Jana Hoobler sent these notes:

  • Our Bible Study students on Taipa are asking more and more difficult questions about the Bible. Praise the Lord that they are reading the Bible on their own. One student from Thailand told me last week that she looked on the web and found a Thai New Testament that she can look up to read the passage we’ll be studying before our meeting each week. Another student came in with questions about this week’s story before we even met, because she’d been preparing at home. Pray for wisdom as we respond to their questions. Praise the Lord that they are searching His Word at home as well as at our center.
  • I’m thankful for my Mom this Mother’s Day, and all the time she invested in teaching me about God. She led me to Christ in our kitchen when I was around five years old. I’m so thankful for this Christian heritage that most of my Chinese friends have gone without.
  • Ava, a member of Living Water Church, is a student at Macau University on Taipa. She is trying to get a small group Bible Study started with some of her classmates and professors that will meet at our center. Pray that they will be able to find a time that they can all meet.

Martin Magnus, a retired minister in Ontario, underwent major surgery last Thursday (May 8) for a brain tumor. His son, Brian Magnus, Bishop of the UB Church in Canada, sent this report on May 13.

“I brought my Dad, Martin Magnus, home from the hospital this afternoon. He’s physically doing very well. The greatest news is that the surgeon says that the post-operative CT-Scan shows that they got all of the tumor and that he’s ‘almost certain’ that it’s benign.

“Dad had only taken one Tylenol in over two days and most of the swelling in front of his right ear has gone down. He’s able to eat with the help of some anti-nausea medication. He has 28 steel staples in his head in a question mark design starting at the hairline above his eye and moving back above his right ear, then around to the front and down in the middle of his sideburn.

“In his own words, ‘It’s going to take a while to become oriented again.’ His voice is weak and hoarse (from the anesthetic?) and he’s very tired. He is a bit disoriented and felt a bit claustrophobic when he got home. Continue to pray for him after this brain surgery.

“Thanks again so much for all of your phone calls, emails and cards to Mom and Dad. They appreciate your love and your prayers especially.”

  • Darren Duncan resigned as Senior Pastor of Living Word UB in Columbus, Ohio, effective May 18, 2003. He will be going into active duty as a military chaplain. The church will be unassigned for the present time.
  • Ben Gladhill resigned as Children and Youth Pastor at Atlantic Avenue UB in Franklin, Pa., effective April 2.
  • Paul Rowe resigned as interim pastor at Mount Olivet UB, Mt. Solon, Va., as of May 7 due to health reasons. The church is unassigned for the present time.

On Sunday, May 4, Banner of Christ UB (Byron Center, Mich.) shared gifts of people and nursery furnishings to the newly forming HomeFront Church. HomeFront is a church under development with Rev. Howard Matthews as pastor. This was the former Maple Hill UB Church.

Banner has committed to a partnering relationship with this rejuvenated sister congregation and on this Sunday had a presentation of numerous nursery items to outfit HomeFront’s nursery and young children’s area. Banner also is sending two families to help with the forming launch team that Pastor Matthews reports is now over 30 adults.

The service included a time of prayer for the launch team and Pastor Matthews, and the presentation of the two new cribs, bedding, and several toys and games for the new church. Banner had collected items that the HomeFront children’s ministry team had identified and registered at the local Target store for a nursery shower. An empty crib was placed in Banner’s foyer for the month of April with gift tags attached to the crib. Members of the church picked up tags, bought and wrapped the gifts and returned them to the crib during the month long “shower.”

HomeFront is poised to begin a series of preview services for the community to come and see during the summer months. Their first preview service was on Mother’s Day.

During the Easter holiday, Pixley UB looked for a way to reach out to neighborhood families. Pastor Rodney Bittick writes, “Originally we considered running a three-day VBS on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. But knowing that our small number of workers could be easily overwhelmed by a daily increasing volume of children, we decided to try a more modest one-day carnival-type event. Our goal was two-fold: to establish a connection between the church and its largely Hispanic neighbors, and to get scriptures and Christian materials into the homes.

“Setting aside the same three days, we set to work on Monday making take-home bags. We made bags for children and adults in both Spanish and English. They contained Scripture portions and tracts as well as treats and other prizes.

“On Tuesday, we canvassed the homes in the immediate neighborhood of the church, passing out flyers and inviting them to the party. We decided to call it √îFiesta de Vida’ (Festival of Life).

“Wednesday was party day! The church parking lot was decorated with colorful signs (in Spanish) and helium balloons. Activities included games, coloring pages, and a flannel graph story telling of Jesus’ crucifixion, death and resurrection. Hot dogs and sodas were served and the party ended with the breaking of a pi‚Äìata. The party ended at noon, and each person present was given a gift bag.

“In all, about 35 children and approximately 17 adults attended. Most of the grown-ups and many of the smaller children spoke only Spanish.”

Alan DeCristoforo sent this update on his health condition. He is serving as Spiritual Care Pastor at First UB in New Castle, Pa. “Since I know a lot of people have been praying for me, I should let them know that I stood up and preached for 30 minutes during the Sunrise Service. After the service, I was assisted to the main floor where I stood up, with help, and walked out of the sanctuary. I had on my braces, and two gentlemen helped me stand up.”

Valerie Reynolds, associate pastor of Mt. Hope UB in Carson City, Mich., writes, “In our effort to make an impact in our small community, we have changed our focus to trying to become friends to our neighbors. One of the things that we are doing is having a ‘Project Night’ the first and third Mondays of each month. One night, for instance, we did scrapbooking and quilting. So far around 30% of the participants have been unchurched women. We are intentionally looking for ways to become friends with our neighbors and looking for ways to invite them to a non-church activity where we can get to know them more personally. The excitement is spreading within our church as we are being challenged to live the lifestyle of Jesus.”

Lee Rhodes, pastor of Countryside UB (Breckenridge, Mich.), sent this report.

“Our youth group, TLC (Teens Loving Christ), held an activity day at Central Michigan University’s Student Activity Center. We rented two buses from the school to transport 74 middle school and high school students. There were 28 adults that chaperoned. Events included wallyball, swimming, bowling, basketball, pool, volleyball, eating donated food and purchased pizzas, and two sets of devotions for each group. During the day, there were five conversions and eight recommitments to Christ.

“This is an annual event. This is the first year both age groups went on the same day. The Student Activity Center was quite empty until we arrived. The youth were pumped. TLC youth come from various churches in the area. For this event we had 13 youth come from a different school district as well. Kurt Peters, 19, has been leading TLC for several years. He is now on staff part time. John Cole is assisting him by leading the middle school age group in devotions and some activities on a regular basis. The two halves of the group meet at the same time on Sunday evenings, sharing worship time but split for most of the other activities.”

Titus Boggs, director of the Laurel Mission (Big Laurel, Kent.), reports that the mission’s clothing store has almost no summer clothing. The residents who shop at the clothing store are beginning to request such items. Any help would be appreciated. Titus can be contacted at: titus@ub.org.