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July 15, 2009

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Mrs. Mariel Jumangit Luistro from the Philippines gave an update on our church in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. She wrote:

God has prompted one Filipino overseas worker to have regular Bible Studies and worship services in Dubai. Mr. Nitz Malaga, who hails from Oton, Iloilo, began working for DUBAL in the early 1980s. He was introduced to our magazine when he saw a copy in a friend’s house and was baptized in 1986. He was WCG’s lone member then, but by 1990, services were being held in Mr. Malaga’s house using sermon tapes from the UK. In 2000, then UK National Director David Silcox ordained Mr. Malaga as Dubai’s pioneer pastor.

Group in Dubai

In 2008, Mr. Malaga turned over the responsibility of senior pastor to Mr. Cesar Dela Paz. The pastoral team now includes Mr. Dela Paz, Mr. Malaga, Mr. Loi Lotero, Mr. Jay Ryan Manzano, and Ms. Cielo Vidal. Philippines National Director Eugene Guzon had ordained Mr. Dela Paz in 2007 during the first WCG festival in Dubai.

CGI Dubai is working on a children’s ministry. A newly acquired curriculum for teaching children will be inaugurated next month. A long-thriving Bible study small group hosted by the De Guzman family meets every Monday. Mr. Dela Paz initiated last year a Bible study group in Fujairah that also meets every Monday. He plans to have more Bible study small groups in various areas to reach most of the members and to reach out to others on weekdays.

Regular services in Dubai are held on Fridays, with approximately 50 in attendance. We have also seen several baptisms in recent months, and we have emerging small groups not only in Sharjah, but also in Abu Dhabi and Oman through Mr. and Mrs. Arji Cruz.

Mr. Guzon met with a group of members in Abu Dhabi the first week of July.

Crossing Borders mission camp

From Lee Berger:

For the fourth year in a row, Crossing Borders mission camp reached out across the Mexican border with the good news of Jesus Christ. We’re grateful that our denomination sponsors this camp that provides opportunities for the attendees to see how God is working in other cultures.

Congregation at outdoor church service at Pallet City
Congregation at outdoor church service at Pallet City

With ongoing American news media reports of violence at the border and of swine flu, we did our homework in advance to make sure our attendees would be safe. We found that border violence in Nuevo Laredo (where we conduct our ministry work) had decreased by about 75% in the past couple of years (although other areas of the border have unfortunately seen an increase). Also, there had been no confirmed cases of swine flu within 200 miles of our location. So we were glad to get the green light to proceed with the mission outreach camp. Unfortunately, many other church-related groups cancelled their ministry work into all parts of Mexico for the summer, leaving a large hole in the physical and spiritual provisions for our cross-border neighbors.

Hunger Rescue converted ambulance for feeding homeless
Hunger Rescue converted ambulance for feeding homeless

During the weeklong camp, we participated in a variety of ministry programs. One day we helped distribute bulk food supplies to about 60 pastors and ministry leaders to take back to their people. Later we handed out individual cooked meals and hygiene supplies to several dozen homeless people living behind garbage dumpsters, on street corners, in parks and under bridges.

One of the homeless was a woman who had formerly been the wife of a pastor. She had made some bad decisions, falling into immorality and addiction, and now living alone on the streets. She felt totally separated from God, worthless and abandoned by her former friends. She insisted that God did not love her and would not listen to her anymore because of her actions. It broke our hearts as we tried to convey to her that God still loves her very much and has never stopped loving her even for an instant. Unfortunately, so far her shame, guilt and performance-based religious teachings are blinding her to seeing God’s loving face and feeling his arms embracing her.

Consuelo Orduño and other helpers at children’s church service
Consuelo Orduño and other helpers at children’s church service

During the camp, we became aware that many people are not assured of God’s love. They are missing out on the crux of the gospel, so we tried to share the love of the Father in the Son through the Spirit with everyone we met.

Crossing Borders group photo
Crossing Borders group photo

Other activities included feeding large numbers of people, helping with adult and children’s teaching services, praying with people, distributing gospel tracts, skits and music in the public parks, a construction project, and more. As a new activity this year, we added two afternoons of conducting a Vacation Bible School for the children of a poverty-stricken “pallet city,” where hundreds of small homes are made of refuse materials and there is no running water and no electricity. Consuelo and Pedro Orduño and Lucero Villarreal put together an excellent program, and the children thoroughly enjoyed their Bible lessons, songs, games and snacks.

Although the temperatures were very hot and the conditions sometimes uncomfortable, our 17 attendees came away with a new love for all of God’s children and an increased appreciation for sharing God’s transformational truth of his love for everyone.

To find out more about next summer’s camp and our winter shoebox ministry, go to www.cbmission.org or call Lee Berger at 903-653-0992.


From Gary Moore:

We were in Alberta most of the week for the summer camp held at the Silver Meadows Camp northwest of Edmonton. There were 100 campers and staffers, who enjoyed a positive camp experience in spite of the rain and cooler weather. For three days in the middle of the week, a mini-camp was held for about 10 pre-teens. During one afternoon a number of campers went into the local community and visited a seniors’ residence, playing games and talking with the seniors all afternoon. In this way, the loving environment of the camp – a love that comes from God – was extended beyond the camp community.

Attendance at the camp has been rising each of the last couple of years, and includes a significant number of grandchildren of members, friends of teens, and even a few who have no Christian background. When I think of the key concepts of Trinitarian theology – that our Triune God lives in loving relationship, and draws us into that relationship of love – it is clear that the camp is in harmony with what we are all about. We are called not to do our own ministry on Christ’s behalf, but rather to enter into his ministry, and that was happening at Silver Meadows Camp this year!

SilverMeadows . 15SilverMeadows2 .

Photos: 1) The main camp building. 2) A mini-camper learning to draw a bow. 3) Willy Clack at bat. Willy has been a part of the camp staff in South Africa for many years, and travelled to North America for the first time to visit our Silver Meadows camp. He introduced the campers to the great sport of cricket.

Prayer Requests and Updates

Lee Berger sent this update regarding his cousin, Carlton Marshall.

Many of you know about Carlton from previous prayer requests and updates, and our family wants to share some great news with you.

For background, Carlton is a police officer in Dallas, Texas, on the SWAT team. During a drug raid in October 2007, Carlton was shot and nearly died on site. By a miracle he was saved and taken to the hospital for critical surgery.

The bullet basically paralyzed him, then he had a blood clot in his lung, a major stroke and then meningitis. So he was paralyzed in all limbs, and he became deaf. This was a heavy blow for his wife, Susan, and their two small children, Joseph and Jessica. Through God’s amazing grace and Carlton’s determination and courage, he has worked extremely hard and has regained limited use of all his limbs. He has received wonderful support from his loving wife (she is also a Dallas police officer), other family, his police friends, neighbors, church family and his overall community. He normally functions from a wheelchair, although he can walk short distances on a walker. He has cochlear implants in his skull so he can now “hear” somewhat. He lives at home and travels to physical therapy three days a week. His goal is to rejoin the police force as an active officer in a training/consulting capacity, and to be able to be a husband and father to his wife and children.

Now for the latest news flash: Carltons’ family has been chosen to have their home rebuilt by Extreme Makeover—Home Edition, the hit ABC TV show! The theme for this coming season is “Heroes” – very fitting.

Ty Pennington and his team showed up on Carlton’s doorstep July 10 and called them outside with their bullhorn. It was a total surprise to the family. On Saturday the family heads to Disneyland. Sunday the old house is demolished, and on Thursday the new house will be unveiled – all in less than a week. Many, many people have prayed for Carlton and his family over the past 21 months, and he has remarked to us on multiple occasions that he is amazed and humbled by the outpouring of love and support. Now, having a new home outfitted for his physical condition will be an added amazing blessing. Thank God for all he has done and continues to do in this situation! We don’t know yet when the show will air, but we’ll try to keep everyone updated as we get details. Pass this great news on to anyone you want.

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