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.

Marshalee Brown, a UB from Jamaica Conference, has arrived in Ethiopia to begin her missionary service there. An eight-hour flight to London, where she stayed for a few days, then a ten-hour flight to Addis Abada, Ethiopia (which a stop-over in Alexandria, Greece). She arrived at 1 am on a Tuesday morning.

“On the aircraft to Ethiopia, it finally hit me hard that I was going away for a long time to a foreign country. That was when the tears started to pour. I had to command my eyes to stop their raining and my heart to be glad in expectancy of what God has for me in my new home. I repeated some of the many promises God has made to me–that he will be with me, and his joy will be my strength. I arrived in Ethiopia 1am Tuesday morning. I cried myself to sleep because I felt so lonely. This time it was very difficult to command my eyes and heart to do anything, I just gave them free reign to do as they will…but eventually I slept and it was a sweet sleep, I did not get up until 10:30 the next morning!”

Marshalee will spend six months attending language school in Addis. She also spend a week and a half visiting Mekele, which is where she will be working.” I was able to reconnect with some Ethiopian friends from my last visit and I was able to find my way around a bit, so I do not feel totally foreign and out of sorts.”

She adds, “From my window I can hear reggae music blasting round the corner. I have been to three different places today and they were all playing Bob Marley music. So in a way, not everything is strange. Actually, if I do not speak the language, I pass as an Ethiopian.”

Good Shepherd UB (Huntington, Ind.) has a new missions team under the direction of Matt and Eva Webb. All seven of them attended the Perspectives class held at Huntington College this winter, and they have developed a great vision for getting the church more missions-oriented. A team will to go Haiti this spring, and another will go to our Laurel Mission in Kentucky in July. The new team includes one college student and two high school students.

One of Good Shepherd’s worship teams will hold a praise and worship concert the evening of March 2. A photo and poster were put up all over the community, inviting people to come. Proceeds will help with building improvements.

The church renovated the stage and sound booth areas of the sanctuary. One parishioner, who was laid off from his construction work this winter, did the work. The congregation gave his family a “pounding” in appreciation, and bought him a nailgun as a thank-you for his month of hard work.

Emma Hyer, R.N., the first UB missionary nurse in Sierra Leone, passed away February 26. She served at the clinic/dispensary at Danville from 1936-1942, and 1952-1955. Miss Hyer came from the UB church in Coleta, Ill. The first UB missionary doctor, Leslie Huntley, had been serving at Danville since 1934 without trained help, so her arrival was a welcome relief.

Luanne Brooks will leave for Haiti on March 27 to begin her missionary service with OMS International. She is a fulltime UB missionary on loan to OMS. Luanne’s funding is not yet at the 100 percent level, but OMS felt it was close enough to go ahead and send her.

Paul Coy, former missionary in Macau, has begun his second semester at Asia-Pacific Nazarene Theological Seminary. He writes, “I am taking classes in Church History, Evangelism, Cultural Anthropology, Church Administration, Pastoral Care and Counseling, Character Formation, and Interpersonal Communication. I enjoy my classes, and thank God for the opportunity to study. This semester will finish April 3rd.

April, May, and June are our summer classes. I will not take summer classes, but will do two internships. The first one will be at my home church, First Church of the Nazarene, in Huntington, Ind. I will be in the States, April 7–May 21. My second internship will be in Bangkok, Thailand, May 23–June 30. I will teach English at the Thai Pattana Language school and help with a new church plant that began this year.

I believe God will stretch me and teach me in incredible ways through both internships. By doing my two internships this summer, I will be able to graduate a semester earlier than I had originally planned. I will get my Master of Divinity degree in two-and-a-half years, finishing at the end of October 2004. I do not yet know my plans after graduation, but will let you know as God guides and directs me.”