Lydia Patterson Institute Interns Boost Ministries at Four Arkansas Congregations

LITTLE ROCK, ARK. (July 14, 2017) – Four Lydia Patterson Institute (LPI) interns are working in Arkansas congregations this summer thanks to grants from the United Methodist Foundation of Arkansas. The interns are students of the United Methodist college preparatory school in El Paso, Texas, sponsored by the South Central Jurisdiction of the United Methodist Church.

“We should all be proud and thankful for the UMC’s ministry at Lydia Patterson,” said Jim Argue, Jr., UMFA President and CEO. “I’ve been there. I’ve seen the commitment and the gratitude shown by these students. If you visit LPI, you’d be inspired, too. Believe me; we are transforming the world at LPI.”

“These internships are an excellent way for our Arkansas congregations to get to know the work of LPI,” said Bishop Gary Mueller, who also recently visited LPI. “Christian faith, values, and knowledge converge at the school to give students from Mexico a cross-cultural educational opportunity.”

Without the support of United Methodist congregations, our LPI students would be on the streets in Mexico, according to LPI Director of Development Richard Hearne. “Through the internship program, the LPI students see exactly what living in the U.S is about and when they leave Arkansas at the end of the summer they will not be the same, nor with the churches they are serving,” he said.

Felixhy Dominguez, a recent LPI graduate whose goal is to become a church communications professional, is getting a taste of that job this summer at Central UMC in Fayetteville. “It’s working out fabulously,” said Rev. Jan Davis. “She wants to learn to communicate for God and here she’s writing blogs, taking photographs, and posting on social media for church activities.”

Felixhy will attend Central Methodist University in Lafayette, Missouri, this fall to begin formal training for her communications career. Her experiences at Central UMC have also included working with children and youth.

“I just got back from OMP in Little Rock where I did a lot of scraping and painting,” she said. “It was a hard job, but we were working for God’s children and not for ourselves.”

Ozark Mission Project is just one of the ministries Pamela Marquez has undertaken during her internship at Pulaski Heights UMC in Little Rock. She helped a mission team get ready for an August trip to Guatemala, sorting and packing supplies. A good cook already, Pamela wants to study culinary arts at El Paso Community College.

“I’m an extra hand when needed, and I’ve had the opportunity to make new friends and practice my English,” said the 11th grader from LPI. “I’ve helped with youth, and I think they are learning about a different culture by getting to know me.”

Karla Delgadillo, another LPI junior, attended Annual Conference with the First UMC, Conway, youth delegation and the Hendrix Youth Institute where high school students discussed their calls to ministry. She’s also helped teach Vacation Bible School and operated the food pantry.

“Karla has given our congregation a wonderful opportunity to practice hospitality, build relationships, and learn from someone from another country,” said Rev. Michael Roberts. “She’s been able to expand her understanding of the possibilities for church ministry while being exposed to a new culture.”

Rev. Roy Smith of First UMC, Russellville, is enthusiastic about the contribution Santiago Tarin made to a recent mission trip to Acuna in Mexico. “Our youth have been building houses in Mexico for several years, but Santiago enriched this experience with his people skills and translations.”

“I want to speak the word of God,” said Santiago, who will start his junior year at LPI this fall. “I asked God to show me if that is my call. Now that I am here, I can see what it is to be on the inside of church work and how it operates.”

LPI recently launched a capital funds campaign seeking gifts to help address critical facility issues. To support the LPI campaign, UMFA also has made a commitment that it will match donations up to $250,000 to LPI from Arkansas UMC local churches and members until June 30, 2020. To be eligible for the match, gifts should be made directly to UMFA and designated to the LPI campaign.

The United Methodist Foundation of Arkansas manages $154 million in endowment funds and other charitable assets that benefit local churches and other United Methodist ministries. The UMFA is one of the largest United Methodist Foundations in the country. Founded in 1963, the UMFA is responsible for over 750 funds that support United Methodist ministries.