Virginia Beach United Methodist Church sponsors several missionaries around the world:
Jacques Akasa and Poto Valentine Shutsha are missionaries with the General Board of Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church assigned to the Wings of Caring Aviation Ministry in Kanangasince, Democratic Republic of Congo (Please read their newsletter printed below). As a pilot-mechanic and program director of the Wings of Caring Aviation Ministry, Jacques flies people and supplies to various missions in the region. Valentine serves in many capacities for Wings of Caring, including radio operator, bookkeeper, flight tracker, and guest house manager.
"When I fly missionaries, pastors and church leaders, we carry the Good News to where the Gospel is needed," Jacques explains. "When I fly doctors or medical teams, when I fly sick persons to the hospitals where their lives are saved, when I fly seminary or college professors to teach, I think I am doing God's will. In some places if we don't fly in supplies like salt, soap or matches, there is no other way such supplies will get to the population. Many of our mission stations depend on the aviation ministry for survival. Through aviation, children can get immunizations. It's not just a means of transportation, but it is a whole ministry - the Gospel - that is preached in different ways."
September 2008 Newsletter from Wings of Caring:
CENTRAL CONGO AVIATION MINISTRY
"Gospel of Jesus through air services"
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
May the Peace of our Lord be with you!
We have moved from Kinshasa to Kanangasince last January. But because we had to attend the General Conference, many of our things are still unpacked. It will take some time to get settled. We want to express our thanks to you all for your support (prayers, financial, gifts) which make us stronger and unable us to accomplish the mission the church has given to us. Upon our return from the States (General Conference) we got very busy with annual conference sessions. Our region has 4 full and two provisional. So had to fly the bishop and other delegates to most of those annual conference sessions.
Congo, Central Conference
The Congo Central Conference was held from August 24 to 27 at Kananga. 154 delegates came from three Episcopal Areas and about 20 observers and ex-officio were present. We had the privilege to host two missionaries, a GBGM representative. One of the points in the agenda was the election for the Central Congo Episcopal Area as well as the implementation of the four area of focus for this quadrinium as stated at the General Conference. The election was the big issue for many people. Two other candidates run with the active bishop. After the election Bishop YEMBA was reelected. For this event I flew five consecutive days to bring delegates from Central Congo and observers; and took five days again to fly them back after the conference. I just was too busy and I need to get some rest after all the hard work accomplished.
News of the Program
We are fixing our hangar so that we can move all our aviation parts in. The soldiers who occupied the facility during the war ruined it. We need to put new shelves, new window glasses, install doors that were taken away and so on…. From January to August we flew more than 20 sick people. Some of them got their lives saved but some even though did not make it. We have more and more medical flight requests but because of shortage and high cost of aviation gasoline, we are not able to respond to all the medical calls we receive. Last year one drum of aviation gasoline was paid for $435.00 and the transport was $165.00. This year the same drum went from $532.00 up to $622.50 and the transport to $ 272.00. As you can see, to get a drum of aviation gasoline (55 US gallon) we pay $894.50 (and this represents 3hr 30min of flight time). I know you will say wooh! But this is the reality we are facing right now. We really need to pray for a plane (such as caravan) that uses jet fuel.
News of the Family
Our three sons are all doing well. Dennis the youngest graduated last May the college (Lon Morris, Jacksonville/Texas). He is now studying toward at Texas Wesleyan University toward his bachelor degree. Gigi, the middle boy who is in Canada got his Single Engine Commercial license and today 09/09/2008 he is taking his multi-engine commercial flight test. Mignon our older boy, got his bachelor degree from Strayer University in Nashville/TN. He is very interested with Methodist Men Agency. More joy! Our two older sons Mignon and Gigi have enriched our family by making us grand parents and we are very thankful to God. These kids are special. May God be with you and continue shower His Blessings upon you as we all serve Him each to a specific capacity.
Yours in Christ,
Valentine POTO SHUTSHA
Jacques UMEMBUDI AKASAS
Wings of Caring/Central Congo
Rev. Shana Harrison is a missionary with the General Board of Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church in Santiago, Chile. She serves as Director of La Esperanza, which is a sheltered workshop and group home for adults who have disabilities. "We provide a home for adults whose families are unable to care for them. The most disconcerting question for parents with children who have handicapping conditions is 'what will happen to my child when I am no longer able to care for him or her?' The Group Home is a home where not only are the basic needs of the residents met, but also where there is an atmosphere of community and belonging. Share space, shared responsibilities, and shared love give everyone an opportunity to grow in all aspects of their lives."
Shana graduated from Lyon College in Batesville, Arkansas and earned an M.Div. degree in 1997 from Duke University Divinity School in Durham, NC. She has served in Chile in various capacities since 2000.