The Rio Texas Conference has established two volunteer villages: at First UMC in Victoria and at First UMC in Sinton. Each volunteer village provides sleeping space for about 40 volunteers as well as a commercial kitchen for food preparation, a fellowship hall for eating and recreation and a shower trailer. Mission teams staying in Victoria will work in and around that city, which sustained significant wind and flooding damage. Mission teams staying in Sinton will work along the coast, probably in Rockport and Aransas Pass.
In addition, mission teams can work in the LaGrange/Columbus area. There is a retreat center in the area called Cathedral Oaks that often has space for housing teams.
All participants (youth and adult) should receive United Methodist Volunteer in Mission (UMVIM) training or at least have one trip leader who has received this training. The UMVIM training aims to ensure that mission teams do not inadvertently “help” in ways that hurt and nurtures attitudes of respect and true partnership with the people and communities who are served. The Center for Missional Outreach will be offering several UMVIM training sessions throughout the year.
In addition, all participants who are 18 and older must complete a background check. Your local church should have the ability to run background checks. If not, contact the and we can be of assistance.
For adult teams, 2 out of every 8 participants also need to be MinistrySafe trained. (For teams with youth, the ratio is 1:5.) Again, your local church should be able to offer this online training to you. If not, contact the CMO.
Once all background checks and the requisite number of MinistrySafe trainings are complete, the team leader should email a letter to to state that these preparations have been completed.
All participants must have the following paperwork:
- Medical and Liability Release forms (must be notarized)
- Emergency Contact Information form
- Mission Covenant Agreement form.
The team leader should collect these forms and bring them on the trip.
The volunteer villages are charging a nominal fee ($10 per night) for each person to subsidize the expenses incurred by the host churches for utilities. In addition, each team should raise funds to contribute to the supplies needed for their project. The Rio Texas Conference has established a standard supplies cost as $75 per person.* Add the cost of travel and meals for your team, and you should have it covered. The cost to go on a weekend mission trip with Labors for Neighbors is $95 per person + the cost of lunch on the way home on Sunday.
*Matching grants are available for NTC churches who have a desire to send a Hurricane Harvey recovery mission team to Rio Texas but lack the financial capacity to do so. To apply, download and complete the application here. For questions, email.
Only one! The Center for Missional Outreach has formed a partnership with the United Methodist ministry called Labors for Neighbors. Labors for Neighbors specializes in inexpensive weekend mission trips** for adults. Over the years, they have developed a proven model for taking a diverse team of volunteers, made up of small groups of people from different churches and ideally with different cultural and racial backgrounds, and equipping them to replace the roof of a storm-damaged house over a weekend. Labors for Neighbors even provides the transportation; they have their own bus.
**The cost to go on a weekend mission trip with Labors for Neighbors is $95 per person + the cost of lunch on the way home Sunday.