Rev. Isaac Nugent was elected as bishop of Jamaica National Conference, during their annual meeting March 14-18, 2012. He replaces Bishop Winston Smith, who was first elected in 2002. Smith held the title of “General Superintendent” until 2006, when the conference began using the title “Bishop” for its highest elected leader.

Arek and Donna Delik are UB endorsed missionaries serving with Operatin Mobilization in Kutno, Poland. They work with alcoholics, youth, and church planting. Here is the story of one man influenced through their ministry.

Donna Delik

Waldek was a professional renovator and also an alocholic, who had had lost everything and became homeless becasue of this. Sometime ago, he started coming to our support group for alcoholics. In the mean time, we gave him the job of renovating our “antique kitchen.” We hoped this would help him get back on his feet and start a new life.

Arek worked with Waldek and used this opportunity to encourage him. However, after we tore down everything and gave him some money, he disappeared and left us a mess.

This is the constant struggle we face with our ministry among alcoholics and the marginalized. Some people think we are fools as we keep our home open to the others. But didn’t Jesus teach us to love and forgive, even being cheated 77 times? I suppose Jesus would never give up on people who were willing to return and repent.

We sometimes saw Waldek searching for food in the garbage. His condition was worsening. We tried to approach him, but he avoided us. Even so, we didn’t give up and constantly kept him in our prayer.

A year went by. Waldek’s closest buddy died suddenly because of his heavy drinking, and Waldek hit rock bottom. He turned up in our weekend outreach last May and sought help. We fed him and a brother gave him a place to sleep. Then we took him to Teen Challenge, a Christian rehabilitation center 400 km away for people with addiction problems.

A few days ago, Waldek was giving his testimony during our weekend outreach. He apologized for the mess he created literally in our apartment. He also went to his family to ask for forgiveness and reconciled with his children. It was such a joy to see him finally starting a new life in Christ.

Waldek then returned to Teen Challenge. He will finish his treatment in 3 months, and re-entering the society will be his biggest challenge yet. He still doesn’t know where he will go. As a church, we want to preach and live the gospel at the same time, so we are committed to stand with him through prayer and practical help.

Bishop Phil Whipple (left) and Josh Kesler, senior pastor of The Well (click to enlarge).

Looking at the property from US 24 (click to enlarge).

The current store part of the building. Josh Kesler (right) is bringing in a photocopier for the office area. Cathy Reich, a longtime parishioner, is on the left.

L-r: Jeff Bleijerveld, Frank Y, and Phil Whipple look over one of the additional buildings on the property.

It looks like The Well in Huntington, Ind. will soon have a new home.

The congregation, a fresh restart of the former Good Shepherd UB church, has been meeting in temporary facilities for the past two years, since moving out of the former St Felix Friary which had been their home since 1981. An article on March 5 told what is happening with that property.

For the past year, the Well has been holding services in the Huntington YMCA, and it’s been a good situation for them. But all the while, they’ve been searching for a property which would become their own.

The property of Huntington Lumber, on old US 24, became available. They now have a signed purchase agreement. There are a few conditions which need to be met, so it could, potentially, fall through. But everything looks good.

The owner of Huntington Lumber, Bob Oliver, has even invited Pastor Josh Kesler to move the church offices into the building. Oliver is a member of Emmanuel UB church in Fort Wayne, Ind.

Some of the Healthy Ministry Resources staff took a field trip to Huntington Lumber on Monday, March 12. Cathy Reich, administrative assistant to Bishop Phil Whipple, attends the Well.

It’s quite a large property. There is a main building, which will be targeted first for renovation. It’ll house the sanctuary, classroom space, and offices. Then there are two other fairly large buildings. They’ll have gobs and gobs of paved parking space.

The Well will employ an architect to redesign the main building. Josh Kesler envisions them possibly moving in by the end of the year. Hopefully, everything will work out.

Arek and Donna Delik are UB endorsed missionaries serving with Operatin Mobilization in Kutno, Poland.

Donna Delik

Alcoholism is a problem in all generations in Poland, destroying not only individuals but also their families. “New Life” ministry was founded in 2005 when God transformed Janek, a former alcoholic. He dedicated his life to help other alcoholics find hope in Jesus.

We are very thankful that despite all the obstacles in the beginning, God has blessed this ministry. With God’s help and much perseverance, the work has gradually expanded. Attendance for the weekday support group last year grew significantly, and many of them also attend Sunday services. We notice that they don’t just seek God‘s help for their alcohol problem, but seek God himself who could transform their lives.

In February, over 100 people attended our weekend outreach. Some have started attending our support group, and 2 were referred to Teen Challenge for treatment. Please pray for Janek and his wife Zosia, who are responsible for this ministry. They are overwhelmed by the demand of the growing ministry and need fellow workers.

Praise God for the many former alcoholics who have found new life in Christ. We plan to hold a baptism for the new believers at Easter. We pray that through studying the Word with Arek, those who are considering baptism will understand the true meaning of baptism.

Besides this growth, in 2011 we started the hospital ministry in Plock. Recently, the prison authority there invited us to hold regular meetings in the prison. We are really excited for this expanding ministry. However, “the harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.” Please join us to ask the Lord of the harvest, to send out workers into his harvest field.

Huntington University ministry professor Dr. Tom Bergler (right) has released a new book titled “The Juvenilization of American Christianity.”

In his book, Bergler traces the way in which, over the past 75 years, youth ministries have breathed new vitality into four major American church traditions: African American, Evangelical, Mainline Protestant, and Roman Catholic.

“In the book, I argue that youth ministries have revitalized American Christianity but at the cost of making American Christians more immature,” Bergler said. “And I call this process the juvenilization of American Christianity.”

Bergler shows how this “juvenilization” of churches has led to “widespread spiritual immaturity, consumerism and self-centeredness, popularizing a feel-good faith with neither inter-generational community nor theological literacy,” he says. Bergler’s critique further offers constructive suggestions for taming this juvenilization.

“I’m in favor of youth ministry, but it needs to be done in a way that fosters spiritual maturity,” he said.

Bergler is an associate professor of ministry and missions at Huntington University. He completed his Ph.D. in American Religious History from the University of Notre Dame and his M.A. in theology and church history from Wheaton College. He served as a staff worker for University Christian Outreach for seven years, helping to evangelize and disciple students at the University of Michigan, the University of London, and Michigan State University. He also co-founded the Spring Academy, a Christian theology and ministry camp for students from state universities.

He currently serves as senior associate editor of The Journal of Youth Ministry, and is the author of numerous articles and papers on the topic of ministry.

Here’s a 14-minute video about the first year of Renew Communities, a UB church plant in Berea, Ohio (the Cleveland area). Listen to church planter Andy Sikora tell what they’re about.

Roger and Marilyn Reeck, UB endorsed missionaries serving with Wycliffe

We base out of Honduras and travel from there to other places. It is amazing that we can be in Honduras, and workers in a remote area of Africa can send us a newly crafted story, and we can revise and correct it and send it back the same day.

The project facilitators in Africa submit the information using a specific online computer program. Roger checks it, suggests changes, and the corrections are made back in Africa.

And now travel time! We are now packed and on our way back to Guinea Bissau.

As soon as we arrive in Guinea Bissau, Roger will begin consultant checking the book of Mark for the Sarakule language group. He will then present a teaching on the book of Genesis for three language groups. He will lead a one-week One Story workshop and then a one-week seminar on the book of Genesis for the Kriol group.

Marilyn plans to help Roger with the Genesis and One Story workshops and will produce videos for the Guinea Bissau deaf project.

We will return to Honduras in May with just enough time to repack for a trip to Venezuela. We will help teach at a One Story workshop for three unreached language groups who will begin projects.

There are two exciting activities coming up among the Garifuna people in Honduras during March. The first one is the Garifuna Pastor’s retreat, where they will be discussing issues relating to ancestor worship and the stand of the Christian church.

The second is the beginning of a new training program for Garifuna church leaders with the emphasis on preparing church planters.

The Lord has been wonderful to us! In Honduras we live close to Christy and Rigo and their three children. They just started a new school year and the youngest is now going to kindergarten. On our way back to Honduras we will stop off in Texas and visit our three other daughters there.

It is harder to spend time with the three grandkids in Mexico. Our Mexican son Meinardo called yesterday and brought joy as we heard his three children playing in the background and we laughed together. Praise the Lord for the technology that allows us to keep in touch with our family wherever we are living.

Arek and Donna Delik are UB endorsed missionaries serving with Operatin Mobilization in Kutno, Poland.

Donna Delik

2011 was a physically and emotionally draining year for both of us. We are very thankful that we have made a good progress on the building project. However, managing a project of this magnitude has been very demanding financially, physically, and emotionally.

Then Arek’s dad was diagnosed with terminal cancer in May 2011. Arek and I tried to be there for his parents as much as possible, and we often traveled to and from Słupsk, 400 km from Kutno. It was been very hard for us during the last few months until the end of January, when Arek’s dad passed away. We have been very blessed and thankful for many of you who walked with us during this difficult time of our lives.

As one chapter closes, another begins. Mom has diabetes and some disability due to a serious stroke many years ago. After talking with Arek’s sister, mom has decided to move to Kutno so that we could take care of her. We are very glad that we have already found a suitable apartment for her near ours with reasonable rent. The owner is renovating the whole apartment at this moment. We hope it will be done soon and that we can bring mom to Kutno by the end of March.

There are still a lot of legal issues needed to be sorted out before the move, like transferring mom’s medical and social benefits to Kutno, which has proved to be very complicated after the Polish government did some unpopular reforms.

Please pray for Arek’s mom, who is turning 70 this year. Losing her lifelong companion and leaving all her friends to move to Kutno will be the biggest adjustment she has ever encountered. Please also remember us, because it will be a big change for us as well. We want to fulfill one of the 10 commandments–to honor Arek’s mom as the Bible teach us.

Joe Abu (middle) with four members of the November 2011 Engineers Without Borders team (l-r): John Cirucci, Lori Cirucci, Joe Abu, Tom Powers, and Bill McNair. 

Hoisting solar panels on top of the Administrative building in order to provide light in three classrooms and the breezeway.

Mission accomplished! Great joy as the light was turned on.

Rev. Joe Abu, in addition to pastoring Mount Zion United African Church, a UB African congregation in Philadelphia, Pa., is also the official representative of the Sierra Leone Conference to UB churches in the US and Canada. Here, he writes about improvements made to Centennial Secondary School in Mattru, with help from Engineers Without Borders.

Joe Abu

In November 2011, a team from Engineers Without Border of Lehigh Valley left the United States for Mattru Jong in Sierra Leone, West Africa. The purpose was to work with the school community and the alumni association of Centennial Secondary School to install solar lighting in three classrooms and a portion of the administrative building.

Centennial Secondary School, a high school of over 1200 kids, has been in deplorable condition due to the civil war in Sierra Leone, and also due to age of the infrastructure. Engineers Without Borders is partnering with the school’s alumni association (Centennial Old Students Association–or CeOSA) and the school community to rebuild the school.

Here is a quick recap of the partnership activity:

The first trip was for a feasibility study. All partnership stakeholders met and agreed on the priorities of the project implementation.

On the second trip, as a school of numerous students without toilets, Engineers Without Borders worked with the partners on the ground to repair and upgrade the toilet buildings.

During the third trip, in November 2011, the team installed solar lighting in three classrooms, so students could study at night.

Students studying at night.

There was great joy as we flipped on the light at Centennial Secondary School after decades of darkness. Lots and lots of clapping, loud verbal acclamation, tears of joy, etc. Thanks to our donors, Engineers Without Borders, annual dues-paying CeOSA members,the United Brethren Church in Sierra Leone and America, and of course, the Centennial school staff, students, and community.

The main reason for installing the light was to enable the students to study at night. Bingo! During an unannounced visit after the rest of the team had returned to America, I found students and staff studying in all three classrooms and the breezeway.

During the EWB and partnership feasibility study, it was discovered that the school lacked equipment essential for education (like a chemistry lab and other labs). While one of the EWB team members came home and shared the need to her Keystone Quilters Guild, the 2011 CeOSA convention held in Silver Spring, Md., embarked on fundraising to provide sewing machines for the Home Economics lab. As a result, five sewing machines, boxes of sewing accessories, and a beautiful quilt were presented to the school.

Rev. Joe Abu (back) with three Sierra Leone Conference leaders (l-r): Rev. Justin Marva (Administrative Assistant), Mr. S. K. Foyoh (National conference treasurer), and Bishop John Pessima.

High on the priority list of the students of the school, during the project feasibility study, was a set of marching band instruments. While some EWB personnel intended to do something about it, the people were challenged to seek help within the country. As a result, some magnificent marching band instruments were obtained.

Inspired by this result, the local people went all-out to refurbish one of the unused buildings into a nicely painted and furnished library with a tile floor.

As we thank donors and all participants in the Centennial project, the Church of the United Brethren in Christ in Sierra Leone deserves special gratitude. The venerable Bishop John Pessima and his leadership have been very supportive of the project. He comes to cheer the team and to promote the project each time we were in Sierra Leone.

The next Engineers Without Borders trip will occur in late April 2012. The goal this time is to drill a well to provide pure drinking water to the school. This is a very expensive goal, as the well has to be drilled through a massive layer of rock.

Dave Stephens, Director of Camp Cotubic (Bellefontaine, Ohio)

The summer of 2011 was one of the largest ever in terms of numbers of kids attending camp at Cotubic. It appears that the summer of 2012 will be another very busy time. Please pray for all the staff as they host around 3,000 kids this summer. There will be many meals to cook, activities to run, worship and teaching services to lead, songs to sing, toilets to clean, etc. Something special happens when a young person goes to church camp.

We have several large projects to take care of before summer. Between now and June, we will probably be working every Saturday on the following:

Water Slide. The camp was given two commerical water slides last summer. We have removed the old slide, cut down some trees, and are trying to prepare the hillside for the construction of all the pieces of slide laying in a pile. This will be a big job and we need many strong backs to help. Give us a call if you have a crew of men who could help for a day.

Cabin Roofs. We hope to replace the roofs and side exterior walls on three of the A-frame cabins this spring with metal. This will also be a big job.

Mowing. In a couple of weeks, the mowers and tractors will be running non-stop trying to stay ahead of the growing grass. If you have a few hours to spare and can sit on a riding mower, we could use your help probably right after Easter.

Picnic Table Remodeling. I have no idea how many picnic tables are around the camp. There are many. I do know that many of them need new tops and seats. We could really use a few retired men (and women) who have a couple of days to spare this spring to come work on some tables. We have all the tools and boards that are needed. We just need some folks who can operate saws, drills, nail guns, etc. This would be a huge help to the camp.

Painting. We could use a few folks that know how to scrape and paint. Several buildings need some interior help.

Drinking Fountains. Thanks to one of our camp friends, we will be digging up some water lines to install drinking fountains around the camp. If you have a day or two to spare and don’t mind getting a little dirty, come and help. This is a long overdue project.

Staff House Support Beam. Last summer, the middle support beam under the girls staff house broke. We must get under that building and repair or replace that beam. We could use a few guys for a day or two to help with this job.

Discovery Lodge Flooring. A big thank you goes out to the Discovers Sunday school class at College Park church in Huntington, Ind. This group donated this building back in the 90s and continues to help maintain it. They will be laying new ceramic tile in two of the rooms this month.

Nurses Needed. The camp provides 24-hour protection for our campers by having trained medical staff on hand for every event. We are looking for nurses, EMTs, doctors, etc., to volunteer for a week of our three weeks of camp this summer. If you might be available and willing, please contact me at the camp.