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.

On August 14, flooding and a landslide in Freetown, Sierra Leone, resulted in the deaths of more than 400 people, and left thousands bereft of shelter, clothing, food, and safe drinking water. The dead include a number of United Brethren people from our churches in Freetown.

Some have been asking what they can do in response to the devastation. Rev. John Pessima, bishop of Sierra Leone Conference, sent the following update.

We have some of our members whose relatives died in the incident. Some bodies were discovered, and some are still missing. The wife of our national men’s ministry president, Mr. Christopher Mattia, is still missing eleven family members. A steward at the Au Memorial United Brethren Church at Kissy, Madam Sia Mannie, lost all three of her children. Hawa Conteh, a nurse at the Mattru Hospital, lost seven of her relatives in the same house. None of these have been found. We are still investigating as the search is ongoing.

All heads of churches were called on by the government to visit the site and agree on what to do as a church. We are to send to our partners and request assistance for our members whose relatives died in this ugly incident. Locally, we have started making appeals in our local churches for used clothing.

On behalf of the conference, I am appealing to United Brethren around the world for assistance in any form for families of the victims, and for the survivors who are still on the streets without food, safe drinking water, shelter, and clothing.

I am attaching pictures I took at the site during the heads of churches visit. Paramount among these is your prayers for our nation. We have suffered a lot, from civil war to Ebola and now landslide and flood. God bless you as you remember us in your prayers.

Donations can be sent through UB Global. Mark a check as “Sierra Leone Relief” and send to:

UB Global
302 Lake Street
Huntington IN 46750

You can also go here to give online. Select “2-9898 Sierra Leone – Special Projects,” and indicate in the comments box that your gift is for “Sierra Leone Relief.”

We’re excited with the progress being made at the Mattru UBC Hospital in Sierra Leone as our UB Global staff work alongside our national leadership and hospital staff. While struggles and challenges remain, everyone has been pulling together and trusting the Lord for His help. Here are a few ways your gifts and prayers are making a difference.

SolaWata300Solar and Water Progress

Matt Asher and his team have rewired the hospital in preparation for solar power. The first of three containers of solar panels has arrived at the port in Freetown and will be cleared and transported down to Mattru in the coming weeks.

The water packaging business, Sola Wata, has opened and is producing pure packaged water. The business is not only a source of healthy water for the district but will be a sustainable source of funding for the hospital.

Pamela McKee recognizing an "Employee of the Month"

Pamela McKee recognizing an “Employee of the Month”

Hospital Progress

Numbers of patients at the hospital have increased steadily as people in the district know that quality medical care is being provided. In a live radio interview, hospital staff encouraged people to bring children with suspected malaria right away. With early diagnosis and malaria medications funded by donors, more children are recovering.

Since the team arrived in March, there have been no maternal deaths. Bonthe District, where only two hospitals serve 200,000 people, has one of the highest rates of maternal death in the world. Dr. Jon Yoder and Dr. Harrison (from Nigeria) have provided excellent medical care.

In her role as head matron, Pamela McKee is training and encouraging hospital staff and the many student nurses who serve from the nursing school. She has instituted monthly employee and ward of the month contests to improve morale and excellence.

Dr. Richard and Cathy Toupin leave August 11 to serve at Mattru Hospital for two months.

Dr. John and Heleen Yoder

Dr. John and Heleen Yoder

Psychosocial Unit

Heleen Yoder has led the opening of a psychosocial unit for child survivors of gender-based violence. Seven hospital staff have completed training in medical and psychosocial care for these children.

Heleen writes, “One of the most popular training sessions was a discussion of the story of Amnon and Tamar (2 Samuel 13). The story resembles many aspects of Sierra Leone society: a polygamous household, a father who doesn’t know his children well (and sets a bad example), a dutiful daughter obeying her father, a powerless girl facing rape, bystanders (the servants) who close their eyes to a girl at risk, a brother who tells her sister to ‘be quiet’ after the rape, a father who is angry but does not take action, a girl who loses the prospect of marriage….None of the participants had come across this Bible story before, and it provided much room for discussion.”

Please pray for our team and the hospital staff—for unity, excellence in providing care, and that the hospital would be a real source of physical, emotional, and spiritual health and light in the community.

The Yoder home after the tree fell.

The Yoder home after the tree fell.

Tree Falls on Yoder Home

With so many good things happening at Mattru Hospital, it came as a shock to Dr. Jon and Heleen Yoder when a large tree fell on their house on August 8. Fortunately, no one was in the house at the time, but as you can see in the photo, the house was severely damaged.

In messages sent back and forth to Michelle Harris, UB Global Associate Director, Jon and Heleen said that while the damage to their home is of great concern, their hearts were more burdened by the passing of a 20-year-old woman at the hospital that morning. It’s all a matter of perspective.

Would you pray for Jon and Heleen and for UB Global as we figure out temporary lodging and repair the damage, while they continue ministering at the hospital day-by-day? Let’s trust God for his provision to repair the house and care for the many other needs at the hospital. He is never taken by surprise.


UB Global continues to provide salary support for Sierra Leonean hospital staff. But with the focus on the solar water project and other funding needs, we currently have a shortage of money designated for salaries. Please consider helping to fund the hospital staff as they serve faithfully in Mattru.

Contributions can be sent to:

UB Global
302 Lake Street
Huntington, IN 46750

We may be a little biased but our 2017 Kids’ VBS Project is fun, informative, and will give your kids’ program a distinctly international flavor. Contact us if you’d like a copy.

Every year, children in Vacation Bible School support a mission project of some kind. For 2017, Global Ministries has selected Project Compassion, which ministers to children in India who live with HIV/AIDS.

Global Ministries is providing five short videos along with suggested foods, activities, and ideas for follow-up at home which can be used for VBS or summer Sunday school.

Through these short daily videos and activities, your kids will learn and experience a taste of what daily life is like for these UB children on the other side of the world—whether by learning how to say say hello, or trying out lentils and rice.

Our prayer is that our kids will deepen in their understanding of God’s global family as they have the opportunity to learn, pray, and give.

If you are interested in receiving these materials, let us know at by sending an email to info@ubglobal.org or by calling toll-free (888) 622-3019.

From Global Ministries

“After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken” (Acts 4:31a).

There are two opportunities in the coming weeks to support our UB missionaries in their spiritual battles. We will be gathering and having Scripture guide us in praying for Thailand and Sierra Leone. If you can’t join us physically, we invite you to do so right where you are. But if you can, come be a part of a powerful time of gathering!

If you’re interested in prayer resources and/or hosting similar future prayer gatherings for UB missionaries, let us know by sending an email to info@ubglobal.org.

Thailand: 7-8 pm on Thursday, May 11. Location: Emmanuel Community Church in Fort Wayne, Ind. The event will be held in the Galatians Room. Address: 12222 Us Highway 24 W, Fort Wayne, Ind.

Sierra Leone: 6:30 – 7:30 pm on Wednesday, May 17.
Location: Corunna UB Church in Corunna, Ind. Address: 315 South Bridge Street, Corunna, Ind.