Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Please join me in extending congratulations to our Zimbabwe Ministry Leader, Joseph Mpofu, and his wife, Gladys, who celebrated their 42nd wedding anniversary on Thursday June 18. Bulawayo Senior Pastor Denny Mpande, who was the best man at their wedding 42 years ago, attended the celebration.
2010 International Conference, July 22-25
Save the date! The 2010 International Conference is scheduled for Thursday through Sunday, July 22-25. (The day preceding the conference, Wednesday, July 21, will be a day of meetings for church pastors.) The format for the conference will be similar to our previous international conference. Details, speakers and agenda will be forthcoming. We know that budgets are always tight, but we are committed to keeping costs low.
Lexington, Kentucky regional conference
It was a delight to rejoice with nearly 300 enthusiastic people at our Lexington, Kentucky regional conference. I flew to Lexington immediately after returning to the U.S. from Australia, where our Australian, New Zealand and Fiji pastors met in Caloundra, Queensland for their winter conference.
From Pastor Dennis Lawrence:
Mark Yandt, a young man who has been involved in our camp program from when he was very young (his parents, Randy and Tina (van der Polder), ran the water ski program for years), is riding a bicycle across Canada to raise funds for our eastern Canadian camp – Camp Connections. He has done a lot of the work to make it happen and has obtained many wonderful sponsors, leading to the prospect of significant funds to be raised. He left Victoria on June 17 and seems to be doing very well. His almost daily blog, depending on whether he stops where he has internet access, is interesting. The web address is: www.crosscanada2009.ca.
Sacramento, California, Pastor Mike Swagerty and his wife, Sandy, visited the Bogota and the Barranquilla, Columbia, congregations June 10 to 16. Mission Developer Hector Barrero sent this report:
Thursday and Friday nights we got together first with the youth leaders and then with the leaders of the Bogota congregation. The next day Sandy, Mike, Paulina and I took a one-hour flight to visit the Barranquilla congregation, where over 100 people gathered for afternoon services. The congregation usually meets on Sundays, but on this occasion they met on Saturday since Mike also wanted to visit the congregation in Bogota. The same day we went back to Bogota, where we attended services on Sunday morning. Mike presented a sermon on sister churches, the same sermon he presented in Barranquilla. That night we went back to church because two couples were being married and four others were renewing their marriage vows. It was a ceremony attended by more than 140 people, including relatives of the couples and church members.
Mike and Sandy were impressed with the kindness and happiness of our people, and all of us appreciated their visit.
The Church in South Africa has launched a new bi-monthly magazine, Face to Face (F2F). It will be sent initially to all members and coworkers in South Africa, but the plan is to expand circulation to include nominal Christians and unchurched people. F2F replaces the African edition of the Worldwide News, which was primarily for members. F2F will focus on mission and outreach, making Christianity relevant to Africans as they go about their lives, incorporating our new understanding of Trinitarian theology.
Members are encouraged to distribute the magazine as and how they see fit. F2F has also been advertised on some local radio stations where the church has a short broadcasting time slot. We are broadcasting five-minute and half-hour messages on three radio stations in South Africa, with one more planned for July. We are in negotiations with another two. During the broadcast we offer a free copy of F2F magazine, and we have already received some encouraging response. F2F is receiving about 100 requests for subscriptions each month, so at this rate the current circulation of 1500 could double within a year. The only thing holding us back is cost.
The magazine is based on Christian Odyssey, with some material contributed by local writers. Other articles are reprinted from the Canadian Northern Light and the British magazine.
F2F is edited by Hilary and Eben Jacobs, assisted by Shaun and Sandra de Greeff in technical areas. Although circulation is limited mainly to South Africa at present, copies are sent to senior pastoral leaders in Botswana, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Swaziland, Kenya and other nations in Africa.
Denmark and Estonia
From Pastor Carl Frederick Aas:
I recently sent out the information and booking forms for our autumn festival in Åjang, Sweden. Three camping villas are already booked or reserved. I have also received bookings for five wooden cabins, and one booking for a small cottage. I have never received so many bookings so early!
In May I visited Denmark and we had meetings in Fredericia and in Copenhagen. We also had the yearly official church assembly where we ratified the accounts for the Danish church. At the meeting I met Jefferson Davis who is now working in a restaurant in Copenhagen.
I am on my way back from Estonia, starting to write this newsletter on the bus from Tartu to Tallinn. We had a public lecture on Wednesday evening June 3 in Tartu, where about 35 people attended. I discussed difficult scriptures, which was my second lecture on this topic. In Tartu, Estonia, where we were staying, we have held summer school for the Estonian youth three years in a row. On Wednesday, the last day of the normal school year, all 100 pupils of the school assembled. The principal and mayor of the town gave speeches and handed out diplomas and certificates to the pupils for work well done during the school year. Then I was introduced and on behalf of the church presented ten scholarships to ten pupils the principal and local English teacher had chosen. They chose nine pupils who had the best grades in English and one pupil who had improved the most during the school year. I gave a short speech reminding the pupils that they should carpe diem (which in Latin means “seize the day”, or “make the most of every day”). I encouraged them to use their youth to prepare themselves for their future. After this official ceremony I had a meeting with the mayor, principal of the school and the English teacher concerning this year’s summer school project. This year two neighboring towns have asked if they can send their youth to our summer school. Last year we had about 40 pupils, and depending on how many from the neighboring towns will attend, we might have twice as many as attended last year.
Yesterday I returned from Bergen and Stavanger. I had meetings in both places. I was happy to see Reidar Lie in Stavanger. He looked well but is feeling weaker. The doctors have confirmed that he has cancer that has spread to many parts of his body and that they cannot do anything for him. He said he has lived a long life and he accepts God’s will in his life. I ask for your prayers for him and his family.
May 26 to June 1 marked a wonderfully successful SEP Cebu. “Included, accepted and loved” became the theme and guiding principle or rationale behind every service and activity at the camp. The activities staff planned and prepared well.
Prayer Requests and Updates
Brian Spurgeon, GCI elder and son of deceased long-time Pasadena employee, Jackie Spurgeon, requests prayers for his mother, Dosha. He wrote, in part:
The biopsy results came out negative. I spoke with my mom yesterday by phone and she said that she is cautiously optimistic. Since the biopsy her lungs, have increased fluid again and she doesn’t breathe easily. The nurses are having her get up and walk to help decrease the fluid. I thank God for what He has done so far and I ask that we all continue to pray for her complete healing. The hospital is:
San Antonio Community Hospital
999 San Bernardino Road
Upland, CA 91786
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,