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June 3, 2009

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

25-year anniversaries6matjoe221

We recently had the privilege of marking another milestone for one of our hard-working employees. At an employee lunch on May 28, we honored Mat Morgan for 25 years of service. He has been a great example of an employee who sought the training and did the work that would help him become an increasingly useful asset for the denominational offices. He has done a fine job, from working in the Auditorium, to facilitating the sale of our Pasadena properties, and now as church treasurer.

We also surprised Nancy Akers, executive assistant in Church Administration & Development, with appreciation for her 25 years of work. She received a plaque and watch earlier this year at the conference in Agoura Hills, CA.

Ft. Myers, Florida

Pastoral team member Hugh Steiginga of Abundant Grace Fellowship, our congregation in Ft. Myers, Florida, reported a recent fish fry. Here is a synopsis:

We had 23 for our worship service. About 15 were guests, including ten first-timers. About 150 came to the fish fry afterward.

Robert, a Christian who has been cooking for us, came with his crew from the Pine Island area. His church recently shut down and he wants to be involved in feeding and helping the homeless. He brought with him 100 pounds of fresh grouper and supplied the French fries as well. Ken and Mary supplied burgers and hot dogs and others in the congregation supplied cole slaw. Potato chips and drinks were also provided. It was quite a set-up with the barbeque grill cooking burgers and hot dogs and deep fryers cooking the grouper and fries. We had four cooks.

Near the end of the day Robert came over and we started to chat. He said he would like to do something like this every Sunday. I asked him if he was serious and he said yes. He said he could supply the food and we could supply the place to meet and serve it. Long story short, we are going to try to do something like this more often.


Hector Barrero writes:

About 35 from different regions of Peru came together for a three-day seminar in Lima May 22-24. Leaders from Pucallpa traveled 18 hours by bus to be with us. Others from Piura and Trujillo traveled 12 and 8 hours. Friday, May 22, members approved the documents to officially register the church in Peru. The name of the church will be “Comunion Peruana de la Gracia.” Saturday and Sunday morning we spoke on mission and vision, church growth principles, small groups, how to train small group leaders, how to conduct church services and other support structures. Sunday afternoon we spoke on Trinitarian theology. We closed the seminar with the Lord´s Supper.

Pastors Jose Kasum, Carlos Morote and Eduardo Castro showed interest in taking ACCM classes. I told the group that in about three months I will send Yesid Perez, a leader member of our Bogota congregation, to train them in how to start small groups using discipleship materials we are using in our small groups in Bogota.

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Rod Matthews wrote:

In mid February, Wong Mein Kong, Malaysian pastor and pastoral coordinator for Myanmar, visited Yangon and met with our pastor from the north, Naing Key Har, and three members from our delta area congregation, including two sons of group leader Saw Htoo Plow.who-is-this11

Wong Mein Kong wrote:

The sons told me their father had a fall last December and injured his back, and as a result he has been bedridden and cannot walk. Their mother was diagnosed with a tumor in her stomach. The house of one of the sons still needs repairs to the roof after the damage due to Cyclone Nargis last May. Funds were relayed to the family for emergency assistance to repair their homes last year, but some was diverted to help the surviving family members of another brother who died in the cyclone. His son also has an eye problem that needs medical attention. So I gave them further financial aid for home repairs and the medical needs of his parents and his son.

Naing Key Har reported that the farms of three families in Chin State were destroyed in a landslide and the homes of two families were destroyed by fire. The members in one village asked for help in buying construction materials for their church building. Further assistance was sent through Naing Key Har to help these members.

Wong Mein Kong continued:who-is-this21

We also discussed how the delta members should continue meeting even as Saw Htoo Plow, the leader of the group all this while, is incapacitated. Other pastoral issues and needs of the group were discussed, including worship music CDs or tapes, sermon outlines, and children’s Bible study materials. I asked Naing Key Har to visit the members in the delta the following week to encourage them and give guidance on meeting as a small group with greater shared responsibilities among the members.

For the first time, Tluang Kung met with the group. He is a young man from northern Myanmar who had been sponsored through seminary in India by one of the Australian congregations, and has now returned home to assist in the pastoring of local churches under his father. We came in contact with his father and another pastor of the Church of God Myanmar (no connection with WCG) several years ago at their request. Upon his return from India, Tluang Kung was asked by the church elders there to start a small Bible school to train local people in ministry, so he is very busy.

Wong Mein Kong said that he did a good job in translating during the various discussions. He added:

I gave some Christian books to Tluang Kung that he requested. He politely asked if we could help his seminary in some way. I basically told him that we could help in providing literature and knowledge resourcewho-is-this31s but not financial. He was understanding and not offended. He earnestly asked me to visit Kalaymyo to speak to the elders, leaders and students from all their various congregations. They generally have no training and little experience, and need further training and teaching for the growth of their Churches of God, Myanmar. He feels they would greatly benefit from a seminar or conference if we hold it for them. He told me there are now regular flights between Yangon and Kalaymyo and many foreign tourists go there, so it is quite safe. He said his group would be able to attend for a few days if that was needed. Any time outside of the rainy season (June to October) would be suitable. I told him I was impressed with the idea, and would discuss it further.

Tluang Kung has just completed translating the 10‐lesson Discipleship 101 course (available on the HQ website) into Burmese. This will be particularly valuable for personal study by remote Christians.

Wong Mein Kong concluded, “I am quite pleased about this trip, and I hope future developments will work for the growth of both WCG and the Church of God Myanmar.”

Prayer Update

Prayer is the battleground where we fight the good fight. Let’s encourage everyone to join together in prayer. Additional spiritual disciplines such as fasting and study draw us closer to God and strengthen us. When more of us prepare individually, the stronger we move together.

Love from my family to yours,
Joseph Tkach