Lake Oswego United Methodist Church (LOUMC) has entered into a covenant relationship with Teri and Evelyn Erbele, commissioned missionaries with the General Board of Global Ministries (GBGM). To support this relationship we offer financial support ($2,500/year) which is collected through the annual Red Hearts fund raising project during the winter.

The Erbeles have been missionaries with the GBGM since 1989. During the course of those years they have served in Nigeria, Russia, Latvia, and Lithuania. Since 2008 they have been co-pastors of the First United Methodist Church in Ketchikan Alaska, which is part of the Alaska Mission Conference. Their point of focus has been getting the First City Homeless Services (FCHS) up and running as a means of addressing the growing population of homeless, transient and marginally-housed men, women and families in Ketchikan.

 

 The History of the Red Hearts Fund Raising Project

In 2001 the concept of a covenant relationship with commissioned missionaries through GBGM was introduced to LOUMC and was adopted. Our first missionaries were Dan and Kathy Wilson-Fey who at that time were serving in Honduras. The covenant task force discussed ways to raise the $2,500 each year. It was decided we would make red socks and hand them out on the first Sunday of Advent, asking each person or family to save their spare change and return the filled sock on the 4th Sunday in Advent. We have continued this missionary covenant relationship since 2001. After the Wilson-Feys returned to the Oregon-Idaho Conference we chose Gordon and Teca Greathouse serving in Brazil as our new covenant missionaries. After the Greathouse’s were reassigned we chose Evelyn and Teri Erbele in Ketchikan Alaska. In 2016, the timing of the fundraising effort was changed from Advent to the month of February and the Red Socks changed to Red Hearts. We now ask people to “Have a Heart for Missions.”
Each year we have met our goal and any additional money collected is given to the project chosen by the missionaries. As part of this relationship when the missionaries itinerate and are able to visit our church we invite them to share their experiences at an all church soup supper, inviting other churches in the area to participate. We have also had members of our church visit missionaries in Brazil and on their return shared their experiences with our congregation.