The Western District Welcomes You!

Thank you for visiting the Western District Foreign Mission's Department blog. Our intent is to provide you, the pastors, ministers, and saints of the Western District and the United Pentecostal Church International as well as our friends who would like to visit a place to be informed of events happening in our district and to share their thoughts concerning missions with us. We appreciate you taking the time to look over our site, to read the different posts, and last but not least to share your thoughts.


Missionaries traveling in our district:

May 2012

~Dwane Abernathy - Belize, Central America
~Robert McFarland - Israel/Palestine

June 2012

~Robert McFarland - Israel/Palestine, Middle East
~Jason Long - Nicaragua, Central America

July 2012

~Crystal Reece - Tonga, South Pacific
~John Hemus - United Kingdom, Europe

August 2012

~Crystal Reece - Tonga, South Pacific
~Cynthia White - Jordan, Middle East


Monday, May 30, 2011

~Memorial Day 2011 - "Never Forget, Ever Honor"


Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation's service. There are many stories as to its actual beginnings, with over two dozen cities and towns laying claim to being the birthplace of Memorial Day. There is also evidence that organized women's groups in the South were decorating graves before the end of the Civil War: a hymn published in 1867, "Kneel Where Our Loves are Sleeping" by Nella L. Sweet carried the dedication "To The Ladies of the South who are Decorating the Graves of the Confederate Dead" (Source: Duke University's Historic American Sheet Music, 1850-1920). While Waterloo N.Y. was officially declared the birthplace of Memorial Day by President Lyndon Johnson in May 1966, it's difficult to prove conclusively the origins of the day. It is more likely that it had many separate beginnings; each of those towns and every planned or spontaneous gathering of people to honor the war dead in the 1860's tapped into the general human need to honor our dead, each contributed honorably to the growing movement that culminated in Gen Logan giving his official proclamation in 1868. It is not important who was the very first, what is important is that Memorial Day was established. Memorial Day is not about division. It is about reconciliation; it is about coming together to honor those who gave their all.


This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave.  ~Elmer Davis

Remember -freedom is not free!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

~Featured Missionary and Country of the Week - Prince and Suzana Mathiasz/India, Sri Lanka


Prince and Suzana Mathiasz
Region(s): Europe/Middle East - International
Field(s): India / Sri Lanka
Poster: download PDF

Website: click here to visit

Bio: Prince Mathiasz, a Sri Lankan national, is the product of missionary work. He was baptized in Jesus’ name and filled with the Holy Ghost while studying engineering in Stuttgart, West Germany. After his studies, he and his Yugoslavian-born wife, Suzana, who is conversant in several languages, moved to Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. They received their appointment to Sri Lanka in October 1982. He superintends the work in Sri Lanka, pastors the headquarters church, which he founded in Colombo, and is engaged in ministerial training. The UPC of Sri Lanka is growing in spite of the political and social unrest. The Mathiaszes were instrumental in helping Compassion Services International’s SMART team direct relief efforts following the devastating tsunami in 2004. Their daughter Natasha returned to Sri Lanka to oversee distribution of supplies and construction projects. In 1991 Prince and Suzana Mathiasz’s appointment was expanded to include ministry in Eastern Europe.

Republic of India/Bharat
Area Coordinator: Stanley K. Scism
Population: 1121800000
Area: 1,269,340 sq. mi.
Capital: New Delhi
Languages: Hindi (official), English (official), Bengali, Gujarati, Kashmiri, Malayalam, Marathi, Oriya, Punjabi, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu, Kannada, Assamese, Sanskrit, Sindhi (all recognized by the constitution)
Religions: Hindu, 81%; Muslim, 13%; Christian, 2%; Sikh, 2%; other, 2%

The Republic of India occupies most of the Indian subcontinent and borders Pakistan on the west, Afghanistan, China, Nepal, and Bhutan on the north, and Myanmar on the east. Bangladesh forms an enclave in Northeast India. India’s population exceeds that of Africa and Latin America combined, and grows by 18 million per year. At this rate, India will become the world’s most populous nation by 2040. Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikkhism all began in India, and India contains more Muslims than any other nation except Indonesia. The caste system, under which people are socially classified at birth, is an important facet of Hinduism and dominates Indian life. Even though the 1950 constitution abolished the lowest caste, known as untouchables, caste conflicts remain a serious problem. Saffronization, in which Indian identity is pegged to Hinduism and people of other faiths are persecuted and denied civil rights, grows in India and has the sympathy of the present central government. Economically, India often seems like two separate countries: village India, supported by primitive agriculture, where 40% of the people live below the poverty level; and urban India, one of the most heavily industrialized areas in the world. Although the traditional textile industry is still important, the emphasis is now on heavy industry, producing iron and steel, machine tools, transportation equipment, and chemicals, and the recent high technology boom. “Mother” Dorothy McCarthy, who founded the Bharosa Ghar Mission, was the first Oneness missionary to India and arrived in 1909. However, the E. L. Scisms, who arrived in 1949, laid the foundation for the United Pentecostal Church of India. The Indian church is now divided into two units: The United Pentecostal Church of India and the United Pentecostal Church of Northeast India.

PDF Download 

Sri Lanka

Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka
Area Coordinator
Superintendent/President: J. Prince Mathiasz
Population: 19900000
Area: 25,332 sq. mi.
Capital: Colombo
Languages: Sinhala (official), Tamil, English
Religions: Buddhism, 69%; Hindu,15%; Christian, 8%; Islam, 8%
A pear-shaped island, Sri Lanka lies southeast of India. Formerly known as Ceylon, it became an independent republic within the British Commonwealth in 1948. The name was changed to Sri Lanka, meaning “resplendent island” on May 22, 1972. Since the 1980s tension between the Sinhalese and Tamil separatists has repeatedly erupted in violence. On December 26, 2004, a tremendously powerful tsunami ravaged 12 Asian nations. About 38,000 people were killed in Sri Lanka. Compassion Services International’s SMART team was one of the first foreign relief agencies to arrive on the scene to dispense emergency aid and hope. James and Margaret Burns, the first UPC missionaries to Ceylon, arrived in 1949. Then for many years the nation forbade foreign missionaries to reside on the island. In 1983, however, J. Prince Mathiasz, a Sri Lankan national living in Canada, returned to the island to begin his first missionary term. The Sinhalese church now numbers 3,004 constituents, 54 licensed ministers, and 68 churches and preaching points.

Please continue to PRAY for all our missionary families around the world!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

~Praise Report from Gary and Kristi Landaw - Trinidad/Tobago

Praise Report from
Gary and Kristi Landaw
Serving Jesus in Puerto Rico, Trinidad/Tobago
Spring 2011
Greetings to you our precious Partners and FriendsWe thank God 
for you daily and today wanted to share some good things that God 
is doing where we labor for himRejoice with us .
It was great to have Bro and Sis David  Norris with us for a night of teaching.

  At the moment we are basing out of Aguas Buenas as we continue to work to reach out to cities that have no churches
kl tobago blanket

Some of the ladies from the church in Trinidad 
went over to Tobago for the weekend for a time 
of refreshing.  God blessed and four were 
baptized in Jesus Name and two received the 
Holy Ghost.  We are thankful to God for restoring 
health and that Kristi was able to teach all three days/nights.

We really need your prayers.   Starting churches in a country that 
has churches of many denominations on every corner is a 
challenge.  Pray with us that God gives us favor with the people 
and leads us to hungry soulsWe appreciate your prayer support.

Gary and Kristi Landaw
Missionaries with UPCI | 8855 Dunn Road | Hazelwood | MO | 63042

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

~Western District FMD - New Leadership


Bro. Donald O' Keefe, former missionary to Africa; specifically to the country of Sierra Leone, pastor of the UPC of Bay Point,CA and our District Foreign Missions Director for the last eight years did not allow his name to be considered again for this position at our District Conference. We give honor to this great man of God for his faithful years of service to God and to this district for the cause of Missions. It has been my privilege to serve with him for the last year and a half; he is a man with a great burden for the lost and a deep love for missions and the missionary. Bro. O' Keefe is a man who exemplifies Christian character and conduct, values, honesty and integrity; a man who is esteemed and respected by his brethren.  Bro. O' Keefe, thank you for serving the Western District in this capacity. We love you!


Bro. Michael Hanks, pastor of the UPC of Ceres, CA was elected to serve in the position of Foreign Missions Director in the Western District. Bro. Hanks has served the Foreign Missions board as Director of Region One for several years. At the time of his election he was presbyter of Section four in the Central Valley and is giving up that position to serve as Director of the Western District Foreign Missions Department. I have known Bro. Hanks for a number of years and we served together on the FM board for approximately one year. He has the work of God at heart, loves missions and will do a great job in his new responsibility. Bro. Hanks - Welcome aboard as the new Director! We love you and are looking forward to a long and prosperous working relationship for the greatest CAUSE on earth - Missions!

Please join me in extending our appreciation and gratitude to Bro. Donald O' Keefe for his untiring years of faithful service to the Foreign Missions Department.

Also, join me in welcoming Bro. Michael Hanks as the newly elected Director of the Foreign Missions Department. We pray God's blessings upon you!

You may send your expressions of gratitude to Bro. O' Keefe at the following e-mail address -

And you may welcome Bro. Hanks at

Many thanks to all of you for your kindness and thoughtfulness to each of these brethren and to our department. It is much appreciated.

Jerry E. Powell/WD Foreign Missions Department Promotion Director

Don Demyan - Director, Region One
Richard Grandquist - Director, Region Two
John Thomas - Secretary/Director, Region Three
Morgan Underwood, Honorary Director

Thursday, May 19, 2011

~And Away We Go!

AIMers Doug and Nannette Elkins leaving for Latvia 

The past few weeks have been a whirlwind, but the light has begun to shine at the end of the tunnel! We had been unable to schedule an exact departure date due to a couple of items that were still in front of us. Thankfully, those were resolved last week, and we are on track to leave May 24th for the next phase of Faith Journey! We are truly excited to be counting down the days until we board the plane for Latvia. There is still much to be done before we leave, so we ask that you continue to keep us in your prayers that all will be accomplished in a timely fashion.

We have been blessed since our relocation back to Bloomington, IN to be able to minister in some awesome churches in the area, and we still have a couple of engagements before we leave. A heartfelt thanks to all of you that have been such a blessing to us during this term of our fund-raising travels.

Doug & Nannette


Bookmark our website so that you can keep up with all the details of our Journey. Once we are on location, we will be posting pictures and blog entries to keep all of you in touch.


We are still in need of additional partners to help us reach our budget goal. Please see our support page for details on how you can become an important part of the team!

**Note! I was not ask to post this on behalf of the Elkins family. 

Bro. and Sister Elkins are still in need of support and if you would like to help them please access their website above for instructions. It would be much appreciated.

Thank you,
Jerry E.  Powell

~Suriname News Flash #3 - April 2011


Suriname News Flash

April 2011
Hello!  We hope you and your family are well.  Here are a few events from April.

April 2
Ministers in Training meeting in Paramaribo.

April 7
Trip to Nieuw Nickerie to check on church property. Still awaiting approval to finalize purchase.

April 8
Youth activity in capital city.

April 10
One person received the Holy Ghost and one person baptized in Paramaribo.

April 15-17
Ladies retreats in central and western regionswith Sister Lynn Lamont, guest speaker from TrinidadFifty-six people were in attendance and three received the gift of the Holy Ghost.

April 24
Monthly Bible school class at the central prison.

April 27-28
Annual regional leadership meeting.

Thank you for praying for our family and for the church in Suriname.

The Rhoads Family
Missionaries to Suriname

Monday, May 16, 2011

~Missionary Prayer FOCUS - May 16th - May 31st, 2011


Monday May 16th, 2011 - William and Ramona Schlegel, International Ministry

Tuesday May 17th, 2011 - Terry and Cindy McFarland, Republlic of Ireland

Wednesday May 18th, 2011 - Michael and Lisa Long, Vanuatu

Thursday May 19th, 2011 - Janice Hersey, Russia
                                           -No photo available at this time

Friday May 20th, 2011 - Ed and Naomi Hosmer, Japan

Saturday May 21st, 2011 - Robert and Sheri Moses, Russia

Sunday, May 15, 2011

~Featured Missionary and Country of the Week - E. J. Kim/South Korea

 E.J. Kim
Region(s): Asia 
Field(s): Korea 
Website: click here to visit 

Bio: In 1985 Ey Ja Kim, a naturalized American, was the accounting supervisor for one of the world’s leading chartered accounting firms’ Washington, D.C., office. She took a leave of absence from her job to take the gospel to her devout Buddhist family on Nam Hae, an island off the Korean coast. After serving as an associate in missions for three years and donating her profit sharing funds—which meant terminating her employment—to build a church, she received her appointment to Korea in 1991. In Korea she coordinates the Associates In Missions program, promotes and directs the Korea Network of Prayer, and plants new churches. She also teaches in the Bible school, ministers in local churches, and serves as a member of the General Board and the overseer of the Board of Trustees.

South Korea

Republic of Korea/Taehan Min’guk
Area Coordinator
Superintendent/President: Moon Jong Kang
Population: 48,800,000
Area: 38,324 sq. mi.
Capital: Seoul
Languages: Korean
Religions: No affiliation, 46%; Christian, 26%; Buddhist, 26%; Confucianist, 1%, other 1%
The Republic of Korea occupies a mountainous peninsula in northeast Asia. In the aftermath of World War II, the victorious Allies and the USSR divided the ancient nation of Korea at the thirty-eighth parallel. They hailed the new Republic of Korea on August 15, 1945. South Korea’s industries include electronics, automobile production, chemicals, shipbuilding, steel, textiles, clothing, footwear, and food processing. In 1965 Elton and Loretta Bernard founded the United Pentecostal Church of South Korea. Now nationalized, the church is led by Moon Jong Kang, the general superintendent. According to the 2006 Annual Field Report, the church has 2,120 constituents, 49 licensed ministers, and 41 churches.

More information:

Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
An independent Korean state or collection of states has existed almost continuously for several millennia. Between its initial unification in the 7th century - from three predecessor Korean states - until the 20th century, Korea existed as a single independent country. In 1905, following the Russo-Japanese War, Korea became a protectorate of imperial Japan, and in 1910 it was annexed as a colony. Korea regained its independence following Japan's surrender to the United States in 1945. After World War II, a Republic of Korea (ROK) was set up in the southern half of the Korean Peninsula while a Communist-style government was installed in the north (the DPRK). During the Korean War (1950-53), US troops and UN forces fought alongside soldiers from the ROK to defend South Korea from DPRK attacks supported by China and the Soviet Union. An armistice was signed in 1953, splitting the peninsula along a demilitarized zone at about the 38th parallel. Thereafter, South Korea achieved rapid economic growth with per capita income rising to roughly 17 times the level of North Korea. In 1993, KIM Young-sam became South Korea's first civilian president following 32 years of military rule. South Korea today is a fully functioning modern democracy. President LEE Myung-bak has pursued a policy of global engagement since taking office in February 2008, highlighted by Seoul's hosting of the G-20 summit in November 2010. Serious tensions with North Korea have punctuated inter-Korean relations in recent years, including the North's sinking of the South Korean warship Cheonan in March 2010 and its artillery attack on South Korean soldiers and citizens in November 2010.

Photos of South Korea:

Please continue to PRAY for and 

support our missionaries around the 

world!  Thank you!

Friday, May 13, 2011

~UGANDA - The Pearl of Africa/1st Quarter Newsletter

Philip and Twyla Tolstad

Missionaries to UGANDA - “The Pearl of Africa

First Quarter Newsletter - United Pentecostal Church International

8855 Dunn Road, Hazelwood, MO 63042

General Conference 2011, there were 68 people filled with the Holy Ghost, 22 baptized in Jesus Name, including nine pastors. There were six pastors who were restored to the UACU and 502 registered Pastors and Elders in attendance.

The move of God was powerful as God’s Truth was taught. Many were moved to be restored and healed.

Pastors came from all corners of Uganda, from the West Nile far to the north, From Juba, Sudan, from Kisoro at the corner of Rwanda and Congo, from Karamajong, far to the North East, from Kenya, from Mt. Elgon, Lake Victoria and Congo Borders. It was a moving spiritual time of Unity and Maturity for the Church. Truly it was a “Celebration” of mighty worship in the Lord! Choirs came from all the Regions to Worship and magnify the great works of God in many tribal languages as well as English, Swahili, French and Luganda.

General Conference 2011

I am thankful that nine new pastors where baptized in Jesus Name. They have applied for license and are joining the UACU.

The United Apostolic Church of Uganda is continuing to grow and experience a great move of God! There are now 598 Churches and Branches; over 11,000 received the Holy Ghost in 2010 and 9,860 were baptized in water in the Name of Jesus Christ. For this we give God the Glory!

Bro David Bernard, General Superintendent of the UPCI was our Guest Speaker. Bro Tolstad is presenting him a gift for blessing Uganda.

Robert Monzira presented his Valedictorian Bible College Degree by Area Coordinator Missionary James Crumpacker

Youth Choir from Lira, North Kyoga Region worshiping at General Conference

Saturday, May 7, 2011

~Happy MOTHER'S Day!


Western District Foreign Missions Department Staff

     Donald O'Keefe, Director
     John Thomas, Secretary
     Jerry Powell, Promotion Director
     Don Demyan, Director - Region One
     Richard Grandquist, Director - Region Two
     John Thomas, Director - Region Three
     Morgan Underwood, Honorary District Director

~What I Believe

 Here's a small portion of my personal list expressing the beliefs I want to pass on:

1.I believe I'm a work in progress and there will always be a gap between who I am and who I want to be.

2.I believe every day brings opportunities to learn and to do something meaningful.

3.I believe the true test of my character is whether I do the right thing even when it might cost more than I want to pay.

4.I believe that no matter how I behave, some people will be mean-spirited, dishonest, irresponsible, and unkind, but if I fight fire with fire, all I'll end up with is ashes.

5.I believe life is full of joys and sorrows and my happiness depends on how well I handle each.

6.I believe pain is inevitable but suffering is optional, and if I can control my attitudes I can control my life.

7.I believe kindness really matters and snide and sarcastic comments and badly-timed criticisms can cause lasting hurt.

8.I believe there's joy in gratitude and freedom in forgiveness, but both require conscientious effort.

9.I believe what is fun and pleasurable is not always good for me and what is good for me is not always fun or pleasurable.

10.I believe no one is happy all the time, but in the end I can be as happy as I'm willing to be.

11.I believe the surest road to happiness is good relationships.

- by Michael Josephson

Thursday, May 5, 2011

~Thai-Gram - May 2011/Ed and Mary Simmons


May 2011

Ed & Mary Simmons

8855 Dunn Rd.
Hazelwood, MO 63042

Thai Youth Conference 2011

Lumphini Park Outreach
Breaktime Between Services
AIMer Jordan Simmons - Successful Chameleon Hunting
No air conditioning, no carpet, no electricity. But the presence
of God when two or three gather in His name is so real!

The population of the city of Bangkok
is larger than 160 countries in the world!

If you haven't already, please add  
to your email's contacts/address book.
God bless each of you.

Thank you so much for your continued prayers and support,
Ed & Mary Simmons
Bangkok, Thailand

Visit Our Web Site
Visit Thailand Bible School Web Site

Please continue to PRAY for our missionaries around the world!