The Canadian national conference is taking a major role in supporting the work in Haiti. A work team went there last fall. They have a website which tells a lot about Haiti and about that work team. You might find it quite interesting. It’s here.

Jana Hoobler sent these updates:

  • On Saturday, March 1, seven women from our ELP classes attended the new Bible Study we started. There was good discussion, and one of our Chinese church members also attended to help with answering their questions in Cantonese. On March 15, nine unsaved women came to our English Bible Study. Praise the Lord for this response…we’re loving it! Pray that the Holy Spirit will work in their hearts and help them understand the Bible as we study it together.
  • While I was on furlough, our ELP secretary took a different job, and a new one was hired. His name is Michael Chan. Michael really has a heart for ministry. Praise the Lord for a guy on our staff who can help to meet the spiritual needs of our male students. He’s holding a Bible Study with two men from the ELP on Wednesday nights.
  • Our rental contract for the Taipa Center expires in May. We have submitted a letter asking that the rent be lowered in our new contract, due to the poor economy. Pray that the property company will be favorable to our request! Also, the Education Department has asked that we make changes in our financial reports from last year to fit their bookkeeping system. Pray for Jen Blandin as she works on these changes so that these reports can be re-submitted by the end of March.
  • Continue to pray for God’s direction as we wade our way through more and more paperwork. We often get different instructions from different departments of the government, which makes it difficult to know what we really need to do to be legal. Pray for Annie, our association secretary, as she handles much of this work.

A baby girl was born to Pastor Tim and Tara Hallman of Anchor Community UB (Fort Wayne, Ind.). Emma Reigh arrived Thursday, March 13, at 5:38 a.m. (7lbs. 3 ozs., and 19.5 inches). Tim reports that Emma has “lots of thick black hair (just like her daddy) and a beautiful face, just like her mommy!”

Central Conference Superintendent Tom Brodbeck provides this update on the new Hispanic church plant in Columbus.

“The church has 56 different people who are active in the ministry, averaging around 40. Pastor Volfi Valenzuela reports that 13 people have been saved and five others have rededicated their lives. The need continues for Hispanic Bibles and other Spanish literature. The church will be participating in a Columbus, Ohio, Latin festival June 20-21. Over 300,000 people attend this event each year. The church continues to worship on Sunday afternoons at the Columbus First UB church facility.”

Troy and Julie Hendricks and family are planning to arrive in Spain at the beginning of August, where they will serve with SEND International. They are UB endorsed missionaries from Lake View UB in Camden, Mich. Troy is finishing the year as a high school teacher in Angola, Ind.

The Global Ministries Leadership Team has endorsed three new missionaries–one family and two singles.

Jim and Michelle Kegerreis are from the Otterbein UB church in Greecastle, Pa. In 1998, they began working with a ministry that built family-style homes for children at risk in Honduras. Jim oversaw the construction of nine buildings and the overall infrastructure, while Michelle helped with bookkeeping.

In November 2002, they joined Providence World Ministries as self-supported missionaries. Jim will lead teams of volunteers to build facilities near Tegucigalpa, Honduras. PWM aims to reveal God’s love to orphaned and abandoned children, widows, and the poor through direct and practical help. For this, they are creating a new kind of orphanage, in which 100 children will receive basic necessities, education, and medical attention. They will be nurtured by Christian, native house parents in family groups of eight children. The presence of elderly widows means the children will receive the love and nurture of grandmothers as well. A medical clinic and school will also minister to the community.

Mark Stephan is from College Park UB in Huntington, Ind. He serves in the Middle East with Mission to Unreached Peoples, an organization based in Seattle. MUP has over 100 missionaries in 16 countries. They focus on evangelism and church planting in places which are often closed to traditional missionary work. In Mark’s case, it involves ministry to Muslims.

Bridget Ho, a Hong Kong native, committed her life to Christ in 1989 at St. Luke’s UB church. In 1993, she volunteered to help plant St. Mark’s UB church, and has been very active there ever since, doing some of everything–secretary, deaconess, worship leader, piano accompanist, Sunday school teacher, and more.

Bridget holds a degree in Translation from Hong Kong Baptist University, and has worked as a translator. She also earned two Certificates of Church Ministry from Ecclesia Bible College, and has acquired significant training in evangelism through several programs.

In 1994, sensing God calling her into mission work, Bridget traveled to Thailand to visit the UB work there. She asked herself, “Could I spend a year or a few years in the mission field like Pastor Lee in Thailand?” She visited Thailand again the next year, and also in 1998. In 1999, Bridget began working for Operation Mobilization as Assistant Personnel Officer, and continued in that role until August 2002. She then decided to join OM’s Asia Challenge Team. She is now serving in Sri Lanka on a two-year assignment.

Thirty-two students are enrolled in “Perspectives,” a course on world missions which the US Center for World Mission sponsors at various locations throughout the country. The class at Huntington College started January 7 and is running for 15 weeks, meeting for three hours every Tuesday night.

Jana Hoobler sent these items from Macau on March 25:

  • This Sunday our United Brethren Macau Association will celebrate its 15th Anniversary. Praise the Lord for these 15 years of His faithfulness to our church-planting work in Macau. Pray that the celebration will be an encouragement to our staff and church members and a strong testimony to our unsaved friends who will attend.
  • This ELP term has been a really good one in terms of spiritual response. Praise the Lord for this encouragement to our team. Pray that the new friendships and Bible dtudies that have started will continue, and that we’ll see people coming to accept Christ as their Savior.
  • One of our English Bible Study students, who isn’t a Christian, asked us to start a Bible Club for her 5th grade students. She feels it’s important for them to learn about the Bible. She asked her school adminstration if we could do this, and they approved it. Pray that God will continue to open doors if He desires for us to start this club. Pray also that we’ll find suitable materials.

Rev. Jim Preece, 43, former pastor of the Salem Chapel church (Junction City, Ohio) in Central Conference, passed away on Saturday, March 29. The funeral will be held at 1:30 pm on Wednesday, April 2, at the Living Word UB church in Columbus, Ohio (145 Obetz Road, Columbus). Rev. Bill Pitts will officiate. Calling hours are on Tuesday, April 1, from 2-4 pm and 6-9 pm at the Graumlich & Son Funeral Home (1351 South High Street, Columbus, OH).

Jim’s heart condition made it necessary to place him on permanent disability at the end of 2002. He had been pastor of Salem Chapel most recently, but before that pastored two other UB churches–Zanesville UB (Zanesville, Ind.) and Mount Victory UB (Decatur, Ind.). Jim is survived by his wife, Jenny, and children Rebecca and Tim. The family’s home address is: 1846 Pine Grove Place, Lancaster, Ohio 43130