February 27, 2010
Dear Mission-Minded Friends of Holston Conference:
With disbelief, I – along with all of you – awoke to the news this morning of yet another devastating earthquake in our part of the world. As the pictures from Chile emerge, we are again called to understand the depth of suffering caused in that country by the fifth most powerful earthquake ever recorded.
I've watched with pride as you have responded in such a magnificent way to the people of Haiti following their disastrous earthquake just last month. You so far have given almost $700,000 and more than 20,000 health kits to help Haiti. You, good people of Holston, showed again that you always respond in a faithful manner when needs arise. I thank God for you and your generosity each day.
Now, I am asking you to respond again. This request, coming so soon after the earthquake in Haiti, will require each of us to dig deeply into our pockets, to give sacrificially to assist the people of Chile. UMCOR is already at work in Chile, even today preparing the United Methodist response. UMCOR will work closely with the Methodist Church of Chile by helping local communities rebuild through shelter and infrastructure reconstruction, water and sanitation, income generation, health and nutrition, education, and community development. We will go to Chile as soon as conditions allow our presence, and we United Methodists will be there long, long after other relief organizations have departed. On that you can depend.
Please make your donations to The Advance #3021178 and mark your checks for Chile Earthquake Relief. As Holston learns of other UMCOR needs, we will make you aware. More kits may be needed, but we will wait for instructions from UMCOR.
You also have an opportunity to participate in the One Great Hour of Sharing offering in each United Methodist congregation on Sunday, March 14. This offering supports the administration of UMCOR – which receives no money from General Church apportionments – so that 100 percent of other donations to UMCOR will go directly to the specified disaster relief effort. The theme for this year's One Great Hour of Sharing offering is, “If you love me, feed my sheep.”
During this season of Lent, we are reminded daily of the ultimate sacrifice made on our behalf by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Let us show our gratitude for all that God has done for us through our sacrificial giving on behalf of the people of Chile.
Thank you for your unparalleled generosity and for showing your love by feeding God’s sheep.
Grace and peace,
JAMES E. SWANSON, SR.