Shreve UMC completes successful mission outreach

Shreve UMC completes successful mission outreach
Laurie Sidle

Elliott Wright and his grandmother Peggy Gray help paint Scheck’s IGA during a mission outreach by the Shreve United Methodist Church.


It was nearly 50 years ago, but Barb Long remembers the moment clearly.

She was checking out groceries at Scheck’s IGA in Shreve and realized she didn’t have enough money to pay the bill. Embarrassed, she was about to put some of the groceries back when owner Richard Scheck told her he would simply write her name on the back of the receipt, place it in the cash register drawer, and when she had the money, she could bring it to the store, which she did a few days later.

“He put his trust in me,” Long said, and she’s never forgotten the kindness.

Knowing Scheck has extended generosity to many others in his nearly 60 years in business, the Shreve United Methodist Church chose to beautify the outside of Scheck’s IGA as part of its mission outreach June 7-11.

“By helping people in the community, (Scheck) has had his own ministry,” said Long, a member of the outreach planning committee. “It was our turn to pay him back.”

The five-day event titled “See the Vision, Be the Vision” was co-chaired by Paul McMillen and Gretchen Van Lieu, who also head the church’s missions committee. They chose the theme based on the year 2020 and a perfect vision of 20-20.

“It was about seeing your brother and sister in need and fulfilling that need,” Van Lieu said.

From year to year, Shreve UMC rotates doing out-of-state mission trips and local mission work.

“I have a heart for local mission work,” McMillen said, so he was excited this was the year to stay at home. Specifically, the church decided to focus on the widows and widowers of the church, he said, along with some community projects such as the one at Scheck’s. It represented the final project among 20 that were planned.

A crew painted the outside of the store with donated supplies from local businesses, pulled weeds, cleaned up old pallets and reworked a flower bed in the store’s front yard, adding hostas and daylilies.

“It looks great,” Scheck said a few days later. It was all “unexpected.”

At the Shreve residence of Christa Hatfield, a widow and mother of three children in the home and three grown stepchildren, outreach workers tore down an old one-car garage in a day, making way for construction of a new structure.

“I was blessed to have my Shreve United Methodist family come together to support a widow and her family,” Hatfield said. “It is moments like this that you stand back and ponder, ‘This is what Christ looks like.’ Each one of us has our special talents,” she said, enabling people “to serve as Christ has served and sacrificed for his church.”

Betsy and Marvin Edwards also got some long-awaited work done at their Lakeville home. Workers repaired and painted their porch and built a cement pad at the bottom of a ramp that will make it easier for Marvin Edwards to get his wheelchair out of his van.

Watching the crew at work, Betsy Edwards said, “I truly saw the hands and feet of Jesus.” Both she and her husband were “just so appreciative and so humbled.”

Other jobs involved pressure washing houses, cleaning up felled trees, cleaning out flower beds, rototilling, hauling away trash, and removing brush and weeds. The project received enough monetary donations to hire work done for two roof replacements. Local businesses also were generous in donating supplies.

Those who were served by the outreach were invited to join the work crews for a meal and worship Thursday evening at KenLo Park, a private facility outside Shreve. A severe storm the previous evening downed a tree at the park, which was swiftly cleared away by an outreach crew that was in need of a job on Thursday.

Long said it took her more than an hour and a half to make the phone invitations to those served by the mission project because they were eager to express appreciation. “They talked about how happy they were to see people and how hard people worked,” she said. “They were just so excited about what was done for them.”

Fifty people of all ages registered to be part of “See the Vision, Be the Vision” including Sara Wolf, a college student who also served on the outreach’s planning committee and is a veteran of the church’s mission trips, both home and out of state.

“I really like working for people and hearing their stories,” Wolf said. She said the most recent project was rewarding seeing all the people they were helping.

The mission project was planned before the pandemic, so the committee had to make adjustments for the work camp, Van Lieu said. Participants were encouraged to wear masks if working closely to each other, distance themselves from each other at the morning gathering sessions for breakfast and devotions, and remain outside for all the projects.

Van Lieu said the church really needed that fellowship, having not met for in-person worship since March. And staying local meant more people could participate, especially farmers, who can’t travel this time of year because of field work.

Van Lieu said those who agree to have the work done also step out in faith. “It’s not easy being the one on the receiving end,” she said.

The outreach was a reminder for people “that they are worth receiving love and we care about them,” Van Lieu sad.

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