By Jim Robison-Cox, Bozeman volunteer

The photo above is the Browning crew that organized the response on the Blackfeet Reservation. Thanks to all who so quickly contributed to the collection of food and supplies for the recent emergency on the Blackfeet Reservation. Pastor Calvin Hill of  the Blackfeet United Methodist Parish (BUMP), which serves Browning, Babb, Heart Butte, along with his wife Sheri, and the entire Blackfeet Reservation, worked tirelessly to coordinate distribution of food and firewood to the people affected by heavy snow and drifting that closed off large parts of the reservation in February. As the Hills identified needs, they communicated them to Pastor Dawn Skerrit, pastor of Columbia Falls United Methodist Church and the Yellowstone Conference disaster response coordinator, who assembled and coordinated teams of volunteers to help. Click here to read a summary of the response written by Columbia Falls United Methodist volunteers.

The quick response through churches and from the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) made a big difference to the Blackfeet Nation. The UMC organization of volunteers and contributions helped people respond effectively and efficiently to the crisis.  The immediate danger has lessened, and food collection has stopped, but we will continue with recovery efforts as needed, and are praying that the record snowfalls do not cause widespread flooding.


Start Collecting UMCOR Kits for Annual Conference

The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) has pared down the kits it collects.  There are 3 kits: cleaning kits (cleaning buckets), hygiene kit (health kits), and school kits.  Kits help sustain everyday life for people who lack ready access to essential supplies when a disaster strikes. International distribution of relief supplies have been discontinued as of December 31, 2017. Relief grants will be offered to international partners to allow for local purchase and assembly of kits which are more culturally appropriate.
This year Yellowstone Conference will collect ANY one of the 3 kits – cleaning, hygiene or school at Annual Conference.  Each church can decide whether to collect all the items needed for a kit, or to focus on two or three items. The kit supplies will be sorted and assembled during the immersion day at Annual Conference. 
If your pastor or lay person attending conference in Ogden is going to ride one of the buses that have been chartered, there will be room on the bus for the supplies.

Click on this link to get the list of items that go in each kit.  Please remember:

  • All items must be new.
  • Do not wash any of the items as they will then be considered used.
  • UMCOR will purchase toothpaste in bulk. Collect any money towards toothpaste and put in a separate envelope.
  • All emergency kits are carefully planned to make them usable in the greatest number of situations.
  • Do not include any personal notes, money, or additional material in the kits. These things must be painstakingly removed and will delay the shipment. 

If you have any questions, contact Sally McConnell


Big Fork United Methodists Launch New Ministry for Community Youth

Big Fork Community United Methodist Church is trying something new!  March 1 they began opening the church to community youth right after school which will include a meal.  They're even offering 'take-out' for those that must hurry to another activity.  "All responses have been enthusiastic and it is hard to see the limit of the potential for good for this new ministry springing up in our midst!" says Kelly Addy, pastor.  The church has enlisted community organizations to help support the program. They've got an area for homework as well as games like foos ball and a pool table. 


Mittens for the Homeless

Darlene Newstrom is a member of Shiloh United Methodist Church in Billings who wanted to pick up a meaningful hobby. "I sew as a hobby," Newstrom said. "I didn't have this project at all until I was praying for a project in December and nothing was coming to me except making mittens, which I discounted because I had never made a pair of mittens."
After finding her calling to make mittens, she decided to find out if the community needed this winter accessory. The HUB was the first place to look. The HUB is a drop-in center in Billings serving both the homeless and those at-risk of becoming homeless by acting as a resource site for individuals in the community. "I said to them: if you don't need them, just tell me. But they said they could use 110 mittens," Newstrom said. "They told me that one weekend they sent four people to the ER with frost-bitten hands."
The mitten-making enthusiast has delivered an overall total of 150 mittens so far and said she still has work to do. From KULR tv

Corvallis United Methodists Find Ways to Serve

By Rich Johnson

Corvallis United Methodist Church conducted several mission outreach activities during the holiday season. The congregation filled shoe boxes which were sent on to support the Samaritan’s Purse Christmas Shoe Box project. With the help of special donations and a grant from Town Pump they provided turkeys at Thanksgiving to each of the13 resident families in the transitional housing at SAFE (Supporters of Abuse Free Environment) in Hamilton, Montana. This was followed by hams and food boxes at Christmastime. The remaining funds will be contributed to Haven House and the Community Meals project.



Yellowstone Conference Churches Provide Funds for Farm Equipment in Angola

In the spring of 2016, Rev. Andre Cassule from Angola visited Yellowstone Conference, sharing about the work of the East Angola Conference of the United Methodist Church.  He visited churches and shared about his work and his dreams for the church. One of his dreams was providing agricultural equipment to feed families and support the church. 
The process of purchasing the equipment has taken time, but the money has gone to work at the farm at Quessua Methodist Mission where Kutela Katembo is in charge of developing the farm and its programs. Because of the contributions from Yellowstone churches, he has in the past few months been able to purchase a planter, a fertilizer cultivator (which will help move or turn the soil while dropping fertilizer when the plant is about knee level) and a mound maker (also called a potato hiller). It makes mounds or raised beds for planting sweet potatoes or cassava.
                                         Kutela is changing the lives of subsistence farmers by teaching women from local villages better farming practices and introducing new crops to them, as well as giving them seeds and trees to take home. He is teaching the boys at the boarding school how to farm and raise animals. Villagers may come and work on the farm and take home food for their families. 



Equal Exchange - Palestinian Farmer's Box

Equal Exchange has a new project with Palestinian farmers in the West Bank. They have worked with their partner the Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committee (PARC) to assemble a Palestinian Farmers' Box of food products for you to pre-order for yourself, your congregation, or your organization.
Through their partnership with PARC, they are able to provide the following products that will not be available either in their online store or traditional stores: maftoul, za’atar, freekeh, almonds, and medjoul dates.  Click here to read more and learn how to order.



Volunteer in Mission Teams Needed

Considering joining a volunteer team, or leading a team?  Check out this link that provides information on places that need individuals and recovery teams across the United States and Puerto Rico. 



Relief for the Weary in Syria

The ongoing civil war in Syria has internally displaced more than 6 million civilians. Through support from the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), families struggling with unstable security situations and exhausted by harsh living conditions are finding some relief.
A $90,000 grant from UMCOR provided hygiene, infant, dignity, and bedding kits for vulnerable people in Aleppo who were forced to leave their homes because of the seven-year war. UMCOR provides assistance through two implementing partner organizations, International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) and the Department of Ecumenical Relations and Development (DERD), the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch. Click here to read the story.



Internally Displaced Family Finds Hope Thanks to UMCOR

EAST DARFUR STATE, Sudan (UMCOR) – In December 2013, fighting broke out between the Maalya and Rizaigat tribes in East Darfur state, Sudan. When another tribe warned of imminent danger, Mona and Ahmed and their six children fled Um Rahouba village.
“We left everything behind—our home, our livelihood, the crops, and the land,” Mona recalled. “We thought about nothing but to flee. It was too difficult to take anything; the situation was terrifying. We ran even without water or food, carrying the little ones. We were very tired and frustrated. Luckily, we managed to contact our family in Adilla who sent a lorry [motor truck] for us.”
Finding temporary refuge, the family crowded into their relatives’ small house.
As the children approached school age, the family’s burden grew. “We couldn’t afford school fees, uniforms, and books,” Mona said. Ahmed struggled to meet his family’s needs, and the three sons decided to forgo school, find jobs, and allow their three sisters to continue their education.

Then the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) stepped in. With a gift of shelter materials, UMCOR also provided security, dignity, and privacy to the displaced family.  Click here to read the story.


For more information regarding the above stories or to submit content for “It Worked for Us”, contact Sally McConnell, Missions Coordinator.

Be sure to keep checking the Yellowstone Conference website for updates on current missionaries or conference happenings.














The Yellowstone Annual Conference
PO Box 20335
Billings, MT 59104
(406) 256-1385
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