First United Methodist Church in DeKalb invites the public to its annual Missionary Dinner at 5 p.m. Aug. 3. The menu will include sloppy joes, corn on the cob, chips and cookies.
Special guest Dr. Elma Jocson, a missionary surgeon from the Philippines, will share her experiences serving at Ganta United Methodist Hospital in Liberia, Africa. She previously served at Tansen Hospital in rural Nepal. Doc Elma, as she calls herself, is no ordinary surgeon, and her stories of her life in Liberia and the people she has served there are as fascinating as they are enlightening.
Doc Elma first connected with the DeKalb church through Ellen Piper, a member of United Methodist Women. In 2006, the leader of Circle 2 passed around a card to each member with the name of a missionary to contact and introduce themselves. Two members received responses back. Piper, who had joined only two months previously, was unaware of what missionary work involved and had hoped her designated contact would ignore the introductory email she had sent.
To Piper’s initial disappointment, Doc Elma responded immediately, and because Piper’s first career was a nurse, she was curious, and nervous, about contacting the doctor. Since that day the two have communicated and connected on a personal, as well as professional level. Doc Elma sends newsletters that have been shared with the DeKalb church circle. The doctor often describes cases and outcomes of her varied surgeries.
Danger is ever present in Liberia, both in the country itself and because of limited health care.
“My faith is the only thing that sustains me here,” Doc Elma wrote.“Wednesday Chapel service is when people give their testimonies. It’s very common to hear Liberians thanking God for being ‘able to see this day’ or ‘to be counted among the living.’ After years of civil conflict and the ever present threat of diseases, Liberians are often heard to say, ‘It’s not easy-oh!’ It is true, life here is not easy.”
Tickets for the event cost $10 each, or bring the family for $25. All proceeds will be used to support mission work. Tickets can be purchased at the door the night of the event, and pre-purchases are always welcome. They will be available at the church office at 321 Oak St. during regular office hours and at the church at fellowship time on July 21 and 28.
Everyone is welcome.
Information about the church including worship times can be found by calling the church at 815 756-6301, on their website at www.firstumc.net or their Facebook page at First United Church of DeKalb.