We received a newsletter from Roger and Marilyn Reeck, endorsed missionaries with Wycliffe serving in Honduras, on March 2. Some excerpts:

It is now more than three months since Roger fell and severed his quadriceps tendon (above the knee). For him, these have been very difficult times as the pain has been quite intense. This has been aggravated with the rainy weather that we have had all during this time.

On December 31 the cast was removed, but unfortunately he did not receive the correct physical therapy. He tried out several places here in La Ceiba and saw different doctors. We became more convinced that something was wrong because of the swelling and redness of the knee, and finally an MRI was taken. This revealed that liquid had accumulated in the affected area and that the healing process was not progressing as fast as normal. He is now receiving the physical therapy that he needs.

Roger had planned to travel to Suriname, South America, on February 17 to hold a two-week One Story workshop for two different language groups. A few days prior we had to call it off. The next trip planned is to spend six weeks in Africa, leaving on March 21! Two of those weeks are a One Story workshop, and then he will check three different translations.

At the moment we are seeking the Lord’s will in this. Please pray that the Lord will guide us in this important decision. At this moment it is hard to know of the advisability of this and if he will be ready to travel by then.

In the middle of this difficult time, many wonderful things have been happening!

  • A follow-up One Story workshop was held here January 14-22 for two language groups who are now on the way to finishing up their story sets.
  • A construction crew of 12 men from Minnesota came to build a home for a lady in a wheelchair, replace the roof on the Garifuna Bible School building, and do several other projects.
  • The Garifuna Bible School started their new school year last week with 20 enthusiastic students. The school is now in its second year and is a wonderful dream come true.
  • At the moment there are only 120 Garifuna Bibles left of the 5000 that were printed. Soon there will be a shortage. The Bible Society plans a reprint. We are anxious to see that happen, since more and more people are purchasing Bibles and we will run out fast.
  • Tomorrow Marilyn and team will travel to a Garifuna town five hours away where a Scripture Use Worshop for 50 plus pastors will be held. The purpose of the workshop is to encourage the pastors to use their Garifuna Bibles. Many still tend to use the Spanish Bible more.

Dr. Terrell Peace, professor and director of teacher education at Huntington University, has been elected president of the Association of Teacher Educators. He is the first president to come from the University in the ATE’s 90-year history.

Peace, who has taught at the University since 1998, will serve one year as president while promoting his theme of “Re-igniting the Passion and Purpose of Teaching.”

“What I’ve seen over the last couple of years is teachers getting discouraged,” he said. “What we can do is help people re-establish that passion and realize why they became teachers in the first place.”

As president, Peace will represent 2,000 educators in K-12 education as well as higher education from across the country as a voice before governmental agencies and education organizations. ATE members represent more than 700 colleges and universities, 500 major school systems and the majority of state departments of education.

One of the Bethel women and Bible School children

Four women from Bethel UB (Elmore, Ohio) traveled to Jamaica February 16-23 to work at the Craighead United Brethren church: Melissa Blausey (over a dozen previous visits), Vicki Kreinbihl (her first trip), Paula Shaffer (3rd trip), and Betty Brown (6th trip). They worked with a Bible School in the church and built relationships in the area.

They took $651 to help pay for steps to the church, which are being finished now. They also took about 55 pairs of shoes, 136 boxes of crayons, and other supplies.

The Bethel church has been involved at Craighead for many years, since Dave Datema was the pastor. Several years ago they put a good-sized addition on the church, minus the floor and roof. A group of women returned about three years ago with $6000 so they could add a roof. The men of Craighead did all the work. Last year they took money to get the windows put in.

Follow the link to read excerpts from Betty Brown’s journal, starting from their arrival at the Montego Bay airport on February 16.

To date, Global Ministries has received $120,000 for relief in Haiti. Of that money:

  • $57,000 has been forwarded to Samaritan’s Purse.
  • $40,000 has been forwarded to CH Global.
  • The remainder is being set aside to assist in reconstruction efforts among our UB churches and members when the opportunity avails itself.

In addition, contributions have been given directly to our superintendent, Rev. Oliam Richard, by our national conferences in Jamaica, Honduras, and Canada.

Please pray for Rev. Richard. He is experiencing some health problems, a result of existing leg problems plus being seriously run-down by the overwhelming demands he has faced since the earthquake.

Here is a recent update from Jose Nunez, regional director for CH Global, whose work is conducted in Haiti exclusively in partnership with our UB churches.

Though devastation, anarchy and suffering rule the land at this moment, the presence of God is evident within the spirit of the Haitian people. There are stories upon stories of survival and of spiritual re-birth within the broken area of Port-au-Prince.

Now more than ever, the children are longing for a sense of normalcy in their lives, and this program will certainly alleviate the physiological trauma that they and their parents have been undergoing. Working along with the Sybert United Brethren Church, a school program will be initiated on March 1.

As for the daycare program we intended to initiate prior to the earthquake, we along with Pastor Oliam Richard and Elsa (program director and member of the Delmas United Brethren Church), concluded the best and most beneficial option would be to implement it in Delmas. It would be the same idea as what was previously proposed for Cite Soliel, except that it will no longer be executed as a afterschool tutoring program, but rather as a primary daycare school program benefiting the children of Delmas, which was one of the areas most heavily affected by the earthquake.

The church in Delmas did not collapse–unlike the church in Cite Soleil, where we were hoping to implement the program. This unfortunate event, along with the lack of security, was essential to our decision to geographically move the program to the UB church in Delmas.

The sponsored children have been receiving, and will continue to receive, their sponsorship aid. Food and relief supplies have been distributed among these families from funds supplied from UB churches in Canada and the United States. Haitian UB pastors have played an important role in the distribution and administration of relief supplies.

Currently I am working in partnership with a US-based organization that will be sending a team of physicians to Port-au-Prince by the end of March. They have assured me that upon arriving in Haiti, they will schedule to meet all the children in our programs at a specific site and on a specific day. The purpose is  to diagnosed, treat, and further refer any ill children to other medical organizations in Port-au-Prince.

Jeff Bleijerveld (left) and Oliam Richard

Jeff Bleijerveld (left) and Oliam Richard

Joan Sider, from the UB church in Toronto, keeps in close contact with Rev. Oliam Richard, our superintendent in Haiti. Our Canadian conference provides primary oversight of the work in Haiti, and Joan has been involved with Haiti for many years. She’s also a member of the conference Global Outreach Leadership Team.

Joan sent a note saying that Pastor Richard attended a successful convention in the north with about 40 people, but returned to Port-au-Prince with a fever. He hoped to see a doctor yesterday (March 3).

Joan writes, “We need to pray for Pastor Richard’s health. His involvement with our work is so very essential. I’m sure he is thoroughly run down with all the added pressures due to the earthquake. I assured him that our church people would be much in prayer for him.”

Billy Simbo, Bishop of Sierra Leone Conference, reports the death of Rev. Idrisa Murana, Pastor of the Trinity UB Church in Allen Town (the Western region). He had been sick with typhoid and malaria, which he was treating at home. He was admitted to the hospital on March 2 and passed away the next day.

Pastor Murana was 44 years old. He leaves behind his wife and four children. He will be buried in his home town of Talia, near Mattru.

We’re using a variety of ways to communicate via the internet, and people are taking advantage of them. Here’s a summary:

  • 1220 people worldwide have joined the UB news email list. We average 2-3 emails a month, only sending them as needed (rather than on a set schedule).
  • 230 people are now fans of the United Brethren Facebook page (up from nothing a few months ago).
  • 92 people are following the United Brethren Twitter feed.
  • 59 people are using Feedburner, a nifty service from Google which sends a daily email of everything posted to UBCentral.
  • 2900+ people are fans of the Huntington University Facebook page.
  • 369 people receive the monthly Huntington University Prayer Ministry email. This comes from the office of Bishop Emeritus Paul Hirschy, who says, “I would like to see it top 500.”

Billy Simbo, bishop of Sierra Leone Conference, demonstrates the fine art of walking on water.

Billy Simbo, bishop of Sierra Leone Conference, demonstrates the fine art of walking on water.

Billy Simbo attempts to rebaptize David Raudales.

Billy Simbo attempts to rebaptize David Raudales.

The General Conference delegates visited the Honduras Conference camp on January 11, 2010. While there, Billy Simbo, bishop of Sierra Leone Conference, entered the pool to show everyone how to walk on water. When David Raudales of Honduras joined him, Billy thought it might be good to rebaptize him.