Our couple in India (we can’t give their names online) report that a Pastors Conference was held February 16-19. Three guest speakers gave excellent teaching and encouraging messages to the pastors involved in church planting areas.

Thirty-five delegates attended this conference. All of them gave very encouraging feedback on the conference and said that they have been helped and uplifted.

Five of the tribal pastors were given Telugu study Bibles; that is all they could get, since the Bible is out of print. The first New Telugu Bible Commentary was to be released at the end of February. It will cost approximately $12 for each volume. The hope is to get a copy for each of the pastors.

Dr. Jeffrey Webb, a history professor at Huntington College, is the author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Christianity, which will be released in March. The book looks at the differences among Christian denominations today.

“I discovered through the process of writing that I could not do this without going back through the history of the church and identifying reasons for the different conflicts and schisms that produced the denominational divisions, Webb recalled. “Yet, I also tried to emphasize the points of agreement and unity among Christians.

Several Huntington College communication students received awards in the 2004 Intercollegiate National Religious Broadcasting (INRB) media competition at the National Religious Broadcasting Convention in Charlotte, N.C., February 13-17.

Each year students under the direction of Dr. Lance Clark, assistant professor of communication, enter various projects in the INRB media competition. This year, Huntington students won four first-place awards in nine categories.

Jaymie Shafer, a junior broadcast communication major from Canton, Ohio, placed first in the Al Sanders Essay Contest, and received a $1000 grant. Her essay, Cinematic Theology, compared the different approaches to Christianity in film. She focused on the movies Bruce Almighty and The Lord of the Rings.

Paco Michelson, a senior Bible and religion major from Huntington, Ind., and Jonathan Bordeaux, a senior broadcast communication major from Roanoke, Ind., placed first in the Television Field Production category with their production, Hannahs Cross. The short film dealt with religious persecution in foreign countries.

Michelson also won first place in the Radio Drama category with The Hiding Place, a production that served as an adaptation from the life story of Corrie Ten Boone.

Luanne Brooks is a United Brethren missionary serving with OMS International in Haiti. She sent this report on February 11.

Every time you blink the situation here in Haiti changes.

First of all I want you to know that I am safe and have not once felt I was in any danger. For the past several weeks, I have been staying with Pastor Richard Oliam in his home in a suburb of Port au Prince. We had heard of many demonstrations in and around the city, but they were always avoidable as this is a large city.

This past weekend I chose to visit some friends at the OMS Guesthouse, since Pastor Richard was going to be out of town. While I was at the guest house (Villa ORMISO), problems began to escalate all over Haiti. On Sunday and Monday, Pastor Richard was unable to return home due to road blocks, so I stayed at the Villa for two more days.

Yesterday we received word that the rebel forces had taken over the town of Limbe (where I support a small UB church) and that the government had blocked off Cap Haitian. Our compound is outside of Cap on the road to Limbe. Our missionaries are all safe–a large wall surrounds the compound–but there are lots of problems all around them. Yesterday I asked to return to Cap, but was told to remain in Port for the time being.

At the pastors house, I was rather isolated. He is on the other side of town from the Villa; I had very little communication there, and no internet available. We were concerned that if I needed to get to the Villa should problems arise, it might not be possible. So for the time being, I am at the Villa. I continue to study my kreole. I am not able to attend classes but have been talking to my teacher daily and receiving assignments.

My favorite hamburger joint in Cap Haitian is no longer there. It was burned down, along with a local radio station, two banks, and a church.

Gary Dilley, Director of Global Ministries, talked by phone to Luanne Brooks this afternoon (February 11). Because of the great degree of civil unrest in Haiti, Luanne Brooks is currently stuck in Port au Prince, where she has been doing language study. She is unable to get back to Cap Hatien, where she lives at the OMS compound. Please pray for her safety and for God’s peace. Luanne is in contact with OMS about what her next step will be, whether it means returning in some way to Cap Hatien or even returning to the States. She is staying at the OMS guesthouse in the capital. Luanne is a United Brethren missionary serving with OMS International.

Meanwhile, a United Brethren group from Canada has returned safely from Haiti, flying back to Canada on February 10. Bishop Brian Magnus of Canada called Gary Dilley on the morning of February 11 to report on the group’s journey. They went to Haiti on January 30 to do work in construction, medical, children’s, and medical ministries. The civil unrest escalated during their time in the country, though for most of the time they were isolated from it in an area south of Port Au Prince and were not fully aware of the political turmoil in other parts of the country.

On their return journey to the airport, they faced several delays, ran into roadblocks and barricades, and encountered a truck filled with armed men who expressed doubt about their ability to reach the airport. They spent some time at a Salvation Army compound, waiting for any sign of traffic coming out of Port Au Prince. Finally, when they saw buses coming from the city, they immediately left and were able to make their way to the airport.

Gary Dilley received an email this morning which said, I’m sure you will be hearing many accounts of how God blessed the team and caused plans to be altered for their protection. Joan Sider [from the Toronto UB church] said she was unaware of the extent of the political uprisings in Haiti during the past week until she arrived in Miami and read the newspapers.

The US Embassy in Haiti is closed until March, and for a couple months there has been a stern travel advisory out from the US State Department regarding Haiti.

October 16-25, 2004, is the tentative date for the next medical missions trip to Honduras. Donna Hollopeter will lead it. During this trip, the team will focus on village medical work outside of La Ceiba, Honduras. The group will travel each day to villages to do medical evaluations, examinations, and referrals for further treatment. We are looking for 18 persons–doctors, nurses, physical therapists, translators, and support personnel. The support personnel will take care of keeping medical records, registering prescriptions written, and setup and tear down work. You must be at least 21 years old. Cost will be $1200 per person.

If you are interested in participating, please contact Donna at Global Ministries at 1-888-622-3019. A packet of information can be sent to you.

Rick and Ann Runyan and family are investigating whether God is calling them to fulltime mission service. They are now in Honduras and will be there for the entire month of February, spending time with US work teams and getting acquainted with ministry in Honduras Conference. The Runyans are from the Idaville UB church (Idaville, Pa.), and their pastor is Dirk Small. Please pray for them this month as they take this step of faith.

During its mid-year meeting on January 31, Michigan Conference chose Rev. Roger Burk as the new fulltime superintendent. Roger is currently pastor of Mount Hope UB in Carson City, Mich. He will take office August 1, replacing Rev. David Burkett.

Many UB churches are planning evangelistic efforts around Mel Gibson’s film “The Passion of the Christ,” which opens February 25. For instance, NorthPointe UB in the Columbus, Ohio, area is renting out an entire theater. They are buying screen advertising that will run 14 weeks, and will do a mailing to 7000 homes in their zip code, plus to all new residents in the country during the past year.

At the beginning of the year, Darlene Burkett began serving fulltime as Administrative Assistant in Global Ministries. When you call Global Ministries with questions or requests, there’s a good chance you’ll talk to Darlene. Darlene actually started working part-time in the department during the fall. Darlene and her husband, Phil, are one of the two founding couples of the Macau mission work. Phil now serves as Minister of Music and Missions at College Park UB in Huntington.

As of February 1, Sherry Rupert is the new Executive Secretary to Bishop Paul Hirschy. She is from College Park UB in Huntington, Ind. Sherry replaces Susan Hoopingarner, who served in that role for six years. On February 1, Susan started a new job on the staff of Youth for Christ in Fort Wayne, Ind. We wish her well in that role.