From left to right: Shoshannah McKinney (Huntington University), Anna-Kay Levy (Jamaica), Sonya Lawrence (Jamaica), Jeff Bleijerveld (Global Ministries), Melissa Gage (Jamaica), Chantal Williams (Jamaica), David Kline (Global Ministries), Donna Hollopeter (Global Ministries) Julie Hui (Hong Kong), Daneia Jones (Jamaica) Absent: Chantol Peterkin, Tashnah Dixon.

From left to right: Shoshannah McKinney (Huntington University), Anna-Kay Levy (Jamaica), Sonya Lawrence (Jamaica), Jeff Bleijerveld (Global Ministries), Melissa Gage (Jamaica), Chantal Williams (Jamaica), David Kline (Global Ministries), Donna Hollopeter (Global Ministries) Julie Hui (Hong Kong), Daneia Jones (Jamaica) Absent: Chantol Peterkin, Tashnah Dixon.

Huntington University provides a limited number of scholarships to United Brethren students outside the United States and Canada. Not only do these students make a meaningful contribution to academic and student life, but they return to their homelands to serve as leaders in their churches and communities.

On November 5, Global Ministries invited these students to join them for dinner off-campus at a local Mexican restaurant. As you can tell by the photo, everyone had a lot of fun.

Justin Marva, superintendent of Administration and Finance for Sierra Leone Conference.

The following update was sent to Jeff Bleijerveld, Director of Global Ministries, on Wednesday, October 22.

The Ebola situation is still ravaging the country. The flash points at the moment are Waterloo, Makeni, Port Loko, and Shenge.

We have got military personnel from England to help us fight the disease, but people are still not following the safety precautions. They are still washing dead bodies and conducting burials at night. Nurses and doctors are also infected because they are not taking the necessary precautions.

However there is much improvement in areas like Kenema and Kailahun where the outbreak first started.

There was a riot yesterday in the eastern district of Kono among youth and police because they wanted to take away a 90-year-old woman who was suspected to be Ebola positive and the youth refused to hand over the old woman to them.

The Defense minister of Sierra Leone has now been appointed by the president as the Chief Executive Officer of the Ebola Response Team in Sierra Leone.

Right now Kenema, Moyamba, Gbangbaia, and Taninahun are quarantined areas where United Brethren churches and schools are located. The second-largest city, Bo, is relatively quiet with minimal cases, but all other private health facilities are closed. It is difficult to buy drugs for even headache.

Please continue to pray for us as a church and as a nation.

Roger and Marilyn Reeck (right) are UB endorsed missionaries serving with Wycliffe in Honduras. They sent this update on October 4, 2014.

The bone fusion operation Roger underwent in February is successful and he is walking on that foot. But the pain caused by nerve damage has continued and has been quite intense. So far, the meds prescribed by the surgeon here and the doctor at the pain clinic have not lessened the pain.

Last week Roger saw Dr. Owen, the orthopedic surgeon who travels to Honduras every 6 months. X-rays indicate that the tibia bone and the talus bone in the ankle are touching, and arthritis has set in which together lead to part of the pain. The doctor injected steroids into that area, but it will be a few weeks before he feels the full effect. Please pray that this will be a solution bringing about a reduced amount of pain. If this is the case, then he could be re-injected every few months.

We were excited to be in Venezuela again and spend time with the teams that we work with. Over the last few months, we have continued checking their stories remotely. It was fulfilling and exciting to see them bring the work on their story sets to completion and record the stories. These can now be distributed to their people and used in many different venues such has fellowship groups, radio,etc.

On October 6, Roger travels to Brazil. Please pray for his trip and his time there. He will be working with a group of translators that speak Yaminahua. The Yaminahua Indians live in the most remote part of the Amazon where Bolivia, Peru, and Brazil meet. The translation is especially difficult because some of the men speak Portuguese and some speak Spanish. Last time Roger was with the team (in Bolivia), they spent hours and hours on this phrase (from the story of the “Prodigal Son”): “I am not worthy to be called your son.”

It is exciting to work with a people group that doesn’t have even one book of the Bible in their language yet. Please pray that God will help us to make good progress during the two weeks time. Another goal during this time is to train Victor, a Venezuelan Curripaco Indian who will meet Roger there, to begin translation into his native language.

In the meantime, Marilyn will stay back home working on perfecting the two sets of Spanish stories that are used in training courses.

Harold and MaryAnn Hancock returned to Jamaica on Tuesday, October 7 after being in the States for nearly a year. They have invested themselves for two years in working with students at Regent College of the Caribbean.

The Hancocks returned to the US in November 2013 and planned to return to Jamaica in early 2014. However, a routine physical by MaryAnn in January led to a diagnosis of parotid glandular cancer, located behind the left ear. MaryAnn Hancock underwent a 12-hour surgery on March 11, during which all of the cancer was removed. She then underwent six weeks of radiation treatments.

This will undoubtedly be an emotional return for the Hancocks. They will be in Jamaica until November 23. Pray for them as they re-engage with the students, and that there will be much fruit as they continue to mentor the students and staff at RCC.

Jeff Bleijerveld, Director of Global Ministries

When we announced last week that we had opportunity to send a pallet of food items to our United Brethren churches in Sierra Leone, we did not inform you that another shipment was already being prepared.

The Mount Zion United African Church in Philadelphia, pastored by Rev. Joe Abu, has been working with UB churches in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Maryland to send a 20-foot container later in October. Among the items collected are 3000 surgical gloves, 1300 fluid-resistant surgical masks, 400 disposable isolation gowns, 64 Bibles, and an oxygen concentrator. Their container is nearly full and ready to send out.

Just this week, Rev. John Pessima, bishop of Sierra Leone National Conference, expressed concern regarding the lack of medical supplies on hand at our Mattru Hospital to deal with Ebola patients. The shipment Mount Zion UB is sending will be an answer to prayer.

Many of the contributing churches have already donated money to help pay for the shipping costs, but your gift would be welcome. If you would like to assist with the shipping cost of this or other shipments going out to West Africa, send your gift to Global Ministries and indicate that it is to be used for West Africa Ebola Relief.

We need 6-8 youth to participate in a short-term mission trip to El Salvador March 13-21, 2015. This is over Huntington University’s spring break. HU is sponsoring this trip. An HU student will lead the team. We need at least one other adult chaperone to accompany the group.

The team will complete work on a church building and do finishing work, and will also do ministry within the community.

Cost: $1400 per person. That includes airfare, supplemental insurance, all in-country travel, food, lodging, entry fee, and some cost of materials.

Jeff Bleijerveld, Director of Global Ministries

With the Ebola epidemic raging in Sierra Leone, many have been asking what more can be done to help the United Brethren people living there. The outbreak is centered in the part of the country where we have churches.

People responded overwhelmingly to our request to help fund the Ebola prevention and awareness project, which you can read about on UBCentral. In fact, we exceeded the $15,000 goal. That enabled us to fund further programming in other areas where Ebola is advancing. Today (October 3) Global Ministries is sending $3,300 received above what we needed. This will enable Sierra Leone Conference to expand training to Bo, Freetown, and other areas where we have UB churches, but which haven’t yet been seriously affected by Ebola.

Food for Sierra Leone
Commerce in Sierra Leone is at a standstill. Airlines, shipping, local markets, imports, exports, development projects, investments—every part of the economy is affected. The World Bank predicts that Ebola could be a “catastrophic blow” to the economies of Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia. Food is scarce, and what is available is dramatically inflated in price.

shrink_wrap_palletLate this week we learned of an opportunity to send food to Sierra Leone for our United Brethren people. Shipping containers are being sent through a Christian ministry called Brothers Brother, in Pittsburgh, Pa. A few years ago, this group donated 80 hospital beds and shipped them for us to the Mattru Hospital.

A 40-foot container is being packed right now with medical and relief supplies for various churches and medical centers. They have room for one 4x4x6-foot pallet for the United Brethren.

Pastor Steve Clulow (left) and his folks at the Cochranton United Brethren Church (Cochranton, Pa.) have graciously offered to receive all donations and ready the pallet for delivery to Pittsburgh. Here is how you can become part of project.

Where to Send Food
Send the following items ASAP, by Oct 15, to the Cochranton UB Church:

  • Small bags of rice (half-pound to one-pound only).
  • Dried beans (half-pound to one-pound only).
  • Small cans of tomato paste.
  • Containers of dehydrated onion.
  • Canned chicken (good sources include Gordon’s, Sam’s, and Costco).

Please do NOT send large bags (i.e. 40 lb.) or expired items.

Our goal is to have everything at the Cochranton Church no later than October 15. That means you’ll need to ship or deliver your items by Monday, October 13.

If you can’t make that date, don’t worry. We plan to send more in an upcoming shipment.

Here is the address for the church:

Cochranton Community Church
3993 E. Church Street
Cochranton PA 16314
Phone: (814) 425-2905

Cost for a Future Container
It costs $11,000 to send a container. A Baptist denomination is funding this current container, so we get a free ride. Other denominations have paid for six previous containers.

We want to cover the cost of the next container. If you’d like to make a donation toward that $11,000 expense, make your check out to Global Ministries and send it to:

Global Ministries
302 Lake Street
Huntington IN 46750

Be sure to indicate that your gift is for “West Africa Relief.”

If you have questions, feel free to contact us at: (260) 356-2312.

Bishop John Pessima (left) with men who attended a workshop.

Bishop John Pessima (left) with men who attended a workshop.

Workshops were conducted in two places on September 15 and 16.

Workshops were conducted in two places on September 15 and 16.

Workshops were conducted in two places on September 15 and 16.

Workshops were conducted in two places on September 15 and 16.

At the Ebola workshop.

At the Ebola workshop.

John Pessima (right), Bishop of Sierra Leone Conference

It all started in May this year when Ebola entered Sierra Leone through Guinea and Liberia. We appealed to Global Ministries for help, so we could do sensitization and prevention training in the Sierra Rutile and Mattru communities, where the majority of the United Brethren schools and churches are located. We targeted our pastors, teachers, and medical practitioners—persons who have large constituencies. We knew that if they stood before their congregations or students and talked about the disease, the information would get around quickly.

We thank God that Global Ministries responded immediately to our cry.

We put together a team of professionals who conducted a workshop on sensitization and prevention of Ebola. This occurred September 15 in Sierra Rutile, and September 16 in Mattru. Altogether, we trained 165 people, who were then instructed to train others in their own communities.

After the two days of training of trainers, participants were provided with a T-shirt, materials on the causes and prevention of Ebola, and a bucket containing medicated soap for their schools and churches (it is now a routine to wash hands with either soap or chlorine before entering homes and public places, including churches). The programs were successful. Participants returned home fully aware of what to do to prevent this virus.

Bonthe district is the location of Mattru Hospital, a nursing school with over 450 students, two high schools, and many primary schools. This district is not too affected for now. As a precautionary measure, the tuberculosis ward at Mattru Hospital has been prepared in the event that it is needed to treat Ebola patients. On September 18, there were 29 current cases of Ebola in the district. However, this only reflects confirmed cases. Many more may exist but have been kept hidden.

The total number of deaths for the whole country is 483, an alarming number that rises each day. We have a moral responsibility as a church to continue with the intervention and to help our people with food and other relief items. Businesses have closed temporarily, churches have suspended services, and schools have suspended classes. Imports and exports have been halted. The crisis is far from over.

Kenema is still quarantined. They need food and other related items which they cannot easily get.

We want to conduct similar sensitization and prevention programs for the members of our various churches in Bo and Freetown, the country’s two largest cities. The virus is spreading quickly because of the influx of people from Port Loko in the north. We are still continuing with our appeal and prayer request for these two conference districts.

We also keep getting requests from our brethren in Liberia. Please don’t forget to keep them in your prayers, as this is a new congregation that is also suffering from Ebola.

As a church, we believe in reaching out to people in need just as our Lord Christ Jesus went out preaching the Good News, giving hope to the hopeless while also healing the sick and feeding the hungry.

Sierra Leone’s economy is down, but we still have hope in the Lord that He will bring this to an end very soon.

Global Ministries is sponsoring a trip to Jamaica during January to work at the Malvern Camp. The team will continue work on the new dormitory at the camp. The first floor is completed, but work needs to begin on the second floor.

Dates: January 3-10, 2015.
Team Leader: Dwight Kuntz (right).
Cost: $750 per person, plus airfare.

The $750 includes in-country travel, food, lodging, supplemental health insurance, and cost of materials.

Denis and Reina Casco

Denis and Reina Casco

Denis Casco, Bishop of Mexico Conference, provided this “Day 11” update on his wife, Reina, who suffered a brain aneurysm. She is hospitalized in the Los Angeles area, where they live.

“Reina is out of ICU to start recovery for a few days more in the hospital. She started walking, small steps, with the help of the physical therapist. Reina is a very strong woman and very soon she will be back to her normal life and her pastoral work, which she has always done with dedication and devotion to God.

“I thank everyone for your prayers and support in this very difficult time of our life. We’ve been feeling much strength when we read your letters and many messages of solidarity.”

Reina is pastor of a church in Glendale, Calif.

Reina Casco
2427 Rochelle Avenue
Monrovia, CA 91016