Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
The Lexington, Kentucky, district conference took place last weekend. During the conference we presented Debbie Bailey with her Advanced Diploma in Christian Ministry for completion of all required courses from Grace Communion Seminary. We also congratulated and honored Ron Dick, who is about to retire, for his years of service.
Ministry leaders met at the home of Hector and Paulina Barrero the weekend of June 10-12 where Randy Bloom discussed principles of leadership and starting new churches. On Sunday the Bogotá congregation celebrated Pentecost with about 145 in attendance. Randy gave the sermon and two were ordained, Cristobal Daza and Yesid Perez.
Hector, Paulina and Randy discussed producing voice-over translation for the FaithTalk Group Training videos (http://faithtalkgroups.blogspot.com/). Randy will provide transcripts of the video lessons and Hector will record the voice-overs.
Pastoral Ministry Assessment
Through Church Multiplication Ministries, U.S. Church Administration and Development (CAD) provides trained ministry assessors who conduct in-depth assessments of those men and women being called by God to serve as GCI pastors and church planters. It is standard CAD practice to assess all prospective church planters, all individuals being hired for the first time as full-time employed pastors, and all pastoral interns.
Last Thursday, Ted Johnston and Ken Williams teamed up to train Paul David Kurts to serve as one of our assessors. Then on Friday, Ted, Ken, and Paul David (with his wife Emma Lee sitting in) formed a team that assessed Hillary Irusta. Hillary is serving as a GCI pastoral intern. Hillary’s assessment will give her valuable, in-depth guidance as she completes her internship. It will also provide valuable input as this fall she begins a Master of Divinity seminary degree program, with an eye toward serving in the future as a GCI pastor or church planter.
Joseph Franklin writes:
In preparation for the closing of the academic year and the summer vacation, I sent letters to invite all the parents to join the school’s staff and personnel in the traditional farewell lunch that we offer our kids at the end of the academic year. This invitation also concerned the distribution of school reports for their little ones and diplomas for those completing the preschool cycle. This joyful event was scheduled for June 26.
But, because of the extreme heat we are experiencing, and an epidemic of fever that kept a good number of children out of class, we organized these activities on June 21.
The activities took place under our long tent that is next to our wood building where we usually meet for worship and socials. We could not sit inside the building, so 125 participants and about 15 late comers stood outside. They joyfully applauded the kids as they passed up front to play, each one his part, reciting Bible verses, recounting the history of great people of the Bible, which they learned in class.
It reminded me how a team of missionaries like Jeff Schneider, Cecil Pulley, and Charles Fleming, who came down on February 2010 to work under heavy rains, helping us. The Holy Spirit has gotten into the needs of this population using some loving hearts that are open for service. God is glorified and we all are blessed.
We give thanks to our sister churches in Indiana, my beloved brother David Perry and his wife Jonnie, and all those who helped and pray night and day. We thank Mr. John Halford who encourages through his colorful articles, particularly those that witness of GCI moving everywhere in the planet.
Our heartfelt thanks go to you all.
This year,16 children completed the preschool cycle, but only 10 were part of the ceremony, the rest were sick, which we regret very much. We ended the year with 81 kids. We missed 53 whose families have moved to other camps.
We pray that every one comes back healthy after these two months vacation.
God bless you all.
Mountaintop Camp, Georgia
From Emmanuel Andrews
Quite a few campers this year said that although they have come to camp many times, this year was different in that they really got a better understanding of what Christ is about. Seeing the growth in the kids from year to year is inspiring and makes the work we do even more fulfilling.
We are a participatory camp; the campers are involved in helping the camp to run. We have very low food cost this year due to the efforts of our leadership team (specifically Rick & Pearline Dolsey and Helen Garrett). They were able to get Kroger to sponsor a breakfast and we got donations from Sam’s Club as well. This is ongoing and we hope to get Wal-Mart involved next year. We also had the Saturday night spaghetti meal sponsored by the Men and Women’s Ministries of Living Hope Christian Fellowship, and we were able to secure paper products and condiments from Sonic restaurants. As a result the cost for food came to around $700.00 for the entire camp for the entire weekend, and the kids ate well.
Li’l Toppers: 17
From Gary Moore:
Wendy, Kylie and I had a tiring, but most uplifting visit to St. John’s, Newfoundland, last weekend. It was great seeing Chris Starkey, Frank and Linda Gough and the members there.
We received the sad news from South Africa that Colin Curtis died. Colin was lay pastor of the congregation in Pretoria that Wendy’s parents attend. He was a wonderful person and a caring pastor, and will be greatly missed. Your prayers for his wife Dolla and their children and grandchildren would be much appreciated.
Photo to the right is of some of the St. John’s members, and the photo to the left is of Colin and Dolla Curtis.
From Carl Fredrik Aas
I have been in Tartu, Estonia, for a couple of days to have a church meeting and a public lecture. I have given public lectures four times a year for about 15 years. This time we tried something new; we advertised in the newspaper an open question and answer session. The ad did not say that I would answer the questions, but that we could discuss the questions. Leo and I were quite concerned how this would turn out. We were concerned that people would not listen and respect different points of view. I started with some introductory comments that I also have questions about certain scriptures, but I would try to discuss the questions they felt important. The session went much better than anticipated. About 50 people attended.
The day we had the public discussion, the 13th of June, was 70 years since 10,000 Estonians were deported to Siberia by the Russians in the beginning of the Second World War. On the 25th of March 1949, another 20,000 Estonians had the same fate. Most died and never returned to Estonia. I was therefore prepared for a question about why God allows suffering, and the question came: Was this God’s will that this should happen? I believe that we have a way of explaining that God is truly just and loving at the same time.
I will go to Estonia in August in connection with our summer school project. This year many of those who could be interested in going as staff teachers are not able, for a number of reasons. At the moment only four young WCG adults (including myself) have confirmed that they will come. One or two have not decided yet. I ask for your prayers for the summer school project, that we have the teachers we need and that it is a success. Nice warm and dry weather would also be appreciated!
Prayer Requests and Updates
From Gary Moore: I want to include an update from Dennis Lawrence that he sent this morning. I know he is the prayers of many of us, and both he and his family continue to need our support.
I’ve hesitated to write a health update for a while, not really knowing what to say. I got out of hospital on March 4 and had a couple of weeks in recovery mode. Then I felt pretty well and started doing as much as I felt I could and wanted to do, preaching, some visiting, work around the house and with the family. On Easter, I noticed a small spot on my belly and thought that ”it” was back, but didn’t mention it until I saw the doctor 10 days later, who confirmed it. All the chemo, radiation, and stem-cell transplant didn’t get the cancer; it’s still there. I’ve had about the best that could be thrown at me, and it didn’t work, aside from keeping me alive to now, which is no small feat considering the aggressiveness of this lymphoma.
So it’s growing again. We took a while with the doctors to consider the best method of treatment, as I’ve had the strongest chemo, and anything more would start to damage internal organs. I’ve now been referred to the Jewish General Hospital in Montreal and am part of a clinical research trial of a new and promising cancer drug called panobinostat.
I just started this last Wednesday, and it’s too early to know how it’s going or even what side effects come from it. I’ve known the fatigue and much more nausea, especially later in the day, than I did before, maybe a side-effect? Each week I go for a checkup. I can take as many of these cycles as needed once we see whether/how it is working, and that will be evident through shrinking this mass on my abdomen.
I so much appreciate all the love and prayers that have come toward my family and myself over the last months. Currently, we are planning toward our first family wedding for July 9 and it looks like I’ll be able to give her away and to officiate, likely with a tear or two. Sadly, my health will be an ”elephant in the room” for the celebration but, hopefully, we won’t focus on that too much. But we have relatives coming from far and near, as well as our two beloved churches here who are doing a wonderful work in hosting a community meal for the reception.
Thank you, each of you, for your calls, emails, and love that have flowed so freely this past year. I’ll keep you posted as we go forward, better than I have the past four months!
Update on Joplin, Missouri
Jim Kissee writes: The Joplin members not directly affected and especially those who were in the tornado path are so grateful for the prayers, cards and encouragement they have received. Veda Wead is now in physical therapy. She is making a remarkable recovery. Her family is deeply appreciative to the local congregation for assistance given to them during their mom’s weeks in ICU in Springfield. A nurse in the ICU read the cards Veda received to her, and she commented to me that those cards were so thoughtful and loving.
Gerald and Gloria Ambroisus found a rental while their house is being rebuilt. The destroyed structure has been removed and the foundation for rebuilding laid.
Don and Shirley Haas, whose home was on the edge of the tornado with limited damage, now have a more normal street, though they miss the trees.
Kathy Bettes will soon have the damage to her home repaired. Her damage was not as urgent. She is still (and understandable so) nervous about the weather.
Joyce Powell, beloved wife of UK minister Stuart Powell and mother of Joanne McCulley, died June 23 at the age of 78. Her five-year struggle with heart disease ended peacefully and quickly with Stuart and Joanne holding her hands. Many thanks for all the love, prayers and support over the years. Joyce’s funeral will be July 4. She requested donations to Mission Aviation Fellowship (www.maf-uk.org) in lieu of flowers.
Cards may be sent to:
63 Sharphaw Ave
N. Yorks BD23 2QJ
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,