter to put into the offering plate. That may not sound like much, but when your allowance for the week was a dollar, 25-cents of that was a big deal. It was something that my father instilled in me. Always give back and be generous.

I’ve taken that instilled principle with me into adulthood. I’m still a very giving person – I’ll willing give away my only dollar if you need it because hey, there may come a time when I’m going to need your only dollar. Some may call that “Paying it Forward” but I like to think of it as giving to a friend when they need it. If I can provide or help out, I’m all for it.

When it came to Human Relations Day, one of the six churchwide Special Sundays, I took out the leaflet envelope from my church bulletin, dug into my purse and deposited some money – and gave each of my daughters a quarter to put in the offering plate. They may only be 5 and 1 years old, but I want to instill the essence of giving in them early.

Would you give someone your only dollar if they needed it?

Did your church celebrate Human Relations Day, which strengthens outreach to communities in the U.S. and Puerto Rico and encourages social justice and work with at-risk youth? Did you know that you can give online to Human Relations Day – or any of the Special Sundays – and still credit your local church with your gift? It’s true. You can donate at our e-give site at any time.

No matter the amount, your gifts to our Church truly make a difference in the lives of so many. It is my prayer that more people would pay it forward.

--Tracy Wood, Web Coordinator, Strategic Marketing & Research Team, United Methodist Communications. Full time web geek, part time comedian. :-)

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Do you have $2?

I spoke with this evening with the man who was my pastor during my childhood and teen years. He served one of those wonderful 18 year appointments at my home church on Long Island, NY. His name is Clayton Miller, or Pastor Miller, but we all called him “PM.” He watched me grow up, and though he’s retired now, we still talk on the phone about once a week.

One of our favorite stories to tell happened when I was in High School in the early 70s. I wore my hair long in the front, so it hung down over one eye. I noticed one day, though, that the eye that was covered all the time was getting “lazy” and I told PM about it. He said “Why don’t you let me cut your hair?” I trusted him, so I got in the chair and he cut my hair. He gave me a great haircut, no hair in my eyes, and when I went to school I got all kinds of compliments.

The next time I saw him, I thanked him. “This haircut has been so great, I can’t thank you enough. If I had a two million dollars I would give you a million.”

Without missing a beat, PM said to me, “Do you have two dollars?”

“Yeah” I answered.

“Then I’ll take one.”

He went on to use that story many times as an example of how we are often ready to give what we don’t have, but more hesitant to share what we do have. Since I’ve gone into the ministry, I’ve used this as an example as well. We all need to be reminded that God doesn’t expect from us something we don’t have. God does expect that we will be faithful with what we do have.

You may be wondering if my pastor really took the dollar from me. He certainly did. It was well worth it for the lesson I learned.

--Rev. Dr. Ken Sloane, Director, Communications Ministry, United Methodist Communications

Thursday, January 8, 2009

"You Don't Know Me"

In an effort to be more mellow and in touch with feelings, I was listening to The Best of Ray Charles and one song popped out at me. While I understand it’s supposed to be a love ballad, I couldn’t help but hear the lyrics, “you don’t know me,” and thinking, that’s right, I may not know you, but I want to help you.

This past Christmas, many times I put money in the bucket for the Salvation Army. I don’t know the recipients, but I still want to help.

I may never meet a World Communion Scholar. Sure, I could say, “I don’t know you” and therefore not give. However, my heart says even though you don’t know them, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give.It is my hope that in 2009, even though “you don’t know me,” you will still give to worthy causes that truly make a difference in people’s lives – such as the Special Sundays, The Advance, or Heifer International.