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June 8, 2011

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Pastor Bill Ford sent this report after the Massachusetts storms last week:

Our hearts and prayers go out to the folks in West Springfield, Springfield, Munson, Brimfield and the other communities who were hit so hard by the devastating storms. I have contacted most of our members in the Amherst and Holden churches who live south of the Pike in western and central Massachusetts, and all contacted are safe, although Ken Whiting did sustain some roof damage at his shop in West Springfield. Ken was there when the tornado passed within 100 feet of his place. His comment: “Scary stuff.” Tom and Nicki Marion had a close call when the storm went just to their north in Springfield, yet they had no damage to their property. As of this report, I have not yet been able to make contact with Scott Kellogg, who lives in West Springfield where the storm seems to have originated.

As to the Holden churches members, Sue Gaulin, who lives in the Charlton area, north of the Pike, let me know that they were safe. I have yet to make contact with George Dembowski who lives in Southbridge in direct line of the storm just east of Munson, one of the towns that were hit so hard. The cell towers may be down in his area.


GCI Philippines reached a milestone Saturday, May 28, 2011, with the 50th anniversary of the local church in Kiara, Mindanao. Pastor Jojo Geron and wife Tata led the pastoral team in welcoming more than 400 members and guests.

The Kiara church began with a small group of settlers from the Visayas area who took advantage of a government program of land distribution in Mindanao. The leader of the group, Fidel Cambare, who was associated with the Church of God (Seventh Day), made contact with the Radio Church of God through its Philippines representative, Pedro Ortiguero. Church headquarters in Pasadena sent Gerald Waterhouse to visit the group and officially establish the Kiara church.

That small group grew into an enduring and vibrant church that helped establish other churches and is now actively supporting several tentmaker missionaries, especially in Thailand. With attendance of more than 200 on a regular basis, Kiara is still the biggest local church in the Philippines.

National and Missions Director Eugene Guzon gave the anniversary message entitled, “What the World Needs is Jesus.”





From Hector Barrero:

On May 29, the Bogota congregation celebrated Mothers Day. The children had a special presentation, while the men, led by members of the Spokesman Club, presented flowers to all our mothers and women. At the end of church services we surprised the mothers with a Mariachi presentation before dinner. More than 150 people attended services that day.

Nine new people have been attending as a result of the radio programs, and some of them now want to become members. Nearly every Sunday there are visitors who listen to our radio programs.

We have opened a Wednesday weekly church service at 7 p.m. with an average of 20 people attending. We also have eight small groups led by church members.

We are about to finish this year’s 4-month marriage series. Eight couples will be graduating. Two of the couples attend our church, and the other six are members of other denominations who took the class so that they could teach it in their churches.


Prayer Requests and Updates

Bernie Schnippert sent this update about his health:

As you may recall, over the last few months I had four procedures performed to “kill” five or six major carcinoid tumors in my liver. Two of these procedures used radioactive beads, and two used chemically infused beads. In my last update, I told you the next major step was a CAT Scan to occur about five weeks after the final procedure to see how successful the procedures had been. Last week I traveled to Portland for the CAT Scan. The results were declared to be “very successful” in that most of the major, treated tumors showed substantial decrease in size, indicating their mortality in whole or part.

I still have not recovered 100 percent from the procedures, which were to some degree debilitating, or from the previous cancer downturn, which caused us to need the procedures in the first place. (As I have mentioned before, there is no cure for my cancer at this stage. Also, there are probably countless other smaller tumors in my liver and elsewhere that cannot be treated.)

Another positive step, however, is the new use of a pill that recent studies have shown to possibly stop carcinoid growth or even reverse it in some patients. (This pill has been used for years with kidney cancer and was recently tested for carcinoid.) This is in some ways a major breakthrough, because up until now there has been no pill which had any effect on carcinoid, yet this one is proving effective for some types of carcinoid cancer (there is more than one type). Of course, it varies widely with the patient, so only time will tell how it affects me. It has numerous potential side effects, some of which are serious and would result in me being taken off the drug.

The biggest “win” for me going forward would be that I recover all my pre-cancer strength, that the treated tumors continue to shrink some more, and that they do not grow back, or that they grow very slowly. Although there is no cure, it is still our goal that I “die with the cancer, not from the cancer,” which is in effect as good as a cure.

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,
Joseph Tkach