AWANA at the Lumley church in Sierra Leone.

AWANA at the Lumley church in Sierra Leone.

Rev. Sorie Kamanda, lead pastor of the Lumley United Brethren church in Sierra Leone, shared some photos and videos of their recent Awana Vacation Bible School. The Lumley Church is located just outside of Freetown. The Awana program is used by 47,000 churches around the world, involving 3.7 million children and youth, 470,000 volunteers, and 260 field staff.

solar-array-site

Progress is being made at Mattru Hospital in Sierra Leone. Global Ministries staff member Matt Asher (right) is working with others to prepare the site for the 100kVA solar array and water purification/packaging project. Solar panels, batteries, packaging equipment, and supplies are on their way and will be installed in the coming months. The project will eventually provide electricity to the hospital and sell excess electricity to a limited number of consumers in the community.

The SOLA WATA business on the hospital campus will sell packaged drinking water in the surrounding towns and villages. These installations, and the resultant income, will greatly enhance the hospital’s ability to be substantially more self-sustaining while advancing its medical work and ministry to the surrounding 200,000 residents of Bonthe District.

delik_300Arek and Donna Delik are endorsed United Brethren missionaries serving in Poland with Operation Mobilization. Donna is originally from a United Brethren church in Hong Kong. In their March 2017 newsletter, she tells about a recent visit by UBs from Hong Kong.

We had been serving in Kutno for more than17 years and it was the very first time we had friends from Hong Kong celebrating the Lunar New Year with us in Poland. We were very grateful for these four wonderful sisters from our supporting church, who sacrificed this most important time for Chinese families and came such a long way to bless us as well as the Polish people they encountered.

We began the Year of Rooster with a great Chinese New Year celebration with our Polish friends. We were thankful to our friends from Hong Kong who helped put up several colorful Chinese Culture events in Kutno as well as Gostynin during this Chinese New Year holiday. It was a fun time to share a little bit of our culture, and more important, these events provided the platform for us to share the good news with our audiences through Chinese calligraphy and Christian music, etc.

A journalist who attended one of our events wrote an article in the local newspaper and commented, “All these Chinese ladies are believers, and from the songs they sing, we know that the Lord Jesus Christ is the strength of their lives.” Praise the Lord that people saw Jesus in our lives, as it was not about us but all about Jesus.

For us, the highlights of this visit were the fellowship we could have and the fun of serving together. These four sisters demonstrated the important fundamental qualities which all short–term mission teams need–flexibility and humility. Before the trip, we had many discussions via internet, as they were very sincere and eager to know what our needs and expectations were. In order to be well prepared for the Chinese Culture event, they even went the extra mile to attend classes to learn Chinese calligraphy, handicraft, and tea ceremony, etc. Their desire was to be ambassadors of Christ through words and deeds.

Jeff Bleijerveld, Director of Global Ministries

Another team is headed to the Mattru UBC Hospital in Sierra Leone today. The team will be there from February 10-29 and will be comprised of both medical and technical volunteers.

Our travelers include: Ray Proud, Hope Grube, Michael Seigel, Nick Pranger, Sharon McDonald, Dr. James Myers, Dr. Jonathan Steen, Dr. Alyssa Welch and her husband, Joe Welch. Dr. Richard Toupin planned to accompany the team but could not for health reasons. However, Dr. Ron Baker, who just returned from Sierra Leone in mid-January, has agreed to join up with the team early next week.

Be praying for the team as they address a number of repair and facility issues, offer medical care in the absence of a doctor, and make visits in the community to conduct and train others to do Discovery Bible Studies.

If you are looking for an opportunity to serve alongside the international church, then consider being a part of this short term mission trip to the heart of Mexico. During our time there we will participate in ministry projects associated with United Brethren churches in and around the city of Queretaro, Mexico, including children’s ministry programs. Come explore the possibility of developing your own ministry partnership between your home church and a United Brethren church in Mexico.

Details

Dates: June 2-11, 2017
Cost: $1200 per person (includes airfare, lodging, ground transportation in Mexico, meals, and materials for the ministry projects)
Team size: Limited to 20 people.
Application Due Date: February 15, 2017.

Other Things to Know

  • Available to people from all United Brethren churches in the United States.
  • Must be 16 years old or older to participate.
  • Pre- and post-trip meetings will be held online and in person.
  • Speaking Spanish is helpful but is NOT a requirement.

For more information, call Bobby Culler at (717) 264-8414 ext. 204 or email at: bobbyc@mtp-church.org. Visit the Global Ministries website.

Materials at the FAME warehouse.

Materials at the FAME warehouse.

On January 26, Global Ministries staffers went to Indianapolis to pick up over $18,000 worth of medical equipment and supplies for Mattru Hospital. It all came from FAME (Fellowship of Associates in Medical Evangelism), an organization that receives medical, dental, and other healthcare supplies from generous donors and channels everything to mission hospitals and medical missionaries.

The same day, Global Ministries received $5000 in medical supplies from DeKalb Memorial Hospital of Auburn, Ind. Dr. Richard Toupin, a former UB doctor at Mattru, works at that hospital. He and his wife, Cathy, will lead a medical team to Mattru in February.

Global Ministries did an inventory and created a shipping list of all items, and then delivered everything to West African Education and Medical Mission for shipment to Sierra Leone. Directors Drs. Karen and Tom Asher generously offered us 20 feet of space in a 40-foot shipping container they are sending to Sierra Leone this month.

centennial-alumni-funeral

The funeral for Evelyn Baker–former UB missionary in Sierra Leone and First Lady of Huntington University–was held Saturday, January 28. (Full obituary.) The funeral was held at College Park UB church in Huntington, Ind.

While serving as missionaries in Sierra Leone during the 1950s, DeWitt and Evelyn started Centennial Secondary School in Mattru, the country’s first United Brethren high school (read more about Centennial’s beginning). At the funeral, a delegation of alumni from Centennial, who now live in the States, traveled through the night from the east coast.

They blessed the funeral service with two songs. The first was sung in the Mende tribal language spoken in that part of the country. For that song, they invited DeWitt and Evelyn’s son Ron, who is fluent in Mende, to sing with them.

Rev. Gonzalo Alas (right) is the new superintendent of Honduras Conference. He was elected on January 21 during the conference’s annual meeting.

We now have over 115 United Brethren churches in Honduras, mostly in the northern part of the country around San Pedro Sula and La Ceiba (the nation’s second, and third-largest cities). La Ceiba has been the conference headquarters throughout its history.

In 2007, Honduras sent Rev. Alas to start a church planting movement in El Salvador. He had previously started churches in the Copán region of Honduras, where previously there were no UB churches. When he left El Copán to go to El Salvador, 13 established churches and five church plants were functioning.

He takes the place of Juanita Chavez (right), who had served two terms as superintendent, beginning in 2009. Under her leadership, Honduras Conference was instrumental in establishing a church-based leadership training program called ETBIL (Educación Teológica Basada en la Iglesia Local). It has become a model for all of our Central American churches. The conference also approved Milton and Erika Pacheco as their missionaries to Thailand.

You can pray for:

  • Rev. Alas, his wife, Gladys, and family as they transition back to Honduras.
  • The five church plants and their leaders in El Salvador, whom Rev. Alas faithfully mentored and trained.
  • Rev. Juanita Chavez and her husband, Carlos, who have been faithful and committed servants of the Lord over the past eight years.

Jeff Bleijerveld (right), Director of Global Ministries

The following email was received Friday morning, January 13. Director Bleijerveld and associate director Michelle Harris are at Mattru Hospital in Sierra Leone with a ten-person medical team. They return to the US tomorrow, January 14. 

This morning the doctors are making their last rounds before we begin the trip back to Freetown. We’ll stay there overnight, and then begin the trip home with a layover in France.

Since I last wrote you, two babies were successfully delivered–one naturally, the other by c-section. We’ve also continued to receive new patients, and a variety of procedures have been performed. We are sad to report that one of the three babies admitted with cerebral malaria passed away the first night, but the other two are recovering.

Just this morning a set of twin babies with club feet were brought to the hospital. We’ve been in touch with the Ministry of Health to determine whether there is an orthopedic surgeon in the country able to perform the corrective surgery.

I am happy to report that the first installment of funding from a major donor has been received. Additional funds will come from another foundation, and Global Ministries will be contributing $50,000. The entire project will cost $430,000 but will benefit the hospital with new income from the sale of surplus power to the community and from small businesses they’ll operate at the hospital, like the water purification/packaging project.

In the meanwhile we continue to assist the hospital in paying staff salaries. With the focus on fundraising for the solar project, donors have decreased their giving normal giving toward the salary support project. As a result we left the hospital this morning having left salaries for November and December still unpaid. We nearly have enough to pay November, but lack some $4000 to pay for December.

Begin praying for the next team that will be in the country during the last two weeks of February. It includes a medical team and a technical team.