In the United States, we are currently watching Hurricane Florence pound the Carolinas. Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, United Brethren in Hong Kong and Macau are preparing for Super Typhoon Mangkhut, the largest storm recorded anywhere in the world during 2018.

Mangkhut had wind speeds of up to 200 mph before slamming into the northern Philippines Saturday morning as a Category 5 storm. The wind speed is now around 165 mph (losing the “super” status).

Mangkhut is expected to hit Hong Kong, where we have about ten churches, and nearby Macau on Sunday afternoon. Hundreds of flights have been cancelled, and numerous other emergency preparations are being made. One report says Typhoon Mangkhut could be the strongest storm to hit Hong Kong in 60 years. In 2017, ten people died in Macau from Typhoon Hato, the strongest storm to hit the city in 50 years.

David Kline, associate director of UB Global and a former missionary in Macau, writes:

“As we watch the US deal with a big storm, our brothers in sisters in Hong Kong and Macau have an even bigger storm heading their way. Please pray not only for their safety, but also for opportunity that God can make himself known in the region.”

He said he had talked Friday morning with Jenaya Bonner, one of our missionaries in Macau. “She has stocked up on water and resources (the last storm knocked out power and water for 4 days). She has also been praying for opportunities to serve the people of Macau through this storm. Let us join her in praying!”

During your Sunday morning service, perhaps your church could remember in prayer the people of Hong Kong, Macau, and Guangdong Province, and particularly the United Brethren members and missionaries in those places.

Nancy Ngele, a former United Brethren missionary in Sierra Leone, is offering her home, at a very reasonable price, to someone who has served as a United Brethren pastor or missionary for at least eight years and is ready for retirement. The home is located on the Carson City Christian Camping Center in Central Michigan.

This house has two bedrooms upstairs and a ground level room that can be used for a master bedroom or a family room with a Franklin stove and gas furnace. One bathroom has a vintage tub, and another that is handicap accessible, has a step-in shower. Appliances include electric washer and dishwasher, gas water heater, dryer and a new gas wall furnace in the kitchen. Large storage drawers and enclosed shelving are built in, along with handy kitchen cupboards. An attached garage has room for one car and lots of storage or space for a workshop. A free-standing shed at the back of the house and garage is available for additional storage. Green, steel roofs cover the house, garage, and shed. The house might also be considered for a summer cottage or hunting lodge.

For further information, call Nancy at 989-235-4448.

Roger and Marilyn Reeck (right), UB endorsed missionaries with Wycliffe Bible Translators, spent much of June in Guinea Bissau, a West African country. Roger consults with groups working on Bible translations. They explain:

“Roger worked with the two groups that he was scheduled to consult for (the Sonike and Felupe) and was even able to spend five days with a third one (Kriol) checking the book of Ruth. The Sonike/Sarakule people group are Muslim. One of the problems the team ran into during the two weeks of checking is that it coincided with the Muslim festival Ramadan. The three Sonike translators had to fast every day during that period. The work continued on even when at times they felt weak and had a hard time concentrating.”

Marilyn spent time with a team working with a people that that is almost completely Muslim.

Marilyn returned to Honduras in time for the yearly Garifuna conference to which people come from all over Honduras, Guatemala, Belize and from various of the Garifuna churches in the US. This year they dedicated a whole afternoon to celebrating the Garifuna Bible (the Reecks were instrumental in its translation). A Garifuna women’s group sang a song about the Bible and lifted it up high.

Church safety has become an issue of increasing interest to pastors and laypersons. Where do you start? Brotherhood Mutual, which provides insurance to a large number of United Brethren churches, posted ten simple, “do it today” actions which churches can implement almost immediately. You can read them here. You’ll also find resources for going further to ensure a safe environment for your congregation, including their “Church Safety & Security Guidebook.”

Erika and Milton Pacheco after arriving in Thailand.

Erika and Milton Pacheco after arriving in Thailand.

As of April 29, the Thailand team is complete. After more than 50 hours of travel from Honduras to Thailand, Erika and Milton Pacheco arrived in Chiang Rai to begin their first term of missionary service. There they were greeted by the rest of the team–Julie, Lai, Paula, and the Glunt family. Despite the lengthy trip, Milton and Erika don’t look too bad in this selfie which they took after successfully passing through immigration in Bangkok.

The congregation at Litao Village in 2001.

The congregation at Litao Village in 2001.

On January 16, 1996, Bishop Ray Seilhamer dedicated the new United Brethren church in Litao Village, high in the mountains of northern Thailand. For three years, Hong Kong Conference had been supporting the ministry of Rev. H. M. Lee among the Akha, a tribal group with roots in China. The former military officer started the church and a school in Litao Village.

It was a Tuesday afternoon service on January 16. About 80 people gathered, many of them children, at the nice building which had been completed in November–a cement building with a wood superstructure holding up the tin roof. The dedication ceremony began outside. Bishop Seilhamer unlocked a padlock on the front door, and some words were spoken and translated. Then everyone moved inside and sat on the floor for the rest of the service. Before going in, people slipped off their footwear, mostly sandals and flip-flops, and left them around the entrance.

Bishop Seilhamer’s words went through a series of translations–from English to Cantonese to Mandarin to Akha. So that took considerable time, and you couldn’t be sure how much the bishop’s words matched what the people actually heard.

The church property covered several acres. For years, new Christians were expelled from their homes or no longer felt welcome by their neighbors. So, they built thatched homes on the church property. The land was expected to eventually become a separate enclave, a community of Christians on the edge of town. However, the persecution and alienation eventually stopped, as people saw the good things the church and Teacher Lee brought to the village.

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For January 2017, United Brethren Church Resources is offering a special on two books which are being recommended to cluster leaders. Both can be purchased, as hardbacks, for $20 each.

  • Dangerous Calling, by Paul Davis Tripp. It includes a free DVD.
  • A Work of the Heart, by Reggie McNeal.

To order, contact Jane Seely at the National Office.

Email: jane@ub.org
Toll-free: 888-622-3019

meadows_400On January 3, 1901, Clyde W. Meadows was born in Virginia. He would become the most influential United Brethren leader of the 1900s. For 33 years he pastored King Street UB church in Chambersburg, Pa., building it into the denomination’s largest church. Then he served as bishop for eight years.

Meadows was an innovator, a leader of leaders, a mentor to future bishops, a renowned songleader, and a man of boundless energy. He spoke to American troops in Vietnam, leaving the country just hours before the Tet Offensive began. He made six trips to meet clandestinely with Christians behind the Iron Curtain. He once finished an altar call for Billy Graham.

He was the first UB bishop to visit all of our mission fields. For a few years, he served simultaneously as bishop, president of the International Society of Christian Endeavor, and president of the World’s Christian Endeavor Union. In his 90s, he was still speaking up to 100 times a year.

Bishop Meadows passed away in 1999, having lived a fascinating life. His autobiography, “In the Service of the King,” is available from the National Office.

mugs-stack400For December, free shipping is available on coffee mugs with the United Brethren logo. They make good Christmas gifts for Sunday school teachers, board members, and others. Fill with candy for a real treat.

Cost: $6 each, or 4 for $20.

You can order from the United Brethren National Office.

To order, call toll-free 1-888-622-3019.