October 2, 2009

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

We apologize for the delay in this week’s update. Yesterday while we were testing it, we found that it was being flagged as spam by Sane Security’s spam filters, which are widely used on the internet. To prevent it from being flagged as spam for many of you, we reported the problem to Sane Security and they have now fixed the filters. Unfortunately, all that took some time.

Randy Bloom
Dr. Randy Bloom

Congratulations to Randy Bloom, who has now graduated from Trinity College with his Doctor of Ministry degree!


Pastors will be soon be receiving in the mail a new DVD video update featuring our Mission Directors from around the world. Please play the video for your congregations as schedules permit.


New Video Recordings Online

Church Multiplication Ministries (CMM) has posted several video recordings related to church multiplication on the CMM website. These recordings include:

  • “Church Multiplication in GCI” (Randy Bloom, GCI Church Multiplication Ministries director, describes our GCI-USA vision for church multiplication and GCI-USA resources for starting new churches).
  • “You Might be a Church Planter If …” (Interview with Greg Pugh, district director of church multiplication for the Evangelical Free Church of America and guest speaker at the Denver Regional Conference).
  • “The Trinitarian Basis for Church Planting” (Presentation at the Dallas Regional Conference by Randy Bloom, Church Multiplication Ministries director).
  • “The Importance of Church Planting for GCI” (Dallas Regional Conference guest speaker Rod Koop, National Director of Church Multiplication of the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel).
  • “How Churches Can Participate in Church Multiplication” (Dallas conference presentation by Randy Bloom). “Church Planting Questions and Answers” (Randy Bloom and Rod Koop answer questions at the Dallas Regional Conference).

These video recordings may be viewed by visiting the CMM website at cmm.wcg.org.


GCI-USA Church Administration and Development is pleased to announce the launch of Trinitarian Worship—a blog for discussing how Trinitarian Theology undergirds and shapes the worship ministries of the church. This blog will be of particular interest to worship directors and leaders, pastors, musicians, technicians—all who are involved in planning and facilitating the worship of the church. We invite you to join the discussion at http://trinitarianworship.blogspot.com/.


Lee Berger shared this fundraising opportunity:

Do you have any outdated or unused electronic devices lying around the house? If so, you can turn the unused items into monetary donations (at no cost to you) for the Jon Whitney Foundation, a ministry partnering with our denomination to provide scholarship funds for needy kids to attend our Christian camps in the U.S. and in other countries.

We’re looking for cell phones, MP3 players, digital cameras, laptops, PDAs, GPS devices, external hard drives, video games, gaming consoles, camcorders, satellite radios, movies, Blu-Ray players, LCD monitors, and calculators.

How does it work? Have someone collect the items. Go to the website www.jonwhitneyfoundation.gazelle.com and follow the easy 3-step instructions.

This opportunity is available only until the end of the year, so this is a good time to clean out your cabinets, closets and shelves of unused electronic devices and help kids attend a life-changing Christian camp.

There is no cost. Even the shipping is free.


Prayer Requests and Updates

Please continue to remember Peter Whitting, who remains in the hospital with pneumonia and a collapsed lung. Cards can be sent to:

Peter and Charlotte Whitting
7413 Ricksway Rd
Pikesville, MD 21208-5720


We should have information on members affected by the flooding in the southeast U.S. in next week’s update.


Philippines National Director Eugene Guzon sent this update about the floods around Manila:

This was one of the most serious floods we have had, with about 400 mm (15.7 inches) of water dumped in about 12 hours. That is more than the average rainfall for the month during this rainy season. The scope of the damage was wide, but most of the casualties came from Manila and Rizal, the adjacent province. Many of the members in Metro Manila were hit with flooding, ranging from moderate to heavy damage of furniture, equipment, and church facilities.

Some members still do not have access to power and water. We have tried to provide some immediate response, especially food and drinking water and warm clothing. The office was used for a while as a relocation center for those near the office, but they have now been able to go home.

I am surveying damage and needs and I can give you more specifics soon. We have no classes in Metro Manila for a few days as people need time to clean up, salvage what was flooded and to bury their dead.

Reminder: Don’t forget you can donate to the Disaster Relief Fund which was established to help our members and perhaps others when faced with such disasters. If you or your congregation would like to help other members and local congregations affected by disasters, please direct your donation to the Disaster Relief Fund. It exists to help with costs of emergency member needs, including the costs of such items as food, water, clothing, and temporary housing, as well as temporary local pastoral salary expenses and other emergency local church expenses. The Fund is coordinated by pastors in the affected areas.

Checks should be made out to Grace Communion International, marked Disaster Relief Fund, and mailed to:

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


Lee Berger sent this update about the progress of his cousin, Carlton Marshall:

Many of you are aware that my cousin, Carlton Marshall, a Dallas police officer, was shot two years ago in a SWAT drug raid and ended up deaf and paralyzed. Thanks to God’s grace and the efforts of many in the medical field, Carlton is now able to hear via cochlear implants and is able to walk to a degree (although a wheelchair is still his most efficient mode of transport). He continues to go to physical therapy three times a week, and we pray that he will gain even more use of his body.

Carlton has gone back to work part-time as a consultant/trainer with the police department. He is extremely thrilled to be able to contribute to the police force again. His wife, Susan, still bears much of the brunt of the whole situation, so please continue to remember Carlton, Susan and the children, Joseph and Jessica in prayer. God has worked many miracles in their family through this trial, and we give him thanks.

The latest adventure is that TV’s ABC Extreme Home Makeover built a new house for the Marshall family a couple months ago. We’re excited to announce that the show is scheduled for airing Sunday, October 18.

It airs at 7 pm in many markets, but consult your TV schedule for the correct time and channel in your market. We’re not sure if the program will be one or two hours in length. These Home Makeover shows are always inspiring, and this edition will have a special meaning for our family and for many of you who have been following Carlton’s progress.

Thank you for your many prayers and love for this family.

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


September 23, 2009

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Nate & Savannah Smith
Nate & Savannah Smith

Please join with us in congratulating the associate producer of our videos, Nathan Smith, on his marriage last Saturday to Savannah Nord. The newlyweds will be living in Pasadena.

From Ted Johnston:

GCI-USA Ministry Development is pleased to announce the launch of Trinitarian Worship—an online blog for discussing how Trinitarian theology undergirds and shapes the worship ministries of the church. The blog is moderated by Mike Hale in partnership with Ministry Development. It will be of particular interest to worship directors and leaders, pastors, musicians, technicians, and all those involved in planning and facilitating worship in the church. We invite your participation at http://trinitarianworship.blogspot.com/.


Wisconsin Dells

From Pastor Doug Johannsen:

Even though the tough economic times caused a significant drop in attendance, our 2009 Dells Celebration was, in my opinion, the best ever. Our theme of “From Exclusion to Inclusion” was thoroughly covered by sermons and workshops held throughout the four-day event at the Kalahari Resort in the beautiful Wisconsin Dells.

Pastor Israel Hernandez’s opening message on “Who is My Neighbor?” focused on the parable of the Good Samaritan. Pastor Hernandez explained that the Good Samaritan is Jesus, and that he brings the hurting to the church (represented by the Innkeeper) where the gifts he’s given us are used to heal and restore.

Pastor Willard High followed the next day by discussing how Romans 12 shows us what an “Inclusive Church” looks like. We use these gifts, not to earn anything, but as a loving response towards others with what Jesus has given us.

The idea of contempt, taken from Dallas Willard’s explanation of what’s fundamentally wrong about calling someone a “fool,” was the basis for Pastor Doug Johannsen’s message about how prejudices and hatreds that cause us to exclude others are often formed in the home. We cannot change our contemptuous feelings towards others by ourselves; it takes Jesus.

Pastor Sam Butler concluded the weekend event with a message about communion that he wove into our actually receiving communion during this service. Communion plainly proclaims and reminds us of how we are immersed, and soaked completely into the life, suffering, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus. Communion for this service was organized and hosted by Pastor John Torgerson.

Pastor Tracy Porter and his staff conducted children’s church concurrently with the main worship sessions. The children were brought on stage Sunday morning where they sang and signed “Jesus Loves Me, This I Know.” Tracy also taught them the Hebrew alphabet song, which they sang to the entire audience. He commented that he was amazed that they learned it in less than two days as it had taken him over two weeks in a college class!

Workshops included “Unconventional Community Involvement” by Pastor High; an exploration of the “Christ Hymn” of Philippians 2 by Pastor Tracy Porter; two sessions with Pastors Butler and Johannsen showing that the life of Jesus includes us; a father/son workshop presented by Pastors Archie and Stephen Hill; and a workshop by Pastor Sam Butler showing how baptism and communion reflect the life of the Trinity and our inclusion in that life.

Ministerial Development Trainer Randy Bloom gave workshops on the Ascension and Church Planting.

Brenda High (Pastor High’s wife), a Scholarship Coach for three high schools in Illinois, provided tips and strategies for finding money for college as well as filling out the intimidating FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) form.

23DA senior’s breakfast was attended by about 80 seniors. Joyce Wendt, a member of the Wausau, Wisconsin, pastoral team, hosted the event. Joyce and the Olson brothers from Wausau performed live music. Let me say that you haven’t lived until you’ve heard them sing a song about Lutefisk (a Norwegian invention of dried fish). The song was way, way better than the fish. The Wausau congregation may well have the most active nursing home ministry in our denomination.

Jacque Bartell, who is active with the Linus Project, along with numerous donors and workers, produced 27 blankets for Hope House.

Our praise and worship band had a wonderful praise session Saturday evening. Dave and Linda Holmes, who have such a wonderful reputation from our Heartland Camp in Illinois, held an evening where teens and young adults had pizza, played various games and did some craft work.

Next year’s event will be held again at the Kalahari from September 30 – October 3.


United Kingdom

The UK church is in the early stage of organizing a Bible tour of Israel for October 7-16, 2010. They will need at least 28 attendees to make the trip viable. The package is designed with church members in mind but is open to anyone. It is expected to include such locations such as Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Jericho and Tiberius. The group will have its own guide, and there will be Bible studies related to the places visited. Accommodation will be in basic hotels.

Bed, breakfast, evening meals and flights from Heathrow to Tel Aviv should be approximately £1000 British pounds per person based on double occupancy. For those who would wish to make their own flight arrangements and join the tour, the tour cost would be around £700 pounds per person, based on double occupancy. For more information email James Henderson at james@wcg.org.uk.

Adventure Camp

From Camp Director Kevin Harris:

More than 30 preteen campers from around the country, along with a large group of teen helpers and staff, enjoyed a fabulous weekend of fun August 29-31 at the Well End Activity Centre, Borehamwood, Hertfordshire.

Children took part in a wide range of activities, including archery, biking, field games and candle making. Adults and children commented on the great atmosphere. There was a real sense of community with people of all ages, shapes and sizes working and playing together to create a successful event.

. .

Plans are already in place for Adventure Camp 2010. For more information about Adventure Camp visit www.wcg.org.uk.

Luton Ladies Day

The 6th annual Luton Ladies Day, September 20, began with morning coffee at registration before organizer Daria Fowler welcomed about 35 delegates. Morning and afternoon sessions opened with worship hymns led by Tina Sullivan and accompanied by Shirley MacLean.

Speakers included Mrs. Shirley Jones, who discussed female life stages, Angela Kiernander, who reviewed “Five Languages of Apology,” and David Silcox, who discussed principles for a happy married life.

Scammonden, Yorkshire

A Life Activity weekend was held in Scammonden, Yorkshire, September 4-6. Activities besides the regular speech club meeting included sailing, table tennis, wall climbing, gilding, macramé and bread making.


International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church

This November 8, thousands of Christians worldwide will join in prayer for the persecuted church. For more information, visit www.idop.org.


Prayer Requests and Updates

Mike and Victoria Feazell requested prayer for the family of Victoria’s brother, Greg Brady, who died unexpectedly last week from heart failure. Greg was 45, and leaves behind his wife, Maria, and three children still at home. Cards can be sent to:

Maria Brady and Family
3121 Softwood Court
Lancaster, CA 93536


Last night Pastor Peter Whitting had to be taken to the hospital for a collapsed lung. He has had a previous surgery to correct this. Please remember Peter and Charlotte in your prayers for healing and a quick recovery. Cards may be sent to:

Peter & Charlotte Whitting
7413 Ricksway Rd
Pikesville, MD 21208-5720

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


September 16, 2009

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Tammy and I enjoyed meeting with the combined Cincinnati congregations last weekend as both pastors, Rick Shallenberger and George Hart, were celebrating their 25th anniversaries in pastoral ministry. We were delighted to present them with plaques and watches, as well as take part in the combined church service. While there, we were able to visit with John Halford, editor of Christian Odyssey, and his wife, Pat, at their home in southern Indiana. As you can see from the picture, John tried to get me to mow his large 35-acre lawn.

.


The Seattle and Bellevue, Washington, congregations celebrated their 50th church anniversary the previous weekend. One of the highlights of the celebration was the performance of Christian ventriloquist Steve Cadwalader. I must comment that he is one of the best that I have ever seen. He is a youth pastor who uses ventriloquism in his ministry.


U.S. Spanish language mission developer Lorenzo Arroyo reported that Pastor Herb Ticas’s congregation in Hawthorne, California, held its first women’s retreat. The theme was “In God’s Arms,” and included such topics as love, forgiveness, repentance, and making Jesus the center of our lives. Sixty-six women attended the event from around Southern California. Herb said that everyone expressed deep gratitude for the unforgettable weekend.

.


Prayer Requests and Updates

Gary Moore let us know of the death of Pastor Dennis Lawrence’s father earlier this week. Dennis conducted the funeral service on Wednesday. Please keep Dennis and his family in your prayers.

Cards may be sent to:
Dennise & Lynn Lawrence
211 De L’ile Blvd
Pincourt PQ J7V 3R6
CANADA

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


September 10, 2009

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Jaden Elizabeth May
Jaden Elizabeth May

From Curtis May:

Jannice and I wanted to share with you, our friends, our most wonderful blessing. We have heard people brag about their beautiful grand children. But now we have seen the most beautiful one!

Attached is a picture of Jaden Elizabeth May. She was born on Tuesday, September 8 and was 6 lbs, 12 ounces and 19 inches long.

I’m sure I heard her say, “Grandpa, introduce me to your friends.”


Dr. John Clarke, a medical doctor in our New York Queens congregation, is known nationwide as the doctor who raps. Dr. Clarke has produced several rap CDs designed to teach teens and preteens about health and medical conditions.

He is now among the finalists in a nationwide contest sponsored by the federal government to generate public service TV ads geared to limit the spread of swine flu. Dr. Clarke’s video title is “H1N1 Rap by Dr. Clarke.”

The government’s “panel of experts” has chosen the finalists and is asking the public to vote on their favorite before September 16 at http://www.youtube.com/USGOVHHS. Anyone can vote once a day, every day until September 16.


European Twist on Spokesman Club

Watford Life Club
Watford Life Club
Dutch Life Club
Dutch Life Club

Life Club, now in its sixth year, is a Christian public speaking club that provides an opportunity for members to develop skills in speech and communication.

The club emphasizes Christian service, networking, spiritual growth, personal and professional development, character and confidence building, friendship, fellowship, life skills development, integrity and enjoyment. It is an ideal way to introduce friends to a Christian environment.

So far, there are Life Clubs in the UK, France, the Netherlands and Nigeria.


Prayer Requests and Updates

From Randal Dick:

Norma Dick, mother of Bob, Randal and Ron, was taken to the hospital last week for what turned out to be perforated ulcers. During surgery, the doctors discovered that Norma has a quite rare, very aggressive and advanced form of cancer that is both inoperable and non-treatable. Mom is now in hospice, is alert and doing as well as can be expected. Thank you for your prayers for her.

Cards may be sent to:
P.O. Box 484
Hawkins, TX 75765

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


September 2, 2009

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

New Website and Email Addresses Coming Soon!

From Mat Morgan:

As we continue to transition our systems to support our new denominational name, Grace Communion International, we are pleased to announce that we have acquired the domain name www.gci.org. This address will provide an easy point of reference for those searching for our website and those sending email communications to most elders and employees. Currently, you can access our web site at either the placeholder site www.gci.org or our current active site www.wcg.org and use the same email addresses as before. However, this will change as the transition progresses. Please see details below for the next steps in this transition.

Now that we can use gci.org, our IT staff has begun moving all @wcg.org email addresses to @gci.org. Until the transition is complete (it probably will take a month or two due to the large number of addresses that need to be moved), you can continue to send emails to all @wcg.org addresses, since they will be redirected to new @gci.org addresses as they are activated. Once the transition is complete, we will let you know to update all your @wcg.org email addresses to @gci.org. Finally, after a couple more months, we will discontinue all @wcg.org email to complete the transition.

At the same time, we are working with a local web design firm to design a new denominational website. When the new site goes live (planned on or before Jan 2010), we will offer a fresh new look, easier navigation to key areas, and an even clearer focus on God’s love for every person and GCI’s participation with the Triune God in sharing that love. For you techies out there, the website will be developed under an open-source content management system called Drupal, which will give us a flexible and affordable means to maintain and enhance the website now and in the future. Please pray for everyone involved in this project.


SEP Rockies

From Mark McCulley:

2Shields formationThe 46 staff members of SEP Rockies served 64 campers, ages 11-18, during the week of July 26 to August 1 at Long Scraggy Mountain Ranch outside of Denver. Activities included riflery, wilderness skills, dance, Ultimate Frisbee and an overnight campout at the top of Long Scraggy Peak.

Chapel services used the film The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe as a visual aid to present the gospel.

. .


Church Planting Seminar

From Randy Bloom:

Twenty participants attended Church-Next Training (CNT) August 24-28 in Twin Peaks, California. Church-Next Training provides a comprehensive overview of principles and practices for planting churches. Participants included church pastors, district pastoral leaders and seven members of a GCI church planting team from the Philippines, including GCI Philippines National Director Eugene Guzon. A church planter with the United Methodist Church also attended. For more information on CNT, visit the Church Multiplication Ministries website at cmm.wcg.org. If you would like to plan Church-Next Training for your district network or congregation, contact Randy Bloom at Randy.Bloom@wcg.org.

2CNT 3 . 2CNT 2


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


August 26, 2009

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

The International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church, sponsored by the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA), is a time set apart for us to remember thousands of our Christian brothers and sisters around the world who suffer persecution, simply because they confess Jesus Christ as Lord.

This year, thousands of Christians worldwide will join in prayer November 1 for persecuted Christian families. There are many countries in the world today where Christians are martyred for their faith. For example, the world watched in horror the unbridled violence that was unleashed on Christians in Orissa state, India, last year. There are other places, such as North Korea, where acts of persecution take place, but we often don’t see or hear the full story.

The WEA is made up of 128 national evangelical alliances located in seven regions and 104 associate member organizations representing 420 million evangelical Christians worldwide.

Greg Pugh
Greg Pugh

Greg Pugh, Rocky Mountain District Director of Church Multiplication and Development for the Evangelical Free Church of America, was a guest speaker at the Denver Regional Conference. An experienced church planter, Greg spoke with us about how to prepare to plant churches. Randy Bloom interviewed Greg about the characteristics of people who effectively start new churches. You can watch a video of this interview entitled, “You Might be a Church Planter if …” by logging on to the CMM website at cmm.wcg.org.


Papua New Guinea

Mark Latham, Papua New Guinea (PNG) pastoral coordinator, returned home from a mid-year visit to our congregations in PNG July 26. On this trip, Mark was accompanied by Australian Youth Coordinator Kwan Borden. Mark wrote:

Traditional Chimbu dancers
Traditional Chimbu dancers
Kwan Borden & John Banda
Kwan Borden & John Banda

This was Kwan’s first trip to Papua New Guinea, a land of the unexpected, and there was an air of excitement surrounding his visit. The congregations in Port Moresby and Mt. Wilhelm were eagerly awaiting his visit and had prepared an exotic cultural welcome. Dancing and singing were followed by a traditional mumu meal. It was a special and emotional time and showed the genuine love of this community to visitors.

As well as meeting the congregations, work was done on the electrical wiring, concreting the floor, window installation and lining the walls and ceiling of the church building at Mt. Wilhelm. Great progress has been made since last year when just the frame and roof were done. The congregations sincerely thank all the donations from Australia for this project. We thank everyone for their prayers of support and for good health and safety. It was greatly appreciated.

. 26Papua New Guinea 44

A rainwater tank was also purchased through CarePac [our Australian church’s relief and outreach ministry] donations. The tank will enable fresh water to be used on-site instead of members having to carry buckets of water up the hill from a river. A cleaner and more reliable source of drinking and cooking water was needed because the river is also used for bathing and laundry.

Ben Gelwa with the rainwater tank
Ben Gelwa with the rainwater tank

The rainwater tank holds 4500 liters and will collect the water off the new church building. At present the rainwater tank has arrived at the village and preparations are being made to connect it. It should be in use in October – in time for the beginning of the wet season.

The congregation is excited to have the tank and thanks everyone who has donated so much. This will make their lives easier and healthier.

A communal kitchen is also planned to help in good nutritional cooking and teaching as well as allowing the community to exercise their generous hospitality to each other, visitors and the surrounding community. The church is a shining example to the surrounding community and a light on the hill on the tallest mountain in Australasia.


Africa

Gary Moore, who just returned from Africa, reported that our church in Botswana was recently registered, meaning our members there can now rent a facility and meet publicly. Until now they have been meeting in members’ homes.


Prayer Requests and Updates

CGI Pastor Charlie Piscitello of Batavia Christian Fellowship, New York, and his wife, Judi, ask for your prayers for Charlie, who is awaiting repair surgery for a grapefruit sized hernia. The surgeon delayed the surgery two weeks to give additional time for Charlie to reduce his blood sugar level. Charlie is also suffering with sever sciatica pain. Cards of encouragement can be sent to:

Charlie and Judi Piscitello
205 Bank St.
Batavia, NY 14020-1503

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


August 20, 2009

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Jessica
Jessica

Santiago and Elke Lange are the proud grandparents of Jessica Maduka, born August 11. Little Jessica, parents Sarah and Charles Maduka, and aunts and grandparents are doing well.


Journey with the Master

From Ted Johnston:

Greg Williams
Greg Williams

Generations Ministries continues to reach out with God’s love to connect cross-generationally with young adults through Journey with the Master (JWM). JWM is a two-year journey that has three weekend gatherings designed to help young adults identify and explore God’s call on their lives to participate with Jesus in his ministry in our world—including within our church.

To date, more than 200 young adults have begun the journey, and several more are scheduled to begin soon. The most recent JWM weekend event was held in Glendora, California. Greg Williams led the event, partnering with several older adult sponsors and mentors who shared the weekend with 31 young, ministry-minded adults.

Participants were asked for their feedback on the event, and here are typical responses:

Do you feel the event was beneficial to you? Please explain why.

  • It helps me to practically examine myself in terms of my relationship with God and his gifts for me, and how to use those gifts towards my goals.
  • Very beneficial for me because I feel like I am at an important crossroad in my life clarifying what to do next. A lot of what we learned has practical things I need to do, but really focused on God.

What is your greatest take-away from the event?

  • Not to have my life too busy for what God has for me.
  • Setting some goals in my life and feeling a little more prepared to go back home and be a leader in my church youth group and my school.

Look for scheduled events at: http://genmin.wcg.org/calendar.htm.


Estonia

From Carl Aas:

I returned home from Estonia last night after our fourth summer school in the town of Kallaste, Estonia. The pupils told us that they had really looked forward to this event, and we have become quite close friends with a number of the older pupils. Several have invited me home to their family. So I am already starting to think about next year’s summer school. I would like to thank the WCG staff of teachers: Timothy Ståhle, Matteusz Kostrzewa (Alhaug), Frederic Clausen, Philip Cifuentes Silbigger and Hendrickje Kehlenbeck, for their service to each other and the pupils.

Among the subjects we taught were: “Keys of success,” “Advanced English,” including active communication and what they should do and not do in a job interview. We also taught American football and badminton.

We had around 40 pupils, the same number as last year. In addition to classes, we visited the largest telescope in northern Europe and a large aviation museum. I also held a public meeting for about 35 people.

This group picture of the staff was taken the day we left Tallinn for Kallaste to start the summer school week.


Italy

From Daniel Boesch:

We held our annual festival July 31-August 3 in the historic town of Ferrara (greater Bologna area). This year we were not able to provide translations in other languages, but we did have about 70 Italian members in attendance. Also in attendance were the pastor of a local protestant church and a couple of their members. This year’s theme was “The Lord Has a Plan for You.”

Besides daily worship services we had several meals together, a praise and worship afternoon, an excursion to a nearby natural park by boat and a guided bicycle tour at night around the walls of Ferrara.


SEP Scotland

From the UK office:

Camp has gone really well with activities including archery, initiative training, sailing, canoeing, netball, football, encaustic art, leatherwork, hill walking, and many more. Campers also learned how to prepare and present their own worship sessions, and participated in interactive classes on practical Christian living. Find out more by checking www.sepuk.org

. .


Bahamas Mission Trip 2009

From Robert McKinney:

19Californians-and-Bahamians_edited-2They came from far and wide to attend the Bahamas Summer Vacation Bible School, which was actually a mission trip, a Vacation Bible School and a mini-SEP all rolled into one grand two-week long extravaganza event! Mike and Janet Morrison led a team of 20 from California to run the program. Their hard work and enthusiasm, together with the assistance of local church volunteers, spearheaded by our local VBS coordinator Gillian Curling, helped to make this our best summer program ever.

We plan to follow up with the young persons who attended, and we are hopeful that much lasting fruit will come as a result of our time together. We are thankful to all our members who served this year, especially our brothers and sisters from California, the Naval family from Haiti and our local members as well. We are hoping to send a good number of our young people to SEP SoCal to gain some additional training and experience for the future, and tentative plans are underway to host another trip in 2010.


Jamaica Mission Trip

A ten-member GCI team comprised of two members from Trinidad, one from Florida, five from Ohio, one from Indiana, and one from Scotland, served adults and young people on the WCG campus at Christian Pen in Jamaica July 5-9.

Besides hosting a leadership seminar conducted by team member David Perry, and a Vacation Bible School that served more than 100 children, the team helped with needed repairs to the campus.


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


August 13, 2009

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

All participants
All participants

John Torgerson, GCI pastor of our Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin, church, sent this report about initiating a Sports Stacking ministry. Sports Stacking is for ages 5 to 100 – even Pastor John participates. He says he is within 2.5 seconds of the Senior level world’s record! He wrote:

On Sunday, August 2, we held the first Tournament and Awards banquet attended by the participants, their families, and a number of regular church members who stayed for the afternoon. The ministry began through the efforts of Dan Gezzi, who moved into our church area last year. Our intent was to offer a new youth activity in our community. Through this ministry we have had contacts with five children and their families – contacts that we would not likely have made any other way. So far we have 8 participants in Sports Stacking – three children and five adults. Those who are unfamiliar with Sports Stacking can check out the feature article from our local newspaper on the ministry at http://www.dellsgrace.org/Stacking.pdf


Dells Celebration 2009

From Doug Johannsen:

You’re all invited to our annual Dells Celebration at the Kalahari Resort in Wisconsin Dells, WI, from September 17, through 20, 2009. Our theme this year is “From Exclusion to Inclusion.” Join us on this four-day journey as we examine four major areas of life where people are commonly unjustly excluded and learn practical ways to include all.

Step 1: Reserve your room at the Kalahari by Monday, August 16, 2009. The Kalahari is the premier family resort in the Dells featuring the world’s largest indoor water park and new theme park. Phone 1-877-525-2427 for reservations.

  • HUT— $109 per night plus tax, 1-4 people only
  • LODGE SUITE – $129 per night plus tax, 1-4 people only
  • COMBINATION SUITE (lodge and hut) —$238 per night plus tax—sleeps up to 8 people
  • VILLAGE (lodge and two adjoining huts)—$347 per night plus tax—sleeps up to 12 people

You must call the Kalahari Resort no later than August 16th to reserve your room. After August 16, the low prices we’ve negotiated will no longer be available! Let the reservation personnel know you are with the Worldwide Church of God/Grace Communion International. The Kalahari reservation number is: 1-877-525-2427.

You may also book your room online:
First, go to: https://res.kalahariresort.com/V1Web/GroupComments.aspx
Then enter:

  • Group ID 10646
  • Password: 244
  • Contact Password (Optional): leave this blank
  • Click on “Make Reservation” and follow the prompts.

Step 2: Register with Grace Communion International/Worldwide Church of God HQ online at: www.wcg.org/go/wisconsin. Follow the prompts and pay with your credit card.

Or you may download a registration form, fill it out and mail your registration with a check to: Grace Communion International, PO Box 5005, Glendora CA 91740-5005

Or if you do not have Internet access, contact Dells Coordinator Doug Johannsen by phone (763-576-1086) or by mail: 14210 Uranium St NW, Ramsey, MN 55303, and he will mail the forms to you.

Step 3: Come celebrate Jesus with your family and friends. Enjoy good food and many other activities! (By the way, the Kalahari is a very family activity oriented facility. It has a huge water park and a brand new theme park!)


Philippines

From Eugene Guzon:

For years, we had only one member based in Shanghai, China. But in recent years, God has added more to that number. Most of our members in China today got to hear the good news and accept Christ as a result of relationships built by our tentmaking missionaries over the past five years. Most of the baptisms occurred two years ago. Considering the context of this “restricted access” country, we praise God for the ministry that started through the dedication and boldness of Ces, an English mentor, and the very enthusiastic response of young Chinese university students.

Over these past few years, God has been revealing himself more and more to them, as they fellowshipped, studied the word, shared their lives in creative, yet fun ways – like meeting in homes and parks. There were about 12 all together, but some graduated from university and returned to their home provinces or work in the big cities. A core group still stays in the city where the university is located, and they have become teachers too. Most of them have gotten married and have started their own families.

Last year, because of increasing pressure from school authorities, our tentmaker-mentor had to move to another school, but the situation got even worse when a full-time monitor was assigned to watch her every move. As of now, she is strongly considering a ministry in another 10/40 window nation nearby. This situation prompted us to think of ways through which our young converts can continue to be discipled, equipped and trained for ministry. Our goal is to help these native Chinese believers to become mature Christian leaders, who in turn can serve and equip others.

Last year, I, together with one elder from California whom I invited to teach with me during a visit to China, commissioned a leadership team of three. They held the fort, and have since been meeting together with prospective believers.

Last July I again visited the members in three cities. One handicap is my inability to speak their language, and their limited ability to express themselves in English. By God’s provision, I was able to bring with me a Chinese brother whom I met several months ago in the University where I am enrolled here in the Philippines. His name is Edward. He now works in a Christian establishment in China, and he also ministers to a small group of Christians there. But he often prayed for the opportunity to minister to his home province.

He was so thankful when I invited him to join me in my recent visit, because this took him back to his home province – an answered prayer! He also got to see his parents whom he had not seen for three years because of distance and financial constraints.

Edward was effective as a translator. The participants were able to discuss issues in their heart language. Even the spouses of the brethren who do not understand English were able to better appreciate the beauty of God’s plan for them. We taught them leadership principles based on Nehemiah, did a series on parenting, and taught them how to conduct a communion service. During our four-day visit, we were able to have three communion services, with each of the three local leaders taking turns conducting the ceremony. I encouraged them to do this every week, if possible, or as often as practicable.

We also got to visit and pray for the sick mom of one of the members in another city. God granted us favor in terms of relationships built, even with the Buddhist father.

One of the highlights of our trip was the opportunity to counsel and pray for Lulu, a recent convert, and her husband, a non-believer. Lulu was baptized two years ago, and while they had a civil wedding last June 28, she asked me to pray over them and celebrate their union with former classmates and converts at the University.

Because of the need to follow-up on equipping, we are praying that we can conduct another visit this coming August, especially to train leaders on basic hermeneutics and to organize the church. It will also be an opportune time for celebration, as one of our sisters there is expecting to deliver her baby. I pray for God’s provision for this plan.

The harvest is great, and God has been truly faithful! We pray for more opportunities to participate in what he is doing in China and thank God for his abiding presence and awesome power.


UK musical evangelism

Brian Smith and Eddie McCalla
Brian Smith and Eddie McCalla

The Reconciliation DJs are two committed Christian music presenters/DJs/MCs whose motto is “unity in diversity.” They are Eddie McCalla (Scottish Jamaican) who attends the Camberwell congregation and Brian Smith (Anglo Irish) who attends the Coulsdon Community Church.

The two are both life-long jazz fans and have specialized in playing Soul, R&B, Blues, Gospel and Jazz for eating, listening and dancing for some 15 years. They are available free (expenses outside London area) for any church outreach evangelism event, but prices are reasonable for parties, birthdays, weddings, etc.

They will host the complete event if required and can advise on organization, publicity, etc. Croydon Jazz and Blues Festival 2009 sees them doing their stuff during the lunchtime sessions in North End Croydon (outside JJB Sports), alternating with a live band, on June 12-14 between 11.30am and 3.00pm. For further information see the festival website www.jazznet.co.uk

The Reconciliation DJs have their own top quality equipment, a tour bus and their passports are up-to-date, so what are you waiting for! Enquiries to: Brian Smith Reconcile@bdlrs.freeserve.co.uk or tel 0845 260 6668 or +44 (0) 1798 813133


Thailand and Singapore

From Rod Matthews:

The refugee problem along the Thai border with Myanmar is not getting better. Most of the refugees living in the camps within Thailand are ethnic Karen who have previously fled the fighting with the Burmese army inside Myanmar. In one of the camps (actually a town of about 40,000 people), our congregation of nearly 60 continues to meet for worship each week. This camp is one of about ten along Thailand’s western border with Myanmar.

The United Nations has made a more concerted effort in the last year or two to resettle refugee families overseas. In this time period, amongst our own group, two families gained approval to resettle in Australia, one in the USA and one in Norway. Unfortunately, three other families were denied approval to resettle in Australia, in spite of being guaranteed full sponsorship and resettlement assistance from various agencies including the church, and must now seek resettlement in another country.

In July, Malaysian pastor and pastoral coordinator for Thailand, Wong Mein Kong, and I made our annual visit to western Thailand to meet with our Karen pastor. We expected to find a smaller group this year. In spite of it being a Tuesday morning, we didn’t! We discovered that while the three families have moved overseas, more families have joined our group. They have come through contacts with our members including several people from another denomination who prefer our services. One man is a deacon, who is proving very helpful to our pastor, since our deacon was one of those who were approved to move overseas.

. .

There are many children there who sang beautifully for us during the service, accompanied by a guitar played by a friend who is not a member of our congregation, and who teaches the children Karen songs. I gave a short message on the love and care that God has for us in spite of our physical circumstances – which had to be translated into the Karen language as I spoke.

In spite of the UN’s resettlement program, which has managed to find new homes for more than 50,000 people in the last year, the number of refugees in the camps is no fewer. In fact, the problem has been exacerbated by the arrival of more refugees to take the empty places. Unfortunately, the new arrivals are mainly economic refugees who perceive that if they can filter in amongst the political refugees, they might get an opportunity to move to a western country. This has made the job of the camp authorities much more difficult in determining who qualifies for resettlement according to the relative danger they face “back home” in Myanmar. While it is understandable that anyone living in the poverty that afflicts so many people in Myanmar would try to find a way to move to a new home in a more prosperous country, it complicates the situation for the political refugees who have been in the camps in Thailand for decades.

During our visit to the camp, we delivered to our people two boxes of Karen hymnals and coloring books for children which had been donated by Chogait Garmolgomut, our member in Chiang Mai (Thailand) who, with his wife, now runs 11 English language and bi-lingual schools for young children in various parts of Thailand.

Many years ago, Chogait, a graduate of Ambassador University in Pasadena, returned to his native Thailand and eventually started an English language school for little children, whose parents saw the benefit in their children being bilingual, especially in what is the world’s language of business. The one school has now grown to 11, with their newest school opening its doors in Chiang Mai for the first time about two months ago when the current school year commenced. Called the Little Stars Ambassador Bilingual School (ABS), it is already a hive of activity and looking to expand in the months ahead.

Chogait and his wife, Amporn, a dedicated Christian who came to be introduced to Christ through her husband many years ago, also host and serve a church congregation in one of their schools each weekend. Recently they had to introduce two different times for services since the meeting room did not accommodate the numbers wanting to attend. Those attending come largely from school staff members and personal contacts. The value of personal example cannot be underestimated in spreading the gospel.

Singapore

During the same trip, Wong Mein Kong and I travelled to Singapore for a significant event in the history of the local congregation. It was a delightful occasion to ordain Joe Zachariah an elder, and the entire congregation celebrated. Joe and his wife, Anna, have a track record of serving the church faithfully and consistently in humility and dedication. Pastor emeritus, Yong Chin Gee, who has been struggling for some years with poor health, was able to travel with several members from southern Malaysia across the causeway to Singapore to join us in the ordination ceremony. It was a great pleasure for him to take part in this milestone event with the local members numbering about 40.


Prayer Requests and Updates

Al Calame, assisting Dennis Lawrence in caring for the little flock in Plattsburgh, NY, asked for prayer for his wife, who has terminal cancer. He wrote:

I’m writing to ask you to put my wife on your prayer list. Jenny was recently diagnosed with fourth-stage gall bladder cancer, which is terminal. They gave her 3-6 months to live. They felt they could extend her life and improve the quality with some chemotherapy, so she began the first session Tuesday. That night she went into a coma. They can’t explain why and they don’t hold out much hope that she’ll even awaken, because they see evidence of oxygen deprivation in the brain, possibly from her sleep apnea. Of course, the doctors don’t know our great God and his ways. I am trusting him that what will develop will be his will and for the best, but we’ve only had 42 years together and are working on the next 42. Jenny is 62 and a loving wife, mom and grannie. Please pray that God will heal her and we can continue in service to others for many more years.

Cards may be sent to:
2862 Toupin
St. Laurent, PQ H4R1G8
CANADA

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


August 5, 2009

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Camp Director Paul David Kurts sent this recap of Higher Ground 2009:

At Higher Ground 2009, campers not only heard the message of God’s unconditional love for everyone and the life we all share with the Father, Son and Spirit, but they witnessed it also. Seventy staff members from a dozen different church backgrounds served 140 campers and showed how Christians from all denominations can work together, recognizing their shared identity as children of God.

Based on last year’s camper feedback, the chapel messages addressed the reality of the camper’s lives by featuring stories of men and women in the Bible who encountered God and were used by God in spite of their imperfections, age and social status. The chapel theme was “Real Life, Real People, Real Good News.”

Camp activities including dodge ball, paintball, high ropes, water polo, disk golf, and arts & crafts. To foster team spirit and build family bonds, dorm members participated in activities together and sometimes would compete against another dorm. Evenings featured special events such as a talent show, camp dance, praise and worship concert, a magic show and the ever-popular Camo Night. On the last night, each dorm had its own campfire and fireside chat. It was a time to share their thoughts for the week, encourage one another, and ask questions of counselors and guests.

Jeff McSwain from Reality Ministries in Raleigh visited the camp on Friday to observe how we reach out to young people in the light of who they already are in Jesus. He was very excited about what we are doing and may consider partnering with us next year or running his own camp at the same location.

Higher Ground 2009 filled up in record time. Based on early registrations for 2010, we expect next summer’s camp to fill up even faster. Higher Ground offers a $75 discount for registrations received by August 31. The camp website is www.carolinacamp.com.


Jay Richie, Pathways Camp Director, sent this update:

This year Pathways Camp was blessed to have our best camp experience ever for campers and staff alike nestled in the beautiful hills of Jackson, Ohio during the week of July 18–24.

.

This year we had 118 campers, 13 mini-campers and 58 staffers gather to worship God, have fun, learn social skills, and learn more about our life in Jesus. We used the Narnia-themed curriculum, which proved to be a powerful message that the kids could understand and get excited about.

. .

Aside from our normal activities, we were able to participate in an outreach event one afternoon – without ever leaving the facility. We worked with the Jackson County Family Services Division and arranged to have 21 kids between the ages of 7-14 attend camp for a few hours. We had staff there to help out, but we put most of the work of running a block-party style of events on the capable shoulders of our Senior Campers. It was simply awesome to see and feel the love of Jesus flowing out of our campers and into the lives of those other children.


South Africa

From Gary Moore:

Last weekend at the South African board meeting I was able to pass along some sports equipment donated by the Vancouver congregation for use at the South African summer camp. It was great getting the news this week from Dennis Thibault that the Castlegar, B.C., congregation has decided to fund the travel of our national ministry leader in Zambia to each congregation in that country. Their generosity will be deeply appreciated.

The first photo is the passing on of the sports equipment, and the second is proof that I really am in Africa. We had the chance to interact with African elephants weighing in at 4.5 tons. They are pretty impressive animals.

5gary . 5Gary1


Prayer Requests and Updates

Bangladesh

From John Biswas:

You are all aware that it is difficult to share Christ’s message of hope in fundamentalist Islamic Bangladesh. More than 150 million people are living in a space smaller than Iowa. Muslims constitute 90 percent of the population, Hindus 9 percent, and 1 percent are Christians, Buddhist and others.

Sadly, two week ago fanatics attacked and badly damaged our Bangladesh mission center. They numbered about 19 to 20 people. They entered the mission compound carrying homemade firearms and have first broken the security walls. They also broke doors, windows and threatened our people. They vandalized the clinic casting out medicines and supplies, plus our books, Bibles and Christian literature and other materials.

5BEA Brave WorkersSome of the BEA gospel workers tried to save mission property, but they were chased and threatened by the attackers. We thank God that none of the gospel workers were hurt except for some minor wounds. Our people have calculated that from this incident, the Mission Center has incurred a loss of more than $3,000.00 damage.

Despite all this and the persecution of our little Christian outpost, our BEA brave gospel workers take it as a challenge to work for Christ, even though they are persecuted and disturbed from time to time.

The BEA gospel workers are helped and encouraged by your continued prayers and support. By God’s grace they remain strong and dedicated to his work. They do firmly believe that our Savior the Lord Christ saves at every step while they share his message to the people of darkness. They earnestly seek your kind prayers in their efforts.


From Brian Spurgeon:

The Spurgeon family would like to thank everyone who has been praying for Dosha Spurgeon. She went to be with the Lord at 8:50 pm Tuesday evening. Our great Lord chose to give her fullness of life with him in his eternal kingdom.

We are grateful for the time that God blessed us with this wonderful woman of God. She has been such an inspiration to so many with her kindness, patience understanding and love. We miss her deeply, but we know that she is in a better place, and that through the power of Jesus our family will go on united in love and moving forward to the crown of life that we are all waiting for.

We would deeply appreciate your continued prayers as there are so many children and grandchildren who have been affected by her passing on. The dynamics in our family are affected by this change. We love you so very much and treasure the kind words and thoughts that we receive from you. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

Cards may be sent to:

The Spurgeon Family
2276 Huntington Drive #228
San Marino, CA 91108

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.


July 29, 2009

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

During the three days of the Dallas conference last weekend the attendance ranged between 185 and 250. Dr. Ross Jutsum was on hand to provide worship music and was joined by Murdock Gibbs at the final service. Many told me that this was the best conference that we have done to date.

29TX LL . 29TX CL . 29TX RR



A new showing of the art of Basil Wolverton is currently on display in New York’s Barbara Gladstone Gallery until Aug 14. The link is: http://www.gladstonegallery.com/wolv.asp?id=1632

The New York Times has posted a nice history (with slideshow) of MAD Magazine’s “grossest and funniest illustrator” to accompany the show. Here is a link to the article: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/23/arts/design/23basil.html?_r=1&th&emc=th
….


UK

From Stuart Foster:29 Northern Ireland 11

In Northern Ireland the concept of a “retreat” conjures up images of several days of fasting and walking barefoot – more of a type of penance. But, as the combined Craigavon & Ballymoney congregations discovered, the Ballymoney Summer Retreat, a first for GCI Northern Ireland, was no fast but a veritable physical and spiritual feast!

29 Northern Ireland 22We were all looking forward to getting together – it had been some time. The first day, Saturday June 20, was hosted at Ballymoney’s regular church hall. This enabled members, many of whom are elderly and could only attend one day, to sample the flavor and more relaxed atmosphere of a retreat. The Ballymoney ladies, renowned for their catering skills, enhanced the occasion by preparing a delicious lunchtime spread for the 45 attendees on that day. Over the course of the weekend around 60 people participated in the event.

29 Northern Ireland 33The theme for the weekend, perhaps recognized and recited by us all since childhood, was “The Lord’s Prayer.” Though viewed by Christians as a simple outline or rote mantra, our mentors Messrs. James Henderson and David Stirk, with enlisted helpers – we, the audience – examined and amplified every nuance of each word and verse over the two-day period. By Sunday evening, we had, only just scratched the surface of this profound passage of Scripture. A quote taken from Deacon Will Linton’s Retreat program put it this way, “Rather than a prayer to be repeated, the Lord’s Prayer is more like a magnificent house to explore.”

The whole occasion proved to be more than a lesson in biblical exegesis or how to study the Bible. It was an opportunity to explore and share our own personal understanding with friends and communicate with our loving Father.

Unanimously the Northern Ireland brethren decided to meet again next Spring.

Craigavon member wins bowling competition

by Marlene Foster

29 Annie1My mum, Annie Darlison, arrived home from a Chest Heart & Stroke activity recently with a big smile on her face. She had been presented with 2 trophies, one gold to keep permanently and one silver, her name engraved on them both. We knew she was good at bowling but we didn’t know she was that good! We were pleased for her to have won the CHS bowling competition. She was the first woman in five years to do so.

Mum suffered a severe stroke about 15 years ago. She has had to adapt to using her left hand because she was paralyzed down her right side. Learning to bowl has been a great achievement for her, and her motivation to learn new skills has been encouraging to all the family. No matter our age or disability, we can all try something new. Annie’s two other daughters (my sisters) attend GCI in Liverpool and Ipswich.


Dells Celebration 2009

From Doug Johannsen:

You’re all invited to our annual Dells Celebration at the Kalahari Resort in Wisconsin Dells, WI, from September 17, through 20, 2009. Our theme this year is “From Exclusion to Inclusion.” Join us on this four-day journey as we examine four major areas of life where people are commonly unjustly excluded and learn practical ways to include all.

Step 1: Reserve your room at the Kalahari by Monday, August 16, 2009. The Kalahari is the premier family resort in the Dells featuring the world’s largest indoor water park and new theme park. Phone 1-877-525-2427 for reservations.

  • HUT— $109 per night plus tax, 1-4 people only
  • LODGE SUITE – $129 per night plus tax, 1-4 people only
  • COMBINATION SUITE (lodge and hut) —$238 per night plus tax—sleeps up to 8 people
  • VILLAGE (lodge and two adjoining huts)—$347 per night plus tax—sleeps up to 12 people

You must call the Kalahari Resort no later than August 16th to reserve your room. After August 16, the low prices we’ve negotiated will no longer be available! Let the reservation personnel know you are with the Worldwide Church of God/Grace Communion International. The Kalahari reservation number is: 1-877-525-2427.

You may also book your room online:
First, go to: https://res.kalahariresort.com/V1Web/GroupComments.aspx
Then enter:

  • Group ID 10646
  • Password: 244
  • Contact Password (Optional): leave this blank
  • Click on “Make Reservation” and follow the prompts.

Step 2: Register with Grace Communion International/Worldwide Church of God HQ online at: www.wcg.org/go/wisconsin. Follow the prompts and pay with your credit card.

Or you may download a registration form, fill it out and mail your registration with a check to:

Grace Communion International
PO Box 5005Glendora
CA 91740-5005

Or if you do not have Internet access, contact Dells Coordinator Doug Johannsen by phone (763-576-1086) or by mail: 14210 Uranium St NW, Ramsey, MN 55303, and he will mail the forms to you.

Step 3: Come celebrate Jesus with your family and friends. Enjoy good food and many other activities! (By the way, the Kalahari is a very family activity oriented facility. It has a huge water park and a brand new theme park!)


Northern Light Summer Camp

Northern Light Camp Director, Todd Fox wrote:

29 camp groupWe have successfully concluded Northern Light Summer Camp in Lanesboro, Minnesota. There were 26 campers and 18 staff members.

Activities included: Oneota Life, Pioneer Life, South Treetops (for the older campers – the facility’s toughest treetops course), East Treetops (for the younger campers), Earth Exploration, Group Challenges, Archery, Minimum Impact Camping, Rock Climbing, Basic Orienteering (for the younger campers), GPS Pathfinders (for the older campers) and canoeing. We also held workshops for the campers in Arts & Crafts, Videography, Photography, Worship Leading and Prayer Journaling.

We started each day with camp devotions led by the campers. It was especially nice to see the depth that developed within the entire group of campers as the devotions were led by the older campers.

A dynamic that contributed to the overall synergy of the camp was the mix of ages for evening workshops. This was the first time in this camp’s history that we mixed campers out of their dorm assignments. We found that the older ones ‘looked out’ for the younger ones and the younger ones looked up to the older ones. The older ones showed more respect in helping the staff members teach the lessons as well.

29-camp-canoe . 29 camp laugh .


Philippines

From Yasmin Ann D. Maninang:

“Dedicated to the Honor and Glory of God”, was the theme of the Evangelism Explosion (EE) graduation of the GCI North Hills Village Church, held at the Multipurpose Hall in Bangaray Tigbe, Norzagaray, Bulacan July 5. The training was headed by the local church EE Coordinator and Lecturer Pastor Med and Sister Neng Maninang. This is their 11th year of equipping local church leaders and members about friendship, evangelism, discipleship and healthy growth. One hundred and twenty-five people accepted Jesus Christ during the training. One hundred and twelve attended the graduation ceremony.


Disaster Relief Fund

Because of the generosity of several of our U.S. Congregations and individual members, here are some of the ways we have been able to provide help to fellow members in times of disaster.

  • 2006: $20,000 to Bangladesh to build a disaster shelter
  • 2006: $11,400 to the Philippine church members for typhoon damage
  • 2007: $4,000 to Solomon Islands church members for earthquake damage
  • 2007: $5,000 to the Philippine church members for typhoon flooding damage
  • 2007: $4,000 to Bangladesh church members for monsoon flooding damage
  • 2007: $10,000 to Bangladesh church members for monsoon and typhoon flooding damage
  • 2008: $9,000 to the Philippine church members for typhoon flooding damage
  • 2008: $1,000 to Baton Rouge, LA church members for hurricane damage
  • 2008: $1,000 to Beaumont, TX church members for hurricane damage
  • 2008: $3,300 to Houston, TX church members for hurricane damage
  • 2009: $5,000 to the Honduras church members for earthquake damage

Prayer Requests and Updates

From our ministry leader in Holland, Frans Danenberg and his wife, Lamberta:

29Frans&Family1A week or so ago my dad had a fall resulting in a serious head injury and a broken hip. He was operated on, and survived that, but he died peacefully in his sleep, at 4 a.m. this morning. I will be preparing the services with my youngest brother and a catholic priest to honor my dad. He reached the age of 93 years, and we are thankful for that.

Yesterday we visited Lamberta’s father, whose health is rapidly declining. He gets oxygen daily and is very weak with heart problems and diabetes. So it is a very sorrowful time for us. Please pray for the family, and I know you will. That gives us peace.

Cards may be sent to:
Hopklaverstraat 18
NL-1314 SX ALMERE
NETHERLANDS

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