March 28, 2016
Dear VMM Supporter,
After much discernment and collaboration with our VMM members, the Board of Volunteer Missionary Movement has decided to maintain operations with a strategic plan for the year going forward. With prayers felt from around the country, the Board gathered in Milwaukee on February 13. Edwina Gately, the founder of VMM, called in via video-conference to offer her support of the authority and final decision of the board. She gave the Board her blessing if it was decided to cease operations, but also offered support if the decision was to move forward with a new vision for VMM.
Having taken a few months to discern the future of VMM with over 30 members throughout the country, a decision needed to be made. The Board ultimately felt that VMM still offered a unique and desirable opportunity to those seeking long term volunteer work. However, a reimagining of what VMM looks like, where and how it operates, and why it is relevant today was a requirement of the Board. We must focus on strong leadership, employing multiple staff members, sustainable fund development, recruiting volunteers, formation of the volunteers, and building community. The Board has delegated these tasks to members of the Board and will work hard to accomplish these goals over the next 8-12 months.
The Board once again offered its full support of our current missioners in Guatemala and Nicaragua. No matter what happens, we will continue to support them financially through their contract (Fall 2017). It is our hope that by the time the current volunteers are finished with their contracts, we will be able to place a total of 8-10 new missioners in various project partner sites throughout Nicaragua. We also hope to establish better community among the volunteers in country, as well as offering better support to returning missioners who are seeking a community understanding of their radical decision to live, work, and be amongst the poor and marginalized.
We would like to thank all of you who kept us in your prayers as we discerned the most important decision in the history of VMM. Additionally, we want to express our gratitude to those who contributed to the conversation in one of the regional conference calls. The Board knows that the Holy Spirit guided our decision and will hopefully continue to guide us as we move forward in this reimagining of VMM. It is only going to be possible with the help of generous individuals like yourself. Please consider joining the Board of VMM, offering other gifts you can contribute in this time of reimagining, or making a donation to help us sustain our efforts. Contact one of the Board members by April 15, 2016 if you are interested in working with one of the task forces listed below.
Thank you and continue to pray for us.
Board Members of VMM
Mary Campbell Mary.Campbell@elca.org
Sister Rosemary Huddleston, OP firstname.lastname@example.org
Tim Muth email@example.com
Krzysz Pipa, SVD firstname.lastname@example.org
Paul Ssonko email@example.com
Taskforces for Re-imagining:
Formation/Orientation (Susan Kolb, Paul Ssonko,)
Community building (Mary Campbell, Robi Huddleston, Julie Laven)
Funding (Tim Muth, Stephanie Dernek)
Recruitment of new VMM (Billy Byrnes, Kristin Byrnes)