The Storyteller Tells a Story of Faith…
On a small side street in Mechanicsburg sits a warehouse with a big job to do. Mission Central, the missional support warehouse of the Susquehanna Conference of the United Methodist Church, opened its doors in June of 2002. Its mission, as stated by its website, is “connecting God’s resources with human need”. Mission Central provides disaster relief services to people in need not only in our community, in Pennsylvania, or in the U.S.A., but all around the world! There are few paid personnel who work at the facility, but the work still gets done. Many volunteers, who its website identifies as “the hands and feet of God,” complete the tasks that keep the warehouse operational.
In 2006, Ann and Wayne Herr (MZ) were asked to coordinate a volunteer effort from the Barnitz and Mt. Zion churches to assist with the work at the warehouse. After thought and prayer, they graciously agreed. Accompanied by an average of 12-24 volunteers, the group travels to Mechanicsburg on the fourth Friday of most months. Ann says their work consists of “processing relief kits to be distributed around the world. We assemble kits such as layette kits, birthing kits, health kits, flood buckets, etc. It is a very rewarding ministry knowing that you are helping others in need all over the world.” If these kits were dusted for fingerprints, our churches would be touching people in places we most likely will never visit personally. We may be clothing a new baby in Africa, or helping a Mom give birth in Asia. We could be helping someone comb his hair or brush her teeth in a hospital in India, or helping to mop a floor that has been flooded by a hurricane in Haiti. The promise as stated in their website is when homes are destroyed, medical supplies, food and clothing are sent to the affected area. When people need to begin their lives anew after going through a difficult time, help is sent from Mission Central. To date, “over 1,086,585 lives have been touched” by Mission Central (missioncentral.org). We’ll never know exactly who or how many lives our churches touch, but every life is important. In the book of James, we are reminded, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress …” James 1:27a. God instructs us to reach out and take care of those less fortunate than us. The volunteers at Mission Central are doing their part to help take care of those in need.
The Mission Central website has a wealth of information about the mission and work of the warehouse. It tells us that the United Methodist Church “works with other denominations and non-denomination organizations” to accomplish their mission. However, it “operates within the principles of the (United Methodist) denomination”. Additional ministries, such as Bethesda Mission, Computer Ministry Inc., New Digs Ministry Inc. and Project Cure, have space in the Mission Central warehouse. In addition, the mission has satellite operations (or hubs) that supply goods and services to many different ministries. “God has not finished unfolding our story,” so stay tuned for more good things to come from this ministry. (Please check out the missioncentral.org website to read all about Mission Central and the work they do).
At some point in our lives, we all – not only orphans and widows – need some kind of help. It’s wonderful that an organization such as Mission Central is there to help with those needs. It’s even more wonderful that we have a group of dedicated volunteers who work to help meet those needs. Jesus tells us, “I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me …” Matthew 25:36a. In all probability, we will never meet any of the people helped by Mission Central, but they will know we care. When we give to those who cannot give back, we truly give unselfishly.