Mt. Pleasant people standing on the outline of the new educational facility.

Mt. Pleasant UB held a groundbreaking ceremony on Sunday, May 4, for a new educational facility. It will add two stories of additional classroom space. Meanwhile, the current educational wing will be remodeled to provide larger classrooms and a new office complex.

Two Sunday school classes made substantial contributions to the Stewardship Campaign. The most senior class, the King’s Sons and Daughters, (who like to be called “Recycled Teenagers”), made over 26,000 chocolate-covered Easter eggs (peanut butter and coconut) between January and Easter. The profit exceeded $10,000, all of which went toward the building.

Meanwhile, the Berean class organized a church-wide benefit auction which raised over $20,000.

Brent and Loretta Liechty are the parents of twin baby girls. Lauralei Elizabeth and Susanna Elyse Liechty were born June 2. Brent writes, “Unfortunately, they had some lung problems from being early and were transported to Hershey Neo-natal unit. But everything is going well; they are breathing on their own, but still need oxygen.” Brent is Youth Director of Criders UB in Chambersburg, Pa.

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.

Sally Hock-Harrison sent these notes from West Windsor UB (Dimondale, Mich.):

  • After the AQUIRE the Fire youth meetings in Breslin at Michigan State University in March 2003, our youth group went from 8-9 kids to 25-plus, and they have had to rearrange and tear down walls in the basement to make a new youth room. The youth group leader is Christy Lambright, a college gal going to Great Lakes Christian College in Lansing.
  • A Bible study/mentoring group meets on Wednesday night for the youth.
  • Pastor Dick and Darlene Thorp went on a one-week cruise to celebrate their marriage, and came back refreshed.

  • HomeFront Church in Grandville, Mich., is a restart of the former Maple Hill UB church. Howard Matthews is the pastor. They have a website at
  • Michigan Conference is planting a new church in the West Lansing area. It is called Journey Church, and is using a home church model. Tom Blaylock, who previous planted Lighthouse Community UB in Williamston, Mich., is the pastor of Journey Church.
  • Fowlerville UB is mothering a daughter church in Dansville, Mich. It is called Heritage UB church. Cal Hodgson is the planting pastor.

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.

Martin Magnus, a retired minister in Ontario, underwent major surgery last Thursday (May 8) for a brain tumor. His son, Brian Magnus, Bishop of the UB Church in Canada, sent this report on May 13.

“I brought my Dad, Martin Magnus, home from the hospital this afternoon. He’s physically doing very well. The greatest news is that the surgeon says that the post-operative CT-Scan shows that they got all of the tumor and that he’s ‘almost certain’ that it’s benign.

“Dad had only taken one Tylenol in over two days and most of the swelling in front of his right ear has gone down. He’s able to eat with the help of some anti-nausea medication. He has 28 steel staples in his head in a question mark design starting at the hairline above his eye and moving back above his right ear, then around to the front and down in the middle of his sideburn.

“In his own words, ‘It’s going to take a while to become oriented again.’ His voice is weak and hoarse (from the anesthetic?) and he’s very tired. He is a bit disoriented and felt a bit claustrophobic when he got home. Continue to pray for him after this brain surgery.

“Thanks again so much for all of your phone calls, emails and cards to Mom and Dad. They appreciate your love and your prayers especially.”