Early October is always a time of denominational meetings at the national office in Huntington, Ind.

  • The Pastoral Ministry Leadership Team met this past Monday and Tuesday (October 1-2, 2012). Lee Rhodes, pastor of Countryside UB church (Breckenridge, Mich.) is the chairman.
  • The Global Ministries Leadership Team meets today and tomorrow (October 4-5). Kurt Uhen, a layperson from Emmanuel Community Church (Fort Wayne, Ind.) is the chairman. This group is a joint venture of the US and Canadian national conferences (2 of the 10 members are from Canada).
  • The Executive Leadership Team meets next Monday and Tuesday (October 8-9). Bishop Phil Whipple is the chairman. This is the highest governing body between sessions of the US National Conference. The ELT will be looking at a number of proposals for changing the Discipline, which the US National Conference will then consider in June 2013.
  • The Higher Education Leadership Team meets October 17. J. Michael Caley, pastor of Banner of Christ UB church (Byron Center, Mich.) is the chairperson. This team provides oversight of Huntington University.

L-r: Elsa Hiliare (Christian Horizons Global co-ordinator in Haiti), Mr. Alexis, Hermmy, and Joan Sider. At the airport in Haiti.

Hermmy sleeping in the Montreal airport.

L-r: Sleeping on her tray on the airplane. During the flight. Sitting on her bed at Joan’s home in Toronto. Eating breakfast and watching TV. (click to enlarge)

Joan Sider, New Hope UB church, Toronto, Ontario

Our churches in Canada have been working in partnership with our churches in Haiti since 2002. A medical team went to Haiti in October 2011. While working in our clinics with Haitian doctors, we met Hermmy Alexis, a 12-year girl. It was discovered that she had tetrology fallot (hole in the heart). The surgery needed to repair her heart couldn’t happen in Haiti.

As we talked amongst ourselves, a suggestion was made that we try to bring her to Canada and apply to the Herbie Fund through The Hospital for Sick Children. One of our nurses, Margie Blackler, started the application process immediately upon our return.

After months of phones calls, texts, emails, and help from various people, we were able to bring Hermmy to Canada on October 1, 2012, a year after her condition was first discovered. Hermmy received her visa at 9:30 am that morning. I arrived in Haiti at 3 pm with Denis Costello, an Air Canada pilot who made the arrangements. Then, with Hermmy, we flew back to Canada at 4:15.

Hermmy had never been on a plane before. As the time progressed, it was obvious that she was growing tired. She slept a fair amount. She slept on my shoulder/lap for the whole flight between Montreal and Toronto. She had her first elevator ride in Montreal’s airport; she flung herself at me and buried her head into me, obviously frightened by the experience. The second elevator ride was better. And when she came to my home and we travelled up the four floors, she was smiling, understanding that it was okay.

Hermmy will live with me until she returns to Haiti–just call me “mom” now!

My cats Spunky and Maxi were waiting to greet her, and she smiled at them–I even saw her pet one–so that is good. I’m glad cats are okay.

Upon awakening Tuesday morning, Hermmy promptly made her bed. Showing her how the water taps work and the shower, I got the next “wow” reaction. Turning on the shower did it. She has had her first washing and used the shower wand so her hair wouldn’t get wet.

Trying on clothes which people have generously donated was a tiring experience. She had to stop and have a sleep–a very sound one at that.

Watching TV in English is going to be one of her daily activities. She was savvy enough already to use the remote to change the station. I am glad for that spark of confidence in an otherwise pretty shy young lady.

I’m grateful for the assistance from Jinette Cesaire, a Haitian-speaking woman, who recently began attending my church. We’ve been on the speaker phone several times already, beginning upon our arrival late Monday night. Jinette is very willing to allow us to call at any time. She will help translate when we go to the hospital.

I’m grateful for the iPhone app that lets me speak in English and then speaks what I’ve said in creole. Technology is wonderful! I am trying to get an iPad for her–several folk are trying to help make this happen.

Hermmy’s surgery date has changed from October 9 to October 12. We have several appointments, beginning on Wednesday.

Here are a few prayer points for now:

  • That Hermmy will remain well–she has a little sniffle this morning I’ve noticed
  • That Hermmy will adjust to her new situation–including the food.
  • Getting an iPad
  • My adjustment to this new role of motherhood–glad to do it, but just different for me.
  • I’m not a cook, so pray about this big stretch for her.

October 3 Update: We need you to pray for Hermmy. She is not feeling well–stomach and head–homesick too, I suspect. When I went in and slept in her room, she settled for the night. She has a low grade temperature. I suspect a cold may be coming–sniffling, but no sneezing. Her disturbing night has left her very tired this morning too.

She has appointments today. I called to alert them to her unwellness. The first thing they said, “Well, she has to be well, or there is no point in having these appointments.” Doesn’t that sound sympathetic?! Pray for me to keep my cool with them when we do go in a few minutes.

Thanks for praying. I know God brought her here and He is going to protect and keep her.

Huntington University will “Remember the Past, Live Today, and Embrace the Future” at Homecoming & Family Weekend on October 5-6. Festivities will include alumni awards, department and five-year class reunions, a parade through the center of campus, coronation, the annual Davis Hall Follies, among other activities.

Huntington will recognize three alumni for their achievements at 12:45.

Dr. David Nicholls, a 1972 graduate with a degree in business education, will be honored with the 2012 Distinguished Alumni Citation. He has spent more than 30 years as a teacher, administrator and superintendent, and is now the executive pastor at New Hope Community UB church in Bryan, Ohio.

Jeff Edgel, a 2004 graduate with a degree in elementary education, will be honored with the 2012 Young Alumnus Award for his music ministry and his promotion of the university. Edgel is a member of the Christian rock band Attaboy. Through the band, Edgel ministers to teens around the country and promote HU.

Brooks Fetters is a 1981 graduate with a degree in business administration. He later returned to Huntington to earn a Master of Christian Ministry degree in pastoral ministries in 1987. He will be honored with the 2012 Alumnus of the Year award for his leadership in the Huntington community and his support of the university. Fetters worked as a funeral director in the Huntington community for many years, and was elected mayor in January 2012.

The ONE80 car in the demolition derby.

The ONE80 car at the finish.

Ben Gladhill, associate pastor of Christian Education, Lake View Church (Camden, Mich.)

On September 25, ONE80 Student Ministries of Lake View Church helped sponsor a demolition derby car for the Hillsdale County fair in Hillsdale, Michigan.

Doug Faler, ONE80 adult leader, drove the ONE80 car in the derby. After a great showing in the second heat of the derby, Doug and the ONE80 car advanced to the Feature final along with 11 other cars. In the end, we finished sixth in the Feature!

It was a great opportunity to for our Student Ministries to get its name out to our surrounding community. As well as be a witness to others participating and at the fair.

A special thanks to all who supported ONE80 Students Ministries in this event and cheered Doug and our team to a great showing. Many youth and adults from Lake View Church came out to support our car at the derby. Also a special thanks goes to those who spent many hours working on the car and supported this project financially!

Dan Paternoster

Dan Paternoster, who was struck by a car on August 28 while riding his bike, continues to make progress, albeit slowly. Here are recent excerpts posted to CarePages.com by Dan’s wife, Nancy, during the past week. Dan, a veterinarian from the UB church in Fowlerville, Mich., is a member of denominational the Executive Leadership Team.

Wednesday, September 26. Walking up and down the stairs was Dan’s job for today, along with standing and kicking a ball. He did both things with help. Balance is something we take for granted until we have to learn to balance all over again.

Dan is progressing with his speech therapist, too but not as fast as in the physical areas. This area is frustrating to both of us. There are so many words in Dan’s head that it takes him a long time to recall the word that he wants. Sometimes he just uses other words in his sentences that don’t make any sense to us, but seem fine to him since he knows what he’s trying to say. Please pray specifically that his language recall and communication would improve tremendously this coming week.

Thursday, September 27. Still working on balance with sidestepping while playing catch. He’s gettng better with this. Since Dan is getting steadier on his feet, we requested his physical therapist to give us pointers on helping Dan transfer from the wheelchair to his bed and in the bathroom. It will be easier for Dan not having to wait for nursing staff to come each time he wants to transfer. There were several sentences that Dan said today that made total sense. Keep praying for this area. Dan will be having a swallow study done soon and if okay, then will be able to move on to food on a regular basis.

Friday, September 28. Today was a tiring day. Dan practiced swallowing by eating oatmeal and drinking cranberry juice. He’ll have a swallow study done on Monday and will be given more food if that study goes well. Dan also matched cards by suits and identified which item didn’t belong in each picture. He finished physical therapy by walking up and down a small hill. Dan’s sentences made more sense at times today, but please keep praying for complete healing in this area.

Sunday, October 1. Dan’s memory of names of objects and how to do simple tasks is returning slowly.