Working together – Summer Issue 2009

Did you know that you gave away ten new homes to families living in displacement camps who were affected by the tsunami?

Well you did.

Just after the tsunami hit in 2005, Free Methodist churches and individuals from across Canada – moved by the devastating loss of life and property – donated over $220,000 to the tsunami disaster relief fund. In the event that you are reading quickly (as I often do) and because it bears repeating, I’m going to type this in again … Free Methodist Churches in Canada along with some individual donors raised over $220,000. It was an unprecedented and collaborative response to an overwhelming need.

And so, as I sit at my desk and review all the video footage and image stills from the Sri Lankan trip earlier this year (February 2009), I can’t help but smile. Dan Sheffield, accompanied by Pastor Sritharan Jeyarajah (better known to us as “Pastor Jey”) and Darryl Dozlaw took part in dedication services to transfer the deeds of ownership of these properties from our hands to their excited new owners. (See Darryl Dozlaw’s article, page 4.)

As I look at all the pictures and see all the smiling faces – both our representatives in Sri Lanka and the families – I catch a glimpse of the palpable feeling of excitement that day. Can you imagine what it must have been like to be handed keys and a deed to a house with no strings attached after spending almost four years in a displacement camp? I wish I could have been there to witness it . . . I wish we all could have been there! Because we all own this – we did it together.

There are families in the small village of Theraimadu, Batticaloa whose lives have been transformed because we partnered together – as a group we accomplished far more than all of us could possibly manage as separate individuals. It has all been very exciting to be a part of.

But I think the most exciting part of this for me has been the realization that when we work together really great things can take place. This has been a strong affirmation of our core values as a denomination

The instrinsic worth of persons … everywhere – we responded to the needs of Sri Lankans who live 12,500 kilometres away from us.

The importance of teamwork and the strength we have in local and global connection – as an example, the formation of a Free Methodist church on the building project site and a stronger partnership with the newly established Sri Lanka Mission District, which is overseen by our Canadian Conference.

The value of learning and listening – a lot of work took place before the construction actually started. We learned much about how to proceed by talking to local builders.

Our call to build community (church) – this has been more than a building project: this is about a growing relationship that we are now a part of.

The integrity displayed in determining the best course of action for the funds that were raised and the personal growth that we have experienced as we have walked through this project together.

Last, but certainly not least – generosity, the desire to share our resources with those in need.

It makes me wonder what else we are capable of if we work together?

Lisa Howden
Managing Editor