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Being Flexible in Costa Rica

Editor’s Note: This week 30 high school students and six leaders traveled to Alajuela, Costa Rica to help with construction projects, work with children at a Vacation Bible School program and help meet the needs of the local, under-resourced community. The following is a blog post from one of the students, Tabitha Tufano. I was invited to come on this trip by my friend, Casey. This is my first mission trip, and so far it has been wonderful. The first thing that caught my attention after we arrived was that although we are ... Read More »

Consume-aholic

It all started with HGTV. The new show that caught my attention was “Tiny House Hunters,” and let me tell you—I was hooked. “I could totally live like this,” I thought with moral superiority. As the week went on, HGTV soon led me down a rabbit hole of other home improvement and house-hunting shows. One night, I tuned in to a marathon, and I started to feel as though every couple was conspiring to say the exact same thing: open concept, hardwood floors, stainless steel appliances, more room, updated bathroom. ... Read More »

Haiti Mission Trip 2016

The Floris UMC Haiti Mission Team Seven (consisting of co-leaders Karen Berlin and Dave Redding, along with Tracy Saunders, Mary Chamberlain, Jen Williams, Jon and Karen Connell, Patti Schule, Bill Meade, Maddie Sobol and Kate Hoing) returned in March of 2016 from an amazing trip abroad. This group consisted of seven members who have been to Haiti before and four new adventurers. Traveling early on March 11, they spent a week in Hermitage, a tiny village in southwestern Haiti. The Hermitage Project commenced over 10 years ago on land purchased ... Read More »

Agree to Disagree

Unless you’ve been living under a rock or in the branches of a tree, you’ve probably noticed that our country is in the process of trying to elect our next president. On TV, in magazines and at the water cooler at work you can hear discussions about both the Republican and Democratic candidates. You also probably have noticed a lot of disagreements, anger and even signs of ignorance or insecurity. Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu once wrote, “We are not expected at all times to be unanimous or to have a ... Read More »

A World Without Color

Have you ever had a conversation with someone about which of your five senses would be the most difficult to lose? I know many who say that the sense of sound—conversations, music, alarms—would be difficult for them to lose, but for me it would definitely be the sense of vision. Scientifically speaking, eyes have cones, which are what help us identify different colors. Humans have three cones usually. Those who are colorblind have only two cones and cannot see all the colors most of us can see. But did you ... Read More »

Spending Ourselves

For the past two years, I have volunteered at the Floris Guest House with many other members of my church family. The Floris Guest House is special to me personally because it is an overlap of two important parts of my life. The guests we serve at the Floris Guest House during the evening hours are often the same guests we serve at The Lamb Center during the day. The Lamb Center, where I have been volunteering since 2008, is a local day shelter for homeless and poor individuals located ... Read More »

Why Guest House?

Recently I shared how one of our ministries, the Floris Guest House, came to be. Earlier this year we finished our third Guest House, where we hosted 40 or so individuals at our church for a week as a part of a greater ecumenical coalition (group of churches) that hosts the homeless from December to the end of March in partnership with FACETS, a local social service agency. This year, 239 volunteers gave over 1,400 hours to serve our neighbors. In addition to a warm place to sleep, volunteers provided ... Read More »

The Story of the Guest House

The Floris Guest House is a week-long hypothermia shelter held at Floris UMC in partnership with other faith communities and social service agencies. Considering we just finished our third year of the Guest House, I thought it would be nice to share how the program started. From January 24-31, we hosted approximately 40 guests with the help of 239 volunteers and 1,400 hours of service. I worked with a team of 20 people to plan this year’s program. While we took a lot of time to plan a great week, ... Read More »

A Discussion on Race

Admission is the first step. This is what you will read in any self-help book. Diagnose the problem, and bingo, you have the solution. How is it that, while easy and true, it is so hard to do? The current sermon series at our church is entitled “Race Matters.” Yes, we are having that discussion. We are quite diverse as far as churches go so part of me wonders why we even need the conversation. Well if admission is the first step than I admit discussions about race, white privilege, ... Read More »

All One Family

Last November I was in the Istanbul Ataturk Airport with a group of travelers on our way to Izmir, Turkey. We had been flying all night and were hurrying through the airport to catch our next flight. I was tired, hungry and slightly anxious about making the connection. Due to a number of factors we had a very small window to make our way through security, the visa checkpoint and the maze of the Istanbul airport. One of our group members required a wheelchair, and I attached myself to her ... Read More »

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