Hallelujah Moment from Panama:
What Difference Does a Volunteer Make?
by Rev. Rhett Thompson
"These kids can't sleep at night just thinking about what's going to happen the next day," one grandmother said when asked what the children thought about vacation Bible school. The only topic of conversation in the small community was about the big "fiesta" planned to celebrate the end of the week.
With the help of one of our Volunteers in Mission teams, we organized the first vacation Bible school ever held in the area. We were not sure what kind of response we would get. On the first day, 20 children and one mother showed up. The next day attendance doubled, and by the end of the week we had 90 children and 20 parents participating.
Another Volunteers in Mission team treated hundreds of people at our Community Center in Cieneguita, near the Ngobe-Bugle Indian Reservation, and also trained our first group of community-health promoters.
The promoters will encourage better health through the implementation of improved public sanitation and personal hygiene practices. They will also offer first aid and help communities access outside medical care if needed.
Yet another Volunteers in Mission team made great progress in the construction of Camp Cielito . The entire camp will be will be run according to "green" principles, including the recycling of all waste products.
I heard a speaker suggest that instead of asking children what they want to be when they grow up, we should ask them what difference they want to make—in their schools, their communities, and their own families. Maybe we should also ask, "What difference do we want to make?"
Ways to Support This Ministry
You can support the ministry of Rev. Thompson by sharing your gifts through The Advance:
# 09543Z – Rhett Thompson, Global Ministries Missionary
# 13288A – Children's Ministry, Outreach to children in poor and marginalized communities.
# 14969A – Comprehensive Community Health Project, Cieneguita-Ngobe-Bugle Reservation
To learn more about Rhett Thompson and other United Methodist missionaries, go to:
Date posted: Jun 13, 2008