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.
Since 1991, Fridley United Methodist Church has had a covenant relationship with missionaries Gordon and Ardell Graner—who spent more than two decades in Bolivia before a recent reassignment to the Dominican Republic. Member Diane Jachymowski, who has corresponded with the Graners since the beginning, has come to think of them as family. She says their stories have inspired her and other members of the congregation—and they keep Fridley UMC connected to brothers and sisters in Christ in other parts of the world. “It’s an important part of our faith that we are to bring God’s love to other people, and they help us do it,” she said. “The more you learn about people, the more you care about them, and we’ve learned so much about the people of Bolivia from them. It just changes your perspective and opens you up.”
Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church