January 20, 2010

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Thank you and your congregations for your prayers and support for Haiti. Caribbean Mission Director Charles Fleming sent this update on Friday:

Joseph & Georgette Franklin

I spoke with Mr. Franklin, our Haitian pastor, a few minutes ago. He, his wife and adult son, Billy, are all fine. Mr. Franklin said he did not sleep for two days as they were staying outside for fear of aftershocks, but last night he finally got some sleep. Their home suffered minor damage. He operates a bakery, and his oven, which was in a shed in the backyard, fell into a creek that runs by the house. He has not been able to communicate with all the church members, but he believes they are safe. One church family is staying at the Franklin home.

The church building and school have suffered some damage, but not major structural damage.

The ever-resourceful Mr. Franklin has a backup power system that uses truck batteries. Join us in praying that keeps going, as it will likely be his source of power for a while. It is also what he uses to recharge his cell phone, which is our link to him.

Thanks to all who have already contributed to the Disaster Relief Fund.

Congregations and individual members who would like to help may donate to the GCI Disaster Relief Fund. The Fund was established to help with costs of emergency member needs in the wake of such disasters. These costs include such items as food, water, clothing, and temporary housing, as well as temporary local pastoral salary expenses and other emergency local church expenses. The Fund is coordinated by regional leaders and local pastors in the affected areas. Since Grace Communion International is a non-profit organization, donations to the Disaster Relief Fund are tax-deductible in the United States. If more donations are received into this fund than can be used effectively at the time, the excess is to be held ready to assist with future disaster needs.

Donations can be made online at our website at www.wcg.org/DisasterDonation.asp or for those who would prefer to mail a check, the address is:

Disaster Relief Fund
Grace Communion International
PO Box 5005
Glendora, CA 91740


From left to right: Bob Klynsmith, Gordon Green, Trevor Weber, Emmanuel Clifford, Maria Clifford, Sandra de Greeff, Shaun de Greeff.

South Africa

Emmanuel Clifford and Shaun de Greeff were ordained as elders December 6 at a combined church service in Cape Town. On the same day, Papike Lebelo was ordained at a church service at Sizwe hospital.


July international conference in Orlando

Pastor registration is now open for our international conference in July, and pastors have begun signing up for this special event www.2010.gci.org. The conference promises to be a wonderful time of reconnecting with friends and colleagues from around the world.

If your congregation wants to help sponsor one of our pastors from an underprivileged area, please contact Church Administration and Development as soon as possible. We will open registration to our general membership at the end of January and at that time space may start to become tight. If you have any questions on how you could join with other congregations to sponsor a pastor, please e-mail Charles Albrecht (charles.albrecht@gci.org).


Eric, his wife Kareena, their children and Richard (left)

Toronto, Canada

Eric Wilding was ordained an elder at a church service in a Toronto East church service. Eric’s father, Richard, delivered the day’s sermon. Below is a picture of Eric, his wife Kareena, their children and Richard (left).


Prayer Requests and Updates

Mission Director Gary Moore asked that we keep Bill Rabey in prayer during his upcoming trip. Gary wrote:

Pastor Bill Rabey is heading to Africa this Saturday night for about a month. He will be in Kampala, Uganda, helping to renovate a home for an orphanage. The orphanage is run by an organization called Cup for Africa. He got to know this ministry through the Ottawa congregation’s 10-year relationship with Jericho Road Christian Ministry, which takes care of recovering addicts in homes across Ottawa.

Bill Rabey used to provide quarterly Bible studies for group homes that this ministry supports, and now Fraser Henderson is doing a Bible study for this group on a weekly basis. Bill will take a three-hour bus ride February 5 from Kampala to our GCI church in Tororo, Uganda, where he will speak both Saturday and Sunday. He will then take a 7-hour bus ride to meet with Kimani, who is our regional pastor for East Africa. The following Tuesday, Bill will fly and then take about an hour’s bus ride to the refugee camp in Kakuma to meet with our church there.

He hopes to spend three days at the camp (the UN has its own accommodations for all visitors – a good security measure), and then head back to Nairobi for the weekend and speak in the churches there. He will fly back to Canada from Nairobi on Tuesday, February 16. Please support Bill in prayer during this month.


George Affeldt sent this update on the condition of his wife Jackie:

Jackie and I appreciate everyone’s concern and prayers. Jackie had to stay in the hospital until the dizziness went away. She came home Sunday, but they still don’t know what is causing the dizziness. They did find a small aneurism in her brain, but it is very small, and the doctor thinks that she may have had it from birth. He doesn’t believe it is causing the problem. She is scheduled to be checked every six months so they can keep an eye on it. Her chest pains are gone and they found no problem with her heart. We want to thank everyone for their prayers; it is very comforting to know that people care about you and are praying for you.

Love to you all,
George & Jackie

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

January 14, 2010

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Joseph & Georgette Franklin

A few minutes ago, District Superintendent Larry Hinkle sent this update to Caribbean Mission Developer Charles Fleming regarding our Haitian Pastor, Joseph Franklin and our Haitian members.

I just received a call from Mr. Franklin. He said he wasn’t able to reach you, so called me. He says that he and his family are safe, except for a cousin who works in government ministry and is still under the debris of that collapsed building. He has another friend who works for the Board of Education who is also still under the debris. He spent three hours walking the streets of Port-au-Prince and said that it is every bit as bad as what we see on TV. He said the country is falling apart. One church family who lost their home is staying with him. Fortunately, the school received only slight damage–a separation wall fell down. He is working on a plan to help as many people as possible. In spite of it all he is in good spirits and is looking forward to coming to the International Conference in July.

Blessings.
Larry

We are deeply thankful for God’s mercy and provision. Please continue praying for our members there and for entire region as the aftershocks continue and rescue efforts get into full swing.

Congregations and individual members who would like to help may donate to the GCI Disaster Relief Fund. The Fund was established to help with costs of emergency member needs in the wake of such disasters. These costs include such items as food, water, clothing, and temporary housing, as well as temporary local pastoral salary expenses and other emergency local church expenses. The Fund is coordinated by regional leaders and local pastors in the affected areas. Since Grace Communion International is a non-profit organization, donations to the Disaster Relief Fund are tax-deductible in the United States. If more donations are received into this fund than can be used effectively at the time, the excess is to be held ready to assist with future disaster needs.

Donations can be made online at our website at www.wcg.org/DisasterDonation.asp or for those who would prefer to mail a check, the address is:

Disaster Relief Fund
Grace Communion International
PO Box 5005
Glendora, CA 91740


Alexander Julian Soto

Despite calamity and tragedy, the blessing of new life continues. Grandpa Terry and Grandma Nancy Akers joyfully announce the birth of Alexander Julian Soto on January 10. Mom Ashley and Dad Mayo are doing fine.


GenMin Camps

From Ted Johnston:

Frederick Moore’s report on Souled Out camp in Memphis concludes our GenMin camps for 2009. And thanks to all GenMin camp and event directors and leaders for your sacrificial service in helping kids know and journey with Jesus and our congregations grow as cross-generational, cross-cultural outposts of the Father’s kingdom.

Souled Out was a tremendous success. We went through “higher ground” and beyond the “mountaintop” to reach “new heights” as we “crossed borders” to reach the “gateway” of the Lord for whom we were Souled Out. Okay, so I’ve had my fun now.

Anyway, although the temperature was frigid outside (coldest temps in Memphis in 20 years), there was nothing but exuberant warmth inside. Twenty-six teen campers were served by 24 staffers for four days and three nights of fellowship and fun. Our guest chaplain, Jeff Broadnax, gave inspiring youth-friendly messages that led many of the youth to thoughtful introspection. I’ve read several of their Facebook statuses and the effect that this camp had on their hearts is readily apparent. Also on hand to give a message and add to the experience was Anthony Rice.

One teen asked for prayer as he became poignantly aware of the love that Jesus has expressed toward him. Besides chapel and other activities, one of the highlights was the ’80s style dance.

Before camp began, young adults and teens were able to partake in a Journey with the Master workshop conducted by Anthony Mullins. It helped set the stage as Jennifer Moore followed up with camp specific training. We’re already excitedly planning for next year (which is really later this year). That’s Dec. 30, 2010, through Jan. 2, 2011, when we will once again start the New Year Souled Out!

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Crossing Borders Mission Trip

From Lee Berger:

Twenty-one of us from Texas, Colorado and the Washington, D.C., area participated. Our first stop was at a church in a “pallet city” on the outskirts of Nuevo Laredo. We joined with a local pastor in visiting children and parents, playing games, leading a sing-a-long of Christmas music and distributing shoeboxes full of useful and fun gifts for the children. It brought tears to the eyes of both the givers and receivers when we gave the mothers some lovely blankets that had been knitted and crocheted by ladies from the Fort Worth, Texas, GCI congregation.

We then traveled to the local pastor’s second church, visiting the people and distributing shoebox gifts. For many of the children, these small gifts may be the only new items of any kind they’ll get during the year. Our final stop was at a children’s home for abused and abandoned children. We cooked dinner for the group, watched spiritual dramas, treated them to craft projects, sang songs, distributed shoebox gifts, and spent time laughing with, hugging and holding the lovable children. We have visited this home many times over the years, but each visit brings new joy along with the prayer, “Come, Lord Jesus.”

Crossing Borders is a camp/mission ministry of Generations Ministries of Grace Communion International. The camp motto is “Crossing national, cultural and personal borders with the Good News of Jesus Christ.” Whether for our week-long summer camp or our mini-mission winter trip, we invite you and your friends to participate in a life-transforming experience. We welcome anyone from youth to seniors, and we love to see families share this experience together. For more details, go to www.cbmission.org or call 903-746-4463.

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Church Next Training Schedule for 2010

Church-Next Training is Trinitarian-based and designed to introduce pastors and other ministry leaders to the key principles and processes for starting healthy new congregations in GCI.

This year Church-Next Training will be conducted in two sessions at two locations.

• Part 1 – April 8-10, 2010 (Tipp City, OH)
• Part 2 – September 9-11, 2010 (Staten Island, NY)

Materials discussed in Part 1 will not be duplicated in Part 2. Both sessions combine to provide the entire training experience. The time between the two parts is to be used to apply lessons learned.

Church-Next Training is for pastors, ministry leaders and members working together for church health and renewal. It is also for young and emerging ministry leaders.

Church-Next Training includes:

• Trinitarian principles and practices for participating in Jesus’ mission to the world
• Church planting values
• Characteristics of church start leaders
• Clarifying and communicating your vision for starting a new church
• Identifying a focus group or community
• Developing a church planting team
• Developing culturally relevant ministries and worship services
• Trinitarian-based evangelism, gathering people … and more

For more information and to register visit cmm.gci.org or contact Randy Bloom at Randy.Bloom@gci.org.


Prayer Requests and Updates

Pastor George Affeldt of our Sioux Falls, South Dakota, congregation asked for prayer for his wife, Jackie, who was taken to the emergency room last week with vomiting, dizziness and chest pains. George said that the vomiting has stopped but the other symptoms remain. The cause is still unknown and they are awaiting test results.

Cards may be sent to:
George and Jackie Affeldt
508 N Marquette Ave
Sioux Falls, SD 57110-5736


Pastor Dave and Hinke Gilbert of our Philadelphia and Allentown, Pennsylvania, congregations request prayer for their 19-year-old son, Nathan, who is still in the hospital after surgery for a ruptured appendix. Dave wrote:

Nate called early this morning and said he’s not been able to urinate since last night’s appendectomy. He really doesn’t want to have a catheter, so please pray the “plumbing” starts to work right away. The surgeon told us that his appendix had ruptured by the time he’d gotten “in there.” He said Nate will probably need to be hospitalized for at least five days so they can pump him full of antibiotics and monitor for infection. We appreciate every one of your prayers for him.

Nate is going to be 19 in July and is a senior at Palisades High School. He has been working at Grandview Hospital as an orderly for a couple of months now, and it was heartening to see that almost everybody who was working with knew him and seemed to appreciate him. The nurse in the recovery room mentioned how it was so nice to have an orderly come right away whenever she called for him. All were sympathetic and encouraging to him. As many of you know, Nate would like to become a doctor in the future. I’m sure his experience will help him develop even greater compassion for those he deals with in the future.

We know he is going to get exceptional care and we know your prayers and encouragement will greatly help at this time.

Cards can be sent to:
Nathan Gilbert
c/o Grandview Hospital
700 Lawn Avenue
Sellersville, PA 18960.


Pastor Walter Deptula of our Lufkin, Texas, congregation sent this update on the health of our co-pastor Kenn Allbright:

I last reported that Kenn was diagnosed with Myasthenia Gravis. This diagnosis turned out to be premature. After several weeks of more tests he has been finally diagnosed with Large Cell Lymphoma and is currently in the M.D. Anderson cancer center in Houston receiving chemotherapy and intensive physical therapy. He had lost some of the use of his legs but is slowly and steadily improving.

Kenn is very appreciative of our prayers, the cards and phone calls of encouagement he has received.

Cards can be sent to:
Kenn Allbright
550 Club Dr. Suite 215
Montgomery TX 77316-3190

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


January 6, 2010

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

A combined Life Club meeting was held on October 24 at the Hilton Castle Hotel, Mbaise, Nigeria. Three Clubs took part: Mbaise, Port Harcourt, and Owerri. A normal Club programme was the format. Mr. Meschack Igbineweka was the Chairperson. Mrs. C.C. Kanu of Mbaise Life Club was awarded the Best Achievement Cup while Master Victor George and Mrs. Mercy George of Port Harcourt Life Club won the Best Contribution Cup and the Best Speaker Cup respectively. Members requested for similar meetings to be held more than once a year.

The Great Baddow Life Club met on December 5. The Club opened with Proverbs 25:11, which says our speech should be “fitly spoken.”Speakers were Len Maylin, Chiemeka Ozumba, David Plumley and Seb Woolford. The Chairperson, Jonathan Luxton, presented David Plumley with the Best Speaker Cup (which contained a Mars bar!).The Director, Tony Goudie, said that ”the Club is an opportunity to serve each other.”

The Luton Church held their second Life Club on December 5. Speakers were Daria Fowler, Duncan McLean, Julie Robas, and Margaret Woolston. The Club concluded with some encouraging words from Harry Sullivan, Tina Sullivan, and Angela Kiernander.

The dates for the U.K. SEP 2010 are July 24 to August 7. (More details from admin@sepuk.org.)


Marriage Enrichment as Outreach Ministry in Colombia

Thirteen couples out of 17 that took the class on how to better your marriage, graduated December 12 in a ceremony at our church hall in Bogota.

Nestor and Clara Goyeneche

Most of the couples gave their testimony on how the class helped them improve their marriages. All of them said they had been very happy with the class. We had six small groups led by trained leaders and their wives. These leaders, Paulina and I included, are planning to invite more couples for the four-month class.

One of the most impressive testimonies came from, who divorced 13 years ago after 18 years of marriage. Clara never stopped praying for her husband, and some months before the class, they had started dating again. A couple introduced them to Paulina and me, and we invited them to take the class. Nestor and Clara enjoyed each class every week so much that we were inspired to see their marriage flourish. They were married again in a ceremony December 11 with the presence of their four children, four grandchildren and other relatives. During the ceremony, Nestor asked all his relatives to forgive him for all the past suffering and distress that he had caused because he had been the reason of the divorce with Clara. But now that he had accepted Jesus, he wanted to start a new life with his family. It certainly was a very moving moment.


Herman Hoeh Community Center

Herman Hoeh Community Center

The Herman L. Hoeh community center in Bangladesh has been fully functional for over a year and is proving to be of great value to people in the surrounding villages. As the building is on the flat lands near the sea coast, it was intended to be both a place of refuge during a tsunami, and as a cyclone shelter. On a day-to-day basis, it acts as our free medical clinic and community center. It has already been well tested during recent cyclones and saved many lives. The center was named in memory of Dr. Hoeh because of his help and encouragement to both to the evangelistic efforts of BEA, and other developing countries and to John Biswas and others in the world mission field. As you can see from the photos, it has three levels and a flat roof, which is also used as a place of safety when needed. The cost of construction was partly covered by many small donations, but mainly by two of Pastor Rand Holm’s congregations, West Valley and Port Hueneme. We are presently raising funds for the needs of the clinic, which is the only medical facility for many miles serving a huge population in the many surrounding villages. People say this building is a fitting tribute to Herman Hoeh’s life’s work.


Looking for a summer camp?

Generations Ministries is pleased to announce that in 2010 there will be 17 camps and short-term mission trips in the United States. A list of GenMin 2010 camps and events is found at http://genmin.wcg.org/calendar.htm. The list includes links to the websites of individual camps and events.


Prayer Requests and Updates

We are saddened to report that after a battle with a rare form of sarcoma, Carol Norman, wife of elder and former Ambassador University professor Gil Norman, passed away at home in Medford, Oregon, surrounded by her family on December 22. Carol’s memorial service will be held Friday, January 8, at 3:00 p.m. at Memory Gardens Mortuary and Memorial Park, 1395 Arnold Lane, Medford, OR 97501. For more information about the service, contact Memory Gardens at 541-773-7338. Following the memorial service, there will be a celebration of Carol’s life at Ashland Elks Lodge #944, 255 East Main Street, Ashland, Oregon 97520.

The family asks that in lieu of flowers, please consider sending donations to The Knight Cancer Institute at Oregon Health & Science University (www.ohsucancer.com), The American Cancer Society (www.cancer.org), or The Look Good…Feel Better program (www.lookgoodfeelbetter.org). For those who would like to send flowers for the memorial service, please call Memory Gardens at the phone number above.

Cards can be sent to:
Gil Norman, Rochelle Norman-Capo & Renee Norman-Martin
4601 South Pacific Hwy, Unit 53
Phoenix, OR 97535

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


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December 30, 2009

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Due to the holidays, there will be no Update this week.

May God’s peace be with you.


Prayer Requests and Updates

Please join us in earnest prayer for Joanne and Pastor Lloyd Barrie of Kalispell, Montana. After what was expected to be a routine gallstone surgery, Joanne was diagnosed with stage four gall bladder cancer which has spread to the colon and liver.

Lloyd wrote, “Removal of the gall bladder was not an option due to the difficulty and length of the procedure and the limited benefit. They performed gastric bypass surgery and Joanne is recovering well from the procedure. She will possibly be out of the hospital on January 2. Apart from miraculous healing, there are no good long term outcomes with this cancer. Joanne will be consulting an oncologist after she is released and will start chemotherapy in three to four weeks. We feel Jesus holding us very tightly and we know His grace is sufficient in all trials. Please keep Joanne, myself, our family and our church family in your prayers.”

Cards may be sent to:

Lloyd and Joanne Barrie
503 2nd Ave E
Kalispell, MT 59901-4903

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


December 23, 2009

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

May God grant you a blessed and merry Christmas as you celebrate the Incarnation of the Son of God!

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During the holiday period, Grace Communion International administrative offices will be closed December 24 – 31. Offices will officially reopen at 8:00 a.m. PST on Monday, January 4, 2010.


Training Seminar

The Southern California districts hosted a Ministry Development Training conference with Dan Rogers, US Superintendent of Ministers, at Community Life Fellowship in Altadena, California, on December 5. District Pastoral Leaders Eric Shaw, Bermie Dizon and Glen Weber invited elders and ministry leaders as well as interested members to participate in this three-District event.

Dan Rogers gave an overview of Christian ethics from a Trinitarian theological perspective in the morning. The focus was about understanding the moral principles revealed in the Incarnation of Jesus and how to apply the principles in everyday life decisions. In the afternoon Dr. Rogers gave a workshop titled Into the Bible for Maximum Impact and Fun and encouraged the study of Scripture in interesting new ways. We ended the afternoon with everyone breaking into small group discussions on selected scriptures.

The attendees enjoyed the fellowship and mealtime with those from other Southern California congregations. Many commented that they enjoyed the inspirational study and the time reconnecting with friends from other congregations. That evening at the Community Life Fellowship worship service, Dr. Rogers continued the day’s learning experience with a sermon titled: “It’s Not What You Have, It’s Who Has You” based on Luke 9:1-6 and 10-17.


Africa

From Gary Moore:

Wendy got a note this morning from Candida Millar, wife of the lay pastor of the Johannesburg Central congregation. Candida has three small children and gifts and passion for ministry to young people. She directs a VBS program which runs for several days at the youth summer camp (which is going on this week; remember, their summer is our winter). We were able to offer some help from our Africa Missions Fund to purchase supplies for the program (about $150 total), including a small gift for each child.

Here are excerpts from Candida’s note:

I wish you could have seen the children’s faces when they saw their presents from Canada. They were giddy with excitement. I gave them the stuff as they left so that their parents would be able to experience it with them… I’m so very humbled by your generous hearts for these little people. And let me tell you, it’s working! …Thank you, thank you, thank you!


Prayer Requests and Updates

I just talked with Peter Whitting and am delighted to report that he is now back home. His collapsed lung has been reversed and the physical therapy is going well. This week will be his first time in church for nearly three months. Peter and Charlotte thank all for their prayers.


National Director for Spain, Pedro Rufian, asked that we pray for the Madrid congregation’s outreach work. They seek especially to support senior citizens who are experiencing loneliness. He wrote, “Please pray for God to give us the courage and the faith to carry out the project. We know we are working in stony ground.”

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


December 16, 2009

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Christian Odyssey editor and international publications advisor John Halford visited Chogait and Amporn Garmolgomut in Thailand last week. Here is his report:

Friday, December 4, I was privileged to represent our denomination at the formal opening of the Ambassador Bilingual School (ABS) in Chiang Mai, Thailand. This is the latest, and most ambitious, of a chain of schools, kindergartens and language institutes established in Northern Thailand by Chogait and Amporn Garmolgomut.

Chogait is one of the few Thais to graduate from Ambassador College. After graduation, he returned to Thailand with a deep desire to serve his people, but no firm plans. About 20 years ago the late Herman Hoeh gave Chogait a check for $100 and suggested he and his wife start a school. The rest is history – but a remarkable history. (I told it in more detail in an article in the February-March 2009 issue of Christian Odyssey.) During the opening ceremony we named the school’s new library the Herman Hoeh Library and Educational Center.

ABS is a K-12 school, located in a refurbished office building that has been transformed into a bright, high-quality educational facility. Although not a Christian school per se, it is administered with Christian principles and values. As Chogait says, “I want to bring the best of what Ambassador gave me to my people, in a way they can understand and appreciate.”

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Thailand is a Buddhist country, and Christians only make up about 2 percent of the population. There are hundreds, maybe thousands, of Western missionaries in and around Chiang Mai, but their impact on the Thai community has been almost negligible. Some have been here for years without making one convert. This is what makes Chogait and Amporn’s effort all the more remarkable.

“People here want to learn English because they see it as the key to success and prosperity,” explains Chogait. “But we know that there is more to success than just material prosperity. We know that the gospel is the answer to our people’s deepest fears and worries. So we try to show them that by the way we live and run our educational operations.”

Although they did not set out to start a church, Chogait and Amporn have a house church of around 100 meeting regularly. They have baptized about 160 people in the last two or three years, most of them native Thais.


Cincinnati, Ohio

From Pastor George Hart:

Christ Community Church of Cincinnati reached out to the community around its church hall the Sunday before Thanksgiving with Thanksgiving meals. The area is one of the lowest-income communities in the county, with many school-age children. The congregation collected food and cash donations to put together 100 meals. The meals included all the traditional Thanksgiving trimmings and a gift certificate for a turkey or ham at the local grocery. After a shortened service, the congregation pitched in to put the meals together and deliver them to the community. In the process we were able to meet many of our community neighbors. The spirit of “missions” was high as most of the congregation was involved in the process. After delivering the meals, we returned for a pizza dinner and shared our experiences in meeting our neighbors. Our original goal was 100 meals, but we collected so much we were able to donate over $300 worth of food supplies to a soup kitchen the congregation serves every month. Next year we are talking about a goal of 200 meals.

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Africa

Kalengule Kaoma reports that Edward and Janet Banda of Kitwe, Zambia, are planning a new church plant in February 2010. “Mr. Banda has a theology diploma with missions major and Janet is a prayer warrior,” Kalengule said.


2010 International Conference

We are pleased to announce that we now have a conference website. Information about the agenda, speakers, activities and other conference-related items will be posted to this website as the details are confirmed. Registration for pastors will begin January 11 and for elders and members on January 29. Check out www.2010.gci.org for the latest details.

Generations Ministry announces teen and young adult track

During the 2010 Grace Communion International conference, Generations Ministries will sponsor a conference within the conference for young adults and teens. In this special Generations Ministry Track, teens and young adults will be able to attend training sessions geared toward their areas of ministry. They will have an opportunity to participate in some Orlando activities and they will have a place to reconnect and hang out. Sessions and activities will run parallel to the conference dates, July 22-25. The conference registration fee for teens and young adults will be $20 which will help offset some of the costs for this special gathering. Save the dates and spread the word – details will be forthcoming.


Mexico Short-Term Mission Trip

From Debbie Minke:

The Vancouver, British Columbia, congregation’s teen group is very excited to be embarking on a short-term mission trip to Mexico March 6-16, 2010. Our mission is to be worthy representatives of Jesus Christ by assisting with underprivileged children at Guarderia Dios Provehera (God Will Provide) Christian daycare (www.victoryinjjdaycare.webs.com). Participants will be assisting with building projects for a Mexican pastor who is starting a church and doing community outreach in Ensenada with a local congregation. We have a few spots still available for interested teens. Please complete the attached application form and return it before January 15, 2010. Feel free to contact Debbie Minke for more information at (604) 532-3750 or dminke@telus.net. The application may also be downloaded from our national website at www.wcg.ca.


Prayer Request

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


December 9, 2010

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Norma & Dennis Thibault
Norma & Dennis Thibault

Congratulations to Dennis and Norma Thibault, who celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in November! Dennis pastors the Castlegar, British Columbia, congregation.


Canada

From Gary Moore

After 40 years of service, Doug Smith let us know that he plans to retire at the end of August 2010. Doug was the first minister in Canada I trained under, and through the years I have learned many valuable things from both his words and example. Thank you for your prayers for Doug and Mique’s transition into retirement and for a new pastor to lead Cornerstone forward.


Newark, New Jersey

Youth Group dance symbolizing spiritual warfare
Youth Group dance symbolizing spiritual warfare

Tammy and I enjoyed celebrating with our brothers and sisters of the 24/7 Community Church in Newark, New Jersey, on their 10th anniversary. The congregation began with only 12 members and has steadily grown over the years, as you can see from the pictures. Having begun as a church plant, they now have visions of planting another congregation.

Church members there mentor young people at the Juvenile Detention Center and hold a church service there once a month. They also minister to a senior citizens center.

. . . . .


Africa

From Kalengule Kaoma:

In the second quarter of 2009, I received a letter from Christopher Balidin in Ghana. Since I had already planned a visit to Ghana for August 22 to September 4, I invited him to meet with me in Accra.

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On September 3, we met with a sizeable group in Christopher Balidin’s house. The group was looking for spiritual oversight from GCI. During discussions, we found out that the group has many physical needs as well. Emmanuel Okai and I discussed possible ways of helping the group both spiritually and physically. Since then, Emmanuel has visited them five times.

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For regular and ongoing visits, Emmanuel has assigned a deaconess and her family who live near Buduburam Refugee Camp.


2010 International Conference

We are pleased to announce that we now have a conference website. Information about the agenda, speakers, activities and other conference-related items will be posted to this website as the details are confirmed. Registration for pastors will begin January 11 and for elders and members on January 29. Check out www.2010.gci.org for the latest details.

Generations Ministry announces teen and young adult track

During the 2010 Grace Communion International conference, Generations Ministries will sponsor a conference within the conference for young adults and teens. In this special Generations Ministry Track, teens and young adults will be able to attend training sessions geared toward their areas of ministry. They will have an opportunity to participate in some Orlando activities and they will have a place to reconnect and hang out. Sessions and activities will run parallel to the conference dates, July 22-25. The conference registration fee for teens and young adults will be $20 which will help offset some of the costs for this special gathering. Save the dates and spread the word – details will be forthcoming.


Prayer Requests and Updates

Felix and Melba Johnson

Felix and Melba want to thank everyone for their support and encouragement. Felix’s follow-up appointment for his bladder procedure was very good. The doctor told them to go out and celebrate. Also, Melba’s colonoscopy test results showed no sign of cancer.


Torvieg Aas
From Carl Frederick Aas:

My wife’s health is greatly improved these last three weeks, and especially the last week. Her improvement has been slow but steady. She is a teacher in a primary school and is still on sick leave. But today she visited the school and stayed the first two hours because the pupils wanted to talk with her. They had heard that she had been so sick. I think that she will be back to work at school within a week or two.

Both my wife and I would like to express our deepest gratitude to everyone who has called, sent emails, sent cards and letters. God is merciful. God is good. God is almighty. Let his name be praised!

I am now starting to catch up on work that has been put aside the last few weeks. I will start to travel again. Last weekend I was away from home one night, the first time since my wife’s sickness. My next and last trip this year will be to Stockholm on December 12.


Beth Holm
From Rand Holm:

Friday, December 4, I spent all day with Beth at UCLA Medical Hospital where she was admitted as an outpatient. The surgeries and radiation she had four years ago did not have the success we had hoped for. She had an angiogram of her brain and they took a six-frame-per-second look at it to see what is going on. I got her home around 7 p.m. About 9 p.m. she passed out because of low blood pressure.

It looks as though Beth is going to have major brain surgery again, probably early next year. She has quite a bit of complex lesion left in her brain. Some of it is high risk. The doctors will attempt to immobilize some of the aneurysms and fistulas. They have come to the conclusion that there isn’t much more to do than that. They hope to lower the risk of future strokes and intracranial bleeds by treating this small but higher risk area.

Beth is losing fine motor control in her left hand. They are not sure what is causing that. This is pretty distracting to both Beth and me. Thanks so much for your prayers for wisdom in what steps to take. We are supposed to hear their recommendations next week.

Cards may be sent to:
3200 Foothill Dr, Apt 3
Westlake Village, CA 91361-4949

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


December 2, 2009

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Neil Earle
Neil Earle

Please join me in extending hearty congratulations to Pastor Neil Earle. Neil was one of eight people to receive a Community Service Recognition Award at this year’s Duarte Mayor’s Thanksgiving Prayer Breakfast. Here is part of what was written in the program:

Neil Earle and Irwin Margiloff [curator of the Duarte Historical Museum] spent nearly a year researching, writing, and pictorializing the history of Duarte. The result of their efforts is the book Images of America: Duarte, a 127 page account of Duarte’s history from the time of Andres Duarte to the present.

Historian Neil Earle is a pastor and journalist for the Worldwide Church of God… Neil is also involved with DCTV Duarte Access where he volunteers his time and hosts the current events program, A Second Look, focusing on biblical archaeology, geography and other relevant subjects.

Good work, Neil!

Neil interviewed You’re Included host Mike Feazell twice on A Second Look a few years ago when Mike was a resident of the city of Duarte.


Haiti

Joseph Franklin
Joseph Franklin

Pastor Joseph Franklin wrote:

We had set an agreement for all our scattered members and their families to meet with us in Port-au-Prince on the last Saturday of every month. In this meeting we spend hours sharing news, discussing current teachings in the church, making plans in the mission field and sharing communion. For the last two months, numerous difficulties arose that prevented us from holding this event that is so vital for the local church. We were glad that at least Daniel Leconte could make it, in spite of the long distance between Port-de-Paix and Port-au-Prince, as well as the extremely bad roads that can make the trip so hard.

So in November I announced a mission trip to Saint Marc to visit Serges Jacques and his family, and if it was possible, to meet with others to offer them articles translated into French. I was delighted when Serges told me that 15 to 20 people in addition to his family would be present.

We set Wednesday, November 18 (which was a national holiday) as the day for the mission and set out. Of course, everyone was aware of the ever-present danger of kidnapping, and the national road to Cap-Haitian through Saint Marc is a proverbial “road from Jerusalem to Jericho” where one is not likely to meet a “Good Samaritan.”

Nevertheless, we did meet one, by the name of Eddy, when our rented car broke down. Here is the whole story:

On Tuesday morning, November 17, I called the gentleman who usually gave us taxi-service and offered him a reasonable fare to take us to Saint Marc, wait for us, and then take us back home. He was already booked, so he referred us to one of his partners, whose name was Tom.

Tom agreed that we would leave Port-au-Prince at 6:30 a.m. Wednesday so we could make it to the meeting at 9:00 a.m. It is a two-hour drive on a good road. At 6:00 a.m. that morning, I called to remind him to pick up my assistant, André Naval at home and then pick up Bely Ferdinand (the new academic director of our school) and me up at the church hall. Tom told me that he was sorry, but the car had a brake problem and he had to look for a better vehicle. So I canceled our agreement and set out to find a better vehicle myself, but not before I rushed to the computer and sent Mr. Fleming and Pastor David a short note asking them to pray for my effort. Praise our powerful Lord; the mission was a fruitful one!

At 7:00 a.m. we finally found a taxi driver who was willing to make the trip to Saint-Marc – and to go slowly because we were in a hurry. (Napoleon Bonaparte once told his driver, “De grace, do not drive so fast, because I am in a hurry!”).

We finally got out of the main city traffic at 8:00 a.m. We filled the tank and drove on carefully. I called Serges to let him know that we would be about an hour late. He said everyone would be patient. We passed three villages with no sign of any problem. Suddenly, at 9:30 a.m., in a bushy zone halfway between Arcahaie and Montrouis, the car broke down.

Montrouis is the last village before reaching Saint Marc. We all stepped out of the car. I called Serges to beg a bit more patience, and told us not to worry. Then a stranger appeared offering help. The driver panicked, but explained that we were broken down. The stranger, whose name was Eddy, asked where we were heading, and I told him we were visiting a family in our church who live in Camp Mary near Saint Marc.

He said, “Good people. I like to see that,” and then offered to call someone who knew a mechanic.

I asked him if he was a Christian, and he said he didn’t go to church.

I offered him a copy of the French version of Dr. Feazell’s article, “Getting Real” and Dr. Tkach’s article, “Crown of Thorns.” Eddy accepted them with joy and asked when we might have another meeting so he could come to it. He helped us find a Tap-Tap (a small pickup truck), and we finally made it to Serges’ home at 11:00 a.m., where 22 were still waiting patiently.

Some of Serges’ guests were Sunday school leaders and deacons in evangelical churches of the community. We spent two hours discussing the permanent humanity of Jesus and his representative role before God the Father on behalf of all humanity as well as questions about hell, judgment, conversion and so forth. But the main question I ask you to pray about is this one: “Pastor, when will you be back for another study like this?”

As the old baker’s proverb says, “We have bread dough on the bench.”


Canada

Gary & Wendy Moore
Gary & Wendy Moore

From National Director Gary Moore:

Summer is arriving in the southern hemisphere, which means the December summer camp program will commence soon in Zambia and South Africa. We will be providing assistance to both camps this year, which is greatly appreciated. The camp for Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malawi can only take place with our help, and this year the South African economy has been hard hit by the global recession, so our help is greatly appreciated there, too. We’ll provide $3000 to each camp. Half of the $6000 total is coming from the Red Deer, Alberta, church and the Crossfield, Alberta, small group church. The other half is coming from our African Missions Fund. The Africa Missions Fund is a fund that any member may contribute any amount to, regardless of how small. It will be included in their annual tax receipt along with their regular donations. This makes it possible for individual members to help with world mission in our fellowship directly, even if their local church budget cannot afford to help on a congregational basis. We don’t want this fund to compete with funds for the running of the church, but even an extra $5 or $10 can add up and make a big difference if a number of us get involved.

On a related note, the Toronto East and Vancouver congregations have donated $5500 to help with disaster relief in the Philippines in the wake of this fall’s typhoons and floods. Also, the Toronto East church has donated $2000 to support a major outreach by Hector Barrero (pastor of our Bogota church, and National Director for Colombia). Hector does a local radio program and will promote public marriage seminars that this funding will make possible. This was done earlier this year, and proved to be very successful, with several marriages and baptisms resulting.


Tanzania

From Kalengule Kaoma:

Kimani
Kimani

Thank you for your prayers and financial support for the visit to Musoma, Tanzania. God is wonderful in the way he reveals himself in spite of our weakness.

Kimani and I arrived in Musoma at 4:15 p.m. after a three-and-a- quarter hour bus trip. The flight from Dar es Salaam to Musoma was canceled. We were flown to Mwanza and then bussed to Musoma. Compare a plane fare to a bus ride! The same happened on our return trip. This is Amazing Africa. Initially there were no explanations and apologies given for the inconvenience. Later, we extracted some information from travel agents that the regular plane to Musoma was undergoing routine maintenance.

We attended morning and afternoon worship services on Saturday. Kimani delivered a morning sermon titled, “The History of Salvation,” which was about the Triune God. In the afternoon, I addressed the practicalities of the presence of Christ in a Christian’s marriage. Attendance was around 80, including a few children.

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Prayer Requests and Updates

Lateef Edalere

Longtime elder Lateef Edalere, who served many years in Nigeria and Jamaica, has been ill for some years following a series of mini-strokes. In October, Lateef suffered a major stroke resulting in him being partially paralyzed and without sight and speech. He is unable to swallow and is being fed through a tube. Your prayers are requested on his behalf for God’s intervention and his will at this very difficult time.

Cards may be sent to:
Lateef & Yvonne Edalere
29 Kiln Way
Badgers Dene
Grays, Essex RM17 5JE
UNITED KINGDOM


Glen McCutchan

Pastor Glen Weber wrote, “This is a bitter-sweet email to have to send, that our brother and elder in our congregation, Glen McCutchan, has passed away. Bitter because we will dearly miss him, but sweet because he is no longer in pain and has, in the apostle Paul’s words, gone to be ‘at home with the Lord.’”

Glen’s widow, Barbara, wrote, “Glen passed away at 7:05 this morning. I am waiting for Hospice personnel to come to sign the death certificate and then they will call the funeral home. Karen and grandson Jason arrived last night and are here with me. We are all doing okay, just glad that Glen is no longer in pain. This past week has been a long one for us.”

Cards may be sent to:
Barbara McCutchan
196 South Greenwood Avenue
Pasadena, CA 91107

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


November 24, 2009

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

As we pause in the United States for our annual Thanksgiving celebration, I am again reminded of how deeply thankful I am for the blessing of working with such a wonderful group of dedicated pastors and elders as you all are! I pray daily for you and you families and wish you a most relaxing and joyful Thanksgiving.


Canada

Canadian National Director Gary Moore shared this report from Alvaro Palacio about the regional volleyball tournament recently held in Toronto:

The Toronto East church, in collaboration with the Montreal church, held their traditional Annual Volleyball Tournament Weekend November 14-15. The tournament is an event that gathers young church members, families and friends from Ontario and Quebec.

Services on Saturday afternoon were a great family reunion of 145 people, half of them visitors. Right after services, pizza dinner and integration games made the evening short and plenty of fun.

Sport activities started early on Sunday with the participation of 10 teams. After a day of plenty of Christ-style sports competition, the senior team from Cornerstone Christian Fellowship in Toronto took the gold medal, followed by the team from Ottawa Valley. A combined junior team with players from Montreal and Ottawa churches won the gold medal in the junior category. Sportsmanship was so high that three teams received mentions. Also, this year we had our first francophone team from Montreal.

Volleyball weekend is an annual highlight that allows us to share and express God’s love in many different ways. Several members opened their homes to host visitors, others prepared a special worship service, others donated and served food, while others served as referees, drivers, etc. We’re already looking forward to next year’s Volleyball Tournament Weekend.


ACCM Launches First Class in Spanish

Ambassador College of Christian Ministry (ACCM) presented its first class in the Spanish language with an intensive course in Spiritual Formation just before the GCI Regional Conference in Orlando November 4-5. The class was taught by Florida Pastor Larry Hinkle, Latin American Missions Developer Hector Barrero, and Hector’s wife Paulina. Most of the translation work for the online materials, as well as the class workbook for the intensive, were done by our GCI translator in El Salvador, David Agreda. Kerry Gubb, ACCM Registrar, set up the online materials.

ACCM Director John McLean said he was delighted that ACCM is now able to help serve the needs of our Spanish-speaking ministry. He added, “We are very happy to have someone with Larry’s experience and expertise teach the class, and he has done a great job getting our first Spanish-language class off the ground.”

Nine students attended from the US, Mexico, Colombia, El Salvador, and Argentina. The students will now have six months to complete the remaining coursework from materials made available online. Scholarships for students were provided by the Sydney, Australia, congregation.

Participants said the class was a great success, and that “the Lord’s presence was clearly evident.”

Plans are under way to develop a Spanish-language version of each of the courses in the ACCM Diploma program. This major undertaking will take time, but we feel blessed to have been able to “jump start” the program with this successful initiative in Orlando.

The cost for taking an ACCM online class is $150 for credit or $100 for audit. Although this is inexpensive in comparison to other quality online courses in the US, for most of our members living in Latin America it is quite expensive. For anyone interested in helping to financially sponsor future courses for those unable to afford this ministry training, please contact Larry Hinkle at larry.hinkle@wcg.org or 954-346-7706. For further information regarding classes in the ACCM program see www.ambascol.org


Asia-Pacific

From Rod Matthews:

The last couple of months have seen a significant number of earthquakes and related effects in the Pacific and Southeast Asian areas, as well as flooding from cyclones/typhoons. On September 29, a strong earthquake of magnitude 8.0 occurred deep under the Pacific Ocean 190 km to the south of Samoa and generated a tsunami that wreaked havoc along the southern shore of the island of Upolu in (Western) Samoa. Considerable damage also occurred in neighboring American Samoa, including parts of the capital, Pago Pago. While we are not aware of church members being in the affected areas, one member in Auckland, New Zealand, John Mata’afa, comes from the area of Samoa where the tsunami struck and had family members living in a village on that coastline. Miraculously, his family’s home was surrounded by the waters but not damaged, and his family survived unscathed while dozens were killed along the same coastline.

Not long afterwards, several strong earthquakes struck in the sea off the northern coast of Vanuatu, prompting another tsunami warning. At the time, our congregation in Rory on the island of Malekula was celebrating their annual festival. Rory is somewhat remote and several kilometers inland, and no one heard about the warning until they saw people coming down out of the hills carrying sleeping gear. Fortunately, no tsunami was experienced there, and the earthquake was far enough away to be felt but without causing structural damage to buildings.

Isei Colati, who pastors our Fiji congregations, traveled with his wife, Vasiti, to be the guest speaker at the festival in Vanuatu this year. They enjoyed the experience of being in a neighboring country and strengthening the links between two of our Pacific congregations despite some language difficulties. While Fijian and English are the primary languages of Fiji, Bislama and French are the primary languages in this part of Vanuatu, with English a distant third. But Vanuatu pastor William Davies is trilingual and able to translate messages and help the communication flow. Isei said one of the highlights of the festival was the baptism of three into the Body of Christ in the sea during a church picnic when everyone was present (see picture to right).

Around the same time, severe flooding was affecting the central south of India – specifically the south of the state of Andhra Pradesh and northern Karnataka. We have two member families living in the area affected, but neither had to evacuate from their homes.

A day after the Samoan earthquake, an earthquake registering 7.0 on the Richter scale shook the Indonesian island of Sumatra, causing much damage and many deaths in the city of Padang and coastal villages along the south of the island. Landslides added to the destruction due to the steep terrain and very wet climate.

All this was in addition to the extreme flooding that affected the Philippines, and specifically Manila, in the wake of tropical storm Ketsana, as reported by our Manila office.

Papua New Guinea

On December 29, two of our leaders in the Mt. Wilhelm congregation, Richard Kindi and Ben Galwa, will be attending a preaching seminar in the Highlands town of Banz conducted by Langham Partnership International (LPA). LPA is a ministry founded by Dr. John Stott, renowned theologian and author, which is dedicated to training congregational leaders in developing nations to become accurate and energetic students and teachers of the Scriptures.

In a recent newsletter, LPA reported:

In PNG, almost the whole population has a link to a Christian denomination, but sometimes this allegiance is superficial: the island has been marked by a high level of violence and crime, and the old ethnic religions remain a powerful underlying influence. There is a need for a robust Christianity that challenges and radically transforms basic values and beliefs, to stem the tide of disillusionment with Christianity that is beginning to develop in certain areas. Without this, people revert to traditional customs and often succumb to social evils such as drunkenness and gambling.

Having been invited to attend the launch of the Langham Preaching movement in neighboring Vanuatu, one pastor described his joy at the teaching: “Digging the word of God in the way you have shown to us is like mining gold in the highlands of Papua New Guinea where I live. It’s a new exposure to really concentrate and dig out what it means to see the Bible come alive and relate to every day living.”

The second pastoral visit to PNG for 2009, scheduled for September, had to be canceled as a precautionary measure due to an outbreak of cholera, which thankfully was not in the immediate vicinity of where our people reside. One member, who was planning to go to PNG with pastoral coordinator Mark Latham, was told by his employer that if he went he would have to be placed in quarantine for three months after his return and could not work. We understand that the outbreak has now been brought under control.

Pakistan

Our ministry partner in Pakistan, Dr. Muqaddam Zia, has recently established a school project for vulnerable, poor and marginalized Christian children. He wrote that most Christians in Pakistan cannot afford to send their children to schools to get educated. As a result they remain under‐privileged, uneducated and face a bleak future. Most of these children spend their time in the streets and many become drug addicts and criminals. To help relieve this situation, he has started the “ABC Kindergarten School” for these poor Christian children, where they get a free education without having to pay for books and materials. He currently has 117 children registered with this program.

The sewing school established over a year ago to help marginalized Christian girls and women is going well. Muqaddam recently sent us photos of an exhibition of the handicrafts and clothing made by the students of the sewing school. As we have mentioned before, young Christian girls are a soft target for hard-line Muslim fundamentalists who believe that they earn points in paradise for punishing those who refuse to believe in Allah. Christian women tend to be the poorest and most despised of the citizen groups, and have few opportunities to earn a decent living.

Muqaddam explains that because of their faith, Christians are not able to apply for high-paying jobs and are often compelled to involve their children in child labor, taking low-paying jobs such as cleaning streets and washrooms or becoming donkey‐cart drivers. Some are even tempted to sell one of their kidneys. Christians are the most frequent targets of violence, rape, and torture because Muslims associate them with the beliefs of the United States and Israel. Muslims comprise 97 percent of Pakistan’s 160 million people. Christians are only one of the minorities in the other 3 percent, and are treated as the untouchable lower-class citizens of Pakistan.

In Pakistani culture, a girl or woman who is raped is considered unacceptable for marriage. The girls are unable to find work because they have been shamed and lack the necessary skills. Many of them try to commit suicide rather than live in the shadow of this disgrace for their entire life. The sewing school project is very important in this environment. The training is free of cost and enables them to gain skills that can help them start their own small business at home. Muqaddam said that he also has plans to start literacy classes for these girls, because they were unable to go to school due to the poverty of their families. In response to our support, he wrote, “No words could ever express the thanks these precious Christian sisters will have for you. Thanks a lot for your prayers, support and love for this strategic initiative. May God bless you with His abundant blessings.”


Bangladesh Mission Trip Opportunity

A three-week mission trip with Dr. John Biswas, who heads up the Bengali Evangelical Association Mission and operates as national director for GCI in Bangladesh, is being planned to begin the third week of January, 2010.

This is a trip that will get you out of your comfort zone. Accommodations are not what you might be used to, but are adequate. You would be working among the poorest of the poor.

Those who come will need to pay their own expenses, including airfare to Dhaka and the cost of accommodation in Barisal, which is the nearest city to our mission center and will be our base and overnight accommodation.

This is an opportunity to visit and encourage our Christian brothers and sisters at our mission and in the villages of Bangladesh. Pastors and elders are needed for Bible instruction, and members with medical experience and those with experience working with the deaf and blind are especially welcome.

If you are interested in participating, please contact John Biswas at Bea.mission@verizon.net More information is available at <www.bengalimission.org>.


Sponsor a Pastor to the 2010 International Conference

As we look forward to next year’s international conference, I’m sure we all agree that it would be wonderful if we could help pastors from isolated, underprivileged areas be able to attend with us. This hope could become a reality if some of our congregations with the means and desire could sponsor a pastor and spouse for the 2010 conference.

Some congregations might want to direct a portion of their international missions budget toward this need. If your congregation would like to be involved, please contact Charles Albrecht (charles.albrecht@gci.org), who will help you select a pastor to sponsor. Smaller congregations might want to combine resources to sponsor a pastor. Charles can also help you coordinate a joint effort.


Prayer Request

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


November 18, 2009

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Please join me in extending congratulations to newlyweds, Pastor John Moskel and the former Shirley Kirby.


New Pastor Ordination

Harold L. Jackson, pastor of the Albuquerque, New Mexico, congregation and the Native American (Navaho) church plant at Laguna Pueblo, was ordained November 15 by District Pastoral Leader Glen Weber. Harold’s wife, Michelle, joined him on stage during the ceremony. Pastor Glen was assisted by elders Eliezar Benavides and Dr. David Albert, along with several members of the congregation.

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France

Our French website has added the Speaking of Life program with a French voiceover. Laurent Poyrault, a Paris church member, does the voiceover.


UK

Here are photos of some of our European Life Clubs. More than 100 attended the October 4 Life Club meeting at Paignton. Speakers included James Esom, Nicola Dempsey, and Lucy Keen, who is involved with the relief agency, Christian Aid.

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The Watford Life Club, led by Director David Silcox, met October 24. The best speaker cup was won by Comet Chukwurah, who gave a testimonial.
The Dutch Life Club met at Zwolle on October 31.

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Mission Trip Opportunity

A 16-day mission trip opportunity is available for young people, ages 16–30 years. In Nassau, Bahamas, there are thousands of Haitian refugees who have fled from chronic poverty, hunger and violence and risked their lives at sea, hoping to start a new life. Some now live in shantytowns on the outskirts of Nassau, Bahamas. Their home may be a room no larger than 12’x12’ with no electricity, running water or toilet. Many of the children have been victims of crime, violence, abuse, rape, prostitution or incest. Often they have only one parent, who is in the country illegally and can only get a job that pays less than minimum wage. Young children are often raised by their older siblings and there is very little discipline or order. The Bahamian government provides little help to this growing population.

From July 30 to August 14, 2010, we will be working alongside our church in Nassau helping with a VBS (Vacation Bible School) for about 100 children ages 4 through 18 years. Approximately 70 percent of these children will be Haitian refugees. Volunteers will help lead activities at the Day Camp such as devotional messages, sharing the gospel, basketball, praise and worship, volleyball, crafts, parachute games, relay games, jump rope, lessons with puppets, team building, line dancing, puzzles, soccer and more. We will also provide lunch for the children. For some children, it will be the only meal they will have that day.

The living and working conditions may not be what you are used to, and you may be asked to step out of your comfort zone when teaching the children. This trip is designed to stretch and challenge you. By showing these children your love for Christ and a servant’s heart, you can have a major positive impact on them. The local church simply does not have the staff to do it on their own. So if you are ready for a challenge and are up for some hard work, then this is the mission trip for you!

In addition to this rewarding work, the group will also spend a day shopping at the Straw Market and enjoying the beach. If you are interested in joining us, contact Janet Morrison by email at gctrips@gci.org or go to the website www.gctrips.org and click on Bahamas. The deadline for applications is Dec. 31, 2009.


Sponsor a Pastor to the 2010 International Conference

As we look forward to next year’s international conference, I’m sure we all agree that it would be wonderful if we could help pastors from isolated, underprivileged areas be able to attend with us. This hope could become a reality if some of our congregations with the means and desire could sponsor a pastor and spouse for the 2010 conference.

Some congregations might want to direct a portion of their international missions budget toward this need. If your congregation would like to be involved, please contact Charles Albrecht (charles.albrecht@gci.org), who will help you select a pastor to sponsor. Smaller congregations might want to combine resources to sponsor a pastor. Charles can also help you coordinate a joint effort.


Prayer Requests and Updates

Beverly Davis

Fred Davis let us know that Beverly’s surgery went well, but chemotherapy will be necessary. He wrote, “We greatly appreciate the many prayers from so many people… They took out 13 lymph nodes. The first 12 were clear, but the 13th had some cancer cells present. Looks like chemo after she recovers from the surgery. We are counting on God’s promise to enable us to get thru the trial to the other side. Early detection, early treatment, and lots of prayer! Thanks for your prayers and concern.”

Cards may be sent to:
4018 Roth Road
Grand Island, NE 68803


Torveig Aas

Carl Fredrik Aas let us know it will be some time before his wife, Torveig, fully recovers, but she is improving. “She is a real fighter and her life is in God’s hands. Both my wife and I would like to express our deep gratitude for the prayers, emails and cards we have received.”

Cards may be sent to:
Torveig and Carl Aas
Vevelstadasen 25
N-1405 Langhus
NORWAY

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