Rev. Chuck McKeown (right) praying for the persons being ordained during the 2019 US National Conference, including (on the left) his son Josh and his wife, Julie.

We need to mobilize prayer for Rev. Josh McKeown, pastor of Faith UB church in Port Orange, Fla.

Josh was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia in 2010, and went through an experimental clinical trial at the M. D. Anderson cancer center in Houston. For the past nine years, he has been taking the same chemo drug, and the cancer has been held in remission. But in August, their insurance company said they would no longer cover the cost of that particular drug, and required that he switch to a cheaper alternative chemotherapy. The result, his wife Julie explains, is that he began experiencing certain symptoms and tests show that the number of cancer cells in his body increased for the first time in nine years.

Julie wrote, “His symptoms are horrible, and his oncologist has never seen an increase of this amount while still taking chemo, which may indicate that his cancer has mutated and grown resistant to the chemotherapy.” He did lab work this week to determine if he developed this mutation, and hope to have the results in a week or so. “If Josh hasn’t developed the mutation, then they will try to get him back on his old chemo. But then we have to figure out a way to pay for it. His chemo is $12-14,000 a month depending on the dose.”

Julie continues, “I can’t event put into words how much pain Josh is in. It breaks my heart.”

Please keep Josh and Julie in your prayers. Josh was among the four men ordained in July 2019 at the US National Conference. He has been doing good work at Faith UB church since being stationed there in August 2017.

Cards can be send to:
Josh McKeown
1650 Center Ave
Holly Hill, FL 32117-1514

L-r: Randy Magnus, Mark Wallace, Matthew Robertshaw, Brian Magnus, Neil Cudney, Jeff Bleijerveld.

Christian Horizons presented Excellence in Action Awards to the United Brethren of Canada and the United States. It recognizes their sponsorship of children in Haiti and participation in ministry to special needs children and adults. The awards were presented by Mark Wallace and Neil Cudney, both leaders of Christian Horizons and United Brethren ministers

The US Thanksgiving is just around the corner. By now, all UB churches should have received bulletin inserts and any additional materials requested in advance of this year’s missions offering.

The focus this year is on raising funds to help our international partners join us for General Conference. The meeting will be held March 14-18, 2020, in Jamaica. Each country does all it can to raise as much, if not all, of what’s needed to pay their way. Your gifts will serve to supplement what may be lacking.

This conference becomes increasingly strategic as more of our fellow United Brethren engage in mission ministry beyond their borders and in some cases beyond their continent.

Use this link to download a short video that describes the project. It can be used in the weeks prior to and including Thanksgiving Sunday.

Rhonda Mudge, 53, passed away October 15, 2019, after a lengthy battle with cancer. She is the wife of Rev. Michael Mudge, pastor of Bethany House of the Lord in Cumberland, Md., and was a UB missionary to Macau 1992-1993.

Funeral arrangements:

Viewing: 3-6 pm Friday, October 25, 2019.
Funeral: 11 am Saturday, October 26, 2019. Viewing 10-10:45 prior to the service.
Location: Both the viewing and funeral will be held at the Scarpelli Funeral Home, 108 Virginia Avenue, Cumberland, MD 21502.

Rhonda was among our early missionaries in Macau, serving two years beginning in 1992. She and Michael were married in 1994, and they have served in pastoral ministry together since then.

Please keep the Mudge family in your prayers. Rev. Mudge wrote, “I’d say my family is finding an inner strength we didn’t know we had, and we’re working together to put together a service worthy of our daughter, wife, and mother. Truly, we covet your continued prayers.”

The October 15 night CNN Democratic debate was held at Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio. That was the very first United Brethren college, started back in 1847 and named after founding bishop William Otterbein.

From the start, Otterbein University admitted women and people of color, which was a bit revolutionary for the time. It was also co-educational, with men and women taking the same classes (not a watered-down track for women). Of the first 81 students, 29 were women, and women served on the faculty. So we were quite progressive for the time.

Lewis Davis became president in 1850 and served in that role for 21 years before departing to start the first United Brethren seminary (now United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio). He’s the namesake for Davis Hall at Huntington University.

Rev. Michael Mudge, pastor of Bethany House of the Lord in Cumberland, Md., sent this sad note on Tuesday afternoon:

“My wife Rhonda passed away this afternoon at 1:03 p.m., at home, just 24 hours after being told she had one week to live. We were able to have a really nice talk with our five children last night. We have been extraordinarily blessed in our time together, and she and I have cherished your prayers and pray that our Lord richly blesses you for your love and support.

“A Service of Christian Burial will be set for ten days down the road, for Saturday, October 26, 2019, at Scarpelli Funeral Home, 108 Virginia Avenue, Cumberland, MD 21502. Time and details are pending.”

Please keep the Mudge family in your prayers. Rhonda was among our early missionaries in Macau, serving two years beginning in 1992. She and Michael were married in 1994, and they have served in pastoral ministry together since then. Rhonda has been battling leukemia for some time.

An event called “UB Connected” will be held for the fourth consecutive year on November 3-4, 2019, at Rhodes Grove Camp in Chambersburg, Pa. It is sponsored by the United Brethren Association.

The event begins at 6:00 PM, Sunday, November 3, with a brief UB Association business meeting. We will be voting in 2020 board members. (If you are a member and will not be able to attend the event, please e-mail Christi, ubassociation@rhodesgrove.com, to request an absentee ballot. Especially important for those more than 2 hours away) At 6:30 PM we will begin our evening service with worship followed by a message from Bishop Todd Fetters. The service will conclude with Holy Communion.

On Monday morning, beginning at 9:00 AM we will have a concert of prayer. We will be praying for 5 topics: Our Global Family, Our Present Pastors and Future Leaders, Rhodes Grove Camp, The Ministry Needs of our Congregations and Our Pastors’ Marriages and Children. The event concludes with a noon meal.

There is no cost to attend sessions. However, there are fees for meals and lodging.

You can register online here: https://ubassociation.wufoo.com/forms/z1q82uri0o49sei/

You’re invited and encouraged to attend the first “Idea to Action” symposium at Huntington University. It is sponsored by both Huntington University and the denomination.

Date: Monday, October 28, 2019
Time: 9:30 am to 2 pm
Subject:
Special Needs Ministry

You can register using this link.

The symposium is free for United Brethren pastors, staff, and members. Huntington University undergraduate and graduate ministry students are also free to attend. Others who wish to join are welcome but will be charged a fee of $125. If attending the live event, an optional lunch is available for a cost of $15.

Keynote speakers include:

  • Dr. Kent Eiler will share his expertise from an academic perspective.
  • Pastor Mike Elkins and Dennis Myers will share how their special needs ministry at New Hope Community Church in Bryan, Ohio, is working to meet the needs of families in their community.
  • Kimi Archer, with Joni and Friends, will share resources that are available to churches and ministries, and give ideas to help support the local church in serving and being the church to families with special needs.

Learn more about the Idea to Action series here.

Abdul Mustapha

by Michelle Harris, Associate Director of UB Global

Abdul Karim Mustapha is the Administrator of UB Mattru Hospital and of UBC Hospital Enterprises. He talked recently about his story with Michelle Harris, associate director of UB Global.

Sierra Leone United Brethren in Christ

Abdul grew up in a Muslim family and began studies at Bumpe UB school in 1980. There he became friends with many believing students and started following them to church. One year at the church’s New Year’s Celebration, his friend James Barnett stood, and instead of giving his own testimony, presented Abdul as his gift, calling him up to the altar. Initially, Abdul didn’t know if he was joking, but he went to the altar, where John Jusu (current dean of Education and Social Sciences at African International University) prayed and Abdul gave his life to Jesus.

UB missionaries June Brown and Shirley Fritz served at Bumpe during those years. Abdul attended weekly evening Bible classes with them and worked through monthly Bible correspondence classes.

Currently, Abdul serves in leadership in the Sierra Leone Conference as an Executive Member of the UB Masters International Conference and is a member of Kissy UB Church in Freetown.

Family

Abdul met Hawanatu Mary when she was doing an internship in the company he worked for. They married and have two children: Gloria, who is fifteen years old, and Natacha, who is 12. Both are doing well in school.

Abdul’s family has stayed in Freetown as he works in Mattru. Abdul takes long weekends in Freetown, and Hawanatu comes for longer stays in Mattru.

The Work in Mattru

Abdul was working at another job when he heard of the urgent need for a business manager for the solar and water project. His previous experience in logistics and administration led to his applying and being hired by the conference.

As business manager, he has brought order and clear direction to the projects. The solar and water projects not only provide electricity and clean water, but are a source of regular income to support hospital salaries. Thanks to a gift from the Huntington Rotary (Huntington, Ind.), 60 customers are now metered. The next steps of care and expansion for the system will involve a back-up generator to produce cash flow and dependable electricity during the rainy season, and additional meters for larger customers.

In May of 2019, Pamela McKee, who served as hospital administrator, needed to leave earlier than expected to receive medical attention in the US. Abdul stepped in to help, much as he did in 2018 when the need for a business manager was urgent. Pamela recuperated and traveled to Mattru in August to pass the baton, pack up, and celebrate with hospital staff her time there before returning to a new position in Ohio. God has been faithful in opening a door for her to travel twice a year to the hospital to continue her work of training and encouraging staff.

Abdul is taking his time to understand the hospital staff and learn the situation of the hospital. He likes the job. He says, “Let us all work together. We need prayers for all who are working, that we will be as one. When we have a problem, in good faith, that we will find a solution together.”

Abdul asks for prayers for unity for the staff.

We are thankful for Abdul and the many others who serve at Mattru Hospital.

As you examine health insurance plans for your church staff, you might want to consider three plans offered through the United Brethren Association for Church Development, based at Rhodes Grove Camp in Chambersburg, Pa. This is our denomination’s voluntary insurance program. About 35 UB people, including the staff of the UB National Office in Indiana, are enrolled in the plan.

The UB Association offers three programs with Capital Blue Cross. The policies are effective December 1, 2019 through November 30, 2020. Open enrollment for new subscribers is during the month of October.

Please visit our website for more information.

Also, feel free to contact the office with any questions about open enrollment or eligibility.