METour offers life-changing experiences

8/19/2013

By Jalynn Nolte, special contributor
When you mix 31 teen-age girls, six sponsors, a great bus driver and the backing of the United Methodist Women, you get the 2013 Mission Education Tour (METour). The 2013 METour was May 31-June 9.

The 2013 METour visits the Kansas West Conference office. (photo by Susan Cooper)
One of the first stops was Omaha, Neb., and framed the whole trip by emphasizing dealing with justice and poverty. Lisa Maupin and Rev. Stephanie Ahlschwede from United Methodist Ministries encouraged the girls to look at the reasoning behind helping someone — is it because it makes them feel good or is it because it is the right thing to do?

The girls quickly found out that many times what needs to be done at the different agencies they visited on the tour is something that they don’t particularly care to do but realized that it needed to be done. An example is gardening. This is probably the least of what the girls wanted to do. However, often times, the group found out that the people working at the various agencies don’t have time to pull the weeds or sweep the sidewalk or have the money to buy and the human resources to plant flowers.

The girls worked with children and cooked in Des Moines, Iowa, at the Children and Family Urban Ministries (CFUM) as well as cleaned the building. The girls also planted flowers that were purchased for an ingathering at Marcy-Newberry Association in Chicago.

In St. Louis, the girls helped sort food and pack lunches for the homeless and pulled weeds at the Centenary United Methodist Church and the Bridge, where 3,000 meals are served weekly for the homeless and at-risk people of St. Louis.

In Olathe, where 25 percent of the children eat reduced-price or free lunches, the girls cleaned a gym where the boys club and the girls club will be meeting.

Everywhere the group went, they were met with excitement and smiles knowing that either work will be done or that the girls will learn what is special about their agency’s outreach, so the word could be spread about what they do and what are their needs.

METour is divided into “families,” and each family has a responsibility that changes daily. One day, a family might be in charge of worship. The next day, it might be loading and unloading the bus. The other duties include clean-up and cooking. They had long days and short nights.

However, not the entire trip was work. The girls spent a day in Chicago at Millennium Park and went to the Navy Pier for eating and shopping. On the last evening, the METour people went swimming in Olathe.

One of the purposes of METour is to inform young women of the mission and outreach of The United Methodist Church.

“It meant making lifelong friends, truly worshipping Christ and experiencing life outside of my home,” Morgan Price of Ulysses said of her experience.

The girls saw how United Methodist Women has influenced mission in the world and has served God.

METour trips are life-changing experiences. Without the help of United Methodist Women, this trip would not be possible.

Local church UMW units are encouraged to invite a METour participant to talk about their experience on the METour. Contact Jalynn Nolte at jnolte@usd489.com for suggestions on who could share with your unit.

Jalynn Nolte is the wife of Hays First UMC pastor, Rev. Jerre Nolte.


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