By Jasmine Haynes, Web and Social Media Specialist
Most Mississippi United Methodists are unaware that the long-standing, Mississippi United Methodist Choctaw Mission is facing a serious lack of material and financial resources, and worshiping
Plastic from ceiling being used as a gutter for large leak in the roof.
"I was horrified by the condition of the main building which had a huge leak that was being contained with a gutter attached to plastic, running into a bucket," said Calvasina. "They are in desperate need of Bibles, financial help, clothes for a clothes closet and they could use some volunteers to come in and help with work inside the mission building."
As partners in mission, Calvasina and some of her church members have contributed financially and given the Choctaw Mission three boxes of Bibles. The group also plans to donate clothes and encourage a group of young people to paint and help with repairs. Calvasina shared that she feels the Holy Spirit is directing her to bring awareness to the Choctaw Mission, so she has written numerous letters asking people for assistance. "Mississippi has always been a benevolent state and I think if everyone was aware of what is going on within the Choctaw Mission and knew the resolution we have as The United Methodist Church to support native people, they would give this mission some priority," said Calvasina.
The Choctaw Mission has existed to serve the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians since the 1800s. Calvasina is referring to a resolution directed by the Board of Church and Society of The United Methodist Church. The resolution affirmed that tribal nations were autonomous before the creation of the U.S. government and created stipulations for the church to support native people. The 1992 General Conference comprehensive plan of the resolution mandates that United Methodist churches:
Calvasina explained that Mississippi United Methodists can uphold the resolution by helping alleviate the missions budgetary stress of trying to produce enough monthly income for operations. According to the Choctaw Mission's executive director, Dr. Al Styron, on average, $8,150 a month is essential to support its ministries. Monthly donations average around $4,160--barely half of what is needed. Styron shared that mission teams usually increase financial assistance but there has been a decline in the scheduling of mission groups over the past two years.
"We are hoping to create a broader awareness of the mission opportunities at the Choctaw reservation," said Styron. "You don't have to go overseas to experience meaningful hands-on ministry. You can do it right here in our state."