In August 2002, our Sunday school class, the Adventurers, from Christ Church United Methodist (Louisville District) went on a field trip to Henderson Settlement. We toured the facilities as well as the surrounding countryside. One of the members of the class knew it well having grown up in a nearby “holler.” In addition, his great-uncle had been an Indian doctor on the site, then called Laurel Fork, from 1886 to1906.
We became aware of two things: the need for library books and the Maternal Infant Health Outreach Worker (MIHOW) program.
There was no money for library books and children’s books were badly needed. The class began taking loads of books. These were obtained by donation from the congregation and purchase by the class. The archdiocese of Louisville also contributed books from schools recently closed by consolidation when we called them.
Vanderbilt University Medical School started the MIHOW program. They train locally respected women to teach indigent expectant mothers and fathers in care of the upcoming baby. They follow them for three years after the baby is born. During this time, the parents are also encouraged to further their own education. They also take books, clothing, toys, and equipment to these homes on house calls.
The Adventurers have regularly taken these items to Henderson Settlement. They are donated from our congregation, and the most is provided by the United Methodist Women from the “Pass It On Kids Sale” semiannually. The magnitude of goods has amounted to 40-plus SUV loads over these eight years, In addition, the Adventurers have contributed over $40,000 to MIHOW during this same period.
Members of our class attended with pride the ceremony in May 2008 when officials from Vanderbilt presented the women of MIHOW, Frankie Blackburn, and Judy Hurst, a sculpture of a mother holding a baby. This was a special award because they had achieved the highest score ever in MIHOW recertification. Judy was commended for the empowerment of her mothers. Frankie was commended because the Vanderbilt professors feel free to consult her when there are problems at one of other seventeen MIHOW sites.
The UMW magazine Response featured the Henderson Settlement MIHOW in September 2009.
Henderson Settlement is part of the Red Bird Missionary Conference, one of three missionary conferences in the United States. The mission offering at this year’s Annual Conference will benefit the Red Bird Missionary Conference. Bishop Lindsey Davis, bishop of both the Red Bird and Kentucky Conferences, has set a goal of $100,000 that he prays all members will take a personal stake in helping to raise.
June 6, 2010 has been designated as Mission Offering Sunday. All congregations are asked to collect a mission offering either that Sunday or another Sunday prior to the 2010 Annual Conference.
Just a few of the items the Adventurers have taken to MIHOW