There are more than 300 United Methodist missionaries serving in more than 60 countries across the globe. The Minnesota Conference has direct relationships with 14 missionaries in nine countries. They are supported by covenant relationships with local churches. Through such a relationship, a local church makes a three-year commitment and pledges to contribute either $2,500 or $5 per member per year. The local church and the supported missionary agree to communicate regularly (at least three times per year), to uphold each other in prayer, and to meet face to face during the missionary’s visits to Minnesota. The missionary keeps the congregation informed about ongoing ministries, needs, progress, and interesting stories from his or her place of assignment.
Each year, various missionaries come to Minnesota to visit the churches that support them, to form new relationships, and to report on their work. For more information about covenant relationships or to host a missionary at your church, contact Rev. Lyndy Zabel (612-230-6124). Missionary covenant relationship forms and additional information can be found here.
Emily UMC is a “little church with a big heart” in central Minnesota reaching out to their community and beyond in myriad ways, including a local food shelf, community garden, Heifer International, and more. Their circle is wide. For many years they have supported United Methodist missionaries in the country of Laos. They currently support Rev. D. Yang, commissioned in 2016 as a congregational development specialist. Rev. Yang is a Laotian-born citizen of the United States and an elder of the Minnesota Annual Conference, where he served in pastoral ministry before returning to his homeland to serve as a missionary.
Emily UMC has a Covenant Relationship with Rev. Yang, but that is not all they do. Two of their members, Dan and Judy Klement have traveled to and all around Laos, learning about United Methodist ministry there, including church planting, digging wells, teaching ESL, vocational training, micro-businesses, and women’s leadership development. Over the years, the Klement’s personal connection to those in Laos was developed, nurtured, and strengthened as various missionaries came to visit their congregation, speaking about their ministry’s successes, goals, and dreams. There is nothing like a personal connection! Dan and Judy now both serve on the Laos-Minnesota Conference Partnership team, and they can’t wait to go back to Southeast Asia.
Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church