May 4, 2011

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Grace Communion Lisburn held its first worship service at the St. Patrick’s Pastoral Centre, Chapel Hill, in Lisburn, Northern Ireland, on Easter Sunday, April 24. UK and Ireland National Director James Henderson gave the inaugural sermon. Elder David Stirk from Banbridge assisted Mr. Henderson in the commissioning of three men to the new pastoral council: Elder Bob Beggs, Worship Leader John Magowan and Council Chairperson Stuart Foster. Grace Communion Lisburn meets at 11 a.m. each Sunday at the St. Patrick’s Pastoral Centre and is planning an official public launch on Pentecost Sunday, June 12.

Photo caption: UK & Ireland National Director James Henderson, far left, with the new congregation of Grace Communion Lisburn and guests at its inaugural meeting.


Aurora, Colorado

On Easter Sunday the Ground Zero Church in Aurora, Colorado, celebrated the resurrection of our Lord and as a bonus the church also celebrated the ordination of their pastor, Aaron Armstrong. A record 74 people attended the service.

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A video about progress in the Ground Zero church plant is posted on our It Looks Like This blog at http://gci-usa.blogspot.com/p/multiplying-leaders-ministries-and.html


Tegucigalpa, Honduras

More than 50 people attended a three-day ministry development conference April 16-18 in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, facilitated by Randy Bloom and Hector Barrero. The interactive sessions included “Becoming a Missional Church” and “Preparing to Start New Churches.”

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Photo caption: 1. Pastor Carlos & Family 2. Pastor Joel & Family 3. Pastor Manuel, Family & Friend 4. Pastor Mauricio & Family


Cagayan de Oro City, Philippines

About 59 campers attended the Summer Enhancement Program April 21-24 at Esmeralda Beach Resort. It was a memorable experience for the campers and staff as they enjoyed the camp activities with their old and newfound friends. The theme was “Seeing Him in You.”

GenMin’s ELATION curriculum was used during the camp devotionals and sessions. The curriculum discussed our identity in Christ through the acronym CHILD (Chosen, Healed, Included, Linked, Disciple). Ten campers were baptized.


Catbalogan City, Philippines

GCI Catbalogan conducted a Holy Week Vacation Bible School April 20 to 22 at Barangay Talib, Zumarraga, Samar, an island town and a native place of the De Guia Family. Three classes were conducted for 63 students. The children, ages 3 to 12, eagerly participated, and afterward, expressing their gratefulness, asked when the next VBS will be. Barangay officials and local residents attended the graduation day.


Prayer Requests and Updates

Pastors Bob Miller, Tim Brassell, Mike Horchak, Paul David Kurtz, Tom Mahan, Jonathan Stepp, John Novick and Rick Shallenberger let us know that our church members in their respective areas weathered the recent tornados without injury.


Martin Manuel’s grandson

From Martin: “My grandson, Jason, remains in a medically induced coma. There is much that we will not know until he is awakened, and the doctors now think that will be another week away. In the meantime, his life signs are stable…. Genneen and I have been in Seattle since Saturday night. Our presence here is not only for our grandson; we are part of the essential support that Janet and Colin need for themselves as well as for their other two children, ages 12 and 4. It is clear to us that we will need to be involved for some time.”

Cards may be sent to:
Jason Richards
16917 NE 99th Court
Redmond, WA 98052

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


April 27, 2011

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

I had the pleasure of spending the weekend in the Chillicothe and Columbus, Ohio, congregations pastored by Jeff Broadnax. These congregations are a new assignment for Jeff, who recently transferred from New York, where he had pastored three congregations for many years.

The worship was warm and the fellowship an equal delight. It was serendipitous to be there on that particular weekend, because Good Friday (and Earth Day) this year were also the occasion of John Halford’s 70th birthday. John and Pat, who live in Indiana and attend church in Cincinnati, were visiting along with other Cincinnati members.

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Randolph, Massachusetts

Dishon Mills, pastor of a new church plant in Randolph, Massachusetts, sent the following report about the informal “friendship feasts” that he and his wife, Afrika, are conducting to bring unchurched people together to develop relationships and share God’s life and love.

Thank you for your prayers. Our first friendship feast had a total of seven people. This time 31 people came (19 adults and 12 children). It was wonderfully diverse, with people representing at least seven different ethnic groups. We focused attention on ensuring that people could easily break the ice and be comfortable. Here are some of the things we did:

Nametags. We put a “getting to know you” question on the bottom of each nametag (e.g., What is your favorite ice cream flavor?). This provided an immediate conversation starter.
Paper tablecloths with crayons on the tables. Everyone loves to doodle, and giving adults (not just the kids) permission to play set a lot of folks at ease.
Puzzles and Games. We brought games for the kids and small puzzles for the adults.
Gifts. We gave everyone a small gift to say “thank you for coming.”

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Dishon and Afrika will have another friendship feast in June. Please keep them in your prayers. You can visit their website at: www.redeemedofchrist.org.


Philippines

Joan Lumabe and Eddie Centellas, two Oyango tribal members, were baptized April 17, 2011. They attend Christ the King of Glory Church, a congregation of GCI composed of the Oyango tribe. Pastor Boni Gonzales, who is now working in Canada, planted this church. Pastor Doming Trilles conducted the baptism ceremony.


New Churches in Mozambique

Tim Maguire (National Director in South Africa), Caleb Makhela (one of our South African pastors) and Daniel Fernandez (a deacon from our Portuguese congregation) are in Mozambique for a conference with about 55 pastors of the group that has now become part of GCI. Your prayers for a very successful and encouraging time of learning and fellowship would be greatly appreciated. The deacon from Portugal will provide translation into Portuguese. He was born in one of the Mozambiquan towns in which we now have a congregation.

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Photo captions: 1. Board representing the 55 congregations in Mozambique 2. Pastor Mariano Binzi (regional pastor) and Tim Maguire (National Ministry Leader in South Africa) 3. Mozambique Congregation 4. The Late Pastor Domingos, his wife and the youngest of their three children. (Domingos was the initial contact between GCI and their group.) 5. Local church building 6. Pastor Mariano Binzi visits congregations on bicycle.


Prayer Requests and Updates

Karl Reinagel sent this note regarding the tornadoes in St. Louis:

We have no reports of damage to any members’ homes, though there have been power outages for those closest to the airport. Thankfully no lives have been lost and all reported injuries have been minor—cuts and scrapes from shattered glass, etc.

It is strange the way some homes can be totally wiped out and others just next door seemingly untouched. Thankfully, we have been spared this time. We appreciate your concern and your prayers.


Retired District Superintendent Don Lawson sent this update about his wife, Sue, who is undergoing treatment for leukemia at USC University Hospital:

I had to come home and get some rest for a day, but am going back to the hospital today. Just had a phone call, and the report is very good. Her white cell count is on its way up, also the neutrophil count. The doctor said she may be out of protective isolation by the end of this week. Looks like she may be able to come home soon. She will still have a lot of chemo to go through, even after returning home. We want to say thank you to all for prayers, cards and concern. Would appreciate your keeping Sue on your prayer list. We thank God for how far she has come since this started.

Cards may be sent to:
78406 Hampshire Ave
Palm Desert, CA 92211-1954


Please pray for Jim Meade, pastor of In His Grace Community Church, in Port Huron, Michigan.

While being checked for some longstanding stomach pains, Jim was referred to a heart doctor the same day. They discovered that he had several major arterial blockages (some more than 90 percent) and some valve leakage. After an overnight hospital stay, he met with a cardiac surgeon who confirmed the diagnoses, and is now scheduled for quadruple bypass surgery Tuesday May 3.

Cards can be sent to:

Jim & Kim Meade
3665 Ruddock Rd
Kenockee, MI 48006

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


April 20, 2011

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

I thought you might enjoy some photos from the recent writers workshop that John Halford and Mike Feazell conducted in South Africa for the staff and potential writers for GCI Southern Africa’s Face to Face magazine. Face to Face is in its second year of production and growing steadily. South Africa national director Tim Maguire requested the workshop to strengthen the magazine’s editorial, distribution and theological effectiveness.

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Photo Captions: 1. Face to Face staff 2. John Halford discusses identifying your readers. 3. Mike Feazell discusses Christian journalism. 4. The group relaxes for a lunch break. 5. Waiting for Tim’s brother to come to the rescue when the truck broke down. 6. A male impala poses with his harem. 7. Left to right: Mike Feazell, GCI vice president; Tim Maguire, GCI South Africa national director; Kalengule Kaoma, East, West and Central Africa missions director; John Halford, GCI international publications advisor.


Fred and Maryann Stevens’ son, Alex, was part of the Arcadia, California, drum line that just won the national competition in Ohio. Fred is an elder in our Eagle Rock, California, congregation. You can view Alex’s team’s winning performance here on YouTube: http://wgi.thefannetwork.org/?vod_id=5d9c9452-c256-4b6f-a963-d52d7382009c


Sri Lanka

From Rod Matthews

Rod Matthews

The GCI Discipleship 101 course continues to be one of the most useful resources in our evangelical and mission work in Asia. Last year we had it translated into the Tamil language in Sri Lanka to complement the Sinhala language edition, which is already in print. The Tamil edition has just been printed by the Publishing Division of the Colombo Theological Seminary (CTS), so both the major ethnic groups in Sri Lanka now have an edition in their native language.

Mohan Jayasekera, pastor of our Perth, Australia, congregation, and who oversees our Sri Lankan church, has shared with me a message he received from his cousin, Lokendra Abayaratne, a retired Anglican archdeacon, and prominent religious leader in Sri Lanka. Lokendra has taken responsibility as the “person on the ground” for coordinating the translation and printing. He personally distributed copies at a major church near Colombo when he went there to preach last week and then asked the pastor to announce the availability of the publication at next Sunday’s service.

Lokendra also forwarded the following message he received from the director of Publishing at CTS:

Dear Father,

I thank God for using us as partners of this project. We are confident that this book will be a blessing to the Tamil speaking community. We thank God for Pastor Mohan and Grace Communion International ministry. Thank you for choosing us as partners of this publication. May the hand of the Lord be upon all your future endeavours.

Yours in His service,
Lal Wijesinghe
Publishing Coordinator


Reconciliation Ministries

From Curtis May

Curtis May

We are nearing completion of a DVD about the life of a woman who was kidnapped along with her two sons and held for several years. They went through unspeakable torture. Eventually she found a way to flee with her sons and get help. Long story short, she is now a member of GCI, serving in the church and working as a counselor. She has been able to forgive her attackers and has triumphed in Jesus. Her story is very moving and inspiring! Please pray that the DVD will be an effective witness of the grace and power of God!

Another opportunity that recently opened to us is a request by the Burleson/Cleburne (Dallas, Texas area) Ministerial Association and the Baptist Director of Missions to conduct a three-day reconciliation conference to help bring the local communities together. These communities have a history of racial conflict even among people in the same fellowship. GCI churches are involved in this process of building unity among them. Your prayers would be much appreciated. The dates of the conference are May 31 through June 2.


James Henderson

Lisburn, Northern Ireland

European Missions Director James Henderson is scheduled to preach at the inaugural service of Grace Communion Church, Lisburn, on Resurrection Sunday, April 24.

The new congregation hopes to provide a haven of God’s peace in a long troubled, but slowly healing region. They ask for prayer that with God’s help their limited resources will be focused effectively and that they will faithfully follow the Spirit’s lead.


Prayer Requests and Updates

Pastor Paul David Kurts reported that no GCI members have been hurt by the recent tornados in North Carolina, but as we have seen in the news reports, dozens have died from the severe weather the region is experiencing. Your prayers for protection and for the ability to help those in need are much appreciated.

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


April 13, 2011

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

We held our third district conference of this year in Chicago over the weekend. Like the Southwest and Northwest conferences, this one also had a higher attendance than last time. Thirty-two attended from Toledo, Ohio, and blessed us with their worship band. We had two Advanced Diploma graduates from Grace Communion Seminary: Willard High and Linda Rex. Here are a few photos of the conference:

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Photos by Douglas Johannsen


“It Looks Like This”

New on the GCI “It Looks Like This” website (at http://gci-usa.blogspot.com/):

• A video of an infant baptism service held recently in a GCI congregation in the U.S.

• A video of a gathering at the recent GenMin leadership summit. Being discussed is God’s calling of young leaders into ministry with Jesus.

• A picture of a recent “friendship feast” held by Dishon and Afrika Mills, who are starting a new GCI church in the Boston area (click on the “seeking” tab).


Ghana

The Buduburam, Ghana, congregation celebrated its first anniversary on Sunday, April 3, with songs, dance and praises to the Lord. In attendance were 173 adults and 150 children. Some members from the New Ashongman (Accra), Kutunse and Kumasi congregations were present to share the joy of the Buduburam church.

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The children gave musical performances that drew long applause from the crowd.

The Chairman of the Ecclesiastical Council of GCI Ghana, Pastor Emmanuel Okai, gave the sermon for the occasion.

In addition to the children, the Miracle Choir (the church’s choir), the “Dialect Choir” with songs from Grand Gedeh County of Liberia, and some teen groups gave musical presentations to the delight of the congregation. New musical instruments donated by the Australian churches enhanced the performances. Meals were served to all who attended and pastors and their spouses cut the anniversary cake.

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Photos by Theophilus Nii Okai & Emmanuel Okai


Galway, Ireland Festival 2011

We are pleased to announce the Irish Harvest Festival, which will take place from Sunday, September 11 to Saturday, September 17. This year’s festival will be at Salthill resort in the City of Galway in the beautiful West of Ireland. The festival venue is the Salthill Hotel, which is situated on the Galway Bay seafront. Some of the finest scenery in the world is just on the doorstep: beautiful Connemara, the Aran Islands, the north Clare coast and the Burren, to name just a few places of outstanding beauty.

The hotel has a large car park and extensive leisure facilities, including two swimming pools, a sauna, etc. which are available for complimentary use by residents of the hotel. Meals are available in the restaurant and in the bar. There is a large variety of restaurants in the local area and also in the city to suit all tastes and pockets.

For those who wish to stay in other accommodation, there is an abundance of hotels, B&Bs, guesthouses, and holiday cottages in the area. There is also a caravan park only minutes from the festival venue with mobile homes that can be rented by the day. It is advisable to stay on the west/Salthill side of Galway since driving through the city can be slow. Galway is readily accessible by motorway from Dublin and Northern Ireland, and for those outside Ireland, we have airports at Galway, Knock (Ireland West) and Shannon, all within easy reach. There are frequent buses from the hotel to the city.

For further information, email Gerard or Marian Folan, marianfolan@eircom.net.

Other useful contacts are:
The festival venue: www.salthillhotel.com
The Salthill Caravan Park, www.salthillcaravanpark.com
Discover Ireland tourist site, www.discoverireland.ie


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


April 6, 2011

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Pastor Glen Weber and Youth Pastor Mat Morgan baptized five teens on Sunday, April 3, at New Hope Christian Fellowship in Eagle Rock, California. Three were fourth generation GCI family members. Celestine Olive, an elder and pastoral team member at New Hope, performed the laying on of hands for her grandsons, Trenton Foon, Eric Olive, Jr. and Cameron Olive. Pastors Glen and Mat performed the laying on of hands for Joshua and Jeremy Escandon, both new to GCI in the past year. Picture shows Pastor Glen presenting baptism certificates before the boys and their families took communion.


Madrid, Spain

From Pedro Rufian

Your GCI family in Spain is extending a warm invitation to come to Majorca to celebrate God’s Love and Grace in Christ with your Spanish brothers and sisters from September 30 to October 8.

Apply now! There will be a price increase of 10 percent after April 30.

Barcelo Ponent Playa Hotel, Marjorca, Spain

For more information please email Pedro Rufian at iduespana@yahoo.es

Or write to:
Iglesia de Dios Universal
Attn. Pedro Rufian Mesa
Real, 26
28610 Villamanta, (Madrid); Spain
Telephone: + 00 34 91 813 67 05

Members’ comments from last year’s spiritual retreat:
“It is the best hotel and location we have had for the festival in Majorca.”
“To have a gorgeous sea view from your room is wonderful.”
“The beach is just a few meters from your room.”
“The food is so plentiful, so varied and so delicious, with wine and everything included.”
“I enjoyed the family-oriented atmosphere.”


Solomon Islands

From Rod Matthews:

We are saddened to report that one of our leaders in the Ranongga congregation in the Solomon Islands died of leukemia on February 4. George Nake, son of local chief, Timothy Nake, was in his early 40s. His wife, Amellin, and seven children ranging in age from 1 to 13 survive George.

George was highly respected and had a reputation as a “very honest man.” He will be greatly missed in the Ranongga congregation. We are grateful that the closeness of our church community in Ranongga and the sense of responsibility within the village communities will ensure that Amellin and the children are well looked after and comforted in their grief.


Secunderabad, India

From Rod Matthews

Franklin Paupens, a long-time member and servant of the people in the Secunderabad congregation, was ordained as an elder on February 13. Franklin made his career with the Indian Railways until his recent retirement, and has been the secretary of the Board of Trustees of the church in India for many years. He is known for his energy and meticulous attention to the needs and welfare of those around him.


 

Nepal

From Rod Matthews

Our ministry partner in Nepal, Deben Sam, leader of Gospel for Himalaya Ministries, has embarked on a new project in his community. It involves three poor families in a livelihood project that provides everyone with cheaper “home-grown” food.

Deben has leased land on the outskirts of Kathmandu to grow crops, raise animals and breed fish. Three families live on and work the land, including one widow with children who would otherwise not be able to obtain any meaningful employment. Deben’s brother is undertaking an agricultural degree, and after his morning classes, he comes to the farm to teach the farm workers and work the land. It’s a perfect match, using the talents of individuals in the church community to pass on their learning and skills to others.

The farm provides vegetables and other produce to sell, has a flock of nearly 100 ducks, and will provide a regular source of fish once the ponds are completed and the environment settles down. Because people in Nepal own only small plots of land, it took Deben many months exercising his negotiating skills to lease at least twelve adjoining blocks of land from various landowners to provide a single plot of land large enough to be suitable for this project. As a result, three otherwise landless families have a place to call their own, meaningful employment and an added opportunity to contribute fresh produce to the rest of the congregation as well as the local community.

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Conference in Haiti

From Joseph Franklin

Our church families finally made it to Port-au-Prince the weekend of March 19 for the mini conference on the theme, “We are on Mission with God.” We moved it up a week to avoid the transportation strike that was announced for March 28. The strike is a response to the 50 percent increase that the government added to the price of gasoline, which consequently affected the price of the transportation over the country.

Five new people attended with us. They are believers and Sunday-school monitors in evangelical churches. They showed a real passion for truth and plan to attend on a regular basis. We pray that God will knock down all barriers that may come across the zeal we find in these friends. We left them with folders containing a handout titled, “Eight Key Elements of Trinitarian Theology” (French version).


Colombia

From Sonia Orozco

Under the theme, “Learning From the Divine Love,” our Barranquilla congregation celebrated its annual seminar from March 5-8, 2011, at the Sorrento Hotel in Rodadero Beaches, Santa Marta. Sixty-two adults and seven children attended.

Pastor Hector Barrero and his wife Paulina came from Bogota and brought very comforting and inspiring presentations about the triune love of God. One person was baptized, Yudy Guerrero.

Leaders Efren Giraldo and his wife Marta Alvarez from Medellin also joined us for these four delightful days of rejoicing in God’s presence. Besides daily worship services and lectures, we celebrated a night of praise and worship as well as a talent night in which old and young expressed their love to God in dance, songs, poems and more. The beautiful Caribbean Sea and beaches were an ideal environment for this unforgettable reunion.

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Prayer Requests and Updates

Retired long-time pastor Don Lawson asked for prayer for his wife, Sue. He wrote, “For several weeks Sue has been going through tests because of a drop in the white blood cell count. Thursday, they did a bone marrow biopsy. We received a call from the doctor and he informed us that Sue has Acute Leukemia, for which, at her age, there is no real treatment. He said she was terminal and that we need to get prepared.”

Then Don and Sue got some good news. Don sent this on Tuesday: “We have an update. They got the final results back from the lab. It seems there are seven strains of AML, only one of which is treatable for older people. Sue’s leukemia is called APL and we are told it is curable. We just received a call from the specialist and he has checked Sue into the University Hospital in Los Angeles, where she will be for 20 days. I will probably stay there with her most of the time. We would appreciate your prayers.”

Cards can be sent to:
Don and Sue Lawson
78406 Hampshire Ave
Palm Desert, CA 92211-1954


From Monte Wolverton:

Thanks to everyone for their prayers, cards and emails of encouragement. Kayte’s surgery for ovarian cancer was successful, in that the surgeon was able to remove all the cancer he could see. The cancer he removed was nearly dormant, because of the previous months of chemo. Kayte is extremely sore, but she is feeling a little better every day and is happy to be home and very positive. When she recovers from surgery in a month or so, she will begin another regimen of chemo – a lesser dose – to decrease the chance of recurrence, and anti-cancer drugs afterward. Considering how insidious ovarian and peritoneal cancers are (and this cancer was considered stage IV, as cancer cells had migrated outside the peritoneum, into the lung) we are thankful and blessed that Kayte’s relatively small tumors responded to chemo and surgery. We are also thankful for the excellent team of cancer specialists that God provided us. We hope and pray for remission, but even after that we will have to treat this as a chronic condition, and constantly watch for recurrence.

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


March 30, 2011

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Today we celebrated with Curtis and Jannice May on the occasion of Curtis’ retirement after 39 years and 5 months of full-time employment. He has served in numerous places, including Washington, D.C.; Charlotte, North Carolina; Pasadena, California; and on the Ministry Development team.

We are especially happy to report that Curtis will continue to serve as Director of the Office of Reconciliation Ministries, on the GCI Board of Directors, and the Pension Committee. We certainly wish him well, and are thankful that we will continue to benefit from his dedication, his wisdom, and his ministry of reconciliation.

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Conference in Portland, Oregon

Our second U.S. District conference was held in Vancouver, Washington, March 25-27. The worship was wonderful, the fellowship warm and the sessions were well attended. There were 120 for our communion service at the conclusion of the conference.

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Conference in Martinique, March 18-20.

Charles Fleming sent us this report:

Approximately 60 persons attended our conference in Martinique. The conference was held at the beautiful church building, where a number of our visitors also stayed. Dan and Barbara Rogers represented our headquarters. Dan shared some of the material he is covering at the US district conferences this year. Pastor Rudy Mills and his wife, Angela, headed up the St. Lucia contingent of four persons, while Paul and Barbara Creese came with their group of six. Kennedy and Celia Alexander led the Dominica team of six persons as Cris and Mary Vidal were not able to attend. We missed Cris and Mary but were impressed by the training they have given to their other leaders. Sylvan and Rosalind Klock and Mrs. Dannica represented our Guadeloupe church. See attached pictures.

We were all impressed by the hospitality and organization of the Martinique brethren. Kernani Cheny and Charles Voyer are outstanding leaders, and the future of our church in Martinique looks good. Greg Williams from GenMin was guest speaker at last October’s convention in Martinique, and Kernani expressed appreciation for his help in their planning for the future. As always, we were treated to excellent and abundant food, outstanding singing and great companionship. On the last day I also found out that they started two house churches in the past year.

For the second year in a row, I was able to attend the GenMin Summit in Dallas and was again inspired by the passion and focus of the approximately 100 persons there. 70 of the group seemed to be under 35 and are directors or lead-workers of the 17 youth camps or are leaders in local congregations in the US. Three pastoral interns also attended and shared some of their experiences with us. Greg Williams (GenMin director) invited any young persons interested in becoming a pastoral intern to dinner and 14 young people showed up! The internship program hires candidates for ministry to work part-time (20 hours a week) as an assistant to a full-time pastor, who serves as a mentor. This is one of our principal ways of recruiting pastors. Please be praying for the success of this program.

Accompanying me at the GenMin conference were five members from the Bahamas – Robert McKinney, his brother Cornelius representing the Freeport congregation; Desmond Curling and Danny and Delores Duncombe. Jesanya Scale, a youth leader in our Jamaica church, was there along with my girls, Michelle and Annie (see attached picture of the four young mission workers who went to GenMin!).


New Zealand

Rod Matthews updates us on events in New Zealand:

The sixth New Zealand Christian Leaders’ Congress was held at Waikanae near Wellington from February 21 to 24. Held every three years, it brings together many of the key leaders of denominations and ministries across the nation to discuss challenges facing the church in New Zealand, to build unity within the Body of Christ and to develop strategies to more effectively proclaim God’s message to the nation.

Our fellowship was well represented with local ministers Phil Baldwin, Dennis Gordon, Rex Morgan, Dennis Richards and David Wong present, and I attended for the first time (and I plan to be there for the next one, too!). This year the theme was “2020 Vision: The Gospel in the Decade Ahead”. Three packed days included topics devoted to the content of the gospel, challenges involved in proclaiming it in the current NZ context, evangelism, discipleship, healthy churches, the creation, biblical economics, crime and punishment, the family and cross-cultural missions.

On the first evening Professor Stuart Lange outlined the fascinating history of the gospel in New Zealand from its introduction in 1814 by Samuel Marsden (notable in Australian history as one of the first chaplains to the new colony of New South Wales) to its spread largely through the agency of the Maori people. With the 200th anniversary of this event coinciding with the next congress, planning is already underway to celebrate this historic event.

Geoff Tunnicliffe, Secretary General of the World Evangelical Alliance, serving 600 million Christians, was the keynote speaker and brought an inspiring account of the work being done worldwide and some fascinating stories of how he has had to represent and negotiate for the welfare of Christians in some of the world’s trouble spots.

Rex Morgan, Auckland pastor, said, “The opportunity for our ministers to network with and hear from many of NZ’s Christian leaders is greatly valued.” As a personal observation, it was confirmed to me that our fellowship is well respected by those who know our journey, and although we might be small in numbers compared with some other fellowships, we have indeed been placed in the Body as it pleases God, with experienced and gifted people who can make a meaningful (and sometimes unique) contribution to the work of the gospel.

Around lunchtime on the first morning of the congress, the destructive earthquake shattered Christchurch. The atmosphere was very sober as delegates from Christchurch urgently tried to get home, representatives of organisations involved in emergency aid and support roles dashed off to attend to their national duties, and the rest of us prayed as news updates filtered in. With phone lines down or clogged with callers, it took some time to ascertain that all of our church members in Christchurch were safe. One member is unable to return to her rented apartment because it is situated at the base of a cliff and subject to danger from dislodged boulders, one of which came crashing down and ended up sitting on top of the now-demolished steps into the home. While all members suffered damage to household effects, and some non-critical repair work will be needed, the homes of all other members were inhabitable.

Just over two weeks later (March 11-13) we were back in Waikanae for our fellowship’s annual national retreat and a weekend of spiritual encouragement. The sessions were led by Kerry Gubb (who pastored congregations in New Zealand early in his ministry) with an intriguing theme of “The Waikanae Philemonic Ensemble –The New Covenant plays out in your Workplace”. Paul’s letter to Philemon was used to lay the groundwork for the weekend’s discussions on how the life of Christ in us will be naturally reflected in our relationships in the workplace. Kerry built on the subject with topics of “Getting Past the Protestant Work Ethic” and “The Laity Myth” and interactive sessions utilised material from several of Eugene Peterson’s excellent books.

We especially appreciated the wonderful contributions from the members’ years of Christian experience in the workplace. We enjoyed the atmosphere of humour, wisdom, honesty in sharing, and the productive fun everyone had exploring how we can better reflect in a balanced, responsive way the life and love of our triune God in the workplace. For the wonderful “snacks” and personal touches we thank the serving hosts from the Wellington and Palmerston North congregations.

On the first evening of the retreat, news came through of the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Prayers were offered for the Japanese people and the victims, but at that time we had little idea of the magnitude of the disaster. For a few of us, it was the second time within three weeks to be in the beauty and peace of Waikanae as earthquakes brought monumental suffering to thousands. How strong was the lesson that our safety and security rests with God alone.


GCI Philippines Area Superintendents Meet in Bacolod

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Bacolod City, March 18-20, 2011 —

Led by GCI Philippines national director Eugene Guzon, the area superintendents and their assistants (those in “operations”) had a meeting to assess and review various national concerns affecting GCI Philippines. Among the major concerns were the deliberation and clarification of the national church’s vision and mission in line with Trinitarian theology. Having been crafted by the Advisory Council previously, this meeting focused on how to “operationalize” and put into action this vision and mission.

Other administrative matters were also reviewed and discussed: the handling of local church finances, clarifying what is local church fund, financial reports, the need to submit church reports regularly, among others. Pastors were also encouraged to invite one another in their respective local churches so the members may hear different preachers.

One major purpose for the conference was the renewing and strengthening of bonds among the leaders. It was a time to relax and enjoy time together. This fits well with the theme selected for this year: “Growing Together in His Love.” Much time was spent on finding out how each one was doing in life: spiritually, financially, their families and loved ones, health, pastoral concerns, etc. It was a bonding time. This is the same thing that is being done when the Advisory Council meets. Much time and prayer is spent here. It was good for everyone to be able to share life’s concerns with friends.

The following attended the meeting: National Director Eugene Guzon; Missions Director & Area Supt. for Southern Luzon Dr. Rey Taniajura; Leadership & Training and Metro Manila Area Supt. Rex Dela Pena; Crossway & Pampanga Pastor Audie Santibanez; Marriage & Family Ministries and Quezon City Pastor Andrew Teng; Northern Luzon Area Supt. Arlan Aquino; Asst. Area Supt. for Southern Luzon Dr. Joe Manzano; Visayas Area Superintendent Capt. Jess Bahinting; Asst. Area Supt. for Western Visayas Terrence Santibanez; Asst. Area Supt. for Eastern Visayas Dan de Guia; Mindanao Area Superintendent Jerome Manriquez; Asst. Area Supt. for Southeastern Mindanao Dr. Boy Garcia; Asst. Area Supt. for Southwestern Mindanao Bert Colona; Asst. Area Supt. for Central Luzon Levi Yuson and Len Joson; for Media & Communications.


South African Media Workshop

From John Halford:

Mike Feazell and I conducted a three-day writing and media workshop at Franschoek, near Cape Town, March 19-21. The workshop was requested by Tim Maguire, National Leader, because the South African churches were planning to expand and improve their media outreach. The delegates to the conference included the editorial staff, writers and potential writers for Face to Face magazine. The sessions included discussions on getting and keeping focus, knowing the audience and applying Trinitarian theology. All participants were invited to submit articles for review.

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The South African churches have an ambitious program of media outreach, which includes Face to Face magazine, a radio program and an interactive web site. South Africa’s multi-racial and multi-cultural society is a challenging environment for Christian media. We were grateful for the opportunity to share ideas and pass on experience. After the workshop Mike and I were able to include a visit to Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned. It was a sobering reminder of the tremendous changes this beautiful and fascinating country has made since abandoning Apartheid.

Photos: 1. South Africa Writers Workshop. 2. Face to Face editorial staff. 3. Nelson Mandela’s cell on Robben Island.


Prayer requests and updates

From Monte Wolverton:

Kayte Wolverton was diagnosed with ovarian/peritoneal cancer a few months ago. She has been undergoing chemo treatments and she had surgery yesterday. The doctor was fairly confident that he was able to remove all of the cancer. However, today Kayte is in extreme pain, and they are having trouble managing it. Please pray for Kayte’s comfort, relief and complete healing. Thank you for your prayers and support.

Cards may be sent to:
Kayte Wolverton
18907 NE Cole-Witter Rd.
Battle Ground, WA 98604

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


March 23, 2011

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

This weekend a writers training conference is being held in Cape Town, South Africa for those who write for our publication there – Face to Face magazine. Mike Feazell and John Halford were kind enough to offer to go and share their experience with the group. Face to Face is a fine publication, and investing in those who write for it will only make it better. Please pray for safety in travelling for all concerned, and that the conference will have a long-lasting benefit to those who attend.


Canada

Dennis and Lynn Lawrence are pleased to announce the engagement of their daughter, Judith, to Nathan Knapp, son of Steve and Brenda Knapp of Scarborough, ON. A July 9 wedding in Montreal is being planned.

Gary Moore writes, “I remember Brenda being in the youth group in the London, Ontario, congregation when I first came out of college and worked with Doug Smith, who pastored that area. Passing on the wedding announcement of one of her children reminds me how fast the years are passing!”


European Pastoral Leader’s Conference

James Henderson and Joseph Tkach met in Zurich, Switzerland, with Carl Fredrick Aas from Scandinavia, Marie-Angelique Picard and Dominique Alcindor from France, Jose Ribeiro from Portugal, Frans Danenberg and Hans De Moei from Holland, Pedro Rufian from Spain, Daniel and Paola Boesch from Italy. It was a delight to meet with our brothers and sisters, the members in Switzerland, for church services.

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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


March 16, 2011

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

A 9.0 earthquake struck Japan on March 11, giving them multiple disasters: the most powerful earthquake ever to hit Japan, a tsunami 30 feet high in some places, and since the tsunami destroyed the emergency cooling system of some nuclear power plants, radioactive materials have been released into the atmosphere. Those power plants are a significant part of Japan’s electrical capacity, so the economic ripples will continue to be felt for a long time.

Thousands of deaths have been confirmed, thousands more are likely, and hundreds of thousands of people are homeless due to the quake, tsunami or radiation leaks. The rescue workers face daunting working conditions, including aftershocks, fears of radiation and difficult supply lines. Please join us in praying for the millions who are directly affected by these catastrophes.

Eugene Guzon reported that he has contacted seven of our 10 scattered members in Japan, and so far all have been safe with minor property losses. He will continue his efforts to reach the others and will keep us updated.


New Zealand

From Rod Matthews:

All six members in the general area of Christchurch are okay. All but one are living in their homes again, although most suffered damage to their home contents and some non-structural damage. The one member who has not returned lived in a rented apartment that lies at the bottom of a cliff from which boulders have been dislodged, one of which destroyed the stairs that led up to her apartment. Because of the constant aftershocks and fear that other rocks will come down, she has not moved back in, but is staying with relatives in another part of the city. The local elder in the area, Phil Baldwin, who lives 35 km west of the city, is in constant contact with the members there and will keep Dennis Richards informed if there are any immediate needs.


GenMin Summit

From Ted Johnston:

The guiding vision of GCI Generations Ministries is summarized in the motto: “All Generations on Journey with Jesus.” In pursuit of this vision, a cross-generational group of 98 GenMin leaders gathered last week near Dallas, Texas, for the annual GenMin Camps & Missions Summit. This year’s theme, “The Genius of the AND,” explored GenMin’s commitment to helping GCI churches include young believers and young leaders on their journey.

At the summit, inspiring reports were given concerning GenMin’s 17 U.S. camps, three short-term missions trips, and young leader development program (Journey with the Master). Other reports detailed GenMin’s contributions to recruiting and interning young new pastors and church planters. Various large group and small group meetings focused on ways GenMin programs can improve their capability to help GCI congregations share God’s love and life within their communities.

Dan Rogers, who directs Church Administration and Development USA (CAD), addressed the summit, noting that CAD (which includes GenMin) serves as a “spiritual L.L. Bean”— outfitting GCI churches for the journey with Jesus. Many young GenMin leaders shared their appreciation for this approach, looking forward to being further equipped and then to equipping others. Randy Bloom, director of GCI Church Multiplication Ministries (CMM), and CMM consultant Steve Elliott also addressed the summit, noting ways GenMin and CMM partner in recruiting and outfitting young emerging leaders to start new GCI churches. An inspiring update was given by Aaron Armstrong, who leads the team that started a new GCI congregation near Denver, Colorado. Aaron’s team emerged within the GenMin camp and Journey with the Master program conducted in Colorado.

It was particularly inspiring to hear many testimonies from young adults who are devoted to Christ and to his mission in and through GCI. Many are stepping up as GCI leaders, not only within camps but also within existing and newly planted GCI churches. Three current young GCI pastoral interns shared the exciting news of what is happening in their lives as they respond to God’s call to GCI pastoral ministry. Ten additional young leaders attended a summit meeting to discuss GCI’s pastoral internship program. One noted that his local church has designated $3,500 of their annual budget to help fund an internship.

An important meeting of GenMin’s advisory team preceded the main summit. The meeting celebrated the conclusion of five years of ministry guided by GenMin’s Vision 2010—a document that defined GenMin’s understanding of God’s call for 2006-2010. By God’s grace, including the dedicated work of more than 700 GenMin volunteers, the Vision 2010 dream for 20 GenMin camps in the U.S. was realized in 2010 with 17 traditional camps and three short-term missions. The meeting then looked forward by adopting Vision 2020—a document that sets out the team’s understanding of God’s call to GenMin for a decade of growth leading GenMin to provide the churches of GCI in the US with the following mission-enhancing resources:

• 20 GenMin camps where young seekers and believers encounter Jesus, and young workers emerge as leaders to serve established and newly planted GCI churches.

• 20 short-term mission trips (some international; most domestic) where young workers and leaders experience Jesus’ heart and strategy for mission at home and beyond.

• Resources that help many existing and newly planted GCI churches participate with Jesus in multiplying young believers and leaders, yielding significant community impact.

• Resources that help identify and equip 20 new young pastors to lead established and newly planted GCI churches.

• Resources that help identify and equip young leadership teams that will plant 20 new GCI churches in the U.S.

In the months ahead, the GenMin team will be defining specific action steps related to these five faith goals. We solicit your prayers for God’s continuing direction and provision. Congregations may contribute financially to the realization of these goals by donating to the GC Next domestic mission fund (see information at http://genmin.gci.org/donate.html).


NAE board meeting

The recent National Association of Evangelicals board meeting was held in Salt Lake City, Utah, and included a panel discussion regarding the ongoing dialogue between Evangelical theologians and Mormon scholars. The panel, pictured to the right, included (left to right) Craig Hazen, Director of the M.A. Program in Christian Apologetics at Biola University; Richard Mouw, President of Fuller Theological Seminary; Craig Blomberg, Professor of New Testament at Denver Seminary; and David Neff, Director of the Robert E. Webber Center for an Ancient Evangelical Future. David, as you may know, is also Editor-in-Chief of Christianity Today.

Greg Johnson

By coincidence, Mike Feazell (who attended the meeting with me) and I ran into David at a local restaurant during dinner the night before and the three of us enjoyed catching up. Many years ago, David interviewed us for an article he ran in Christianity Today about the doctrinal transformation of the Worldwide Church of God.

Greg Johnson, Director of Standing Together, emceed the discussion. As an NAE board member, I had been asked to conclude the discussion with a brief talk about this approach in contrast to the traditional counter-cult approach, which I was happy to do.


Grand Junction, Colorado, Perichoresis Conference

Dr. Baxter Kruger and Dr. Mike Feazell will be in Grand Junction, Colorado, Friday evening, May 13, and all day Saturday, May 14, to teach and share insights about our inclusion in Jesus’ relationship with the Father through the Holy Spirit. To reserve a spot, please call Grand Junction Pastor David Eddy at 970-210-5560 or email him at ajautosales1@gmail.com. Attendance is limited to the first 70 people who sign up.


Prayer Requests and Updates

John Ferlatte

We are deeply saddened to report that our elder in the Smiths Falls, Ontario, congregation, John Ferlatte, has died tragically after a short bout with deadly strep pneumonia. Pastor Bill Rabey wrote, “We have lost a beloved brother and truly humble servant of God.”

Please remember John’s family in prayer as they face this terrible shock and grief.

Cards may be sent to:
The Ferlatte Family
231 Douglas Lane
RR 7, Perth, Ontario K7H 3C9.


Madam Rajoelisolo Georgette

Madam Georgette, a deaconess in our church in Madagascar, died February 18 at the age of 77. A pillar in the church, she had been blind for more than ten years. Kalengule Kaoma wrote, “Thanks to God for this exceptional woman with a great affection for other people and a remarkable thirst for God’s Word.” Madam Georgette’s daughter is a member of our Paris church.


Beth Holm

Rand Holm wrote:

This morning Beth collapsed in our hallway and couldn’t move. It did not appear to be a seizure. She also lost most of her vision with a darkness and kind of “lightning” before her eyes. She was sick to her stomach, and an occipital headache was developing. Her speech was slowing dramatically and she had profound weakness on her left side and labored breathing. In the past, these have all been symptoms of an intercranial bleed (of which she has had four), so I called 911 and we transported her to the hospital. As soon as she was given oxygen, she started to feel better. A CAT scan did not show any evidence of “gross bleeding.” The doctor did not think she showed any evidence of a TIA or ischemic stroke either. Her blood pressure had dropped to 70/40. Now it is 100/43.

She has been released from the hospital and now resting at home. We do not know what caused this. Possibilities include a type of seizure that she has not had before and that did not manifest itself normally. We will consult with her neurologist to see if anything else remains to be done.

Thank you for your wonderful thoughts and prayers. Beth sends her love to all. So do I.

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


Dave Husmann

Ray Meyer wrote:

Please keep Dave Husmann, our pastor in Sioux City and Omaha, in your prayers. In addition to all the other issues Dave is dealing with following his motorcycle accident last year, he now has several new issues. He recently developed a severe infection in his jaw and ear, and if not arrested, it could navigate to his brain. He also has several spots on his thyroid that need to be checked out, and he just learned he has diabetes. Needless to say, your fervent prayers are requested for Dave.

Cards may be sent to:
250 N 8th St
Akron, IA 51001-8603


From Bernie Schnippert:

I was scheduled for a radioactive bead therapy in Portland on March 8. The beads (which are air-lifted from Australia) did not arrive on time. It looked like my trip to Portland and all my mental and drug preparations (I must take other meds in advance), and motel bills were all wasted. However, the Interventional Radiologist suggested that my coming fourth therapy, to be sometime in April, be undertaken now, since it used chemically treated beads available to him now. After a delay of two hours for the beads to soak up the chemicals, I went ahead with the Drug Eluting Beads therapy. These beads tend to knock one down harder and longer than the radioactive beads, and I am seeing this on a practical basis since my strength is low, my appetite is not returning fast, etc. Please pray for a quick recovery.

I told my wife I feel like the arcade game, “Whack a Mole.” In the game, a stuffed mole puts up its head and then you try to whack it back down, in which case another springs up elsewhere on the field to be whacked again. I seem to just about recover from one therapy and the next one comes along, and with it, the inevitable reactions of fatigue, lack of appetite, etc. I am very much looking forward to what we all hope is the last treatment in this series around the time of April 12.

Thanks to all of you individually and to the whole churches who have sent me cards of encouragement. They are much appreciated.

Cards may be sent to:
64651 Jan Dr
Bend, OR 97701-8824


Maria Sinkler

From Canadian national board member, Gerry Sinkler:

I request your continued prayers on behalf of my wife Maria. Maria was diagnosed with breast cancer last spring and since then has been on an alternative treatment program. We found out two weeks ago that the cancer has spread to parts of her spine and a couple of ribs. Maria is now taking radiation treatments as well as drug therapies to fight the cancer. She is in good spirits but is experiencing a lot of lower back pain. This, and the treatments, are both physically draining and sometimes leave her very tired. Your prayers for her, and for myself and our daughter Brianna, would be much appreciated.

On a related subject, Brianna our teenage daughter, participated in a Bike-a-Thon for Cancer held at her school, Bellrose Composite High. This was the 9th annual Bellrose Bike-a-Thon, where teams have to keep a stationary bike in motion for 48 hours. This year they had 64 teams of 8 to 10 students. Brianna was captain of her team and rode for four shifts. Through the generosity of our congregation, neighbors, and friends, Brianna raised $1,230, her team raised $2,480, and the school raised more than $126,000. Half the money raised will be donated to the Alberta Cancer Foundation, and half will be donated to the Cross Cancer Institute in Edmonton towards the purchase of a new P.E.T. scanner.

Cards may be sent to:
13 Emery Ct
St Albert, AB T8N 5T3
CANADA


Charlie Warren

Charlie Warren (brother-in-law of GCI pastor Mike Rasmussen) was recently diagnosed with pancreatic and liver cancer. Doctors will not make a decision about surgery unless his chemo regimen is successful, which is only given a 20 percent chance. Charlie was also recently diagnosed with diabetes. His wife Candice (Mike’s sister), is facing major health trials. Please pray for Charlie, Candice and their 14-year-old son, Spencer.

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


March 10, 2011

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

The National Association of Evangelicals recently put out a press release about the extent of Premillennialism among evangelicals in the United States. I was encouraged to see that many are beginning to realize that the gospel is not advanced by prediction addiction. Here is the press release:

Hollywood has a long history of films about the last times, heaven and the afterlife, precisely because thousands flock to them. From 1996-2007, Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins published 16 books in the fast selling “Left Behind” series that popularized dispensational premillennialism among many Americans. The Christian doctrine of “last things” is called “eschatology” although many simply refer to it as prophecy.

“It’s in our human nature to want to prepare ourselves – physically, emotionally, spiritually – for what might be ahead,” said Leith Anderson, President of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE). “Among evangelicals, the most popular strand of eschatological thought is premillennialism, but even within premillennialism there varieties of views and beliefs.”

The January Evangelical Leaders Survey showed that 65 percent identify with premillennial theology, 13 percent with amillennial and 4 percent with postmillennial. Seventeen percent responded “other.”

The various millennial views stem from different interpretations of Revelation 20, which speaks of the binding of Satan and the reign of Christ and his followers on earth for 1,000 years (a “millennium”).

Premillennialism, which received wide acceptance by many evangelicals through the publishing of the Scofield Reference Bible in 1909, teaches the belief that Jesus Christ will come to earth for the second time after a period of tribulation, followed by a literal 1,000 year period in which Christ and his followers reign on earth. Premillennialists disagree on whether believers will rise and join Jesus (an event called the “rapture”) before, during or after the tribulation period.

Amillennialists believe that the non-literal millennial reign of Christ is happening now as Christ reigns at the right hand of the Father. Postmillennialists believe Christ’s second coming occurs after the 1,000 year period during which humanity gradually improves under the reign of Christ.

Jeff Farmer, President of Open Bible Churches, said that within the Open Bible movement, opinions are varied regarding eschatology. During his tenure as president, Open Bible Churches amended its Statement of Faith to give ministers and constituents greater freedom in teaching eschatology. Farmer also commented that he hears relatively little preaching about the millennium in churches today.

Many who included comments with their response noted that focusing on the specifics of the end times can be a distraction from living faithfully in the present. Roy Taylor, Stated Clerk of the Presbyterian Church in America, expressed this sentiment by saying, “As far as predicting the approximate time of Christ’s Second Advent is concerned, I have resigned from the Planning Committee and have joined the Welcoming Committee.”

The Evangelical Leaders Survey is a monthly poll of the Board of Directors of the National Association of Evangelicals. They include the CEOs of denominations and representatives of a broad array of evangelical organizations including missions, universities, publishers and churches.


Philippines 

Christ the King of Glory Church, a local congregation of GCI composed of Oyango tribal folks, receive gifts from their former pastor and church planter.

From Pastor Doming Trilles:

Pastor Reuel Pamor, Mr. Erenio Tapan, my wife and two youths attending our local congregation in Pili distributed gifts to the Oyango tribe at Santa Teresita, Iriga City. The gifts came from Canada, courtesy of Pastor Boni and Caring Gonzales, who were used by God to plant this local church, which is composed of Oyango tribesmen. We repacked the items composed of brand new clothes of all sizes, candies, chocolates, toiletries and other basic needed items. The distribution was done after the worship service. Former tribal chieftain Celio Lumabi led the closing prayer and thanksgiving prayer.


Prayer Requests and Updates

Dennis Lawrence sent this update:

I am home from the hospital now, having completed 10 rounds of chemotherapy, 12 radiation treatments, and the stem cell transplant over the past nearly 11 months. It is a matter of healing now, getting back energy and getting back to living again with only weekly medical checkups for a while. They cannot pronounce on my “healing” until about the end of May. I was in remission when I went in for the transplant; the tumors and cancer were under control. So I hope that this is only more final now.

I don’t know how anyone goes through such as this without faith, and I didn’t find anyone in the hospital without faith of some sort. I know that I have been surrounded with thousands of people around the world in prayer for me, attested by hundreds of cards I have received. I want to thank all of them for their love, attention, and concern. And thank you for your patience as I sometimes struggled a lot through these months and wondered what was going to happen to my life as I know it. I’m looking forward to summer, to sailing and barbecuing again, and to getting back into the middle of the life of the two congregations I serve.

Cards may be sent to:
211 De L’ile Blvd
Pincourt, PQ J7V 3R6
CANADA


Hinkles’ grandson

Larry wrote: Great news! Miraculously, our grandson Coty came home from the hospital yesterday without the need for additional oxygen or a feeding tube, and just in time to not lose his disability benefits through the state agency, CAPP. Thanks so much again for all of you who have been praying for Coty, and for all the cards and emails of support.


Effie Pendergraft

Effie wrote: Chad and I were amazed by all the prayers, cards and care packages coming from seemingly everywhere. To update all of you wonderful fellow Christians, I have not had any more NMO (Neuromyelitis Optica) episodes since September. NMO (also known as Devi’s disease, related to MS) is an autoimmune disease that is not curable. Though I will need treatment about every six months, I am at home now able to see and walk, and I am delighted to be taking care of my little girls without a caretaker. Words cannot express the depth of the love we experienced from our church family. Thank you.

Chad and Effie Pendergraft
962 Country Crossing
Webb City, MO 64870

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


March 2, 2011

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Phil Baldwin, pastor of our GCI house church congregation in Christchurch, New Zealand, sent the following report about the devastating earthquake there:

Our scattered members in Christchurch are all safe following the catastrophic midday earthquake on 22 February. While one member’s home is largely inaccessible due to rock falls from the cliff face behind it, the others have had power and water restored to their houses, a real blessing in a city where one-third of the homes are still without running water or sewage service.

Many streets in the suburbs of Christchurch have these mounds of liquefaction that have been shoveled together by volunteers.

This relatively shallow 6.3 magnitude earthquake, the second to rock the city in less than six months, happened close to central Christchurch at 12.51 pm on a Tuesday when the city’s buildings and streets were full of people and traffic. Half the brick buildings in Christchurch’s central business district have been irreparably damaged. The death toll stands at 154, with another 50 or more still missing.Stories and video abound of tragic loss, near misses, harrowing escapes, and a community of people who have pulled together to help with the recovery. The Kiwi mindset of “just getting on with it” has meant that police, armed forces, ambulance, fire brigades, and an army of citizen volunteers (including thousands of university students) have cordoned off the teetering buildings in the city’s core, provided security, fed and housed displaced residents, as well as shoveled up an estimated 100,000 tons of liquefaction (wet sand and silt forced up to the surface through even the tiniest cracks in pavement).

Volunteers sort food and supplies for delivery to an earthquake support center in Christchurch.

Support and personnel have poured in from across New Zealand and around the world. Remarkably, there has been minimal looting, and next to no public violence.

Christchurch Cathedral’s Dean, Peter Beck, praised the kindness people had shown each other throughout the disaster. He said, “People are reaching out to one another, talking to one another, giving each other food… that’s what it’s all about. You often see in these worst of times the best in human beings.”


New church plant

Left to right: Serena, Dishon, Afrika and Cairo Mills.

Dishon and Afrika Mills are in the early stages of planting a new church in Randolph, Massachusetts. Dishon and Afrika were part of the WCG in their youth, and when they came across our emphasis on Trinitarian theology, they were moved to re-connect with us. They attended Church-Next Training, and after discussions with DPL Larry Wooldridge, they developed a preliminary plan for planting a new church.

In concert with CMM and CAD, the Mills are now moving ahead with their plans, starting a small group, networking with unchurched people, developing a “launch team” of ministry leaders and establishing financial accounting processes. Please remember them in prayer.


Southwest regional conference

This year’s round of district conferences began in Ontario, California, with 145 attending.

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GCI mentioned in blog

Church planter authority Ed Stetzer mentioned GCI on his blog recently. Here is a link to the post: Ed Stetzer – Grace Communion International and a Vision for Church


Update on Tanzania

Kalengule Kaoma sent this update about his recent visit.

I spent some time with executive leaders of the two groups we have been working with for affiliation in Tanzania. We constituted a caretaker national team made up of members from both groups to start the process of registering GCI in Tanzania.

While in Tanzania I delivered 21 bicycles purchased by Rod Dean’s congregation in Australia to assist field ministers with their transportation needs. Many of these pastors in Ukerewe, Kisorya, Bunda, Tarime in Mara region and border areas of Tanzania and Kenya cover large circuits on foot. Some walk for 14 hours through forest to minister to Christians in their congregations. Rose Ochola, who pastors a congregation in a border town in Kenya and coordinates Pastors’ Food Basket, told me: “To complete my rounds, I spend two days on the way at a time. This bicycle will be handy.”

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In addition to bicycle support, members from Rod Dean’s church will put a roof on the Kisorya church building and provide widows and orphans in border towns of Kenya near Tanzania with some food support for at least two months.


Canada

From Gary Moore:

The picture to the right is of the elders from Cornerstone Christian Fellowship in Toronto, and Alvaro Palacio from the east congregation, with Eric Warren. The elders all prayed for Eric, as he took on the mantle as the new pastor of the congregation. This was done at Eric’s first service as their pastor, two weeks ago. From left to right the elders are: Trevor Brown, Perc Burrows, Ian Bell, Eric Warren, John McGuigan, George Lee, John Martin and Alvaro Palacio.

Please pray for Eric and Amy as they transition into a new pastorate, and a new city.


Prayer Requests and Updates

John Biswas

John Biswas let us know that he is now recovered from his recent illness and very grateful for the many prayers on his behalf. He added, “I was very much lifted up by the numerous get well cards, near and far.”


David Fiedler

The news on my eye is not good; I’m back to where I was after the third surgery last July. After the oil removal about 12 days ago, all was well for the first few days. But on the fifth day, my retina detached again (for the fifth time). I’m extremely disappointed as I felt I was so close to getting on to the next step of getting a new lens. When the oil was removed it was replaced with a saline solution. It gradually dissipates and is supposed to be replaced by my own vitreous fluid. Unfortunately, my eye didn’t produce nearly enough, and within five days my eye pressure was down to zero, which precipitated my last detachment. I had surgery again to reattach the retina, and oil was again placed in the eye. I am considering leaving the oil in long-term this time. However, some doctors say they don’t want to leave it in permanently because of possible ill effects to the eye. Others say it can be left in. I may have no choice but to leave it in, as it seems my retina has the best chance of holding in place with the oil. If that is the route I go, then I probably won’t be able to use the eyes together, but at least I’ll have an auxiliary eye in case something ever happens to my good eye. Thank you all so much for your faithful prayers on my behalf. Linda and I have been so moved by all the love and support you have shown!

Cards may be sent to:
20389 Strawline Rd.
Bend, OR 97702


Lynne Pahl

Please join us in prayer for Lynne Pahl, co-pastor of the Wausau, WI church, whose husband, Terry Pahl passed away February 25. Terry choked on a piece of steak lodged in his throat while at a dinner party on February 22. The Heimlich maneuver and CPR were performed and he was taken to the hospital by ambulance, but he had been without oxygen too long and never regained consciousness. On February 25 the respirator was removed and Terry died within two hours. Just after her husband died, Lynne received notification that her job was being terminated in July.

Cards may be sent to:
Lynne Pahl
T1354 County Road WW
Wausau, WI 54403


Bernie Schnippert

Bernie wrote: “On Tuesday, March 8, I have the third procedure to kill the third-largest tumor in my liver resulting from my carcinoid cancer. Recovery from my second treatment, about four weeks ago, has been slow because they used drug-eluting beads instead of radioactive beads for technical reasons. I still have much fatigue from that procedure. This time they will use the radioactive beads, and my hope is that recovery is faster. It is frustrating to recover from one therapy and then be knocked down by the next one, as is inevitable since the procedures are highly invasive to the liver. I will be traveling to Portland on Monday, having the procedure Tuesday, and then traveling home on Wednesday. Please remember Arlene and me in your prayers that all will go well. I will update you on the success of the procedure and the health outcome as appropriate. It is unknown whether this is the last one for now, or if the doctors will do a fourth procedure, which they have opined back and forth about. Thank you for all your encouraging prayers and cards. They are much appreciated.

Cards may be sent to:
64651 Jan Dr.
Bend, OR 97701

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