United Church of Christ

OGHS Mission Moments

Thank you for preparing to promote the One Great Hour of Sharing offering. It is our pleasure to share the enclosed resources with you. You can use them to promote the One Great Hour of Sharing offering. An electronic version is
available to make it easier for you to use these resources and adapt them as you see fit. All images and wording are yours to adapt or use. We pray the role we play in the wider world through the offering, as the United Church of Christ, will
inspire your generosity.

 

Downloadable Formatted Versions

 

Mission Moment Refugees - Bulletin Style

Mission Moment Refugees - 1 Sided

 

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Mission Moment Disasters - Bulletin Style

Mission Moment Disasters - 1 Sided

 

   


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Mission Moment Development - Bulletin Style

Mission Moment Development - 1 Sided


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Mission Moment 1 - Refugees

‘It’s better to help them’

 

 “Maybe I’ll go back to my country and die there.” That’s how Ajuwa felt after spending seven years in a refugee camp in Malawi.

Ajuwa and his wife, Imani, had fled their homes in Bukavu, Democratic Republic of the Congo to a refugee camp. After the Rwandan Genocide, conflict among rebel groups and various governments arose in eastern Congo. War broke out, and Ajuwa and Imani were no longer safe.

“Almost every day, people were killed. Usually, they would come at night. They come with guns to take things, kill people, and take people away.”

After seven years in a refugee camp, Ajuwa, Imani and their four children who were born in the camp were accepted into the resettlement program which allowed them to move to the U.S. Now, the family is adapting to their new life in Greensboro. The children are doing well in school, Ajuwa has a good job and obtained his driver’s license, and they’ve been able to buy a car to get the kids to school and for Ajuwa to get to work.

It took hard work, motivation, persistence, and learning English for them to get to this point.  (Ajuwa already speaks 5 languages, and now also wants to learn Spanish.)  

Ajuwa and Imani ask that all of us remember that there are refugees still suffering in camps, urging us to “be attentive to refugees…When you meet a refugee, it is better to help them.”

Ajuwa and family along with other refugees are supported through OGHS’ partnership with Church World Service.

Together we are making a difference in the lives of refugees

 


Mission Moment 2 - Disasters

Investing in Florida

Florida_Recovery.jpgRecovery is challenging enough for people with means, but hundreds—including people with fixed incomes, the ill, elderly, and disabled—simply lack the resources to rebuild on their own.

With generous contributions to One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS), the United Church of Christ with the help of volunteer work teams from around the country, who have given thousands of hours, have restored
close to 200 homes.

A 70-year-old disabled Navy veteran said, “Having a roof that was leaky and falling in was very difficult for me. I did not know what I would do.” His Volusia County, Florida, home lost most of the roof’s shingles to Hurricane Irma’s winds (2017). The storm opened the way to major leaks, which destroyed much of the ceiling in the main living area and
bedroom.

UCC Disaster Ministries partnered with Volusia Interfaiths/Agencies Networking in Disaster (VIND) to help the most vulnerable disaster survivors. VIND helped the veteran obtain a loan to pay for a new roof, and deployed a volunteer work team from Altoona (Pennsylvania) United Church of Christ to complete the interior repairs in his home.

“The volunteers … did it with such love and compassion, taking the job under their wings and making it perfect,” the veteran said. “My health was deteriorating due to breathing in particles and debris from the water damage in my home, but it is improving now. I have a new outlook and I am no longer depressed.” Thanking VIND and the volunteers, he said,
“You have changed my life.”

Needs are being met in Florida with support from OGHS. Volunteer work teams, a construction supervisor, and over two dozen UCC congregations have volunteered to help repair homes.

Not too far away from Volusia County, the Florida Panhandle is still trying to recover from a very powerful hurricane, Hurricane Michael (2016). UCC Disaster Ministries is working with Long Term RecoveryGroups (LTRG) in seven counties. In fall 2019, Betzi Yungclas, an experienced UCC Partners in Service volunteer, and Benji Benzschawel, a full-time construction manager, were deployed to the area. They will assist the LTRGs with building coordination and volunteer management for a year.

“While progress has been made in Florida over the last year in recovery, there are still significant unmet needs,” said Ken Skalitzky, UCC Disaster Recovery Specialist for the Eastern Region. “Please support disaster recovery with your work teams, donations and prayers,” Skalitzky said. 

“Our ability to support long-term recovery in Florida is but one example of our living the gospel of Christ.” It is also a chance to invest in the futures of communities.


 

Mission Moment 3 - DevelopmentNot_just_peanuts.jpg

Not Just Peanuts

In a community that’s far from any town, where only 22 families live, 3 sisters planned to change their community with peanuts. Sarthia, Piremeka, and Vishaathana explained that it had only rained in their community in India a few times over the last year. A lack of water had affected everyone.

The thought to improve their community began when Piremaka and her husband began dreaming of a better life for their two children. They heard about programs that provided small loans to people like them. The first loan they received, helped them open a little store.

The store—the only of its kind for miles—carried groceries and items that you would find in any corner store. They had bread, milk, oil, and even candy and sweets. However, the store didn’t provide Piremeka and her family the kind of life that would give their children better opportunities, and there certainly wasn’t enough of a profit to invest in their community. So Piremeka and her sisters came up with a different plan. They got loans to grow peanuts.

As peanut farmers, they were very wise. They held on to their peanuts for just the right time to take them to market. They would then sell and receive the best price for their harvest. They learned that if they would plant peanuts for 2 or 3 harvests and then allow the land to rest, that they would reap a bigger harvest while also protecting their farmland investment and peanut business. 

The sisters and their families used peanut farming to raise enough money to ultimately build wells on their property. Where they lived, their gardens, animals, and livelihoods were all affected by a water shortage.

By building three wells in their small community, they would change the flow of the water, bringing water into the community where all could benefit. 

To you and me, these may look like ordinary peanuts. But to the people in Piremeka’s village, the peanuts were an investment in their futures.

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