Luanne Brooks will leave for Haiti on March 27 to begin her missionary service with OMS International. She is a fulltime UB missionary on loan to OMS. Luanne’s funding is not yet at the 100 percent level, but OMS felt it was close enough to go ahead and send her.

Paul Coy, former missionary in Macau, has begun his second semester at Asia-Pacific Nazarene Theological Seminary. He writes, “I am taking classes in Church History, Evangelism, Cultural Anthropology, Church Administration, Pastoral Care and Counseling, Character Formation, and Interpersonal Communication. I enjoy my classes, and thank God for the opportunity to study. This semester will finish April 3rd.

April, May, and June are our summer classes. I will not take summer classes, but will do two internships. The first one will be at my home church, First Church of the Nazarene, in Huntington, Ind. I will be in the States, April 7–May 21. My second internship will be in Bangkok, Thailand, May 23–June 30. I will teach English at the Thai Pattana Language school and help with a new church plant that began this year.

I believe God will stretch me and teach me in incredible ways through both internships. By doing my two internships this summer, I will be able to graduate a semester earlier than I had originally planned. I will get my Master of Divinity degree in two-and-a-half years, finishing at the end of October 2004. I do not yet know my plans after graduation, but will let you know as God guides and directs me.”

Jennifer Blandin writes from Macau about events during the Christmas season.

  • December 21 featured a Christmas party for the children’s fellowship at Living Word church. They played games, shared about the Christmas story, and ate some snacks.
  • On December 22, Living Word had an outreach service. Two UB ladies from Hong Kong came to help Pastor Connie Sung with planning and leading. After the service, everyone stayed for a catered buffet at the church.
  • On Christmas Eve, a few kids, the missionaries, and Connie Sung met at the church. One person carried a cassette recorder that blared out Cantonese Christmas carols, while a couple other people carried two boxes that contained wrapped gifts, and the rest of them passed out the gifts to anyone they encountered on the sidewalk. “The reactions we received were priceless,” Jennifer says. Afterwards, Connie treated everyone at Pizza Hut. Then they headed to St. Paul’s ruins to listen to community Christmas caroling.
  • On December 30, the Living Word church family gathered at a buffet restaurant for a relaxing meal together.
  • Jennifer, along with fellow missionaries Melissa Hull and Linda Neely, took a short retreat to Hong Kong.

Jana Hoobler will return to Macau on January 30, having been in the States on furlough since September. Byrdena Shuneman will fly with her, ready to begin yet another term as a volunteer missionary. Byrdena will stay through May. Jana writes of her furlough, ” I’ve had such wonderful times with my family while I’ve been in the States, and we’re not looking forward to another set of good-byes. On the other hand, I’m getting anxious to return to Macau and ‘do what I do’ instead of just ‘talking about what I do.’ I try to keep my focus on being thankful that I enjoy being on both sides of the world.”

Jana took graduate courses at Wheaton College during the fall, and is now two-thirds of the way through a master’s degree in Missions and Intercultural Studies. She’ll do one correspondence course, and then plan to finish the degree on her next furlough.

In addition, Jana traveled about 10,000 miles in four months. But the highlight, she says, was the time with her family in Rockford, Ill. “At Christmas we rented a house at a camp in Iowa and stayed there together for a week. We enjoyed playing games, taking walks, watching movies, going ice skating, swimming, having a bonfire, and talking together. My nieces and nephews and I loved spending the holidays together!”

She says that when she return to Macau, the missionary team will do long-term planning for how to phase out of missionary involvement at Living Word Church and develop the ministry on Taipa toward a church plant. The original church, Living Water, has been on its own for several years. Living Word is a newer church, and Taipa will be the third UB church in Macau.

She adds an observation about the prevalence of reality TV. “It amuses me, because it looks like people just want a taste of missionary life–working and living with a group of people you didn’t know before and eating lots of strange foods!”

  • Paul Coy, a former missionary, visited Macau over the Christmas holidays. He has been in seminary in the Philippines.
  • Jana Hoobler, coming off of a furlough, and Byrdena Shuneman, set to begin another three-month term as a volunteer, will arrive in Macau on February 1.
  • Melissa Hull, missionary in Macau, is planning to get married in March. On January 25 her fiance, David, will arrive in Macau to help her pack up and head to the States. Melissa and David will leave Macau on February 4. The January 28 Chinese New Year party at the Taipa Center with the morning class students will double as a good-bye party for Melissa. They will then begin preparing to return to Macau to serve together.
  • Linda Neely, a volunteer missionary in Macau, will be visited by her parents on January 29. They will stay in Macau for about two weeks.
  • Former Macau missionary Linda (Burns) Chipman and her husband will also be coming to Macau for a short visit.

Dave and Becky Spencer had planned to be back in Brazil in January, returning to field service after many years of stateside administrative roles with Wycliffe Bible Translators. However, they felt God clearly telling them to remain in Orlando a while longer–maybe a year, maybe longer. Fortunately, they hadn’t yet sold their house in Orlando or bought plane tickets. And there are vital roles for them to fill at the Wycliffe USA headquarters.

From Arek and Donna Delik, endorsed missionaries serving in Poland with Operation Mobilization, report, “This year we had more new faces in our English school, especially a lot of young ones. Donna started an English club for children the year before, and expanded it in 2002 for 20 more children. We are praying earnestly for workers to join us, for there is so much we would like to do through this unique ministry.

“Our Shoe Box Present Distribution went very well this Christmas. Around 200 children and parents turned up for the event. Arek shared shortly about the greatest present God had given to us, while Bible school students helped us run a program. It is our third year doing this distribution, and it’s the first time we organized it in our church meeting place. We are praying fore more opportunities to share with the children and their families in the future. Also, this year our tiny fellowship prepared some shoebox presents for Ukrainian children.”

Ruth Ann Price is the first Missionary in Residence at Huntington College, her alma mater. This is a two-year assignment. She writes:

“A major goal is to raise the profile of interest and response in the student body toward work overseas, particularly in cross-cultural ministry. I’m excited to think it might be possible to interest and even place some students in cross-cultural ministry particularly in Bible translation somewhere in the world. I will teach some courses, which will be a new experience for me in the college environment.”

Ruth Ann will also continue working with Wycliffe, assigned to the Asia Area as a management consultant and trainer.

“I’m to be at Huntington College for the January through May semester, and in Asia from June through December. I will spend my time in Asia traveling, probably not located in one country for very long, providing as much on-site assistance as I can. The Asia Area office is located in Manila, the Philippines. The assignment and my work performance will be reviewed at the end of each six-month period by both HC and Wycliffe. If all are still happy with the arrangement, renewal will be automatic.”

Ruth Ann will not receive a salary from HC, but will continue as a Wycliffe missionary and will rely on the contributions of her supporters. However, HC will provide free housing.

“This will be a place for me to call ‘home,’ which will be especial crucial since the other six months of the year I will be without such.”

Alan and Doris MacDonald are endorsed missionaries serving with Wycliffe Bible Translators. Doris writes, “Alan continues to be the visionary and international relations man. In the past five years, he has enjoyed seeing much of his ‘vision’ come true–having a hand in training new project leaders and government relations personnel, increasing Wycliffe’s visibility and standing in the global community, networking to increase the effectiveness of like-minded organizations.

“His work often takes him to faraway places. This past year, it was France, Spain, and Scotland. In January, it will be Brazil. We enjoy the stories he comes home with, and most of all, enjoy the time he is at home. As usual, there is more work to be done and more places to be than is possible for one person–and I am proud of the many times when I see Alan not trying to do it all, but depending on God.”