Joe Leighton is serving as interim pastor of Salem Chapel, Junction City, Ohio.

James Fitz has been named senior pastor of Fountain Hills Community UB, Fountain Hills, Ariz.

Don Ross resigned as pastor of Morocco UB (Temperance, Mich.).

In January, 44 people from Calvary UB (Saginaw, Mich.) went on a ski trip in Cadillac. The trip was hosted by the church’s Bible quiz team.

A new outreach ministry brings food and clothing to needy people in the Saginaw area. A local business let them use their parking lot every Saturday to hand out these items.

Dennis Hunt, a pastor in California Conference (and formerly in Arizona Conference), died February 15 after suffering a severe heart attack. Memorial services will be held Thursday, February 20, at the Lake Hills Community Church in Laguna Hills, Calif. The address is: 2331 Moulton Parkway.

Jennifer Blandin writes from Macau about events during the Christmas season.

  • December 21 featured a Christmas party for the children’s fellowship at Living Word church. They played games, shared about the Christmas story, and ate some snacks.
  • On December 22, Living Word had an outreach service. Two UB ladies from Hong Kong came to help Pastor Connie Sung with planning and leading. After the service, everyone stayed for a catered buffet at the church.
  • On Christmas Eve, a few kids, the missionaries, and Connie Sung met at the church. One person carried a cassette recorder that blared out Cantonese Christmas carols, while a couple other people carried two boxes that contained wrapped gifts, and the rest of them passed out the gifts to anyone they encountered on the sidewalk. “The reactions we received were priceless,” Jennifer says. Afterwards, Connie treated everyone at Pizza Hut. Then they headed to St. Paul’s ruins to listen to community Christmas caroling.
  • On December 30, the Living Word church family gathered at a buffet restaurant for a relaxing meal together.
  • Jennifer, along with fellow missionaries Melissa Hull and Linda Neely, took a short retreat to Hong Kong.

Jana Hoobler will return to Macau on January 30, having been in the States on furlough since September. Byrdena Shuneman will fly with her, ready to begin yet another term as a volunteer missionary. Byrdena will stay through May. Jana writes of her furlough, ” I’ve had such wonderful times with my family while I’ve been in the States, and we’re not looking forward to another set of good-byes. On the other hand, I’m getting anxious to return to Macau and ‘do what I do’ instead of just ‘talking about what I do.’ I try to keep my focus on being thankful that I enjoy being on both sides of the world.”

Jana took graduate courses at Wheaton College during the fall, and is now two-thirds of the way through a master’s degree in Missions and Intercultural Studies. She’ll do one correspondence course, and then plan to finish the degree on her next furlough.

In addition, Jana traveled about 10,000 miles in four months. But the highlight, she says, was the time with her family in Rockford, Ill. “At Christmas we rented a house at a camp in Iowa and stayed there together for a week. We enjoyed playing games, taking walks, watching movies, going ice skating, swimming, having a bonfire, and talking together. My nieces and nephews and I loved spending the holidays together!”

She says that when she return to Macau, the missionary team will do long-term planning for how to phase out of missionary involvement at Living Word Church and develop the ministry on Taipa toward a church plant. The original church, Living Water, has been on its own for several years. Living Word is a newer church, and Taipa will be the third UB church in Macau.

She adds an observation about the prevalence of reality TV. “It amuses me, because it looks like people just want a taste of missionary life–working and living with a group of people you didn’t know before and eating lots of strange foods!”

  • Paul Coy, a former missionary, visited Macau over the Christmas holidays. He has been in seminary in the Philippines.
  • Jana Hoobler, coming off of a furlough, and Byrdena Shuneman, set to begin another three-month term as a volunteer, will arrive in Macau on February 1.
  • Melissa Hull, missionary in Macau, is planning to get married in March. On January 25 her fiance, David, will arrive in Macau to help her pack up and head to the States. Melissa and David will leave Macau on February 4. The January 28 Chinese New Year party at the Taipa Center with the morning class students will double as a good-bye party for Melissa. They will then begin preparing to return to Macau to serve together.
  • Linda Neely, a volunteer missionary in Macau, will be visited by her parents on January 29. They will stay in Macau for about two weeks.
  • Former Macau missionary Linda (Burns) Chipman and her husband will also be coming to Macau for a short visit.

Ten people from the Idaville, Franklintown, and Salem UB churches in Pennsylvania will go to Honduras February 2-14. They will work on the Mt. Hebron housing project outside of La Ceiba.

On Sunday, January 12, Living Water UB (Clarksburg, W. Va.) celebrated its second anniversary. The guest of honor was Bishop Paul Hirschy, who delivered the morning message. More than 90 people attended the service. A luncheon was provided in the school auditorium where the church worships.

During the morning service, two elementary students were presented with “Ten Verse” certificates as progress markers in their Sunday school’s “100 Verse Challenge.” Living Water averaged 84 in worship attendance in its second year of ministry.

Central Conference is promoting January 26 as a Day of Prayer for Church Planting. Says Superintendent Tom Brodbeck, “We’re seeking the movement of the Lord on the hearts of our healthiest churches to catch a vision for reproducing ministry. We pray that God will launch several churches through this format in the next several years.”

Darren Duncan announced his resignation as pastor of Living Word UB in Columbus, Ohio. The effective date is yet to be determined. Darren will be going active duty in the Air Force as a military chaplain. He has been a chaplain in the reserves.