Someone asked me recently, "Why do we feel we have to go halfway around the world to help people? We need to take care of our own first!" It is not the first time this has been said to me. I find it interesting that the people who usually say this do not seem to helping anywhere. I think they just have a guilty conscious.
Jesus told his followers to be his witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, and to the ends of the earth. That is usually my response to the aforementioned comment. We are to be a work, showing the love of God for humanity, everywhere. Some are called to stay local and some are sent to the nether regions. Nonetheless, we are all called to be at work support Good News through good works everywhere.
Our Jerusalem is the area right around us - our communities. For my church, that is the northern area of Henry County. There are so many opportunities to serve. Our church has an incredible food pantry that delivers to homeless people in the area in conjunction with Revelation Ministry. They require food items and/or money to purchase food. They need people to sort and separate food and to help deliver. We have several other Christians brothers and sisters in other churches that help us with this.
You could become involved with H3 ministries. This was the brainchild of my dear friend Mike Broome. It was birthed at McDonough 1st UMC. On Friday nights this ministry prepares hot meals for folks that come to the church. The people are served as if they are at a restaurant and usually have live music to soothe them as they dine. There are also several 'to go' meals taken out from there to homeless people.
You could help at the public school just down the road from us, by reading to kids, tutoring, helping provide school supplies, collecting General Mills boxtops, or providing a meal for the teachers.
You could go out with one of our L.R.E. teams to meet our neighbors and begin to build friendships in our communities in the name of Jesus Christ.
Our Judea is our regional area. There are also a lot of opportunities in our region as well. Habitat for Humanity, The Atlanta Food Bank, or Action Ministries. I personally feel Action Ministries is one of the best things the North Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church has going. This ministry provides food, shelter, and education for poor people all over North Georgia. If you can't physically go and help, you can support them financially.
Finally, we are called to go to the ends of the world with the Good News of Jesus Christ. I think about our missionary families that we support at Jodeco. The Stotler family is in mission ministry in South Africa. Our own Nick, Heidi, and Gilly Griffiths will be leaving next year to serve the indigenous tribes of Kenya by helping them build water filtration systems, health education, and sharing the love of Jesus. You can help by giving these families your financial support. You can find both of these families at themissionsociety.org and clicking on the "find a missionary" tab at the top right of the screen.