Sial Khup was jailed for preaching the gospel in his native Burma. His home was then raided and watched by the police, and his wife, Esther, was forced to flee the country with their children. After living in a refugee camp in Malaysia, Esther was able to immigrate to the United States. Five years later, Sial reunited with his family here in Georgia.
Last Saturday, Habitat for Humanity-North Central Georgia held a Dedication Ceremony for the Khup family’s new Habitat home on Arliss Drive in Canton, thus completing a long journey for the family-from jail, to refugee camp, to a rat-infested apartment, to a beautiful new house.
Habitat was able to build the home through an ecumenical collaboration of congregations and businesses which included:
Sial and Esther were overwhelmed at the support they received during the construction of their home. In accepting the keys to his new residence, Sial said: “We prayed to get a permanent home. ... God answered our praying through the body of God. ... When I saw all the different people that I don’t know building our new home, I thought why are they doing this. What can I do for them? The one thought that was clear to me was that you were showing God’s love by helping us. I heard this like God had told me this.”
PHOTO: Sial and Esther Khup and two of their three children are with Cheryl Mosley, Habitat Coordinator for Canton First United Methodist Church. Sial Khup is holding the keys to his new home that he has just received. (Habitat for Humanity, North Central Georgia)
In the town of College Park a group of United Methodist Churches have rallied together to provide better opportunities for their children and youth, including the chance to take a trip to the 2014 Annual Conference in 2014.
Rev. Robert Crawford of Redemption Community UMC brought his idea for the trip to the dependable Emma Dudley, a very active member at Laster’s Chapel UMC. She responded with a determined “let’s do it.”
With the help of Rori Blakeny, a representative of the Young Peoples Ministries of the General Board of Discipleship and member of East Point First Mallelieu UMC, a lunch of pizza was provided to the young Annual Conference visitors at Athens First UMC and free Rally Day t-shirts.
Many of College Park’s small UMCs struggle to organize events for young people do to their size. Filling a bus with kids from Laster’s Chapel UMC, Redemption UMC, Poplar Springs UMC, and St. Mark UMC of Fairburn opened a door for future collaborations.
“We tend to feel like we are not a part of the big church, but we are!” Rev. Crawford explains enthusiastically. “We have to make that happen.”
They have since made it happen by coming together in the College Park Auditorium for a day of food, music, and children sharing their talents and passions.
Dudley and her new connectional team continue to invent new ways to maintain their relationships and strengthen the district. The congregations hope to see familiar faces from Annual Conference at future events.
“They invited us to Annual Conference, so we want to invite them here,” says Dudley.
Leaders of Action Ministries have announced that, thanks to widespread community support, the nonprofit’s Smart Lunch, Smart Kid program that had hoped to serve 200,000 healthy lunches to Georgia’s children was instead able to exceed its goal and serve 219,515 lunches this summer.
More than 2,000 volunteers donated 23,000 volunteer hours with a market value of $477,710 to the community to make and serve the lunches to an estimated 24,390 individual children across the state.
Designed to help the thousands of Georgia children who are at risk of hunger, the Smart Lunch, Smart Kid program was created to assist the more than 800,000 students in Georgia who receive a free or reduced-price lunch during the school year but do not have access to this important meal when the school year ends. Through its Smart Lunch, Smart Kid program, Action Ministries was able to coordinate the work of local volunteers and organizations and lead them in their successful efforts to provide children with healthy meals and educational enrichment opportunities.
“We were only able to serve that many lunches because our 200 partnering organizations and volunteers of all ages and from all walks of life chose to be Life-Changers for Georgia’s kids. Because of them and their generosity, we were able to erase hunger in Georgia this summer,” said John R. Moeller, Jr., president and CEO of Action Ministries.
“Thanks to Smart Lunch, Smart Kid, thousands of children who are now back in school had the healthy meals they needed to help their minds grow during the summer and start the school year off right,” continued Moeller.
For more information about the 2015 program, contact Mark Hellman of Action Ministries at firstname.lastname@example.org or 770-905-9191 or Andrea Fowler, vice president for programs at email@example.com or 404-824-3019. For the most up-to-date information, visit www.Facebook.com/ActionMinistriesSmartLunchSmartKid.
Read Post #1: The Gnawing Stress of Hunger in Georgia
Read Post #2: Hunger Relief and The Human Touch Build Community
Read Post #3: Gas South, A Proud Partner of Action Ministries
Read Post #4: Volunteers Give of Themselves So No One Need Go Hungry
Read Post #5: Blessings and Promises of Hope Disguised as a Simple Sack Lunch
Read Post # 6: What About the Moms Who Can't?
Read Post #7: Why I’ll Never Look at a Bar of Soap the Same Way Again
Nov. 10-16 is Guest Blogger Week at ngumc.org. The Conference has invited leaders of Action Ministries Georgia to write about hunger issues and how NGUMC churches can and are making a difference! They'll be posting all week and you are invited to share the messages with your own church and community. Follow along on social media by using #ngumcHungerAction.
Guest blogger week coincides with a national TV ad campaign by ReThink Church. The ads highlight the United Methodist Church's ongoing efforts to "create a world free from hunger." Watch the ad at http://youtu.be/gMwznKKYpf8.
How is your church helping to alleviate hunger? Have you supported or volunteered with Action Ministries' Feed The Hungry or Smart Lunch, Smart Kid? Share in the comments section below.
The North Georgia Conference and the United Methodist Children's Home had a great time on September 8. The Conference website featured UMCH news and video on the homepage, pasted the UMCH logo over the Conference logo, and handed over the reigns of our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts for a day to give everyone in the North Georgia Conference a chance to learn about the amazing work of our United Methodist Children's Home.
Your church is invited to print, post, share or use any of the news, tweets, videos or photos we used on Takeover Day. Plus, access Amazing Grace offering material at http://www.umchildrenshome.org/share-grace-marketing-materials/.
Featured stories were:
For even more information about the children's home, visit http://www.umchildrenshome.org.