Midwest Mission Making a Difference

Near the Methodist Church in rural Pawnee, you will find Midwest Mission. The staff and focus on disaster relief, education, health, and microbusiness. The mission was founded by the late Rev. Dr. Jack D. Travelstead. A Methodist minister for 43 years, he founded the Mission in 2000. I met with Chantel Corrie the Executive Director, and Lisa Rigoni the Development Manage to learn more about the mission located so close to the Village of Pawnee.

Chantel is a Pawnee resident, and Lisa and her husband Mike live onsite. Chantel became involved with Midwest Mission after being a volunteer.
The mission of the Midwest Mission is, “Bringing the hearts and hands of God’s people together to transform resources into humanitarian relief.”

Working with Christian partners, at Midwest Mission, they gather supplies from non-profit partners, then allocate resources Chantel said, “We partner so we can be stewards and collect resources to the best of our ability. When we do what we do best, we do it more effectively. “

What do they receive at the Midwest Mission? Schools and other partners donate items like bleachers that turn are converted into desks, cloth for children’s clothing, and sewing machines and bicycles that become businesses for adults in third world countries. Working with partners, Midwest Mission donates the item, then a partner will teach others to use the materials, or they will be shipped to areas needed in times of crisis and disaster. During 2023, Midwest Mission responded to tornadoes in Sherman and Robinson, Illinois, and the wildfires in Maui.

It is astounding to see the numbers of what this ministry has accomplished, in 2022 Midwest Mission supplied $7.99 million worth of supplies to 299 domestic, and 48 international shipments. They responded to 15 natural disasters and by the end of 2023 14 containers were sent to the people in Ukraine, Turkey, and Syria. They sent out 591 desks, 17,450 student kits, 6,833 cleaning kits, 33,056 hygiene kits, 9,616 school kits, tornado bags and totes, over 200 sewing machines and bikes and 44 of those were treadle machines. This doesn’t include rice meal bags, layette kits and feminine hygiene kits or medical supplies. Plastic bags are used to create sleeping mats for the homeless.

This faith-based mission prays over items prior to sending them, and amazing things happen as a result. Chantel said, “God’s presence is undeniable in this ministry. He shows up in big ways, bringing the right people and resources together, allowing us to share his hope and empowerment around the world and around the corner.”

They are always looking for volunteers, and the best thing is that volunteering benefits the volunteer in many ways. Chantal explained, “We invite you to pray about how God calls you to partner with us. Serving is my favorite thing because it is this beautiful thing people choose to do for someone else yet receive so much joy from it. You can never out-give God. We want other people to know about the joy that comes from serving and invite you to step out in faith and invite others to serve alongside you. Every kit, repair or thing put together is done by volunteers. Our staff do the business of the ministry and equip the volunteers.”

Medical equipment, like walkers, wheelchairs and crutches is always in need, and at Midwest Mission, they take equipment from fire stations that no longer use their equipment, counter tops and more all find new life at Midwest Mission. Everything is based on donations. “We are debt free. We don’t buy it, or build it if we don’t have the money,” Lisa said. “There is no federal or state funding, everything is from donations. We use heavenly math, and it doesn’t always make sense.”

Midwest Mission is always looking for volunteers and would love to have you join them as a team, or an individual. Open Monday – Friday from 8:30 – 4pm, they offer tours if you would like to visit prior to joining in. If you would rather work from home, you can make handmade items, assemble kits, or collect and donate items. The list is endless, and the motto, “I can’t be a missionary sent overseas, but I can be a missionary at home,” is so true!

For more information about Midwest Mission, check them out online, or call them at 217-483-7911.