Global Ministries is sponsoring four events to train mission team leaders. With more and more mission teams going out, we need more people who understand how to make these teams successful. These seminars, fun and interactive, will be led by Jeff Bleijerveld and Donna Hollopeter in four regional locations.

The cost is $60 per person.

You can register online, and view information about each event–directions, hotels–by using the links below.

August 22-23 Salem UB Church, Chambersburg, Pa.
September 12-13 Emmanuel Community Church
Fort Wayne, Ind.
October 3-4 (Details still being confirmed)
Charlotte, Mich.
November 14-15 Lancaster UB ChurchLancaster, Ohio


Every year for the past five years, Global Ministries has sponsored a medical team in Honduras. I’ve been part of each team as one of the support workers. This year’s trip, June 20-28, was phenomenal. Everybody gelled. We conducted clinics in five locations, and saw a total of 1945 patients.

The last clinic was in the town of La Flecha. We planned to stay overnight there, stay in San Pedro Sula the next night, and fly out on Saturday. But then we heard about a national strike scheduled to hit the country Friday morning.

Transportation workers–taxis, buses, truck drivers–were protesting the high cost of gasoline and government taxes on gas. The strike would start at 6 a.m. on Friday. This raised doubts about our ability to even get to San Pedro Sula. So we decided to try to beat the strike.

We drove from La Flecha for two-and-a-half hours, and arrived at the hotel in San Pedro Sula just after midnight. We had rooms reserved there for Friday night, but they had nothing available for Thursday night. Although there were no rooms in the inn, they did make room for us. They said we could sleep on the floor of the exercise room and lobby.

So that’s how we spent the rest of the night. I slept on a sofa in the lobby, using a sofa pillow. As people arrived to check in, I was right there.

The next night we slept in the rooms previously reserved. And Saturday morning, we flew home.


Team leader Fonda Cassidy treating a patient.

On Tuesday, we told about the Global Ministries medical team that went to Honduras June 20-28. We treated all kinds of ailments. I thought you might be interested in some of the medical conditions we encountered.

    • We saw a man who had been hit by a car. He’d never had his leg attended to, so it was ulcerated and gangrenous. Really, he needed to have it amputated. They had to tell them that. He said he would rather die than lose his leg–and he probably will, because it was bad.
    • Everyone is treated for parasites. Children especially, as well as adults, had a lot of open sores that had become infected as a result of spider or mosquito bites. In other cases, parasites come in through open sores and create stomach aches or chronic diarrhea. So we do a lot of wound care–draining them, cleaning them out, applying an antibiotic ointment, and covering them. Sometimes there are so many sores we can’t cover them all, and we give anti-biotics to alleviate it.


  • A lot of people are diabetic and don’t know it, so we did sugar screening.
  • A 13-day-old baby girl was diagnosed as septic, her body full of infection with open sores. We took her to the hospital and paid for hospital care. We don’t know if she made it or not. And we wondered what kind of situation she came from to have that many open wounds and be in that condition. The very young mother probably didn’t know how to care for her.
  • We saw an eight-year-old boy who, because of head lice, had itched his head to the point where open wounds developed, became infected and swollen, and just continued to fill up with more and more infection. boy_headsores_250.jpgThose all had to be opened and drained. The whole top of his head was covered with those.

We were able to treat many of the ailments we saw. But we couldn’t do follow-up, and that’s always a concern. We explained how to take care of a wound, or if they were diabetic, stressed the importance of going to a doctor regularly. But a lot of this depends on where they live, which might be 2-3 hours away from the nearest doctor. So how regularly they go is a real problem.

Darwin and Polly Dunten started a blog so people can keep up-to-date about Polly’s condition. She will undergo surgery on July 28 to remove a brain tumor. 

Darwin sent me this story, and gave me permission to pass it along. I think you’ll find it encouraging. 

Last Thursday (July 10), I went to the Hancock County Jail for the weekly Celebrate Recovery session we have with about 35 inmates. When I walked in, inmates started shouting, “Hey, there is Pastor “D.”  Unknown to me, the director of the church’s jail ministry told all the inmates what was happening in my family’s life. 

After the men’s Bible study, three inmates surrounded me to let me know that they were praying for Polly. It actually was more than that. They told me that they stop what they are doing and have the entire cell block pray for Polly every day. They said, “All of us pray for her every day.” 

During the women’s session, I explained to the women what was going on with my wife and then started the Bible study. Following the lesson, one female inmate approached me and started to cry. She then started to talk about her mother who died a few years ago from cancer and how she was angry with God. This anger is what prompted her drinking that brought her to  jail. This gave me an opportunity to share the eternal truth of God’s love and eternity.

This illness has also given my wife opportunity to share her faith with women that she works for. (She cleans houses.) It has also give me opportunity to share my faith with others in secular organizations that I am involved with. Regardless, we can see God working in many ways.

The United Brethren Church in Canada is organizing a medical mission team to go to Haiti January 23 – February 3, 2009. A number of experienced volunteers have already signed on, but they have openings for additional volunteers.

They will conduct 4-6 clinics in “triage” style. The most common problems relate to stomach and head maladies. Based on the doctor’s findings, appropriate medicine is dispensed as available, or treatment is administered. A month’s supply of vitamins is also provided. After each patient is seen, a Haitian pastor or church leader prays with them before they leave.
If you’re interested in participating on this team, please contact Joan Sider at

A medical team traveled to Honduras June 20-28. It was the fifth UB medical team in five years. Global Ministries has worked with Francisco and Maira Raudales to set up clinics in a different area each time. This year we went to the Copan region, where Honduras Conference has started a number of churches in recent years. It was my first visit to that area.

This year’s trip was phenomenal. Everybody gelled. We conducted clinics in five locations, and saw a total of 1945 patients.

The team leaders were Robert and Fonda Cassidy (right), who are from the Mount Olivet UB church in Mount Solon, Va. Robert and Fonda have been on a lot of trips, both with UBs and other organizations. Fonda is a trauma care nurse, and for a while she worked as a first-responder on helicopters and ambulances. Now she works in obstetrics and gynecology.

cassidy_250.jpgRobert and Fonda oversaw the setup and flow of the clinic, made sure the team members remained healthy and hydrated, did advance work with room preparation for our lodging, arranged for meals, and helped with transportation.

We usually do team-building events prior to trips. Because this year’s group was spread out geographically, we held two team-building gatherings–one for team members in Ohio and Indiana, and one for those in Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia. They came together on a Saturday to go over what to expect, have Bible study and prayer together, and do basic preparations.

We left on Friday, arrived in Honduras that afternoon, and drove to Santa Rosa, where we did a clinic on Saturday. We took Sunday off, and had a chance to visit the Mayan ruins at Copan. Then, Monday through Thursday, we held clinics in four different locations. We arose early, traveled to the site, and were ready to go by 9 a.m.

Treatingpatients_550.jpgTypically our clinics started at 9 a.m., and we worked until at least 6 pm., with just 15 minutes for lunch. After each clinic the team met for a time of debriefing and to have devotions together.


At 9 a.m., people would already be lined up. The local pastor would normally give each person a number as they arrive, and we would go right down the line. It was quite organized.


Bus troubles.

We set up various stations people would go through. I worked with Maira Raudales in registering. She would ask their name and age, and about their physical problem. It ranged anywhere from headaches, to much more serious ailments. We took their blood pressure, and then sent them to one of the nurses or doctors who would give them a physical and ask questions via a translator. We prescribed medications which we dispensed either at the stations or at the pharmacy we set up at each clinic.


This is the first year we didn’t run out of medication. For just $35, MAP International provides a box of medications designed specifically for the locale we would be going into. The box includes antibiotics for parasites and other medications. Every nurse or doctor on the team acquired one of these boxes. Then we took additional vitamins, plus basic hygiene supplies such as soap, toothpaste, and toothbrushes, which we handed out to people.

After receiving medical attention, people met with the pastor of the local church, who talked to them and prayed with them. So we ministered not only to their physical needs, but their spiritual needs as well.

Pastor Rubenia Bomatay was surprised, during my June 11 visit, when I told her they are the only United Brethren church in Massachusetts.

They feel very isolated in Jamaica Plain. The last visitor connected with the denomination was Billy Simbo, who was the cluster leader for that region. He visited Jamaica Plain three years ago. Finances prevented anyone from Iglesia Reformada Emanuel from coming to last year’s national conference.

They told me they needed help obtaining materials to teach their children. I sent an email to Jeff Bleijerveld, who found some materials to send. She also needed pastor’s card to prove that she is a licensed minister. I emailed Cathy Reich, our administrative assistant, and she took care of sending that to Rubenia. I hope these services helped them feel part of the larger church.

The most helpful thing we could do for them, they said, is to keep the connection going. That would be a big benefit to the people, showing that they are part of something bigger. I committed to them that Bishop Ron Ramsey or I will visit a couple times a year just to touch base with them. 

Don Ackerman, former UB missionary to Honduras, passed away July 9 in Hastings, Nebraska. He was 87. He is survived by his wife, Leora.

Don Ackerman served as a pilot and flight instructor during world War II, and was discharged as a Second Lieutenant. He then finished his education at Huntington College (which the war had interrupted in 1943), graduating in 1947 with a degree in math and then obtaining his masters degree in education at Indiana University in 1948.

Don and Leora, married in 1947, went to La Ceiba, Honduras, as missionary schoolteachers with the United Brethren mission there. They initially served under James Elliott, a minister from Belize who led the school and a group of five churches which, in the 1940s, affiliated with the United Brethren denomination. In 1953, when they returned from their first furlow, the Ackermans served under the leadership of Archie Cameron.

The Ackermans returned to the States in 1958, settling in Des Moines, Iowa, where Don taught high school until he retired. They were founding members and longtime leaders of the Patricia Park UB church in Des Moines (now closed), and remained very involved in UB missionary work.

The funeral service will be held at 10 a.m. July 14 at the Merle Hay Funeral Home in Des Moines. Memorials may be given to:

  • The Don and Leora Ackerman/Betty Brown Scholarship Fund at Huntington University.
  • Global Ministries.
  • Gideons International.