Bishop Wilber Sites, Jr., was hospitalized January 3 with congestive heart failure. He sent this note yesterday: “I have been home now for a week. My doctor says that recovery will be very slow. However, I can praise God for the progress that is being made. Thanks to all the staff for their prayers. I continue to pray for you as you prepare for the National Conference.”

Jeff Kline, Macau

A few months ago as we were looking for new direction here in Macau, we felt that God gave us our answer. Though we had never stepped into the doors at TIS, we felt God was directing in this direction by putting two youth in our church that attend there.

From that moment on, God continued to place people from TIS into our lives; two Christian teachers and a Christian Vice Principal! Then we realized we knew four other Christian kids from TIS and started conversations with them about starting a new outreach ministry at their school. All of them seemed to be excited and ready to reach their friends.

That’s when Saturday nights with TIS kids began. So for the past 3 months we have invited kids into our home. We have anywhere from 3-15 kids a week. So Saturday nights are a time to hang-out, play sports, eat and talk.

That is the first part of our new ministry. The second part is an on-campus ministry we hope to start in the near future. We plan to visit the school once a week to hold a Club, a one-hour event where we play ice-breaker games, talk about a teen-relevant topic, and share what God thinks about that topic.

From these two ministries comes the third: small groups.

The fourth part of this ministry is big events held with the help of Living Stone Church. And since five is one more than four, the fifth part is student leadership where we get together on Thursday mornings early to pray for and talk about ways to better tell their friends about Christ.

Through these five ministries to TIS kids, we hope to introduce them to a loving God who desires to have a personal relationship with them, connect them with other Christians in Macau, bring them into a local church, and show them just how good and life-changing a life with Jesus is!

Please pray for us as we start-up this new ministry. Please pray for the staff and administration at TIS. Please pray for the students at TIS.

Imagine This LLC in Grand Ledge, Mich., held its second annual Kid’s Shop for Christmas on Saturday, December 13, from 1-4 p.m. The local paper covered the event both before and after, and the congregation distributed flyers (download a copy) during the town’s Christmas parade. The idea was to help financially-burdened families by underwriting and providing quality gift items that children could buy for family members. This enabled children to enter into the true meaning of Christmas–giving–while preserving the family’s budget.

Here are some elements of Kid’s Shop.

  • Parents dropped their kids off at the church (located on the town’s main street), along with a budget and a list.
  • The kids shopped for gifts for family members, choosing from a selection of over 800 gifts.
  • Nothing cost over $2. (In fact, they kept gifts to 50 cents).
  • Volunteer adults helped kids shop, if needed.
  • Wrapping was included.
  • After the kids finished shopping and had their gifts wrapped, they went downstairs to watch a Christmas movie until their parents returned.

Kid’s Shop was held the same day Grand Ledge’s downtown businesses held a special shopping day for adults. Coupons were available so parents could go shopping at local downtown businesses while their children were doing Kid’s Shop.

About 140 children attended. They selected from gifts geared for siblings, parents, grandparents, and others. Donations from local enabled them to keep the cost down.

Some other holiday activities at Imagine This:

  • They hosted a Bible Actors Production of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” on December 6, with a very large turnout.
  • The children’s ministry Christmas performance of the birth of Jesus occurred on December 21 in both the morning and evening services.
  • They held a Christmas Eve Candlelight Service at 7:00 p.m., with walk-in communion beforehand from 4:00 – 6:30 p.m.

When I became pastor of Devonshire UB church (Harrisburg, Pa.) in 1988, I laid out my six-month plan for preaching. A couple ladies approached me.

“We don’t think you’re being led by the Spirit.”

“Oh?” I said. “Help me understand why you think that.”

“How can you be led by the Holy Spirit if you’re planning things out six months in advance?”

I asked them, “When did God lay out the plan of salvation? It was before the foundation of the world. He created this plan, then Jesus came 2000 years later and implemented it.

“If God can plan 2000 years in advance, are you saying he can’t lead me to know what to preach about six months from now?”

To them, being led by the Spirit was flying by the seat of your pants.

Donna Hollopeter called from Sierra Leone, where she is part of a medical mission trip at Mattru Hospital. They held their second medical clinic today. Darlene Burkett, who took the call, wrote the following:

“Donna said they had a ‘terrific experience’ today! They were way out in the bush and saw at least 150 patients and accomplished very much! They’ll be back in Mattru tomorrow, then out to the bush again Thursday. Keep them in your prayers. The generator is still not operating, so that is a big request.”


Jeff Bleijerveld, Director of Global Ministries

Jeff is in Costa Rica, and sent this report a few minutes ago via his iPhone. 
We visited Casa de Oracion in Guadelupe, Costa Rica, for an impromptu gathering last night. About half of the usual 75 gathered with us. Pastor Joe Leighton of Junction City, Ohio, shared his testimony and some words of hope.
The neighborhood is one of the most dangerous neighborhhods in the greater San Jose area as was evidenced by the drug addicts that shouted curses through the barred windows as we worshipped.
I’ve been impressed with each of the four church plants here in Costa Rica. Each is located in areas few church planters would dare to enter – let alone live! Yet they are the areas with the greatest need for Christ.

Ron Ramsey, Bishop

I was with a group of guys who were discussing the question something like this: “When was prayer most meaningful and when was it not meaningful.” 
I’ll never forget what one man said. “Prayer is most meaningful when I have something specific to pray about, and is least meaningful when I don’t have something specific to pray about.” How profound! I have continued over the years to think about that answer.
But I have since changed my mind. 
A believer should always have something specific to pray about, don’t you think? I mean, isn’t one purpose of prayer to bring praise, honor and glory to our Lord? Yes, I know, we are also invited to share our petitions and then confessions, but to me the most urgent reason to pray is to give praise and glory to our Lord and King. 
I guess that is why I enjoy reading the Psalms over and over. They teach me how to think properly about God and how to regard him in my praying and worship. Even aside from praising and adoring a holy, loving and generous God, is there any moment of any day that I don’t have needs to be met? 

This is from the Sillly file. Hey, it’s Saturday.

Seasoned ministers understand the importance of getting your spouse’s approval before using her in a sermon illustration. Here’s an amusing video about that, a parody of Carrie Underwood’s song “Before He Cheats.”

The “Noise Offering” is an interesting fundraiser for some of the upgrades at Mattru Hospital in Sierra Leone. Once a month, some churches take up the Noise Offering. People drop their loose change into a metal container of some kind–a coffee can, pie tin, cake pan–anything that makes a noise. The idea is “Change cane make a change at Mattru.”

Want to join this effort? Just contact Global Ministries.

Jeff Bleijerveld, Director of Global Ministries, is traveling to Costa Rica today. Here’s where he’s been and where he’ll yet be during this extended trip.
  • Jeff attended Honduras Conference last week.
  • Saturday, January 10: He traveled to Masaya, Nicaragua, to attend Nicaragua Conference. 
  • Friday, January 16: Travel to Costa Rica to visit the UB churches there. Joe Leighton, pastor of Salem Chapel UB (Junction City, Ohio), will join him there. 
  • Wednesday, January 21: Travel to Guatemala to visit the UB churches there (Joe Leighton will return to Ohio). 
  • Monday, January 26: Travel to Haiti to visit Oliam Richard and the UB churches in Haiti. 
  • Thursday January 29: Return to Indiana.