• On Good Friday, Living Water Church held a foot-washing service. Living Word Church had a simple potluck at one church member’s home, followed by a time of worship and reflection. On Saturday, Living Word Church took over 20 children on a field trip to Coloane, one of Macau’s islands.
  • On Easter Sunday, both churches held evangelistic meetings. In the afternoon Living Water Church had a picnic, hiking, and paddleboat rides at a reservoir.
  • We had a good Easter Celebration on Taipa on Sunday evening. It wasn’t as big of a crowd as we’ve had for some other events, but most of these are the families of women who are attending English Bible Studies. Pray that a core group of believers will develop on Taipa!
  • On March 30, the Macau United Brethren in Christ Association celebrated its 15th anniversary. Representatives from Living Water Church, Living Word Church, the ELP, and Hong Kong Conference participated in a worship celebration service. Hong Kong Superintendent Peter Lee gave us a quick history lesson on the denomination and Hong Kong Pastor Mark Choi shared the message for the afternoon. We are thankful for God’s faithfulness over the past 15 years!
  • We need wisdom as we plan for events this summer–English classes for adults, teens, and children, and VBS. Many things are up in the air due to the continuing SARS concerns.
  • The government still has not accepted our financial reports for our first year-and-a-half of ELP classes on Taipa. They are asking more and more questions concerning how the income from our classes is used to support our church work. Pray that they will approve the reports without us having to make any major changes in how our finances are set up and that we’ll be granted non-profit status. This continues to be a stressful and time-consuming process, especially for Jennifer Blandin.

Barb Clingensmith writes, “Eight ladies and two teens from the First UB in New Castle, Pa., traveled to Laurel Mission in Kentucky the last weekend in March to assist and encourage Titus and Debbie Boggs. It is phenomenal to see the dedication of this couple to the mission work God has called them to.

“We were able to do some work in the yard and on the driveway, plus some cleaning in the kitchen/dorm areas. We had collected clothing and household items and were able to boost the clothing store’s inventory with what we brought. Also, learning about their Campbell Soup label project and that a van could be obtained with the labels, we were able to assist in getting labels ready to submit. Deciding this was a project we could share in, we began collecting labels. Seeing firsthand the work at the elementary school run by the Boggs family and the young lives they are touching, we have also pledged monthly support to this great effort. This was a rewarding trip.”

Ron Gonzales, pastor of Open Bible Fellowship (Safford, Ariz.), reports on the exciting things happening as this booming Hispanic church.

“We had our first services in our newly remodeled 15,000 square-foot facility during the Easter weekend. We didn’t receive our certificate of occupancy for the property until Friday at 4:30. Without that we couldn’t have had our Easter services there. The work on the property was done over a period of 20 months by volunteers from the church.

“We had a 7:00 Saturday evening service and, on Easter Sunday, a 10:40 morning service. We did a drama production called ‘Victory Symphony.’ The combined attendance hit 650, with 29 conversions. Now we are making plans for our dedication service.”

Mt. Victory UB officially lit a new church sign on April 16 during a church picnic and hotdog roast. The new sign is the latest in a series of property improvements. Within the past four years, the church has installed new siding, replaced the roof of the sanctuary, put up a new steeple, and completely remodeled the church basement into three classrooms and two utility rooms. The next step will be mounting the church bell on a stand near the front doors of the church. The bell had been in the original church steeple for over 100 years. Ed Gebert is the pastor.

Wes and Jean Bell write about Easter in Brazil. “Here in Brazil, Good Friday is considered a Catholic holiday and is not celebrated in many Protestant circles. Traditional Easter hymns are not sung unless there is strong missionary influence. Some churches are adopting the early morning breakfast, but not a sunrise service. The church we attend did a play along with choreography of two modern music pieces. Chocolate eggs are highly commercialized, but the general atmosphere does not seem nearly as festive as at New Year’s.”

Idaville UB (Idaville, Pa.) presented the musical drama “Fish Tales” on Palm Sunday. The program was performed by the “Praise Kids,” 13 children in grades 1-6….On Easter Sunday, Pastor Dirk Small was pleased to have 203 people attending. Several persons made decisions to accept Christ….April 27 was Rally Day. The group “The Praisin Puppets” presented a program to the children’s department.

Criders UB (Chambersburg, Pa.) dedicated its new Family Life Center on May 4. The facility adds classrooms, a nursery, gymnasium, stage, and kitchen. Bishop Paul Hirschy was the guest speaker.

East Washington UB (Ashley, Mich.) dedicated its new facility on April 13; they moved into it last October on their 100th anniversary. Bishop Paul Hirschy delivered a message which challenged them to be a praying church.

On Good Friday, East Washington participated with three other churches in a community service. The service included personal confession at a cross. Persons attending symbolized their personal confession by driving a nail into the cross and then taking the Lord’s Supper.

On Easter Sunday, Hillsdale UB (Hillsdale, Mich.) presented a procla-drama called “Crises and Cross Roads” which set an attendance record for the church of over 700. Procla-drama is a creative ministry tool for proclaiming the gospel. Live drama, video, special effects, and solos were interspersed at various points during the resurrection sermon of Pastor Les Smith. The Easter attendance was two-thirds larger than last year.

On March 28, eleven people from Gaines UB (Caledonia, Mich.) traveled to Slovakia with The International Needs Network. Pastor Mark Beers writes, “We worked on the third floor of a community center at the church in Lucenec, Slovakia. The center will be used as an outreach for the church.

The 11 people stayed with families from the church and had several opportunities to speak in local churches. The highlight was being able to take communion with the people of the Ruzemberok church. Communion in that culture was taken from a common cup and was real wine. Both were a surprise to all, but what a great way to proclaim our oneness in Christ. The team returned to Grand Rapids on the evening of April 13 with a team of senior high youth waiting at the airport to welcome us home.”