By Fred Koenig
The theme of Mission U had a familiar ring to it this year: Learning Together for the Transformation of the World, combining the United Methodist mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world, with the Mission u purpose of an educational opportunity in community.
“In Matthew 28:19, Jesus tells his disciples to “Go” into all nations and make disciples. We here at Mission u are being given this opportunity to study and then to go out and help build up God’s Kingdom here in Missouri,” said Dean Franklin Walker in his welcome to the event. “I encourage each of you to grab hold of the knowledge that will be available to you this week…. Think of this weekend as a time for equipping ourselves to “Go”.”
Mission U, formerly known as the School of Christian Mission, was conducted at Central Methodist University July 24 – 27. The studies offered were The Church and People with Disabilities, The Roma of Europe, and How Is It With Your Soul? The base of the people involved comes from United Methodist Women, but the event is open to anyone, and men attend as well. There are also special activities during the event for children and youth.
Rev. Bruce Jefferies led a class on The Church and People with Disabilities. At the beginning he noted that there are 28 passages in the Bible that address people with disabilities. He started with John 9, 1 – 11, in which Jesus healed a blind man. He then led a discussion about how that story made people feel. One woman shared how she and her family prayed intensely for a family member who wasn’t healed, and died, and they were left with feelings of guilt for not having strong enough faith. Others shared personal stories about praying for miraculous healing that didn’t happen.
“During those times, we just try to remember that God isn’t the cause of disease, and may or may not be part of healing from it, but is there with us no matter what the outcome,” Jefferies said.
This year 214 people attended Mission U. Shari Scott is the new dean of Mission U. Next year the event will be July 23 – 26.