“As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.” – 1 Peter 4:10
There is a bustle of action in the Fellowship Hall at the First United Methodist Church of Houma. The smell of food fills the air sharing the space with the sound of laughter. The squeak of Styrofoam comes from one side of the room as those hustling the quickly emptied trays of food move about the space. The Krewe of Missions is hard at work. There are bellies to feed in our community and today that is the mission they seek to complete. As they bow their heads and join hands in prayer, you know they are in fact doing as the Lord has directed them. They themselves have been blessed with gifts and they do not hesitate to share them.
The Krewe of Missions is open to any member of the church that wishes to serve in any capacity. There are around 50 members in the Krewe that serve for different needs. Cooking meals for our community is just one project that the Krewe of Missions completes each year. The meals are delivered to locations such as the Bunkhouse, The Haven, Beautiful Beginnings, the Veterans Home, and MacDonell Children’s Services.
Another project that is ongoing each month at the church is the Box of Caring and Sharing. Each month, a need is met through donations in these boxes. From school supplies for area teachers to blankets for the homeless, the Krewe seeks to collect an item for an organization in our community for a specific need.
Each December, the box expands, figuratively, to become an angel tree. This mission expands to include the entire church as members of the church family take one or more tags home to fill the wishes contained on their piece of paper. On December 16, the church celebrates with a White Gift Service.
“Everyone wraps their gift in white paper and places them beneath the tree,” explains Nickie Barr, Director of Children and Youth Ministry. “There are a lot of presents and it’s actually very pretty. The children lead that service with the youth band and present a Nativity. The gifts are placed on the altar and we pray over them. The families are all welcome to join as well.”
The next day, members of the Krewe of Missions then take each gift that is marked with a colored coded tag and sort them out. Gifts for each child are grouped together, then each family. They are placed in large bags, resembling Santa’s toy sack and delivered to the families so they may have presents under their trees for Christmas.
Outside of specific projects, the Krewe of Missions and the entire First United Methodist Church aim to create a space where the community feels welcome and safe. The overall mission is to be out in the community with people.
“For example, while the Pumpkin Patch is a great fundraiser, we put it and the Trunk or Treat event on to have a safe atmosphere where people can enjoy time as a family,” shares Nickie. “Even more than that, I was able to pray with people in the patch and just let them know we have a prayer box. We had over 25 prayer cards filled out and we hand those over to our prayer warriors who go and look up scripture. They pray and they pray hard for these people. We have a lot of hurting people in our community and for us to be able to open our doors and say, look, you know, we’re outside the walls, we want you to have a great family experience and we want to be a part of that tradition.”
“Our members are individuals that give generously of their time and all their resources,” smiles Nickie. “If you say that you want to put on a Vacation Bible School, they’ll be here. They will make backdrops for you or provide all the supplies. Whatever it is they can give of their talents and gifts. And it’s really awesome to see them – they do it with joy. And of course we’re not perfect in any sense. We’re always working at trying to create more things for families to, to connect them and to help them as their child is growing in their faith.” POV