Three teachers from First UB in Blissfield, Mich., traveled to Narsapur, India, this summer to work at the English Medium School. Global Ministries Director Gary Dilley says, “We hope for continued opportunities for North American UBs to help with our Indian work. We are currently inquiring about sending a physical therapist to do some training at Narsapur Christian Hospital and Bethesda Leprosy Hospital.”

A congregation in Berlin, Germany, which consists mostly of immigrants from Sierra Leone, applied to become a mission district under the supervision of Sierra Leone National Conference. Sierra Leoneans ended up there as a result of the civil war in the 1990s. A former United Brethren pastor from Sierra Leone helped start the work, but has since relocated to London. Taking his place is Peter Mansaray, a former Catholic priest who decided that Protestantism better represented his theology.

Peter, who is in his late 30s, attended the Sierra Leone conference meeting in September. He told people, “We’re a United Brethren church, and we don’t want to be in isolation. We’ve come back to our roots for a relationship.” He requested that Sierra Leone accept them as a mission district, and the conference agreed.

Gary Dilley, Director of Global Ministries, provided these updates on various UB missionaries.

  • David and Melissa Kline will return to the States on furlough at the end of October, with their new daughter, Mia. They will live in the mission house in Huntington, Ind. The Klines will spend a good chunk of time in Canada, which is a major supporting partner, and then will return to Macau next summer (perhaps August).
  • BeckersCarlson Becker (right, with his wife Naomi) is giving good leadership to Living Stone, the new church plant in Macau, and is working diligently to help Michael Chan, the Chinese coworker, succeed. He is preparing members of the Chinese congregation and Michael Chan to lead and continue the work, rather than to depend on him and other missionaries.
  • Anna Geivett, one of our newest endorsed missionaries, is getting close to finishing her fundraising and plans to leave for Peru in November. She will serve as Short-term Teams Coordinator for Food for the Hungry. Anna is from the Emmanuel UB church in Fort Wayne, Ind.
  • Marshalee LoerchMarshalee (Brown) Loerch (right) has been given endorsed status with Global Ministries. She served fulltime in Ethiopia, and was fully funded by people and churches in Jamaica. She has now married, and will be serving out of Germany with NEST. NEST is a Caribbean sending agency which sends missionaries from the Caribbean islands. Marshalee comes from the Washington Gardens UB church in Jamaica.
  • Jami Fiedler has been endorsed by Global Ministries. She has raised her support, and is now interning in Phoenix, Ariz., with Food for the Hungry. Jami is from College Park UB church in Huntington, Ind., and is a graduate of Houghton College.
  • Mike and Jenny Burtnett have located to Orlando, Florida. Mike is a short-term coordinator for Wycliffe exposure teams. These teams take high schoolers and college students to areas where Bible translation is occurring to expose them to the huge need for additional Bible translation.

CarolBrinneman_book.jpgCarol Brinneman (right), an endorsed UB missionary serving with JAARS, is one of the authors of a new book called, All the World is Singing: Glorifying God through the Worship Music of the Nations. She co-authored the book with Frank Fortunato and Paul Neeley.

All the World is Singing is a rich collection of 45 short stories that show the powerful ways God uses music around the world to further His Kingdom. The story contributors, from a wide geographical spectrum, share what it means for God’s people to worship, evangelize, and celebrate with their own culturally-appropriate Christian music. This book shows the ways missionaries use ethnomusicology training to reach people for Christ. It makes a good resource for worship seminars, missions seminars, or ethnomusicology classes.

The book includes a CD-ROM with audio and video illustrations, photos, and music scores. Also available is a DVD containing even more media connected to the stories, as well as new stories.

Joshua Prabhakar, the oldest son of Richard and Miriam Prabhakar, was married to Josie Poole on September 23. They live in Atlanta, Ga. Miriam Prabhakar was in the States briefly for the wedding.

On October 17, Jeff Pelley was sentenced to 160 years in prison for the shotgun slayings of his father, step-mother, and two step-sisters in 1989. Robert Pelley, Jeff’s father, was pastor of the Olive Branch United Brethren church in Lakeville, Ind. (just south of South Bend). The bodies were found in the parsonage the next day, Sunday morning, by parishioners.

Pelley, now 34, was give four consecutive 40-year sentences. Investigators said he was angry at his father for grounding him just before the high school prom. After the killings, they said, he cleaned up and went to the dance, followed by a school trip to Chicago.

During the sentencing hearing, Pelley said, “I loved my family dearly and have lived my life trying to pattern my life after my father. I would not, I could not, and I did not do this.” His biological sister, Jacque Delp, who was not home when the shootings occurred, also testified on his behalf. “He is one of the most kind and compassionate people I know.”

During the trial, Pelley’s attorneys insisted there wasn’t enough time for him to kill his family, clean up, and still make it to the prom, and that after committing an act like that, nobody would act normal, which is how friends testified that he acted during the prom events.

Investigators never looked for fingerprints, claiming they didn’t think they would find usable prints and that they already considered Pelley their main suspect (though he wasn’t charged until 2002). The murder weapon has never been found.

Pam and I received word that someone we care about deeply has been told he has cancer in several locations in his body. In addition, this past week blood clots flowed to his head and caused two minor strokes, leaving him essentially blind. He can detect some motion but not depth or detail of what is in front of him.

I’ve been praying and thinking. I know that other senses work hard at assessing the world around us when we lose one of our senses. And I am sure that this is happening to our friend. But the transition after the traumatic loss takes time. And this is where my thoughts have been focusing.

What is blinding me? What issue, event, hurt, opinion has “traumatized” me so that I do not spiritually see clearly now? And how have I adapted so that my assessment of my world is done with limited input because of my “blindness?”

Jesus indicated that our enemy has blinded people (John 12:40; 2 Cor. 4:4). But Satan is not the source of most blindness today. It is our stubborn refusal to take our hurts, sorrows, anger, offenses, or difficulties to the cross of Jesus. There is where forgiveness flows (both to us and from us). There is where healing takes place. There is where hope lives. There is peace.

Our dear one will probably never physically see again apart from the miraculous work of Christ. But I would suggest he sees very clearly. His eyes are set on another place, where there will be no more sadness or pain or sorrow anymore, because all this will be passed away.

But we can start seeing clearly. Again, it is only through the miraculous work of Christ. Our spiritual eyes can be restored. And we can say with the man whom Jesus healed: I was blind, but now I see.

We’re in the midst of another national election. From what I’ve observed, United Brethren churches keep a good balance when it comes to political activity, and most prefer to avoid partisan politics. Which is proper, according to the IRS publication, Tax Guide for Churches and Religious Organizations. Consider this excerpt from the section “Political Campaign Activity”:

“Contributions to political campaign funds or public statements of position (verbal or written) made by or on behalf of the organization in favor of or in opposition to any candidate for public office clearly violate the prohibition against political campaign activity. Violation of this prohibition may result in denial or revocation of tax-exempt status….When it participates in political campaign activity, a church or religious organization jeopardizes both its tax-exempt status under IRC section 501(c)(3) and its eligibility to receive tax-deductible contributions.”

Most UB churches owe their tax-exempt status to the denomination, which provides an umbrella 501(c)(3) exemption. One politically vocal UB church could, conceivably, jeopardize the charitable status of all UB churches, and cause tithes and offerings to no longer qualify as charitable contributions. So it’s a serious thing.

  • Troy L. Green is the new senior pastor at Monroe UB church (Monroe, Ind.) effective September 1, 2006.
  • Ray Dutcher is no longer employed at either Pleasant Hill UB Church or Living Hope UB in Greencastle, Pa. His last day was September 17, 2006. He has accepted a position with a non-UB church.

ReeckRoger and Marilyn Reeck, UB endorsed missionaries with Wycliffe, have been spending a lot of time working with Bible translation in Africa. They recently spent two months in Guinea-Bissau, and filed this report after returning to their home in La Ceiba, Honduras.

“During the first part of our time in Africa, we helped train national consultants as the newly built Lendem Translation Center in Guinea-Bissau, West Africa. Twenty-two pastors and leaders took the three-week training in linguistics, which included a course in phonetics, which Roger taught. At the end of the course, six of the best participants were chosen to receive further training. We are eager to see this group develop into translation consultants. It was thrilling to see them talk over what they learned as they crafted verses in the Balanta-Naga language.