Stories from MATE: MATE builds lives!
May 2021
Dear Friends,
 
The morning started early, the group was excited, and we joined together singing “Johnny Appleseed” as we smelled sausage and pancakes sizzling on the grill. It was another day at MATE, and we were about to begin repairing Jim and Elsa’s house. They had lived in the same home for sixty years. Elsa could no longer navigate on her own and needed a walker to get in and out. The roof had sprung a leak, the side porch had begun to swing away from the house and back steps needed to be replaced. Here we were, twelve city slickers, wondering what could we do?
 
We had brought tools. Anything we didn’t have, MATE provided. Hammers were swinging, saws were buzzing, conversation was joyful. It turned out we knew more than we thought about the repairs to be done. Soon a new wheelchair ramp was in place; Elsa gave it a dry run with her walker. Jim was so happy he got the keys to their van, and they went shopping - the first time Elsa had been out of the house in months. Then a new set of steps was built, the old lopsided porch straightened, the roof leak secured. Jim and Elsa once again had a safe and livable home. We had started our work believing that there was little we could do and ended up improving lives.
 
But that’s not the half of it. While we worked, we learned about this family’s life and just how strong folks in this part of Maine are. Back 50 years ago Jim and Elsa raised their family here. There were 5 children with no running water or electricity. We heard how they went to the local creek to get water. In the winter they took an axe to break the ice. We learned about the tools shed, full of tools that had been Jim’s livelihood repairing vehicles and helping to keep other families in jobs and able to buy food. We became friends. On the closing evening when everyone gathered for our final meal, we also learned of the deep gratitude the families felt for the work that had been done.
 
Do you want to have an eye-opening experience? Do you want to make a difference in this world? Do you want to not only repair homes but build lives? Come and join us this summer. As the book of James tells us, “Faith without works is dead.” Bring your faith to life and join us at MATE!
 
Peace,
Eric Markman, MATE Board of Directors
Welcome: New Faces at MATE!

Welcome to MATE, Dan Flint!

Dan Flint, new operations manager for MATE Housing Ministry, is already at MATE for the summer. He is ready to get to work for the 2021 MHM project season! MATE is so excited to have him with us.


Welcome to our 3 new MATE Board of Director members!

Joy Dyer, from Kingfield, ME, has served a variety of roles at MATE and CATE over the years. For fun she trains Finnegan, her Blue Merle Australian Shepard, as a therapy dog.

George Reese, Bedford, NH, has worked as MATE Housing Ministry volunteer for 12 years, leading Bedford Presbyterian Church youth mission teams. George is also known for his sense of humor and all-around fun.

Ann Marie Simone lives in Farmington, ME with her cat, Blessing. They love reading and photography. She was a CLP and pastor of the North Turner Union Presbyterian Church from 2005 to 2011.

We will share more about our new staff and Board members over the next few months.
Joy Dyer
George Reese
Ann Marie Simone
MATE Housing Ministry

Volunteer to work at MATE this summer for the time of your life!
The families MATE serves desperately need help from volunteers; you can be a volunteer for MATE Housing Ministry this summer. It will work out. God is there too. Please take that first step.

For tips/questions on getting started at MATE, contact MATE Executive Director Rev. Thea Kornelius, rev.thea.mate@gmail.com. For the volunteer application and more information, click on the button below.

If you have ever wondered about going on a work team trip, or thought there might be interest in your church and don't know how or where to start, there are experienced folks to help answer questions. Contact Larry Cowen, Mission Elder at Bedford Presbyterian Church, at lcowen@usa.net. Be or find a champion in your congregation: someone who will spearhead the effort. You will be surprised how many members take and follow the lead.

Please note: Because of COVID-19, University of Maine Farmington is currently not allowing non-UMF groups to use student dorms this summer. To accommodate volunteer work teams which need housing while working in Maine, MATE has identified a number of affordable and pleasant housing and kitchen cooking alternatives. Thea Kornelius can share the most up-to-date list with team organizers when she is contacted.

***Maine Covid-19 Guidelines (from the state website): As of May 1, 2021, Maine no longer requires proof of a negative test or quarantine for travelers to the state. Maine launched the Keep Maine Healthy plan as a multilayered approach that aims to protect Maine people, protect visitors, and support Maine small businesses by reducing, to the greatest extent possible, COVID-19 risks associated with travel. This multilayered approach builds off successful efforts to ensure Maine businesses are implementing added health and safety precautions through detailed COVID-19 Prevention Checklists, which require a number of measures from wearing face masks to physical distancing procedures.

Up-to-date guidelines are at this link: Maine state covid-19 guidelines; more information is at Newscenter Maine
MATE's 3:1 Super Spring Challenge! A matching grant!
A generous donor has challenged MATE with a 3:1 matching grant between now and the middle of June. If we raise $9,000, we will receive a $27,000 matching gift to buy needed building supplies to support MATE’s Housing Ministry’s (MHM’s) home repair program for underserved people in need of safe homes!
 
With building repair supply costs doubling over last year, what a difference these funds could make. Our volunteer work teams could complete more ramps and home repairs so our neighbors in need will be warm, healthy and safe.
 
As always, thank you for supporting MATE’s work. MATE is able to “love our neighbor” because of YOU!
Community news : Fairbanks yard sale
You are invited...
If you are working with MATE Housing Ministry or in the Farmington area on July 9-10, the Deacons of Fairbanks Union Church invite you to come check out their yard sale that weekend. 
MATE Youth Connection (MYC)

An update on Camp at The Eastward (CATE)...

Update on Camp at the Eastward (CATE): The Leadership Commission (LC) of the Presbytery of Northern New England is sending a small group of the LC to visit CATE. There will also be an upcoming presbytery town hall to discuss the possibilities for the property. Please check presbytery communications and www.pnne.org for updates regarding CATE.
Summer 2021: Introducing Camp Wilmot….

Located in Wilmot, NH, northwest of Concord, NH, Camp Wilmot is 200 acres of natural beauty. Camp is a place where campers, ages 8-16, enjoy activities like archery, canoeing, kayaking, swimming, a ropes course, arts and crafts, nature, dancing, music, and more. Days include worship services and Bible studies, and campers explore their own Christian faith and personal relationships to God.

For more information about Camp Wilmot, check their website at this link: Camp Wilmot. From the website about COVID-19: “We are committed to following the best practices recommended by the CDC and the American Camping Association, as well as abiding by the guidance of local governments and boards of health.”

CATE campers who want to attend Camp Wilmot can contact Thea Kornelius to connect with Camp Wilmot. If financial assistance or transportation is needed for previous CATE campers to attend, please email Thea Kornelius, rev.thea.mate@gmail.com. Assistance is confidential.
Annual plant sale and raffles

Benefits MATE youth programs and camp scholarships...

When: Saturday, May 29; 9 am - 1 pm
Where: Industry Town Hall
Raffles: Gardening basket, family fun basket, homemade bread and jellies basket, 2 vermiculture bins (vermicomposting demo at sale).

For more information or to donate plants, call Maria at 778-9404 or Val at 779-7753

A Little GLOW
Attention All Youth 12 and up!!! Check out the New England Glow- Middle & High School Youth Group. This is a group committed to providing fun and engaging opportunities for our older youth in New England. They have events that will allow youth all over the region to connect with other teens. Stay tuned for more information about in-person events that are being planned as well as weekly online opportunities for fun. Check out the new website http://www.newenglandglow.org/ and the public New England GLOW Facebook page.

An update on Jikani in South Africa
A new administrator appointed
From MATE's annual report: In 2000, MATE’s programming become international in scope with the creation of the South-African Partnership (SAP) with a relationship established with the Amathole Presbytery in South Africa. The focus of this project morphed into a home gardening ministry in the Tyhume valley. SAP was closed by MATE in 2019 but now exists under the Presbytery of Northern New England (PCUSA). In December of 2020, MATE gave the last of MATE's SAP funds to Jikani Mission in South Africa to support their good work.

It is with a feeling of proud South Africans, that Jikani has appointed it's first Xhosa administrator to manage the community project in Hogsback.
 
Siyabulela Masiza was one of six applicants for this position. His fluency in Xhosa, keen inquiring mind, and computer skills made him our first choice.

His name means “Gratefulness / we are thankful.”

Siya has just taken the initiative to arrange for upgrading our IT platform using Skillswise. In February this year, Skillswise became an accredited training provider. That means the certificate carries a lot more weight, especially if a student is applying for a position with a government department or municipality.
 
Skillswise has also been able to set up a relatively quick way for students who have completed the program to gain 40 credits on the SAQA (South African Quality Assurance) system. This adds another push to get students to the front of the queue when applying for a job, and especially if they wish to apply to a TVET College for further studies.
 
There will be cost involved to upgrade our Raspberry Pi computers of around R500. The cost for each student to run this course is R800 per course. Jikani intends giving full or half bursaries to promising students. These costs will be covered by funds which MATE has so kindly donated to Jikani in December 2020.

Thanking you, once again, for investing in young peoples' lives in the way of improving their education.
 
Blessings,
Norma Fivaz   Chair: Jikani Board
MATE's Giving Partners - 2021
For all of your support and contributions, we are blessed! Thank you, All, for your generous gifts!

Mission Partner Grantors
Anonymous donor through the Maine Community Foundation
United Way of the Tri-Valley Area/Leap Explosion Fund, ME
The Ruth Carnwith Trust
Synod of the Northeast, Presbyterian Church (USA)

Mission Partner Churches
First Presbyterian Church of Springfield NJ
The Dover Church, UCC, MA
First Presbyterian Church of Dutch Neck, NJ
New Portland Community Church, ME
Fairbanks Union Church, ME
Church of the Covenant, Boston MA
First Congregational Church of North Anson, ME
Hildale Park Presbyterian Church, NJ
Marturia Presbyterian Church, NH
Leeds Community Church, ME

Mission Partner Community Members
David Mackey, NH
Bruce and Paula Olsen, NH
Julie Palmason, NH

To all who contributed a donation in honor of Dan Flint’s retirement, MATE says, Thank you!
volunteers_thankyou_hdr.jpg