UB Global

Report to the 2017 US National Conference

Jeff Bleijerveld
Director of UB Global

Executive Summary

  • Pioneered a new ministry to the majority Thai Buddhist peoples in the Chiang Rai region of Northern Thailand, and assembled a four-nation team of missionaries from Hong Kong, China, Honduras, and the United States.
  • Partnered with Sierra Leone Conference to open a new field and receive seven churches in Liberia.
  • Participated with Honduras Conference in sending out the first missionaries to leave their continent and serve as part of our multinational team in Chiang Rai, Thailand.
  • Secured $470,000 in grants to launch solar energy and purified water initiatives at the Mattru Hospital in Sierra Leone.
  • Launched our 20/20 Vision to mobilize local churches and members to send 20 new missionaries and initiate pioneer work among two new unreached people groups before the end of 2020.
  • Completed the transition of our leadership team to a governance policy board.
  • Changed our legal name to UB Global.
  • Expanded our administrative team in Huntington and changed the name of the General Fund to UB Global Team to more accurately reflect how this team utilizes these funds.

The outline of the following report focuses on our four mission principles, which are also used to guide our 20/20 Vision efforts.


Mobilize

Expanded UB Global Team

In order to expand our efforts in strengthening the mission efforts of local churches while expanding our impact abroad, we’ve grown our administrative UB Global team from three to five over the last six years.

In 2011, Frank Yang joined the team. Frank was born in China and immigrated to the US with his family when he was seven years old. He and his wife served for four years in China before joining UB Global. Frank brings strong mentoring, coaching, and analytical skills to the team.

In 2014, Jana Gass joined as our administrative assistant, bringing with her insight she gained serving with her husband in Papua New Guinea for seven years.

In 2015, David Kline joined the team after he and his family returned from ten years of ministry in Macau. David brings creative, strategic thinking with outstanding mentoring and networking skills.

With the retirement of Donna Hollopeter following 22 years of faithful, diligent service, Michelle Harris joined in 2016. Michelle brings more than 25 years of cross-cultural experience in mentoring, training, and teaching in France and Gabon. She is also a professional writer.

While we increased the size of our team, donations to our General Fund have decreased. In order to more accurately identify the people and ministries that are supported with these funds, we changed the name of our General Fund to “UB Global Team.” Churches should note that while the partnership fees they contribute to the denominational office support the UB Global director’s salary, all other administrative staff salaries and their ministry expenses are supported solely through the gifts given in support of the UB Global Team (General Fund).

Mentoring

Members of the UB Global Team continue to disciple and mentor those considering missionary service. Over the past two years, our team has been involved in eight mentoring relationships with individuals and families. Four of these are now serving overseas.
Consultation with Pastors and Mission Teams

The primary objective of UB Global is to assist local churches and their members in their mission efforts. With an expanded team, we have been able to spend more time with pastors and church missions teams listening to their ideas and concerns, and helping them maximize the impact of their efforts. We continue to urge the development of local church missions leadership teams that consist of men, women and youth, and would love to meet with them.

Missional DNA

UB Global seeks to come alongside local churches to help them identify their Missional DNA—strengths, resources, passions, context, and previous experience in missions. During the past two years, we worked with the following churches in developing their mission strategies: Eagle Quest (Columbia City, Ind.), Countryside UB (Breckenridge, Mich.), Salem Chapel (Junction City, Ohio), Monroe UB (Monroe, Ind.), and First UB (New Castle, Pa.).

Prayer

UB Global initiated a series of prayer emphases involving individuals, clusters, and large gatherings. We’re seeking to raise up at least 1,000 new prayer partners and establish 20 prayer clusters. Two clusters have already begun meeting regularly.

We currently have 286 subscribers to our monthly Prayer Guide, and 41 who receive our bi-monthly Prayer Calendar. We’re also working with the denomination to create a link to UB Neighborhood and Nations prayer requests via the PrayerMate© app, available on iOS and Android devices.

Short-Term Mission Teams

We developed opportunities for local churches to be engaged in relationally-driven short-term mission trips which emphasize mutual design and collaboration with their partners.

  • 2015 teams. Poland (English camp), Jamaica (construction), Honduras (medical), Macau (vision/prayer), Costa Rica (vision/prayer).
  • 2016 teams. Poland (English camp), Honduras (medical), Sierra Leone (construction), Honduras (construction).
  • 2017 teams. Sierra Leone (two different medical teams).

Future short-term trips will include Thailand and closed countries.

IGNITE

IGNITE is a one-day missions conference that informs, inspires, and helps participants integrate missional principles into their outreach efforts in their neighborhoods and nations. The day includes worship, updates, and a variety of workshops covering topics relevant to ministry in the attendee’s current context.

So far, we have conducted two such events:

  • May 2016. Rhodes Grove Camp in Chambersburg, Pa.
  • February 2017. Colwood UB church in Caro, Mich.

The next events will take place in Indiana (October 28, 2017) and in Ontario (April 14, 2018). Look for more gatherings near you in the coming years.

Expanded Communications

We developed tools to focus prayer, educate in missions, and promote UB Global efforts.

  • 251 person receive the monthly Mission Link (resources & news).
  • 600+ followers of our Facebook page.
  • 17,000 copies of the Worldview newsletter distributed.

Send

We recruited, provided orientation, trained, and then sent new missionaries:

To the Mattru UBC Hospital in Sierra Leone:

  • Matthew Asher, mechanical engineer.
  • Pamela McKee, nurse practitioner and nurse educator.
  • Dr. Jon and Heleen Yoder, family practitioner and trauma therapist.

To other locations

  • Brian and Rachel Glunt and family, evangelism and discipleship.
  • Harrison Fausey, educator and Bible instructor with an international Christian school in North Africa.
  • Nicole Parish, doing baby rescue, evangelism, and discipleship with Impact Africa in Johannesburg, South Africa.
  • David and Teresa Roberts, endorsed missionaries serving with Loma de Luz in Honduras.

Partner

UB Global continues to partner with our national conferences and mission districts, with organizations that share our vision and values, and with foundations and institutions that help us advance our mission.

Caribbean

  • We continued to partner with our Canadian national conference as equal members of UB Global, but specifically in the communications and coordination work of the Canadian church in connection with our Haitian mission district.
  • We continued our partnership with Christian Horizons Global and their efforts to strengthen our Haitian schools, small business ventures, and efforts to address the needs of those with disabilities. There are currently 320 students sponsored by United Brethren members.
  • We provided JumpStart staff—Harold and MaryAnn Hancock, and Dwight and Patti Kuntz—to assist in a variety of projects in Jamaica and receive short-term teams that worked at Regent College of the Caribbean and Malvern Camp.

Africa

  • We worked with Sierra Leone Conference to welcome seven Liberian churches into the fellowship of the United Brethren in Christ. UB Global provided funding for trips made on multiple occasions to offer training and consultation to the Liberian leaders.
  • We received two grants totaling $470,000 from the West African Renewable Energy Foundation and from an anonymous family foundation, and began the installation of a 120kVA solar system and a water purification/packaging business at the Mattru UBC Hospital in Sierra Leone.
  • We continued partnership and coordination of activities and projects at the Mattru UBC Hospital involving the LeHigh Valley – Engineers Without Borders and World Medical Mission (Samaritan’s Purse).
  • We received $12,000 worth of medical equipment and supplies from the Fellowship of Associates in Medical Evangelism. Everything was shipped to Sierra Leone in cooperation with West African Education and Medical Mission.
  • We recently partnered with Eastern Mennonite Mission regarding the placement of Dr. Jon and Heleen Yoder at the Mattru UBC Hospital.

Asia

  • We continued to work in partnership with the Family Connection Foundation and Overseas Missionary Fellowship in Northern Thailand in purchasing property, obtaining visas, and providing assistance in orienting our staff.
  • We continued to partner with Honduras Conference in their efforts to support Milton and Erika Pacheco’s participation with our multi-national team in Chiang Rai, Thailand. They began their first term on April 26, 2017.

United States

Members of the UB Global Team collaborated in creating a local church ministry network in Northeast Indiana, and developed a local church TESOL training that is available for UB churches interested in serving immigrants, refugees, and migrant peoples.

Central America

We are providing limited funding to our national church partners in Central America to participate in the training events needed so that leaders can implement a local church-based leadership training program known as BILD in the national conference or mission district. Over an 18-month period, 26 participated and completed the training, which is now being implemented locally.

Huntington University

  • We participated with Huntington University to plan and conduct their annual GO Week (missions emphasis), and sent short-term teams of students to Nicaragua ’16 & ’17 (Baseball), Guatemala ’16 (Ministry), Jamaica ’16 (Ministry), Haiti ’16 (Ministry), and Thailand ’16 (TESOL).
  • We continued to partner with the Institute of TESOL Studies (ITS) and Global Studies Department at Huntington University, which UB Global funded for the first three years of operation. Since 2010, there have been 147 certificates issued. Five UB Global staff members now serve as associates of ITS in undisclosed locations.

Pioneer

Thailand – Majority Buddhist Peoples

As of April 2017, our team of seven missionaries from Hong Kong, China, Honduras, and the United States were assembled in Chiang Rai, Thailand, to launch our new church planting effort among majority Buddhist Thai peoples. It was nearly 20 years ago that our first church planting efforts began among the mountain Akha peoples living along the border of Myanmar, and where today we have two churches with some 400 believers. While many organizations, like us, have found success among the minority animistic peoples of the mountains, UB Global and our UB partners in Hong Kong set our sights on the Thai Buddhist people among whom only one-half of one percent know Christ as Lord and Savior.

A property was purchased in a growing middle class neighborhood, and the building was demolished in order to make way for a three-story multi-use community center. The team will build relationships and establish trust in the community by teaching and tutoring Chinese, English, Spanish and music, and offering other general interest activities. Our goal is to make disciples and plant indigenous churches.

Sierra Leone – Vai People of Pujehun

We participated in the efforts of the Sierra Leone Conference to reach the Vai people of southwestern Sierra Leone. UB Global provided funding for transportation and some construction costs so that they could plant a new church and open one school among the 250,000 Sunni Muslims that reside in this region. Numerous United Brethren members also moved into the region to form the critical mass and conduct the evangelistic efforts needed to begin this new ministry.


Transitions

  • Donna Hollopeter concluded 22 years as associate director of UB Global in March 2016. She labored diligently with a servant’s heart and a tireless commitment to UB missions.
  • Bryan and Emily Gerlach left UB Global in August 2016 to remain in Chiang Mai, Thailand. They are currently serving with TEAM.

Missionary Passings

  • Emmett Cox passed away on. He and his wife, Shirley, served as missionaries in Sierra Leone 1957-1969. From 1969 to 1973, he served as the elected General Secretary of Missions for the denomination.
  • Evaline M. Macy passed away October 31, 2015. She and her husband, Rev. Vernon Macy, were UB missionaries in Honduras 1955-1959.
  • Alice Blodgett passed away February 4, 2016. She was a missionary nurse at Mattru Hospital for 12 years starting in 1953.
  • Dorothe Foreman passed away February 28, 2016. She and her husband, Clinton, were missionaries in Sierra Leone 1979-1982.
  • Mildred (Rawley) Nelson passed away April 3, 2016. She was a missionary to Sierra Leone 1947-1949.
  • Ruth Evelyn Baker passed away January 20, 2017. She and her husband of 57 years, DeWitt, served 26 years as missionaries in Sierra Leone, 1949-1965.
  • Frances Burkett passed away May 10, 2017. She and her husband, Marion, served in Sierra Leone for two three-year terms starting in 1951.

Conclusion

It is my honor to serve the Church of the United Brethren in Christ as the Executive Director of UB Global. I’m grateful for the support and participation of our churches and for the privilege of working with such excellent team members here in Huntington and around the world.