For over ten years, a group of teens and adults went to Jamaica during the summer to conduct VBS in Jamaican churches. We called it STUMP — the Summer Teen United Ministry Program. There is no official STUMP group this year. However, our Open Bible Fellowship church in Safford has stepped into the gap. They are sending a group to Jamaica to conduct VBS in four churches, all in the Kingston area. The group will leave on Friday, July 17.

A group of 15 people from College Park UB church will travel to Mexico July 17-25 to work with our Hispanic churches in Juarez, Mexico, and El Paso, Texas (across the border from each other). They’ll do VBS in three places, and also help construct a Sunday school area for one of the El Paso churches. We have three churches in Juarez and six in El Paso. Gary Dilley, Director of Global Ministries, will lead that group.

New Horizons UB paid off the mortgage on its new facility far ahead of schedule. Pastor Bob Loar reports that in the last five years, over $1.5 million passed through the building fund as they worked to relocate the ministry following the arson at the former building.

Michael Wentz, pastor of Living Hope UB, challenged his congregation to take $10 and multiply it for UB missions. J. P. and Matthew (the boys pictured above) decided to invest in a food and beverage stand at a neighborhood yard sale in order to multiply their “talent.” They multiplied it ten times! Their donation of $100 was added to Living Hope’s missions offering.

The Blissfield church (Blissfield, Mich.)  is doing something very different–something they’re calling an “inside-out” mission trip. They are bringing people from our Jamaica Conference to the States July 7-14, so the Jamaicans can experience a cross-cultural ministry trip of their own. Michael Hewitt, the church’s youth pastor, writes:

“During this time, 15-20 Jamaicans are coming to Blissfield for a mission trip of their own. Seeds were planted two years ago when we took 33 participants to the Yorktown and Maypen churches in Jamaica. It’s taken two years of planning, acquiring visas, etc., but it looks like our hard work and prayers are paying off! Ministry opportunities for the Jamaican Team and the Blissfield church family include:

  • Gospel outreaches and musical performances at Blissfield’s River Raisin Festival (brings in 80,000 to 100,000 people every year).
  • Work at Camp Michindoh.
  • Ministry at First UB Church in Blissfield.
  • A day in the life of a Michigan farmer.
  • A fun day trip to Cedar Point.

“We thank the Lord for this opportunity and pray for all the Jamaican participants that are preparing and training right now!” Next January 5-9, a team of UB youth pastors will travel to Jamaica to provide student ministry training in such areas as:

  • Developing a youth ministry model for local church.
  • Effective programming.
  • How to train young people to actively share their faith with their world.

Aposento Alto church in Honduras

The Richfield Road UB church (Flint, Mich.) helped build the Aposento Alto church (above) at El Naranjal, Honduras, during a mission trip this past February. They also held a Bible school, during which 12 children gave their hearts to the Lord and many more promised to attend church. The church now has an attendance of over 50. The photo shows the outside of the church.

David Leraaen, associate pastor of of Homefront UB, sent this report:

“As a brand new church (we began having regular Sunday Services in September, 2003), we wanted our first Easter together to be something truly memorable. We wanted to invite our congregation and our community to celebrate the resurrection of Christ with us. So we hosted an art exhibit!

“We invited local artist John Katerberg to exhibit eleven of his original oil paintings depicting the life of Christ. The exhibit opened to the public on the two Fridays and Saturdays preceding Easter Sunday, complete with tour guides, refreshments, interactive children’s activities on Saturday, and an opportunity to meet with the artist as he worked on a new painting. Especially featured were the three paintings that comprise the artist’s Passion Series, which graphically depict the crucifixion of Christ. Though conceived and painted long before its release, the images in these three paintings are reminiscent of scenes from Mel Gibson’s film, ‘The Passion of the Christ.’ With the paintings still adorning our entry way and main hall, we hosted two Easter Sunday morning services, with 329 people on hand to celebrate the joy of the resurrection.

“This Mother’s Day will mark the first anniversary of our “Sneak Preview” service at Homefront Church. Now less than eight months after beginning regular Sunday services, an average of 170 people attend each week, and most call Homefront home.”

Roseville UB (Ayr, Ontario) hosted its first-ever dinner-theatre as an outreach event. About 85 people were present for the event which helped open or build connections with several unchurched or unbelieving families. The ladies of the church converted the church hall/basement into a classy Italian restaurant. The main course was spaghetti with several hors dourvres and desserts.

A team from Emmanuel Bible College (Kitchener, Ontario) presented a drama called “The Gospel According to Jessica.” The drama is about a girl from the streets seeking refuge from the weather in church. She asks many questions of the pastor, just out of seminary. He struggles to demonstrate the love of Christ while the church secretary shows unconditional acceptance.

On March 21, King Street Church (Chambersburg, Pa.) sponsored a Missions Night. Nancy Fritz of the Missions Commission writes, “This evening was a time to praise the Lord and thank those who were part of this outreach through prayer, financial support, or active involvement. Everyone experienced a wonderful time of sharing, rejoicing and recalling the wonderful things God is doing in Honduras and Belize through the efforts of short-term work teams.

“Approximately 60 men and women in the Mid-Atlantic conference area spent time in these countries in January and February. In less than two months, with a great crew of nationals, these workers began and completed a church at Mt. Hebron outside La Ceiba, Honduras. A number of team members were privileged to participate in a dedication service before returning to the States. A children’s home in Belize was constructed and is now ready for the roof, which is expected to be completed by another team in May.

“Plans are underway for the 2004 Global Missions Celebration to be held November 13-14 at King Street Church. Since God is igniting a great interest in short-term mission trips, one of the major parts of this conference will be devoted to sharing information regarding opportunities, requirements, training, and plans for maximizing the efforts and results of short-term mission trip.”