Kansas West UMM hosts inaugural MITour


By George Houle, special contributor
The first ever Mission Impact Tour (MIT) sponsored by the Kansas West Conference United Methodist Men was a huge success! The UMM initiated MIT as a bridge to the future. The tour showed young men not only the blessings of serving others in ministry but also how we are connected through the ministry of men in the local churches.

Twenty-two men participated in the first MITour hosted by the Kansas West Conference UMM. (photo by Brian Hopper)
The tour began July 17 as 17 young men, ages 14 to 20, and five older gentlemen acting as sponsors gathered at Calvary United Methodist Church in Wichita. The men of Calvary served them dinner Sunday night and breakfast Monday morning before sending them on their way. The group was from all over the conference: Johnson City, Norton, Scandia, Courtland, Beloit, Downs, Little River, Bel Aire, Mulvane and Wichita.

On the first stop, they were hosted by the men of Christ UMC in Fairview Heights, Ill., who also helped coordinate their second stop on the tour at Little Grassy United Methodist Camp in southern Illinois. The last stop was hosted by the men at Calvary UMC in Nashville, Tenn.

In St. Louis, the tour group ate lunch with the homeless at The Bridge, a ministry to provide sanctuary, meals and support services to the homeless. They talked with them and even played chess with them. After lunch, the tour group cleaned up and prepped dinner. That evening, they took in a Cardinals baseball game.

At Little Grassy Camp, the group cleaned up around some cabins, fixed some fencing to keep rabbits out of the garden, filled in a 200-yard-long trench, attempted to clean out a culvert and split more than two cords of wood.

In Nashville, the tour joined with more than 2,000 men from around the country for the 11th National Gathering of United Methodist Men. Rev. Shane Bishop from Christ UMC, Don Davis, formerly of the New England Patriots, and Bishop James Swanson delivered God’s message. Throughout the week before the gathering, the sponsors led devotions based on various scriptures. Several youth and sponsors said they were amazed at God’s workings when two of the three messages at the gathering were based on the same scriptures used during the devotions.

“This was an amazing group of young men,” said Ken Hole. “As the trip manager, I received comments everywhere we went on how impressed people were with them. The directors of both The Bridge and Little Grassy Camp asked when we were coming back. The Holy Spirit was definitely present on this trip, and the sponsors feel truly blessed to have been associated with such a tremendous group of young men.”

Kansas West UMM is already planning next year’s MITour. We need adults who have an interest in helping youth see the future of ministry into full adulthood. We need men who will take a week to travel with the tour as sponsors. We need local churches that will identify and financially sponsor young men. Your church does not have to have an active men’s group. We believe that men’s ministry exists wherever men are actively involved in the ministry of the local church. We also welcome mothers and UMW members who want to help a young man share this experience. For more information, contact George Houle at ummwbb11@att.net.

George Houle is a member of Wichita Calvary UMC.

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