United Methodist Women foremothers learned early on that education was going to be a key factor if they were to be effective in answering God’s call to mission with women, children and youth. Their zeal for mission was certain, but it was soon apparent to them that more than passion would be needed. And so in 1930 their Woman’s Home Missionary Society started the Schools of Christian Mission program with a study on India and Caribbean Islands. The women quickly added youth and children’s studies, spiritual growth emphases as well as geographic and contemporary issues. Over the years the program grew, and the women also learned the importance of not only learning about neighbors around the world but also listening to them as the experts of their own lives. And over the years, the women began to understand that they were also in mission with themselves, as the Holy Spirit turned the knowledge they gained in the studies into wisdom that transformed them and informed their daily lives and mission outreach.
Today the structured mission education program the foremothers began is called Mission u: Learning Together for the Transformation of the World. Each year more than 20,000 people participate in Mission u events organized by conference organizations of United Methodist Women, sometimes in cooperation with the annual conference. Women also use the mission studies in district and local events.
And we are still learning about the benefits of learning about and from our neighbors across the globe. As we hear the stories of sisters around the world, we learn that while deserts, rivers, oceans and more may separate us, we still have much in common. This issue of response focuses on the 2015-2016 geographic theme that will be studied in Mission u events in every conference: Latin America—People and Faith. Read this issue of response and plan to attend a Mission u near you. Find one at www.unitedmethodistwomen.org/mission-u.