Fighting Malaria in Angola

In Florida, mosquitoes are annoying; in East Angola, they are killers. The Rev. Armando Rodriguez Jr. has seen firsthand the devastation that mosquito-borne diseases like malaria can inflict during his many visits to the former Portuguese colony in southwest Africa.

Rodriguez, pastor of First United Methodist Church in Bartow, and his wife, Icel Rodriguez, director of the Florida Conference’s Global Missions, have been visiting East Angola since 2006 and lived there for a year in 2009. During their most recent two-week visit in September, they delivered 1300 pounds of medicine and supplies. As part of its mission partnership in the African country with the East Angola Conference, the Florida Conference is providing medical supplies, support and training, much of it targeting malaria.

“Malaria attacks families with few resources. They must choose between feeding the family or buying medication. And many of them think ‘I will save the rest of the family with food and let this one die,’” Rodriguez said. “Many of the kids are orphans because their parents had malaria.
“The doctors showed us their records. From June through August this year, they tested 600 children for malaria, 500 tested positive,” Rodriguez said. “It’s endemic, and it’s killing them, especially children.”

Malaria, a parasite, enters the bloodstream and reproduces in the liver. Its most common symptom is high fever, but it also can attack the brain, causing permanent damage. Angola has had more than 260,000 cases of malaria in the past year and more than 700 deaths, according to the Africa Times. 
Rodriquez stated that the malaria epidemic is a byproduct of political and economic instability.

Florida Conference’s Global Missions visits the country two or three times a year. They take the medicines and supplies in carry-on luggage. In September, they took 26 50-pound bags, which cost them $3,000 in fees. (Expensive, but worth it, Rodriguez said.)

The government has been supportive of the United Methodist effort, providing mobile medical units and nurses. “We have to bring the fuel and the medicine,” Rodriguez said.
In addition to anti-malarial drugs, Florida Conference teams bring antibiotics, anti-diarrheal medicines, vitamins, skin medication, ringworm drugs and other medical supplies like birthing kits, gloves, and bandages.

Teams travel to remote areas where they test villagers for malaria, distribute drugs to treat it and educate them about how to prevent it, including the use of mosquito netting.

For more about the work of the Florida Conference’s work in Angola, go to this Conference link.

News from the Region, 
the District, and 
the Conference

Hurricane Irma Recovery Efforts

UMCOR and The Florida Conference of The United Methodist Church are collaborating to assist those impacted by Hurricane Irma in Florida who need help completing their recovery. We are actively recruiting multiple full-time employees and volunteer family advocates to manage our efforts in several of the affected areas:

  •  Naples area 
  •  Tampa Bay Area (Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties) 
  •  NE Florida (Putnam, St Johns, and Flagler Counties) 
  •  Sebring/Lake Placid/Moore Haven 
  • Marathon and the lower keys 

Who do we need in each area? Case Managers to partner with clients for their recovery and facilitate resources to assist them; Construction Coordinators who can adequately assess the physical damage to the home to estimate the repair costs to restore them to healthy and safe conditions; Volunteer Coordinators to provide hospitality to volunteer work teams and guidance on the work to be done; and, 
Volunteer Family Advocates who have five or more volunteer hours a week to give assisting case managers and other recovery staff.

The necessary qualities for all these positions include:

  •  The ability to work a full-time, flexible schedule (involving some nights and weekends);
  •  The skill to clearly and effectively communicate with our clients with empathy and compassion;
  •  Experience with accurate and detailed documentation;
  • Proficient computer literacy;
  •  Access to reliable transportation;    
  •  The understanding that this is a ministry that provides practical assistance to survivors.
  •  Active membership in a United Methodist Church is preferred but not required.

Hiring for these positions will be done in stages. The first phase is immediate and will focus on Case Management and Grants Coordination. The second hiring phase in November will continue with those efforts as well as hiring Construction Coordinators and a Volunteer Coordinator.

Phase One training will take place onsite in Lakeland from November 6 - November 8, 2017. Phase Two hiring and training will be in December 2017. Phase Three training dates to be determined for early 2018.

These opportunities will make a substantive and positive difference in the lives of our neighbors in need. Please visit > classifieds for more specific information and to apply. When applying, please send your resume with a cover letter detailing the area in which you want to work, the role for which you’re applying, a brief summary of why you will be successful in this role and your minimum salary requirements.
Hurricane Buckets
We would like to thank Lay Pastor Norma Encarnacion and all the volunteers who came out to assemble and pack hurricane buckets and hygiene kits. Those supplies are destined to the local assembly point at Hyde Park UMC in downtown Tampa, and from there to hurricane survivors in Florida and Puerto Rico.

Hackney Cemetery Volunteers Needed
Our historical Hackney Cemetery is planning its annual Beautification Day for Saturday, November 4th starting at 8 AM. Volunteers are needed to help with raking, pulling weeds, clearing headstones, and so on. If you are interested in participating in this event, you should call Florence Sikes at 677-7606.

Staff Needs
We are looking for someone interested in covering the church office for those periods when our Administrative Assistant takes time off for vacations or illness. If you are interested in this paid position, contact the church office (677-5995) during church office hours. Betty Pace, our Administrative Assistant, is planning to take a vacation in November, so this is a critical request.

We are also looking for several people who may be interested in helping Alicia Lightsey with Facebook and the related PR outlets which the church utilizes. This assistance would require just a few minutes of your time each month in the comfort of your own home. Contact Alicia at 598-9909 if you are interested in capturing and reporting on events and celebrations that occur at our church and letting our neighbors know the services we can provide.

Help Support Our School Partner
RUMC continues to partner with Riverview Elementary School by donating emergency school supplies. Donors can leave their supplies in bins outside the church office. Note that only unopened, packaged, basic school supplies will be accepted.

RUMC Book Club News
The RUMC Book Club is currently reading “The Kashmir Shawl” by Rosie Thomas. Newlywed Nerys Watkins leaves rural Wales for the first time in her life, to accompany her husband on a missionary posting to India. Travelling from lonely Ladakh, high up in the Himalayas, Nerys discovers a new world in the lakeside city of Srinagar. Here, in the exquisite heart of Kashmir, the British live on carved wooden houseboats and dance, flirt, and gossip as if there is no war. But the battles draw ever closer, and life in Srinagar becomes less frivolous when the men are sent away to fight. Nerys is caught up in a dangerous friendship, and by the time she is reunited with her husband, the innocent Welsh bride has become a different woman.

Years later, when Mair Ellis clears out her father's house, she finds an exquisite antique shawl, woven from the finest yarns and embroidered in the shades of lake water and mountain skies. Wrapped within its folds is a lock of child's hair. Tracing her grandparents' roots back to Kashmir, Mair embarks on a quest that will change her life forever.

The RUMC Book Club meets every Saturday morning at 9:00 AM—usually at the home of Connie Mosley, 9720 Lorrayne Road in Riverview. You can contact Connie at 766-7104 for more information.
8002 U. S. Highway 301 South, Riverview, FL  33578  813-677-5995
Pastors Message
About Us

Normal Weekly Recurring 
Events at RUMC
(Call the church office at 677-5995 for more information about these or other events sponsored by the church.)

9:00 AM Faith Groups for All Ages
9:00 AM Children's Choir
10:00 AM Refreshments & Relationships
10:30 AM Worship Service
11:45 AM Prayer Warriors
12:00 PM Hispanic Congregation Service
6:00 PM Youth Band Rehearsal
7:00 PM R. U. S. H. (Youth Group) Meeting

11:30 AM Women's Bible Study, Room 6
7:00 PM Cub Scout Pack Pack 83

10:00 AM RESTORE Food Bank and Thrift Store Open*
6:30 PM  Boy Scout Troop 83

6:30-7:30 AM AA Meeting
6:00 PM Potluck Dinner and Fellowship
6:45 PM Children & Youth Activities
6:45 PM Pastor’s Bible Study
6:45 PM Hispanic Church Bible Study
7:00 PM Ladies Bible Study
​7:00 PM Christians Connecting with Christ

6:30-7:30 AM AA Meeting
10:00 AM RESTORE Food Bank and Thrift Store Open*
6:30 PM Chancel Choir Rehearsal


9:00 AM RUMC Book Club
11:30-12:30 PM  Metropolitan Ministry
                          Meal Partnership

*RESTORE is an equal opportunity provider and is open to the public.
Metropolitan Ministries Areawide Support
RUMC is currently collaborating with Metropolitan Ministries to provide hot meals on Saturdays (from 11:30 AM until 12:30 PM) in our fellowship hall. Anyone in our community can register with us and get a nutritious meal every Saturday.

However, did you know that Metropolitan Ministries supports other feeding programs, food pantries, and resources in our area? People in need can avail themselves of one or more of these opportunities in this part of Hillsborough County:

  • Resurrection Catholic Church, 6819 Krykul Avenue, Riverview, FL 33568. Pantry open on Wednesdays beginning at 8 AM.
  • River of Life Christian Center, 6605 Krykul Avenue, Riverview, FL 33568. Pantry open second and fourth Monday of the month from 9:30 AM until noon. Clothing is also available here.
  • E.C.H.O., 507 Parsons Avenue, Brandon, FL 33510. Food pantry is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 AM until 12:30 PM, and reopens on Tuesdays from 5:00 until 7:00 PM. Clothing is also available here.
  • First Baptist Church (Compassion House), 216 N. Parsons, Brandon, FL 33510. Food pantry is open Tuesday from 5-7:30 PM and Wednesday, 10-12 PM.
  • Church of the Nativity, 705 E. Brandon Boulevard, Brandon, FL 33511. Food pantry is open Thursdays from 3-4 PM.
  • Lighthouse Gospel Mission, 7211 S. 78th Street, Riverview, FL 33568. Pantry open third Thursday of the month, registration starts at noon.
  • Nativity Food Bank, 13295 Highway 92, East Dover, FL 33527. Food pantry is open Thursdays from 3-4 PM.
  • Community Cupboard, Calvary Lutheran Church, 1480 College Avenue East, Ruskin, FL 33570. Pantry open Tuesday 9-11 AM, thrift store open from Wednesday to Saturday, 9 AM-Noon, clothing available.
  • St. Ann Catholic Church, 106 11th Avenue NE, Ruskin, FL 33570. Pantry Wednesday 9-11 AM. Clothing available with voucher from SVDP.
  • St. Francis of Assisi, 4450 County Road 579, Seffner, FL 33583. Food pantry is open Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 1-3 PM. Clothing is available by calling 681-9115.
Debris and damage from Hurricane Irma is visible in this neighborhood street in the village of Goodland, located on the tip of Marco Island, Florida
Helping the Victims of 
Hurricane Maria

As followers of Jesus, we have a unique opportunity to extend hospitality to our neighbors who are in need.

As you know, Hurricane Maria devastated the island of Puerto Rico, a commonwealth of the United States, whose native-born residents are U.S. citizens. Two weeks after Maria hit, only seven percent of residents had electricity, and half had no water. Food continues to be in demand, and schools across the island are closed with re-opening not expected for many months, perhaps as long as a year. Even with the strategic work of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Army Corps of Engineers, third-world conditions on the island could persist for many months.

Consequently, it is projected that we will be receiving thousands of new neighbors, with current projections ranging between 250,000 to 500,000 people in Central Florida, particularly in Orange and Osceola Counties. Already, over 500 Puerto Rican children have enrolled in Orange and Osceola schools following Maria’s devastating visit to the island on September 20.

How can you help? Efforts are underway through the ministry of the East Central District to provide school supplies and to help meet other basic needs for families coming into our communities. Please prayerfully consider giving a generous donation by clicking here. Thank you!

Grace & Peace,
Rev. Dr. Bob Bushong, Superintendent
East Central District, Florida Conference
2221 Lee Road Suite 21
Winter Park, Florida 32789

Icel Rodriguez, Director of Global Missions, Florida Conference with children of Eastern Angola.