Another massive effort by the United Methodist Church of Iowa is near completion. Every year since 1989, Methodist congregations around the state have helped fill a giant container with goods that are shipped to a remote area of Nigeria called Jalingo.

Beverly Nolte helps coordinate the shipping. She says the container, which is 40 feet long, eight feet tall and 8 feet wide, was packed with 750 boxes and other items back in February. "So this thing is loaded to the gills," Nolte says, "and then when it gets there, it’s unpacked by the people that go in the summer."

The cost of shipping the container is nearly $23,000. It’s scheduled to arrive in Nigeria this week, about one month before a crew from Iowa will travel there to make sure the donated goods get to their proper destination. Some of the bigger items include solar powered refrigerators and metal beds for a hospital.

Nolte says one worker that will be arriving in mid May will help install the beds and solar refrigerators. The United Methodist Church of Iowa buys the giant container, while church members donate the boxes of goods. The container is sent to the United Methodist Church in Jalingo, Nigeria.

"Then the church there, once they clean out the container, they sell it and use the money for scholarships for students to go to our church school," Nolte said. The Iowa-Nigeria Partnership is the largest annual mission project of the United Methodist Church of Iowa. Nolte says the people of Jalingo are struggling to survive.

"It’s mainly people that are living in rural, remote areas…in the bush. They have nothing, so this just goes to help the church and the people of Nigeria," Nolte said. While the donated goods have yet to arrive in Jalingo, Nolte says the effort is already underway to fill the giant container that will be sent next year.