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packing lunches for the homeless at Lessie Bates Neighborhood Center in St. Louis 

METour Staff (front to back):

Kathy Koehn, Alice Burnett, Salima Watson, Janae Howard, Glenda Lindteigen & Jalynn Nolte

Mission Education Tour

What do you get when you mix 31 girls, 6 sponsors, a great bus driver, and the backing of the United Methodist Women?  You get the 2013 Mission Education Tour, May 31-June 9.

Mission Education Tour (METour) recently returned after a 10 day trip toward the northeast.  The main difference is that instead of meeting on a Sunday and leaving on a Monday, as in the past, the trip met and left on a Friday.  The thinking behind this was that instead of being away one and a half weeks, the girls would only be gone one full week.

One of the first stops METour made framed the whole trip by talking about and dealing with justice and poverty.  Lisa Maupin and Stephanie Ahlschwede from The United Methodist Ministries in Omaha, NE, encouraged the girls to look at the reasoning behind helping someone.  Is it because it makes them feel good or is it because it is the right thing to do?  The girls quickly found out that many times what needs to be done at the different agencies is something that they don’t particularly care to do but realized that it needed to be done.  An example is gardening.  This is probably the least of what the girls would like to do.  However, often times the group found out that the people working at the various agencies don’t have time to pull the weeds or sweep the sidewalk or have money to buy and then the human resources to plant the flowers. 

The girls worked with children and cooked in Des Moines, IA at the Children and Family Urban Ministries (CFUM) as well as cleaned a church that was donated to Trinity UMC where CFUM is housed, as part of their outreach ministry.  The girls also planted flowers that were purchased for the ingathering at Marcy-Newberry Association in Chicago.  The girls helped sort food and pack lunches for the homeless in St. Louis and then again, pulled weeds at the Centenary UMC and the Bridge where 3000 meals are served weekly for the homeless and at-risk persons of St. Louis.  In Olathe, KS, where 25% of the children eat reduced or free lunches, the girls cleaned a gym where the boys club and the girls club will be starting in the next couple of weeks.

Everywhere the group went, they were met with excitement and smiles knowing that either work will be done or that the girls will learn what is special about their ministry outreach so that they could spread the word about what they do and what are their needs.

METour is divided into families and each family has a responsibility that changes daily.  One day, the family might be in charge of worship.  The next day it might be loading and unloading the bus.  The other duties include clean-up and cooking.  They had long days and short nights.  Not the entire trip was work.  The young women spent a day in Chicago at Millennium Park and then to the Navy Pier for eating and shopping.  Then on the last evening, METour went swimming in Olathe.

One of the purposes of METour is to inform young women of the mission and outreach of the United Methodist Church.  Morgan Price of Ulysses said of her experience; “It meant making lifelong friends, truly worshipping Christ, and experiencing life outside of my home.”  The girls saw how the United Methodist Women has influenced mission in the world and has served God.

Jalynn Nolte, director of the 2013 METour, encourages all of the UMW units to invite a METour participant to talk about their experience on METour.  If you need contact information, contact Jalynn Nolte at and she will have suggestions on who could share with your unit.

Nolte would also like to thank each of the United Methodist Women that make this trip possible each year.  This experience is a life changing experience and without the help of the UMW, this trip would not be possible.