On Sunday, October 30, Morocco Church (Temperance, Mich.) surprised Pastor Todd Greenman (right) and his wife Eva by honoring them for Pastor Appreciation Month. There was a reading in their honor, and a fun skit was performed by several church members.

The church presented Eva with flowers and a gift card to both of them. After the service a special cake was served to all who stayed for fellowship. Morocco prays for God’s blessing on Eva and Pastor Todd!

Jeff Bleijerveld, Director of Global Ministries

I just recently found this great prayer resource from Operation World. Biblica sends out a daily prayer reminder based on the Operation World Prayer Calendar so that you can pray for a different country or need somewhere in the world every day. If you happen to have the book edition, it’s a great help; but for those on the go (like me), it’s nice to have it in electronic form.

If you want to give it a try, there’s even a 60-day Prayer Challenge. You can sign up for it here.

In addition to giving you the opportunity to pray for every nation of the world at least once per year, it also devotes multiple days of prayer to the larger countries and regions. Some countries even offer “Prayercast” videos.

Steve Dennie, Communications Director

One simple joy of vacations is attending other churches. Pam and I have visited some good ones over the years. Last year, in Texas, we visited Chuck Swindoll’s church, upon discovering that his church stood just a mile from our hotel.

When you pop in for a Sunday service, all you get is a snapshot. There is so much you never see–small group ministries, needy ministries, youth outreach, pastoral care, missions, evangelism and discipleship, etc. In no way can you judge a church (if that’s what you’re inclined to do) on the basis of a one-time, or two-time, visit. Though I’ve heard many people try.

However, I do take close note of how churches treat guests. And whether it’s a large church or small church, we usually get the same treatment: we are ignored. You’ve experienced the same thing, haven’t you? I say this not with some kind of indignation, but with high amusement, because it’s so common. It’s as if church people are afraid of visitors. As people walk by, avoiding eye contact, it tickles me. I want to reach out my hand and say, “Hey, I won’t bite.”

Passing out Bibles.

Sitting in car trunk.

Over 400 visitors came to the annual “Trunk and Treat” outreach at Findlay First UB (Findlay, Ohio). The church passed out 300 Bibles.

Six years earlier, it was noticed that the community was using the parking lot of Findlay First UB as a parking area for the trick or treat night. The church decided to provide coffee, a restroom break, and entertainment for the visitors.

Every year it has grown to one of the major outreach events for the community. This year, 13 trunks passed out candy, tracts, and Bibles to the participants.

Jennifer Blandin, UB staff in Macau, has been on extended educational leave for most of this year. This summer, she received her Master’s degree from Winebrenner Theological Seminary in Findlay, Ohio. In November, she will return to Macau. Here is an excerpt from her most recent newsletter.

Jennifer Blandin

September was a month of rest. After a year of studying, speaking, and working, I was able to take some time to slow down and recover from always being on the go.

I must admit that slowing down took some time to adjust to. The best way I can describe the feeling is like detoxing from something that we are addicted to. I was addicted to busyness. Thankfully, I was given a chance to detox from it and settle into a period of time to rest.

To help with detox, I was able to enjoy time with my nieces and nephews, take a couple of relaxing trips to visit family who live in other cities, sleep in later than 6 am, have leisurely lunches with family and friends, read the newspaper, and take walks where I could enjoy time with God in His creation and not have to worry about what needed to be done that day. September was just the kind of month I needed!

In a few weeks I will return to Macau. I am really excited about being able to return to Macau and walk the path God is laying out for me! It will be fun to reunite with friends as well as meet new people. But in order to do so, it means saying goodbye to family and friends here in the States. I would really appreciate your prayers concerning the transition period that is underway. Not just with goodbyes and hellos, but also with finding a place to live in Macau, settling into life there, and getting involved at Living Water Church and other ministries. I am excited to see what God has planned!

A United Brethren work group from Canada traveled to Haiti on October 17 to conduct medical clinics in our churches. Joan Sider is sending daily reports for the team. She previously wrote about Monday, TuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday, and Sunday. Here is her report for Monday, October 24.

Joan Sider

We’re so grateful to God for our safe arrival home from our mission in Haiti. Each of the team members are thrilled about the trip we have had and what was accomplished in a relatively short period of time. Again, I want to stress that it is a two way street–we give, but they give so much also. That is why many of us return trip after trip.

Our last morning together at the guest house was a leisurely one–packing, taking pictures, having a new experience–drinking coconut water–chatting with Pastor Richard and other staff, and hardest of all, saying good-bye.

Audrey did her usual great job of writing a team song. We sang it together at our last meal. Thanks Audrey for keeping up the tradition.

We received this word from Cluster Leader Greg Helman today:

“Pastor Gayle Ruble has returned to his home as of Tuesday, October 25th and will be recuperating for about 6 weeks.  He is praising the Lord that he is in no pain and has been blessed greatly.  Please continue to keep him, his family and the Macedonia UB Church in your prayers.”

A United Brethren work group from Canada traveled to Haiti on October 17 to conduct medical clinics in our churches. Joan Sider is sending daily reports for the team. She previously wrote about Monday, TuesdayWednesdayThursday, and Friday. Here is her report for Sunday, October 23.

Joan Sider

On Sunday, we were up at 6:00 a.m. for breakfast–one hour earlier than usual. This was so we could attend 7:00 a.m. church–we were a little late.

The service at Delmas 33 is somewhat more formal than the other churches. I think Pastor Richard is patterning it more like his Paris church. This isn’t a criticism, just an observation. We enjoyed the service. Bob and Jordan shared their faith stories and Bob, Kelly, and Jordan sang. They were a blessing.

It was good to hear Pastor Richard preach on Nehemiah. He stressed that we need to be very concerned about the work of the Lord. You must put your whole heart into service. There is always opposition, but you persevere. All have something to contribute–attend church, visit people, pray for people, etc. He invited those who wanted to publicly demonstrate their willingness to work in greater ways for God. I think there were about 25 who indicated this by coming to the front.

Following church, we came home for a brief time, had lunch, and then set off for Mission of Hope. This is where Kara-Lynn was for 6 months and will remain for another week there. Rachel, the gal we see usually when we visit, was with us and together with Kara-Lynn, told us about this expanding ministry. They have about 50 orphans who are there all the time. Then on school days, 2000 children come. They are fed daily, too. About 1000 attend the church on Sundays.

They have a clinic which at some point will become a full service hospital. They have helped to build 3-room homes for people for some of their staff and for some of the displaced earthquake people. In a village nearby, many volunteers come to help build homes. One of the streets has been named ‘Fraser Way’ in memory of John Fraser who was so instrumental in bringing lots of teams to MOH to build.

Leaving MOH, we went on to a new church in Archaeia pastored by Masilllon Jean-Jacques. I first met him at the convention in August. He and his church have been on probation for the past year, and will soon be received into membership of the UB church family here in Haiti. He is a great young man–father of 3 children with another on the way. He is in his last year of law as well.

The service was fantastic. We enjoyed it so much. Kelly and Margie shared their faith journeys and two songs were sung by Bob, Kelly, and Jordan. The people knew them and sang along. It was so wonderful to hear.

Pastor Richard was the guest speaker, and he spoke on faith. With God, all things are possible when we have faith.

The people all wanted to greet us at the end–hugs, kisses, and handshakes. We were so excited about the warmth and response of these people. I’ve been coming for a long time, and I believe this is the first place where we have been made to feel so welcome. No one was in a hurry to get home, that’s for sure.

We felt it was a fitting conclusion to our ministry here this week. God has blessed. We are humbled and grateful that He uses us. But lest you think it is just us blessing the Haitians, it is a two way street–they really bless us. Their welcome, their powerful worship and earnest praying, give us reason to pause.

On the way home, our first time driving in the dark on this trip, we dropped Kara-Lynn back at MOH. We wanted her to stay with the team for as long as possible.

Please pray for Kara-Lynn as she continues to seek direction for her future–should she or should she not be at MOH.

When we got home, we had a late supper and then most soon went to bed.

Have I told you lately that this is a hot, hot, hot place! October is definitely not the time for a team to come. The humidity has been high with temperatures in the high 90s and even 100.

We are partnering with IN Network to begin ministry in Turkey. We received the following from Rody Rodeheaver of IN Network regarding the recent earthquake. If you would like to help, gifts can also be sent to Global Ministries, and we’ll forward 100% to IN Network.–Jeff Bleijerveld

Rody Rodeheaver

As you saw in the news and heard on Mission Network News, there was a 7.2 magnitude earthquake Sunday that struck the city of Van and the town, Ercis, located in the northeastern part of Turkey. News reports are reporting a death toll of around 300 with another 1,300 injured; over 950 buildings are demolished.

A health services building along with part of the hospital collapsed and the injured were being treated in the hospital’s garden. Two make-shift tent hospitals were being erected on Sunday. Rescuers and survivors are contending with near-freezing temperatures and some people are burning wood from collapsed buildings for warmth.

Behnan shared with me that there is a new Protestant church of about 150 people in the city of Van, and miraculously the church structures were unharmed in the earthquake. The church leadership is not only reaching out to their own people affected by the quake, but are organizing efforts to meet the tremendous needs throughout the area. People are in need of blankets, drinking water, food, and clothing. I.N. Turkey will be working side by side with the pastor and congregation to get the staples needed to the people in that area.

International Needs USA will be working through our staff in Turkey to provide funds to purchase needed items like blankets, clothes and food for the people most affected in this terrible disaster.

A United Brethren work group from Canada traveled to Haiti on October 17 to conduct medical clinics in our churches. Joan Sider is sending daily reports for the team. She previously wrote about Monday, TuesdayWednesday, and Thursday. Here is her report for Friday, October 21.

Joan Sider

We had very heavy rain again last night. The streets are filled with large deep puddles in many places, especially around where Pastor Oliam Richard lives. The water is rushing down the canals built along the sides of many roads.

Outside our gated community, these waterways have overflowed and dirt has been banked up to try and contain the water so it isn’t across the road. When driving, since you can’t see the depth of the holes, our driver must be very careful. He is amazing! His van is pretty new, so he is very careful not to do anything that might harm it.

Our day has been a leisurely one. While our breakfast time was still 7 am, we didn’t have to rush to load the van and go off to a clinic. We went to a metal craft works place to look and purchase some unique art pieces. The metal used comes from sheet metal and old metal barrels which they cut by hand and straighten–it was truly amazing. There were many different pieces in all sizes with quite intricate designs. I think most of us bought something there.

Then we headed for the store to purchase things like coffee, vanilla, etc.

We have one suitcase in which we will load all of our purchases. It will be our only piece of checked luggage since our personal items/clothing came in our hand luggage. We are grateful for this suitcase because most of us couldn’t cram one more thing into the carry-on pieces.

Gaston then took us on a tour of downtown Port au Prince. Michel was with us and it helped a lot to have him explain various things. We learned that after the earthquake there were about a million people living in tents in PauP–now there are 250,000. Of course, some people are in tents in others part of the country, so they are not in this count.

We passed the jail and in spite of the damage, there are 5000 people in it. You might remember that at the time of the quake, many prisoners (about 70%) escaped–the guards having run for their lives. They caught and returned some, but since the quake, obviously new prisoners have been sent to this downtown jail. By the way, did I tell you the jail was built for only 700 inmates? They sleep in 4-hour shifts so everyone has a chance to lay down.

We passed by the terminals where various goods are brought for the various stores and vendors–fruit, vegetables, clothing, animals. You name it, we saw it.

The palace looks very much the same–but we did note that at the back, work is being done to clear the rubble and bring down existing damaged buildings. We’ve never seen the back side of the palace before.

Those of us who have been to Haiti before and travelled downtown, have noticed that there has been much effort in clearing the rubble and rebuilding. Being a Saturday, it was a hub of activity with many traffic hold-ups.

We came home to a delicious pork dinner.

We rested for a short time and then prepared to go to our Delmas 33 church for a wedding. We sat in the balcony and enjoyed this experience so much. Another time, a team had witnessed a wedding down in the south. This was so different. It was happy and joyful. While I couldn’t understand the message Pastor Richard gave, those who could were very impressed with his instructions and guiding principles given to the couple. Audrey had an extra quilt along, so that was given to the bride and groom.

Getting home from church was interesting. Many people are out on a Saturday night, both in vehicles and on the street. When we were almost to our gate entrance, we noticed cars turning around and coming back. The reason was that a tractor trailer was blocking the road–it wasn’t a deliberate act, but somehow he could not get straightened out. We took a very long way around to get to where we needed to be. Wherever we drove, there were rough roads and much water.

We had a light supper, had our debriefing “God moments” time, and prayed for Kara-Lynn. She has many important decisions to make over the next few days. We ask you to pray also–that she will have the mind of Christ for her future.

I’ll send this now–the pics from today will come later. I haven’t begun to download any cameras–that takes a while and then choosing pics will also.