United Methodist Church
The Roanoke District of The United Methodist Church's Virginia Conference encompasses portions of Bedford, Botetourt, Craig, Floyd, Franklin, Giles, Montgomery and Roanoke Counties; and the cities of Roanoke and Salem. For more information visit www.RoanokeUMC.org
Mission Initiative 2019
In 2018, a group from Raleigh Court United Methodist Church, in Roanoke, Virginia, sent a mission team to San Juan, Puerto Rico. The team installed walls and ceilings for a sweet man named 'Dennis.' Hurricane Maria took away everything from Mr. Dennis, but was not able to take away his bright smile. On the final day, Mr. Dennis came with his radiant smile and thanked us by saying, 'Lindo! Lindo!' which means beautiful in Spanish.
Puerto Rico is still recovering from the deadly hurricane that hit the island almost two years ago. When another hurricane hits this vulnerable community, it will truly devastate not only the infrastructure but also the lives of the people. When the Raleigh Court mission team returned to Virginia, they came back with a prayer asking ‘how can we keep helping our sisters and brothers in PR?'
The team remembered the story of their translator, Gregory. He shared how he did not have power for 84 days. Even though he had a generator, he had to wait in line for 10 hours, to fill a container of gasoline. The team saw the need of the people and wanted to present a way to offer an idea for sustainable energy. One of the church members installed a solar panel system that can power the basic appliances; refrigerator, fan, and TV. Regardless of the effort to share that important information, Gregory said that it will be hard to make it happen, because of the cost and limited supply.
When the Raleigh Court team heard Gregory's concern, they thought the Roanoke District of United Methodist Churches might be able to find a solution, as a connectional church. The mission team decided to bring it to the District Common Table and ask if they could present it as a District Mission Initiative to raise money for the solar panel system.
The Roanoke District UMC Common Table decided to adopt The Puerto Rico Solar Panel Project as the Mission Initiative for 2019. We will work to assist families devastated by Hurricane Maria in Vieques, an island off of the coast of Puerto Rico where 9,000 are still without access to power. The solar panel emergency power systems offer a clean, renewable energy source without the need for expensive generators.
Our Roanoke District goals are:
to raise funds to purchase the equipment - 50 units at $1,000 per unit (one unit per family) - $50,000
to purchase the equipment on the mainland and coordinate with UMCOR to send it to PR.
to send a team/or teams to help to install the units for the families.
Our challenge is to raise $50,000, enough to provide 400-watt Solar Panel Kits for 50 homes in Vieques, Puerto Rico.
This fundraiser is starting during the seasons of Lent and Easter to Pentecost. Easter is not just one day, but rather a 50-day period. The Great Fifty Days, or Eastertide, begins at sunset on the eve of Easter and ends on Pentecost, the day we celebrate the gift of the Holy Spirit and the birth of the Church. As we enter into a time of darkness and death, holding onto the hope of resurrection, to Pentecost, we pray that we will be able to share the light to our sisters and brothers in Puerto Rico.
Iglesia Metodista Puerto Rico
Roanoke District will partner with Iglesia Methodista of Puerto Rico. Iglesia Methodista de Puerto Rico operate REHACE (meaning Rebuild), a community outreach program, which uses the network of churches to provide a comprehensive plan to rebuild each community.
Through this partnership, IMPR will cover 25% of the cost and coordinate the distribution of the solar panels to the people.