At the 15th anniversary. Sitting in front, l-r, are Jennifer Blandin (fulltime missionary), Byrdena Shuneman (short-term volunteer), Connie Sung (pastor of Living Word church), and Jana Hoobler (Macau Mission Director). Missionary Linda Neely is standing in back, third from the left.

At the 15th anniversary.

It has been 15 years since the work in Macau began. Jana Hoobler, director of the Macau English Language Program, writes about a special service to commemorate this landmark. “The 15th Anniversary Celebration went very well. Around 80 people attended. It was a good time of reflection on how God has worked and all the special memories our church members have gathered over the years.”

Jana also commented on the SARS epidemic, which has been centered in nearby Hong Kong. “So far there aren’t any official cases of SARS in Macau. Thank you to all of you who have expressed your concern for us. We’re all doing well. While many cases of the atypical pneumonia have occurred in Hong Kong, they don’t represent a very large percentage of the population. We’re being careful to wash our hands a lot!”

Missionaries Jana Hoobler (left) and Jen Blandin help volunteer missionary Byrdena Shuneman celebrate her 79th birthday.

On Saturday, April 5, 35 children attended an Easter Egg Hunt at Prince Street UB (Shippensburg, Pa.). The children hunted for 600 hidden eggs. The children also viewed a puppet show entitled The Soldier and the Centurion. The Legend of the Easter Egg was read to them, followed by crafts and food.

Dan Wust, director of Arise & Shine Ministries in Honduras and an endorsed UB missionary, has been working on his Masters degree from the Huntington College Graduate School of Christian Ministries. He completed his work on March 28 and plans to graduate in May. He writes, “This training will greatly help me in my teaching role with the ministry.”

Two Honduran coworkers are also pursuing further training. “Both Tomas and Gerardo have enrolled at the Tegucigalpa Theological Seminary in their Pastoral Ministries program. They have been attending classes since March three nights a week and are working towards a two-year degree that is a preparatory program for those who do not have a high school degree and want to go on to study for their Bachelors degree. Both have expressed satisfaction in being able to study, but at the same time fear and trepidation because they, like most Honduran men, do not have a solid education background and are finding that the classes are hard and require a different kind of effort than what they expected.”

The Wust family will be in the States from June 6 through the end of July, and are available for speaking engagements.

Luanne Brooks and her cat have arrived in Haiti to begin serving with OMS International. Luanne is a UB missionary on loan to OMS. Luanne is from the Daytona UB church in Holly Hill, Fla. She starts language school in Cap Haitien on Monday, March 31.

California Annual Conference was held earlier this month. We have three Hispanic churches with Latin American Ministries in the Los Angeles area. Those three churches are now part of California Conference. The conference took in a total of five new Hispanic churches–the three with LAM, plus two new churches from its own church planting efforts.

Bishop Paul Hirschy reports, “California Conference is trying to develop a structure that gives the English-speaking churches and the Spanish-speaking churches a fair representation in the affairs of the conference. The conference superintendent, Rev. Sam Quinn, recommended appointing an English director and a Spanish director to the conference, which was approved. The English director is Rev. Jim Clayton, and the Spanish director is Rev. Edwin Recinos.”

Marda Hoffman is retiring after 24 years as the denominational Finance Director. In addition to overseeing all of the financial operations at the UB Headquarters in Huntington, Ind., she has provided all kinds of help over the years to local church pastors and treasurers. She has also filled the role of Office Manager for the UB Headquarters. Marda’s last day of work will be May 31. Her knowledge, expertise, and commitment to the UB church will be greatly missed. Marda and her husband, Jim, have a lakeside home in northern Michigan, but will continue living in Huntington for now.

Albert Beckley (right) was elected as the new General Superintendent of Sierra Leone National Conference. He replaces Rev. Joe Bob Amara, who served in that position through much of the 1990s. Rev. Beckley has been serving as Administrative Assistant for many years. He was elected during the national conference meeting in February. Six North Americans attended the February conference: Gary and Rhonda Dilley, Jason and Donna Hollopeter, and former Sierra Leone missionaries June Brown and Ruth Benner.