Jana sent the following notes from Macau.

  • Attendance has increased at Kids’ Klub this month. Several new children have come. Praise the Lord for this continued opportunity to share the gospel with children on Taipa!
  • I was encouraged to meet with Regina, one of the church members at Living Water Church. She was one of my ELP students back in 1993. She eventually accepted Christ and was baptized, but her husband was never interested in church. Last year they immigrated to California. Regina was back to Macau for a visit and told me that her husband has started attending church with her in the States. It was an encouragement to me to see how God is still “working the seed” our team planted over 10 years ago. He is faithful.
  • Continue to pray for planning toward starting worship services on Taipa. Pray for Director Gary Dilley, Reverend Wu (newly elected superintendent of Hong Kong Conference), and the Taipa Long-Range Planning Committee as they work on the plans.
  • Over our Chinese New Year holiday I was able to meet with Money, a student of mine from China from 10 years ago or so. She is now a graduate student in the U.K. She is no longer walking with the Lord. Pray that she’ll recommit her life to Him.

Our missionaries in India sent this prayer request regarding the Mission English Medium School (MEMS): “Could you please be praying for the 10th grade students as they start their exams on the 16th of this month. These are the government exams. Next month the 7th grade will have their exams.”

Hillsdale UB (Hillsdale, Mich.) completed its Centennial Year on January 25. As the congregation celebrated their first 100 years of ministry, the Lord blessed the church with over 100 conversions in 2004. There were also a record 71 new church members added during the year and the 32 baptisms were twice the number of the year before. In his annual State-of-the-Church address on January 30, Pastor Les Smith announced plans to break ground this summer on a building addition if funding was secured. The congregation responded with one of the largest offerings in their history.

Pastor Chuck McKeown of the Daytona UB church sent the thank-you note: “I want to personally thank everyone who contributed to the hurricane relief fund for the Florida churches. There will be enough money to replace the damaged roofs on the Holly Hill church and parsonage, as well as the roof on the Lake Brantley church. I cannot find words to express my deep appreciation and gratitude for what the Lord has provided through our sister UB churches. Not only did we receive financial help from the US National Conference churches, but also help from churches in Canada, Jamaica, and Hong Kong.

The roof replacement project will soon be finished in Holly Hill and we will begin the same process at the Lake Brantley congregation in Orlando soon. Thanks again to our many loving friends!





A crew is working to repair the roof of the Daytona UB church and its parsonage. The roof needed to be replaced as a result of hurricane damage. Bishop Paul Hirschy (picture directly above) was on hand to help out a couple of days.

More workers are still needed. If you’re available, contact Pastor Chuck McKeown at: 386-677-6940.

Dan and Marilyn Young formerly served the First and Faith UB churches in Findlay, Ohio. In July, Dan began serving as interim pastor of Crestview UB in Lafayette, Ind.), and was appointed senior pastor in December.

Dan’s son, Shane, suffered an epileptic seizure over the weekend. The severity of the seizure caused a heart attack. Shane, in his 30s, was hospitalized in Findlay, Ohio. His condition digressed to the point, with very little brain activity, that that family had to make a decision regarding life support later today.

Shane passed away early in the morning on Tuesday, February 1.

Fire struck the Eden UB church of Mason, Mich., last Friday, January 28. The fellowship hall and offices burned to the ground, and the sanctuary was also destroyed. Eden has an average attendance of about 240. Pastor Wes Emerson gave the following details to Steve Dennie on Monday afternoon.

The fire started around 3 pm. The secretary and janitor were in the building, along with several parishioners who were doing some work in the new Family Life Center. They heard the fire alarm go off, and when they opened the door into the old area to investigate, they discovered smoke. Investigating further, they discovered that the soundbooth in the back of the sanctuary was on fire. The fire escalated incredibly fast, and they had to run out of the building.

The fire spread first into the fellowship hall, and then made its way back to the sanctuary. The sanctuary looks okay from the outside, but is severely damaged inside and is most likely not salvageable. “Inside, it looks like it was bombed,” says Pastor Emerson. The church held services in the fellowship hall from about 1965 to 1979, when the current sanctuary was built. The congregation just recently completed its Family Life Center.

Pastor Emerson said it appears to be an electrical fire, which may or may not have actually begun in the soundbooth. The offices were lost, along with all the equipment (computer, copy machine, fax, etc.) and church records. Pastor Emerson kept the bulk of his library in his home office. The church employs two part-time secretaries, but all of their equipment was destroyed. Margaret Maybee, the Music director, had an office in the basement of the fellowship hall, so her office was destroyed as well.

“The good thing is, the fire stopped where the new building begins,” says Pastor Emerson. “They were connected. We had a fire wall and sprinkler system in the new building. The firefighters were actually fighting the fire from that part of the building, and it stopped. We still have the new facility, but can’t use it for a while because there was water and smoke damage, and the fire department had to create holes in the ceiling. But in a few weeks, we’re told we’ll be able to use it to hold services.”

In the meantime, the First United Methodist church in Mason invited them to use its facilities. They will meet in the Methodist sanctuary at 11:30 on Sundays (the Methodist congregation holds its service at 9:30). “They’ve been real gracious. They told us we can worship there until we can come back to the Family Life Center.”

The Eden congregation met there on January 30. Pastor Emerson says, “We had at least 340 people, one of our largest crowds in a long time. They filled every pew and were in the lobby and balcony, shoulder to shoulder. There is a real sense that we’re going to be unified and get through this.”

The church had good insurance coverage through Brotherhood Mutual. The church is holding an emergency board meeting tonight (Monday), and will meet with insurance representatives later this week.

“A bittersweet time has come at Rhodes Grove Camp. The historic tabernacle, constructed in 1917, was officially condemned in the spring of 2004. Since that time the management of Rhodes Grove has sought a sensible plan for its removal.

“A local German-Baptist business offered to take the building down, piece by piece, to be used for wood-flooring. This is being done for an extremely minimal amount of money. We consider this to be a blessing, as we did not want to spend significant dollars on removing the Tabernacle. The removal process should be complete by mid-February.

“There are no immediate plans to construct a new building on that site. To help preserve the important commitments, memories and decisions made in the building, we have commissioned an artist to render a painting of the tabernacle. Rhodes Grove will make prints of this painting available at a low cost to those who are interested. More information will be shared as it becomes available.”

Jamaica Conference held its first Youth Leadership Training Seminar January 6-8 at the York Town church. It was attended by 45 young people from 18 churches. The event was hosted by the conference Church Services Board.

The seminar presenters were:

  • Bill Blue, youth pastor of Fowlerville UB Church (Fowlerville, Mich.). and a member of Youth Leadership Team of the USA National Conference.
  • Matt McKeown, youth pastor of Daytona UB Church (Holly Hill, Fla.), and also a member of the Youth Leadership Team.
  • Nathan Gernert, youth pastor of New Horizons UB church (Rockford, Ohio).

The objectives of the training seminars were:

  1. To communicate the qualities of a healthy, biblical youth ministry.
  2. To develop effective programming.
  3. To train youth leaders in how to teach young people how to share their faith.
  4. Build a bridge with our brothers in the USA National Conference for future cooperation with our Youth Workers.

Here are some comments from persons who attended the event, in response t the question, “What are you taking back to your local church from this Youth Leadership Training?

  • “The need to deliberately create an atmosphere of love” (York Town Church).
  • “New strategies, greater motivation, and more knowledge” (Rhymesbury).
  • “The fundamentals of Jesus’ leadership style that He use in His ministry and how to improve harmony and balance in our ministries” (Content).
  • “A new approach to witnessing. Though from another culture, Bill Blue was excellent. He captured my attention and the seminar was purpose-focused” (Washington Gardens).
  • “Every activity in youth ministry must have a purpose, and that purpose must be eternal” (Content).
  • “The urgency in reaching unsaved young people as well as the strategies that can be followed to make evangelism and outreach more effective. This was a wonderful training session. It was presented creatively and was very interesting and simple to understand. I was expecting to be bored and that we would be passive as participants, but the sessions were the total opposite (Greater Portmore).

A “Part 2” is planned for later in 2005 or early 2006.

Briana Nei is the youth and drama leader at Emmaus Church in Berryville, Va. She writes, “Incredible things are happening at Emmaus. We have been meeting for a little over a year and a half. Last Sunday, January 9, was our highest attendance with 114 people. Our youth program is growing quickly. Many have been saved. We are seeing people come out of homosexuality, drugs, alcohol etc.

“The teens put on a Christmas musical called STARS, which I wrote and directed. About 30 people were involved with putting on this 90-minute show about reality TV and the desire of teens to find hope in pop culture. Over 250 people attended the two showings at the middle school auditorium. Many non-Christian teens attended both nights because they loved it so much. It created much unity among the teens involved from different social backgrounds.

“The youth are studying godliness, honor in relationships, and other hot topics during regular youth night. We also are starting Power Groups for teens (short-term four-week small groups that focus on different topics). We are getting ready to begin the Grow in the Word discipleship series with about ten senior high students (many of them new Christians), plus a new believer’s five-week Power Group. God is moving.

“We started a Hispanic ministry, and a mercy ministry to hungry and homeless families. We have a ministry for young boys and a children’s ministry busting out of the seams (about 30-40 on a normal Sunday).

“One family has a ministry called Hope-n-Helps; they serve pastors, orphanages, and leper colonies in India. The church recently raised $2000 to send to churches in India harmed by the Tsunami. The youth did a project on giving in November through this ministry. The teens were given seed money out of the youth budget and, as in the parable of the talents, were given one week to try to increase it as much as possible. The students tripled the money in one week from $100 to $300 dollars by selling brownies, candles, or whatever they wanted to do. All the money was sent to India. They were excited as they received letters back from the pastors and orphanages.”