Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Micah Corps Summer 2013

The 2013 Micah Corps experience concluded August 2.  Check us out for details about the application process for the 2014 Micah Corps  beginning January, 2014!  Until then, "do justice, love kindness and walk humbly with God."  Micah 6:8

Epworth Village

One of the workshops offered at the UMW Mission-U this year was an

information session on Epworth Village.  Located in both York and Grand Island,

Epworth Village strives to serve God by providing opportunities for success in a

secure, loving environment for families and at-risk youth which nurtures personal

growth, individual and family strengths and responsibility for self and others.  The

workshop was lead by Patrick Garcia, the President and CEO of Epworth Village.   It

started back in 1889 when it was an orphanage located on a diary farm up until

federal regulations called for a push for Foster Care, rather than the latter.  In 1959

it was officially named Epworth Village after John Wesley’s hometown and has been

constantly improving ever since.  Patrick Garcia spent a majority of the workshop

time explaining the newest “metamorphosis” of Epworth Village, which has recently

closed down both psychiatric treatment houses and the therapeutic group home due

to a process of “right-sizing” to ensure that every patient always has the best care

possible at all times.  Not only that, but closing down the on-site homes also allows

for people to receive more outpatient therapy and in-home safety services; doing so

eliminates the worry of the transitional period back into the home.  The two main

goals of Epworth Village are to provide hope and healing and the dedicated Epworth

Village staff all work together to serve God and fulfill those intentions.

For more information or to donate, please visit the Epworth Village website: http://

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Poverty Session I

At Mission U, formerly known as the School of Christian Mission the Micah Corps interns took a class on Poverty. The first poverty session we discussed Deuteronomy 15:11 which says, “There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be open handed toward your fellow Israelites who are poor and needy in your land.”

We made a list of words that come to our mind when we hear the word “poverty.” Some of those words include: hunger, lack of education, economic inequality, food desert, unemployment, health issues, doing without utilities, difficult choices, and homeless. While these are common words that are associated with “poverty” we are still called to care for the poor. Poverty has been a problem since Biblical times. We can’t just give to the poor because giving = fixing and fixing is short term. If we truly want to help the poor we need to start looking at the injustices in our worldly and governmental systems here in the United States and across the Nations.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Mission U: Poverty Session II

     This year, the Micah Corps participated in the weekend portion of Mission U, formerly the Schools of Christian Mission. We took part in a three-part series about poverty and justice led by one of our own co-shepherdesses Andrea Paret. The core text of the program, "poverty" edited by Jack A. Keller Jr., covered poverty from a wide range of perspectives; from the practices of John Wesley to the conflicts of consumerism. The second workshop covered precisely these points, along with facing the global reality of poverty. Using several sources and mediums, Andrea guided discussion and small-group text studies in identifying the key messages from the founder of our religion, the world around us, and how to be a companion rather than a consumer. It was remarkable to hear all of the revelations around us, as friends openly discussed new views and solutions as they were presented around such a universal issue. One of the last things we did was watch a video entitled "A Photographer's Mission with the Poor" about traveling photographer Paul Jeffrey whose mission is to connect images of global lifestyles with people who have never experienced them.
Ideas for Action: Visit to learn more about Paul Jeffrey and see his latest photos and visit to be inspired to work with one another rather than for.

Monday, July 15, 2013


On Sunday July 14th, Tori Osler and Omar Cruz had the privilege to be in Tecumseh UMC in Kansas and present their immigration presentation to our family in Christ in Kansas. Little did we know that Tecumseh UMC was going to be host to a guest musician who shared* his music on the same day Micah Corps was giving their presentation. His name is David Boyles, he is from Tecumseh, Kansas and attends a different church but stops by at Tecumseh UMC once in a while to share his lovely music. So after Tori and Omar gave the immigration presentation, David Boyle went up on the stage and shared an amazing song, called Deportees (Plane Wreck at Los Gatos). He started with an article from The New York Times, and it was about a deadly plane crash that happened on January 28, 1948 near Los Gatos Canyon close to Fresno, California. The lyrics explain that this plane crash occurred near Los Gatos Canyon, and they were transporting undocumented immigrants back to Mexico. The sad part of this story is that the media and news reporters identified these victims as deportees, not by their names. So David sang that song for us and it was just heart touching, as I said little did we know that David had chosen such a perfect song to sing to the congregation. After the service we talked to him about how he chose this song. He said he did some research on us and saw that we were giving a presentation of some sort of social issue, but did not know it was about immigration. God had something special for us that Sunday morning and it was a true blessing to hear that amazing song.

Act of Action! Let’s welcome our immigrants friends, documented and undocumented.

*Just a side note, David Boyle did not write this song, he got it from the internet. This song belongs to Woody Guthrie. Woody Guthrie stood up for justice and wrote protest songs like the song Deportees.

For more details click the links below:,0,2642231.htmlstory

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Scavenger Hunt through the Old Market

The Old Market
This morning (Tuesday June 10th) Micah Corps started at Urban Abbey in downtown Omaha. The Micah Corps actually went on a scavenger hunt through the Old Market. This activity is called I-Spy a Neighborhood Community: Exploring the Neighborhood with New Eyes in the Old Market hosted by Lisa Maupin and Jaimee Trobough. Lisa and Jaimee gave us pictures of random things in the Old Market and we had to look for them and, later, discuss their meanings in the community. Let me tell you, we did find a lot of the signs or locations in the pictures, and some were difficult to find.   The main point of this activity is to go out there and see how the Old Market community is friendly and unfriendly to the vulnerable people living there.  For example, we had to look for a handicap parking sign in the Old Market parking area. Unfortunately we did not see handicap parking signs that often through our scavenger hunt. Another example is the Safe Place sign. If you are asking yourself, what is a Safe Place sign, a Safe Place sign means that a business is certified to help if someone, mostly mothers and children, needs a place to stay or a shelter. They can go inside and a staff of that business can help them by giving the more information. We saw Safe Place signs in some business in the Old Market. This is a great activity that we can do in our own communities; it is simple and fun to do with anyone and this is a great opportunity to learn more about our own home communities.

Look Who We Found

The Micah Corps Interns ate at a place called “Table Grace Cafe” in downtown Omaha today (Wednesday July 10, 2013) after we met with some people who work for the United Methodist Ministries. Table Grace Cafe is a Cafe is a place that “everyone regardless of economic status, deserves the chance to eat wonderful food while being treated with respect and dignity.” Table Grace Cafe serves gourmet pizza, salad, and soups on a daly basis. There is no set price for the food and different varieties of pizza, salad, and soup are prepared daily by fresh ingredients. There is a donation box for the food, so you can give as much as you feel led to or can afford. Table Grace Cafe's mission is, “to foster a healthy community by offering great food prepared and served in a graceful manner to anyone who walks through the door.” 

The Micah Corps team outside of the Table Grace Cafe in down town Omaha!

While at Table Grace today, intern Rachel Linch, saw a man walk in the door to have some lunch. She had to take a double look and realized that she recognized that man so she asked interns Cassie and Tori if it was the man she thought it was. It was and they were all three thrilled to see him. They met this guy while working at the Open Door Mission in Omaha a couple weeks ago. They helped conduct mock interviews one day for people who are wanting to get back in the work force. He noticed us sitting across the Cafe and said hello. All of us made some small talk and in the middle of our small talk he slipped in that he has a job now! Praise God! It was so exciting to hear that our work helped him in the process of getting back into the working world! I truly believe that we were all meant to be there at the same time so we could hear the story about how this man that we helped practice interviews just a couple weeks ago has already found a job!

For information about the Table Grace Cafe visit:

Friday, July 12, 2013

The Big Garden: A Community Opportunity

The Micah Corps was getting used to being in with fluorescent lighting, but we certainly got some sunshine on Tuesday, as we worked in the Big Garden right next to Sacred Heart Ministries! We tugged at weeds, got a bit muddy, and enjoyed some good conversation with Matt Freeman, the Big Garden coordinator from United Methodist Ministries (UMM). Matt informed us that the Big Garden Project started out with a goal of establishing 12 community gardens, but expanded to much bigger numbers, as there are now 81 community gardens in Nebraska that attribute their start to the Big Garden through UMM. UMM has a program in which a Big Garden must be independent of them in 3 years, so that the community takes ownership of that garden. What fantastic ministry! But, what is this ministry all about? Why do we need community gardens?

                Food deserts, or areas where there is not access to affordable, healthy food items (i.e. places where a convenience store is the only place to get food for the family), are prevalent across Nebraska, especially in rural areas and lower-income urban communities. Many of these communities have high percentages of refugees. Nathan Morgan, director of UMM, filled the Micah Corps in on a specific instance where a community garden impacted a refugee community in a positive way:

 There had been a shooting in the parking lot of an apartment complex housing mostly Bhutanese refugees. The people in the complex were fearful of leaving their homes, until the president of the Bhutanese Refugee Association took the initiative and decided they could not go on living like that, huddled inside their homes. He decided to start a community garden. Soon after the garden was started, the people in the community began to take pride in where they live, and violence and crime dwindled.

 It’s amazing what taking pride in one’s community can do, and how a community garden can assist in those feelings of ownership. The vegetables produced in the gardens are great, and they feed hungry people who do not have access to healthy food. But in reality, the  gardens are not about vegetables, they are about people and community.

Interested in volunteering at a Big Garden, starting a Big Garden in your community, or even just learning more about the Big Garden Project? Click on the following link:

Monday, July 8, 2013

     While Omar and Rachel gallivanted around the Great West District, Tori, Rach, and myself spent time at the Open Door Mission, a campus complete with housing facilities for diverse needs, a bustling thrift store and pantry, and a cafeteria with daily-made meals. Contrary to the expected image of volunteering like serving food, watching kids, and pulling weeds among other things, much of what we did had to do with the behind-the-scenes aspect of their ministry. Whether sorting through tenant files, making room for new curriculum, or combining all of their resources in one, organized list, a lot of our work seemed very mundane at times and it was difficult to see the reaping of any of our good intent.
Tori sorts through present participants in Lydia House!
     However, we came to a sort of peace understanding that there IS a grey area of charity which moves closer to justice. In our quest to distinguish these two concepts throughout the summer, the basic definitions we have come to are that charity is taking care of the immediate need in an act of compassion while justice takes care of the root of injustice over time as a movement of compassion. Organizations such as Open Door Mission  create a blurred area between the two. While they may not challenge the national social structure, they certainly are continuing to grow and adapt within their own structure and that of the state of Nebraska. It was a true pleasure working with such wonderful staff and volunteers and being able to meet face to face with some benefactors of the diverse aid Open Door Mission provides!
Rach calls people interested in Lydia House!
Idea for Action: Next time you’re in Omaha, stop by the ODM, sign up for a tour, and witness the true power of mercy.

Poetic Reflections from the Open Door Mission

After spending time at the Open Door Mission (ODM), Cassie, Rachel, and Tori took a moment to reflect through haikus. Here are some of our reflections:

Rachel Linch:

Waving hi and bye
New friends, faces, and people
Shining smiles seen
I wrote this Haiku the day after we did the Mock interviews at the Open Door Mission (we were the interviewers and the guests of the ODM were being interviewed). During lunch that next day we saw one of the men that we helped interview and he was waving at us and smiling and I could tell by the look on his face that he was so grateful that we were there to help with the interviews. On our way out of lunch I saw another one of the men and he said hello to us as we walked by. It was good to be able to touch others' lives by helping them learn how to interview for a job!

Tori Osler

What good does this do?
Frustration surges through me
So much to do here

We have made a difference
Helped more than I thought

While we were filing and filing, it seemed never-ending and pointless at times. I kept thinking "What good am I really doing by filing all these papers?" But, after we had completed our filing, the staff at the ODM were incredibly appreciative of our work, and said that because we had caught them up on their filing, they could spend more time with clients, bettering their ministry. What a great feeling to know that we really DID make a difference!

Cassie Reid

Calling former friends,
 Eager to meet Lydia,
 Or now have a home.

In our time at ODM, one of our tasks was to call people who had expressed interest in Lydia House and confirm I they were still in need of their programs. While we left a lot of voicemails, many who picked up, whether or not they needed Lydia House, were grateful just to be remembered and treated as people and not clients.