First Sebring in mission for the long haul
|Team members get their hands dirty while working on a wide range of projects. Photo by FUMC Sebring.|
FUMC Sebring first served with Bahamas Methodist Habitat in August 2015 and has been a partner of Zion Children’s Home since then. Rev. David Juliano, pastor of FUMC Sebring, recalls that first mission. “The moment we got there [the ZCH staff] and, most importantly, the kids captured our hearts and we knew in an instant this was the beginning of a friendship and partnership that was going to be very long-term.”
In the past six months, FUMC Sebring has sent two teams down to Zion with BMH and has made several trips in between. They have also purchased a vehicle for the Zion Children’s Home and intend to strengthen and grow the network of support for the Zion vision.
During their week on Current Island, FUMC Sebring completed a number of projects for ZCH. Their work included installing walls in the dormitory building to privatize the apartment bedroom from other living areas, installing paneling to complete bathroom walls in the church, pouring the foundation for a new home for a ZCH staff member, fixing the children’s bicycles with parts donated by Legacy Bicycles in Sebring and assisting at the Current Island primary school. The group worked alongside a team from Albany First United Methodist Church from Albany, Georgia, and the two churches intend to partner in the future to further the vision of Zion Children’s Home.
|Volunteer pops the hood of an old pickup. Photo by FUMC Sebring.|
While working on Current Island, a number of individuals from the team met with board members of Zion Children’s Home and a local police sergeant to discuss and begin planning for a week-long vacation Bible school for over 200 children to take place in July. They will be joined in partnership with Albany FUMC, Eden UMC in Johnson City and First Church in Bluefield, VA. “God’s got big plans for Zion and the Bahamas. We don’t know where this is going to end up, but we’re excited to be along for the ride,” Rev. Juliano said.
Zion Children’s Home opened its doors in March 2014 and seeks to provide a safe sanctuary for children aged 2 to 12 years old who have been neglected or abused in the Bahamas, especially on the island of Eleuthera. Bahamas Methodist Habitat works in partnership with Zion Children’s Home to coordinate volunteers and construction projects for the benefit of the Home’s facilities, staff and children. For more information about ZCH, including how to support their mission, visit their website at zionchildrenshome.com.
Since 1992, Bahamas Methodist Habitat has worked throughout Eleuthera, where the organization is based, and other family islands of the Bahamas to deliver disaster relief, improve substandard housing and promote community. Every year the organization hosts over 500 volunteers who perform service ranging from light construction to assisting in a children’s home.
For more information about the work of Bahamas Methodist Habitat, and to learn how you can support their mission or get involved, visit their website at methodisthabitat.org.
– Hannah Bohn is the Bahamas Methodist Habitat development and public relations coordinator.