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


Saturday, June 25, 2011

~Faith Journey - AIMers Doug and Nannette Elkins


First Revival Steps
It is hard to imagine that we have already been in Riga for a month! It seems that it was just yesterday that we gathered up our luggage and boarded the plane. These first four weeks have truly been busy, eventful weeks. Much has happened that will become the foundation for revival in this city!

God has blessed us with a great apartment in a very busy part of the outskirts of the main city. Our home has a very large, open living room which is very conducive to be able to facilitate house church and various other gatherings. We believe that God opened the door here at just the right time! The first week was spent in very intense cleaning, and getting the necessities to set up the house. Needless to say, that time was exhausting, but we are now so very excited at the prospect of what God will do here in our home as we reach out to people.

God has brought together an incredible team here to begin laying the foundation for the revival that He has in store. In addition to Missionaries Mark & Robin Shutes, there are 12 AIMers (7 Long-term & 5 Short-term) along with Mark Shutes' brother Nathan, and his family, who are a part of the team as well. These people bring varied backgrounds and experiences to the team, yet we all realize that God has brought us together for this mission.

The past two weeks have been filled with a time of intense training and team-building. We have spent time learning about the country of Latvia, its culture, history and its language. We have also focused a great deal of time in spiritual training. Under the direction of Bishop Shutes, he has instilled in us Biblical principles and understanding that he has gleaned from his experiences in this region of the world as a missionary. There have been great awakenings within each of us of the gifts that God has placed in us that are at our disposal. Many great words of prophecy have gone forward giving us the confidence and confirmation of what God desires to do.

The immediate area of Riga has been divided into sub-regions. During the next year, each of these regions will see at least one house church planted and preparations made to see additional churches in the future. Nannette & I will be planting one of those churches in the Kenagrags region. We have already been able to make some initial contacts, and look forward to the doors of opportunity that God will set before us to meet many more. Being involved at this level will help us to be better prepared for the training that we will be involved in for the future, as well as establish a base for future house church plants!

In July, the Hall (main) Church will be launched, where we will all gather together for a celebration service. We anticipate that many needs will be met, that mighty miracles will take place, and that countless souls will find a greater revelation of Jesus Christ in these services! In preparation for this launch, we are involved this week in a week of prayer and fasting. We are also conducting prayer walks throughout our particular region preparing the people for what God has in store. We ask that you would join with us this week believing that God is getting ready to do great things.

Next week begins our main thrust of outreach evangelism. The entire team will begin to target three of the six areas each week with street evangelism and music. These will certainly be exciting opportunities to touch the lives of people as we lead up to the opening of the Hall Church and also a Holy Ghost Rally scheduled in early August.

Special Financial Needs!

As we mentioned above, we will begin holding House Church in our apartment in the near future. Beginning this weekend, we will begin holding Sunday service with a portion of the team here as well. Because of this new addition to our responsibilities, we have some financial needs that were not a part of our original budget. Specifically we need to purchase items that are a necessary component of hosting successful services. We have an immediate need of a keyboard as well as some inexpensive folding chairs. We can accomplish this task with an amount of $1,000. If you would be willing to help us with this you can donate on our support page. Thank you for allowing God to use you in the work of reaching Riga!

Transportation! Please help us pray for a vehicle! We really need a small, inexpensive car to help us get around Latvia. This will especially be a great need in our travels in the near future. We are asking you to help us pray that God will supply something that will fit our limited budget. We believe He is able!

Monthly Support

Since our original budget was set nearly nine months ago, the US Dollar has lost about 15 - 20% against the Latvian Lat. This has resulted in a budget shortfall that could hinder our ability to complete our scheduled one-year term. We would ask that you prayerfully consider partnering with us financially to help us make up this shortfall. On our support page, you can find several different donation options that we have made available for your ease and convenience. Please be assured that any amount donated goes a long way toward us being able to meet the financial obligations that we face. We know that God will mightily bless your sacrifice of partnering with us.

Bro. Elkins is the former Foreign
Missions Director for the state of 
Missouri. They are now serving as
AIMers in the country of Latvia in 
Eastern Europe. Please keep them 
in prayer. They are also in need of 
financial support due to the devalued dollar against the Latvian lat and would appreciate any contributions to their mission. 

Note! The Elkins did not request that I make an appeal on their behalf.

Please continue to PRAY for all our missionaries around the world!

~Barcelona Commentary - June 2011

 Barcelona Commentary
Rev. & Mrs. Nathan A. Harrod
  Missionaries to Spain 
    United Pentecostal Church International

N & T

Revival Report...

Our First National Ladies Convention
Ladies Con
In the Month of May we had our first ever, National Ladies Convention in the city of Zaragoza. Ladies from all over Spain traveled to receive a blessing. We were privileged to have Sister
Jessica Marquez, missionary to the Dominican Republic, come and speak during this great event. There were over 700 ladies that attended with many receiving the Holy Ghost during this two day meeting.

Record Sunday In Barcelona

The Lord is blessing the church here in Barcelona. Most Sundays we have been averaging over 350, but this past 
month we had a record Sunday with 445 in attendance. We have also had over 40 receive the Holy Ghost so far this year at "Los Pentecostales de Barcelona." God is bringing the increase!

Thank you for all your prayers and support. Together we are claiming Spain in Jesus' name!  
 family easter
God Bless,

Nathan, Tanya, Alaina and Lincoln Harrod

Friday, June 24, 2011

~Does It Matter?


I run into a lot of cynics. The nicer ones commend my good intentions, but one way or another they tell me I’m wasting my time. They tell me I’m a small voice in the wildernesssalmon swimming up stream. After all, people are what they are and they’re not going to change

So, do I really think that my little 90-second talks about ethics and character really make any difference? Yeah, I guess I do. Sure, there are times when I feel worn out and wonder whether it’s worth it, but one reason I've always been able to snap back is that I have high hopes and low expectations

You see, I don’t expect to turn sinners into saints or to eradicate evil, corruption, stupidity, or selfishnessBut I do think that with a little encouragementall of us can and many of us do choose to be better, one decision at a time

I love the story about a young boy walking on a beach who comes upon hundreds of starfish abandoned on the sand by a rapidly receding tide. Realizing they’ll die unless they get back to the water, he starts picking them up one by one and throws them back into the seaA passerby makes fun of him for wasting his time. “Foolish boy, there are too many starfish out here. Many are dead already. Throwing a few back won’t make any difference.” Undaunted, the boy looks at the living creature in his hand and says, “It will for this one.” 

Cynics worry so much about what can’t be done that they never understand what can be doneone starfish at a timeEvery one of us can make a differencenot only in our own lives, but in the lives of others and in the character of our homes, our neighborhoods, and our communitiesIf we’re not part of the solution, we’re part of the problem.

-Michael Josephson from  

Friday, June 10, 2011

~Featured Missionary and Country of the Week - Bangladesh/The James Corbin Family


James and Elizabeth Corbin
Region(s): Asia
Field(s): Bangladesh

click here to visit 

Bio: James and Elizabeth Corbin both came from Pentecostal homes and were married in Goshen, California, on September 2, 1989. Soon after their marriage, God began to speak to the both of them concerning reaching the lost in Bangladesh. They arrived in Bangladesh as missionaries in 1993. Within a short while they became fluent in the language and began to find open doors of ministry throughout Bangladesh. In 1997 they moved to Dhaka, the capital city, to start a fresh ministry outreach. Continued revival and growth in Bangladesh is a result of many days and hours spent in prayer, fasting, and in training the people of Bangladesh to become the men and women that God has destined for them to be. The James Corbin family and the United Pentecostal Church of Bangladesh are moving forward with vision and purpose to establish the kingdom of God in Bangladesh.

People’s Republic of Bangladesh
Area Coordinator: James N. Corbin
Population: 146600000
Area: 55,598 sq. mi.
Capital: Dhaka
Languages: Bangla (official, also known as Bengali), English
Religions: Muslim, 83% (official); Hindu, 16%; other, 1%

Formerly known as East Pakistan, the People’s Republic of Bangladesh lies on the Bay of Bengal in South Asia. It is surrounded by India on all sides except for a small border with Myanmar to the far southeast and the Bay of Bengal to the south. It is the most densely populated nation in the world and produces over 50% of the world’s supply of jute. Rice, sugar cane, and tea are other principal crops. The Ganges and Brahmaputra Rivers cut through Bangladesh’s low plain, while devastating monsoons and cyclones frequently flood the nation. Missionaries from Northeast India planted the seeds of the gospel in Bangladesh. With the arrival of resident missionaries, the church has experienced great revival. The 2006 Annual Field Report shows the church has 8,391 constituents, seven ministers, and 71 churches and preaching points. In early 2007 missionary James Corbin stated, “With the Lord’s help and a dedication to reaching the lost, we have seen the church in Bangladesh grow from just seven people to now over 10,000 members. The church in Bangladesh is a revival church moving forward into all walks of life and reaching out unto all people of various religious backgrounds with the gospel of Jesus Christ and is making a difference.”

More Information:

Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
Europeans began to set up trading posts in the area of 
Bangladesh in the 16th century; eventually the British came
to dominate the region and it became part of British India. 
In 1947, West Pakistan and East Bengal (both primarily 
Muslim) separated from India (largely Hindu) and jointly 
became the new country of Pakistan. East Bengal became 
East Pakistan in 1955, but the awkward arrangement of a
two-part country with its territorial units separated by 
1,600 km left the Bengalis marginalized and dissatisfied. 
East Pakistan seceded from its union with West Pakistan
in 1971 and was renamed Bangladesh. A military-backed, 
emergency caretaker regime suspended parliamentary 
elections planned for January 2007 in an effort to reform 
the political system and root out corruption. In contrast 
to the strikes and violent street rallies that had marked 
Bangladeshi politics in previous years, the parliamentary
elections finally held in late December 2008 were mostly
peaceful and Sheikh HASINA Wajed was elected prime 
minister. About a third of this extremely poor country 
floods annually during the monsoon rainy season, 
hampering economic development.

Please continue to PRAY for all our missionaries around 
the World!

~Finland - June 2011 Prayer Focus

Finland's Intercessor Team
Prayer Focus
The Mark Alphin Family-UPCI Missionaries, FINLAND 
June 2011 

You have received this email because:
(1) You voluntarily joined our prayer team,
(2) You support us financially and we want to keep you in the "communication loop."
We greet you in Jesus' Name with hopes that this email finds you well!

As you probably know from reading our newsletter (sent via Constant Contact on June 6, 2011), we recently attended the Scandinavian Conference. While there, both Mark and I were given a prophetic word that we know was from God, as He alone knows the prayers of our heart. He has seen our struggle, and He will overcome and give us complete dominion in our country. However, we know that God's timing is perfect. As humans, it is easy to think, "God said he would conquer, so let's watch as He does a quick work!" But, it generally doesn't work that way. Habakkuk 2:3 says, "For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry." Just as the Old Testament prophets had to wait for God's Word to be fulfilled, we must also wait. 

Prior to conference, I had been praying specifically for spiritual doors to be opened within our community. I was somewhat taken aback to hear the Lord say, "I'll open them when you're ready." "Ready? What do you mean, 'When we're ready?' God, we gave up everything we knew to be 'normal' in order to help You fulfill your vision for Finland." It was then that God began to remind me of the circumstances under which our family has lived for the last five months.
  • Undergoing cultural changes from one country to another: these encompass the way people think, act, talk, and live.
  • Absence of close family and friends: we're learning to live with our loved ones far away while we enlarge our friendship base here in our new country.
  • Finding a new place to call home, then finally being able to settle into it once our shipment arrived in May (after five months of waiting). Just imagine potentially being in a state of relocation for that length of time (*smiling*)!
  • Experiencing a different sort of spiritual attack than we'd faced before: being responsible for the salvation of a nation, whereas before, we'd also been under the umbrella of someone else's leadership. Now, as we say in the United States, "the buck stops here."
So, we continue to pray, learn, and wait. There is no stress or frustration, for we understand that God is in control. His plan is perfect, and so is its implementation. "Finally, my brothers, pray for us, that the Word of the Lord may have free course and be glorified, even as it also is with you." (2 Thessalonians 3:1, MKJV) 
Glenda Alphin

May 2011's prayer focus requested that, rather than declaring spiritual war and fighting the enemy, prayers for God's light to shine in Finland be sent up to heaven. Within hours of Finland's Intercessor Team (FIT) members receiving our email, the spiritual atmosphere began to shift and continued to do so throughout the month. While there is definitely a spiritual battle, its parameters have shifted. We ask that prayers like this continue, as it is enabling us to gain more dominion in the spirit realm.

Continued Prayers for Light

"For with thee is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light." (Psalms 36:9)  

"The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple." (Psalms 119:130)  

"But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shines more and more to the perfect day." (Proverbs 4:18)

"Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." (Matthew 5:14-16)

"Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." (John 8:12)   

Home Bible Studies
We are currently teaching three individuals. We need continued wisdom to present the Gospel in such a way that they will both have a better understanding of scripture and God's plan for their lives.

Ongoing Requests
  • Language studies: new language teacher, clarity, focus--this is an important one for us, as it is imperative that we be able to grasp the Finnish language
  • AIM couple for Tampere
  • A hunger to arise within the Finnish people, that they would begin to feel a deep urgency to seek God
  • A spiritual awakening to occur in the hearts and minds of men
  • A blood covering over the people of the Name within the country
  • Open doors for the Word of God to have free course
  • The spirit of God to draw people who are hungry for salvation
  • For the atmosphere to be changed so that people would more easily understand and accept salvation
FIT Member Prayer Requests
Carolyn - is suffering with a recurrence of bone cancer
Shirley - has a situation in her family that only God can work out; she asks for His wisdom

If you have a prayer request that you would like to share with the team, please feel free to contact us.  

"Blessed is Jehovah, because He has heard the voice of my prayers. Jehovah is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in Him, and I am helped; therefore my heart greatly rejoices; and with my song I will praise Him. Jehovah is a strength to them, and He is the saving strength of His anointed."
(Psalm 28:6-8)

Helsinki skyline

Thursday, June 9, 2011

~Suriname News Flash - May 2011


Suriname News Flash

May 2011
Hello from the Rhoads family in Suriname.  During May we enjoyed a visit from our son, Justin, and his friend AmandaHere are a few other events from the month.

May 3
     -Visited a home near Paramaribo expecting to have Bible study with new family, and found nineteen people waiting.
May 11
     -Fourth Open Door Group started in Paramaribo, with twelve people present.
May 12
     -Monthly leadership meeting for capital city church.
May 15
     -Ten children dedicated in Paramaribo.
May 19-20
     -Visited contacts in western Suriname, and held service one night in the captain's home.
May 22
     -Three people baptized in Paramaribo.
May 27
     -Bible study at one of the prisons.
May 28
     -National minister's meeting, where plans were made to reach out to new areas of Suriname.
May 29
     -Two people baptized by pastor in Nieuw Nickerie; one person baptized by assistant pastor in Paramaribo.

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

The Rhoads Family
Missionaries to Suriname

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

~The Finland Flashpoint - Spring 2011

The Mark Alphin Family
UPCI Missionaries to Finland

Adjusting to Cultural Changes
Ministering at Livende Kirke 
(Living Church), Copenhagen, 
While the past five months have definitely been one of great transition in many respects, our family is enjoying being among the Finnish people and learning their culture. A good friend of ours understands the necessity of cultural education, so along with a historical explanation, she typically surprises us by supplying items used in celebrating the different Finnish holidays. We have truly been blessed with several people that care about helping us acclimate to our new home, and it has been a great help to us. (Your continued prayers for us in this regard would be appreciated, as culture shock tends to last for some time.) Our shipment finally arrived during the first week of May, so we are just about settled in and unpacked. This month, we are planning to really "dig into" language study. Our initial teaching arrangement did not work out, so we are currently seeking someone that will help us. In the meantime, we have located reliable books and online tools that are assisting us with the process. While it is sure to take some time, we look forward to communicating with Finns in their native tongue!

Meet Your Team!
 Palace of Danish Queen
Copenhagen, Denmark
Each of us are building relationships with individuals, allowing our 'light' to shine in the community, and fulfilling other duties as well. Mark has been teaching Home Bible Studies since February, one of which requires travel to Tampere on a near-weekly basis. Glenda is focusing on intercessory prayer for the country while handling the team communication and finances. Miranda is functioning as her dad's Administrative Assistant. She also volunteers for the UPCI Foreign Mission's AIM department as Managing Editor of their bi-monthly e-newsletter. And, last but not least, Candace fulfills the role of Photographer when she's not completing her high school education. We are thankful that God has placed a unified desire within each of us to work together toward one common goal - making the Gospel available to the Finnish people.
Scandinavian Conference 2011
A grateful "Thank You" goes out to Bethel Tabernacle and Pastor David Fauss, who financially enabled us to make a recent trip to Copenhagen, Denmark. Prior to the Scandinavian Conference, we were invited to minister to Livende Kirke (Living Church). After Mark spoke about faith, members of the church laid hands on fellow saints. We watched as God filled one with His Spirit and gave another a miracle in his body. Three others also claimed a healing. We later found out that the lady who received the Holy Ghost was miraculously healed of scoliosis, of which she had suffered from birth. Faith truly can move mountains! We were greatly blessed to spend time with Pastor Chris and Clara Brett and their precious saints.

Scandinavian Conference 
Minister's Luncheon
Bro. & Sis. Howell
The Scandinavian Conference was an important one for our family, as we were able to connect with other ministry and saints within our newly renamed region, "UPCI of the Nordic Countries." Additionally, we became more acquainted with our EME leadership, Bros. Tuttle and Kelley. The ministry that went forth in each service was uplifting, and our family returned to Finland feeling spiritually strengthened. God knew what we needed and it came at just the right time!
"Thank You" to TEAM FINLAND!
Thank you to those who have been supporting us, whether it be through prayer or finance. The efforts put forth by both churches and individuals are working together to make the Gospel available to the Finnish people, and we appreciate you!

"Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment on the head that ran down on the beard, Aaron's beard, that went down to the mouth of his garments; like the dew of Hermon that came down on the mountains of Zion; for there Jehovah commanded the blessing, life forevermore." (Psa 133:1-3) 

We were blessed with a visit by Douglas, Nannette, and Korey Elkins (AIM-Latvia) as they stopped in Helsinki on a layover to Riga, Latvia, where they are assisting Missionaries Mark and Robin Shutes. It was a joy to see our friends, if just for a few hours!

We appreciate the part that each of you play in reaching Finland - and your community - with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 

May God Bless You!

Mark, Glenda, Miranda, and Candace
UPCI Missionaries to Finland

Friday, June 3, 2011

~Mexigram - June 2011 from Missionary T. Wynn Drost


From the email desk of Missionary T. Wynn Drost - General Superintendent UPC of Mexico
    FOUR CATHOLIC PRIESTS BAPTIZED! Among the many wonderful things that God is doing in Mexico, we've had four Catholic priests  baptized in the Name of Jesus in the last couple of years. Two of them were Bishops in the Catholic Church. Pictured are: Rev Martín González, Vice President of the UPC of Mexico (he has baptized two of the ex-priests); ex-catholic Bishop Ernesto Blanco (baptized in early May 2011, recently), ex-catholic Bishop Roberto Piñeiro (baptized in October 2010), and Brother T.W.Drost
    Each one of these ex-priests is becoming a powerful testimony, traveling to different Churches to give their testimony. Many are being baptized and filled with the HG in their services. All four of them, have not only been baptized in Jesus' Name, but all of them have also received the baptism of the Holy Ghost.
Recently (two weeks ago) we had Brother Piñeiro preaching and giving his testimony in the local Church that I Pastor in Mexico City and, that Sunday, there were 15 baptized and 13 received the Holy Spirit.

    When they preach at a Church, they start speaking dressed as a priest and, as they give their testimony, they progressively take their robes off, explaining what the various pieces represent. They end up putting a suit coat on, saying that, now they don't need those robes, for they are free, and today they are Ministers of the true and genuine Gospel! In fact, they have become passionate about the One-God message and baptism in Jesus' Name!

    Brother Ramón Casillas, who was the first ex-priest to be baptized, in March of 2009, is a Licensed Minister with the UPC of Mexico. He started a Church in the center of the city of Zamora, Michoacán, and is doing VERY well, running over 100 in their regular services. He also started a Christian Re-Hab Center for alcoholics and drug addicts. He presently has 37 men and young men, ex-alcoholics and druggies, some of them, picked up from the very streets of Zamora. Brother Casillas is doing a tremendous job with these. I was recently visiting him, and was VERY impressed.

    Pictured above: Brother Ramón Casillas leading the service in the Church he started in Zamora.

    Pictured below: the group of ex-alcoholics and drug addicts doing a drama presentation in the service. Very impressive!

    If someone feels lead to help in Brother Ramón Casillas' ministry and efforts to reach the hopeless, please contact us.

    2011 NATIONAL CONVENTION. The UPC of Mexico has its National Convention every two years, with Zonal (Regional) Conventions during the alternate years. This year our National Convention 2011 will be in the Sports Palace (Palacio De Los Deportes) in Mexico City, July 29-31, 2011. We will have over 15,000 in attendance, and our goal is to see over 1,500 receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Yes we can, and will! Why not plan to come and be part of revival? Check us out at:

    Please pray for continued revival in Mexico!

    Thank you.

Bro. T.W. Drost - General Superintendent UPC of Mexico 55-5519 0783