Dear GCI Friends and Family,
For this issue of Update, I wanted to give the column to retiring superintendent, Eugene Guzon. It has been my privilege and joy to work with Eugene over the years. Lulu, his wife, has been a wonderful partner and support alongside Eugene. Their daughter, Joyce, and her husband, Aron, are vibrant leaders for the present and the future.
P.S. Don’t miss the recordings of the Denominational Celebration in this issue.
I write to share highlights and reflections from God’s work in Asia—a region of diverse peoples, cultures, and spiritual beliefs. A large segment of the population is young. The countries are developing, and resources are scarce. In several areas, Christians are a minority. GCI has been active in the Philippines, India, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, and Thailand, with networks in other countries, like Nepal.
I became Asia Superintendent in January 2019. The territory was a new frontier for me with its unique context and geopolitical challenges. An element that characterized this assignment was change. The Healthy Church vision was being introduced. We formed a new Community of Practice (COP) with Danny Zachariah and Wong Mein Kong, who were also early into their roles as regional directors for the Indian sub-continent and Southeast Asia (respectively). The landscape of the church shifted through COVID-19. It was a time of active learning as we tried to discern and follow where the Spirit led.
One of the ways God is moving in Asia is through the people. I am inspired by many committed servant leaders, most of whom are volunteers. God provided them as engines of ministry in our local churches to carry out His mission. We have also been blessed through generous partners from our bigger GCI family and other like-minded organizations.
We are experiencing the value of teams. From the GCI Superintendents and Asia COP to the Philippines National Ministry Team, district directors, pastoral teams, and now the Faith, Hope, and Love Avenues, the team-based culture has been empowering and fulfilling. The process of cultivating REAL teams is not quick or easy, but it is a worthwhile investment and is more reflective of the life of our triune God.Read More
Laying the groundwork
God also led us to lay the groundwork and put organizational frameworks in place to help us pursue Healthy Church. This involved leadership and administrative consolidation in India, a new corporate legal structure in the Philippines, registration of GCI in Bangladesh, and new governance structures aligned with the Home Office and the team-based model.
We needed to be more intentional and strategic with development. The call is to raise leaders led by Jesus, who are equipped to lead others to Jesus. Praise God for the denomination’s support and our congregations’ efforts to help ministry workers undergo studies with Grace Communion Seminary, as well as with ACCM and other local seminaries. The formation of the Ministry Training Center in the Philippines is gaining momentum, and this will contribute to developing people who can nurture healthy churches at home and even across the region. While some of these are long-term endeavors, we trust God is with us in the process and he will fulfill his purposes.
It has been awesome witnessing how amidst challenges and uncertainty, God can bring about growth. Across Asia, we have seen this in the number of baptisms, new church plants, next generation leaders, and the strong foundations for GCI to move forward. These are testaments to God’s faithfulness, power, and goodness in blessing our collective participation.
Reflecting and looking forward
At the 2023 GCI Denominational Celebration, it was with confidence and hope that I passed the baton to Danny Zachariah as the next GCI Asia Superintendent. In addition to being a valued member of the Asia COP, Danny has been a national pastor in India for almost three decades, all throughout which God has been preparing him for this special role.
I look back on my 48 years with our denomination, with 33 years serving in ministry. I am grateful for how God has allowed me to know him, for the mentors and friends he has sent, and for the strength he has given me to do my best. My heartfelt thanks to Dr. Greg and the Home Office, our Asia and Philippine teams, to all of you in our GCI community, and to my family—Lulu, Joyce, Aron, and Lizzie—for your love, grace, and support.
With retirement, I face another new frontier. But as I continue to learn, God is faithful in every season and transition. I hope to experience him in fresh ways as I navigate this next chapter. I will take the opportunity to rest, spend time with family, and explore new skills and ways to be productive. As for participation in GCI, my heart for and dedication to the church remains. Like with geese in a “V” formation, there is a time to lead and a time to make space for others while still flying in the same direction and bearing others up.
May God continue his vibrant work and use GCI in mighty and missional ways to make disciples in our communities and beyond our borders, by his grace and for his glory!
Participating with Christ,