The Mission Ambassador Program in Western Pennsylvania has been in existence since 1976. It has a long history that includes lay men and women, and clergy men and women called to service. These dedicated disciples commit to travel and learn, then itinerate in WPA and resource local churches and UMW units. Funded by the Conference Board of Global Ministries and United Methodist Women, Mission Ambassadors also commit their own resources to the travel experience.
Meet the two new Mission Ambassadors who are preparing to travel, receive training as study leaders, and then begin their time of “itineration” at Mission u 2019 in July.
I grew up in a tiny village with one church in Indiana County. My mother, a teacher, and dad, a WW II vet, instilled a deep love of learning and helping others in me. We didn’t have a lot of money, but travel to important historic and natural sites and learning about people who made a difference was a priority. Teaching seemed like a natural choice for a profession in that it enabled opportunities to help others and to continue learning about our world.
At 21, I traveled with a group of teachers to India for two months. The highlight was meeting Mother Theresa in the slums of Calcutta. When she took my hand, I literally felt what seemed like electric impulses shoot through my body. I sensed that I was in the presence of a truly holy person. From that time on I developed a fascination with her and others who have dedicated their lives to Christian Mission.
I have been a Western Pennsylvania girl all my life. I grew up in Greenville and graduated from Slippery Rock University as a Health and Physical Education teacher. I taught those subjects in grades K-8 in the Armstrong School District, Armstrong County, for 35 years, and mentored many student teachers and new teachers. My home was Kittanning for many years and now I reside in Manorville, with the Allegheny River in my front yard. I have enjoyed biking, reading, gardening, spending time with friends and participating in several sports during my adult life here. Travel has been an important part of my life, including both trips to see the world and mission trips to work with and help others.
I learned at an early age from my parents that being involved in church and community should be an integral part of a full and meaningful life. They were both steadfast volunteers and I “caught” that from them. I have served on several Boards of Directors in my community, and volunteer with the American Cancer Society. I am the treasurer and a trustee of my church, Manorville UMC, where I also serve on several committees, and am the visitor for shut-ins. I am very much looking forward to being a Mission Ambassador for the next two years.
At this time, my favorite volunteer activity is the Indiana District’s Ramps of Hope for which I am the Armstrong County Coordinator and a grant writer. I do many jobs in the process of getting someone a ramp but by far my favorite part is being at a build when a ramp is completed and watching the recipient come out on the ramp for the first time. “When I watch the joy spread over the face of someone who had been in despair, I know we have made a difference in a life.”
Lynn and Sandy
Over the years, we advanced in our careers and made diverse friends. We became good friends. We were both teachers who shared a love of tennis and skiing, and most importantly a deep faith. Church wasn’t just somewhere to go on Sundays but a way of life. We were both so inspired by the ministry of Madge Floyd while she was in Clarion that we both realized how precious God’s Grace is and how much we wanted to do more to serve our risen Savior.
We began getting more active in the church, seeking ways to better serve our communities. We also served community organizations that reach out to those in need. We learned that we loved mission trips in the US and overseas.
By the time of our retirement from teaching, we were attending Manorville UMC a small but mission oriented church in a small community. They did not have a UMW group but we were welcomed at the Union Ave chapter and enjoyed their warm fellowship and dedication to service.
When we saw the opportunity to become Mission Ambassadors for the conference, it seemed like a natural step to take with our love of mission, teaching and travel. We look forward to visiting and learning more about UMW missions and UM missions in the US and abroad and sharing our insights with our conference.