December 30, 2009

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Due to the holidays, there will be no Update this week.

May God’s peace be with you.


Prayer Requests and Updates

Please join us in earnest prayer for Joanne and Pastor Lloyd Barrie of Kalispell, Montana.   After what was expected to be a routine gallstone surgery, Joanne was diagnosed with stage four gall bladder cancer which has spread to the colon and liver.

Lloyd wrote, “Removal of the gall bladder was not an option due to the difficulty and length of the procedure and the limited benefit.  They performed gastric bypass surgery and Joanne is recovering well from the procedure. She will possibly be out of the hospital on January 2.  Apart from miraculous healing, there are no good long term outcomes with this cancer.   Joanne will be consulting an oncologist after she is released and will start chemotherapy in three to four weeks.  We feel Jesus holding us very tightly and we know His grace is sufficient in all trials. Please keep Joanne, myself, our family and our church family in your prayers.”

Cards may be sent to:

Lloyd and Joanne Barrie
503 2nd Ave E
Kalispell, MT 59901-4903

Remember that prayer is the battleground where we fight the good fight of faith. Let’s encourage everyone to join together in prayer, for we belong to Christ, and by the Spirit it is in Christ that we pray. Prayer and other spiritual activities help keep our hearts in tune with God and remind us of who we are in Christ. He is our all in all, and in him we are eternally beloved of the Father and blessed to share his good news with others.

Love from my family to yours,
Joseph Tkach


December 23, 2009

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

May God grant you a blessed and merry Christmas as you celebrate the Incarnation of the Son of God!

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During the holiday period, Grace Communion International administrative offices will be closed December 24 – 31. Offices will officially reopen at 8:00 a.m. PST on Monday, January 4, 2010.


Training Seminar

The Southern California districts hosted a Ministry Development Training conference with Dan Rogers, US Superintendent of Ministers, at Community Life Fellowship in Altadena, California, on December 5. District Pastoral Leaders Eric Shaw, Bermie Dizon and Glen Weber invited elders and ministry leaders as well as interested members to participate in this three-District event.

Dan Rogers gave an overview of Christian ethics from a Trinitarian theological perspective in the morning. The focus was about understanding the moral principles revealed in the Incarnation of Jesus and how to apply the principles in everyday life decisions. In the afternoon Dr. Rogers gave a workshop titled Into the Bible for Maximum Impact and Fun and encouraged the study of Scripture in interesting new ways. We ended the afternoon with everyone breaking into small group discussions on selected scriptures.

The attendees enjoyed the fellowship and mealtime with those from other Southern California congregations. Many commented that they enjoyed the inspirational study and the time reconnecting with friends from other congregations. That evening at the Community Life Fellowship worship service, Dr. Rogers continued the day’s learning experience with a sermon titled: “It’s Not What You Have, It’s Who Has You” based on Luke 9:1-6 and 10-17.


Africa

From Gary Moore:

Wendy got a note this morning from Candida Millar, wife of the lay pastor of the Johannesburg Central congregation. Candida has three small children and gifts and passion for ministry to young people. She directs a VBS program which runs for several days at the youth summer camp (which is going on this week; remember, their summer is our winter). We were able to offer some help from our Africa Missions Fund to purchase supplies for the program (about $150 total), including a small gift for each child.

Here are excerpts from Candida’s note:

I wish you could have seen the children’s faces when they saw their presents from Canada. They were giddy with excitement. I gave them the stuff as they left so that their parents would be able to experience it with them… I’m so very humbled by your generous hearts for these little people. And let me tell you, it’s working! …Thank you, thank you, thank you!


Prayer Requests and Updates

I just talked with Peter Whitting and am delighted to report that he is now back home. His collapsed lung has been reversed and the physical therapy is going well. This week will be his first time in church for nearly three months. Peter and Charlotte thank all for their prayers.


National Director for Spain, Pedro Rufian, asked that we pray for the Madrid congregation’s outreach work. They seek especially to support senior citizens who are experiencing loneliness. He wrote, “Please pray for God to give us the courage and the faith to carry out the project. We know we are working in stony ground.”

Remember that prayer is the battleground where we fight the good fight of faith. Let’s encourage everyone to join together in prayer, for we belong to Christ, and by the Spirit it is in Christ that we pray. Prayer and other spiritual activities help keep our hearts in tune with God and remind us of who we are in Christ. He is our all in all, and in him we are eternally beloved of the Father and blessed to share his good news with others.

Love from my family to yours,
Joseph Tkach


December 16, 2009

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Christian Odyssey editor and international publications advisor John Halford visited Chogait and Amporn Garmolgomut in Thailand last week. Here is his report:

Friday, December 4, I was privileged to represent our denomination at the formal opening of the Ambassador Bilingual School (ABS) in Chiang Mai, Thailand. This is the latest, and most ambitious, of a chain of schools, kindergartens and language institutes established in Northern Thailand by Chogait and Amporn Garmolgomut.

Chogait is one of the few Thais to graduate from Ambassador College. After graduation, he returned to Thailand with a deep desire to serve his people, but no firm plans. About 20 years ago the late Herman Hoeh gave Chogait a check for $100 and suggested he and his wife start a school. The rest is history – but a remarkable history. (I told it in more detail in an article in the February-March 2009 issue of Christian Odyssey.) During the opening ceremony we named the school’s new library the Herman Hoeh Library and Educational Center.

ABS is a K-12 school, located in a refurbished office building that has been transformed into a bright, high-quality educational facility. Although not a Christian school per se, it is administered with Christian principles and values. As Chogait says, “I want to bring the best of what Ambassador gave me to my people, in a way they can understand and appreciate.”

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Thailand is a Buddhist country, and Christians only make up about 2 percent of the population. There are hundreds, maybe thousands, of Western missionaries in and around Chiang Mai, but their impact on the Thai community has been almost negligible. Some have been here for years without making one convert. This is what makes Chogait and Amporn’s effort all the more remarkable.

“People here want to learn English because they see it as the key to success and prosperity,” explains Chogait. “But we know that there is more to success than just material prosperity. We know that the gospel is the answer to our people’s deepest fears and worries. So we try to show them that by the way we live and run our educational operations.”

Although they did not set out to start a church, Chogait and Amporn have a house church of around 100 meeting regularly. They have baptized about 160 people in the last two or three years, most of them native Thais.


Cincinnati, Ohio

From Pastor George Hart:

Christ Community Church of Cincinnati reached out to the community around its church hall the Sunday before Thanksgiving with Thanksgiving meals. The area is one of the lowest-income communities in the county, with many school-age children. The congregation collected food and cash donations to put together 100 meals. The meals included all the traditional Thanksgiving trimmings and a gift certificate for a turkey or ham at the local grocery. After a shortened service, the congregation pitched in to put the meals together and deliver them to the community. In the process we were able to meet many of our community neighbors. The spirit of “missions” was high as most of the congregation was involved in the process. After delivering the meals, we returned for a pizza dinner and shared our experiences in meeting our neighbors. Our original goal was 100 meals, but we collected so much we were able to donate over $300 worth of food supplies to a soup kitchen the congregation serves every month. Next year we are talking about a goal of 200 meals.

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Africa

Kalengule Kaoma reports that Edward and Janet Banda of Kitwe, Zambia, are planning a new church plant in February 2010. “Mr. Banda has a theology diploma with missions major and Janet is a prayer warrior,” Kalengule said.


2010 International Conference

We are pleased to announce that we now have a conference website. Information about the agenda, speakers, activities and other conference-related items will be posted to this website as the details are confirmed. Registration for pastors will begin January 11 and for elders and members on January 29. Check out www.2010.gci.org for the latest details.

Generations Ministry announces teen and young adult track

During the 2010 Grace Communion International conference, Generations Ministries will sponsor a conference within the conference for young adults and teens. In this special Generations Ministry Track, teens and young adults will be able to attend training sessions geared toward their areas of ministry. They will have an opportunity to participate in some Orlando activities and they will have a place to reconnect and hang out. Sessions and activities will run parallel to the conference dates, July 22-25. The conference registration fee for teens and young adults will be $20 which will help offset some of the costs for this special gathering. Save the dates and spread the word – details will be forthcoming.


Mexico Short-Term Mission Trip

From Debbie Minke:

The Vancouver, British Columbia, congregation’s teen group is very excited to be embarking on a short-term mission trip to Mexico March 6-16, 2010. Our mission is to be worthy representatives of Jesus Christ by assisting with underprivileged children at Guarderia Dios Provehera (God Will Provide) Christian daycare (www.victoryinjjdaycare.webs.com). Participants will be assisting with building projects for a Mexican pastor who is starting a church and doing community outreach in Ensenada with a local congregation. We have a few spots still available for interested teens. Please complete the attached application form and return it before January 15, 2010. Feel free to contact Debbie Minke for more information at (604) 532-3750 or dminke@telus.net. The application may also be downloaded from our national website at www.wcg.ca.


Prayer Request

Remember that prayer is the battleground where we fight the good fight of faith. Let’s encourage everyone to join together in prayer, for we belong to Christ, and by the Spirit it is in Christ that we pray. Prayer and other spiritual activities help keep our hearts in tune with God and remind us of who we are in Christ. He is our all in all, and in him we are eternally beloved of the Father and blessed to share his good news with others.

Love from my family to yours,
Joseph Tkach


December 9, 2010

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Norma & Dennis Thibault
Norma & Dennis Thibault

Congratulations to Dennis and Norma Thibault, who celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in November! Dennis pastors the Castlegar, British Columbia, congregation.


Canada

From Gary Moore

After 40 years of service, Doug Smith let us know that he plans to retire at the end of August 2010. Doug was the first minister in Canada I trained under, and through the years I have learned many valuable things from both his words and example. Thank you for your prayers for Doug and Mique’s transition into retirement and for a new pastor to lead Cornerstone forward.


Newark, New Jersey

Youth Group dance symbolizing spiritual warfare
Youth Group dance symbolizing spiritual warfare

Tammy and I enjoyed celebrating with our brothers and sisters of the 24/7 Community Church in Newark, New Jersey, on their 10th anniversary. The congregation began with only 12 members and has steadily grown over the years, as you can see from the pictures. Having begun as a church plant, they now have visions of planting another congregation.

Church members there mentor young people at the Juvenile Detention Center and hold a church service there once a month. They also minister to a senior citizens center.

. . . . .


Africa

From Kalengule Kaoma:

In the second quarter of 2009, I received a letter from Christopher Balidin in Ghana. Since I had already planned a visit to Ghana for August 22 to September 4, I invited him to meet with me in Accra.

. .

On September 3, we met with a sizeable group in Christopher Balidin’s house. The group was looking for spiritual oversight from GCI. During discussions, we found out that the group has many physical needs as well. Emmanuel Okai and I discussed possible ways of helping the group both spiritually and physically. Since then, Emmanuel has visited them five times.

. .

For regular and ongoing visits, Emmanuel has assigned a deaconess and her family who live near Buduburam Refugee Camp.


2010 International Conference

We are pleased to announce that we now have a conference website. Information about the agenda, speakers, activities and other conference-related items will be posted to this website as the details are confirmed. Registration for pastors will begin January 11 and for elders and members on January 29. Check out www.2010.gci.org for the latest details.

Generations Ministry announces teen and young adult track

During the 2010 Grace Communion International conference, Generations Ministries will sponsor a conference within the conference for young adults and teens. In this special Generations Ministry Track, teens and young adults will be able to attend training sessions geared toward their areas of ministry. They will have an opportunity to participate in some Orlando activities and they will have a place to reconnect and hang out. Sessions and activities will run parallel to the conference dates, July 22-25. The conference registration fee for teens and young adults will be $20 which will help offset some of the costs for this special gathering. Save the dates and spread the word – details will be forthcoming.


Prayer Requests and Updates

Felix and Melba Johnson

Felix and Melba want to thank everyone for their support and encouragement. Felix’s follow-up appointment for his bladder procedure was very good. The doctor told them to go out and celebrate. Also, Melba’s colonoscopy test results showed no sign of cancer.


Torvieg Aas
From Carl Frederick Aas:

My wife’s health is greatly improved these last three weeks, and especially the last week. Her improvement has been slow but steady. She is a teacher in a primary school and is still on sick leave. But today she visited the school and stayed the first two hours because the pupils wanted to talk with her. They had heard that she had been so sick. I think that she will be back to work at school within a week or two.

Both my wife and I would like to express our deepest gratitude to everyone who has called, sent emails, sent cards and letters. God is merciful. God is good. God is almighty. Let his name be praised!

I am now starting to catch up on work that has been put aside the last few weeks. I will start to travel again. Last weekend I was away from home one night, the first time since my wife’s sickness. My next and last trip this year will be to Stockholm on December 12.


Beth Holm
From Rand Holm:

Friday, December 4, I spent all day with Beth at UCLA Medical Hospital where she was admitted as an outpatient. The surgeries and radiation she had four years ago did not have the success we had hoped for. She had an angiogram of her brain and they took a six-frame-per-second look at it to see what is going on. I got her home around 7 p.m. About 9 p.m. she passed out because of low blood pressure.

It looks as though Beth is going to have major brain surgery again, probably early next year. She has quite a bit of complex lesion left in her brain. Some of it is high risk. The doctors will attempt to immobilize some of the aneurysms and fistulas. They have come to the conclusion that there isn’t much more to do than that. They hope to lower the risk of future strokes and intracranial bleeds by treating this small but higher risk area.

Beth is losing fine motor control in her left hand. They are not sure what is causing that. This is pretty distracting to both Beth and me. Thanks so much for your prayers for wisdom in what steps to take. We are supposed to hear their recommendations next week.

Cards may be sent to:
3200 Foothill Dr, Apt 3
Westlake Village, CA 91361-4949

Remember that prayer is the battleground where we fight the good fight of faith. Let’s encourage everyone to join together in prayer, for we belong to Christ, and by the Spirit it is in Christ that we pray. Prayer and other spiritual activities help keep our hearts in tune with God and remind us of who we are in Christ. He is our all in all, and in him we are eternally beloved of the Father and blessed to share his good news with others.

Love from my family to yours,
Joseph Tkach


December 2, 2009

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Neil Earle
Neil Earle

Please join me in extending hearty congratulations to Pastor Neil Earle. Neil was one of eight people to receive a Community Service Recognition Award at this year’s Duarte Mayor’s Thanksgiving Prayer Breakfast. Here is part of what was written in the program:

Neil Earle and Irwin Margiloff [curator of the Duarte Historical Museum] spent nearly a year researching, writing, and pictorializing the history of Duarte. The result of their efforts is the book Images of America: Duarte, a 127 page account of Duarte’s history from the time of Andres Duarte to the present.

Historian Neil Earle is a pastor and journalist for the Worldwide Church of God… Neil is also involved with DCTV Duarte Access where he volunteers his time and hosts the current events program, A Second Look, focusing on biblical archaeology, geography and other relevant subjects.

Good work, Neil!

Neil interviewed You’re Included host Mike Feazell twice on A Second Look a few years ago when Mike was a resident of the city of Duarte.


Haiti

Joseph Franklin
Joseph Franklin

Pastor Joseph Franklin wrote:

We had set an agreement for all our scattered members and their families to meet with us in Port-au-Prince on the last Saturday of every month. In this meeting we spend hours sharing news, discussing current teachings in the church, making plans in the mission field and sharing communion. For the last two months, numerous difficulties arose that prevented us from holding this event that is so vital for the local church. We were glad that at least Daniel Leconte could make it, in spite of the long distance between Port-de-Paix and Port-au-Prince, as well as the extremely bad roads that can make the trip so hard.

So in November I announced a mission trip to Saint Marc to visit Serges Jacques and his family, and if it was possible, to meet with others to offer them articles translated into French. I was delighted when Serges told me that 15 to 20 people in addition to his family would be present.

We set Wednesday, November 18 (which was a national holiday) as the day for the mission and set out. Of course, everyone was aware of the ever-present danger of kidnapping, and the national road to Cap-Haitian through Saint Marc is a proverbial “road from Jerusalem to Jericho” where one is not likely to meet a “Good Samaritan.”

Nevertheless, we did meet one, by the name of Eddy, when our rented car broke down. Here is the whole story:

On Tuesday morning, November 17, I called the gentleman who usually gave us taxi-service and offered him a reasonable fare to take us to Saint Marc, wait for us, and then take us back home. He was already booked, so he referred us to one of his partners, whose name was Tom.

Tom agreed that we would leave Port-au-Prince at 6:30 a.m. Wednesday so we could make it to the meeting at 9:00 a.m. It is a two-hour drive on a good road. At 6:00 a.m. that morning, I called to remind him to pick up my assistant, André Naval at home and then pick up Bely Ferdinand (the new academic director of our school) and me up at the church hall. Tom told me that he was sorry, but the car had a brake problem and he had to look for a better vehicle. So I canceled our agreement and set out to find a better vehicle myself, but not before I rushed to the computer and sent Mr. Fleming and Pastor David a short note asking them to pray for my effort. Praise our powerful Lord; the mission was a fruitful one!

At 7:00 a.m. we finally found a taxi driver who was willing to make the trip to Saint-Marc – and to go slowly because we were in a hurry. (Napoleon Bonaparte once told his driver, “De grace, do not drive so fast, because I am in a hurry!”).

We finally got out of the main city traffic at 8:00 a.m. We filled the tank and drove on carefully. I called Serges to let him know that we would be about an hour late. He said everyone would be patient. We passed three villages with no sign of any problem. Suddenly, at 9:30 a.m., in a bushy zone halfway between Arcahaie and Montrouis, the car broke down.

Montrouis is the last village before reaching Saint Marc. We all stepped out of the car. I called Serges to beg a bit more patience, and told us not to worry. Then a stranger appeared offering help. The driver panicked, but explained that we were broken down. The stranger, whose name was Eddy, asked where we were heading, and I told him we were visiting a family in our church who live in Camp Mary near Saint Marc.

He said, “Good people. I like to see that,” and then offered to call someone who knew a mechanic.

I asked him if he was a Christian, and he said he didn’t go to church.

I offered him a copy of the French version of Dr. Feazell’s article, “Getting Real” and Dr. Tkach’s article, “Crown of Thorns.” Eddy accepted them with joy and asked when we might have another meeting so he could come to it. He helped us find a Tap-Tap (a small pickup truck), and we finally made it to Serges’ home at 11:00 a.m., where 22 were still waiting patiently.

Some of Serges’ guests were Sunday school leaders and deacons in evangelical churches of the community. We spent two hours discussing the permanent humanity of Jesus and his representative role before God the Father on behalf of all humanity as well as questions about hell, judgment, conversion and so forth. But the main question I ask you to pray about is this one: “Pastor, when will you be back for another study like this?”

As the old baker’s proverb says, “We have bread dough on the bench.”


Canada

Gary & Wendy Moore
Gary & Wendy Moore

From National Director Gary Moore:

Summer is arriving in the southern hemisphere, which means the December summer camp program will commence soon in Zambia and South Africa. We will be providing assistance to both camps this year, which is greatly appreciated. The camp for Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malawi can only take place with our help, and this year the South African economy has been hard hit by the global recession, so our help is greatly appreciated there, too. We’ll provide $3000 to each camp. Half of the $6000 total is coming from the Red Deer, Alberta, church and the Crossfield, Alberta, small group church. The other half is coming from our African Missions Fund. The Africa Missions Fund is a fund that any member may contribute any amount to, regardless of how small. It will be included in their annual tax receipt along with their regular donations. This makes it possible for individual members to help with world mission in our fellowship directly, even if their local church budget cannot afford to help on a congregational basis. We don’t want this fund to compete with funds for the running of the church, but even an extra $5 or $10 can add up and make a big difference if a number of us get involved.

On a related note, the Toronto East and Vancouver congregations have donated $5500 to help with disaster relief in the Philippines in the wake of this fall’s typhoons and floods. Also, the Toronto East church has donated $2000 to support a major outreach by Hector Barrero (pastor of our Bogota church, and National Director for Colombia). Hector does a local radio program and will promote public marriage seminars that this funding will make possible. This was done earlier this year, and proved to be very successful, with several marriages and baptisms resulting.


Tanzania

From Kalengule Kaoma:

Kimani
Kimani

Thank you for your prayers and financial support for the visit to Musoma, Tanzania. God is wonderful in the way he reveals himself in spite of our weakness.

Kimani and I arrived in Musoma at 4:15 p.m. after a three-and-a- quarter hour bus trip. The flight from Dar es Salaam to Musoma was canceled. We were flown to Mwanza and then bussed to Musoma. Compare a plane fare to a bus ride! The same happened on our return trip. This is Amazing Africa. Initially there were no explanations and apologies given for the inconvenience. Later, we extracted some information from travel agents that the regular plane to Musoma was undergoing routine maintenance.

We attended morning and afternoon worship services on Saturday. Kimani delivered a morning sermon titled, “The History of Salvation,” which was about the Triune God. In the afternoon, I addressed the practicalities of the presence of Christ in a Christian’s marriage. Attendance was around 80, including a few children.

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Prayer Requests and Updates

Lateef Edalere

Longtime elder Lateef Edalere, who served many years in Nigeria and Jamaica, has been ill for some years following a series of mini-strokes. In October, Lateef suffered a major stroke resulting in him being partially paralyzed and without sight and speech. He is unable to swallow and is being fed through a tube. Your prayers are requested on his behalf for God’s intervention and his will at this very difficult time.

Cards may be sent to:
Lateef & Yvonne Edalere
29 Kiln Way
Badgers Dene
Grays, Essex RM17 5JE
UNITED KINGDOM


Glen McCutchan

Pastor Glen Weber wrote, “This is a bitter-sweet email to have to send, that our brother and elder in our congregation, Glen McCutchan, has passed away. Bitter because we will dearly miss him, but sweet because he is no longer in pain and has, in the apostle Paul’s words, gone to be ‘at home with the Lord.’”

Glen’s widow, Barbara, wrote, “Glen passed away at 7:05 this morning. I am waiting for Hospice personnel to come to sign the death certificate and then they will call the funeral home. Karen and grandson Jason arrived last night and are here with me. We are all doing okay, just glad that Glen is no longer in pain. This past week has been a long one for us.”

Cards may be sent to:
Barbara McCutchan
196 South Greenwood Avenue
Pasadena, CA 91107

Remember that prayer is the battleground where we fight the good fight of faith. Let’s encourage everyone to join together in prayer, for we belong to Christ, and by the Spirit it is in Christ that we pray. Prayer and other spiritual activities help keep our hearts in tune with God and remind us of who we are in Christ. He is our all in all, and in him we are eternally beloved of the Father and blessed to share his good news with others.

Love from my family to yours,
Joseph Tkach


November 24, 2009

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

As we pause in the United States for our annual Thanksgiving celebration, I am again reminded of how deeply thankful I am for the blessing of working with such a wonderful group of dedicated pastors and elders as you all are! I pray daily for you and you families and wish you a most relaxing and joyful Thanksgiving.


Canada

Canadian National Director Gary Moore shared this report from Alvaro Palacio about the regional volleyball tournament recently held in Toronto:

The Toronto East church, in collaboration with the Montreal church, held their traditional Annual Volleyball Tournament Weekend November 14-15. The tournament is an event that gathers young church members, families and friends from Ontario and Quebec.

Services on Saturday afternoon were a great family reunion of 145 people, half of them visitors. Right after services, pizza dinner and integration games made the evening short and plenty of fun.

Sport activities started early on Sunday with the participation of 10 teams. After a day of plenty of Christ-style sports competition, the senior team from Cornerstone Christian Fellowship in Toronto took the gold medal, followed by the team from Ottawa Valley. A combined junior team with players from Montreal and Ottawa churches won the gold medal in the junior category. Sportsmanship was so high that three teams received mentions. Also, this year we had our first francophone team from Montreal.

Volleyball weekend is an annual highlight that allows us to share and express God’s love in many different ways. Several members opened their homes to host visitors, others prepared a special worship service, others donated and served food, while others served as referees, drivers, etc. We’re already looking forward to next year’s Volleyball Tournament Weekend.


ACCM Launches First Class in Spanish

Ambassador College of Christian Ministry (ACCM) presented its first class in the Spanish language with an intensive course in Spiritual Formation just before the GCI Regional Conference in Orlando November 4-5. The class was taught by Florida Pastor Larry Hinkle, Latin American Missions Developer Hector Barrero, and Hector’s wife Paulina. Most of the translation work for the online materials, as well as the class workbook for the intensive, were done by our GCI translator in El Salvador, David Agreda. Kerry Gubb, ACCM Registrar, set up the online materials.

ACCM Director John McLean said he was delighted that ACCM is now able to help serve the needs of our Spanish-speaking ministry. He added, “We are very happy to have someone with Larry’s experience and expertise teach the class, and he has done a great job getting our first Spanish-language class off the ground.”

Nine students attended from the US, Mexico, Colombia, El Salvador, and Argentina. The students will now have six months to complete the remaining coursework from materials made available online. Scholarships for students were provided by the Sydney, Australia, congregation.

Participants said the class was a great success, and that “the Lord’s presence was clearly evident.”

Plans are under way to develop a Spanish-language version of each of the courses in the ACCM Diploma program. This major undertaking will take time, but we feel blessed to have been able to “jump start” the program with this successful initiative in Orlando.

The cost for taking an ACCM online class is $150 for credit or $100 for audit. Although this is inexpensive in comparison to other quality online courses in the US, for most of our members living in Latin America it is quite expensive. For anyone interested in helping to financially sponsor future courses for those unable to afford this ministry training, please contact Larry Hinkle at larry.hinkle@wcg.org or 954-346-7706. For further information regarding classes in the ACCM program see www.ambascol.org


Asia-Pacific

From Rod Matthews:

The last couple of months have seen a significant number of earthquakes and related effects in the Pacific and Southeast Asian areas, as well as flooding from cyclones/typhoons. On September 29, a strong earthquake of magnitude 8.0 occurred deep under the Pacific Ocean 190 km to the south of Samoa and generated a tsunami that wreaked havoc along the southern shore of the island of Upolu in (Western) Samoa. Considerable damage also occurred in neighboring American Samoa, including parts of the capital, Pago Pago. While we are not aware of church members being in the affected areas, one member in Auckland, New Zealand, John Mata’afa, comes from the area of Samoa where the tsunami struck and had family members living in a village on that coastline. Miraculously, his family’s home was surrounded by the waters but not damaged, and his family survived unscathed while dozens were killed along the same coastline.

Not long afterwards, several strong earthquakes struck in the sea off the northern coast of Vanuatu, prompting another tsunami warning. At the time, our congregation in Rory on the island of Malekula was celebrating their annual festival. Rory is somewhat remote and several kilometers inland, and no one heard about the warning until they saw people coming down out of the hills carrying sleeping gear. Fortunately, no tsunami was experienced there, and the earthquake was far enough away to be felt but without causing structural damage to buildings.

Isei Colati, who pastors our Fiji congregations, traveled with his wife, Vasiti, to be the guest speaker at the festival in Vanuatu this year. They enjoyed the experience of being in a neighboring country and strengthening the links between two of our Pacific congregations despite some language difficulties. While Fijian and English are the primary languages of Fiji, Bislama and French are the primary languages in this part of Vanuatu, with English a distant third. But Vanuatu pastor William Davies is trilingual and able to translate messages and help the communication flow. Isei said one of the highlights of the festival was the baptism of three into the Body of Christ in the sea during a church picnic when everyone was present (see picture to right).

Around the same time, severe flooding was affecting the central south of India – specifically the south of the state of Andhra Pradesh and northern Karnataka. We have two member families living in the area affected, but neither had to evacuate from their homes.

A day after the Samoan earthquake, an earthquake registering 7.0 on the Richter scale shook the Indonesian island of Sumatra, causing much damage and many deaths in the city of Padang and coastal villages along the south of the island. Landslides added to the destruction due to the steep terrain and very wet climate.

All this was in addition to the extreme flooding that affected the Philippines, and specifically Manila, in the wake of tropical storm Ketsana, as reported by our Manila office.

Papua New Guinea

On December 29, two of our leaders in the Mt. Wilhelm congregation, Richard Kindi and Ben Galwa, will be attending a preaching seminar in the Highlands town of Banz conducted by Langham Partnership International (LPA). LPA is a ministry founded by Dr. John Stott, renowned theologian and author, which is dedicated to training congregational leaders in developing nations to become accurate and energetic students and teachers of the Scriptures.

In a recent newsletter, LPA reported:

In PNG, almost the whole population has a link to a Christian denomination, but sometimes this allegiance is superficial: the island has been marked by a high level of violence and crime, and the old ethnic religions remain a powerful underlying influence. There is a need for a robust Christianity that challenges and radically transforms basic values and beliefs, to stem the tide of disillusionment with Christianity that is beginning to develop in certain areas. Without this, people revert to traditional customs and often succumb to social evils such as drunkenness and gambling.

Having been invited to attend the launch of the Langham Preaching movement in neighboring Vanuatu, one pastor described his joy at the teaching: “Digging the word of God in the way you have shown to us is like mining gold in the highlands of Papua New Guinea where I live. It’s a new exposure to really concentrate and dig out what it means to see the Bible come alive and relate to every day living.”

The second pastoral visit to PNG for 2009, scheduled for September, had to be canceled as a precautionary measure due to an outbreak of cholera, which thankfully was not in the immediate vicinity of where our people reside. One member, who was planning to go to PNG with pastoral coordinator Mark Latham, was told by his employer that if he went he would have to be placed in quarantine for three months after his return and could not work. We understand that the outbreak has now been brought under control.

Pakistan

Our ministry partner in Pakistan, Dr. Muqaddam Zia, has recently established a school project for vulnerable, poor and marginalized Christian children. He wrote that most Christians in Pakistan cannot afford to send their children to schools to get educated. As a result they remain under‐privileged, uneducated and face a bleak future. Most of these children spend their time in the streets and many become drug addicts and criminals. To help relieve this situation, he has started the “ABC Kindergarten School” for these poor Christian children, where they get a free education without having to pay for books and materials. He currently has 117 children registered with this program.

The sewing school established over a year ago to help marginalized Christian girls and women is going well. Muqaddam recently sent us photos of an exhibition of the handicrafts and clothing made by the students of the sewing school. As we have mentioned before, young Christian girls are a soft target for hard-line Muslim fundamentalists who believe that they earn points in paradise for punishing those who refuse to believe in Allah. Christian women tend to be the poorest and most despised of the citizen groups, and have few opportunities to earn a decent living.

Muqaddam explains that because of their faith, Christians are not able to apply for high-paying jobs and are often compelled to involve their children in child labor, taking low-paying jobs such as cleaning streets and washrooms or becoming donkey‐cart drivers. Some are even tempted to sell one of their kidneys. Christians are the most frequent targets of violence, rape, and torture because Muslims associate them with the beliefs of the United States and Israel. Muslims comprise 97 percent of Pakistan’s 160 million people. Christians are only one of the minorities in the other 3 percent, and are treated as the untouchable lower-class citizens of Pakistan.

In Pakistani culture, a girl or woman who is raped is considered unacceptable for marriage. The girls are unable to find work because they have been shamed and lack the necessary skills. Many of them try to commit suicide rather than live in the shadow of this disgrace for their entire life. The sewing school project is very important in this environment. The training is free of cost and enables them to gain skills that can help them start their own small business at home. Muqaddam said that he also has plans to start literacy classes for these girls, because they were unable to go to school due to the poverty of their families. In response to our support, he wrote, “No words could ever express the thanks these precious Christian sisters will have for you. Thanks a lot for your prayers, support and love for this strategic initiative. May God bless you with His abundant blessings.”


Bangladesh Mission Trip Opportunity

A three-week mission trip with Dr. John Biswas, who heads up the Bengali Evangelical Association Mission and operates as national director for GCI in Bangladesh, is being planned to begin the third week of January, 2010.

This is a trip that will get you out of your comfort zone. Accommodations are not what you might be used to, but are adequate. You would be working among the poorest of the poor.

Those who come will need to pay their own expenses, including airfare to Dhaka and the cost of accommodation in Barisal, which is the nearest city to our mission center and will be our base and overnight accommodation.

This is an opportunity to visit and encourage our Christian brothers and sisters at our mission and in the villages of Bangladesh. Pastors and elders are needed for Bible instruction, and members with medical experience and those with experience working with the deaf and blind are especially welcome.

If you are interested in participating, please contact John Biswas at Bea.mission@verizon.net More information is available at <www.bengalimission.org>.


Sponsor a Pastor to the 2010 International Conference

As we look forward to next year’s international conference, I’m sure we all agree that it would be wonderful if we could help pastors from isolated, underprivileged areas be able to attend with us. This hope could become a reality if some of our congregations with the means and desire could sponsor a pastor and spouse for the 2010 conference.

Some congregations might want to direct a portion of their international missions budget toward this need. If your congregation would like to be involved, please contact Charles Albrecht (charles.albrecht@gci.org), who will help you select a pastor to sponsor. Smaller congregations might want to combine resources to sponsor a pastor. Charles can also help you coordinate a joint effort.


Prayer Request

Remember that prayer is the battleground where we fight the good fight of faith. Let’s encourage everyone to join together in prayer, for we belong to Christ, and by the Spirit it is in Christ that we pray. Prayer and other spiritual activities help keep our hearts in tune with God and remind us of who we are in Christ. He is our all in all, and in him we are eternally beloved of the Father and blessed to share his good news with others.

Love from my family to yours,
Joseph Tkach


November 18, 2009

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Please join me in extending congratulations to newlyweds, Pastor John Moskel and the former Shirley Kirby.


New Pastor Ordination

Harold L. Jackson, pastor of the Albuquerque, New Mexico, congregation and the Native American (Navaho) church plant at Laguna Pueblo, was ordained November 15 by District Pastoral Leader Glen Weber. Harold’s wife, Michelle, joined him on stage during the ceremony. Pastor Glen was assisted by elders Eliezar Benavides and Dr. David Albert, along with several members of the congregation.

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France

Our French website has added the Speaking of Life program with a French voiceover. Laurent Poyrault, a Paris church member, does the voiceover.


UK

Here are photos of some of our European Life Clubs. More than 100 attended the October 4 Life Club meeting at Paignton. Speakers included James Esom, Nicola Dempsey, and Lucy Keen, who is involved with the relief agency, Christian Aid.

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The Watford Life Club, led by Director David Silcox, met October 24. The best speaker cup was won by Comet Chukwurah, who gave a testimonial.
The Dutch Life Club met at Zwolle on October 31.

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Mission Trip Opportunity

A 16-day mission trip opportunity is available for young people, ages 16–30 years. In Nassau, Bahamas, there are thousands of Haitian refugees who have fled from chronic poverty, hunger and violence and risked their lives at sea, hoping to start a new life. Some now live in shantytowns on the outskirts of Nassau, Bahamas. Their home may be a room no larger than 12’x12’ with no electricity, running water or toilet. Many of the children have been victims of crime, violence, abuse, rape, prostitution or incest. Often they have only one parent, who is in the country illegally and can only get a job that pays less than minimum wage. Young children are often raised by their older siblings and there is very little discipline or order. The Bahamian government provides little help to this growing population.

From July 30 to August 14, 2010, we will be working alongside our church in Nassau helping with a VBS (Vacation Bible School) for about 100 children ages 4 through 18 years. Approximately 70 percent of these children will be Haitian refugees. Volunteers will help lead activities at the Day Camp such as devotional messages, sharing the gospel, basketball, praise and worship, volleyball, crafts, parachute games, relay games, jump rope, lessons with puppets, team building, line dancing, puzzles, soccer and more. We will also provide lunch for the children. For some children, it will be the only meal they will have that day.

The living and working conditions may not be what you are used to, and you may be asked to step out of your comfort zone when teaching the children. This trip is designed to stretch and challenge you. By showing these children your love for Christ and a servant’s heart, you can have a major positive impact on them. The local church simply does not have the staff to do it on their own. So if you are ready for a challenge and are up for some hard work, then this is the mission trip for you!

In addition to this rewarding work, the group will also spend a day shopping at the Straw Market and enjoying the beach. If you are interested in joining us, contact Janet Morrison by email at gctrips@gci.org or go to the website www.gctrips.org and click on Bahamas. The deadline for applications is Dec. 31, 2009.


Sponsor a Pastor to the 2010 International Conference

As we look forward to next year’s international conference, I’m sure we all agree that it would be wonderful if we could help pastors from isolated, underprivileged areas be able to attend with us. This hope could become a reality if some of our congregations with the means and desire could sponsor a pastor and spouse for the 2010 conference.

Some congregations might want to direct a portion of their international missions budget toward this need. If your congregation would like to be involved, please contact Charles Albrecht (charles.albrecht@gci.org), who will help you select a pastor to sponsor. Smaller congregations might want to combine resources to sponsor a pastor. Charles can also help you coordinate a joint effort.


Prayer Requests and Updates

Beverly Davis

Fred Davis let us know that Beverly’s surgery went well, but chemotherapy will be necessary. He wrote, “We greatly appreciate the many prayers from so many people… They took out 13 lymph nodes. The first 12 were clear, but the 13th had some cancer cells present. Looks like chemo after she recovers from the surgery. We are counting on God’s promise to enable us to get thru the trial to the other side. Early detection, early treatment, and lots of prayer! Thanks for your prayers and concern.”

Cards may be sent to:
4018 Roth Road
Grand Island, NE 68803


Torveig Aas

Carl Fredrik Aas let us know it will be some time before his wife, Torveig, fully recovers, but she is improving. “She is a real fighter and her life is in God’s hands. Both my wife and I would like to express our deep gratitude for the prayers, emails and cards we have received.”

Cards may be sent to:
Torveig and Carl Aas
Vevelstadasen 25
N-1405 Langhus
NORWAY

Remember that prayer is the battleground where we fight the good fight of faith. Let’s encourage everyone to join together in prayer, for we belong to Christ, and by the Spirit it is in Christ that we pray. Prayer and other spiritual activities help keep our hearts in tune with God and remind us of who we are in Christ. He is our all in all, and in him we are eternally beloved of the Father and blessed to share his good news with others.

Love from my family to yours,
Joseph Tkach


November 12, 2009

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Baxter Kruger & Mike Feazell
C. Baxter Kruger & Mike Feazell

On Tuesday this week we taped three interviews for You’re Included with theologian C. Baxter Kruger in our Glendora studio. Last month, we taped four interviews each with Jeff McSwain, founder of Reality Ministries and Dan Thimell, Associate Professor of Theological and Historical Studies at Oral Roberts University. The first interview with Dan Thimell is currently featured on the home page of our website. The photo shows Baxter Kruger on the You’re Included set with host Mike Feazell.


San Fernando, California

From Pastor and DPL Heber Ticas:

Last Sunday we had 306 people in attendance with 140 children being blessed and prayed for. It was the second service of the year for which the members invited local families to bring their children so we could bless them. After the service we served hot dogs and cheeseburgers and provided a play area with games and jumpers for the kids.

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Africa Summer Teaching Mission Opportunity:
There is an opportunity for two to travel to Malawi, Africa, and teach in our GCI-owned elementary school. You will be staying at the school and working closely with the school administration. This six-week opportunity begins June 21. The school term runs to September 17, but we are planning to stay only six weeks. If you would like to stay longer, we can make arrangements for that.

This opportunity is only available for women this year. We hope to have further opportunities in later years. The main cost will be your airfare, and there will be some minimal costs while at the school. If interested, we are considering adding a short safari as part of the mission trip. Those details will be forthcoming.

We are looking for qualified teachers or students enrolled in nationally accredited elementary education degree programs. If interested, please contact Rick Shallenberger at Rick.Shallenberger@wcg.org or Rick@cfcnext.org for further details. You can also write to Christ Fellowship Church, P.O. Box 13609, Hamilton, OH 45013.


Philip & Susan Baldwin with several members of the Christchurch congregation.

From Dennis Richards:

The Christchurch congregation welcomed its new pastor, Philip Baldwin, and his wife Susan on October 24. There is little doubt that Philip’s arrival is an answer to prayer for the Christchurch group, which has been without a resident pastor for more than a decade. As it happens, the move to Christchurch is an answer to Philip’s and Susan’s prayers too. Their move to New Zealand came about when a position opened for Susan, an ordained Anglican priest, to be the new vicar of Darfield in rural Canterbury, a short distance south of Christchurch.


Happy Birthday to Curtis May

Curtis May was surprised by shouts of “happy birthday” when he opened the conference room door at our Glendora office. It was his sixty-fifth.

Happy Birthday to Charles Fleming

At the Orlando regional conference, we sang happy birthday to Charles Fleming, even though he did not disclose the number of years he was celebrating. He told us that he is working on being a “geezer.”

Orlando Conference

We finished the final 2009 U.S. regional conference last weekend with the added blessing of having French-speaking and Spanish-speaking pastors in attendance. Roger LaBelle translated the sessions into French for Patrise and Kernani Cheny from Martinique.

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Larry Hinkle, Hector Barerro and others took turns with Spanish translation for Julio Fernandez from Argentina, Sonia and Luis Orozco de Vengoechea from Baranquilla, Colombia, and Jose and Berta Rodriguez from Guadalajara. We also celebrated the Rodriguez’s 50th wedding anniversary.


Sponsor a Pastor for the July 2010 International Conference

As we look forward to next year’s international conference, I’m sure we all agree that it would be wonderful if we could help pastors from isolated, underprivileged areas be able to attend with us. This hope could become a reality if some of our congregations with the means and desire could sponsor a pastor and spouse for the 2010 conference.

Some congregations might want to direct a portion of their international missions budget toward this need. If your congregation would like to be involved, please contact Charles Albrecht (charles.albrecht@gci.org), who will help you select a pastor to sponsor. Smaller congregations might want to combine resources to sponsor a pastor. Charles can also help you coordinate a joint effort.


Prayer Requests and Updates

Kenn Allbright

Please join us in prayer for co-pastor Kenn Allbright of Good News Christian Fellowship in Lufkin, Texas, who has been diagnosed with myasthenia gravis, a muscle disorder that causes weakness with activity and difficulty swallowing, among other symptoms. There is no known cure for myasthenia gravis, but treatment can result in prolonged periods of remission. Kenn is currently staying with his son near Houston and hopes to begin treatment soon. He is scheduled to see a specialist today (Wednesday).

Cards can be sent to him at his son’s address:
Kenn Allbright
550 Club Dr. Suite 215
Montgomery TX 77316-3190


Marj Friddle

With the help of a wheelchair, Marj was able to join Jim at the Orlando conference last weekend as she continues to recover from her knee surgery and the painful manipulation needed to remove scar tissue from the previous surgery. On the last day of the conference, she was leaving the wheelchair for short walks to stretch the knee. The Friddles expressed their deep thanks for the prayers and encouragement.

Remember that prayer is the battleground where we fight the good fight of faith. Let’s encourage everyone to join together in prayer, for we belong to Christ, and by the Spirit it is in Christ that we pray. Prayer and other spiritual activities help keep our hearts in tune with God and remind us of who we are in Christ. He is our all in all, and in him we are eternally beloved of the Father and blessed to share his good news with others.

Love from my family to yours,
Joseph Tkach


November 4, 2009

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Nearly 100 pastors, elders and spouses from the UK and other parts of Europe took part in the training, discussion and wonderful fellowship at this year’s UK ministerial conference. The venue was the conference center inside the Whipsnade Zoo near London. As you can see from the photo, a few curious wallabies kept us company just outside the hall.

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Chicago, Illinois

David, Debbie & Meghan Menagh
David, Debbie & Meghan Menagh

David Menagh of Heartland Christian Fellowship, one of our Chicago, Illinois, congregations, was ordained October 18. David’s wife Debbie and their daughter Meghan were present for the ceremony.


Cincinnati, Ohio

Curtis May updated us on last week’s ORM event in Cincinnati. He wrote:

Thank you so much for your heartfelt prayers about our reconciliation event in Cincinnati, Ohio, last week. Pastor and Chapter Leader George Hart, local member Sandra Hamilton and I represented ORM.

God answered your prayers in powerful ways. It was like a spiritual retreat or college intensive all rolled into one with the Holy Spirit leading! The event, which took place Thursday night, Friday night and all day Saturday, included prayers of repentance, forgiveness and affirmation, two communion services and a concluding homily.

Curtis May, Valdasia, Sandra Hamilton, Vickie & George Hart.
Curtis May, Valdasia, Sandra Hamilton, Vickie & George Hart.

The focus was to bring Africans and African Americans into a better understanding of each other and thus a better relationship. As pointed out by the presenters (college professors, bishops, pastors and other prominent leaders from Africa and America), we need to better understand our cultural differences and how they affect our relationships. We need to reject much of the media influence that helps perpetuate stereotypes that we believe about each other. We also emphasized the need to build a better bond with each other through personal contact, which includes worshipping together at times to emphasize the words of Jesus that there is one Lord, one faith and one baptism.

Scholars made powerful presentations on the history, culture, languages and worship styles of the two groups and how they have led to divisions, and we then explored ways to remove the walls and build bridges. One of the scholars, Dr. Funso Oluyitan, a Nigerian, is host of a local TV religious program. He plans to continue to support our efforts on his program.

Thanks again prayer partners. Your prayers move mountains.


Canada

Montreal elders congratulation Lynn Lawrence after her ordination.
Montreal elders congratulation Lynn Lawrence after her ordination.

National Ministry Leader Gary Moore reported that the paperwork and filing of the new name, Grace Communion International Canada, as well as its French language equivalent, Communion Internationale dans la Grâce, Canada, are in process.

In other good news, Lynn Lawrence of the Montreal English-speaking congregation was ordained October 31. Lynn has served her local congregation for many years and has done outstanding work with our eastern Canada summer camp. A number of the camp staff drove long distances to be at services that day, Gary said, which was “a testimony to the fruit of the ministry Lynn has been used to accomplish.”


2010 International Conference open to all members

We are thrilled to announce that our 2010 International Conference will be held in Orlando, Florida from Thursday, July 22, through Sunday, July 25. There will also be a pre-conference session for senior pastors on Wednesday afternoon, July 21. The venue will be the Hilton Hotel in the Walt Disney World Resort.

The conference will be open to all GCI members, families and guests. We are looking forward to reconnecting as we fellowship and worship together. In addition to denominational presentations and workshops, speakers will include noted author, pastor and professor Elmer Colyer, InterVarsity Press Senior Editor Gary Deddo and his wife, Bible teacher and retreat leader Cathy Deddo, and missiologist Ed Stetzer. A detailed agenda will be forthcoming.

Congregations will be responsible for the transportation and on-site costs for pastors attending the 2010 International Conference. To help with some of the costs, the denominational office will give pre-registered senior pastors a scholarship to cover the registration fee as well as $10 per night of the conference to help offset the cost of lodging during the conference. Elders and members wishing to attend the conference may do so at personal expense, or congregations may also choose to assist in the attendance costs for some of the congregational leaders.

We have negotiated a $99 per night room rate, which includes all taxes and fees.  This is a very good summertime rate for Orlando.

The Hilton is located across the street from Downtown Disney and offers free shuttle service within the resort area. The hotel is a AAA Four Diamond Property. It will provide plenty of casual meeting areas to reconnect and unwind. Meal prices, including tax and gratuity, will be $19 for breakfast, $24 for lunch and $29 for dinner. Information regarding pricing details and registration will soon be available.

Please do not contact the hotel directly for reservations. The hotel will not give this rate to call-ins. We will generate a housing list for our group. For reference in the meantime, the hotel location and web site are noted below.

Hilton in the Walt Disney World Resort
1751 Hotel Plaza Blvd.
Lake Buena Vista, Florida 32830
Tel. 407.827.4000

http://www1.hilton.com/en_US/hi/hotel/ORLDWHH-Hilton-located-in-the-WALT-DISNEY-WORLD-Resort-Florida/index.do

We ask that you forward this message to the elders and members in your congregation(s) who would like to be part of this international event. If you have any questions regarding the 2010 International Conference, please email them to church.administration@gci.org. We look forward to seeing you at next year’s conference!


Prayer Requests and Updates

International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church

The World Evangelical Association has designated Sunday, November 8, as the International Day of Prayer for the persecuted church


Bev Davis

Fred and Bev Davis sent their thanks for everyone’s prayers on Bev’s behalf. Fred wrote, “We are going to Omaha Wednesday, the 4th, and she is scheduled for surgery at 3:30 pm at Methodist Hospital. The right side of the colon will be removed. I probably won’t be able to bring her home until Saturday or Sunday. We thank God often that this was found in an early stage. If early enough to be stage 1 or 2, she won’t need chemo at all. We thank all for their prayers!”

Cards may be sent to:
4018 Roth Road
Grand Island, NE  68803


Glen McCutchan

Barbara McCutchan of our Eagle Rock, California, congregation, let us know that her husband Glen, an elder and former Pasadena employee, continues to suffer from advanced prostate cancer. He is back home, and his pain seems to be under control with the medication unless he has to be moved. Their son David has been able to help, and their daughter Karen has been able to visit from Cincinnati. Barbara will be interviewing a caretaker next week to get some additional help taking care of Glen. Barbara and Glen want to let everyone know how much they appreciate your prayers.

Cards may be sent to:
196 S Greenwood Ave
Pasadena, CA 91107-4757


Larry Omasta

Elder and retired manager of our television department, Larry Omasta, reported that he is slowly recovering from a cavernoma, a malformation of a vein in the spinal cord. He wrote, “I go in for another MRI in five weeks so my neurosurgeon can determine what kind of cavernoma caused the bleeding in the first place. In most cases it’s a one-time event and most of them have a bleed probability of one percent, which my surgeon says is okay without surgery. I just need to have a lot of patience and not try to do too much lifting or moving heavier objects like trashcans, etc.”

Cards may be sent to:
1612 N Roosevelt Ave
Pasadena, CA 91104-1926


Torveig Aas

Carl Frederick Aas left England just before the beginning of the UK ministerial conference last Saturday to return home to Norway when his wife, Torveig, suddenly contracted swine flu. Torveig suffers chronic fragile health from other serious illnesses, which makes her an especially high-risk swine flu patient. She was sent home from the hospital on Tuesday and appeared to be recovering. Today, Wednesday, however, she took a serious turn for the worse and is back in the hospital for observation and more tests. Carl expressed his deep appreciation for all our prayers.

Cards may be sent to:
Torveig and Carl Aas
Vevelstadasen 25
N-1405 Langhus
NORWAY


Carlos Tavares

Former pastor Carlos Tavares, who served in Portugal and Brazil, died October 23, 2009. Funeral services were held at Heatherdale cemetery in Pretoria North on October 29.

Cards may be sent to:
Yvonne Tavares
41 Striga Street
Doornpoort Ext 40
Pretoria, South Africa

Remember that prayer is the battleground where we fight the good fight of faith. Let’s encourage everyone to join together in prayer, for we belong to Christ, and by the Spirit it is in Christ that we pray. Prayer and other spiritual activities help keep our hearts in tune with God and remind us of who we are in Christ. He is our all in all, and in him we are eternally beloved of the Father and blessed to share his good news with others.

Love from my family to yours,
Joseph Tkach


October 28, 2009

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

After using Rick Shallenberger’s Christmas Readers’ Theater in their congregations last year, several asked if Rick would provide another one this year, and we are happy to report that he has. To view this Christmas Readers’ Theater, click this link: 2009 Christmas Readers Theater


Colombia

Hector and Paulina Barrero let us know about the baptisms of four people that Paulina has taught in two small weekly ladies Bible study groups. From the groups that Paulina has led, some have begun attending our church and now are now praying for our fellowship.

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France

Nearly 300 of our French-speaking brothers and sisters in Christ gathered together in Evian, France, for a Celebration of Jesus Christ. Sessions were held to deepen our understanding of Trinitarian theology. There were events for all ages, and the table fellowship was wonderful. This is an annual event that takes place the last week of October every year. French and English translations were provided.

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Birmingham, Alabama

The Birmingham, Alabama, church held a women’s retreat October 16-18 at the St. Bernard retreat center. About 50 women attended the event, which began with a lively night of board games. Everyone enjoyed getting acquainted, some for the first time, some renewing old friendships. Saturday morning began with praise and worship, led by Barbara Dahlgren and Ann Hartmann, followed by speakers Tammy Tkach, Ginny Rice, Ruth Miller and Mary Jo Leaver. Ann Hartmann performed some songs she wrote and recorded. Sunday morning featured praise and worship, another session by Tammy Tkach and more wonderful songs by Ann Hartmann. Ruth Miller wrapped up the weekend. Many women pitched in to help pack things away and everyone agreed they should do it again next year.


Prayer Request

Remember that prayer is the battleground where we fight the good fight of faith. Let’s encourage everyone to join together in prayer, for we belong to Christ, and by the Spirit it is in Christ that we pray. Prayer and other spiritual activities help keep our hearts in tune with God and remind us of who we are in Christ. He is our all in all, and in him we are eternally beloved of the Father and blessed to share his good news with others.

Love from my family to yours,
Joseph Tkach