We have a special connection with Families Forward which is Irvine's best outreach to families seeking self-sufficiency and success. UUMC members are on staff and on the board. Among us are major donors and consistent, committed volunteers. Halo Award-winning volunteer Carol Pukli is in charge of letting us know when FF needs to replenish its food pantry, prepare children for school, or help out with the holidays.
Disability Advocate Sharon McCart Shares Her Experience on the UMC International Human Rights Trip to the Philippines
Our mission began with a visit to the federal prison near Manila where we visited 8 female political prisoners. They had been incarcerated, some for as many as 9 years, without benefit of trial or convictions. Some did not even know the charges against them. Human rights violations were numerous, including torture and inadequate food or places to sleep. We then spent three days learning about all of the justice work being done by the National Council of Churches, Philippines. As overwhelming as the problems are, the work being done is impressive, balancing the despair of the prison visit with the hope of faith.
The day before we had arrived in the Philippines, President Duterte has publicly stated that the military should bomb the Lumad (which means indigenous) schools in Mindanao, accusing them of being training grounds for child soldiers. After four days in Manila, we followed our planned itinerary to visit a Lumad school in Mindanao. We saw no evidence that any such brainwashing or training was taking place. Younger students were learning to read and write and do math. Older students were studying philosophy and world history and personal development. They also learn how to farm organically and about traditional medicine.
We also learned about Save Our Schools and other justice work in Mindanao, rounding out our 5 days in Mindanao, which remains under martial law. We never felt in danger, although there are checkpoints on main highways.
Back in Manila on our last day, we met with three women in leadership in the Philippines United Methodist Central Conference. We learned about their projects, which included Vacation Bible School for children in outlying areas. Both United Methodist and non-United Methodist children attend. Another woman spearheads a team fighting human trafficking.
After I shared my work, they began planning a disability consultation next summer, so I will be returning to the Philippines. They are also determined to begin a Disability committee that will serve the entire country.
There will be a more detailed report at UUMC on September 17 at 4pm in the Fellowship Hall.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your support and your love! You donated more than double what I needed, enabling us to make donations to the school and to the justice work organizations. I will let you know how else we can help the people of the Philippines in the near future.
Supports AIDS treatment in Orange County
OC Rescue Mission
Twin Sheet Collection
After-school arts mentoring
Assistance League of Irvine
Supports Irvine students through thrift store
Santa Ana Armory Emergency Shelter
Food and shelter for homeless neighbors
Emergency Response Teams
Training to prepare for emergencies
Clergy Against Alzheimers
Raising awareness and advocating for a cure
Developing health care in Central America
Minami-Sanriku Tsunami Recovery
Churches working to rebuild sister city in Japan
Imagine No Malaria
Working with African governments to supply nets
Claudia Genung - UMC Missionary to Japan
UMC Worldwide Missions
April 2017 Mission Trip to Weed, California
Teams from University UMC called to serve our friends in Northern California
The Weed Long Term Recovery Group in Northern California has been working in conjunction with Siskiyou Habitat for Humanity to help those who still have unmet needs as a result of a devastating fire in September 2014. The fire destroyed parts of the town, two churches, and 136 homes. A combined mission team of 15 including our church joined together to provide much needed time and talent to the recovery project. Being a part of the cement pour crew was exciting, as the team had never participated in that kind of work before.
Other activities included surveying an empty lot for a new home, general cleaning and painting of the interior of a three bedroom Habitat for Humanity house nearing completion, building a handicap ramp, assisting with a wall removal in the Habitat warehouse. Even though the weather was at time cold, windy, rainy, and even some snow, the team worked through it all! Our outstanding cooking crew provided the team with excellent meals that provided the stamina to work in difficult conditions. The hospitality and warmth of the people we worked with were a blessing. There are not many work sites that provide an outstanding view. There is, however, snow-covered Mt. Shasta looming over the work site at Weed.
The Rev. Claudia Genung –Yamamoto is a missionary with the General Board of Global Ministries of The United Methodist Church assigned to ministries of community outreach and church development in Kobe, Japan. She assumed these responsibilities in late 2011 after serving for two decades as a missionary with the National Christian Council of Japan in Tokyo (NCC-J).
Claudia works with the Kobe Jesus Band Church and its community ministry through Kagawa Memorial Center. Rev. Toyohiko Kagawa, an eminent Japanese Christian leader, founded the church in 1909. The Kagawa Center ministers to the spiritual and psychical needs of the people in Kobe, which is an international port.
The Center has a café (Tengokuya Heaven’s Café), museum, day care, tutoring program for foreign children in Japanese schools, food distribution bi-monthy through a local food bank, after school program for disabled children, programs for single mothers and their children, and offers various seminars to the community. The weekly café provides low-cost lunches where all are welcome, and the monthly Night Café donates funds to help with ongoing disaster relief in Fukushima prefecture, where the 2011 earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear power plant explosion occurred.
The Jesus Band Church, where Claudia is an associate pastor, is part of the United Church of Christ in Japan (UCCJ),that continues the work of Methodism in Japan. She has started a new international congregation, which worships every other month.
Claudia is active in mission and ecumenical affairs. She was president of the Tokyo Ecumenical Council in Tokyo and now networks with other churches in Kobe. She is a member of Peace and Nature, an NPO in Kobe and Second Harvest Japan in Tokyo. She serves on the AFARI (American Friends of Asian Rural Institute) and helps the ARI Kansai Caravan when they come to the Kobe, Kyoto, and Osaka area each year. She works with the Global Missions at Kobe Union Church and helps coordinate a ministry with the homeless in Kobe.
Claudia’s husband Rev. Toshimasa Yamamoto isa GBGM VIM (Volunteer In Mission)and former General Secretary of NCC-J as well as a former Global Ministries missionary. Toshi now works as a chaplain and professor at Kwansei Gakuin University. He has authored books and articles on ecumenism and peace in Northeast Asia. Claudia and Tohsi husband are both concerned about peace in our world today.
They are the parents of two grown sons.