Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
As I write, I am returning home from the annual Canadian ministerial conference, which was held in Edmonton, Alberta. The weather was wonderful, the fellowship was even better and the sessions were the talk of many of our conversations. We had Gary and Cathy Deddo as guest speakers for two afternoons. While at the conference, we also held our Board of Trustees meetings.
Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Pastor John Wayne Bailey writes:
Over the Memorial weekend Dan Rogers visited our church. He was excited about what we are doing with other churches in eastern Iowa for the 1st anniversary of the great flood.
Next Friday night many of the churches will be sponsoring an evening barbecue. Our church will be with two other churches in the area to serve an area downtown. We expect hundreds of people to come and join us. Everything will be free to the public. The churches are furnishing all food. There will be no reference to church at all. It is just a way we can show people God’s love.
The next weekend will be the big one. We expect many thousands of people throughout eastern Iowa and other states to join us. Our church will be heavily involved in this “Heal the Heartland Celebration.” It will start on Friday night and end Sunday evening. There are about 30 churches to serve this festival. We will have many tents set up on the grounds. It will include hospitals, employment résumé help, counseling, prayers, and much more.
Featured at this affair are a Mike Hagen national strength team, a professional skateboard team, music by The Newsboys and Barlow Girl, guest evangelists, sports events, activities for small children, professional skateboarding exhibits, a big band concert, a Cedar Rapids Kernals baseball game, food vendors, basketball exhibitions, and more than 50 booths.
Our little fellowship (Family of Faith Community Church of Cedar Rapids, Iowa) is assisting in parking, praying, counseling follow-up and much more. Some of our members are driving about 100 miles one way to be here for the weekend.
We feel this is a great opportunity for Grace Communion International to shine in our area. We need prayers that things go God’s way.
Youth Camp concluded on Monday, June 8, after four days of inspiration, recreation, friendships and new experiences. Fifty-seven youth campers and 33 adult staff from Florida and Georgia participated. Although there was one day of rain requiring a few schedule changes, most of the weather was pleasant, activities took place as scheduled, and the Lord’s protection, safety and blessing was always upon us.
As part of our Spiritual Enrichment Program, daily chapel messages focused on analogies and lessons from C.S. Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe as dramatized by a recent Disney film. Teens and pre-teens were able to reflect on what Jesus does for them through this unique teaching tool. At the conclusion of camp, the young people were encouraged to speak with their pastors in their home churches about giving their lives to Jesus and following that up with baptism.
Activities included a zip line and climbing wall, outdoor swimming pool, canoeing and kayaking on the lake, children’s sports and games, basketball, volleyball, BB gun range, archery, arts and crafts, talent show night, dance night, a block party and a novelty-events race. On the last day, the entire group went to Wildwaters Water Park in Ocala to enjoy the numerous water slides and wave pool. Campers were well fed, as church volunteers prepared and served an abundance of food and filling meals.
Next year’s SEP Florida is scheduled for the first weekend in June. Because of the reasonable price we pay to rent the camp, we can keep our camp costs at only $135 per camper for the entire four days. Campers can secure a spot by applying in advance by clicking on the “applications” button at our website, www.sepflorida.com. For more information, call camp director Marty Davey at 904-406-9022.
From Rod Matthews:
In a recent email from our ministry partner in Faisalabad, Dr. Muqaddam Zia, he mentioned that the fighting between the Pakistan military and the Taliban has created a huge exodus of refugees from the Swat, Dir, Buneer and Malakund regions of northwestern Pakistan. Dr. Zia wrote,
The residents of these areas are migrating to safer regions like Mardan, Charsadda and Peshawar. According to United Nation sources, one million people are estimated to be displaced from their places of residence. The Swat crisis is termed as the largest humanitarian and displacement crisis in recent times. About 96% of these [people] are living out in open air. Many of them are children. They are facing a great lack of food, water and shelter.
“….. we have about 23 house churches in this area. Our ministry coordinator has just made a phone call to me that they are planning to move to Mardan city, which is a safer area. There will be 500‐600 believers traveling with him. There is no transport available, so they will be coming down by foot for about 78 kilometers. Please join us in prayer for the security of these precious souls. I will keep you updated as soon as I hear back from him.
In the meantime, the Alpha Bible Church, Dr. Zia’s primary congregation, has planted four more congregations in the Punjab Province in the last month, including one in a village near Jaranwala city. Twenty-four new believers have been baptized.
A pastoral seminar was conducted and some much need ministry equipment, such as bicycles and Bibles, were distributed to some of their fellow workers.
The sewing school established in the Alpha Bible Church building in Faisalabad for young women is going well. The vocational training enables teenagers and young women to become skilled in making clothes for sale so they are not limited to employment as housemaids in the general community, where they are often abused. The Australian churches and members contributed over $1000 to purchase 15 hand‐driven sewing machines and materials needed to start the program. Further monies will be sent to help with the cost of instructors and building the stock of materials and equipment to help make this a permanent service to young Christian girls. Another goal is to add literacy classes in Urdu and English for these young people.
From Zimbabwe National Ministry Leader Joseph Mpofu:
I was visiting our church areas up north. The highlight was in Domboshawva where I visited with Phil Kashumba. We had 10 baptisms in one day; ages ranged from teen to nearly 70! Day before, I attended services and talked to a smiling appreciative group of youth. On my way to the east, I fellowshipped with a farming couple, studied Bible and helped to feed goats and hens. Wherever I went, I found brethren appreciative of God’s mercies. Most of our members are in need of Bibles in their language.
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,