Marshalee Brown reports that she has been granted a work permit, and is headed back to Ethiopia, where she is a missionary with SIM International. She originally went to Ethiopia in January, but had to leave for England a few weeks ago because the government delayed granting a new work permit.

Paul Coy, former missionary in Macau, sent this report from the Philippines, where he has been attending theological seminar. “After my first year of seminary, I went back to American April-June for my summer break. I did an internship at my home church in Huntington, Ind. It was wonderful being back home and serving at my home church. I came back to the Philippines on June 25.

“In July, I started my second year of seminary. The subjects I am taking this semester are: Christian Preaching, Biblical Hermeneutics, Luke-Acts, College Teaching, and Applied Linguistics (TESL). I am excited about this semester. It has been great getting to know the 20 new students studying this semester. We have a couple from India, and several new students from Korea. Jacob Park, a Nazarene pastor in Korea, is staying in my dorm. I have enjoyed the opportunity to get to know him better and help him adjut to life on campus.

“This year I am on the Student Body Organization as Spiritual Enrichment Committee Chairperson. This means I am responsible for the prayer meetings, helping with chapels, and other areas that focus on Spiritual Development. It is a big responsibility that I take with much humility, but I know God is going to do some great things.

“I plan to complete my studies by the end of October 2004. Please continue to pray for my future. I am open to wherever and whatever God wants me to go and do.”
July 15, 2003

Marshalee Brown, a UB from Jamaica, went to Ethiopia in January as a missionary with SIM International. Recently, the government didn’t renew her visa, so she had to leave the country. On June 25 she wrote:

“I have been in England for two and a half weeks…still wondering what I’m doing here. I have been able to visit with family and friends and God has been providing for and taking care of me in every way, but I have not been able to do what so many have suggested, that is, to relax and enjoy it all. I accept the fact that God allowed me to come to England right now, but….

“The latest from Ethiopia is that my work permit situation with the Ministry of Justice should be sorted out soon and I should be back in Ethiopia sometime next month.

“I am able to stay with family and friends while here. I am now visiting with the Indian family I stayed with in Bangalore (India) last year. They have now moved to Cambridge. The program I worked with in Bangalore with girls from slum areas is still going on and two of the girls got baptized.”

Marshalee Brown, a UB from Jamaica, arrived in Ethiopia early in the year to begin serving with SIM International. One June 4, she wrote, “I was told today that I need to leave the country by Saturday. I cannot get a work permit at the moment and we are not sure when I will be able to get one. It might be next week, next month or it might take a couple of months. I do not know and the SIM personnel here do not know as well. This has never happened before.

“There is a project agreement for the Youth Center in Mekelle and the number of people has been approved, which includes me as the English teacher. There have been a lot of changes in the government and in the requirements for work permits over the past few months. I leave for London early Friday morning. Please pray that I will not have to stay in England for very long, that the problems with issuing work permits will be worked out soon.”

Dan and Petie Wust head up Arise & Shine Ministries, which mostly ministers to rural pastors. Dan sent this update on June 4.

“Petie and the kids and I will fly home to the States on June 5. This will be our annual furlough or home assignment trip, where we travel and share in churches about the work of Arise & Shine. We don’t plan this trip each year so that we can have a two-month vacation, although we certainly enjoy seeing our families and friends. We make these trips because today’s missionaries have to spend a lot of energy and time to keep the their income coming in.

“I recently read in our home church denominational Global Ministries Newsletter that in this past year, missions organizations straight across the board have experienced a 15-50 percent decrease in gifts. We are not an exception to this trend. We have been operating on a shoestring budget since the first of the year. This spring the accumulated income of February and March didn’t even cover our expenses for one month.

“We are heading into the summer months with our checking account scrapping the bottom, which makes me feel a little bit uneasy. As you know we are under construction, but have had to once again stop the progress of the construction because the funds have been exhausted. This downturn in general missions giving may only be a reflection of the general insecurity of the population in the States during the time of war. It may be that this second part of the year will record a return to previous giving levels. However, it is more likely that this trend will continue.”

Jennifer Blandin, a UB missionary in Macau, commented the recent headlines in her latest newsletter.

“The nightly news is full of daily statistics from the SARS outbreak. Yes, Macau is very close to Hong Kong, but yet far enough away to not have a single case of SARS! I know that this unbelievable, but the World Health Organization confirmed it last week. I’m calling it like I see it, a blessing from God. Something that has not been on the nightly news is how it is affecting the people of Hong Kong. I think the initial shock and fear has worn off, but there will possibly be long-lasting affects on people’s trust. People don’t know who to trust anymore. Their government was slow in reacting, their money could not cure them, and the doctors they trusted were the ones getting sick. While I don’t like seeing people get sick or be scared, it is a time when a lot of people in Hong Kong are thinking about who they can trust. A great time to point them to the One they can trust –Jesus!

“Due to this SARS disease and the thought that it is spread by droplets of people’s “water” going through the air, there is now a campaign to stop people from spitting. From little babies to grandparents, Chinese people know how to spit. It could almost be considered a sport. But there is now a fine of $60 if you are caught spitting on the streets. Since the new fine has been put in place, I haven’t heard of anyone getting fined. But I have wondered if I could charge the fine to anyone I have seen spitting!

“The war in Iraq has brought about mixed views. The topic has brought about some lively discussions, but we’ve felt no “backlash” because we are Americans. While people may have differing views of the war, we are friends first!”

Here are a variety of news items sent in April from Hong Kong National Conference.

Myanmar. Planning is underway to raise $50,000 to buy a new Language Center. Carmen Chin will return to Hong Kong in May to prepare for the delivery of her second child.

Thailand. Rev. H. M. Lee has employed another mail preacher to assist the work of the center and the church. A short-term mission trip from Hong Kong to Thailand has been postponed due to the SARS epidemic.

Sri Lanka. Bridget Ho, a member of Hong Kong Conference, is serving with Operation Mobilization in Sri Lanka. She is involved in voluntary work in a children’s centre, in teaching English, and in distributing rice. She is looking for suitable churches for mission work.

Jana Hoobler sent these notes:

  • Our Bible Study students on Taipa are asking more and more difficult questions about the Bible. Praise the Lord that they are reading the Bible on their own. One student from Thailand told me last week that she looked on the web and found a Thai New Testament that she can look up to read the passage we’ll be studying before our meeting each week. Another student came in with questions about this week’s story before we even met, because she’d been preparing at home. Pray for wisdom as we respond to their questions. Praise the Lord that they are searching His Word at home as well as at our center.
  • I’m thankful for my Mom this Mother’s Day, and all the time she invested in teaching me about God. She led me to Christ in our kitchen when I was around five years old. I’m so thankful for this Christian heritage that most of my Chinese friends have gone without.
  • Ava, a member of Living Water Church, is a student at Macau University on Taipa. She is trying to get a small group Bible Study started with some of her classmates and professors that will meet at our center. Pray that they will be able to find a time that they can all meet.

Luanne Brooks, missionary to Haiti, writes about Easter activities she was part of.

“n Good Friday we visited the pool of St. Jacque. This is a voodoo holy place. My heart broke as I watched a couple of men and women worshiping Satan. I cried as I watched a woman dip a cup into that filthy slimy pool and drink from it as an act of worship.

“On Saturday we went to a village and passed out Bibles and radios that are fixed-tuned to the Christian radio station. I spoke to a young man who thought he was too young to be converted to Christianity. He believed he still had time to have fun. I read to him from John 3:16 in Creole. I asked him if he were to die today, would he not want to spend eternity with God. He said he didn’t believe there was life after this one. There are hundreds of thousands just like this young man. People who have been tricked by the witch doctors into believing that they should live only for today, that there is no tomorrow.

“Many of the local missionaries gathered on Sunday morning for a beautiful sunrise service on the lawn of the radio station. Afterwards we fellowshiped together with a carry-in breakfast.”

  • On Good Friday, Living Water Church held a foot-washing service. Living Word Church had a simple potluck at one church member’s home, followed by a time of worship and reflection. On Saturday, Living Word Church took over 20 children on a field trip to Coloane, one of Macau’s islands.
  • On Easter Sunday, both churches held evangelistic meetings. In the afternoon Living Water Church had a picnic, hiking, and paddleboat rides at a reservoir.
  • We had a good Easter Celebration on Taipa on Sunday evening. It wasn’t as big of a crowd as we’ve had for some other events, but most of these are the families of women who are attending English Bible Studies. Pray that a core group of believers will develop on Taipa!
  • On March 30, the Macau United Brethren in Christ Association celebrated its 15th anniversary. Representatives from Living Water Church, Living Word Church, the ELP, and Hong Kong Conference participated in a worship celebration service. Hong Kong Superintendent Peter Lee gave us a quick history lesson on the denomination and Hong Kong Pastor Mark Choi shared the message for the afternoon. We are thankful for God’s faithfulness over the past 15 years!
  • We need wisdom as we plan for events this summer–English classes for adults, teens, and children, and VBS. Many things are up in the air due to the continuing SARS concerns.
  • The government still has not accepted our financial reports for our first year-and-a-half of ELP classes on Taipa. They are asking more and more questions concerning how the income from our classes is used to support our church work. Pray that they will approve the reports without us having to make any major changes in how our finances are set up and that we’ll be granted non-profit status. This continues to be a stressful and time-consuming process, especially for Jennifer Blandin.