It's difficult to think that I will no longer be working in the UMVIM, SEJ office - a place to which I love coming and to work that I love doing. As I walked through the office Friday, my last day before retirement, so many thoughts and memories came to me. I thought of the many places I have traveled and the people I have met. How do I thank them for their hospitality and friendship?
I thought about the pioneers of UMVIM who gave so much to make this grassroots movement an organized ministry of the United Methodist Church. How do I thank them for their efforts in creating a way for hundreds of thousands to serve God by serving others?
I thought about those involved in UMVIM before me but especially those who served as the Executive Director for UMVIM, SEJ. How do I thank them for the foundation they built that has allowed me to engage in a ministry that I love and am so passionate about?
I thought about all the UMVIM, SEJ board members who have provided vision and oversight to continue the work of this ministry. I especially thought of each board member who has served since I became Executive Director. How do I thank them for their support and encouragement?
I thought about the Conference UMVIM Coordinators who with little or no pay offer assistant and guidance to their local churches and team leaders. How do I thank them for the leadership they have provided their annual conferences?
I thought about our partner church and project leaders and the struggles and hardships they face daily. How do I thank them for hosting the countless volunteers that they house and feed?
I thought about team leaders who agreed to accept the responsibility and challenge of preparing their teams to serve. How do I thank them for providing the vital connection between their team, the host, and UMVIM?
I thought about the volunteers who God has called to use their gifts, talents, and resources in serving a broken, hurting world. How do I thank them for the sacrifices they have made to be able to go and serve?
I thought about those UMVIM, SEJ employees who willingly worked for less pay and benefits then they would have received somewhere else. How do I thank them for the dedication and integrity with which they preformed their jobs?
I thought about God and the ultimate sacrifice that He made for me and for all of us. How do I thank Him for all He has done?
Thank you - these words are not enough to express the appreciation I feel. These words from Colossians 2:7 hopefully express my feelings better: "Rooted and built up in Christ, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness". Yes, I am overflowing with thankfulness for UMVIM!
Outgoing Executive Director.