On Easter Sunday, Hillsdale UB (Hillsdale, Mich.) presented a procla-drama called “Crises and Cross Roads” which set an attendance record for the church of over 700. Procla-drama is a creative ministry tool for proclaiming the gospel. Live drama, video, special effects, and solos were interspersed at various points during the resurrection sermon of Pastor Les Smith. The Easter attendance was two-thirds larger than last year.

On March 28, eleven people from Gaines UB (Caledonia, Mich.) traveled to Slovakia with The International Needs Network. Pastor Mark Beers writes, “We worked on the third floor of a community center at the church in Lucenec, Slovakia. The center will be used as an outreach for the church.

The 11 people stayed with families from the church and had several opportunities to speak in local churches. The highlight was being able to take communion with the people of the Ruzemberok church. Communion in that culture was taken from a common cup and was real wine. Both were a surprise to all, but what a great way to proclaim our oneness in Christ. The team returned to Grand Rapids on the evening of April 13 with a team of senior high youth waiting at the airport to welcome us home.”

A Mini-Missions Conference for kids K-12 will be held Saturday, June 21, at the Lake View UB church in Camden, Mich. It is being sponsored by the Michindoh Missions Commission. There will be crafts, games, food, and a focus on missions around the world. Kids will be taught a new game called Soccette, which is a combination of soccer and basketball. A missionary invented the game, and he and his family use it to create a bridge to share the gospel in Northern Africa.

There will also be a picnic lunch, plus a variety of activities for kids. The kids will also fill shoeboxes with such things as crayons, coloring books, markers, hand towels, hygiene products, small games and toys, and gospel tracts. These shoeboxes will then be distributed in places like Laurel Mission or to inner city ministries. Actual missionaries will be on hand for the kids to meet.

Martin Magnus, a retired minister and former conference superintendent in Ontario, is undergoing major surgery this week to remove a brain tumor. One surgery is occurring this morning (Tuesday). Martin will then undergo an all-day surgery on Thursday, May 8, to remove the tumor. The tumor was discovered after Martin began experiencing little “seizures” that appeared as absent spells; pressure from the growing tumor was the cause. The tumor is not malignant.

Martin’s son Brian (President of the UB Church in Canada, and pastor of the UB church in Guelph), writes, “They’ll do an embolism at the meningal artery that’s feeding this tumor. I believe they’ll do an angiogram beforehand. He’ll wait at the hospital until Thursday, when they’ll begin at 8 a.m. the all-day ‘intercranial surgery’ to remove the tumor. Dad will probably remain in the hospital to recover for about five days….

“The tumor is under the right sideburn, 2 inches in diameter–larger than a golf ball, smaller than a tennis ball. There are many small vessels leading to the tumour. Since it is so vascular it is thought to be a Meningioma. It is growing off the Meninges (brain lining), not the base of the skull.

“Mom and Dad (and all of us) really appreciate your prayers!”

Gary Reed, lay leader at Eden UB (Reedsville, Ohio), is filling the pulpit until a new pastor can be found. Bill Duty, the previous pastor, resigned as of April 13.

Peter Martindale is pastor of Mount Hermon UB (Pomeroy, Ohio) effective May 4.

Sunfield UB (Sunfield, Mich.) has hired a new Assistant Pastor. His name is Roy Atherton. The church had a special welcome for him, his wife, Judy, and their two children, Nicole and Kieth.

Luanne Brooks, UB missionary serving with OMS in Haiti, sent this report, which is both heart-rending and heart-warming.

“Today I met a young girl named Ketteline. Ketteline is 16 years old and she is dying. Maybe within the next few days. She weighs 65 pounds and is the thinnest person I have ever seen. She had difficulty walking into the clinic, and her breathing is labored. We ran a very simple test that confirmed our worst fears: she is dying of AIDS.

“When Ketteline was just a small child, a horrible monster (my words, not hers) violated her. She is one of the countless s who are suffering the consequences of this hopeless disease. Her mother was devastated by the news. Ketteline sat quietly, numb I am sure. Not a tear from her eyes, though mine were running over so much I could hardly see. I told her Jesus loved her and is looking forward to taking her home with him. I walked with Ketteline and her mother to the chaplain as they expressed the wish to ask Jesus into their hearts. This is what it is all about, folks. The angels are rejoicing. They will soon welcome this earth angel into heaven.

“Please pray that God will send comfort to Ketteline. I pray that she will pass along peacefully into her Savior’s arms. She will never suffer again at the hands of a monster. Please pray for her mother as she has to be able to let her child go. This will not be easy for her. I have noticed the great sacrificial love these Hatian women have for their children. I know that she would take her place if she could. But very soon Ketteline will be in a safe place.”

A CT-Scan has shown that Rev. Martin Magnus, a long-time pastor in Ontario, has a brain tumor. His son, Brian Magnus, President of the UB Church in Canada, sent this report.

“He has a glioblastoma which appears to have been there a while. The report also speaks of vasogenic edema, metastatic lesions and suggestions of necrosis. I think that means it’s a tumor that has some dead tissue within it, swelling of the brain and blood vessels surrounding it, and perhaps a connection to another tumor elsewhere (primary tumor vs. secondary tumor).

“Currently it’s about 5 cm X 3 cm (1″ X 2”) and is on the surface of the cerebrum. Dad goes in to the London University Hospital next Wednesday (April 23) for a biopsy. They’ll decide on their plan of attack after that.

“He had the CT-Scan because he’d had a few ‘absent spells’ where he’d just go into a daze for a minute or so. Not good, especially when you’re driving! His only symptoms to this point were these black-outs over the last eight or ten months, which he thought were ended with a change in his glaucoma medication.

“Dad is a United Brethren minister, pastoring in Canada and Michigan from 1956 to 1990. He and my Mom, Lois, live a very busy retirement life in Kitchener, Ontario where they are active in the Stanley Park Church and also in the United Brethren Church in Canada (Dad just preached for me here in Guelph a few weeks ago). They have five kids, 12 grandchildren and thousands of friends.

“Dad and Mom and all of us would covet your prayers at this time.”

Jana Hoobler sends these notes from Macau:

  • On Wednesday evening, a young man who’s been having Bible Study with our secretary, Michael, prayed to accept Christ as his Savior. I think he’s still unclear on some things, but it was a good first step for him. Pray that that Holy Spirit will continue to work in his heart as Michael does follow-up Bible studies with him.
  • We started an English class at a local primary school this week for 5th grade students. It meets after school. Pray that we’ll be a good testimony to these students.
  • Pray for special Easter services next weekend at Living Water, Living Word, and on Taipa. Pray that people will respond to the gospel message.