By Lou Ann Staggs, Mississippi Conference Secretary of Global Ministries
Hollis Crowder, a member of the St. Andrews UMC in Oxford, will be leading his 30th mission trip to Africa in late August of 2015. He recently returned from a fact finding and planning trip for the team he will lead in 2015.
Crowder has led his last five teams through the United Methodist Volunteers in Mission (UMVIM), coordinated through the Southeastern Jurisdictional (SEJ) office, after attending a training event led by Paulette West, SEJ UMVIM Coordinator. West was invited to offer a training event in Oxford last year which focused on Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe. She emphasized the importance of partnering with representatives and/or missionaries of the UMC in these countries to maximize the use of resources and people from both sides.
Crowder had just returned from Ghana last July when West asked him to lead a disaster relief team to Galena, Alaska. Crowder left with a team of 15 the first week of October. Team members and churches hosted fund raising events to financially support the volunteers and to buy materials needed by the team once they arrive. Their materials have been carefully thought out and bought with the help of the knowledgeable partners in the host country. Local labor was also used in the visiting country for construction and water well projects.This provides a source of income for the people there and builds relationships and ownership. Some of Crowder's mission trips have been medical and others have been construction of pavilions, additions onto existing worship structures or digging clean water wells. His teams have worked with orphans providing food for a two to three month period, collected eye glasses prescriptions for an optometrist who made one trip and distributed Bibles. Crowder even preaches the Good News at every opportunity.
Currently, there are 12 volunteers committed to the 2015 trip to Zimbabwe, Project Africa, including two nurses, one nurse practitioner, one dentist, one pharmacist, one logistical person, one support volunteer and two vacation Bible school teachers. This trip involves Crowder working with the medical director and Volunteer in Mission Coordinator in Nydire which is a rural farm region. Services to the people will include: nursing, optometry, pharmacy, dental, water well and ministry to an orphanage. The team is taking choir robes which will be given to a sister choir of one or two rural churches. At least one doctor and one additional nurse are still needed for this trip. Please begin now to pray for this team and spread the word that another doctor and nurse are needed. Hollis Crowder may be reached by calling 662.609.3328 or you can email the church firstname.lastname@example.org. Crowder's personal email is email@example.com.