Abdul Mustapha

by Michelle Harris, Associate Director of UB Global

Abdul Karim Mustapha is the Administrator of UB Mattru Hospital and of UBC Hospital Enterprises. He talked recently about his story with Michelle Harris, associate director of UB Global.

Sierra Leone United Brethren in Christ

Abdul grew up in a Muslim family and began studies at Bumpe UB school in 1980. There he became friends with many believing students and started following them to church. One year at the church’s New Year’s Celebration, his friend James Barnett stood, and instead of giving his own testimony, presented Abdul as his gift, calling him up to the altar. Initially, Abdul didn’t know if he was joking, but he went to the altar, where John Jusu (current dean of Education and Social Sciences at African International University) prayed and Abdul gave his life to Jesus.

UB missionaries June Brown and Shirley Fritz served at Bumpe during those years. Abdul attended weekly evening Bible classes with them and worked through monthly Bible correspondence classes.

Currently, Abdul serves in leadership in the Sierra Leone Conference as an Executive Member of the UB Masters International Conference and is a member of Kissy UB Church in Freetown.

Family

Abdul met Hawanatu Mary when she was doing an internship in the company he worked for. They married and have two children: Gloria, who is fifteen years old, and Natacha, who is 12. Both are doing well in school.

Abdul’s family has stayed in Freetown as he works in Mattru. Abdul takes long weekends in Freetown, and Hawanatu comes for longer stays in Mattru.

The Work in Mattru

Abdul was working at another job when he heard of the urgent need for a business manager for the solar and water project. His previous experience in logistics and administration led to his applying and being hired by the conference.

As business manager, he has brought order and clear direction to the projects. The solar and water projects not only provide electricity and clean water, but are a source of regular income to support hospital salaries. Thanks to a gift from the Huntington Rotary (Huntington, Ind.), 60 customers are now metered. The next steps of care and expansion for the system will involve a back-up generator to produce cash flow and dependable electricity during the rainy season, and additional meters for larger customers.

In May of 2019, Pamela McKee, who served as hospital administrator, needed to leave earlier than expected to receive medical attention in the US. Abdul stepped in to help, much as he did in 2018 when the need for a business manager was urgent. Pamela recuperated and traveled to Mattru in August to pass the baton, pack up, and celebrate with hospital staff her time there before returning to a new position in Ohio. God has been faithful in opening a door for her to travel twice a year to the hospital to continue her work of training and encouraging staff.

Abdul is taking his time to understand the hospital staff and learn the situation of the hospital. He likes the job. He says, “Let us all work together. We need prayers for all who are working, that we will be as one. When we have a problem, in good faith, that we will find a solution together.”

Abdul asks for prayers for unity for the staff.

We are thankful for Abdul and the many others who serve at Mattru Hospital.

Flooding in Sierra Leone.

Major floods have been impacting much of Sierra Leone in recent days. As of August 5, five persons were reported dead, 41 communities affected, and in Freetown alone, 459 homes flooded and 5318 people displaced. In Sulima, where the UB Sierra Leone Conference has been working among the Muslim majority Vai people, Rev. Tucker’s home was flooded, forcing him to seek shelter elsewhere. Please be lifting them up in prayer.

Pastor César Obregón

We were shocked to learn of the murder of Pastor César Obregón, one of the United Brethren pastors in Guatemala. Witnesses claim a local sorcerer/witch-doctor brutally attacked him with a machete. He died soon after from his wounds.

Pastor Obregón had served as a church planter since our earliest days in Guatemala, which go back to 2000. He had planted numerous churches. The most recent was located in San Antonio, Suchitepequez, a three-hour drive from the capital of Guatemala City. There, the congregation met on a property they had purchased, under a bamboo-framed structure covered with a heavy mill black plastic. People were hearing the Gospel and were being saved.

Pastor Obregón left behind a wife, children, grandchildren, and a very new congregation.

Jeff Bleijerveld, executive director of UB Global, writes, “Pray for our Guatemalan brothers and sisters as they mourn his loss and seek to reconcile what took place in a country that is overwhelmingly Christian. Indeed, darkness often rages against the church where its light shines the brightest. However, the victory is ours because the battle has already been won, and our dear brother César has gone on to receive his reward. Pray that even this tragic event might be transformed for God’s glory, and that many would come to know Christ as Lord and Savior.”

Rev. Armando Lopez (right), national leader of Nicaragua Conference, provided the following update on his country’s ongoing national crisis.

The economic situation has deteriorated rapidly, with immediate consequences for our churches, which are struggling to support themselves. As an example, in one church with an average number of attendees, only 20 Cordobas ($0.59) was collected, which is very rare. I tell you this because [I am] very concerned about the situation and the crisis that we have been experiencing over the last year. We still do not know how it will end.

The closure of many companies and the decline in exports has forced the dismissal of many people, including many church members. There is also been an increase in electricity and water rates, and people and churches have to pay more for these services. In addition, new tax reform was passed that forces companies and citizens to pay more taxes to cover the federal budget.

We had been using much of our financial resources to legalize church properties that were never officially registered. We managed to legalize three, but the problem with legalizing them is that doing so exposed old debts to be collected for garbage collection, property improvements, and property taxes. We did not have the money needed to pay all these debts, so we are paying in installments for two of the churches. This has been a huge challenge for the conference that is not currently generating income.

We also have six pastors who are sick with Dengue Fever. These are pastors for small rural churches and have not been able to receive treatment. I’m worried for them as they cannot afford medicines. Without further ado, I am thanking you in advance for anything you can do for this conference. Bishop Armando Jose Lopez – UBIC Nicaragua.


We now have a United Brethren presence in France.

Numbers vary, but most agree that there are approximately 58,000 Haitians and French of Haitian descent living in France today. The vast majority of these reside in the Greater Paris area.

Pastor Oliam Richard, our current national leader in Haiti, immigrated to France with his family in 1983. He planted the L’Eglise de Dieu Primitive in Alfortville (20 km south of Paris). The church meets in a rented location that seats about 200 people. Nearly 50% of attendees are children or young adults.

For some time, there has been discussion regarding the possibility of receiving this congregation into the fellowship of the United Brethren in Christ. So on the occasion of the church’s 35th anniversary, Jeff Bleijerveld, UB Global Executive Director, joined by Pastor Richard, met with the leadership and congregation to officially welcome them into the United Brethren in Christ.

Over the weekend, the church baptized six young adults (4 men, 2 women), and multiple gatherings took place. During the official anniversary celebration, over 200 people crowded into the building, with another 100 listening from the street outside. Jeff had the opportunity to share with them our UB priorities, namely, Gospel, Unity and Mission.

He was pleased to be introduced to another independent Haitian church in a neighboring town which is also interested in becoming United Brethren. Both churches are looking for ways to engage immigrants, whether Haitian or not, as well as the French citizenry, which consists increasingly of Agnostics or Muslims. They believe there is opportunity to multiply disciples and churches in France.

At this time, France is a mission district of UB Global, with strong relational ties to their sister churches in Haiti.

Chris and Nichie Stonall

Congratulations to Nichie Parish on her recent marriage to Chris Stonall. Nichie is from the McCallum UB church in Delton, Mich. She joined the UB Global staff in 2014, and has been serving with Impact Africa in Johannesburg, South Africa. Chris is a native of Johannesburg, and is self-employed there.

Here’s a note from Nichie’s latest prayer letter: “In December, Chris and I will travel to America to celebrate Christmas and our marriage with our family and friends there. While there, I’ll be applying for a new visa that will allow me to stay here in South Africa and continue my work with Impact Africa, and catching up with supporters and churches!”

Seth and Becca Mallay and children.

Seth and Becca Mallay are UB Global endorsed missionaries serving in Togo with World Medical Mission, the medical arm of Samaritan’s Purse. Seth is a family physician.

They received news this week that their oldest daughter, Arwen, has stage four neuroblastoma which has metastasized to her bones.They have been told to expect about two years of rigorous treatment.

Clearly, this changes their plans regarding medical missions, but they are not deterred from their mission. They reject discouragement, but accept that their timeline is being altered out of necessity.

Seth felt the call to become a fulltime medical missionary as a child, and remained committed to this call throughout medical school and residency. Becca was raised on the mission field in Brazil, and from a young age felt called to fulltime mission work in Africa.

The Mallays are members of Hillsdale UB church in Hillsdale, Mich. If you are interested in helping them financially, a good friend has set up a GoFundMe account for them.

Rev. Armando Lopez was elected as the new superintendent of Nicaragua Conference. He replaces Rev. Juan Pavón, who has served in that role for over 12 years.

Born in 1949 in the city of Granada. His parents pastored a small church. Armando can’t recall when he made the decision to follow Jesus, but he distinctly remembers preaching the Gospel as a child in bus stations and marketplaces. When Armando graduated from high school at age 17, he was determined to become a minister. In fact, all of his siblings are serving as pastors today.

In 2004, Armando was introduced to the United Brethren and has served as pastor of the Camino de Fe church in Niquinohomo, where he has also served as the area cluster leader. Armando is passionate about evangelism, discipleship, and church planting. It is his desire to lead our 30 Nicaraguan churches in multiplying themselves.

L-r: Heleen and John Yoder, Cathy and Richard Toupin (front), Matthew Asher, Pamela McKee, and Michelle Harris.

Michelle Harris, associate director of UB Global

“I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty” (John 6:35).

In September, I traveled to Sierra Leone to visit our Mattru Hospital team. For five days in Mattru, we focused on the work at the hospital. It’s a busy place—for the medical staff as well as our engineering team. The November Worldview newsletter gave a glimpse into the routines of our staff in the article “Three Times a Day.”

Getting the group together at Mattru is a challenge. Someone is always either on call or needed on campus, so though the team meets weekly, a retreat needed to take place elsewhere. So, we traveled up to Freetown where we stayed at a simple, but beautiful place.

There were seven of us. I was joined by Dr. Jon and Heleen Yoder (doctor and nurse), Dr. Richard and Cathy Toupin, nurse Pamela McKee, and Matthew Asher, an engineer working on the solar and water project at Mattru Hospital.

The lodgings were simple—beds with mosquito nets, and fans that used solar power to make it mostly through the night. Showers were mostly a trickle of cool water. Our meeting place was an open area above the restaurant where we arranged our wooden chairs with cushions in a U shape so we all had a view of the water as we talked and sang and prayed.

Our foundation in scripture was Psalm 23 and John 6:35, focusing on Jesus as our very good shepherd, who provides bountifully for us. We grounded our discussion of the challenges of culture shock in wise words from Ajith Fernando, Youth for Christ Director from Sri Lanka. His book, The Call to Joy and Pain, reminded us that suffering in ministry often flows from our commitment to people, and that Paul’s words to the churches are filled with both joy and pain. We worked through the realities of culture shock and tasks for people in their first term of service.

And we rested. Some of us slept in, using the 9:00 am starting time as the beginning of breakfast—omelets or crepes. Others took boats across the bay to have early morning walks on the beach. We worked our way through the menu, comparing dishes like fish and chips, Thai curry, and bruschetta—it was all good. We took advantage of free coffee, served in small white teacups with cream and sugar. Some of us napped in the afternoon, some walked on the beach and swam in the ocean. We took turns on the hammocks and listened to bird calls. We played games and laughed after dinner. We talked and sang and prayed.

Our Shepherd restored our souls.