A baby girl was born to Pastor Tim and Tara Hallman of Anchor Community UB (Fort Wayne, Ind.). Emma Reigh arrived Thursday, March 13, at 5:38 a.m. (7lbs. 3 ozs., and 19.5 inches). Tim reports that Emma has “lots of thick black hair (just like her daddy) and a beautiful face, just like her mommy!”

Central Conference Superintendent Tom Brodbeck provides this update on the new Hispanic church plant in Columbus.

“The church has 56 different people who are active in the ministry, averaging around 40. Pastor Volfi Valenzuela reports that 13 people have been saved and five others have rededicated their lives. The need continues for Hispanic Bibles and other Spanish literature. The church will be participating in a Columbus, Ohio, Latin festival June 20-21. Over 300,000 people attend this event each year. The church continues to worship on Sunday afternoons at the Columbus First UB church facility.”

Troy and Julie Hendricks and family are planning to arrive in Spain at the beginning of August, where they will serve with SEND International. They are UB endorsed missionaries from Lake View UB in Camden, Mich. Troy is finishing the year as a high school teacher in Angola, Ind.

The Global Ministries Leadership Team has endorsed three new missionaries–one family and two singles.

Jim and Michelle Kegerreis are from the Otterbein UB church in Greecastle, Pa. In 1998, they began working with a ministry that built family-style homes for children at risk in Honduras. Jim oversaw the construction of nine buildings and the overall infrastructure, while Michelle helped with bookkeeping.

In November 2002, they joined Providence World Ministries as self-supported missionaries. Jim will lead teams of volunteers to build facilities near Tegucigalpa, Honduras. PWM aims to reveal God’s love to orphaned and abandoned children, widows, and the poor through direct and practical help. For this, they are creating a new kind of orphanage, in which 100 children will receive basic necessities, education, and medical attention. They will be nurtured by Christian, native house parents in family groups of eight children. The presence of elderly widows means the children will receive the love and nurture of grandmothers as well. A medical clinic and school will also minister to the community.

Mark Stephan is from College Park UB in Huntington, Ind. He serves in the Middle East with Mission to Unreached Peoples, an organization based in Seattle. MUP has over 100 missionaries in 16 countries. They focus on evangelism and church planting in places which are often closed to traditional missionary work. In Mark’s case, it involves ministry to Muslims.

Bridget Ho, a Hong Kong native, committed her life to Christ in 1989 at St. Luke’s UB church. In 1993, she volunteered to help plant St. Mark’s UB church, and has been very active there ever since, doing some of everything–secretary, deaconess, worship leader, piano accompanist, Sunday school teacher, and more.

Bridget holds a degree in Translation from Hong Kong Baptist University, and has worked as a translator. She also earned two Certificates of Church Ministry from Ecclesia Bible College, and has acquired significant training in evangelism through several programs.

In 1994, sensing God calling her into mission work, Bridget traveled to Thailand to visit the UB work there. She asked herself, “Could I spend a year or a few years in the mission field like Pastor Lee in Thailand?” She visited Thailand again the next year, and also in 1998. In 1999, Bridget began working for Operation Mobilization as Assistant Personnel Officer, and continued in that role until August 2002. She then decided to join OM’s Asia Challenge Team. She is now serving in Sri Lanka on a two-year assignment.

Thirty-two students are enrolled in “Perspectives,” a course on world missions which the US Center for World Mission sponsors at various locations throughout the country. The class at Huntington College started January 7 and is running for 15 weeks, meeting for three hours every Tuesday night.

Jana Hoobler sent these items from Macau on March 25:

  • This Sunday our United Brethren Macau Association will celebrate its 15th Anniversary. Praise the Lord for these 15 years of His faithfulness to our church-planting work in Macau. Pray that the celebration will be an encouragement to our staff and church members and a strong testimony to our unsaved friends who will attend.
  • This ELP term has been a really good one in terms of spiritual response. Praise the Lord for this encouragement to our team. Pray that the new friendships and Bible dtudies that have started will continue, and that we’ll see people coming to accept Christ as their Savior.
  • One of our English Bible Study students, who isn’t a Christian, asked us to start a Bible Club for her 5th grade students. She feels it’s important for them to learn about the Bible. She asked her school adminstration if we could do this, and they approved it. Pray that God will continue to open doors if He desires for us to start this club. Pray also that we’ll find suitable materials.

Rev. Jim Preece, 43, former pastor of the Salem Chapel church (Junction City, Ohio) in Central Conference, passed away on Saturday, March 29. The funeral will be held at 1:30 pm on Wednesday, April 2, at the Living Word UB church in Columbus, Ohio (145 Obetz Road, Columbus). Rev. Bill Pitts will officiate. Calling hours are on Tuesday, April 1, from 2-4 pm and 6-9 pm at the Graumlich & Son Funeral Home (1351 South High Street, Columbus, OH).

Jim’s heart condition made it necessary to place him on permanent disability at the end of 2002. He had been pastor of Salem Chapel most recently, but before that pastored two other UB churches–Zanesville UB (Zanesville, Ind.) and Mount Victory UB (Decatur, Ind.). Jim is survived by his wife, Jenny, and children Rebecca and Tim. The family’s home address is: 1846 Pine Grove Place, Lancaster, Ohio 43130

The Women’s Ministry Leadership Team has completed its first year. Kathy Bruce, who chairs the team, reports, “It was a busy year, as we got established and focused, and began meeting women’s leaders in our UB churches. We hope to bring that focus and encouragement to the local women’s leaders even more in 2003. Here are some of the things we have done:

  • “We identified our focus to be “Women Equipping Women.”
  • “Representatives of the WMLT attended most attended annual conference meetings. We set up a resource table and began contacting women’s leaders.
  • “We established our own website, ubwomen.org, for information, resources, and an email system for contacting individuals.
  • “We set up an internet bulletin board for swapping ideas, and have had a very successful response of women writing in with questions and ideas.
  • “We distributed our first Women’s Ministry Newsletter to each church and to our email contact list. It is a resource for fresh ideas and encouragement.
  • “We have called or written each UB church, attempting to identify a women’s contact in each of the UB churches nationwide.
  • “The WMLT members completed training in the Sonlife Strategy and Advanced 1 for Women’s Ministry leaders. We plan to begin teaching this biblical approach at our July conference and then locally for women’s groups.
  • “We established networks with women’s ministry leaders in other denominations to share ideas and strategies
  • “We are now planning for the National Women’s Conference, to be held July 25-27, 2003, at Huntington College in Huntington, Ind. The theme is, “Women Equipping Women: His Plan, His Way, His Glory.”
  • “We have also started to plan for the International UB Conference in 2005.

“We do ask again for your financial support and prayer in that effort. We ask that UB women support the ministry by giving $20.03 in 2003. These funds will be used to provide training, sponsor future conferences, and increase our resources to be Women Equipping Women in the United Brethren Church, nationwide. Send to: WMLT, 302 Lake St., Huntington, Ind. 46750.”

At Pleasant Hill UB (Greencastle, Pa.), the junior church and Good News Club decided to support Child Evangelism Fellowship as their mission project for September through December. Each week the Good News children were encouraged to support the project through their offerings. The junior church and Sunday school children received donations for memorizing Bible verses.

The children turned in their money at the end of November. It came to $757. A check for that amount was presented, on Mission Sunday in December, to Lois Anderson of CEF.

Jana Hoobler, director of the Macau Mission, is back in Macau after her furlough. She sent these notes on February 11.

  • The timing was perfect for me to arrive back in Macau at Chinese New Year. It gave me time to just enjoy time with friends before jumping into a busy teaching schedule. Praise the Lord for all those who helped keep things running smoothly while I was gone. Everything’s in good order, and that’s a nice situation to come back to!
  • The Women’s Bible Study on Taipa has continued to grow into a tight-knit group during the past year. Praise the Lord for these women and their interest in the Bible.
  • We finally got permission to advertise our ELP classes at Living Word last Thursday. Pray that we’ll have good enrollment at both Living Word and the Taipa Center.
  • Since we’re down to only two of us who are fulltime now, we need to cut back again in what we’re doing. Pray for wisdom as we consider what changes would be best for the churches and the Taipa Center. Pray that God’s plan will be clear to us, and that we’ll be unified among ourselves and with our Chinese co-workers in these decisions.

Then, this further update arrived on February 19.

  • Just last week we missionaries prayed that God would provide some future musicians for Living Word Church. On Friday, Pastor Connie Sung told me that Edwin, a new young believer in the church, told her he’d like to start studying piano. Pray that Edwin will be committed to practicing the piano and will become a future pianist for the church. This is a practical need in church planting!
  • Jen Blandin and I attended Hong Kong Conference’s annual meeting last Sunday. Praise the Lord for their faithful support of the ministry in Macau over the past 15 years. We were encouraged by their concern for our churches in Macau.
  • Pray for two ELP students who seem to be open to talking about God. Jen and I are having lunch with them on Thursday. One of them has a daughter living with a Christian family in the States as an exchange student, and their care for her daughter has made a good impression on her.
  • We’re in the middle of handling a lot of legal changes that the government is requiring. None of these changes limit our freedom to share the gospel, but they involve very tedious paperwork and a lot of time.