The RUSSIA INITIATIVE United Methodist Volunteers in Mission Program by pjx18257

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									                                   THE RUSSIA INITIATIVE
UNITED METHODIST VOLUNTEERS IN MISSION PROGRAM
The Russia Initiative began in the winter of 1991-92 under the leadership of the General Board of Global
Ministries. Its primary purpose was to deliver food to Russia’s Moscow Region. Following that project the
GBGM established a Russia Initiative that expanded beyond aid programs to include the re-establishment
of Methodism in the former Soviet Union. The Eurasia Annual Conference was established in 1997, with
expansion to four annual conferences in 2003 and a fifth annual conference in 2005.

Many United Methodist congregations have participated in Supportive Congregations (Salary and
Program Support) and Partner Churches (Development of programs where no Methodist presence exists)
programs. UMVIM teams have also been an essential part of the Russia Initiative. Many teams have
worked in Russian orphanages, homes for the elderly, hospitals, etc., and successfully realized many
other helpful projects.

More than 6000 Methodists from the United States have visited the former Soviet Union since 1991. As a
result, participants have seen new visions for mission and found renewal in their spiritual journeys.


        THERE ARE MANY OPPORTUNITIES IN RUSSIA and OTHER
                FORMER SOVIET UNION COUNTRIES
                                                    FOR
                 UNITED METHODIST VOLUNTEERS IN MISSION

                  Local Churches and Conference Camp Facility
Several local Russia United Methodist congregations, with assistance from their Supportive
Congregations, have secured facilities and most are in need of renovation. In addition, the Eurasia
Annual Conference recently purchased a former sanatorium (health resort) in Voronezh, Russia. The
property, needing much repair, is to be developed as a Conference Camp and Leadership Training
Center. UMVIM teams are needed in both programs and are invited to contact the Russian Initiative office
for information about ministry sites and logistical assistance.


                                Russian Orphanage Projects
Orphanages provide work opportunities in repair and maintenance, as well as direct interaction with
caregivers and children. There are more than 6,000 state-owned orphanages in Russia where children
are at risk. The caregivers do a tremendous job, even with inadequate facilities and limited resources.
With an economy in transition, government assistance is inadequate and help is needed from abroad.
The Russia Initiative has received many requests for UMVIM teams. For teams already involved, sharing
in this ministry is a deeply moving experience.

Many work groups and UMVIM teams have participated in the Russia Initiative since 1991. Additional
teams are needed and projects can be developed for specific teams. Because of the complexities of
Russia’s Ministry of Interior rules, traveling and working in Russia presents many challenges. The Russia
Initiative leadership team will identify ministry sites, provide orientation, assist in securing Russian entry
visas and travel insurance, provide in-country logistical support, and other necessary documentation and
help as deemed necessary. UMVIM teams are needed! Call us!

                   For Information about leading UMVIM teams to Russia, contact:
                     Dr. W James Athearn, Consultant, The Russia Initiative, GBGM
                     116 Frasher Drive, Clear Brook, VA 22624 Tel. 540-662-2066
                                    E-mail: jathearn@starband.net

								
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