Charles Malson, Sr., remains in ICU at Sparrow Hospital in Lansing, Mich. Son Steve, a former UB minister, writes, “He is going to have another surgery around 2 pm on Monday. It will be extensive. Please pray for us, my mom and my family, because this is a very difficult time for the whole crew. Daddy is a very sick man.”

Cards can be sent to:

Charles F. Malson, Sr.
10928 Easy Street
Carson City, MI 48811

UPDATE (7:30 pm): Chuck Malson posted this on Facebook: “Ok, so here’s the latest on Pop. He didn’t need the more extensive surgery that we feared he needed after Saturday’s ct scan. The dark mass appears to be blood, not infection, since his blood cells etc. are all going the right direction. So, the surgery today was to insert a tracheotomy in order to make it easier on him to breathe. The doctor is very pleased with his progress. The trach will stay in for a couple weeks and another ct scan will be taken later to double check his progress. Thanks for all your prayers.”

Frank (background), Jeff, and the sign

Frank Y, associate director of Global Ministries, found this sign in a Hong Kong market. He thought it would be perfect for his own boss, Jeff Bleijerveld. After Frank returned to the office on February 1, he presented it to Jeff. (That’s Frank in the background, and Jeff holding the sign.)

Arek and Donna Delik (right), UB endorsed staff serving with Operation Mobilization in Poland, sent this update on their work on February 3:

“The weather here is very depressing, dark, wet, and cold. We hope you have better weather than us. We are really looking forward to our visit to Hong Kong–warm, sunny, familiar food! Of course, more important is seeing our dear friends there. It’s a pity that we just miss each other!

Recently a friend helped us make a video for our building project. Please continue to remember us until the completion of the whole project, and that we will be able to pay back our loans of around $120,000 US by the end of 2014.

Please also pray for 3 people who are going to be baptised on February 17. They are now having the pre-baptism course with Arek. This will be held in the unfinished main hall.

Dan Paternoster (left) and UB minister Charlie Milliken greeting people at the 2011 US National Conference.

We’ve been keeping up on Dan Paternoster (right), a member of the Executive Leadership Team who was involved in a serious accident last August. His wife, Nancy, wrote the following update on February 3, 2013:

“We met with Dan’s urologist a few days ago and were told that the bladder biopsy showed no cancer. The doctor believes that the abnormal area seen the week before was an area of inflammation–perhaps scar tissue from the previous surgery or treatment. We’re both very grateful that we are cancer-free at this time. Our prayer is that it continues that way for a long time.

“Dan’s next appointment is with a vision specialist to check out the nerve palsy in his left eye. Dan may just need to be patient and let the eye heal on its own, which should take care of his current problem with double vision. We were told in the fall that it may take 8-12 months for the nerve to heal. It’s been just over 5 months, so we may have several more months of waiting for healing before Dan can return to work.”

A lot of work remains to be done on rebuilding the dormitory at Malvern Camp in Jamaica. Global Ministries set dates for three work teams this spring, to get the building in shape for the 2013 youth camps:

Team 1: February 16-23, 2013.
Team 2: February 23 – March 2, 2013.
Team 3: May 11-18, 2013.

The work will include but not be limited to laying concrete blocks, mixing cement, putting up rafters, and roofing. The May trip will probably also do painting and finishing work on the building’s interior and exterior.

We need 7-8 persons each week. But at this point–February 1–nobody has signed up for any of the teams. If you’re interested, please contact Donna Hollopeter in Global Ministries.

Another option: Owen Gordon, a Jamaica pastor, suggest that if you can’t be part of a short-term team to Jamaica, you consider sending a monetary gift to help with the project. They’d really like to get as much of it finished as possible. You can send funds directly to:
Global Ministries
302 Lake Street
Huntington, IN 46750

Indicate that the monetary gift is for the Malvern Camp.

All of the pastors and spouses of Honduras Conference on the platform at the end of the meeting.

All of the pastors and spouses of Honduras Conference on the platform at the end of the meeting.

The 54th annual session of Honduras National Conference was held January 9-12, 2013. However the activity of its members and delegates got started on January. That’s when they began a journey of 100 Hours of Prayer. Each pastor spent one hour in prayer leading up to the conference itself.

They prayed for:

  • A revival for the Church of the United Brethren in Christ.
  • Their church leadership.
  • The work of the 54th National Conference.
  • Their nation’s government leaders.

The conference theme was “Back to Basics,” based on the Book of Acts, and the speaker was Rev. Eric Rojas, a United Brethren pastor in Costa Rica. During their time, they enjoyed a number of presentations regarding teamwork, the foundations of effective ministry, and the family.

Rev. Juanita Chavez (right) was re-elected as General Superintendent, a position to which she was first elected in 2009.

All 114 churches (consisting of 8181 members) were represented at the conference. During 2012, Honduras Conference recorded 921 conversions and 322 baptisms.

Gonzalo Alas (right), a Honduran church planter, leads our churches in El Salvador. We just learned (Feb. 1) that he had a heart attack followed by various complications. He is doing better now, but the Alas family would appreciate our prayers.

(Earlier, we reported that it was Rev. Alas’s father who suffered the heart attack. That was an error.)

The entire group that attended the Global Ministries Staff Summit.

The entire group that attended the Global Ministries Staff Summit.

The meeting place for the staff sessions.

The meeting place for the staff sessions.

The Global Ministries Summit was held January 20-24 in Chiang Rai, Thailand. Persons serving fulltime with Global Ministries or as nontraditional staff were invited, and all of their expenses were covered. Altogether, 28 persons, eight of them children, attended.

  • Jeff Bleijerveld, director of Global Ministries.
  • Donna Hollopeter, associate director of Global Ministries.
  • Frank Y, associate director of Global Ministries.
  • Brian and Lynette Magnus, from Guelph, Ontario.
  • David and Melissa Kline, and three children, from Macau
  • Jeff and April Dice, and three children, nontraditional staff serving part of the year in Nicaragua.
  • Galen and Maritta Fiedler, and two children, nontraditional staff serving in Germany.
  • Jennifer Blandin, from Macau.
  • Bryan and Emily Gerlach, appointed to begin a new ministry in Thailand later in 2013.
  • Jessica Hollopeter, nontraditional sojourn staff serving with One Mission Society in Indiana.
  • Miriam, Jana, Anne, and Jenaya, serving in undisclosed locations.
  • Rev. Yiu, superintendent of Hong Kong Conference.
  • Carol Chan, the missions director from Hong Kong Conference.

They all met at the Phowaldol Resort on the outskirts of Chiang Rai, a city of 200,000 people in northern Thailand on the border with Myanmar.

The speaker was Brian Magnus, bishop of the United Brethren Church in Canada. Brian also chairs the International Executive Committee, and presides at sessions of the international General Conference. He spoke five times to the group in Thailand. Since everyone spoke English, no translating was needed.

Jeff Bleijerveld, director of Global Ministries, and associate director Donna Hollopeter sat down a few days after returning to talk about the event, beginning with the question, “Why Thailand?”

Jeff Bleijerveld: Much of our staff is already located in Asia, so it served well as the gathering point. It also kept expenses low. We stayed at this very nice hotel for about $35 per night, per person. It was a wonderful resort with individual cottages, so even families with children had a two-floor cottage. It was very comfortable.

Frank was the organizer and did a lot of the planning. A lot of credit also goes to Peggy Sell, our administrative assistant at the time, who handled a lot of the logistical work. We originally planned that Peggy would join us. It’s always a challenge with people coming from different places, and arranging transportation to from the airport.

For some of our staff, being treated to a vacation in Thailand was different, and some even felt uncomfortable explaining it to supporters. But most were very grateful for the opportunity to meet each other, to step away from ministry, and to be refreshed spiritually.

Donna Hollopeter: Most everybody arrived by Saturday night. The Dice family didn’t arrive until Sunday, so they missed the visit to the mountain churches on Sunday, as did the Fiedlers.

Jeff: The Fiedlers were delayed two full days because of a variety of things—ice storms in Germany which shut down the autobahns, bad weather at Heathrow airport in London, and then a minor strike with Thai Airways. But they made it for two days of the meetings.

Of all of the Global Ministries families, the Fiedlers have probably been under the most pressure and stress. Maritta’s father has been fighting cancer for many years. He had just come home from the hospital; after they returned to Germany, he went back into the hospital and is now in a coma. They really appreciated the event. They did plan to stay two additional days to relax and spend time as a family.

Brian Magnus leading one of his five sessions.

Brian Magnus leading one of his five sessions.

Sessions with Brian

Donna: Brian Magnus did a phenomenal job. He took five characters from the Old Testament and talked about their lives, their character qualities—good and bad—and the impact that they had on the lives of other people. Then he asked us to consider how our lives and character qualities impact others positively or negatively, and how we reflect Christ.

Jeff: We deliberated beforehand whether this was a time for building up and encouragement and spiritual challenge, or a time to talk shop and strategize for the future. We decided we couldn’t do both well, so we would focus on missionary care. Brian and Lynette Magnus are both natural encouragers.

Everybody seemed very eager to get to know each other. They stayed up and played card games together. There was no sense of cliques.

Donna: We began each session with devotions, and with praise and worship. They all commented on how much they enjoyed worshiping together. During the sessions, they were very careful to mix up who they sat with, so they could have conversations with people they didn’t necessarily know well.

Jeff: Brian and Lynette celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary last June, so they built into the trip an additional week. They went to Chiang Mai, a larger city about two-and-a-half hours to the southwest. It’s known for its zoo with panda bears, and its ancient waterway built into the city. They wanted to take some time to enjoy and relax before going back.

Donna: They were trying to decide how to get to Chiang Mai, and decided to take a bus. There were three levels of ticketing. Brian thought, “This is special, so I’ll take the most expensive ticket.” Which was equal to $10.

Jeff: Again and again, as you run through the numbers, you realize, this is really affordable.

A Thai childcare worker with Karis and Ellie Dice.

A Thai childcare worker with Karis and Ellie Dice.

The Children at the Global Ministries Summit

Donna: Three families brought children. David and Melissa Kline have three young children, Jeff and April Dice brought their four children, and Galen and Maritta Fiedler (from Germany) brought their two children.

The kids were very good. Even though they hadn’t met before, the younger kids very quickly developed relationships with each other. You’d see them walking down the pathways, arm in arm. It was neat to see.

Jeff: The hotel staff were fabulous. They even provided childcare. The lady in charge of childcare remarked how well behaved our children were, that they weren’t “naughty,” as she put it. She got one day a week off, and it fell on the day we left. Yet she came to the hotel all day just to say goodbye to the children.

Donna: The families with children banded together to buy gifts for the childcare providers, who said that had never happened before—nobody else had thanked them or given them gifts for taking care of their children.

Miriam said she had forgotten some of the issues families deal with on a regular basis, like trying to coordinate naps for kids along with all the activities planned. She kept remembering how it was when their boys were younger. With a family, there are a whole lot of other dynamics that single missionaries don’t have to deal with, whether you are on the field or at a rest-and-relaxation place like this.

Robert Sommers, formerly the head of financial aid at Indiana Wesleyan University, has been hired as Huntington University’s new director of financial aid.

Sommers most recently served as the technology coordinator for financial aid at Indiana Wesleyan (Marion, Ind.). Before that, he worked as the Midwest regional director for Edfinancial Services/EdAmerica for four years and director and then executive director of financial aid at Indiana Wesleyan for seven years.

“Robert brings a wonderful blend of professional experience and personal strengths to the director of financial aid role at Huntington. Not only does he have an extensive background of leadership in the financial aid field, but he brings a broad knowledge of the higher education loan industry and of core enrollment management techniques to the position, as well,” said Jeff Berggren, senior vice president for enrollment management and marketing.

Sommers graduated from Indiana Wesleyan with a degree in accounting and business administration in 1993 and later earned his MBA from the school in 1998.