December 8, 2010

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Several have expressed their appreciation for the new One Quick Thought videos on the GCI website (www.gci.org/oqt). Many are using these short excerpts from our You’re Included interviews along with Speaking of Life as part of the weekly service.

Beginning today, another all-new, short program will be posting weekly as well – GCI Reflections (www.gci.org/category/series/gci-reflections). Through the eyes of GCI members, GCI Reflections will explore a wide variety of topics related to the Christian life and experience. I think you’re going to really enjoy both the variety and the opportunity to hear from members around the world in these short programs.


Bahamas

From Charles Fleming:

On the weekend of November 19-21, Randy Bloom and I were in Freeport, Grand Bahama, for a two-day conference on Church Multiplication. Robert McKinney, Senior Pastor for the Bahamas, along with four members from the Nassau church also flew in to join the 25 members of the Freeport congregation.

Randy led us in lively discussions of mission and church multiplication principles. The conference was timely, as the Freeport church recently took possession of some land on which they plan to construct a building. It was good to remember the reason God gives us property – for mission and multiplication.

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A highlight of the weekend was the ordination of Calvin Parker, who pastors the Freeport congregation. Attendance almost doubled for the ordination service as a number of relatives and friends of the Parker family came for the occasion. Calvin and his wife Colleen have three children who, during the service, dedicated a song to their father and provided accompaniment on keyboards and drums during the worship service. It was special to experience the gifts and loving ministry of the Parker family, and to share the joy of the congregation.


Cincinnati, Ohio

From Pastor George Hart:

For the second year in a row Christ Community Church of Cincinnati reached out to the community around its church hall the Sunday before Thanksgiving with Thanksgiving meals. The meals included all the traditional Thanksgiving trimmings and a gift certificate for a turkey at a local grocery. The first year we collected enough items to put together 100 meals, but this year we set an ambitious goal of 150 meals. Not only did we reach the goal, but we exceeded it, in putting together 170 complete meals. After a shortened service, the congregation pitched in to put the meal packages together. We enjoyed a pizza dinner and delivered the meals to the community.

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The area around the church hall is one of the lowest-income communities in the county, with many school-age children. The impact was tremendous. We received calls and cards not only from those who received the meals but from people who were aware of the outreach. In addition to reaching the local community, a number of members shared the meals with family members and neighbors in their own communities. Even after exceeding our goal, we were able to donate several hundred dollars of food supplies to a soup kitchen the congregation serves every month.


Tucson, Arizona

From Pastor Ted Milhuff:

Grace of God Fellowship in Tucson meets at an SDA church on Sunday afternoons. The Orthodox Presbyterian Church of Tucson meets there on Sunday mornings. A couple of months ago one of the GOGF members gave the Called To Be Free DVD to Pastor Crum of OPC.

Pastor Crum talked to me and asked if he could show the DVD to his congregation. We agreed, and on December 5 Pastor Tom Landess and my wife, Lila, and I joined OPC for some snacks and then watched the video.

The OPC congregation was quite interested. At the end of the video, Tom and I gave testimonies of how the changes had affected us personally and the effect on the entire congregation as their understanding was opened.

We ended with a Q&A session.


Eagle Rock, California

From Mat Morgan:

Teens of New Hope Christian Fellowship filled 77 shoeboxes with toys, toothbrushes, hair brushes, tooth paste, soap, shampoo, school supplies, crayons, coloring books, socks, blankets, candy and other necessities and surprises donated by the congregation for needy children in Mexico. After the teens were finished wrapping and filling the boxes, they prayed for the recipients, hoping that they would feel the love of Jesus through these gifts. The boxes are now on their way to Texas, where they will be combined with gifts from GCI congregations in Washington, DC, Tennessee, Big Sandy, Tyler, San Antonio and Longview, TX. SEP Rockies also contributed baby blankets. The gifts will be transported across the border on December 11 by Lee Berger, Director of Crossing Borders GenMin camp; Pedro and Consuela Orduno; San Antonio Pastor, Rodney Schuler; Barbara Miller and approximately 15 other volunteers. The gifts will be distributed to Casa Hagar Douglas children’s home, and Blanca Navidad and Los Artistes, pallet cities in Nuevo Laredo. Please pray for the safety of those traveling to deliver these packages and that the message of hope in Christ will also be delivered through their gifts and words.

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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


December 1, 2010

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

As we enter the Christmas season, we can rejoice that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is not still a baby in a manger. He is our life, and he has already done everything necessary for our salvation. He has already forgiven all our sins–past, present and future, and he has already presented us perfect and sin-free to God the Father.

Jesus is our righteousness. He is our perfect sacrifice for sin. He stands in for us in every way before the Father as the perfect Son who has kept all his Father’s commandments. He both substitutes for us and represents us.

That is why the Advent season means so much to us!


Generations Ministries

The Generations Ministries (GenMin) leadership team (Greg Williams, director; Anthony Mullins, GenMin camps and missions leader; and Ted Johnston, communications and resources) met Nov. 17-19 in Atlanta with CAD director Dan Rogers to make plans for the year ahead.

During the meeting, the team reviewed the ten-year history of GenMin, which began with a year 2000 meeting held at church headquarters. At that meeting, Dan Rogers cast a vision to increase youth ministry camps regionally, using the camps as a key tool for developing young emerging leaders. At that meeting, Dan named Jeb Egbert and Ted Johnston co-directors of Youth Ministry, which in 2005 was renamed Generations Ministries.

In accordance with Dan’s mandate, Youth Ministry in 2001 held its last national camp in Orr, Minnesota, with 540 campers and 140 staffers. The next year, six regional camps were launched. And by 2005, God had given GenMin a vision for “20 camps by 2010.”

This year GenMin celebrated the realization of that dream as it sponsored 20 camps and short-term mission trips, serving about 1300 campers/missionaries through the work of about 800 staffers. For this growth, we thank God and the many volunteers who faithfully serve our GenMin camps and mission trips. A list of these events is posted at http://genmin.gci.org/campministries.htm.

If you or your congregation is interested in supporting the work of GenMin, we encourage donations to the GC Next domestic mission fund (see http://genmin.gci.org/donate.html). GenMin not only sponsors events such as camps and short-term mission trips; it also trains and coaches youth ministers, provides resources that help churches 1) disciple children, teens and young adults, 2) minister through older adults, and 3) offer support for married couples and parents.

Now GenMin is looking forward to the next ten years of helping start new GCI congregations with an emphasis on developing

young believers and young leaders.


Tipp City, Ohio

From Becky Valekis, Discipleship Coordinator:

On November 17 the Discipleship Ministry at CrossRoads Christian Fellowship in Tipp City, Ohio, completed The Alpha Course for a second time in 2010. The results and blessings from this outreach and building tool have taken everyone by surprise. It not only opened the door of our church to people who do not have a GCI background but it has helped change the lives of people inside our congregation.

Alpha is a course that covers the basics of Christianity in a 10-11 week class. It was founded about 25 years ago in London, England, and has spread to almost every denomination in the world. Each week, guests gather for about two hours, share an informal meal, listen to a talk on DVD on how Christianity approaches the question at hand, and then gather into small groups for discussions. Its emphasis is on the love the Father has for us in Christ, and the healing made available in our lives through the Spirit. The material is adaptable for local contextualization.

Information about starting an Alpha Course in your church can be found in the December issue of Equipper.


From Kalengule Kaoma, Mission Developer for Africa:

Last week I travelled to Rakai District, Uganda, to meet a group of leaders who have been calling themselves Grace Communion International. They have seven congregations with a list of 1047 people: 296 men, 327 women, and 424 children. Of the 424 children, 321 are orphans!

I arrived at Entebbe International Airport and was met by two pastors; Specioza Nabwami and Joyce Nalugya. The three of us travelled to Kampala, the capital city of Uganda, where we connected by bus to Kyotera. The journey took three hours on a road that is undergoing construction. We arrived in Kyotera a little before 5 p.m. and immediately went to meet a group of members who were waiting for us.

After introductions and my brief address to the congregation, I had a discussion with leaders who were present. The group generally accepted our teachings after visiting our web site and several emails we have exchanged. They can hardly wait to be incorporated into our denomination.

I then had several meetings with pastors from various church groups in Nairobi, Kenya, who have shown interest in working with us. These are groups that have indicated that they need spiritual oversight and sound biblical teaching. I will meet them again in the first quarter of 2011. We have kept our doors open.

The GCI East African leaders conference was held November 19 at Shalom House in Nairobi, Kenya. Delegates came from Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya.

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Prayer Requests and Updates

Paul David Kurts requests our prayers for Martin Manuel. Martin pastors Church of The Living Waters in Charlotte, NC. He has prostate cancer and is having surgery on December 28th.

Cards may be sent to:
627 Lancer Dr
Concord, NC 28027-6605


Update on James and Shirley Henderson:

James and Shirley Henderson, who were attacked and injured by a water buffalo in Africa, are home now, where they are being well looked after by family and friends. They have responded well to medical treatment, and most of their pain has subsided. They send their heartfelt thanks for all the love and concern, and for the cards, e-mails and telephone calls. Above all, they appreciate the prayers, and they have felt the presence of God throughout their ordeal.


From Bernie Schnippert:

Dear Ministers and Friends,

As most of you know, about three years ago I was diagnosed with a serious case of a rare type of cancer called “carcinoid.” Although the cancer had invaded my liver and could not be cured, the day-to-day symptoms were manageable with drugs, and a monthly shot kept the cancer “stable,” meaning not growing but not shrinking. As long as it did not grow and my symptoms were manageable, I had almost a normal life and normal strength. I continued to work full-time as General Counsel.

About a month ago the tumors showed evidence of renewed growth, but more seriously, the cancer began to create severe fatigue, breathlessness, and nausea, making me almost bedfast. For example, I can walk only very short distances, such as to my living room and back to the bedroom, and even then I become breathless like someone with severe heart disease. Furthermore, the nausea makes it very hard to eat, and I must struggle to get food down. Hence, I am losing weight.

After emergency consultations with specialists, it has been determined I must have a special, albeit proven and common, radioactive bead therapy whereby radioactive beads are fed into my liver. For technical reasons, the beads kill the cancer but not the liver. The belief, although there are no promises, is that after the therapy, enough of the cancer will be killed that my liver will once again function well enough for me to live a more or less normal life. The effect can last for numerous months or even years, and, in most cases, including apparently mine, can be repeated if necessary. Again, there is no cure for my cancer. The goal is to die with it, but not of it. The actual therapy requires five days: two days to test me and conclude whether I am eligible for the therapy, and then three actual therapy sessions, each one day long but spread six weeks apart. They do only part of the liver at a time – in my case, in three parts.

A week or so ago I traveled to Portland for the preliminary tests to determine if I am eligible medically for the therapy. The good news is that I am eligible. However, the drugs used in the procedures and preliminary testing left me very ill for about a week, unable to get up except for the bathroom, and mostly unable to eat. Now, a week or two later, I have convalesced to the point where I am eating, although I struggle with nausea, and ambulatory almost to the same degree as before the tests, meaning I can walk out to the living room for TV, etc. but do not get out of the house very much. I can drive, but don’t have enough energy to go far from the car.

The most important thing right now is that I am healthy enough for the therapy procedure. This means I need to gain as much strength as possible, and gain back as much weight as possible, between now and the first round of therapy, which is December 16. In praying for me, please pray especially that my nausea improves and that I can gain weight.

Please also remember my wife, Arlene, who has nursed me through this difficult time. She has been an angel in every way and is under a great deal of stress. Also, so you know, I have unhooked my email inbox completely and am unable to work on any legal matters that are not emergencies. If you have such an emergency, please contact my assistant Evelyn Dailey. As I feel up to it, I may start up my email for short periods and work on pressing projects, but full workload will probably not occur until after the therapy, assuming it is successful.

Thank you for your prayers during this very difficult time.

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

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, 2010

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

We are all thankful for many things, but I think one of the greatest is the joy of knowing and working with so many people whose zeal, dedication and love of Christ is a daily inspiration. Thanks so much to all of you for everything you do in his service, and may your Thanksgiving celebration be joyful and blessed!


CAD Renewal Conferences

This year, Church Administration and Development conducted Renewal Church Conferences in Glendora, California; Dallas, Texas; Atlanta, Georgia; and Columbus, Ohio. At each conference, Dr. Dan Rogers led a study in the book of Acts, recounting how the Holy Spirit led the early church in mission with God. Short video excerpts of Dan’s presentations are posted on the It Looks Like This website at http://gci-usa.blogspot.com/p/church-multiplication-study-in-book-of.html.

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Twenty-five pastors and other GCI congregational leaders attended the Renewal Church Conference in Columbus on November 9-11 (see pictures). Dan noted that Acts is descriptive rather than prescriptive. Rather than mimicking the acts of the early church, we find principles that help us understand what the Holy Spirit is now doing to lead the church.

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Canada

From Gary Moore:

I’m in Toronto attending the annual meeting of the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada (EFC). I have been pleasantly surprised to find that the EFC is strongly promoting Trinitarian theology and is framing the understanding of mission from a Trinitarian perspective. It is very encouraging to see that other Christian leaders are seeing the great value and scriptural soundness of this theological perspective. I want to strongly encourage you as leaders to take the time to keep up with the interviews with Trinitarian theologians on our denominational website (www.gci.org).

Toronto East hosted another regional volleyball tournament last weekend. Below is Alvaro Palacio’s report of the event, some pictures of the weekend.

Young (and not so young) participants from our Quebec and Ontario churches met in Toronto November 13-14 for our traditional Volleyball Weekend, a yearly festivity organized by the Montreal and Toronto East congregations. It started with an inspiring worship service on Saturday afternoon with traditional and contemporary worship music. Inspiring, spiritual messages were given by Judith Lawrence and Rob Brockman followed by a communion service. After services all enjoyed a wonderful fellowship time with pizza, snacks, video and board games.

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The well organized volleyball tournament started early on Sunday. Teams from Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto and other participants from the neighbouring areas joined in friendly competition for most of the day. Big Bang from Ottawa won first place, followed very closely by Toronto’s team, Cornerstone. Toronto East was third. It was a well fought competition, in which all the participants gave their best.

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“It was evident that Christ was playing among our young people,” commented one of the observers after seeing the sportsmanship and Christian love showed by all the participants. This was also a great opportunity for the Toronto East congregation to share their hospitality with dozens of visitors and to renew old friendships in Christ. At the end of the tournament, players, organizers and helpers were tired but joyfully thanking God and one another; knowing that once more the love of God was put into action for the mutual edification of our Lord’s body.


Prayer Requests and Updates

Thanks from James and Shirley Henderson

James and Shirley thank everyone for their prayers and concerns following the attack by a Cape Buffalo on the 17th November. They have both had operations for trauma injuries and are responding well to treatment. Miraculously no vital organs were affected. Your continued prayers for a speedy recovery are appreciated.

Cards may be sent to:
Worldwide Church of God
Attention: James & Shirley Henderson
P O Box 7703
Market Harborough, LE16 7ZG
United Kingdom

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 17, 2010

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Heber Ticas, Ted Johnston, Randy Bloom, Hector Barrerro and I celebrated with several of our Spanish-speaking pastoral leaders and members in Guadalajara last weekend. Pastor Alfred Mercado and the Guadalajara congregation hosted the event. We enjoyed singing the hymns in Spanish and giving presentations over the three days on Trinitarian theology, church updates and other topics. The fellowship was heartwarming, and it was a treat to spend time with people we had not seen in ten years.

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Tegucigalpa, Honduras

Pastor Joel Aleman reported that on October 16, our congregation in Tegucigalpa had 16 baptisms in the city’s Piliguín ecological park. The baptized adults and young people received a certificate and were officially welcomed to the church during services on October 23.

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South Africa Mission Trip

David Botha and Joel Clevenger, leaders of Grace Missions, reported on Grace Mission’s recent trip to South Africa:

On October 23, the Grace Missions team from the Akron/Canton and Cleveland, Ohio, churches and one participant from the Loudon, New Hampshire, church returned from a successful mission trip to South Africa. We toured Johannesburg and Soweto on our first day. We ate lunch at a shabeen in Soweto right across the street from Nelson Mandela’s childhood home. A very moving afternoon was spent at the Apartheid Museum.

Our next stop was at the GCI “tent church” located in Moruleng. The chief of the village has given this congregation a piece of land to build a church building. We helped by installing a septic system and laying the foundation for the bathroom. A wonderful time was spent encouraging our brothers and sisters there—helping them see that they are not alone (their story was told at the International Conference in Orlando).

We spent one eventful day at the Pilansberg Game Park. We saw God’s creation in a magnificent way. Then we were pulled over at gunpoint and our entire vehicle searched because the local military thought we might be poachers. A few tense moments turned into a wonderful experience ministering to the men. One was even from the village of Moruleng, and we were able to connect him with one of the ministry leaders there. God does work in wonderful ways.

The Grace Communion International church in the northeastern South African region of Venda is located in Maelula, a village of about 6,000 people. The congregation was given some land by the chief to build its own building for worship. Our mission team from the U.S. joined with many young men from the village, spending time each day working on the part of the structure that would support the roof.

One of the highlights of each day was when we would break for lunch at the jobsite. After eating, we would all spend about an hour in devotional and prayer time before going back to work. We prayed in different languages but we prayed to the same God. On the final day of work, our break was a little longer. We took a short walk to a small stream and four young adults from Maelula (Naomi, Khathu, Mpho, Emmanuel) were baptized while the rest of the people sang praises to God.

Another highlight of each day was the evening meal. There was always lots of food and fellowship with many local members. This almost always included traditional African praise songs, which everyone there knows and can sing well. The food was normally South African style, but on the last night some of the team prepared some American style chili, which was a big hit.

We got a lot done on the church structure, but the building of relationships was much greater. It truly is “good and pleasant when brethren live together in unity,” as it says in Psalm 133. We hope the church building will last for many years, but we know that the friendships built, and the experiences we had there, will stay with us forever.

Get more information about doing short-term missions at www.gracemissions.com


Canada

From Gary Moore:

Wendy, Kylie and I had a wonderful time visiting the Ottawa area last weekend for the anniversary celebration. The congregation there was celebrating the 45th anniversary of its founding. We were also celebrating Bill and Linda Rabey’s 40th wedding anniversary, and Bill’s 40 years in ordained ministry – so it was quite a celebration!

People came from Montreal, Cornwall and Smith’s Falls, as well as the Ottawa area. There was a packed auditorium, with 160 in attendance. Bill’s brother Bob came, and we all enjoyed his funny and warm stories about growing up with Bill. The potluck meal was great, and then we enjoyed some entertainment to wrap up a full and enjoyable day. Bill and Linda have served with great dedication and compassion and are clearly much loved by the members there.

Several photos from the weekend follow. The first illustrates the blessing of a multi-generational congregation, in a culture where the generations rarely interact. The second picture shows one of three cakes presented that day (they were eaten very quickly!), the third picture is the happy couple cutting their anniversary cake, and the last is of two content, well-fed ministers at the end of a great day.

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Next week I’ll be in Toronto for the annual EFC conference and meeting. I will be visiting the Ste. Catharines/Hamilton/Kitchener congregations on the weekend. After that, the focus will be on putting the national budget together, and other year-end work at the office.


Exclusive pastors screening of of Narnia film

Below is a link for an advanced pastoral screening of the new Chronicles of Narnia film, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.

http://www.narniafaith.com/teach/narnia-pastor-sneak-peeks/


Prayer Requests and Updates

Cheyenne, Wyoming, elder Cliff Snyder is recovering well after a massive heart attack and emergency bypass surgery last week. He will still need another bypass surgery for three other blocked arteries.

Cliff’s wife, Mary, said that he would welcome calls. Their phone number is 970-881-2458.

Cards may be sent to:
5741 CR 68C
Red Feather Lakes, CO 80545-9507


Dennis Lawrence wrote:

My treatment advanced yesterday as the team at the Royal Victoria Hospital was able to collect my stem cells. It didn’t look promising even on Wednesday that it would happen this week, but the number of stem cells in my blood jumped dramatically in those two days, and it went well yesterday—beyond their greatest hopes. They needed to collect 6 million stem cells, and got 17 million in the volume collected—apparently a record in their experience. (It’s one of those in which I really can’t claim any credit—it’s just what the body did).

I have a couple of tests to get in the next couple of weeks—don’t have the schedule for those yet. But in about two weeks I should be going into the hospital for the 3-4 week stay that begins with six days of very intensive chemotherapy followed by a day of recovery. Then, I’m given back my stem cells and am in recovery, under watchful eyes there for the following 2-3 weeks. I feel fine today—am planning to give the sermon—a full sermon—in church this afternoon!

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


Charles Fleming sent a note mentioning that the hurricane caused some of our planned activities to be canceled in Grenada as it also passed by Haiti, St. Lucia, Barbados, and St. Vincent. Paul Creese in St. Vincent sent the link below. The site shows dramatic pictures of the damage in St. Lucia. Rudy Mills reports that all our members are safe, although many experienced some form of minor damage. So far, Rudy only knows of one member who may have lost a portion of his roof. The island has taken a beating with sections only accessible by boat. Agriculture was badly damaged and so food costs will be up for several months.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/55373451@N06/show/

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 11, 2010

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Pastor Joseph Franklin of Haiti sends his deepest thanks to all who are praying for Haiti in the wake of Hurricane Tomas. He reported that our members were not hurt and remain safe, but much damage was done and cholera has become epidemic in some areas.

Please continue to remember in prayer the people of Haiti, who still suffer from the devastation of the earthquake while also having to cope with the annual destruction and misery of hurricane season.


Africa

African Missions Director Kalengule Kaoma reported four baptisms last month in Kolwezi.


Colombia

From Larry Hinkle:

This year’s annual Colombian Leadership Conference was a great success with more than 100 in attendance. The conference was held over a three-day weekend in a tranquil resort area outside of Bogota, Colombia. The theme was “An Experience with God.” Sub-themes presented by pastors Hector and Paulina Barrero, David Mosquera, Sonia Orozco and Larry Hinkle included dealing with suffering, being transformed by God’s unconditional love, and experiencing the blessings of the grace of God. Each day’s sub-theme was also presented in special sessions for children and for teens.

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A highlight of the conference was a worshipful footwashing service in which the teens and children also participated. A meditative communion service was presented each day, and everyone delighted in witnessing the baptisms of Claudia and Miguel Vega and Andrés Castaño.

Praise and worship music was provided in part by teens from Barranquilla, Colombia. Activities included swimming, soccer, hiking, horseback riding and table games.

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Israel Tour

From Shirley Henderson

Seventy excited people enjoyed the trip of a lifetime touring the country of Israel October 6-18. Members from Canada and the USA joined the main group from the UK at Heathrow Airport and everyone traveled together to Tel Aviv via El Al Airlines. The jumbo jet was a microcosm of the variety of people that we were to encounter in Israel and was a good introduction for what was to come. The Seven Arches Hotel, where we spent the first four nights, sits atop the Mount of Olives with the most spectacular views of the city of Jerusalem.

It was amazing to wake up each day and think, “I am on the Mount of Olives!” Our days were packed with visits to as many of the historical sites as we could possibly manage, including the Garden of Gethsemane, Hezekiah’s tunnel, the Qumran site, the Garden Tomb, the Western (wailing) Wall, the City of David, the Temple Mount, Bethlehem, Masada, the Dead Sea, the Holocaust Museum, to name but a few.

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Standing on top of the famed last stand of Jewish resistance to the Romans on top of Masada and floating totally unaided in the Dead Sea were surreal experiences, but to be standing where Jesus stood and walked, and the places where he was most likely interrogated, crucified and buried was a deeply moving and powerfully emotional experience.

A beautiful communion service was held at the Garden Tomb just before dusk. From our base in Jerusalem we moved on to the greener climes in the city of Tiberias on the Sea of Galilee. We stopped off at Jericho and Bet She’an. Our time in Tiberias included a trip on a replica boat of the kind used at the time of Jesus. A lively worship service was held on the boat and I’m sure we all, as we listened, were envisioning Jesus walking on the water or preaching to crowds from the boat. It was such a still, beautiful, sunny day that it was hard to imagine the storm that Jesus calmed.

A service was also held at the Mount of Beatitudes. Imagining the experiences and miracles of Jesus at places like Capernaum, Cana, and the Jordan River were just some of the special moments we shared. The Golan Heights ensured an amazing view of the surrounding countries and the road to Damascus, and brought greater awareness of the very vulnerable and fragile peace that exists in that part of the world. Further outings took us to Nazareth and Megiddo (the ruins of 25 layers of different civilizations over thousands of years) and a spectacular view of the valley of Jezreel, the site of Armageddon. The Bible came alive as scriptural names and reference points were everywhere and had many of us scurrying back to our Bibles to remind ourselves of the details.

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Trying to sum up the highlights of this journey in a few words is impossible because we went to so many places and saw and experienced things from the past and the present that do and will impact the future.

Photo captions: 1 – view from Seven Arches Hotel, 2 – going through Hezekiah’s tunnel, 3 – view from Masada of Dead Sea, 4 – The River Jordan, 5 – Service held on the replica boat on Sea of Galilee, 6 – Some of the tour group at the River Jordan


CAD

Dr. Dan Rogers has recorded a study of the first 15 chapters of the book of Acts. It is presented in 32 short videos that are now posted on our “It Looks Like This” website at http://gci-usa.blogspot.com/p/church-multiplication-study-in-book-of.html. These video studies make helpful “discussion starters” for small groups, discipleship classes and Bible studies. They are also useful for personal study.

Note: Videos posted on “It Looks Like This” may be downloaded by double clicking on the “YouTube” icon on the video. This will take you to the page on YouTube where that video is imbedded. Copy the webpage address (URL) for this YouTube page, and insert that in the YouTube Downloader, a free program available at http://youtubedownload.altervista.org/. Follow the YouTubeDownloader instructions and the video will be downloaded to your computer. From there (if you have the right software) you can burn the downloaded video to a CD or DVD, or show it directly from your computer using a projector or by viewing it on your computer screen.


Anchorage, Alaska

Anchorage pastor Don Marson reported that after the website training by Robert Meade and Pam Morgan at the Orlando conference, and with some additional help from Bret Miller, Grace and Truth Community Church launched its new website (http://gtccanchorage.gcichurches.org) on September 13. By the end of October they had received more than 900 hits.


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 3, 2010

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Pastor Glen Weber writes:

In September New Hope Christian Fellowship in Eagle Rock, CA honored Ron and Norva Kelly on their 50th wedding anniversary with roses and a cake. The Kellys had been away on a trip during their actual anniversary – August 28. Ron is an elder at New Hope and also coordinates the weekly church service we hold at Fair Oaks By Regency Park Retirement Center in Pasadena.

Ron also serves on the denomination’s Advisory Council of Elders and on the Board of Directors of Grace Communion Seminary.


European Ministerial Conference in UK

Pastors, elders, and pastoral teams from Europe and predominantly the UK gathered for the weekend at Whipsnade Zoo near Luton Airport. Speakers included Dr. Alan Torrance from St. Andrews, Dr. Joseph Tkach and Dr. Michael Feazell. There were just over 100 in attendance and we concluded with a communion service led by James Henderson.

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Update from Africa

Kalegule Kaoma writes:Pastors Paul Mvita and Benoit Mpinda Ndayi of our church in Kinshasa, Congo, visited Katanga Province July 23 – August 4. They arrived in Lubumbashi on Friday July 23, where they encouraged and spiritually strengthened the members on Saturday and Sunday. They also did baptismal counselling, which resulted in three baptisms on Monday. On July 27, they travelled to Kawama, a township outside Lubumbashi. There, eight people were baptized. The following day, they were on the bus for five hours to Kolwezi, a copper mining town in Katanga Province. Four baptisms were conducted in Kolwezi, bringing the total to 15 baptisms. The report’s conclusion ended with these words: “We have not visited our congregations in Katanga since 2003. Our members, young and old were very happy to see us. Some members who left our denomination have come back to our fellowship. We are happy and thankful to God for what He is doing in our church.” This Ecclesiastical Council (EC) visit to Katanga Province was made possible by generous donations and support from members in GCI Canada congregations.

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Update from Canada

Gary Moore writes, I had an enjoyable trip to Quebec this past weekend. Roger and Sylvie Labelle picked me up at my brother’s home on Saturday morning, and we drove to Quebec City. I was able to show pictures and a DVD updating the congregation there about our international missions work, and followed up with a sermon looking at Romans 5:1-11 and the implications of our salvation by faith. The key concepts of Trinitarian theology emerge easily from the text, and I hope the members found it as edifying to hear as I did to prepare it. We enjoyed a potluck lunch following services.

Sunday morning we drove to Trois Rivieres (Three Rivers), where we met with the congregation there. We did the same presentations, and then had a wonderful lunch with the members. Bison Stew was the centre piece of the meal, and it was absolutely wonderful. Ah, but our French members can cook!

Both congregations were very warm and welcoming – it was a pleasure to visit both of them. Below are two pictures, one of the Quebec City church, and the second of Charles Meyer (left) and Denis Cayer (right). Charles has been serving as an elder in our Quebec churches for many years, and has a tremendous love and loyalty to Jesus Christ and his people. Denis serves as an elder in the Trois Rivieres church, helping out as well in Quebec City, and does so with great joy and enthusiasm. We much appreciate these men, who with the great support of their wives Irene Meyer and Therese Cayer, provide service to these churches, under Roger’s able leadership.

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SEP Rockies

SEP Rockies camp director Sarah Miles writes, SEP Rockies, held this summer (July 25 thru August 1) near Denver, CO was pure joy. We had 63 campers and 52 staffers, beautiful weather and one of the most transformational camp sessions we’ve ever experienced. Here are some highlights:

  • Outreach. 40 baby blankets designed, built and signed by the campers were donated to our Crossing Borders mission camp to give to new mothers in Mexico.
  • Solo Time. We introduced new ways to help campers participate in private devotional time. Each camper dorm was given a “solo time bucket” with devotional books, scripture cards, and recordings of worship music and teen Bible studies. These resources gave campers creative ways to seek God’s voice in their lives.
  • Guys\Girls Day: We had a day devoted to gender-separated activities. The guys had a traditional 1960s backyard cookout, with male staffers leading discussion sessions that continued far into the night. The Spirit broke down walls, softened hearts and convicted attitudes. The girls had a time of worship, then dressed up and entered into a discussion of the concept of true beauty and how it has been distorted. This was followed by a candlelight hors d’oeuvres reception ending with a rose ceremony (kind of like you’d see on the Bachelor…but everyone got a rose). With the presentation of a rose came a definition of each girl’s personality…Kayla the beautiful, Holly the Compassionate…each girl got a description of what the staff observed in the personality God has given her to bless the world.
  • Worship Night: It started with upbeat music and then became more introspective and mellow. There were a couple of skits, and one of the pastors led a prayer of acceptance, awareness and invitation for the Spirit’s presence and activity in the campers’ and staffers’ hearts. It was a powerful moment. What a joy it was to see hearts melt and pulse with joy as they sensed the very reason they were created by a loving God.
  • Chapel: Male and female chapel presenters took the campers through big chunks of Scripture to help them understand more about the overall message of the Bible and how that speaks to their everyday lives. Chapel was a highpoint!
  • International staff: We were privileged to have with us this year Tim Maguire, who directs the GCI camp in South Africa. Tim shared what he is doing to develop older campers to become staff members. As a result 27 of our campers signed up to receive information about becoming a camp staffer.

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Prayer Requests and Updates

Update for Lorenzo Arroyo

After two months on hormone therapy and right before radiation, my PSA levels have gone down from 38 to 1.9. As a result, my radiation doctor says the cancer cells are “asleep” and therefore making the radiation treatment that much more effective. My lymph nodes did not shrink as a result of the hormone therapy, which leads her to believe that the cancer has not spread. Previously my urologist told me that the suspect lymph nodes should shrivel up as a result of the hormone injections if they are cancerous. He had wanted to surgically remove them, but it now seems that that won’t be necessary. Thank God for the Spirit’s guidance. I am encouraged by the good news, although I still have a long way to go.

Cards may be sent to:
4035 Mount Day Ct.
Antioch, CA 94531


Update for our church in Benin

AP. Residents board canoes in flooded streets in Catonou.

Hundreds of thousands of people are being affected by the worst flood in Benin since 1963. Over 100,000 are homeless, and health officials are concerned that epidemics such as cholera may break out. Our Benin ministry leader, Arthur Adjibodou, wrote:

“Thank you much for your great concern and your prayers for us at this time of hardships. What are the causes of the flooding? Benin has two rainy seasons. The longer one lasts from March to June. The shorter season lasts from August to October. But the weather changed this year. The rain has not stopped since March, until now. The rain made our largest river to rise in level and overflow. Thus 55 out of 70 administrative areas are flooded, causing over 700,000 victims. 72 people have died so far. Some villages have disappeared. No more crops, no more tarred roads. Even in Cotonou [industrial and commercial city of Benin], people are using canoes because roads are flooded. A little boy went to the traditional toilet [pit latrine] and the toilet collapsed and he died. Fortunately our members are not affected. The main problem is that food is so difficult to find, and food items are very expensive. Prices have gone up three and even four times more than usual. Government assistance is directed only towards the direct victims, but no one is doing anything about the people who suffer indirectly because of food shortages. We thank God for his protection and his love. Greetings to our sisters and brothers.”


Santiago Lange writes:

Alfred Hellemann, a long-time German elder currently attending the Hannover congregation, suffered a heart attack on Tuesday. Fortunately, his heart tissue suffered no permanent damage. He is still in the hospital, and improving steadily. I am sure that Alfred, his wife Margarete and the rest of the family would much appreciate your prayers.

Cards may be sent to:
Lendorfstr. 10
Wennigsen
D 30974
GERMANY

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


October 27, 2010

Jeannine Putain of the Lyon, France, church was ordained as an elder.

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Tammy and I send you warm greetings from 250 of our brothers and sisters meeting in Evian, France, for their annual festival. We were able to spend some very enjoyable time with them before going on to the UK for the board of trustees meeting and the European ministerial conference. I attempted to sing hymns in French with them, and I know God was pleased my joyful noise even though my French was unintelligible.

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GCI Media Personnel Changes

From Mike Feazell:

We are pleased to announce that Michael Morrison, who has served as Media Director for the past several years, is moving half-time to Grace Communion Seminary to serve as Dean of Faculty. Mike, who earned his PhD in New Testament from Fuller Theological Seminary, has been an integral part of GCS from its inception, serving as a faculty member and assisting GCS President Russell Duke with key administrative duties. Mike will continue to serve GCI Media half-time as senior editor, writer, website literature content manager, alternate host for You’re Included, and numerous other duties. In my view, Mike has been doing the equivalent of three jobs for years, not counting his outstanding work as an elder at NewLife Fellowship in Pasadena. Although he will be half-time with GCI Media, he will continue to play a major role on the media team.

To fill the void created by Mike’s half-time move to GCS, Video Content Producer Nathan Smith will step into the new role of Media Production Supervisor. Nathan earned his degree in cinema arts and production at Azusa Pacific University and produced four award-winning video productions before joining our media department in 2007. I am confident that his high-quality work in video planning and production, combined with his broad range of skills and experience in media in general, prepare him well for these additional responsibilities in facilitating and coordinating the production of all our denominational media efforts with innovation and creativity during this time of budgetary constraint.

And last, but not least, media stalwart John Halford, editor of Christian Odyssey, will be retiring. However, I’m very thankful and greatly relieved to say that John will be rehired at half-time and will continue to edit our redesigned Christian Odyssey magazine, and will continue to offer editorial guidance to our overseas national publications as his time permits. John has been and will continue to be an anchor of stability and a fount of creativity for GCI, and I count it one of my great blessings in the church to have been able to work alongside him for so many years. I count on doing that for many more.

Congratulations to Mike, Nathan and John in their continued service to Jesus Christ!


Mark Schnee provides the German voiceover for Speaking of Life

Germany

Santiago Lange announced the launching of Apropos Leben (the dubbed German version of Speaking of Life) on our German website. You can view them at http://www.wcg.org/de/ and http://www.wcg.org/de/video. Santiago wrote, “I would like to thank everyone who was involved in the realization of this project. My special thanks to Mark Schnee, Wolfgang Happes, Robert Meade, Bret Miller, Tony Murphy and Nathan Smith. We pray that this step forward will help spread the good news in the German speaking areas.”


Pastoral Internships

From Greg Williams:

We are continuing our search for qualified pastoral internship candidates in the U.S. Pastoral internships are part-time paid or volunteer positions and last 12-24 months. Though paid pastoral internships are limited, volunteer internships are readily available for qualified candidates, including college and seminary students needing an internship for class credit.

For more information visit http://www.wcg.org/MinDev/internships.htm or contact Greg Williams at greg.williams@gci.org


Prayer Requests and Updates

Edith Rostant

Funeral services for Edith Rostant, mother of Pearl Charles, wife of Trinidad and Tobago pastor Clifton Charles, will be held Friday, October 29, at 2.00 p.m. in her home town of San Fernando at the church she attended. Pearl wrote, “I just want to thank all our brothers and sisters for the prayers offered up on our behalf. God’s love has been revealed to us in profound ways through this journey, and I don’t believe we will ever be the same again.

Cards can be sent to:
The Charles Family
10 Robert Street
Arima, Trinidad and Tobago


From Edna Barr.

As we were celebrating the good news of Al’s cancer being in remission, we noticed he was getting weaker and weaker on the last round of chemo. From his scheduled appointment on Oct. 25, he had to go to the ER, and was admitted because of general weakness and shortness of breath. And he has lost a lot of weight. He has gone from 190 pounds in July to 140 pounds now. I think most of that weight loss was in the last three weeks.The problem is that he developed diabetes as a result of the medication. When he entered the hospital, his sugar was at 440. We didn’t know what was wrong until the nurse came in to give him insulin. He is very sick right now, but now that we know what the problem is, things are looking up.

The physical therapist told me that he would probably have to go to rehab after he gets out of the hospital until he can climb 13 steps, unless I find a place that is on the first floor or has an elevator. So please pray for a good place for us to move at a reasonable price, as well as for Al’s healing. That’s two miracles in NYC, but our God is a God of miracles.

Love to all, and thanks for your prayers,

Edna

Cards may be sent to:
255-04 147 Road 2nd Floor
Rosedale, NY 11422


Karen Sinner

Please continue to remember in prayer Pastor Glen Weber’s sister, Karen Sinner, who will be having a biopsy of the mass on her spine next Tuesday.

Cards may be sent to:
3914 Robitaille Court
Cheyenne, WY 82001


Daniel Boesch

Italian National Director Daniel Boesch asked for prayer after a recent fainting spell and hospital stay. He wrote, “I will now have to take some time to drastically slow down my pace in order to gain back my full strength. Paola and I wanted to deeply thank all of you who have accompanied us through this very unpleasant trial with your prayers, phone calls and e-mails. It means a lot to have such a great family in times of need. Please continue to pray for a full recovery and that I won’t suffer any set-backs.”

Cards may be sent to:
Via G. Verdi 47
Almenno S. Bartolomeo (BG)
ITALY

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


October 20, 2010

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Don and Sue Lawson are proud great-grandparents of twins! Don wrote:

We haven’t sent a picture before, even though we have 13 grandchildren and now 7 greats. Numbers six and seven are “two” much “two” pass up. Our grandson Steven and wife Jamie Myers gave birth to twins on September 21. Kyle, one minute older than his sister, weighed in at 4 lb 8 oz, while younger sister Alyssa weighed in at 4 lb 9 oz. Due to early birth, about eight months, they had a short stay in the hospital, but are home and doing well. Great-grandpa was the first one to hold both of them; then it was Great Grandma’s turn.


Tammy and I enjoyed Canadian Thanksgiving services in Penticton last week. Pastor Roy Page hosted the event, and we enjoyed seeing Steve and Nicole Posiak and Todd Martin as well. About 100 attended the church service and Turkey dinner on Sunday evening. The Okanagan Valley is home to more than 200 wineries, which were having their annual wine tasting during the Thanksgiving season.

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Canadian national director Gary Moore attended a Thanksgiving celebration in Moncton, New Brunswick. He sent the following report:

Pastor Eric Vautour and his wife, Edna, along with the Moncton, New Brunswick, church, hosted a special Thanksgiving weekend celebration last Friday evening, Saturday, and Sunday. People from several Maritime congregations attended the uplifting time of fellowship. Since I pastored in the Maritimes for nearly 12 years, it is always a special time for me to visit the members in that lovely part of our country.

Mike and Sandy Baker were among those who drove up from the Halifax area. Mike (with Sandy’s great support) has served as an elder for many years, and is well known and highly respected by all our Atlantic members. They will be moving to B.C. toward the end of the year to be closer to their two children (Matt and Nathania) and their three grandsons. It will be B.C.’s gain, but Nova Scotia’s loss, but who can resist the pull of grandchildren!

Below are two pictures, one of Eric and Edna Vautour, and the other of the group eating a chicken dinner on Saturday evening. Many headed off after the Sunday afternoon service to join family for a Thanksgiving celebration that evening, or on Thanksgiving day. I was able to make an early Monday morning flight out of Moncton to join the family for our turkey dinner. As we don’t have relatives in this area, we (Wendy, Rachel, Kylie and I) invited a Korean family we know who are fairly new to Canada. Their daughter is in grade four with Kylie, so as any of you who are parents know, the parents of your children’s friends often become your friends.

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Finally, I wanted to mention that Reuben Ross, whose family are long-time members of the Regina congregation, won silver and gold medals at the Commonwealth Games. He won the gold as part of the synchronized men’s team with Alexandre Despatie of Montreal, who is one of Canada’s greatest divers. With this achievement, Reuben is rapidly becoming one of the country’s great divers as well!


East Africa

From Kalengule Kaoma:

An elderly man receives a Bible, his own copy for the first time in his life. Thanks to USA and Australian brethren for making Bible gifts possible.

I returned from East Africa recently where I had visited our affiliated congregations in Mara region, northwestern Tanzania. The trip took me to Musoma, Kiabakari, Bunda, Nansio, Kisorya, and Tarime. Believers in these towns and villages were extremely grateful to God that I had taken the time to visit, spend time with and speak to them.

A 22-seat plane landed safely on a gravel airport in Musoma September 29. Church leader and overseer, Pastor Shadrack Fabian, met me at the airport. The following day, Pastor Fabian, his assistant Saile and a translator, Freddy, left Musoma by van taxi to Kiabakari. From the main bus station, we went by motorbike taxi to the village, where we found a group of men, women, and children waiting for us. The open-air church service under mango trees attracted villagers who sat outside their huts. They watched and listened. In my message based on Mark 6:30-44, I encouraged 35 people in attendance to find fullness of life in Christ, who satisfies all our needs.

We spent the night in Bunda. The pastor of the Bunda congregation and the church members there sent their regards. At 6.30 a.m., we boarded a van taxi to Kisorya, where we were to connect to Nansio, Ukerewe district, by ferry. Ukerewe district has several islands on Lake Victoria. There are several congregations from which 85 representatives attended church service at Bulamba Village. After lunch, I held meetings with church leaders.

On October 2, we took the ferry back to Kisorya. We had two church services there; one in the morning and the other in the afternoon. Last year, the Kisorya church building, which was under construction, collapsed because of torrential rains. Since then, the Kisorya church has gratefully been meeting in an Anglican church building on Saturdays. A kiln of bricks has been fired and is now almost ready for the members to start rebuilding their worship center.

On October 3, my team and I left Kisorya at 7 a.m. After five hours of travelling, we arrived in Tarime, where I met the leaders of Grace and Truth Community International. You may recall that Millie and Joash of Grace and Truth Community International had inquired about affiliation with GCI early this year. Since then, this group changed its name to Grace Communion International. Five leaders, General Overseer Joseph Nyakwaka, Assistant General Overseer Maurice Onyango, and Millie Wandwi, Joash Adriano Odira, and Jennifer Webiro were waiting for us. This initial assessment meeting went so well that I encouraged the leaders that we will keep an open door for affiliation. They have eleven churches – five in Kenya and six in Mara region, Tanzania. They are already looking forward to my next visit.


Portugal

From Jose Ribeiro:

We had a fellowship festival meeting here in Portugal and it was a treat to spend time with international members from the USA, Switzerland, Italy, the UK, Belgium and Portugal during the weekend. There were 38 in attendance. Guest speakers included Mr. Francis Bergin and Mr. James Henderson from the UK; it was simply great! The theme was “Celebrating Grace,” and many inspiring messages were shared.

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We took the opportunity to ordain a new deacon in Portugal, Mr. Daniel Fernandes. Daniel was baptized in 1992 and has served in the church in many areas including youth activities, translations, giving messages, and organizing events. He is an energetic and outgoing person who combines service with humility.

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Prayer requests and updates:

Charles Fleming asked Haiti pastor Joseph Franklin to tell us what we could pray about. Generally speaking, Mr. Franklin said that life just gets harder. Everything seems to be on hold until the elections. The problem of kidnappings has reappeared. Specific prayer requests include:

  • Pray for the elections—set for November 28—for a government that is more effective than any Haiti has had in the past.
  • About law and order—especially for the authorities to get a handle on the kidnappings
  • Sanitation in the city—this is a growing problem
  • There has been a lot of damage caused by heavy rains and storms. The opening of our school was delayed because the storms blew down the tent being used as a school on four different occasions. The school finally opened today—October 18—with 54 kids attending. Total enrollment is 134 and so more are expected to show up over the next few days.
  • Pray for the teachers, pupils and parents.
  • Pray for God’s inspiration on the Franklins, who lead devotions with the kids. Mrs. Franklin gave the prayer this morning, asking blessings on the school year.

The Church family:

  • For protection for all members and their kids. Parents worry a lot about their kids’ safety. Andre Naval spends approximately three hours a day riding the bus to escort his kids (two in university and one finishing off high school) because he does not want them to ride the bus alone.
  • For conditions that allow services to be held each week. For example, services were cancelled yesterday because of storms.
  • Andre Naval crushed one of his fingers while closing the metal gate outside his home. He lost a nail and has not been able to do much work.
  • Mrs. Franklin’s health has not been very good over the past several months.
  • Mr Franklin has also had some health issues and has been experiencing pain.

Pastor Glen Weber of our Eagle Rock, California, congregation asked for prayer for his sister, Karen Sinner, who has a lemon-sized tumor near her tailbone that is encroaching on her spine. She is on a a 24-hour a day chemo drip for the next five and a half weeks. She is also receiving daily radiation treatments, which will continue until Thanksgiving.

Karen has been an active part of our Cheyenne, Wyoming, congregation and a staff member at SEP Rockies.

Cards may be sent to:
Karen Sinner
3914 Robitaille Court
Cheyenne, WY 82001

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


October 13, 2010

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

September and October saw several festivals and conferences around the world, including those in New Zealand, Australia, UK, Spain, Canada, Africa, the Americas, Philippines and others. In this update we have reports about the festivals in Spain and Wisconsin Dells. Also, please note the prayer requests and join us in prayer for those who are enduring ongoing serious health problems.


Canada and Africa

Gary Moore reports on continued growth in Mozambique and Malawi:

Wendy, Kylie and I had a wonderful time with the members in Edmonton last weekend. Members drove in from the Evansburg area, and several came from Westlock and the small group church in Wetaskiwin. Below are two photos, one of Peter and Trudi Heide, cutting the cake in celebration of their 63rd anniversary. The second is deacon and board member Gerry Sinkler presenting a gift to Bob Millman for pastor appreciation day.

It was great spending time with the Millmans and the Nordstroms over an excellent pizza on Saturday night.

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You may remember that we have been working on an affiliation process with about 60 congregations (55 in Mozambique and 5 in Malawi). GCI Canada helped fund a conference for their pastors in the spring, which was attended by Tim Maguire (our national leader in South Africa) and Caleb Makhela (a pastor and district pastor for GCI in South Africa). Also, with generous donations from the Abbotsford, British Columbia, and London, Ontario, congregations, we were able to purchase several Bibles for each of the congregations in either Portuguese or the local dialect.

I passed on to you the very sad news that Domingos, their leader, died suddenly this summer. He had contracted malaria earlier in the year, and apparently a bout of it returned and took his life. Recently, Tim and Caleb were able to make another trip to Mozambique to meet with the board Domingos had set up, and the interim leader the board appointed to give guidance to their congregations. The trip went very well, and Tim and Caleb have reported they are even more strongly desirous of being part of GCI. We will look forward to building this relationship over the coming years and have the joy of seeing our church family grow in a country (Mozambique) where we didn’t have a presence before.

Finally, I wanted to ask your prayers for Shirley Burrows. I was speaking with Perc Burrows on Monday, and he mentioned that she is suffering from a skin irritation. The doctors and nutritionists don’t seem able to identify the cause, or offer effective treatment. It is making it very hard for Shirley to sleep, and she feels weak and drained. The Burrows are long-time members in the Toronto area. They have a great heart for service, and love for their church family. Your prayers for Shirley would be greatly appreciated.


Spain

From Pedro Rufian:

Thanks to God’s love and care, more than 100 retreat attendees in Majorca, Spain, enjoyed an uplifting and spiritually profitable retreat at Barcelo Ponent Playa Hotel at Cala Ferrera (a cala is a small beach between rocky cliffs).

Once again the Spanish festival was a clear expression and flavor of our worldwide family. We had guests from the Azores Islands, Germany, Ireland, Portugal, Netherlands, United Kingdom and USA. For a good number of Spanish members, most of whom are scattered all over the country, the spiritual retreat is a unique chance to strengthen the fraternal bonds of unity and friendship, not only with other members from Spain but also with their fellow GCI family from around the world.

God blessed us with a different speaker each day, including Santiago Lange, GCI European mission co-director. The worship and praise was inclusive, with a mix of different worship musical styles.

As an outreach activity, the festival talent show and the family dance were open to all hotel guests. As a result, we had some regular hotel guests at services every day. At our meeting hall entrance we displayed a large poster inviting anyone interested to services and activities.

Other activities included a group excursion to La Granja, a beautiful 10th-century mansion surrounded by lush vegetation, beautiful gardens and natural fountains. It was of great interest to the Moors, who dominated the island from the 10th century until the 13th century. With the Christian conquest of 1229 it was handed over to the Cistercian monks, who held it for 200 years, until it became private property. Today it is a museum, a living display of Majorcan customs through the ages. From there we visited Valldemosa village, where the great Polish composer Fredric Chopin lived and composed some of his pieces while he was trying to recuperate from tuberculosis. We also held a moving service of praise, prayer, worship, personal testimonies and thanksgiving, during which many members gave personal testimonies about what God is doing in our congregations in the different nations represented.

Many members commented to me this was the best festival site we had ever enjoyed in Spain. The hotel manager was very happy with our group and as result I made our group reservation for next year’s festival at the same excellent rates we enjoyed this year.

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In 2011 the spiritual retreat in Majorca will be held September 30 through October 8. The Spanish members, my family and myself extend a warm invitation to our worldwide family to join us. For more information contact Pedro Rufian at: iduespana@yahoo.es


Summer 2011 mission trips

Bahamas

A mission trip to the Bahamas is planned for July 15–30, 2011. We will be helping the local GCI congregation to run a two-week day camp for Bahamian and Haitian children. Many of the Haitians have left their country hoping to better their lives. They now live illegally in shanty towns on the outskirts of Nassau. To read more about this mission trip go to http://gctrips.org/BAHAMASTRIP.aspx The application deadline is November 5, 2010.

Zambia

A mission trip to Zambia (in Africa) is planned for August 4 – 16, 2011. We will be running a Vacation Bible School with the local GCI congregation and visiting an orphanage in Lusaka, Zambia. For more details about this trip go to http://gctrips.org/ZAMBIA.aspx The application deadline for this trip is November 5, 2010.


Wisconsin Dells

From Doug Johannsen:

The 2010 weekend celebration at the Dells went extremely well. Due to the poor economy, we were anticipating a decrease in attendance, so you can imagine how we felt when the numbers showed a 23 percent increase instead!

A trend we’ve been noticing for several years is a gradual increase in the number of younger people and young families attending. It is our hope to continue to adapt to this shift. In the middle of the event we received several complaints from attendees that the event calendar had been removed from the gci.org site – they had been using that instead of the paper brochure to find out when worship services and breakout sessions were to begin. We notified HQ and it was quickly restored with an updated schedule. This change in how people look for information on site was also evident by the fact that we had an unusually high number of brochures left over after the event. Instead of carrying around a paper brochure, younger people will go to the electronic wireless media that they carry with them wherever they are. So for anyone out there who is planning a similar event, the “brochure of choice” for this generation needs to be on your website.

Mike Feazell and Nathan Smith were at the Dells this year and did quite a few video interviews that will be appearing on various gci.org programs in the next few months.

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The 2011 Dells celebration is scheduled for September 29, 30, October 1, 2 at the Kalahari. The same room rates as this year apply, and reservations may already be made. We are nearly finished negotiating a contract with the Kalahari for 2012.


Prayer Updates and Requests

Al and Edna Barr

Edna Barr sent this update about Al’s and her health:

Al is officially in remission. His biggest problem right now is painful cramping in his legs. It is sometimes hard to find something to stop that pain. There is also a general tiredness that comes from taking the chemo. Although the doctor said he is in remission, she wants him to continue on one of the cancer medications for a while. This is the one he takes orally at home. He doesn’t have to go back to the oncologist’s office until Oct. 25.

Thanks to all of those who have been praying for Al and me. We love you all. I recently went through a health scare with vomiting, pain, and blood in the urine. I had to leave church to go to the ER, where they put me on pain medication and antibiotics. They gave me two CT scans that were ominous but inconclusive. It appeared that I had a mass on my kidney, and a spot on my pancreas, but the ER doctor said I should get an MRI after the infection and bleeding cleared up. Meanwhile, my primary doctor told me to get an appointment with an oncologist and a general surgeon. God intervened, and I am well with normal MRI now. The MRI reader even concluded his report with “follow-up in one year.” That is particularly comforting because my insurance expires in October, and I have a year between that and Medicare. Although I will look for some kind of coverage, that certainly takes some of the pressure off. I feel fine.

Cards may be sent to:
255-04 147 Rd. 2nd floor
Rosedale, NY 11422


Lorenzo Arroyo

Lorenzo sent this update about his prostate cancer:

Yesterday, I saw my radiation oncologist. Also, I had two CT scans, an IV contrast pumped into me, and three tattoos. Supposedly, I am all set up for my radiation therapy (not chemo). All this is to pinpoint with accuracy the radiation beam that destroys the cancer (and everything else). But my prostate gland (and surrounding lymph nodes) should be able to repair themselves, while the cancer cells are to slow to heal quickly enough and therefore die off.

They do 3D imaging as they radiate. They take a mini CT scan prior to discharging the beam and layer it on top of the ones they took yesterday to make sure they are on target. Further, they say that the first two weeks are no problem, but afterwards the bladder becomes irritated from all the radiation next door. Undoubtedly, I’ll go through some discomfort.

I asked my doctor how much time I have to live with such a high Gleason score? The answer was, “We will do our best to get all the cancer, continue with the hormone therapy for a couple of years, and monitor your PSA levels.” I suspect that doctors are a lot like the weather man – hit and miss, so it is best not to predict anything at all! I just say, “Thank You Jesus!” Ultimately, it is all in his hands – in this world and the next.

I asked when can I expect a schedule and get started. They say probably the 18th, but don’t call us, we’ll call you. The doctor has to compare and calculate all the imaging and who knows what. A guy could die from all the waiting! In any case, I appreciate all your prayers and God’s favor. I’ll keep you posted.

Cards may be sent to:
4035 Mount Day Ct.
Antioch, CA 94531


Dennis Lawrence

Dennis wrote:

My chemo for next week has been rescheduled to begin on the 14th and will run through that weekend. Over the weekend, I’ll be admitted to the Lakeshore Hospital, our closer one. Following that, I’ll be giving myself a daily injection to promote the development of stem cells and their movement into the blood stream.

On the 25th, I’ll report to the Royal Victoria Hospital at 7.30 a.m. (that will be a challenge) for a blood test to see if the stem cells have peaked. If they have, they will be harvested that day in a virtually painless 6-hour procedure. If it doesn’t happen on the 25th, we’ll repeat the trip on the 26th and 27th. Three weeks after harvesting, I’ll be admitted to the Royal Victoria and will be there for at least 3 weeks. Then I’ll move into recovery. If all goes well, the doctor said that I could be back to 85 percent in three months. That’s not too bad and definitely a quicker recovery than with a full bone marrow transplant.

So, I have a “free” 10 days ahead and am trying to think of what I want to get done and whom I might want to visit. Then it looks like I’ll have a decent week or two between the next chemo and being admitted to hospital. I’ll try to take advantage of my energy without taxing it too much.

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


Dave Fiedler

Dave sent this update on his eye surgery:

I’m most grateful for all the love, concern and prayers so many have expressed for me. My fourth eye surgery for the detached retina in my left eye was about six weeks ago. I waited until the checkup a couple days ago before updating you this time. The doctor says the retina is healing and holding in place for the time being. My next appointment is in a month. If things are still holding in place, then he will schedule me for having the oil removed from the eye and inserting an artificial lens. I still have some distortion in my vision, but the doctor says it is too early to address it. We will deal with needed vision correction once we are sure the eye is stable.

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

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


October 6, 2010

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Tammy and I just arrived home from the Gold Coast, Australia, where we met with 350 of our brothers and sisters in Christ. The weather was perfect, the fellowship even better. Not only was the music and worship renewing and inspirational, but I was delighted to participate in the blessing of 12 children, 9 of which were infants. Nearly everyone wanted me to pass greetings on to our families in fellowship around the world.

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Northwest Connections in Washington

Northwest Connections Family Camp was a success. We praise God for answering prayers and contradicting the weather predictions by blessing us with lots of sun!!! Fellowship and fun were the goals of the weekend as we connected with God and each other. The participants ranged in age from an infant to over 70 years old. They enjoyed a relaxing and laid back five days and four nights of camping.

Camp was held at the same state park as last year, but in a larger group site that was absolutely perfect. The group site was tucked away from most of the other camp sites so the impact of a full state park by Saturday night was barely felt. The kids had a giant field to play in and horses to admire on the other side of the fence.

The participants consisted of 19 overnight campers and 4 day participants representing 7 families with 11 children and 12 adults.

The days were unscheduled, with the exception of devotional time at 10 a.m. The families took great pleasure in a game of softball, created great artistic works at the arts and crafts station, played hours of capture the flag, and enjoyed many games of Uno. S’mores around the campfire at night and star gazing were highlights for all.

One family that attended camp has officially joined one of our congregations!

Shana Curd
Northwest Connections Director


BASE Camp in Tennessee

Our first official BASE Camp took place June 17-20 at the Nathan Bedford Forrest State Park. We had 8 mini campers, 19 junior campers, 21 teens/campers, and 25 staff. Campers were divided into 5 “crews” for the duration of camp. We started camp off with each crew making a pirate flag since the theme of camp was High Seas Expedition. The next two days were broken into 2 to 2 1/2 hour blocks that started with all camp Worship, followed by games, crafts, and Bible lesson/Christian Living for the crews to rotate through.

Other day-time activities included cooking class for the older campers, and building and painting bird houses with some of the grandfathers at camp. Friday night was highlighted with an all-camp game that we call Night Fury, which is a variation of flashlight tag mixed with an obstacle course. This was our first time incorporating this into camp and it was a HUGE hit.

Saturday evening began with our homemade slip-n-slide competition on the activity field. The night was finished with a dance, complete with a game of musical body parts. Camp concluded Sunday morning with a worship service, slide show, and meal for all the parents, staff, and campers to enjoy before departing. We are thankful we could take a few days out of the real world to experience the love and peace of our amazing Father.

Check us out at www.basecamptn.org

Wayne Wendt
Director of BASE Camp


Update from Canada

Wendy, Kylie and I visited the Battleford, Saskatchewan, congregation this past weekend. We enjoyed a meal and fellowship with Bill and Averil Hall on Saturday night. On Sunday about 50 members assembled for the worship service and a wonderful potluck meal that followed. One couple came from Tisdale (about a 4 hour drive), with others joining the Battleford members from the Saskatoon, and Maidstone (formerly Lloydminister) congregations. It was encouraging to meet several people from the Battleford area who have only recently begun attending. There is a positive atmosphere in the congregation, and that is proving attractive to new people.

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We are off tomorrow to Edmonton for a weekend event that Bob Millman has planned. As always, it will be enjoyable to visit in an area where I once pastored. Included are two photos from our weekend in Battleford: one of the church group at worship, the other of Bill and Averil Hall.

Warm regards to all, Gary and Wendy


Prayer Requests and Updates

Joanne Barrie
We grieve with pastor Lloyd Barrie over the loss of wife Joanne. Lloyd wrote:

My wife, Joanne, passed away peacefully Friday, October 1. She was surrounded by her family and the on-call hospice nurse. “Amazing Grace My Chains Are Gone” was playing in the background as she smiled and left to be with Jesus. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers over the past weeks and months! Her life, including the last nine months, has been an incredible journey.

Lloyd Barrie

Cards may be sent to:
768 North Main Street
Kalispell, MT 59901


Judith Omasta

Judith Omasta, wife of Larry Omasta, experienced pain in the lower abdomen and started hemorrhaging. At Huntington Hospital, they did an ultrasound and blood work. The blood work came back negative. The ultrasound did not show any masses or tumors, but did show a thickening of the endometrial lining of the uterus. The pain and hemorrhaging have both subsided. Judith was able to see her primary care physician on Monday and the doctor encouraged her by saying that she didn’t think Judith’s problem was severe, but they will probably take a biopsy of her endometrial lining.

God has dramatically intervened, and we are grateful.

Love,
Larry & Judith

Cards may be sent to:
1612 N Roosevelt Ave.
Pasadena, CA 91104

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