“And I planted a tree…
By Bella Simonetti*
“We only have one world and we are God’s stewards on taking care of it. Taking care of the earth is not just something we should do, but it is our responsibility.”
—Rey Oliver Faros, Global Mission Fellow from the Philippines serving in Japan PHOTO COURTESY OF REY FABROS
Fellows from the 2016-2018 class on the International Track of the Global Mission Fellows Program made a covenant at their mid-term event to plant trees all over the world to promote good relationships with the earth and God, and to take one small step towards creating healthier communities. This year, Global Mission Fellows fulfilled the proposal made in 2016 and planted trees at their placement sites around the world.
In solidarity with these Fellows the Young Adult Mission Service office, in partnership with the United Methodist Committee on Relief, planted a tree outside Global Ministries’ headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia.
On a sunny Friday, April 20, 2018, staff from Global Ministries and UMCOR gathered alongside Global Mission Fellows alumni around an oak sapling. Donning hard hats and safety vests, staff rolled up their sleeves, grabbed shovels, and dug a hole. After planting the tree, GMF alumni prayed in unison and blessed the tree.
“As we plant this tree this day,” they said together, “we heed the call to be in right relationship with God, right relationship with one another, and right relationship with the earth and all of creation as we strive to bring God’s kingdom to earth.”
“Be a sign of peace to Global Ministries, in Atlanta, and in all the earth,” said Jenny Phillips, UMCOR’s Creation Care program manager, as she blessed the tree.
Global Mission Fellows alumni helped plant a tree outside of Global Ministries' headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. PHOTO: ANTHONY TRUEHEART
“Several local environmental groups are currently working on the reforestation process in various areas of the Philippines, hoping to reverse the effects of what occurred in the past. I might be miles away, but I am showing my support in this campaign by planting a tree.”
– Nina Guzman, GMF from the Philippines, serving in South Africa PHOTO COURTESY OF NINA GUZMAN
“As a Global Mission Fellow together with members of Preaktoal Methodist Church in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, we commemorated Earth Day by planting an orange-lime tree. Our sole objective is to come together and eliminate the problems of pollution, poverty, and injustice.”
– Edmund Makowa, GMF from Zimbabwe, serving in Cambodia PHOTO COURTESY OF EDMUND MAKOWA
“We planted a Kiwi tree in an open space so that everyone can enjoy these fruits as much as we do. We believe that it’s necessary to preserve the environment because the environment sustains us.”
– Sharon Kiruki and Meli’sa-Kaye Robotham, GMFs from Kenya and the Caribbean, serving in Germany PHOTO COURTESY OF SHARON KIRUKI/MELI’SA-KAYE ROBOTHAM
“I am working with farmers, trying to educate them on disaster preparedness, food safety, and nutrition. On Earth Day, I stand together with the whole world in commemorating this day, and I planted a tree.”
– Zviko Simango, GMF from Zimbabwe, serving in Malawi PHOTO COURTESY OF ZVIKO SIMANGO
*Bella Simonetti is a communications specialist for Global Ministries.