By Rev. Garth Duke-Barton, Conference Secretary for Global Ministries
Many United Methodists have heard of UMCOR. The United Methodist Committee on Relief does great work in places most of us have never been and maybe have never heard of, either. They respond after natural disasters like floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, and mudslides. They are working all over the world in places like Haiti and New Orleans, helping to feed and rebuild.
What many may not know is that UMCOR also responds to man-made disasters and goes to places ravaged by conflict and war. One such place is Yemen. The first time I can remember hearing the word Yemen was on the show “Friends.” It sounded like a nice place. It may have been then, but it isn’t now.
Yemen is in the midst of a civil war. There are as many as 4 million women and children who are fleeing from the ravages of war. They are hungry, thirsty, tired, scared, and wondering if the war will reach them yet again. In the midst of this moment there is hope.
UMCOR has partnered with the Blue Crescent, another non-governmental agency that works in the Middle East, to deliver food, medical supplies, and hope. We might not think much of the food box. It has simple items like flour, sugar, oil, rice, and cans of beans, but to a starving population it means everything. To a young boy of 10 who has not had beans perhaps three years, beans are a luxury he can only dream of having.
When we give to UMCOR in our apportionments it frees up every donation they receive thereafter to use for disaster relief, both natural and human caused. Learn more about this story by reading this article
Rev. Garth Duke-Barton, pastor of Epworth United Methodist Church in Jesup, also serves as Conference Secretary for Global Ministries.