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Prayer Guide—November 2022

“Prayer is the natural outgushing of a soul in communion with Jesus. Just as the leaf and the fruit will come out of the vine-branch without any conscious effort on the part of the branch, but simply because of its living union with the stem, so prayer buds, and blossoms, and fruits out of souls abiding in Jesus.” ― Charles Spurgeon

Join us in prayer this month as we thank God for including us in his good work. Click the image below to download the November Prayer Guide and check out what’s happening in our fellowships around the world. #WeAreGCI

Serving Neighbors—Pasadena, CA, US

What a blessing we have in Jesus. I see God’s hand in our neighborhood engagement efforts. GC Pasadena doesn’t have a big budget, so we must look for other means to engage the community and share the love of Jesus with our neighbors. We began distributing donated food from the grocery store, Vons. But when that ended, we prayed for God to open another door.

Now, we’re grateful to be giving away produce from Trader Joe’s every Saturday morning. The manager of our church building even allowed us to use the hall without charging additional rent. It’s a chance to meet our neighbors, ask their names, and pray with them if they desire. Often, they ask, why are you doing this? It’s an opportunity to talk about our church. Most express surprise and gratitude.

We want to be a consistent presence. We want our neighbors to realize that we are truly intentional about loving and helping them. For this reason, it’s important that this is an ongoing event.

We’re beginning to see how the food donation is a connecting point to the larger community. My husband, Saddie, is friends with the tennis players in Eagle Rock, where Trader Joe’s is located. Two of those friends volunteered to bring the produce from the store to our church in Pasadena. On top of that, they are now attending our church service. Then they invited all the other players to the 9th anniversary celebration of our church — half of those in attendance were tennis players! Additionally, one tennis player, Ben, who is a retired nurse, volunteered to check blood pressure and blood sugar on Sundays for our members.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow. God is really the one opening the door. We just follow Jesus, and bear witness in what he is doing in the lives of our neighbors.

By Angie Tabin, Pastor

Spanish Heritage—Sun Valley, CA, US

Hawthorne Church

Every September 15 through October 15, National Spanish Heritage month is recognized and celebrated in the U.S. The month pays tribute to the contributions of the American Latino community. Since several Central American countries celebrate Independence Day on September 15 and Mexico on September 16, the celebration takes on greater meaning in these communities throughout the U.S.

Sun Valley Church

Our Sun Valley and Hawthorne, California, congregations joined in the celebration by honoring the immigrant fiber of the makeup of these churches. In our Sun Valley congregation, the countries of Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Peru are all represented by church members. In Comunion De Gracia Hawthorne, all but one of these countries are also represented.

On September 18, both the Sun Valley and Hawthorne congregation independently dedicated their Sunday celebration to celebrating Spanish Heritage. As part of the service, prayers were lifted on behalf of these nations, and our union in Christ was celebrated as the united expression of the body of Christ.

Sun Valley Church

The celebration affords the congregations a space in which church members can come together to celebrate their heritage. They do this by dressing up in traditional attire, highlighting ethnic roots, and enjoying traditional cuisine. It becomes a celebration of God’s amazing creativity and his immeasurable grace in Christ.

Hawthorne Church

Additionally, Spanish Heritage Sunday also grants the opportunity to invite family, friends, and neighbors to experience the unified body of Christ in a tangible manner. It has become one of the key events for outside the walls presence in our church neighborhoods.

Hawthorne Church

Since the first time that we dedicated a Sunday (on some occasions a weekend) to Spanish heritage, God has blessed us with many opportunities to meet those we receive as guests and our surrounding neighbors. Many of these relationships have become disciple-making relationships. We are grateful for God’s providence and the many opportunities that he affords to participate in his everyday mission in our community and city.

By Heber Ticas
Pastor & Superintendent Latin America

Family Fun Day—Jacksonville, FL, US

The Jacksonville, FL congregation hosted its annual Neighborhood Fun Day on Saturday, October 15. After holding our Outside the Walls event in 2016, we began this tradition to provide consistent engagement with our neighborhood. We were unable to hold the event during the pandemic, so we’re very pleased with this opportunity to do so again.

As always, there were a few minor challenges to overcome, like a leak in one of the bounce houses. We had so many guests that we ran out of food during the last hour, even though we had gone back to the store twice already! Overall, it went very well with very nice weather.

We used a new method to invite the community: Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM), a service of the US Postal Service. EDDM allows you to mail flyers in bulk to your focus neighborhood without having to address each piece. [Watch this short video about EDDM.] We mailed 3,158 invitations and spent more than $600, but it was worth it. Engagement requires a dedicated budget!

Our neighbors responded with enthusiasm and appreciation, with about 250 guests joining us. Many expressed gratitude that our church provided this for their families. Several attendees even returned for worship services the next Sunday. Our prayer is that the love and fellowship we enjoyed together will be a seed sown that will take root, and the guests will continue on the discipleship pathway!

By Marty Davey, Pastor

Death of Alice Tkach

Retired President, Joe Tkach, shared the following note about his mother. We join the Tkach family in their grief and in their hope of resurrection.


Our mom, Alice Elaine Tkach, was four months shy of turning 93 and lived a full life. She loved God, church, and family. She was the youngest child of Angelo and Lura Apostolou, born near Gary, Indiana in January 1930. She passed peacefully in her sleep on October 2, after praying with my youngest sister Jennifer.

We are comforted with the knowledge that she has now burst into eternity in the full realization of sitting in heavenly places with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Of course, my family and friends already miss her, but we feel the total joy she now fully realizes in Christ.

She is survived by her three children, Joseph Tkach II (Tamara), Tanya Horchak (Doug), and Jennifer Raica (Ricard) as well as her grandchildren; Joseph III and Lapio Tkach, Stephanie and Evan Green, Christine and Jeremy Sehler, Gregory and Sandy Horchak, Rebecca and Michael Gutierrez, Janelle and Chad Tracy, Joseph and Ebony Butler, Jonathan and Melisa Butler, Jessica and Ryan Sheehan; and great grandchildren: Dorian Sehler, Zoe Sehler, Camilo Guterriez, Halen Tracy, Bodhi Tracy, Oliver Butler and Riley Butler.

Cards may be sent to:

Grace Communion International
3120 Whitehall Park Drive
Charlotte, NC 28273
Attention: Tkach Family

 

 

 

Retirement of Tim Snyder

I’m honored to share that Pastor Tim Snyder retired in September. Thank you, Tim and MaryAnn, for your faithfulness and for your sacrificial love for more than five decades! We love you and appreciate you more than words can ever express!

Mike Rasmussen, Central Regional Director

We ask Tim to share his story with Update. Congratulations!


MaryAnn grew up in the Chicago area under the tutelage of Dean Blackwell and those he trained. Her father was a local elder; her mother’s ministry was hospitality, especially to the members. From high school in Joliet, IL, she went directly to Ambassador College in Pasadena, CA.

I grew up in western North Carolina in the Appalachian area known as the Great Smoky Mountains. I received a distinct calling to ministry in the first grade, but gradually disregarded it until it returned in my freshman year of studies in Aerospace Engineering at NC State University, funded in part under a grant from NASA. I transferred to Ambassador College, Big Sandy, TX after two years in engineering. I try to follow space exploration, physics, and math to this day.

MaryAnn and I met on the “Big Dig” in 1971. As all students were assigned to specific project areas (called “holes”) for archaeological excavation, we were among the “leftovers” from the three campuses and were the last assigned. Our little group was truly international and fun-filled every hot and dusty day. It couldn’t have been better. MaryAnn and I married in 1972 after graduation.

MaryAnn and I have served in northwest Arkansas (wonderful people, stories and memories), northern Florida (great citrus and marvelous people), eastern North Carolina (serving some of the members I remembered and enjoyed from my time at NC State), West Virginia (intelligent and engaging members, and where our daughter was born), Chicago area churches (exciting times and people from all walks of life), Michigan (adapting to the challenges of rapidly evolving technologies), and finally Denver and Colorado Springs, CO (wonderfully talented members who helped adopt and adapt to all the changes in the church, technology, and society).

We have found the saints of God varied, engaging, and sometimes temperamental (but aren’t we all?) – their lives of faith in trials and joys always inspiring and uplifting; their endurance in life’s challenges well beyond those of the most accomplished public figures. God’s children are always humbling to know and behold. We count them among our greatest blessings in life!

While MaryAnn still works at the executive level of Lockheed Martin (ironic, since that was where I had hoped to develop my Aerospace career), we look forward to more international and domestic travel, new culinary delights at home, renewed engagement for me in Radio Controlled Aircraft building and flying (meaning more community involvement), renewed opportunities for entertaining at home, photography, videography, reading, writing, the Arts, community involvement (public speaking for me), some wide-ranging college classes and more.

We eagerly anticipate the gathering of all saints at Christ’s return, opening the real-time avenue of renewing relationships, exchanging stories, making new eternal friends and seeing the hidden potential of all mankind and nature finally beginning to be realized.

“Thank you” to our sisters, brothers, and friends around the world for their acceptance and encouragement. With God all things are possible!

Tim Snyder

Birth of Frankie Brandt

The following birth announcement is from Brittany and Alexander Brandt. Recently, Alexander was installed as the pastor of the Winnipeg congregation in Manitoba, Canada.

Congratulations! We are sharing in your joy at the birth of your first child.

 

 


Frankie Lynn Brandt was born late Wednesday night, October 12. She was 7 lbs and 19.5 inches long. She instantly became an incredible blessing to our family! She is a vivid reminder of the miracle of life and how incredibly we are loved by God.

Family Festival—Zimbabwe

For three days in August, Grace Communion Zimbabwe hosted our annual Family Festival and Conference. The celebrations utilized a blended approach. The first day was a virtual meeting on the WhatsApp platform. Days 2 and 3 were held in person in two locations: Bulawayo in the southern region and Harare in the northern region. These are Zimbabwe’s major regions.

Nearly 200 people gathered in both locations. Half the participants were children and youths. We were pleased to provide the young people with vibrant activities that focused on living and sharing the gospel through play.

We adopted the 2022 GCI theme for our celebration: Compelled by Love. We were guided by 2 Corinthians 5:14: “Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died” (NIV). The festival program was composed of varied segments of preaching and workshops. One major highlight of the celebrations was the baptism of five people at the Bulawayo location.

By Marshall Dube

Devotional—Jesus Is Sending His Church

Editor’s Note: Our overarching theme for devotions during the five months of the liturgical calendar called Ordinary Time is Jesus is sending his church. Using Michael Frost’s B.E.L.L.S. acronym as a framework, the topics will relate to missional living.

    • As “sent” people, we are invited to…
  • bless others generously, in word and deed (July),
  • eat with others hospitably (August),
  • listen to the Spirit while engaging with others (September),
  • learn Jesus’ teachings as a disciple (October),
  • and, sent people share the good news with others (November)

What is your mission in life? How are you serving others? Regardless of what you do, Jesus Christ gives all his disciples a mission:

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. Matt 28:19-20 NIV

God has given us many gifts and talents to worship him. I like to sing and play the piano. I used to think that singing was the way for me to preach to the world. But then I discovered that singing is just one of the ways I can express praise to God. It does not matter if I’m a talented musician if I am not living my life in a transformed way. It is not merely about how perfect the worship time is, but who I am in my day-by-day relationships.

When we surrender to God, every aspect of our lives can glorify God. God is the one who talks to our heart and gives us the correct words and decisions when things are difficult. We can use social media to reach others and have conversations about God. Apart from our lived example, social media is one of the most powerful ways for the church to continue. COVID brought something new – the reassurance that the church is not a place. We are the church. Let’s enjoy every opportunity to discuss our amazing Creator.

Prayer:

Jesus, thank you that we are participants in your mission. Holy Spirit, empower us to use our gifts and talents to proclaim the kingdom of God. Thank you for your plan of salvation for humanity, for indeed we are lost without it. Amen.

By Juanka Barrero, Hope Avenue Champion
Communion de Gracia Internacional Bogota, Columbia