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  • Writer's pictureRogene "Jeannie" McPherson, Country Notebook

The check's in the mail

Updated: Jun 20, 2023

Country Notebook

By Rogene "Jeannie" McPherson

“The check is in the mail” was shared at a recent Upper Room Bible Study at the Mound City Methodist Church. If needed, I could stand-in as a witness as I was the next one in line at the post office, but I was mailing my taxes to the IRS, not to Porch de Salomon in Florida.

When told that the check was in the mail, there was clapping and other joyful sounds made by the twenty or so participants in the Bible group so that anyone new to the group soon recognized the importance of this fund-raising project.

Several years ago, the members of the church committed work toward raising $8,500 for the building of a home in Panajachel, Guatemala in Central America. Obviously, this would not be two-story house with a two-car garage, but a brick-type small home built for a family accustomed to living in something shabby, possibly cardboard boxes or pieces of wood found wherever and whenever.

The home will be built by volunteers and the family who will own and live in this house. Donna Parker from Mound City, the individual mailing the check from the Methodist church, and firsthand observer of the homes built in Guatemala, mentioned the bricks are carried on the heads of workers, several at a time. She then indicated these are not the typical heavy-concrete bricks we would use in building a basement, for example. Instead the bricks are made from materials available in Guatemala, likely not as strong as a concrete block, but very ample for building a home in a country facing poverty and food insecurities. This is truly a second chance for a family needing resources we typically have available.

The April 2023 newsletter called, Porch Talk, is distributed by the Florida organization. The information contained in the newsletter speaks to a variety of services provided by this Christian organization, acting as the hands and feet of Christ. Medical care is urgently needed and chronic malnutrition is rampant. Emergency room doctors and nurses and other medical providers from the States form teams and then travel on a short-term mission trip to this part of Guatemala. This population of impoverished people feel the government of Guatemala does little to nothing to assist with the lack of services.

This same newsletter contains photos of three American families joining together to begin construction of one of the houses described above. In this instance, a mother, Angelica, was raking the ground to clear out debris for her future home. She has six children to support with few resources available. The husband, out of desperation, abandoned the family. The soil, as seen in the photos, likely lacks the nutrients necessary to grow fresh produce.

During the several years the Mound City Methodist Church was raising the funds to build the house, scheduled to begin over a year from now, the price increased $1,000. Inflation is a global problem, not just in the United States. The $8,500 does not include the price to fly to Guatemala and increased costs for an airline ticket has made the demand for volunteers even greater.

Donna Parker and her husband, Rick, hope to return to Guatemala when the Mound City home begins construction. Donna shares, “That is many months from now and we have to be realistic as to our ability to go.”

A family in Guatemala will have a second chance to live in a home with appropriate necessities like water, beds, cookware and so much more. Some people have questioned why help those thousands of miles away when the need to provide for others is critical in Linn County, the State of Kansas, and all throughout the United States. The response is that all, everywhere, are God’s children.

One of the most beautiful acts of service provided by the Upper Room’s is the blanket and greeting card ministry. I was invited or maybe I just joined this group on my own, either way is fine. But, I can tell you I soon became excited how we begin the hour-long bible study with participants asking for prayers for those in sorrow, pain and/or fear. Then everyone signs a card to be sent to that individual. A home-sewn blanket or a fleece one bought at discount are typically sent once blessed by the congregation. The blankets are beautiful, but not always in the way we think of beauty. The recipient often sends feedback by expressing the comfort and support the blanket provides in difficult times. The beauty is that someone took time to care.

Every person has to decide how and where to provide resources to fulfill the mission set before us. We are often given second chances to help others needing a second chance. “The check in the mail” is not just about an actual piece of paper, but represents any and all efforts to do good and share with others. The community garden, blessings boxes, the pantry and the monthly commodities are just a few of the local mission projects provided by the Methodist Church, all representing ways that the symbolic check is truly in the mail.

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