NAME: John Elmore
JOB TITLE: Mission Coordinator — Chile
BRIEFLY DESCRIBE YOUR JOB: Be available to coordinate Volunteer Mission teams to Chile.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PART OF YOUR JOB? The best part of my job is working with teams that come from churches in the United States.
WHAT IS YOUR BACKGROUND? I was born in Richmond, Virginia. From age 4 to 12, my family lived in Panama where my father worked for a government agency. We then moved back to Northern Virginia where my father worked in Washington. I never liked school and did not go to college. From the time I left high school until I left the U.S. and became a missionary; I was a carpenter, brick layer’s helper, and Abled Body Seamen (ABS) on an oil tanker. I also worked on a farm and with disabled adults. I always wondered why I was never able to settle with one profession. I kept moving around. I believe now, it is because God was preparing me for the work that I am doing now.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR FAMILY: I have been married for 19 years to Maria Cristina Hurtado Rocha; we have no children. My wife is a schoolteacher.
FAVORITE THING TO DO AWAY FROM WORK? I like woodworking, reading, and watching movies. I have always liked to watch Movies, ever since I was a kid. Some of my best memories as a kid, are of sitting on the couch in the basement of our house on Sunday afternoon, with a bowl of popcorn and a sixteen-ounce Pepsi watching Bonanza followed by the wonderful World of Color — Walt Disney.
HOW OLD WERE YOU WHEN YOU FIRST STARTED ATTENDING A CHURCH REGULARLY? I always went to church; my parents took me every Sunday. When I was 19, I left home and stopped attending church. I came back to church when I was thirty-five.
WHY HAS “CHURCH” BEEN IMPORTANT TO YOU (AND YOUR FAMILY)?
Going to church every Sunday early in life taught me who God is and helped me establish a firm foundation for my beliefs. When I returned to church when was 35, I wanted to establish a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. During that time, I also realized the importance of the church family and the support it can provide. For me, the Methodist Church in Chile is different from in the USA. I have had to do a lot of adjusting to the way things are done here.
WHEN AND WHERE DID YOU FIRST GET INVOLVED IN MISSION WORK? My first mission trip was in 1988. It was a disaster relief trip to North Alabama with my home church — Forest Lake UMC in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
WHAT WOULD YOU TELL PEOPLE TO ENCOURAGE THEM TO GET INVOLVED IN HANDS-ON MISSION WORK?
I have been trying to get people involved in Mission work for twenty-five years. As a Christian, you must realize that it is “not about you”. The only thing personal about being a Christian is your relationship with Jesus Christ, the rest of the time you have a responsibility and an obligation to love your neighbor. Once you realize this and that all people need some type of hands-on mission work, then the possibilities are endless. You will never stop trying to find ways to help your neighbor, you will realize the whole world is your neighborhood.
IF YOU COULD BE ANYPLACE OR TIME IN THE WORLD RIGHT NOW, WHERE WOULD YOU BE? WHY?
Sitting in the backyard of my Mother and Father’s house in the shade of a willow tree, at the picnic table, my father made in 1952, eating Chesapeake Bay blue crabs. The year — 1982.