|Missiles of Mercy:
One Great Hour of Sharing
By Martha Chamberlain
Lets face it. Our earth, our world family totters on the crumbling edge of survival.
Its easy to pack a box with recommended emergency supplies just in case. Then we read that the United States can drop 3,000 bombs in 48 hours. How does anyone, anywhere, prepare for and recover from such a catastrophe? Whats the use? What can we do?
Take heart. Each day, One Great Hour of Sharing alleviates suffering in Iraq and around the world including our Holston Conference. Essential as water, vital as air, this extraordinary hour of sharing on March 30 puts feet to your prayers in three ways.
First, One Great Hour of Sharing sustains the work of the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) in natural and perpetrated disasters. While less than 10 percent of UMCORs budget supports administrative expense, One Great Hour fills in the gap as needed.
Next, One Great Hour ensures immediate, on-site emergency response through UMCOR. But extraordinary losses since Sept. 11, 2001, and recent destruction by natural calamities have drained both financial and material reserves. Even the UMCOR Depot in Louisiana sees 30-foot shelves nearly depleted of kits and supplies. Requests for flood buckets increased from 200 to 7,900 in two years.
Finally, when emergencies end and recovery begins, people forget. When funds dwindle, One Great Hour underwrites more than 200 Advance Special projects. One hundred percent of Advance Special offerings go directly to the mission you designate, from sustainable agriculture to job training for women, from resettlement of refuges to maternal/child welfare. For example, in Zimbabwe one in four persons over the age of 15 has HIV/AIDS, resulting in 500,000 orphans whose plight mandates ongoing support. You will be there through One Great Hour of Sharing funds.
In 2001 Holston members gave more than $39,000 to One Great Hour, increasing in 2002 to more than $47,000. Thats good. But how about shocking our world with the generosity of our giving to One Great Hour on March 30? How about letting our checkbooks do the talking? How about living out the theme for this One Great Hour offering: SERVE ONE ANOTHER?
Love each other as if your life depended on it
Be quick to give a meal to the hungry, a bed to the homeless
Be generous with the different things God gave you, passing them around so all get in on it
(I Peter: 4:10, The Message)
In Haiti where your dollars work as change-agents, many children eat only half of their once-daily meals at school so they can share later with a younger sibling. A truism they understand well conjures up simple, but vivid imagery:
Sak vid pa kanpe. The empty sack cant stand up!
Lets pour missiles of mercy through One Great Hour of Sharing to love our brothers and sisters and children, to help fill their empty sacks, as if our earth, our life depends on it.
Martha Chamberlain is a writer and advocate for One Great Hour of Sharing. Her husband is Bishop Ray Chamberlain.
For more information on One Great Hour of Sharing, click here.
To give to One Great Hour of Sharing, make checks out to your local church or Holston Conference, designating it for OGHS. Drop the check in your churchs offering plate or send to: Holston Conference, P.O. Box 2506, Johnson City, TN 37605.