Saturday, January 16, 2010

Back to Work!!

Wow, it is hard to believe it's been 4 weeks since I last wrote a blog! We had such a wonderful time visiting with folks in Michigan and Pennsylvania that the time flew by very quickly. We got back to Costa Rica on Thursday the 7th, and I took off for Honduras on Saturday the 9th (at 4:30 AM). I was invited to attend the General Conference of the United Brethren Church. This was the first time it was being held outside the States. General Conferences of the past were very large gatherings. The old system had individual conferences meeting annually. Michigan had a conference along with several other regions in the States, and each of our countries would have an annual conference too (we have conferences in Honduras, Nicaragua-including Guatemala and Costa Rica, Sierra Leone, Hong Kong-including Macau, Canada, Jamaica, Mexico, and the Philippines). Then, every 4 years we would all come together for a larger conference, elect a bishop, and generally have lots of fun together. Now, we have nationalized all the conferences. This means each place now has a National Conference which meets annually or biannually. We have one National Conference that meets every two years in the States (we no longer have a "Michigan Conference"). Other national conferences, like Nicaragua, meet annually. For General Conference, each of the national conferences sends two delegates. Guests were able to attend as well. Guatemala was added as its own conference at this meeting, bringing the total number of national conferences to 10. This means we had 20 delegates at GC. Plus, 6 or 7 guests were present.

It was really a blessing to sit around the table with such great men and women. I had a blast reuniting with Karis Wong, the leader of Living Water Church in Macau, and practicing some long-forgotten Cantonese. The other delegate from Hong Kong was Ajax Wu, who always had a smile on his face. It is always fun listening to Jamaicans speak, so I had fun talking with Bishop Winston Smith and Isaac Nugent. Bishop Billy Simbo and Theresa Muso from Sierra Leone were fun to get to know as well. Bishop Brian Magnus and Paul Plato from Canada, Superintendent Juan Pavon and Pastor Henri Osorio of Nicaragua, and Bishop Phil Whipple and Jeff Bleijerveld of the U.S., Pastor Francisco Najera and Pastor Rolando Venezuela of Guatemala, Pastor Erik Ramirez of Costa Rica, Bishop Dennis Casco of Mexico, Pastor Olim Richard of Haiti, Superintendent Juanita Chavez of Honduras, Pastor Jason and Donna Hollopeter, and Steve Dennie were all there, too. We heard lots of reports and had many discussions of partnering in various ministries. You can check out more about the conference at

I got a chance to explore the large United Brethren campus in La Ceiba. We have a school that teaches over 2,000 students and has a famous marching band boasting over 200 participants. 47 of them played for us one night and they were incredible. I wish I had a video camera with me! The UB Church in Honduras is doing well!

I have lots more to write about from this conference, but instead of cramming it all in this post, I will try to sprinkle other info into other posts. I got back on Thursday night and returned to class Friday morning. Thankfully, I didn't miss too much work! More will come later!!

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