Jeff Bleijerveld (right), Director of Global Ministries

This past year, we formed an official partnership with the English Language Institute/China (ELIC). Since 1981, ELIC has been placing passionately committed Christians in teaching roles across Asia and the Middle East. A number of United Brethren people have served with ELIC, including Global Ministries Associate Director Frank Y.

We are sending churches a packet of information, along with a DVD that contains a short video highlighting our partnership and the opportunity to be involved in either short-term or long-term ministry on ELIC/Global Ministries projects. We recommend that you use it during your announcements on Sunday, November 8, or at your earliest convenience.

Through ELIC, we have the opportunity to send a team of eight UB volunteers to work among Syrian refugees in Lebanon next summer. ELIC’s 7+1 program makes it possible for one volunteer to travel free for every seven that join the team.

We hope that you’ll take advantage of this unique opportunity and present this ministry to your church family. If you have questions, feel free to contact us at info@ubglobal.org.

Jeff Bleijerveld, Director of Global Ministries

We’re preparing for this year’s Thanksgiving Missions Offering. Last year we raised $46,736 for our Antioch Fund to help support the mission efforts of our partner national conferences. This year the United States will focus on raising funds to support our short-term mission efforts. (Canada, our partner in Global Ministries, has its own focus this year.)

While Global Ministries creates budgets for trips, there are always cost overruns as a result of delayed flights, unexpected costs, emergencies, or just being asked by our hosts to do things we hadn’t planned. When these sorts of things happen, Global Ministries absorbs the expenses, since it’s pretty hard to ask for more money once the team returns home.

As a result, we have accumulated a sizeable deficit over the last few years—one we’d like to erase. In addition to wiping out our deficit, we’d like to build up an account to subsidize some trip expenses like medicines and supplies for medical teams, or to help small churches that might lack the base needed to raise funds.

Information is on its way to each of our churches. Churches have been sent a letter and order form for materials this past week. Bulletin inserts will be sent in the weeks prior to the American Thanksgiving in November.

Jeff Bleijerveld, Director of Global Ministries

Bishop John Pessima (right) of Sierra Leone provides us with the following report concerning recent flooding in the Freetown.

“You may have heard of the situation in Freetown last week. I was in Bo when it took place and was called by my family to go home because the mission house perimeter wall was badly affected. Part of the wall fell toward the city downhill from the house but fortunately did not damage people’s property.

“Secondly, some of our members in the Western part of the city, particularly Faith UB Church in Lumley, were affected. The children there were in school when the flood took place, but thank God no one was hurt. The teachers kept them inside the church while the classrooms flooded.

“Many displaced people were housed in the national stadium, but this became intolerable for many. So our local churches have been offering what support they can while praying and soliciting support to meet the needs of the displaced and to reconstruct the mission house wall. Please, we need your prayers and support in this very difficult situation we are faced with.”

If you would like to provide assistance for this need, direct your gift to:

Global Ministries
302 Lake Street
Huntington IN 46750.

Indicate that it is for “Freetown Flood Relief.”

Jeff Bleijerveld, Director of Global Ministries

In March 2015, United Brethren leaders from six Hispanic conferences–Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica–gathered in Nicaragua. There, they heard about a new approach to making and multiplying disciples and leaders. Since that time, they have continued to gather regularly, for five days at a time, to continue their training.

BILD is a discipleship and leadership development resource based on the model Paul presented to his disciple Timothy when he wrote, “And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.”

For the past three years, Honduras Conference has used BILD with great success. This local church-based training makes possible the exponential multiplication of disciples and leaders at very little cost and without the need for elaborate infrastructure.

The third of six trainings to mentor our Hispanic leaders into the program takes place September 21-25 in Masaya, Nicaragua. Each country has been raising funds to send their delegation to the quarterly training, but we’d like to provide you the opportunity to contribute a gift to get them over the hump, so to speak. Any gift you provide toward this project will be used to supplement their fundraising efforts.

Send to:

Global Ministries
302 Lake Street
Huntington, IN 46750

Maintaining the solar panels which power Radio Douentza. This radio station was opened in 1993 and broadcasts in local languages.

Maintaining the solar panels which power Radio Douentza. This radio station was opened in 1993 and broadcasts in local languages.

Jeff Bleijerveld, Director of Global Ministries

USAID is providing an opportunity for small organizations like ours to be provided funding to improve healthcare in Ebola ravaged West Africa. We are currently involved in preparing a grant proposal that would provide the funds needed to install a solar electricity system with sufficient capacity to supply the needs of the Mattru UBIC Hospital and a surplus that can be sold to the surrounding community.

If you know of a public organization or for-profit company that might be interested in providing support, pass the following letter on to them. Please note that we have a deadline of September 20, 2015, to submit our application, so letters of intent would need to be received in our office no later than September 7th. Share this sample letter with your friends today

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Jeff Bleijerveld, Director of Global Ministries

January saw a significant decline in the number of new cases of Ebola being reported throughout West Africa. Nearly a year since the original outbreak in Guinea, the World Health Organization reports that some 9,252 have died of the deadly disease (as of February 10, 2015). The vast majority of these have taken place in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. Sierra Leone has the highest number of reported cases, 10,987, with 3,363 deaths (about 500 less than Liberia).

Country Cases Deaths
Guinea 3,081 2,032
Liberia 8,931 3,858
Sierra Leone 10,987 3,363
Totals 22,999 9,252

On January 30 we received this report from Rev. Justin Marva, conference administrator for Sierra Leone National Conference.

“We thank God that the health situation out here has improved. Most regions except for the north and west do not have cases of Ebola for the past three weeks. However, we don’t want to be complacent, so we are still maintaining the health rules. Schools are still closed and all public gathering banned. However, there are still church services and people are now allowed to travel. We hope everything will be alright by April as we expect schools to reopen soon. We are doing fine. Keep praying for us.”

The three shipments of medical and relief supplies have all been received and are being distributed. The pallet of rice, beans, and other various food items gathered by UB churches and packed by the Cochranton United Brethren Church in Pennsylvania, is being distributed by conference leadership.

The 20-foot container gathered by numerous UB churches and others in the Eastern US also arrived and is being distributed through the Christian Health Association of Sierra Leone. This same organization is also handling the distribution of the 40-foot container filled with nearly $400,000 worth of medical supplies. We did not gather those supplies, but we provided the $14,000 needed to ship the container.

Bishop John Pessima (center) and other workers with newly-arrived boxes of relief supplies.

Bishop John Pessima (center) and other workers with newly-arrived boxes of relief supplies.

Unloading supplies sent for Ebola relief.

Unloading supplies sent for Ebola relief.

Bishop John Pessima (right) and others with supplies sent to Mattru Hospital by UBs in Berlin.

UB workers with supplies sent to Mattru Hospital by UBs in Berlin.

Jeff Bleijerveld, Director of Global Ministries

Rev. John Pessima, bishop of Sierra Leone National Conference, reports that the distribution of items gathered by United Brethren churches in the Eastern United States has gained the attention of local and national radio, TV, and print media. With the assistance of the Christian Health Association of Sierra Leone (CHASL), 50% of the items are being sent to the western region, 20% to the north, and the remaining 25% to the south. CHASL has also been instrumental in clearing the containers with port authorities, including the container that delivered the pallet of food items and the 40-foot container of medical supplies we had the privilege of underwriting.

In addition, Ebola relief supplies have come from the United Brethren church in Berlin, Germany, which consists largely of immigrants from Sierra Leone. Dr. Ladipol of the Berlin congregation has spearheaded efforts to provide for Ebola relief, including for our own Mattru Hospital.

Continue to pray for the complete eradication of Ebola. According to the Associated Press, a quarantine was imposed in a fishing district of the capital city, Freetown, after at least five new Ebola cases were confirmed there, an official said on February 14.

The report said Sierra Leone has seen nearly 11,000 confirmed, probable, and suspected Ebola cases during the worst Ebola outbreak in history. That’s the most of any country, according to the World Health Organization. Despite a drop in cases, transmission in Sierra Leone remains widespread, with 76 new cases confirmed in the previous week, according to WHO.

 

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Jeff Bleijerveld, Director of Global Ministries

Global Ministries, through its partnership in with International Needs, is now working on Turkey’s border, where refugees are flooding in from Syria and Iraq. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees counts over 1.6 million refugees (and growing) now living in Turkey. Most are from Syria. Half of them are children.

We invite you to help support these efforts.

The Islamic State (ISIS) and fighting in Syria has forced tens of thousands of people from their homes. Now they are trying to survive in camps amidst snow and sub-freezing temperatures. Christians are meeting the refugees in their despair, providing hope found in Christ alone.

Behnan Knotgun, director of International Needs Turkey, is with refugees handing out warm clothing, blankets, and firewood for cooking and heating. He reports that the needs are great. Although Turkey is predominantly Muslim and the nation’s evangelical church is very small, he says, “They have done marvelous things for the refugees. They are welcomed by the local authorities. They respect the churches, and they welcome us very well.”

Konutgan says many refugees were stuck in the mountains without food or water. The stories from the mountains are horrible. One woman told Konutgan that some women, not wanting to see their children suffer, threw them off the mountains to their death.

Another woman told him that she gave her daughters to a Saudi man and gave him $50. He said he would take care of them until the conflict ended. She hasn’t heard from the man and believes her daughters were kidnapped.

Konutgan says the refugees want to know about Jesus. And in the midst of tragedy, God is working. “They hear the Bible, so this is a good opportunity for the Gospel. I’m sure they will come to Christ Jesus. There are thousands of people among them who secretly say they love Jesus.”

To help with refugee support, you can send contributions to Global Ministries. Contributions will then be forwarded to International Needs.

Global Ministries
302 Lake Street
Huntington, IN 46750

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At the Honduras Conference waterpark.

At the Honduras Conference waterpark.

Jeff Bleijerveld, Director of Global Ministries

Honduran National Conference is working hard to develop numerous sources of income for church planting, pastoral assistance, and missions. With very limited resources, they have found it necessary to be creative and ingenious. The new waterpark at the conference retreat center is just one example.

The property lies on the coastal highway just outside the city of La Ceiba. It was purchased fifteen years ago. Since that time, a traditional pool and some picnic shelters were built. However, the long-range plan after completing the waterpark is to build a sports complex, a conference center for business meetings and receptions, and a small hotel and bungalows for snow birds. They are targeting local schools, municipal programs, and local businesses. But they would also market to tourists.

I had the opportunity to tour the center on January 15. They’ve made a great start as the project moves one stage at a time. They don’t overlook a single opportunity to turn a profit, including the sale of fruit that grows on the property.

If you’d like to know more about this project, contact us at info@ubglobal.org.

Bishop John Pessima (right) and conference administrator Justin Marva sort through supplies for quarantined families.

Bishop John Pessima (right) and conference administrator Justin Marva sort through supplies for quarantined families.

A Muslim mother and children receive relief supplies while under quarantine in the nearby village of Luawa Jong.

A Muslim mother and children receive relief supplies while under quarantine in the nearby village of Luawa Jong.

Jeff Bleijerveld, Director of Global Ministries

Last month we reported that a woman had died of Ebola at the Mattru Hospital in Sierra Leone. As a result, the hospital and most of its staff came under a 21-day quarantine, along with the residents of the woman’s nearby village, Luawa Jong. Bishop John Pessima provided this update along with words of appreciation for the funds Global Ministries provided for those under quarantine, and for our nine United Brethren churches in neighboring Liberia.

I thank you so much for your assistance and support for the Sierra Leone Conference during this crisis. We appreciate the funds that were sent for the quarantine homes and Liberia. We sent some funds to the Church in Monrovia for relief.

We went to Mattru with relief for quarantined homes. A distribution team was organized, including hospital staff and community members. A total of 15 homes were supplied. Each of these homes have family members ranging from 5 to 10 in number.

We thank God because this relief was timely, and it was appreciated by both the quarantined hospital workers and community. The media was invited to take part, so it was announced over the Mattru community radio broadcasts. On a phone-in program over the radio that same night, people expressed their appreciation to the donors–Global Ministries and the Sierra Leone Conference–for their timely relief.

The day after the distribution, a lady died in one of the quarantined homes in Luawa Jong. This home has been re-quarantined for another 21 days.

In addition, we received word that the 20-foot container of medical and relief supplies gathered by United Brethren and partner churches in the Mid-Atlantic arrived and has been cleared by customs. The items will be distributed by the Christian Health Association of Sierra Leone, of which we are members. The pallet of food supplies we sent should be arriving soon, along with the 40-foot container carrying $380,000 worth of Ebola medical supplies. The supplies were obtained by Brother’s Brother of Pittsburgh, Pa. Global Ministries paid for $14,000 in shipping fees, with funds provided by generous United Brethren contributors.