Arek and Donna Delik are UB endorsed missionaries serving with Operation Mobilization in Kutno, Poland. Here are excerpts from a recent newsletter.

When you are in the mission field, sometimes you are forced into a position which you may feel inadequate and not comfortable with. This is how we feel this year. We are so thankful that the team has expanded from two of us to six adults altogether in the last eight months. And we realize that instead of being leaders with no members to lead, we now have four co-workers with us. We had been working alone for the last five years, and so used to do everything by ourselves and sometimes even wearing ourselves out. Then we had to learn to work differently when there are others in the team. We don’t feel very comfortable with this shift in responsibility and we know that our inadequacy may disqualify us as leaders.

Dave and Cathie Datema are endorsed UB missionaries serving with the US Center for World Mission in Pasadena, Calif. They sent this update on July 7.

“For the past year, we have been considering our ability to care for Cuyler’s needs while living in the rented house we currently occupy. We have considered moving to a different part of the country where housing is more affordable. We’re still not sure what the final solution is, but as we seek God’s guidance it doesn’t seem that we should leave the work here in Pasadena, for now. In the meantime, we have peace about Dave continuing on with the INSIGHT program.

“For INSIGHT’s first four years Dave was the Program Director (August 2001 to May 2005). During this past year, Dave served as INSIGHT Coordinator, helping to facilitate other INSIGHT programs beginning elsewhere. One will begin in Minneapolis this fall and another is slated to begin in Detroit in the fall of 2007.

“Beginning in mid-June, Dave once again resumed the position of Program Director for the site here in Pasadena. Dave missed the daily interaction with students and is looking forward to taking on this role again.  There is much work to be done in the next seven weeks to be ready.”

Jennifer Blandin, UB missionary in Macau, sent this update on July 7.
“During the month of June, our staff took a short trip to Hong Kong for a team retreat and to check out the new Disneyland. Like most things in Hong Kong, Disneyland is compact. But we still had a lot of fun! We also gained a new appreciation for Mickey, Minnie, and the gang! I’m guessing even the best trained athletes wouldn’t last 10 minutes of being in those costumes! But it would be a quick way to lose weight!
“Besides visiting Disneyland, we enjoyed walking around Hong Kong, hanging out at the hotel room, and playing a marathon game of Phase 10. It was nice to have some down-time together.
“Before Carlson and Naomi Becker headed back to the States for the summer, Living Stone Church had an outing into China for a steak dinner. The food was close to steaks you get in the States, and the time with people was a definite bonus.”

NorthPointe Community Church (Lewis Center, Ohio) is seeking to hire a Celebration (Contemporary Worship) and Youth staffperson. NorthPointe is located in the Greater Columbus area. If interested, contact Lead Pastor Dan Kopp for a ministry description and to submit a resume. Email him or write to: Dan Kopp, 7509 Storrington Place, Lewis Center, Ohio 43035.

Rhodes Grove Camp, the United Brethren camp located outside of Greencastle, Pa., will holds its traditional campmeeting August 20-24. The speaker is Michael W. Sigman, bishop of the Evangelical Congregational Church. Nursery service will be provided, along with children’s lessons for grades K-6 taught each night by Rev. James Herman.

Services will be held in the air-conditioned Meadows Conference Center Sunday through Thursday, beginning at 7 pm. the Macedonia Messengers will provide special music on Sunday evening. Rev. Bob Conway will lead a morning Bible study on the Parables of Jesus in the conference center on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday mornings at 10 am.

I’ve come alongside some broken situations lately. My heart aches. I’ve seen it all through the years, and there are some patterns that continue to make no sense to me. A spouse is told that the “feeling” is gone and suddenly feelings have developed for a person that they’ve just met. This rush of “feelings” supersedes any vow of commitment that was ever made. Forget the vows, forget the kids, forget the oneness, forget the commitments. It all comes down to what I “feel.” Love has lost the buzz. It’s gone, and it won’t return. (At least that seems to be the logic.) And the number one priority is “my happiness.”

I’ve seen it in broken spiritual lives too. No work is put into developing the relationship. Other ventures and voices seem fresh and alluring. And suddenly Jesus is not worth following any longer. Pull back from fellowship. Pull back from Bible reading and prayer (the conversational aspect of relationship with Jesus). Pull back from serving anyone in any way. Listen to the voice that says, “Its all about you.”

And we walk away, chasing after our new friend.

The amazing thing to me is that while this scenario has failed to deliver on this ominous promise of happiness for people throughout the ages, everyone who walks through it feels it will be different for them. It is right for them, because it “feels” right.

Feelings are deceptive. They can change directions like the wind. That is why a wise man once said, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its path leads to death” (Proverbs 14:12).

The prophet also observed, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9).

The key for all is to revisit the commitments and vows taken at the beginning. We must begin to do the things that we were doing at the start (Revelation 2:5). Marriages, believing communities, relationships with Jesus, all take work. They take daily investments. Rather than walking away, get back to work!

The one reassuring promise is His: “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Matthew 28:20).

On Sunday, July 2 Franklin UB Church (New Albany, Ohio) held its second annual Freedom and Faith Sunday. The purpose of Freedom and Faith Sunday is to celebrate the freedoms we have in America, including the freedom to worship God and practice our faith as He directs us. Many political guests were invited, including Ohio’s Governor Bob Taft and area politicians. Though the Governor was unable to attend, a special congratulatory note was sent on his behalf.

The church is located in the city of New Albany and the mayor and city council declared in a proclamation that July 2 was Freedom and Faith Sunday for the city, recognizing Franklin Church. Guests included the City Council President (the Mayor had to be in Canada), a township Trustee, two of the three Franklin County commissioners, City of Columbus Mayor’s representative Rick Isbel, and several other special guests. The local NBC TV affialiate, Channel 4, gave favorable coverage to the event on both their Sunday and Monday news broadcast.

On July 13, six persons from the US National Conference began traveling to Sierra Leone, where they will participate in a major leadership development initiative. This trip begins a three-year effort to bring renewal and strength to Sierra Leone Conference. It will include training, a series of additional teams, plus projects which UB churches in North America can help accomplish.

This is something of an “intervention,” and it comes only at the request of Sierra Leone Conference. The civil war in the 1990s cut short many things, including the training and development needed to successfully move the Sierra Leone churches from “mission field” to self-governing “national conference.” The conference realizes its need for outside help, and called to us for that help.

The persons currently in Sierra Leone are: Ruth Ann Price (team leader), Jeff Sherlock, Randy Fennig, Luke Fetters, Todd Fetters, and Billy Simbo. Todd Fetters is the only one who is not a member of the Global Ministries Leadership Team. Billy Simbo, a Sierra Leonean and former President of the Sierra Leone Bible College, now pastors a UB church in New Jersey.

These US leaders will spend six days meeting with about 70 African pastors and lay leaders. They will interact on leadership development, biblical decision-making, preaching, and principles of financial management. Presentations will be given, case studies will be considered, and then the participants will break into small groups to discuss specific ways to implement what they have learned. The overall theme involves drawing lessons from the life of Joseph. At the conclusion, each participant will be challenged to make a personal action plan for growing as a leader.

Randy Fennig and Ruth Ann Price visited Sierra Leone in February of this year to assess needs and bring back recommendations to the Global Ministries team. It was their impression that the war left such devastation and trauma that the Sierra Leoneans lack the ability to “rebuild the walls” without assistance. After the leadership training, Randy, a former Africa Inland Mission missionary in Mozambique, will spend an additional week in Sierra Leone studying needs and possibilities.

“We are giving this our best effort and hoping that something very good will happen,” says Gary Dilley, the US Director of Global Ministries.

Sierra Leone was our first mission field, started in the 1850s, so our ties and history run deep. They currently have 35 churches and 5000 members. Islam is advancing aggressively in Sierra Leone and now claims 60% of the population, compared to 30% tribal religion and 10% Christian. The evangelistic challenges for our churches are great. Sierra Leone is also the world’s poorest country.

Please pass this information along to your congregation and remember this effort in prayer.

The UB Women’s Conference is fast approaching. Please inform women in your church about this conference and encourage them to register. Several promotional materials are available online, which you can download in Jpeg format which you can drop into your church newsletter.

The conference will be held in Shipshewana, Indiana (near the Michigan border) at the Farmstead Inn. The cost is $135 per person (or $125 if you bring at least eight women from your church). The keynote speaker will be Jennie Dimkoff, an author, motivational speaker, and gifted storyteller.

On July 8, Les and Linda Smith moved out of the parsonage at Hillsdale UB (Hillsdale, Mich.), so that it can be renovated into an office complex; the attached garage will become a conference room/classroom. The Smiths have lived next door to each of the three UB churches they have served during the past 25 years.

Currently, two staff members must share one office and a part-time pastor does not have one. The six offices at the church are scattered throughout the building in four areas. The new office complex will provide an office for each staffperson. The new office for Pastor Les will be his former bedroom.

Hillsdale UB has two Sunday morning services in two locations of the church–a more traditional service in the sanctuary and a contemporary service in the Worship Center (gym). For three years, 400 chairs have been setup and taken down each week for the second service. The parsonage renovation will allow the church offices to be used for additional lobby space and will relieve the bottleneck between services.

Two new parking lots have just been completed. One was a large expansion of the existing lot at the rear of the church, while the other replaced the front lawn of the former parsonage, so visitors to the new office complex will be able to park close by.

In June, Hillsdale completed a 40 Days of Purpose Campaign. Prior to the campaign, the congregation had eight home groups with about 80 participants. During the six-week campaign this number grew to more than 400 participants meeting in over 40 small groups. This included about three-quarters of the adult congregation as well as a number of unchurched people. Most of the groups are continuing to meet despite the end of the 40 days, while others plan to resume in the fall.

At the Ministry Fair held on the fifth Sunday of the campaign, around 350 signed up to serve in one or more of the dozens of ministry opportunities being offered both within the church and community.