Oklahoma Conference of the United Methodist Church

Missionaries arrive in state this summer


Students at Asbury College, Anda, the Philippines, surround missionary Marsha Alexander, originally from Oklahoma. A 15-member Claremore-First VIM team served there in February and presented Rev. Alexander with a cross. They also gave soccer balls for each classroom. Team leader Alon Bruce Anderson affirmed the ongoing covenant ministry partnership with Rev. Alexander, whom he first met in the early 1980s. He said team interaction with the children was outstanding. The VIM work included construction and Christian education. Two members were from the Vinita church.

Missionaries who serve in the Philippines and Cambodia will visit Oklahoma this summer during their U.S. rotation tours.

They welcome any opportunities to visit churches and other groups who would like to hear their stories. They enjoy speaking to groups of any size.

"Bringing a missionary to your church can be a transformative event," explained Karen Distefano of Bartlesville, Conference secretary of Global Ministries. "It takes just one person to hear how God is at work through our missionaries. That one person can inspire the whole church to get involved with missions all over the world."

Distefano suggested inviting these speakers to youth groups, prayer meetings, UMW or UMMen events. She knows Sunday morning opportunities are limited.

"Churches can have a very meaningful visit by having a missionary come to a small-group gathering on a different day," she said. "A small-group gathering allows for deeper conversations."

Marsha Alexander, Philippines

Marsha Gail Alexander serves in the Philippines as director of Asbury College, on the island of Anda in the northern Luzon Province of Pangasinan. Asbury College is a UM-related school.

"I see my mission as an opportunity to share the love of Christ," Marsha said, "and to help people to recognize themselves as children of God and fellow sojourners in the task of sharing God’s love and living together as neighbors."

Originally from Oklahoma, she entered the missionary field from Chickasha-Epworth UMC.

Rev. Alexander will be in Oklahoma July 15 – Sept. 15.

Joseph and Marilyn Chan, Cambodia

In 1979, Joseph Chan’s name appeared near the top of a list of political prisoners scheduled to be killed by the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia. Four days before his execution date, Joseph was saved. In a refugee camp, Joseph and Marilyn Chan found Christ.

Today in Cambodia, Rev. Chan is a district superintendent, focusing on helping local pastors and other leaders care for their congregations. Marilyn works with United Methodist women in Cambodia, advocating and networking to empower them and improve their health.

From Aug. 27 through Sept. 11, the Chans look forward to meeting with Oklahoma United Methodists.

To invite any of the missionaries to visit, contact Distefano, kririe@aol.com, 918-440-9213.


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