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.

Salaries

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.

vbs-children-project591

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 toinfo@ubglobal.org or by calling toll-free (888) 622-3019.

Rev. John Jusu and the Africa Study Bible.

Rev. John Jusu and the Africa Study Bible.

The publication of the Africa Study Bible was completed recently and has been made available for distribution. Dr. John Jusu, an ordained minister with the Sierra Leone United Brethren in Christ, served as the editor for the project. Dr. Jusu currently serves as the Dean of the School of Education and Social Sciences at Africa International University in Nairobi, Kenya, having served previously at the Evangelical School of Theology in Sierra Leone. This new Study Bible seeks to communicate biblical truth in a way that reflects and relates to African culture and daily life.

AWANA at the Lumley church in Sierra Leone.

AWANA at the Lumley church in Sierra Leone.

Rev. Sorie Kamanda, lead pastor of the Lumley United Brethren church in Sierra Leone, shared some photos and videos of their recent Awana Vacation Bible School. The Lumley Church is located just outside of Freetown. The Awana program is used by 47,000 churches around the world, involving 3.7 million children and youth, 470,000 volunteers, and 260 field staff.

solar-array-site

Progress is being made at Mattru Hospital in Sierra Leone. Global Ministries staff member Matt Asher (right) is working with others to prepare the site for the 100kVA solar array and water purification/packaging project. Solar panels, batteries, packaging equipment, and supplies are on their way and will be installed in the coming months. The project will eventually provide electricity to the hospital and sell excess electricity to a limited number of consumers in the community.

The SOLA WATA business on the hospital campus will sell packaged drinking water in the surrounding towns and villages. These installations, and the resultant income, will greatly enhance the hospital’s ability to be substantially more self-sustaining while advancing its medical work and ministry to the surrounding 200,000 residents of Bonthe District.

Rev. Gonzalo Alas (right) is the new superintendent of Honduras Conference. He was elected on January 21 during the conference’s annual meeting.

We now have over 115 United Brethren churches in Honduras, mostly in the northern part of the country around San Pedro Sula and La Ceiba (the nation’s second, and third-largest cities). La Ceiba has been the conference headquarters throughout its history.

In 2007, Honduras sent Rev. Alas to start a church planting movement in El Salvador. He had previously started churches in the Copán region of Honduras, where previously there were no UB churches. When he left El Copán to go to El Salvador, 13 established churches and five church plants were functioning.

He takes the place of Juanita Chavez (right), who had served two terms as superintendent, beginning in 2009. Under her leadership, Honduras Conference was instrumental in establishing a church-based leadership training program called ETBIL (Educación Teológica Basada en la Iglesia Local). It has become a model for all of our Central American churches. The conference also approved Milton and Erika Pacheco as their missionaries to Thailand.

You can pray for:

  • Rev. Alas, his wife, Gladys, and family as they transition back to Honduras.
  • The five church plants and their leaders in El Salvador, whom Rev. Alas faithfully mentored and trained.
  • Rev. Juanita Chavez and her husband, Carlos, who have been faithful and committed servants of the Lord over the past eight years.

On Monday, January 2, a team left for Sierra Leone. It’s mostly a medical team which will work at Mattru Hospital. They will return January 14.

The travelers include two persons from Global Ministries, director Jeff Bleijerveld and associate director Michelle Harris (right). We are beginning a major and very exciting initiative at Mattru Hospital. Part of Michelle’s responsibilities include overseeing the missionary personnel we will be assigning to the hospital beginning early this year. This is Michelle’s first visit to Sierra Leone, though she lived ten years in the African nation of Gabon.

They are joined by a team of medical volunteers led by Dr. Ron Baker, who served at Mattru 1974-1990. The other team members include:

  • Dr. Dan and Elaine (RN) Metzger, who served at Mattru during the 1980s.
  • Dr. Ian and Laura Jackson and Esther (their 10 month old baby).
  • Dr. Kim Stillman, a third-year ER resident, and her husband Matt Millich (MBA).
  • Brooke Snyder, a nursing student.

Jeff and Michelle will help the medical team in whatever way they can. They will also meet with our national leaders to discuss several exciting projects, including the installation at Mattru Hospital of a solar electricity system and a water filtration system.

Information about these projects, and about several medical and other personnel who will soon join our team at Mattru, will be coming soon.

UB endorsed missionary Dave Datema (right) transitioned out of his role as one of three General Directors for Frontier Ventures, effective January 1. He will remain with Frontier Ventures in Pasadena, Calif., and with the US Center for World Mission, but will change roles. Here is his explanation.

“There are several reasons why I think it is time for me to step down from the Office of the General Director. The first reason is that I never planned on being GD for a long time. Back in 2009 when Dr. Ralph Winter asked me about taking the role, I saw that his health was rapidly declining and that the organization needed somebody to take the reins. I did so thinking that my role would be transitional, not knowing how long that transition might be. Now, seven and a half years later, it seems that I have been in this role much longer than any transition might necessitate. It was never my intention to be a lifelong General Director.

“The second reason is that I have increasingly recognized that my life-giving interests were more in the area of missiology than organizational development. I didn’t know in 2009 that so much of this role would cater to the latter not the former. Over the years, I have had many experiences, good and bad, that tested my mettle as an organizational leader. I’ve come to realize that my best contribution to Frontier Ventures is not the same as what some long for in an organizational leader.

“The third reason is that spending so much time on the organizational side has depleted my energy reserves. My zeal for it has slowly eroded. Years of living in a world of planning, org chart shuffling, dealing with personnel issues, real estate management and endless policies and procedures have taken their toll on my general well-being. As a wise man once said, ‘Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.’

“I now look forward to my new assignment and future. First, I hope to get our campus collaboration onto firm footing for a new season of ministry together. Second, I am looking forward to diving into a full-time ThM Program at Fuller in June, possibly leading to PhD work. Ironically, pursuing doctoral-level work was one of the main reasons we came here 17 years ago. Yet the road we travel rarely goes in a straight line. I’m trusting that God has been in the twists and turns and that being on this road again is part of his plan for me. Someone once said, ‘There is no knowing. But walking makes the road.’ It is in that spirit that I move forward, still part of this community, but in a different role. I covet your prayers.”