India’s recent elections saw the Hindu Fundamentalist party (BJP) lose power to the more moderate Congress party, which is headed by Sonia Gandhi, wife of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, who was assassinated in 1991. Sonia, despite controversy over the fact that she was born in Italy, was eligible to become Prime Minister. However, she didn’t want the job, and instead proposed Dr. Manmohan Singh for the job. He was sworn in on May 22.

Our couple in India are encouraged by the change in government. They write, “Dr. Manmohan Singh is nationally and internationally known as an outstanding economist. He has a clean image, a simple lifestyle, and a good name among all parties. He says he will focus on the poor and give secular and stable government. Under his leadership, Muslims, Sikhs, and Christians feel secure. We need to wait and see.

“Amidst the political turmoil in this month, we could sense God’s guiding hand. In Tamil Nadu State, after the Anti-Conversion Bill was passed three years ago, Christian evangelists, workers, and organizations were harassed and their bank accounts were frozen. Those who became Christians had to stand in front of a judge and give reasons why one wants to become a Christian. With the defeat of the Hindu Fundamentalist party, the Tamil Nadu State government removed this act and there is absolute freedom for Christians. The unexpected defeat of BJP shocked all Hindu fundamentalists. They really did not know what hit them. We see God’s hand keeping the doors open to proclaim the Gospel in India.”

Luanne Brooks, a UB missionary working with OMS International in Haiti, sent this update on May 28.

“I haven’t written in a while, because, my life has been pretty boring lately. I work during the day, check my e-mails, go to prayer meetings and church, and read. But I do have a couple of stories to share from the clinic.

“First of all, the government inspected the clinic this week and rated us a 9.5 out of a possible 10. We have also been approved to start a feeding program for the malnourished. Malnourishment is a huge problem in Haiti right now. Food is very expensive and money is scarce.

“On Monday, I saw a young woman who was very ill. The lymph glands on the side of her neck were huge. She had her newborn baby with her that was born last week. I suspected HIV, and after testing her, I found that I was correct. This was one of the many times here that I was hoping I was wrong. It was up to me to tell her.

“She took the news very stoically. I don’t think she was totally surprised with the news, but she was very quiet and when she did speak her voice cracked. I asked her if she had Jesus in her heart, and she said no. I asked her if she would like to, and she said yes. I praise the Lord, that there are many perons like her who are so open to asking Him in. We just need to ask. She has been referred to a church near her. We gave her a new testament in Kreyol and I pray for her daily.

“She is the second young woman I have led to the Lord in the past two weeks. The other was a young woman, Angelina, who has had three children, and all have died. Her husband now has rejected her and is being very cruel to her. I talked to her about her relationship with the Lord and she accepted Him. She came back this week and visited with me. She said her husband is still very mean, but she now has a joy in her heart that he cannot take away.

“On a funny note: Monday a young man came in and complained that when he drank a lot of wine, he vomited. I laughed and told him not to drink the wine.

“I have been consulting all my patients without a translator. I have them talk slowly, and I am able to understand most of what they say. I repeat what I understand their problem to be, and they tell me if I got it right. They are all so patient and sweet. Most of them enjoy helping me understand. My biggest fear was that they would not want to see someone who didn’t understand them completely, but it doesn’t seem to be a problem.”

Two newly endorsed missionaries are currently raising support to get to their respective fields. If you would like to partner with them, they would appreciate the support.

  • Linda Neely is preparing for fulltime service with Wycliffe Bible Translators. Linda, who previously spent a year as a volunteer in Macau, is from the UB church in Cochranton, Pa.
  • David and Jane Arends are preparing for fulltime service in Belize with Mission to the World. They are from the Otterbein UB church in Waynesboro, Pa.

With Jana redirecting her focus to other areas, Jennifer Blandin will serve as team leader in 2004 with Gary Dilley assisting as “remote director” from the US.

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.

Preeminence

On Saturday, May 15, Huntington College honored 206 graduates of the Class of 2004. HC’s 106th commencement services took place at 3 p.m. on the front lawn of campus. Dr. KunMo Chung, a licensed nuclear engineer and experienced science administrator from South Korea, delivered the commencement address.

Preeminence, a group of talented student musicians from Huntington College (see photo above), is touring the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic regions this summer. They will present about 60 performances between May 29 and August 14 in churches, camps, and conferences.

On May 25, Bishop Paul Hirschy had his fifth of six chemotherapy treatments. He also learned that cat-scans gave him a clear report, showing no swelling in the lymph nodes. He will only need one more chemo treatment, which will occur in three weeks. Bishop Hirschy is grateful for everyone’s prayer support.

Mid-Atlantic and Michindoh Conferences met during May. Michindoh re-elected George Kreger as conference superintendent. Mid-Atlantic elected two new superintendents to replace Pat Jones and Rick Fischl. The two continuing superintendents, Anthony Blair and Michael Mudge, took on new areas of responsibility. Here is the new Mid-Atlantic line-up:

* Anthony Blair: Administration.
* Michael Mudge: Pastoral Development.
* Billy Simbo: Church Multiplication and Urban Ministry.
* Jim Bolich: Church Growth and Renewal.

Rev. Alfred “Bud” Price passed away Tuesday evening, May 25. He pastored the Blissfield UB church (Blissfield, Mich.) for over 30 years (1952-1986), and also served as fulltime superintendent of Michindoh Conference. The funeral will be held at 11 am on Saturday, May 29, at the Central UB church in Montpelier, Ohio. Viewing will be on Friday, May 28, at the Wilson-Geesey Funeral Home in Montpelier.