Dear VMM Supporters and Friends,
As many of you know, Volunteer Missionary Movement has spent the last six months discerning its future. We are deeply grateful to all those who contributed to the conversation about what makes VMM so appealing and discussed ways to keep VMM viable. It is evident that the Spirit has been present in this process. The rich wisdom literature from the Hebrew Scriptures spoke to our decision:
There is an appointed time for everything, and a time for everything under the heavens.A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to uproot the plant. A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to tear down, and a time to build. A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance. (Ecclesiastes 3)
We, the Board of Directors of VMM, have decided that 2017 will be the final year of Volunteer Missionary Movement USA. Our sister organization, VMM-International will carry on the Spirit and Lifestyle from its offices in Ireland and the UK. The words of Edwina Gateley, our foundress, helped support our conversation:
Maybe the Holy Spirit is doing a new thing – as She did with the VMM 46 years ago… The vision is yet dim – we see “in a mirror darkly” but we know it is there, for God is faithful and will create anew on the foundations of what we, in the VMM-USA, have so faithfully built in the last 35 years.
We have achieved much, We have made a difference in the world. We must recognize that and celebrate it.
This decision was not made lightly and the focus has always been on our missioners and the communities in which they serve. A recent blog post by Alli Stiffney sums up the “onda,” or feeling, VMM volunteers have about their commitment to accompany the people they live and work alongside:
It has been such a blessing to feel accepted by our community here in San Nicolás. I thought I knew about hospitality and what it means to be a good host, but so many here in Nicaragua have shown us what it means to TRULY host someone with time, talk, and a cafecito (a bit of coffee!) We feel like the luckiest volunteers in the world.
All those who have served with VMM likely feel the same way. They could not have lived through their experience without the financial and spiritual support of so many of you: benefactors, families, friends, and religious communities. To all of you, we say THANKS.
At this time we are not soliciting donations for VMM-USA however monies that continue to be received will be used to support our current missioners. Monies remaining following our closing will be distributed to likeminded organizations
Just like we hear in Ecclesiastes, “there is a time to laugh and dance,” we intend to do just that and close VMM with a celebration. The Board plans for 2017 to be a year of gratitude. The plan is to celebrate and remember while walking with our final round of volunteers: Kyle and Alli Stiffney and Clare Morrison. Over the next few months VMM will be reaching out to you for input as to how to finalize VMM-USA. Please do take a few minutes when you receive the survey that will be coming out, to share your input. VMM-USA will also be asking for your stories, experiences, and pictures that you would like to share that speak to your VMM experience so as to archive our wonderfully enriching history.
Again, thank you for your sustained support of VMM and we hope you will join us in celebrating the 35 transformative years of VMM-USA.
Sue Hood, VMM President
William and Kristin Byrnes
Rosemary Huddleston, OP
Sr. Susan Kolb, CSA
Krzysztof Pipa SVD