Luanne Brooks will leave for Haiti on March 27 to begin her missionary service with OMS International. She is a fulltime UB missionary on loan to OMS. Luanne’s funding is not yet at the 100 percent level, but OMS felt it was close enough to go ahead and send her.
Paul Coy, former missionary in Macau, has begun his second semester at Asia-Pacific Nazarene Theological Seminary. He writes, “I am taking classes in Church History, Evangelism, Cultural Anthropology, Church Administration, Pastoral Care and Counseling, Character Formation, and Interpersonal Communication. I enjoy my classes, and thank God for the opportunity to study. This semester will finish April 3rd.
April, May, and June are our summer classes. I will not take summer classes, but will do two internships. The first one will be at my home church, First Church of the Nazarene, in Huntington, Ind. I will be in the States, April 7–May 21. My second internship will be in Bangkok, Thailand, May 23–June 30. I will teach English at the Thai Pattana Language school and help with a new church plant that began this year.
I believe God will stretch me and teach me in incredible ways through both internships. By doing my two internships this summer, I will be able to graduate a semester earlier than I had originally planned. I will get my Master of Divinity degree in two-and-a-half years, finishing at the end of October 2004. I do not yet know my plans after graduation, but will let you know as God guides and directs me.”
Atlantic Avenue UB (Franklin, Pa.) holds a breakfast every Sunday between services, with people actually cooking three out of the four Sundays per months. Nancy Robison writes, “We started cooking for 60 people and now we cook for over 200! That’s a lot of eggs! We have guys who set up tables and make toast and even help with the clean up. A Sunday school class cleans up the kitchen so the cooks can attend the second service.
The breakfasts are free. The menu includes eggs, bacon, sausage, toast, bagels, donuts, juices, and chocolate milk. “This has become an evangelistic tool. Some children have told us that our breakfast is the only good one they get all week! Nothing is better than getting a hug from a child and see them eat a good breakfast, and having them get powdered sugar all over you! A couple of times we have gone to service with our aprons on, but I don’t think God cares!”
Pastor Brad Riddle conducts evangelism classes twice a week for anyone interested. Members of the new Evangelism Team must attend the class. The team has washed all of the windows on both sides of Liberty Street in the town of Franklin. Pastor Riddle was teaching fifth grade in Franklin when God called him into the ministry less than two years ago. He is also taking courses at Huntington College.
Atlantic Avenue’s Christmas dinner theater was full all three nights. It was free to the public. The church performed the play “What Would You Do?”, written by their own Carole Rugh. The first night, the coat rack bent in half from the weight of all the coats.
Familia de Dios, a Latino congregation in Flanders, New York, signed a “partnering agreement” with Mid-Atlantic Conference in January. They are the first congregation to enter into this informal, relationship-building arrangement. Should that relationship be formalized, they will become the first Hispanic congregation in Mid-Atlantic Conference. The conference already includes West African, Jamaican, and Haitian congregations.
GraceNow! Ministries, a church plant of Mid-Atlantic Conference, has united with two non-UB churches for joint worship experiences. Each group will maintain its own identity and ministry focus, but they will worship and work together for strategic ministry in the greater Harrisburg area. GraceNow! has been following the house church model. Both the joint worship service and GraceNow!’s weekly cell meeting take place in Middletown, Pa.
The Ladies Aid of McGuire Bend UB (Dayton, Iowa) reorganized and is meeting monthly. Most have reread the New Testament since January or plan to complete it by March, at three chapters a day. The pastor at McGuire Bend is Kent Kasler, a United Methodist minister who also served four Methodist churches.
Pastor Ron Gonzales of Open Bible Fellowship (Safford, Ariz.) writes, “We held a three-day City Conquest outreach that is part of a ministry we started this year called Master’s Commission. We held five school assemblies for seven student bodies, with a total attendance of about 3000. Then on Wednesday evening, we moved our midweek service to our local junior college and held a rally for the students. The 305-seat auditorium was filled beyond capacity, and over 170 people came forward for the altar call. There were children, students, and even some Mormon families that came forward.
“This team went to Guaymas, Mexico, in November and 188 people were saved. The first two persons saved were prostitutes standing on a dark corner waiting for some business. We stopped, ministered to them for about a half hour, and they both prayed with us. They were crying when we left and hugged us, thanking us for stopping to love them, not use them. The local missionaries are following up with them.”
The congregation anticipates moving into new property in April. It is two buildings with 15,000 square feet. The sanctuary will seat 400-450.
Pleasant Valley UB (Lake Odessa, Mich.) will host a concert by the Huntington College Choir on Sunday, April 27, at 6:00 pm. Come support the students and enjoy an evening of fine music. The church is located on highway M-50 eight miles west of Lake Odessa.
Every February, Prince Street UB (Shippensburg, Pa.) holds a banquet as a money-raiser to help families in need. A Sunday school class pays the expenses–food, decorations, etc. This year’s theme was “Under the Sea.” The fellowship hall was adorned appropriately–lobster traps, fish shells, a giant whale, and a shipwrecked boat built by two members of the class.
Pastor Ed Calhoun provided the entertainment, performing a magic show through which he presented the gospel. This year’s event, held February 1, raised $1,450, which was divided between two families.
Associate pastor Craig Mickey started a men’s ministry. They held Wild Game Nights in January and February, with about 80 men each time. Each man was to prepare his favorite dish from the past hunting season. Non-hunters were encouraged to bring a dessert and help in other ways. In February, a state wildlife conservation officer brought updates on new laws affecting hunters.
Whenever school is canceled for a scheduled holiday, the church holds a Kids’ Day Out. This event was started by Cherie Finkey, chairperson of the Christian Education Commission. Children sign up ahead of time. The church doors open at 7 a.m., with breakfast at 7:30. During the morning, games and activities are held in the fellowship hall. The afternoon usually features a field trip.
Children in kindergarten through fifth grade are invited. The event is a help to working parents, who know the children are enjoying supervised activities in a safe environment with caring people. The day usually ends at 4:30.