C.O.P.A. in the Dominican Republic.
First United Methodist Church of Brandon has been involved in mission in the Dominican Republic for almost 20 years. Our church is a long-time sponsor of Connie DiLeo, a United Methodist missionary in the Dominican Republic. With Connie’s help, we are working through C.O.P.A. (Community Partners Association) to help in two villages located on the southwestern corner of the D.R. These two villages (Bombita and LaHoya) are representative of some of the poorest villages in the Dominican Republic.
Each summer, a mission team visits the area and either does some needed building and painting and/or puts on a camp for the children. The approximate cost is $850 per person. The age requirement is as follows: 13-17 years of age must have a parent or grandparent accompany them; all others, 18 and up, may go as well. A deposit of $100 will hold your spot on the team. All deposits are due by March 1st for the summer trip. A tentative winter trip is in the works as well. This is by no means a vacation and we work really hard while we are there but the people are wonderful and the rewards many.
Through C.O.P.A., we also have the opportunity to sponsor one of the children in the two villages. For $15 a month, you can help this child with their school uniform expense, their books, and provide a small hot meal for them each day. There are brochures in the narthex that you can complete and mail to C.O.P.A. to participate in this outreach. You will receive a picture of your child and he/she will write to you twice a year and update you on what is happening in their lives. They’ll look forward to you writing to them as well.
If you would like more information about C.O.P.A., go to www.copa.org.uk or email Frankie Cross, our Dominican Republic Missions Outreach Coordinator, at SFL53302@allstate.com or 662-9724.
Compassion International's Church-to-Church Partnership.
In early 2010, our church was honored to be selected as part of a Compassion International pilot program, called the Church-to-Church (C2C) partnership. The idea is to directly connect well-resourced churches in the U.S. with under-resourced churches in third-world countries, to the benefit of both congregations. We are blessed to be partnered with the Holeta Mulu Wongel Full Gospel Believer’s Church in Holeta, Ethiopia.
Through the partnership, we maintain email communication with our sister church and pray for each other regularly. We also greatly encourage the child sponsorship program (for children 4-21) and the child survival program (for children 0 to 3), which empowers our sister church to make a tremendous difference for the Kingdom in the community surrounding the church. People from First UMC Brandon currently sponsor almost 120 children from the community around our partner church and many others are supporting younger children and their mothers through the Child Survival Program. Both of these programs ensure that the children have adequate nutrition, education, family support, and spiritual guidance.
We also are currently involved in partnering with Holeta Mulu Wongel Church to build a much-needed latrine and shower building for the church grounds. This project broke ground in January, 2012. For more information on our church to church partnership, contact Mike Bass at email@example.com, or to learn more about Compassion International, visit www.compassion.com