STEPPING OUT IN FAITH
Mission takes place when you step out in faith! Assistant Pastor/Hispanic Ministry Nena Bonilla and her husband Junior Velasquez will be speaking/teaching at the III Wayúu Missionary Conference in La Guajira, Colombia, South America from June 20-23, 2019. This Conference is for Pastors, Leaders, Children, Youth and Women who will be traveling long distances to participate from both Colombia and Venezuela.
God has been moving peoples’ hearts to partner with Nena and Junior and in mid-June approximately $5,000 had been raised through the generosity of First Baptist Church of Indiantown, individuals from outside our church and the generous support of our First United Methodist church family. The funds will cover the costs of 200 Wayúu attendees, the purchase of a generator for a Wayuu church in Venezuela, and some much needed bicycles for Wayúu Pastors. All donated monies go directly to the needs of the mission and Conference.
Wayúu women traveling on the back of donkeys search for water. Every day, women who live in remote parts of the desert need to travel long hours in order to obtain drinking water. The women are the cultural leaders and pillars of the Wayúu community, while men take care of social relations with other clans.
Called Piichi or Miichi, Wayúu houses are usually gathered in groups of five or six, the Rancherías. The fairly small houses are divided into two parts: a place to eat and cook, and a place to sleep. Wayúus sleep in colorful handmade hammocks called Chinchorros.
Getting to Know the Wayúu Tribe
Located deep in the La Guajiro desert, close to the Colombian and Venezuelan border, is a traditional, historical, indigenous community who are known as the people of the sun, sand and wind – the Wayúu tribe. Arriving in La Guajira from the Amazon rainforest and Antilles in 150A.D. to escape the hostile environments and find a new home, the Wayúu people have battled – the Spanish, the Government and, currently, mother nature – to keep their traditions alive.
The Wayúu tribe occupy 4,170 square miles within the desert covering a large area in both Colombia and Venezuela. In 1997 there were around 144,000 individuals from the tribe residing in the Colombian region, and in 2001 there were 294,000 located in the
Venezuelan region. The Wayúu tribe has a number of ancient traditions and rituals they keep alive, living in small, isolated communities, of which there are around 10 in the La Guajira department of Colombia and Venezuela. In the past, living in these small communities was to prevent the mixing of goats, cows and crops. They live predominately in huts called rancherías made from cactus or palm-leaf-thatched roofs, yotojoro (mud, hay or dried cane) walls with basic furniture which includes hammocks for sleeping and a small fire pit for cooking.
Each community has a communal area called a luma or enramada, which is usually an open area with pillars to hold up a flat, thatched roof. These areas are used for social gatherings, events, visitors and business meetings. The Wayúu tribe is unique in the fact that the women of the household own the houses and run the families, while the fathers work with the animals and land. Each community has an informal leader who makes the decisions; usually these leaders are well connected individuals who are direct descendants of previous leaders. Often these individuals know both Spanish and the Wayúu’s language, Wayúunaiki (part of the Maipuran or Arawakan language). Their culture combines legends, myths, stories, traditions and customs.
This tribe has inhabited the harsh environments of the La Guajira desert for centuries, living with the land and passing on traditions for generations. They have survived many battles with a number of groups, and fought off many Spanish invasions throughout the 18th century. In 1718, Governor Soto de Herrera said the Wayúu tribe were, “Barbarians, horse thieves, worthy of death, without God, law or a king.” The tribe strengthened due to its gain in knowledge from Dutch and British invaders who taught them to fight, use firearms, and ride horses. The Spanish captured a small number of the tribe and forced them to help build the walled city of Cartagena to protect it from invasion.
During the Independence battle of Colombia and Venezuela, the Wayúu tribe fought for their right to stay in the department. Due to its desert and harsh environment, they won.
The Wayúu tribe is now free from the borders of Colombia and Venezuela, occupying their own little peninsula on the Caribbean sea.
The Wayúu people have faced discrimination and exclusion from both the Colombian and Venezuelan governments, each taking away their rights, and raw materials from their land. In turn, each community has their own government and is free from both Colombia’s and Venezuela’s laws.
In the past, the communities have survived on farming, creating crafts and, in the coastal communities, pearl diving for aquaculture.
Commercialization has threatened their pearl diving, and the selling and creation of fraudulent pearls is threatening their wealth.
Global warming, El Niño and climate change have affected the tribe’s ability to create sustainable farming, with droughts threatening crops and animals dying of dehydration as a result. The tribe is having to buy more to cover their basic needs, which currently outweigh their means. The tribe heavily relied on the subsidized groceries by the Venezuelan government to survive and buy rice, sugar and coffee. But due to recent events this has become impossible, causing malnutrition throughout communities who don’t have the means to buy
products from Colombia.
On Mission Together Weekend
Our mission team is making plans for travel to Cuba in November. We are collecting the following requested items for our sister church in Cabezo to benefit the children: Powdered milk, dry soup mix, noodles, rice, condiments & non-perishables. A container is available in the church office. For more information contact Sandra McClure at (772) 336-0307.
Haiti Mission Update
Since the first exploratory mission trip to Haiti in 2008, Gary Stannis has had a heart to help. The Christian Alliance Church in Limonade, Haiti was only 4 walls with no hope of completion at that point of time and the Christian Alliance School was not in existence. The first Mission Team went to Haiti in 2009 and from that point of time the mission has grown. This includes helping to complete the building of a church and start a Christian school. The Christian Alliance School initially had 25 students – today 300 students attend the school with more to come as the recent completion of the second floor on the school building. A 7th grade class was recently added and the school provides education now from pre-school through the 7th grade.
Classroom, clinic and library are envisioned for that new addition. Pastor Bazile was instrumental in getting the work completed as the Mission Team had to return home early due to the violent civil situation in Haiti on their recent February trip. The next mission trip is expected to happen in the fall or winter of 2019 if the civil situation in Haiti has quieted.
Currently individual members from our church sponsor 120 children out of the 300 students in attendance at the school. At this time approximately $3,000 a month helps to provide minimal teacher’s salaries, food, administrative costs, health checks for the children, etc. but as in any ministry more help is always needed. Prayerfully consider sponsoring one of God’s kids!
If you are interested in participating in the next mission trip to Haiti or wish to sponsor a child please contact Gary Stannis at (772) 971-0241 or Deborah Galtere at (561) 267-3350.
The wheels on the bus go round and round….and carried an enthusiastic group of FUMC members to the Florida United Methodist Children’s Home in Enterprise, FL for their annual Day On Campus which was held on Saturday, March 16th. A total of 32 members traveled by bus, car or van to support this great event. The Children’s Home was established as an orphanage in 1908 by Florida Methodists. By the 1950’s it changed it’s emphasis to care for abused, abandoned, neglected or desperate children. Boys and girls are accepted without respect to race, creed or national origin. The staff at the school are competent and dedicated professionals who share responsibility for caring for the children 24/7. This beautiful 100 acre Enterprise campus is located on Lake Monroe, 30 miles north of Orlando and future trips are being planned to provide opportunities for our church members to get to know this wonderful mission that is more than a 5th Sunday Offering reminder.
Missio Dei – God’s Work
Every week our church bulletin features the Vision & Mission of the First United Methodist Church.
“Shining the Light of God’s Love”
through Inspiring Worship-Personal Growth-Intentional Outreach
But as you have noticed in the picture above – there appears to be a piece missing – is it you? God calls each of us to worship Him, grow in Him, and reach out to our community and the world in His name!
I wish to invite the whole church to look upon 2019 as the year of:
In discussion with Pastor Brian and Assistant Pastor Rad, there are four areas of specific mission concentration for the Mission Team this year: The Florida United Methodist Children’s Home – Northport School – Methodists United in Prayer (formerly Cuba/Florida Covenant) – Haiti Mission (Christian Alliance School). This does not diminish the many other ministries in our church outreaches; but to narrow the focus of mission
concentration to ensure we are meeting our ministry obligations to these partnerships.
There are many opportunities and possibilities to help the Missions Team – pray, attend a retreat that is being planned, become a member of the Missions Team , serve on one of our
subcommittees, provide items or funds for planned outreaches, brainstorm, make phone calls, write letters of encouragement, etc. These are just a few of the ways you can help in doing God’s Work with Our Hands!
Contact Deborah Galtere, Missions Team Leader: email firstname.lastname@example.org
Haiti Mission Trip