Midwest Mission expands to Jefferson Iowa

Midwest Mission expands to Jefferson Iowa

March 13, 2023

For years the Midwest Mission’s facility in Pawnee, Illinois, has been booked with volunteers—sometimes even one to two years in advance—and cannot add more space at its current site. Because of these restraints, their board of directors sought opportunities to expand their operations in the North Central Jurisdiction. They chose Jefferson, Iowa, as their new location because of Iowa’s Mission Ingathering and its strong historical ties to Midwest Mission.

Midwest Mission is a Christian organization that works to show God’s love in a practical way to those in need in their time of crisis. They send tangible resources to those in need to make an intangible difference in their lives through hope and empowerment.

Danille Curtis, the Iowa Coordinator for Midwest Mission, is from Paton and Jefferson First UMCs. She has been committed to The United Methodist Church and has a big heart for missions.
“I always tell people I am a true United Methodist. My dad came from the Evangelical United Brethren Church, and my mom was a Methodist, and in 1968, when they got married, it was the same year that the two denominations merged,” said Curtis. “So, I just tell people I am the epitome of United Methodist… I’ve always been involved. I grew up in the small town of Paton, IA, in Northern Greene County. I was active in my church, went to Simpson College, and was active in the Religious Life Council.”
When UMCOR Sager Brown depot closed because of the pandemic, Curtis and her family visited Midwest Mission in Illinois to gain hands-on experience and learn more about the distribution site.
“I’d always been active in the mission program in church and Mission Ingathering, and I thought, you know, I just need to see what’s going on and figure out what this Midwest Mission is. So, we scheduled a time that my whole family could volunteer. Those two days were life-changing. I could feel God push me, saying, ‘this is something I want you to see and feel and do,’” said Curtis.
Jefferson First United Methodist Church became a collection site in Iowa shortly after her visit and has had a trailer for collection ever since then. Curtis and her husband have been going to Illinois several times yearly to take Iowa donations. 

One day, Curtis saw an ad for a communication position for Midwest Mission on their Facebook page, so she applied. The executive director immediately texted her to verify that Curtis wanted the job enough to move to Illinois. Curtis said that if God wanted her to do that, then she would do it.

Chantel Corrie, executive director of Midwest Mission, had a better idea. She wanted to plant people in different states for speaking engagements and pulpit fill and spread the word about Midwest Mission.

Corrie hired Curtis as the Iowa Coordinator. Her responsibilities include management of the Iowa collection site, speaking around the Iowa Conference about Midwest Mission, and hosting volunteer events in Jefferson.
“We’ve just had tremendous support and have had anywhere from five to 25 come for our volunteer days show up from all around Iowa. The Holy Spirit is definitely working because things were just kind of clicking and falling into place. We could tell that God was ready for this here and found this great building that’s been sitting empty,” said Curtis.

Curtis let the President of Greene County Development Corporation (GCDC) know they wanted to obtain a property in Jefferson. He notified Curtis when it was clear a business would be vacating a building in town that is only a few blocks from the church. 
The building was a grocery store previously but had been renovated into office space. It has docks in the back and a large parking lot that can accommodate NOMADS, who often volunteer at Midwest Mission.
“We were expecting the building would need repairs but were very pleased to find it in excellent condition and very up to date with a good roof, windows, and mechanical. GCDC has been very helpful getting this building secured for our use—they see tremendous value in having Midwest Mission in Jefferson and are working hard to make this a successful venture,” said Curtis.  

Currently, the Jefferson location is processing personal dignity kits and making sleeping mats. In the future, they hope to be doing much more, including packaging rice meal packs. In addition, they always take donations such as medical equipment, sewing machines, and any items in the Midwest Mission kits.​

“It’s harder and harder to get people to come into the church, but when you can get them to serve together, it creates bonds, and then they want to come to church. Once they have that moving experience, like using their hands to weave a mat on a loom, it draws them closer and makes them want to be part of the group,” said Curtis.
The Jefferson, Iowa, location for Midwest Mission hopes to attract volunteers from Nebraska, the Dakotas, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. 
For more information about Midwest Mission, visit https://www.midwestmission.org.

Midwest Mission was founded by the United Methodist Church in 2000, and everyone is welcome to engage in their ministry. Supplies are given freely through their trusted partner non-profits, who work with people from all places and backgrounds. Everything is done with donations from individuals, churches, and groups and with volunteer labor. Midwest Mission borrows no money and receives no money from church apportionments or the UMCOR yearly offering, One Great Hour of Sharing. The Center works closely with UMCOR but is not a part of UMCOR.