Luanne Brooks and her cat have arrived in Haiti to begin serving with OMS International. Luanne is a UB missionary on loan to OMS. Luanne is from the Daytona UB church in Holly Hill, Fla. She starts language school in Cap Haitien on Monday, March 31.

Albert Beckley (right) was elected as the new General Superintendent of Sierra Leone National Conference. He replaces Rev. Joe Bob Amara, who served in that position through much of the 1990s. Rev. Beckley has been serving as Administrative Assistant for many years. He was elected during the national conference meeting in February. Six North Americans attended the February conference: Gary and Rhonda Dilley, Jason and Donna Hollopeter, and former Sierra Leone missionaries June Brown and Ruth Benner.

Melissa Hull has been one of our missionaries in Macau with the English Language Program. On Saturday, March 21, she was married to David Kline. The wedding was held at Banner of Christ UB in Grand Rapids, Mich. The Klines plan to go to Macau in the spring of 2004 to serve together as missionaries there.

The Canadian national conference is taking a major role in supporting the work in Haiti. A work team went there last fall. They have a website which tells a lot about Haiti and about that work team. You might find it quite interesting. It’s here.

Jana Hoobler sent these updates:

  • On Saturday, March 1, seven women from our ELP classes attended the new Bible Study we started. There was good discussion, and one of our Chinese church members also attended to help with answering their questions in Cantonese. On March 15, nine unsaved women came to our English Bible Study. Praise the Lord for this response…we’re loving it! Pray that the Holy Spirit will work in their hearts and help them understand the Bible as we study it together.
  • While I was on furlough, our ELP secretary took a different job, and a new one was hired. His name is Michael Chan. Michael really has a heart for ministry. Praise the Lord for a guy on our staff who can help to meet the spiritual needs of our male students. He’s holding a Bible Study with two men from the ELP on Wednesday nights.
  • Our rental contract for the Taipa Center expires in May. We have submitted a letter asking that the rent be lowered in our new contract, due to the poor economy. Pray that the property company will be favorable to our request! Also, the Education Department has asked that we make changes in our financial reports from last year to fit their bookkeeping system. Pray for Jen Blandin as she works on these changes so that these reports can be re-submitted by the end of March.
  • Continue to pray for God’s direction as we wade our way through more and more paperwork. We often get different instructions from different departments of the government, which makes it difficult to know what we really need to do to be legal. Pray for Annie, our association secretary, as she handles much of this work.

Troy and Julie Hendricks and family are planning to arrive in Spain at the beginning of August, where they will serve with SEND International. They are UB endorsed missionaries from Lake View UB in Camden, Mich. Troy is finishing the year as a high school teacher in Angola, Ind.

The Global Ministries Leadership Team has endorsed three new missionaries–one family and two singles.

Jim and Michelle Kegerreis are from the Otterbein UB church in Greecastle, Pa. In 1998, they began working with a ministry that built family-style homes for children at risk in Honduras. Jim oversaw the construction of nine buildings and the overall infrastructure, while Michelle helped with bookkeeping.

In November 2002, they joined Providence World Ministries as self-supported missionaries. Jim will lead teams of volunteers to build facilities near Tegucigalpa, Honduras. PWM aims to reveal God’s love to orphaned and abandoned children, widows, and the poor through direct and practical help. For this, they are creating a new kind of orphanage, in which 100 children will receive basic necessities, education, and medical attention. They will be nurtured by Christian, native house parents in family groups of eight children. The presence of elderly widows means the children will receive the love and nurture of grandmothers as well. A medical clinic and school will also minister to the community.

Mark Stephan is from College Park UB in Huntington, Ind. He serves in the Middle East with Mission to Unreached Peoples, an organization based in Seattle. MUP has over 100 missionaries in 16 countries. They focus on evangelism and church planting in places which are often closed to traditional missionary work. In Mark’s case, it involves ministry to Muslims.

Bridget Ho, a Hong Kong native, committed her life to Christ in 1989 at St. Luke’s UB church. In 1993, she volunteered to help plant St. Mark’s UB church, and has been very active there ever since, doing some of everything–secretary, deaconess, worship leader, piano accompanist, Sunday school teacher, and more.

Bridget holds a degree in Translation from Hong Kong Baptist University, and has worked as a translator. She also earned two Certificates of Church Ministry from Ecclesia Bible College, and has acquired significant training in evangelism through several programs.

In 1994, sensing God calling her into mission work, Bridget traveled to Thailand to visit the UB work there. She asked herself, “Could I spend a year or a few years in the mission field like Pastor Lee in Thailand?” She visited Thailand again the next year, and also in 1998. In 1999, Bridget began working for Operation Mobilization as Assistant Personnel Officer, and continued in that role until August 2002. She then decided to join OM’s Asia Challenge Team. She is now serving in Sri Lanka on a two-year assignment.

Jana Hoobler sent these items from Macau on March 25:

  • This Sunday our United Brethren Macau Association will celebrate its 15th Anniversary. Praise the Lord for these 15 years of His faithfulness to our church-planting work in Macau. Pray that the celebration will be an encouragement to our staff and church members and a strong testimony to our unsaved friends who will attend.
  • This ELP term has been a really good one in terms of spiritual response. Praise the Lord for this encouragement to our team. Pray that the new friendships and Bible dtudies that have started will continue, and that we’ll see people coming to accept Christ as their Savior.
  • One of our English Bible Study students, who isn’t a Christian, asked us to start a Bible Club for her 5th grade students. She feels it’s important for them to learn about the Bible. She asked her school adminstration if we could do this, and they approved it. Pray that God will continue to open doors if He desires for us to start this club. Pray also that we’ll find suitable materials.

Jana Hoobler, director of the Macau Mission, is back in Macau after her furlough. She sent these notes on February 11.

  • The timing was perfect for me to arrive back in Macau at Chinese New Year. It gave me time to just enjoy time with friends before jumping into a busy teaching schedule. Praise the Lord for all those who helped keep things running smoothly while I was gone. Everything’s in good order, and that’s a nice situation to come back to!
  • The Women’s Bible Study on Taipa has continued to grow into a tight-knit group during the past year. Praise the Lord for these women and their interest in the Bible.
  • We finally got permission to advertise our ELP classes at Living Word last Thursday. Pray that we’ll have good enrollment at both Living Word and the Taipa Center.
  • Since we’re down to only two of us who are fulltime now, we need to cut back again in what we’re doing. Pray for wisdom as we consider what changes would be best for the churches and the Taipa Center. Pray that God’s plan will be clear to us, and that we’ll be unified among ourselves and with our Chinese co-workers in these decisions.

Then, this further update arrived on February 19.

  • Just last week we missionaries prayed that God would provide some future musicians for Living Word Church. On Friday, Pastor Connie Sung told me that Edwin, a new young believer in the church, told her he’d like to start studying piano. Pray that Edwin will be committed to practicing the piano and will become a future pianist for the church. This is a practical need in church planting!
  • Jen Blandin and I attended Hong Kong Conference’s annual meeting last Sunday. Praise the Lord for their faithful support of the ministry in Macau over the past 15 years. We were encouraged by their concern for our churches in Macau.
  • Pray for two ELP students who seem to be open to talking about God. Jen and I are having lunch with them on Thursday. One of them has a daughter living with a Christian family in the States as an exchange student, and their care for her daughter has made a good impression on her.
  • We’re in the middle of handling a lot of legal changes that the government is requiring. None of these changes limit our freedom to share the gospel, but they involve very tedious paperwork and a lot of time.

Marshalee Brown, a UB from Jamaica Conference, has arrived in Ethiopia to begin her missionary service there. An eight-hour flight to London, where she stayed for a few days, then a ten-hour flight to Addis Abada, Ethiopia (which a stop-over in Alexandria, Greece). She arrived at 1 am on a Tuesday morning.

“On the aircraft to Ethiopia, it finally hit me hard that I was going away for a long time to a foreign country. That was when the tears started to pour. I had to command my eyes to stop their raining and my heart to be glad in expectancy of what God has for me in my new home. I repeated some of the many promises God has made to me–that he will be with me, and his joy will be my strength. I arrived in Ethiopia 1am Tuesday morning. I cried myself to sleep because I felt so lonely. This time it was very difficult to command my eyes and heart to do anything, I just gave them free reign to do as they will…but eventually I slept and it was a sweet sleep, I did not get up until 10:30 the next morning!”

Marshalee will spend six months attending language school in Addis. She also spend a week and a half visiting Mekele, which is where she will be working.” I was able to reconnect with some Ethiopian friends from my last visit and I was able to find my way around a bit, so I do not feel totally foreign and out of sorts.”

She adds, “From my window I can hear reggae music blasting round the corner. I have been to three different places today and they were all playing Bob Marley music. So in a way, not everything is strange. Actually, if I do not speak the language, I pass as an Ethiopian.”