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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


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


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 .


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

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

July 22, 2009

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,


Charles Fleming
Charles Fleming

From Charles Fleming:

In Grenada, the government invites different pastors to do a 10-minute devotional with the Cabinet. They recently asked our Aaron Marshall to lead the devotion. He spoke on Romans 13:1-7 and assured them that God is for them and wants them to succeed. So much so that he instructs his people to respect government leaders and support them. Aaron then went on to encourage the Cabinet to take their responsibilities seriously and not to do anything that would shame them or undermine their opportunity to serve the people of Grenada. Talk about an insightful message!

In Jamaica, our congregation in Christian Pen serves the surrounding community by conducting funerals for any who request it. Recently a goat farmer in the area was killed and the family and a government Ministry asked to have the funeral at our church. The deceased happened to be someone the Prime Minister had helped and so the PM attended the funeral.

Afterwards, the Ministry that organized the funeral was so impressed with the working relationship they had with Leroy Joiles and the leadership team that they called to thank them.

It turns out that that is the Ministry we will have to apply to when we want to negotiate the purchase of the land we presently lease. Is the Lord “setting us up” with some good relationships for that time? Walking through life with Jesus is a fascinating journey – always new opportunities to go with the new mercies we experience daily.

SEP SoCal22CALSEP 2009187-1

Mark & Anne Stapleton report the successful completion of SEP So Cal, which was held July 5-11 at Cedar Lake Camp in the majestic San Bernardino Mountains of Southern California. Seventy-four staff served 187 campers. The theme was “Oasis.” Ann wrote:

The primary focus of our teaching was to let campers and staffers know that God loves them and created them to be in a deep, loving and abiding relationship with him. We talked about the many “mirages” that hinder understanding of the true Oasis—one being the mirage of a perceived separation from God. We emphasized that the Father loves and accepts all people, and as we abide in the Father’s love and drink in of the Living Water, he creates for us an Oasis of life-giving fruit in our lives so that others can come taste and see that the Lord is good.


Mission Developer Kalengule Kaoma recently visited our congregation in Luanda, Angola. He wrote:

Pastor Oliveira Kitambala met me at the airport and we visited our three congregations in Angola. On Saturday June 27, and Sunday morning I spent time together with twenty leaders from our three congregations in Angola.

22angolapraiseband . 22Deacons-ordained-on-June-28-Luanda-20091

During church service on Sunday, we had an added joy when three deacons were ordained to assist Pastor Oliveira in Golf SAPU, which is the main congregation in Luanda. Jean Rene Kamiaka’s praise band also graced the occasion with vibrant music.

Here are Angolan congregation statistics:22Angolayouth222_edited-1

  1. Golf SAPU (Luanda) has 30 baptised members, 7 prospective members, and 15 teens and children (52 av. Attendance)
  2. Estalagem de Viana – 6 adults, 4 teens, and 5 children (15)
  3. Huambo Province – 22 adults, 4 teens and 7 children (33).

Unemployment in Angola has also affected some of our members. To assist some members, Pastor Oliveira and his leadership team in Luanda put aside some funds to help the youth with self employment. Heritie Mbaki runs a barber shop. Antonio Compani owns a tuck shop [a shop that sells sweets and snacks near a school] at Pastor Oliveira’s school where enrollment is 720 pupils. Armando Gamondele has established a mobile phone shop where he sells phone chargers, phones, and phone accessories. As always, there was a request to spend more time.


Gary and Wendy Moore
Gary and Wendy Moore

Gary Moore wrote:

Wendy, Kylie and I will be leaving for South Africa Tuesday evening, July 21, returning Monday August 24. Three seminars are planned for the three major centers – Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban. I will be relaying to the ministry and membership there some of the key concepts that were so effectively passed along to us by Gary and Cathy Deddo at our recent conference in Edmonton. I would appreciate prayers for our safety, as well as for God’s inspiration on these seminar presentations. In addition, I’ll be serving as the denominational representative at their board meeting, and traveling to Botswana to visit our congregation there.

Penticton fall retreat

“Early bird” registration for the fall retreat in Penticton has been extended to the end of July. Information and the registration form are available on the Canadian national website (www.wcg.ca).

Prayer requests and updates

Pastor Alan Redmond requested prayers for Pastor Steve Posiak and retired pastor Bob Morton, whose homes are threatened by fires in the Kelowna area of British Columbia, Canada. Both are under evacuation alert, and their cars are packed and ready to go.

Melba Leontine sent this request for prayer for our mission team in the Bahamas:

This summer, a few congregations (led by Mike and Janet Morrison of NewLife Fellowship and Steve and Gloria Brooks of the LA church) sent a Mission Team of 20 people to the Bahamas to minister to Haitian Refugee children. On their first two days, they have encountered heavy rains, lightning and thunder. Weather is hot and humid. The group has been having difficulty sleeping at night due to the heat, noise of thunder and flying termites. Brownouts are common. The group will be teaching Haitian and Bahamian children though a Vacation Bible School program. There is a lot of interest in the Haitian community to participate, and it is a great opportunity to share the gospel of Christ to them.

Please pray for good weather, good health for our missionaries and success in their mission to share the gospel.

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

July 15, 2009

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Mrs. Mariel Jumangit Luistro from the Philippines gave an update on our church in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. She wrote:

God has prompted one Filipino overseas worker to have regular Bible Studies and worship services in Dubai. Mr. Nitz Malaga, who hails from Oton, Iloilo, began working for DUBAL in the early 1980s. He was introduced to our magazine when he saw a copy in a friend’s house and was baptized in 1986. He was WCG’s lone member then, but by 1990, services were being held in Mr. Malaga’s house using sermon tapes from the UK. In 2000, then UK National Director David Silcox ordained Mr. Malaga as Dubai’s pioneer pastor.

Group in Dubai

In 2008, Mr. Malaga turned over the responsibility of senior pastor to Mr. Cesar Dela Paz. The pastoral team now includes Mr. Dela Paz, Mr. Malaga, Mr. Loi Lotero, Mr. Jay Ryan Manzano, and Ms. Cielo Vidal. Philippines National Director Eugene Guzon had ordained Mr. Dela Paz in 2007 during the first WCG festival in Dubai.

CGI Dubai is working on a children’s ministry. A newly acquired curriculum for teaching children will be inaugurated next month. A long-thriving Bible study small group hosted by the De Guzman family meets every Monday. Mr. Dela Paz initiated last year a Bible study group in Fujairah that also meets every Monday. He plans to have more Bible study small groups in various areas to reach most of the members and to reach out to others on weekdays.

Regular services in Dubai are held on Fridays, with approximately 50 in attendance. We have also seen several baptisms in recent months, and we have emerging small groups not only in Sharjah, but also in Abu Dhabi and Oman through Mr. and Mrs. Arji Cruz.

Mr. Guzon met with a group of members in Abu Dhabi the first week of July.

Crossing Borders mission camp

From Lee Berger:

For the fourth year in a row, Crossing Borders mission camp reached out across the Mexican border with the good news of Jesus Christ. We’re grateful that our denomination sponsors this camp that provides opportunities for the attendees to see how God is working in other cultures.

Congregation at outdoor church service at Pallet City
Congregation at outdoor church service at Pallet City

With ongoing American news media reports of violence at the border and of swine flu, we did our homework in advance to make sure our attendees would be safe. We found that border violence in Nuevo Laredo (where we conduct our ministry work) had decreased by about 75% in the past couple of years (although other areas of the border have unfortunately seen an increase). Also, there had been no confirmed cases of swine flu within 200 miles of our location. So we were glad to get the green light to proceed with the mission outreach camp. Unfortunately, many other church-related groups cancelled their ministry work into all parts of Mexico for the summer, leaving a large hole in the physical and spiritual provisions for our cross-border neighbors.

Hunger Rescue converted ambulance for feeding homeless
Hunger Rescue converted ambulance for feeding homeless

During the weeklong camp, we participated in a variety of ministry programs. One day we helped distribute bulk food supplies to about 60 pastors and ministry leaders to take back to their people. Later we handed out individual cooked meals and hygiene supplies to several dozen homeless people living behind garbage dumpsters, on street corners, in parks and under bridges.

One of the homeless was a woman who had formerly been the wife of a pastor. She had made some bad decisions, falling into immorality and addiction, and now living alone on the streets. She felt totally separated from God, worthless and abandoned by her former friends. She insisted that God did not love her and would not listen to her anymore because of her actions. It broke our hearts as we tried to convey to her that God still loves her very much and has never stopped loving her even for an instant. Unfortunately, so far her shame, guilt and performance-based religious teachings are blinding her to seeing God’s loving face and feeling his arms embracing her.

Consuelo Orduño and other helpers at children’s church service
Consuelo Orduño and other helpers at children’s church service

During the camp, we became aware that many people are not assured of God’s love. They are missing out on the crux of the gospel, so we tried to share the love of the Father in the Son through the Spirit with everyone we met.

Crossing Borders group photo
Crossing Borders group photo

Other activities included feeding large numbers of people, helping with adult and children’s teaching services, praying with people, distributing gospel tracts, skits and music in the public parks, a construction project, and more. As a new activity this year, we added two afternoons of conducting a Vacation Bible School for the children of a poverty-stricken “pallet city,” where hundreds of small homes are made of refuse materials and there is no running water and no electricity. Consuelo and Pedro Orduño and Lucero Villarreal put together an excellent program, and the children thoroughly enjoyed their Bible lessons, songs, games and snacks.

Although the temperatures were very hot and the conditions sometimes uncomfortable, our 17 attendees came away with a new love for all of God’s children and an increased appreciation for sharing God’s transformational truth of his love for everyone.

To find out more about next summer’s camp and our winter shoebox ministry, go to www.cbmission.org or call Lee Berger at 903-653-0992.


From Gary Moore:

We were in Alberta most of the week for the summer camp held at the Silver Meadows Camp northwest of Edmonton. There were 100 campers and staffers, who enjoyed a positive camp experience in spite of the rain and cooler weather. For three days in the middle of the week, a mini-camp was held for about 10 pre-teens. During one afternoon a number of campers went into the local community and visited a seniors’ residence, playing games and talking with the seniors all afternoon. In this way, the loving environment of the camp – a love that comes from God – was extended beyond the camp community.

Attendance at the camp has been rising each of the last couple of years, and includes a significant number of grandchildren of members, friends of teens, and even a few who have no Christian background. When I think of the key concepts of Trinitarian theology – that our Triune God lives in loving relationship, and draws us into that relationship of love – it is clear that the camp is in harmony with what we are all about. We are called not to do our own ministry on Christ’s behalf, but rather to enter into his ministry, and that was happening at Silver Meadows Camp this year!

SilverMeadows . 15SilverMeadows2 .

Photos: 1) The main camp building. 2) A mini-camper learning to draw a bow. 3) Willy Clack at bat. Willy has been a part of the camp staff in South Africa for many years, and travelled to North America for the first time to visit our Silver Meadows camp. He introduced the campers to the great sport of cricket.

Prayer Requests and Updates

Lee Berger sent this update regarding his cousin, Carlton Marshall.

Many of you know about Carlton from previous prayer requests and updates, and our family wants to share some great news with you.

For background, Carlton is a police officer in Dallas, Texas, on the SWAT team. During a drug raid in October 2007, Carlton was shot and nearly died on site. By a miracle he was saved and taken to the hospital for critical surgery.

The bullet basically paralyzed him, then he had a blood clot in his lung, a major stroke and then meningitis. So he was paralyzed in all limbs, and he became deaf. This was a heavy blow for his wife, Susan, and their two small children, Joseph and Jessica. Through God’s amazing grace and Carlton’s determination and courage, he has worked extremely hard and has regained limited use of all his limbs. He has received wonderful support from his loving wife (she is also a Dallas police officer), other family, his police friends, neighbors, church family and his overall community. He normally functions from a wheelchair, although he can walk short distances on a walker. He has cochlear implants in his skull so he can now “hear” somewhat. He lives at home and travels to physical therapy three days a week. His goal is to rejoin the police force as an active officer in a training/consulting capacity, and to be able to be a husband and father to his wife and children.

Now for the latest news flash: Carltons’ family has been chosen to have their home rebuilt by Extreme Makeover—Home Edition, the hit ABC TV show! The theme for this coming season is “Heroes” – very fitting.

Ty Pennington and his team showed up on Carlton’s doorstep July 10 and called them outside with their bullhorn. It was a total surprise to the family. On Saturday the family heads to Disneyland. Sunday the old house is demolished, and on Thursday the new house will be unveiled – all in less than a week. Many, many people have prayed for Carlton and his family over the past 21 months, and he has remarked to us on multiple occasions that he is amazed and humbled by the outpouring of love and support. Now, having a new home outfitted for his physical condition will be an added amazing blessing. Thank God for all he has done and continues to do in this situation! We don’t know yet when the show will air, but we’ll try to keep everyone updated as we get details. Pass this great news on to anyone you want.

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

July 8, 2009

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Preceding the UK Board of Trustees meeting, I delivered a sermon in our Birmingham, England, congregation. Their choir sang three hymns and we enjoyed a potluck following the church service. Mike Feazell visited our Glasgow, Scotland, congregation and our Coulsdon church in south London.

8Birmingham Mission Singers . 8Birmingham church 4 July 2009

From CAD:

8multiplicationChurch Multiplication Ministries has developed Church Next Training, a training event focused on the key principles and skills necessary for starting and sustaining new, Christ-centered, disciple-making congregations. These principles are also relevant for helping established churches continue to grow in ministry effectiveness and in developing environments that produce new churches.

This year, Church-Next Training will be conducted August 24-28 at the Pinecrest Christian Conference Center in Twin Peaks, California, in the mountains north of San Bernardino.

Please share with your ministry leaders the information provided with the form linked to this weekly update. Sam Butler, district pastoral leader in Michigan, is being sponsored by congregations in his district to attend this training event. Perhaps your congregation or district can help sponsor someone to attend Church-Next Training and learn how we can work together to start new churches.

For more details and to register online for Church-Next Training, go to cmm.wcg.org.

Info: http://www.wcg.org/events/twinpeaks.htm
Flyer: http://www.wcg.org/events/CNT%20Pinecrest%2009.pdf
Online Registration: http://www.wcg.org/go/cmm09ca


From Mission Developer Kalengule Kaoma:

8Zimbabwe11I returned from Zimbabwe two days ago. The visit went very well and I was able to see members in Chitungwiza, Harare, Domoboshawva, Chegutu, and Bulawayo. I spoke at a combined worship service in Chitungwiza, where members from most Zimbabwean congregations attended. Most of them are well. In recent past, we made prayer requests for Zimbabwe and on behalf of our Zimbabwean brethren. Thanks for your prayers. This is a prayer update.

Praise be to God who has intervened in the lives of Zimbabweans. What a difference there is from last year. Last year, people were starving, suffering from cholera, and tension was in the air. Today, there is relative peace. There is less intimidation between political parties. Supermarkets are almost full with essential commodities from neighboring countries, especially South Africa. It is really a breath of fresh air.

The Zimbabwean dollar has been suspended and no longer in use. Citizens lost all their multi-trillion Zimbabwean dollar accounts. Depending on where you are in Zimbabwe, South African rand and USA dollars are now the official and dominant currencies being used for trading, commerce, and services.

Mealie meal (corn meal, which is a staple food), cooking oil, beef, chicken, goat, pork, bath soap, all sorts of groceries, petrol, diesel, etc., are now available. Instead of multi-million percent inflation per annum, there is now a deflation figure of -2 percent. The challenge Zimbabweans are facing now is a lack of cash. Finding a dollar is a big job in itself. Civil servants are earning $100 per month across the board.

Many lack food, not because it is not available, but because they don’t have money to buy it. Please continue praying for our brothers and sisters. Zimbabweans are determined people.

8zimbabwe22Members are looking forward to the upcoming Family Festival in October. The youth are planning a national youth career guidance camp August 18-23. Pastor Joseph Mpofu, Zimbabwe National Ministry Leader, is conducting a Ministerial Trainee Program every quarter for interested people. Joe Mpofu has been visiting Zimbabwean congregations and has really put in a lot of effort to rekindle the fire among members.

While in Domboshawva, Joseph Mpofu presented a Shona Bible to one of our faithful members. She danced with joy. She said, “I was born on twentieth May, 1940. All my life, I have never owned a Bible. Today, I have my own Bible! Thank you very much.”

In Bulawayo, Senior Pastor Denny Mpande invited me to direct his Outreach Speech Club. Invited guests and regular club members all enjoyed a luncheon, after which club business was conducted. There is a lot of interest in club members who are not members of WCG. Pastor Mpande plans to invite more people from the community.

Thanks so much to everyone for their prayers and support!

Jacksonville, Florida

8FLChurch members, families and guests from Florida and Georgia gathered in Jacksonville, Florida, for a two-day Reconciliation Workshop June 27-28. The seminar was presented by ORM (Office of Reconciliation Ministries) director Curtis May, who was accompanied by his wife Jannice.

Just over 70 members from a variety of ethnic and cultural backgrounds gathered at the Jacksonville Christian Family Fellowship building for the presentations and discussions. Topics presented included “Jesus’ Dream and His Ministry of Reconciliation,” ORM promotional videos, “Inventions & Contributions of African-Americans,” “Different Types of Conflict and Broken Relationships,” and “Solutions and Ways to Be an Ally for Healing.”

As shown in this photo of the ORM Resource Table, a variety of helpful resources were made available, including videos, booklets, the book Mending Broken Relationships, newsletters and handouts.

Host Pastor Marty Davey of Jacksonville commented how the workshop addressed reconciliation in three key ways: recognition and repentance of our individual and national faults, inspiration and encouragement in moving forward, and information and resources for recognizing the need for and accomplishing reconciliation.

Several neighboring GCI pastors were able to attend as part of their continuing education goals and for their personal instruction and inspiration.


From Lawrence Parane

8SEPBacolod111This year’s youth camp in Bacolod May 30 to June 2 kicked off the theme, “Breaking Barriers,” by focusing on Romans 15:1-15. Sixty-five spiritual lives were renewed and energized. The campers were grouped into levels instead of dorms. There were 36 campers for Levels 1 and 2, comprised mostly of first-timers, 20 members of Level 3 (facilitators); and 4 kiddy campers.

The topics were “The Love for God” (taken from Romans 8:31-39), and “Formed for God’s Family” (taken from Hebrews 2:10), by Pastor Rex Dela Peña.

8SEPBacolod22The camp was not just filled with fun and educational activities, it was also a nature trip, embracing and adoring the Lord’s enchantingly picturesque creation! The campers had an adventurous two-kilometer trek to the Hidden Valley and had time to meditate at the Pine Tree Farm.

Some of the highlights were the baptism of five people during the camp, the Royal Banquet, where the campers experienced some fine dining as culinary expert Chef Jun prepared fine entrés and hors d’oeuvres together with Maitre-d’ Jomel Dimarucut. The same night, talented campers showcased their God-given abilities at the Variety Show. It was truly an SEP to remember!

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

July 1, 2009

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,


Please join me in extending congratulations to our Zimbabwe Ministry Leader, Joseph Mpofu, and his wife, Gladys, who celebrated their 42nd wedding anniversary on Thursday June 18. Bulawayo Senior Pastor Denny Mpande, who was the best man at their wedding 42 years ago, attended the celebration.

2010 International Conference, July 22-25

Save the date! The 2010 International Conference is scheduled for Thursday through Sunday, July 22-25. (The day preceding the conference, Wednesday, July 21, will be a day of meetings for church pastors.) The format for the conference will be similar to our previous international conference. Details, speakers and agenda will be forthcoming. We know that budgets are always tight, but we are committed to keeping costs low.

Lexington, Kentucky regional conference

It was a delight to rejoice with nearly 300 enthusiastic people at our Lexington, Kentucky regional conference. I flew to Lexington immediately after returning to the U.S. from Australia, where our Australian, New Zealand and Fiji pastors met in Caloundra, Queensland for their winter conference.

1Lexington . 1lexingtoncenter . 1Lexingtonright


From Pastor Dennis Lawrence:

Mark Yandt, a young man who has been involved in our camp program from when he was very young (his parents, Randy and Tina (van der Polder), ran the water ski program for years), is riding a bicycle across Canada to raise funds for our eastern Canadian camp – Camp Connections. He has done a lot of the work to make it happen and has obtained many wonderful sponsors, leading to the prospect of significant funds to be raised. He left Victoria on June 17 and seems to be doing very well. His almost daily blog, depending on whether he stops where he has internet access, is interesting. The web address is: www.crosscanada2009.ca.


Sacramento, California, Pastor Mike Swagerty and his wife, Sandy, visited the Bogota and the Barranquilla, Columbia, congregations June 10 to 16. Mission Developer Hector Barrero sent this report:

1Prayer group Bogota . 1Attendance Bogota . 1Servants Bogotar

Thursday and Friday nights we got together first with the youth leaders and then with the leaders of the Bogota congregation. The next day Sandy, Mike, Paulina and I took a one-hour flight to visit the Barranquilla congregation, where over 100 people gathered for afternoon services. The congregation usually meets on Sundays, but on this occasion they met on Saturday since Mike also wanted to visit the congregation in Bogota. The same day we went back to Bogota, where we attended services on Sunday morning. Mike presented a sermon on sister churches, the same sermon he presented in Barranquilla. That night we went back to church because two couples were being married and four others were renewing their marriage vows. It was a ceremony attended by more than 140 people, including relatives of the couples and church members.

Mike and Sandy were impressed with the kindness and happiness of our people, and all of us appreciated their visit.

1Wedding11 . 1Renewalsc . 1Wedding22

South Africa

1face2faceThe Church in South Africa has launched a new bi-monthly magazine, Face to Face (F2F). It will be sent initially to all members and coworkers in South Africa, but the plan is to expand circulation to include nominal Christians and unchurched people. F2F replaces the African edition of the Worldwide News, which was primarily for members. F2F will focus on mission and outreach, making Christianity relevant to Africans as they go about their lives, incorporating our new understanding of Trinitarian theology.

Members are encouraged to distribute the magazine as and how they see fit. F2F has also been advertised on some local radio stations where the church has a short broadcasting time slot. We are broadcasting five-minute and half-hour messages on three radio stations in South Africa, with one more planned for July. We are in negotiations with another two. During the broadcast we offer a free copy of F2F magazine, and we have already received some encouraging response. F2F is receiving about 100 requests for subscriptions each month, so at this rate the current circulation of 1500 could double within a year. The only thing holding us back is cost.

The magazine is based on Christian Odyssey, with some material contributed by local writers. Other articles are reprinted from the Canadian Northern Light and the British magazine.

F2F is edited by Hilary and Eben Jacobs, assisted by Shaun and Sandra de Greeff in technical areas. Although circulation is limited mainly to South Africa at present, copies are sent to senior pastoral leaders in Botswana, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Swaziland, Kenya and other nations in Africa.

Denmark and Estonia

From Pastor Carl Frederick Aas:18Carl Aas

I recently sent out the information and booking forms for our autumn festival in Åjang, Sweden. Three camping villas are already booked or reserved. I have also received bookings for five wooden cabins, and one booking for a small cottage. I have never received so many bookings so early!

In May I visited Denmark and we had meetings in Fredericia and in Copenhagen. We also had the yearly official church assembly where we ratified the accounts for the Danish church. At the meeting I met Jefferson Davis who is now working in a restaurant in Copenhagen.

I am on my way back from Estonia, starting to write this newsletter on the bus from Tartu to Tallinn. We had a public lecture on Wednesday evening June 3 in Tartu, where about 35 people attended. I discussed difficult scriptures, which was my second lecture on this topic. In Tartu, Estonia, where we were staying, we have held summer school for the Estonian youth three years in a row. On Wednesday, the last day of the normal school year, all 100 pupils of the school assembled. The principal and mayor of the town gave speeches and handed out diplomas and certificates to the pupils for work well done during the school year. Then I was introduced and on behalf of the church presented ten scholarships to ten pupils the principal and local English teacher had chosen. They chose nine pupils who had the best grades in English and one pupil who had improved the most during the school year. I gave a short speech reminding the pupils that they should carpe diem (which in Latin means “seize the day”, or “make the most of every day”). I encouraged them to use their youth to prepare themselves for their future. After this official ceremony I had a meeting with the mayor, principal of the school and the English teacher concerning this year’s summer school project. This year two neighboring towns have asked if they can send their youth to our summer school. Last year we had about 40 pupils, and depending on how many from the neighboring towns will attend, we might have twice as many as attended last year.

Yesterday I returned from Bergen and Stavanger. I had meetings in both places. I was happy to see Reidar Lie in Stavanger. He looked well but is feeling weaker. The doctors have confirmed that he has cancer that has spread to many parts of his body and that they cannot do anything for him. He said he has lived a long life and he accepts God’s will in his life. I ask for your prayers for him and his family.


May 26 to June 1 marked a wonderfully successful SEP Cebu. “Included, accepted and loved” became the theme and guiding principle or rationale behind every service and activity at the camp. The activities staff planned and prepared well.

1cebu meal left . 1cebu included accepted loved center . 1cebu baptism rt

Prayer Requests and Updates

Brian Spurgeon, GCI elder and son of deceased long-time Pasadena employee, Jackie Spurgeon, requests prayers for his mother, Dosha. He wrote, in part:

The biopsy results came out negative. I spoke with my mom yesterday by phone and she said that she is cautiously optimistic. Since the biopsy her lungs, have increased fluid again and she doesn’t breathe easily. The nurses are having her get up and walk to help decrease the fluid. I thank God for what He has done so far and I ask that we all continue to pray for her complete healing. The hospital is:

San Antonio Community Hospital
999 San Bernardino Road
Upland, CA 91786

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

June 24, 2009

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Pastoral Conference in Queensland, Australia

Mike Feazell and I attended our Australian elders conference last weekend in Caloundra, Queensland. There were 90 elders and wives in attendance. Mike and I continued the study of Trinitarian theology, and Dr. Dennis Gordon, whose articles you have seen in Christian Odyssey, presented “Creation Perspectives.”

OZ1 . oz2

Busy time for the Kissee family.24Joe&Rachel

Kaye and I have experienced a remarkably busy spring. First our youngest son, Joseph proposed for marriage in December, and the wedding was set for May 9. Rachel and Joe planned a wonderful event for their marriage. Kaye and I felt a special blessing in how Joe and Rachel met. We cherish her family and the bond in marriage her parents have. On the day of the Rehearsal dinner, we had a storm move through that cut off our electricity and did minor damage. Our electricity came back on a few hours before the dinner and this combined with how Kaye planned ahead made for a marvelous evening. After the storm, the weather was just perfect. The wedding was set in the country on a beautiful Saturday evening. We are excited to welcome Rachel into our family.

24Janna & NateJune 7 was another eventful day not the least of which was Kaye and my fortieth wedding anniversary. But this event was made more thrilling and memorable with our daughter, Janna’s wedding. Her wedding was smaller and the setting was our side yard. Janna and Nate were so pleased to have an outdoor wedding. The speed of their wedding was similar to the speed of Kaye and my wedding back in 1969, proposal in late April and wedding in June. Short planning times aren’t recommended, but the wedding was beautiful. We are thrilled to embrace Nate as a part of our family. And lastly I spent time preparing for retirement after 40 years coming in late June.

Blessings, Jim


More than 100 young people and 27 staff attended a youth discipleship retreat May 14-16, at the Villa Julia Resort in Cavite. The theme of the camp was “Inside Out,” based on Romans 12:1-2.

24Cavite1 . 24Cavite3 . Cavite

Forty campers from Iloilo, Antique and Aklan attended the mini-Summer Enrichment Program May 8 – 10 The theme of the camp revolved around Jeremiah 1: 4 – 10 “Known and Chosen.”

24Iloilo2 . 24Iloilo1


From National Ministry Leader Emmanuel Okai:

In Accra, our new Ashongman congregation had a great celebration on Sunday May 31. With a service full of hymns, anthems and praises, about 170 members and their kids had an inspiring day. After the service, we had lunch for all the members, and fellowship continued until late in the afternoon. In addition, we unveiled and dedicated several items we had acquired since the start of the year: a generator, an electrical inverter (both as stand-by for electrical outages during church services), a new lectern; robes for ushers; and choir robes! We were also happy to know that our three pioneer sponsored students have last week-end completed the Bachelor of Theology degree course at the Trinity Theological Seminary here in Accra, the first graduates since Emmanuel and Monica Sogbo graduated from AU nearly 20 years ago! We are continuing the sponsorship program in the knowledge that people who are properly trained are better equipped to help move the church forward as we expand and grow.


National Ministry Leader Gardner Kunje reported that Pastor Fadereck Nihaka from the Blantyre congregation visited the Bunda church as a guest speaker. “The Bunda congregation here in Lilongwe metropolitan is a growing church,” Gardner wrote. “There was a lot of excitement. We baptized ten people.”


From National Ministry Leader Dr. Inyambo Nyumbu:

Our four Lusaka congregations, totaling 196, met for a combined Pentecost service. Brethren shared their enthusiasm through music and warm fellowship. This year’s Pentecost celebration coincided with the launch of Central congregation’s move from a rented classroom to its recently acquired piece of land. Being together once in a while for a combined service helps us keep the coals of friendship and brotherly love kindled. We are already looking forward to our weekend family festival in August.

24Zambia3 . 24Zambia4 . 24Zambia1

Prayer Request

Please remember that prayer is the battleground where we fight the good fight. Let’s encourage everyone to join together in prayer. Additional spiritual disciplines such as fasting and study draw us closer to God and strengthen us for what we must do. When more of us prepare individually, the stronger we move together collectively.

Love from my family to yours,
Joseph Tkach

June 17, 2009

16jackdilloncalvertDear Brothers and Sisters in Christ

Please join me in extending hearty congratulations to the family of Ted and Donna Johnston on the birth of grandson Jack Dillon Calvert. Mom Traci, Dad Troy, sister Lauren and baby Jack are all doing well...

Denver Conference

While the Denver conference is our smallest gathering, it is still one of the most enthusiastic. We enjoyed the worship, the fellowship and the messages. Continue reading “June 17, 2009”

June 10, 2009

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

As I write, I am returning home from the annual Canadian ministerial conference, which was held in Edmonton, Alberta. The weather was wonderful, the fellowship was even better and the sessions were the talk of many of our conversations. We had Gary and Cathy Deddo as guest speakers for two afternoons. While at the conference, we also held our Board of Trustees meetings.


Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Pastor John Wayne Bailey writes:

Over the Memorial weekend Dan Rogers visited our church. He was excited about what we are doing with other churches in eastern Iowa for the 1st anniversary of the great flood.

Next Friday night many of the churches will be sponsoring an evening barbecue. Our church will be with two other churches in the area to serve an area downtown. We expect hundreds of people to come and join us. Everything will be free to the public. The churches are furnishing all food. There will be no reference to church at all. It is just a way we can show people God’s love.

The next weekend will be the big one. We expect many thousands of people throughout eastern Iowa and other states to join us. Our church will be heavily involved in this “Heal the Heartland Celebration.” It will start on Friday night and end Sunday evening. There are about 30 churches to serve this festival. We will have many tents set up on the grounds. It will include hospitals, employment résumé help, counseling, prayers, and much more.

Featured at this affair are a Mike Hagen national strength team, a professional skateboard team, music by The Newsboys and Barlow Girl, guest evangelists, sports events, activities for small children, professional skateboarding exhibits, a big band concert, a Cedar Rapids Kernals baseball game, food vendors, basketball exhibitions, and more than 50 booths.

Our little fellowship (Family of Faith Community Church of Cedar Rapids, Iowa) is assisting in parking, praying, counseling follow-up and much more. Some of our members are driving about 100 miles one way to be here for the weekend.

We feel this is a great opportunity for Grace Communion International to shine in our area. We need prayers that things go God’s way.


Youth Camp concluded on Monday, June 8, after four days of inspiration, recreation, friendships and new experiences. Fifty-seven youth campers and 33 adult staff from Florida and Georgia participated. Although there was one day of rain requiring a few schedule changes, most of the weather was pleasant, activities took place as scheduled, and the Lord’s protection, safety and blessing was always upon us.

10sep-photo-of-group-2009As part of our Spiritual Enrichment Program, daily chapel messages focused on analogies and lessons from C.S. Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe as dramatized by a recent Disney film. Teens and pre-teens were able to reflect on what Jesus does for them through this unique teaching tool. At the conclusion of camp, the young people were encouraged to speak with their pastors in their home churches about giving their lives to Jesus and following that up with baptism.

Activities included a zip line and climbing wall, outdoor swimming pool, canoeing and kayaking on the lake, children’s sports and games, basketball, volleyball, BB gun range, archery, arts and crafts, talent show night, dance night, a block party and a novelty-events race. On the last day, the entire group went to Wildwaters Water Park in Ocala to enjoy the numerous water slides and wave pool. Campers were well fed, as church volunteers prepared and served an abundance of food and filling meals.

Next year’s SEP Florida is scheduled for the first weekend in June. Because of the reasonable price we pay to rent the camp, we can keep our camp costs at only $135 per camper for the entire four days. Campers can secure a spot by applying in advance by clicking on the “applications” button at our website, www.sepflorida.com. For more information, call camp director Marty Davey at 904-406-9022.


From Rod Matthews:

10pakistan33In a recent email from our ministry partner in Faisalabad, Dr. Muqaddam Zia, he mentioned that the fighting between the Pakistan military and the Taliban has created a huge exodus of refugees from the Swat, Dir, Buneer and Malakund regions of northwestern Pakistan. Dr. Zia wrote,

The residents of these areas are migrating to safer regions like Mardan, Charsadda and Peshawar. According to United Nation sources, one million people are estimated to be displaced from their places of residence. The Swat crisis is termed as the largest humanitarian and displacement crisis in recent times. About 96% of these [people] are living out in open air. Many of them are children. They are facing a great lack of food, water and shelter.
“….. we have about 23 house churches in this area. Our ministry coordinator has just made a phone call to me that they are planning to move to Mardan city, which is a safer area. There will be 500‐600 believers traveling with him. There is no transport available, so they will be coming down by foot for about 78 kilometers. Please join us in prayer for the security of these precious souls. I will keep you updated as soon as I hear back from him.

10pakistan11In the meantime, the Alpha Bible Church, Dr. Zia’s primary congregation, has planted four more congregations in the Punjab Province in the last month, including one in a village near Jaranwala city. Twenty-four new believers have been baptized.

A pastoral seminar was conducted and some much need ministry equipment, such as bicycles and Bibles, were distributed to some of their fellow workers.
The sewing school established in the Alpha Bible Church building in Faisalabad for young women is going well. The vocational training enables teenagers and young women to become skilled in making clothes for sale so they are not limited to employment as housemaids in the general community, where they are often abused. The Australian churches and members contributed over $1000 to purchase 15 hand‐driven sewing machines and materials needed to start the program. Further monies will be sent to help with the cost of instructors and building the stock of materials and equipment to help make this a permanent service to young Christian girls. Another goal is to add literacy classes in Urdu and English for these young people.



Mr. and Mrs. Tsungo, farmers in Rusape, Zimbabwe. Mr.Tsungo also serves as chairman of the WCG Zimbabwe Board.
Mr. and Mrs. Tsungo, farmers in Rusape, Zimbabwe. Mr.Tsungo also serves as chairman of the WCG Zimbabwe Board.

From Zimbabwe National Ministry Leader Joseph Mpofu:

I was visiting our church areas up north. The highlight was in Domboshawva where I visited with Phil Kashumba. We had 10 baptisms in one day; ages ranged from teen to nearly 70! Day before, I attended services and talked to a smiling appreciative group of youth. On my way to the east, I fellowshipped with a farming couple, studied Bible and helped to feed goats and hens. Wherever I went, I found brethren appreciative of God’s mercies. Most of our members are in need of Bibles in their language.

Joseph Mpofu (middle with sun hat in hand) standing with some of the baptized members.

Pray update

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

June 3, 2009

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

25-year anniversaries6matjoe221

We recently had the privilege of marking another milestone for one of our hard-working employees. At an employee lunch on May 28, we honored Mat Morgan for 25 years of service. He has been a great example of an employee who sought the training and did the work that would help him become an increasingly useful asset for the denominational offices. He has done a fine job, from working in the Auditorium, to facilitating the sale of our Pasadena properties, and now as church treasurer.

We also surprised Nancy Akers, executive assistant in Church Administration & Development, with appreciation for her 25 years of work. She received a plaque and watch earlier this year at the conference in Agoura Hills, CA.

Ft. Myers, Florida

Pastoral team member Hugh Steiginga of Abundant Grace Fellowship, our congregation in Ft. Myers, Florida, reported a recent fish fry. Here is a synopsis:

We had 23 for our worship service. About 15 were guests, including ten first-timers. About 150 came to the fish fry afterward.

Robert, a Christian who has been cooking for us, came with his crew from the Pine Island area. His church recently shut down and he wants to be involved in feeding and helping the homeless. He brought with him 100 pounds of fresh grouper and supplied the French fries as well. Ken and Mary supplied burgers and hot dogs and others in the congregation supplied cole slaw. Potato chips and drinks were also provided. It was quite a set-up with the barbeque grill cooking burgers and hot dogs and deep fryers cooking the grouper and fries. We had four cooks.

Near the end of the day Robert came over and we started to chat. He said he would like to do something like this every Sunday. I asked him if he was serious and he said yes. He said he could supply the food and we could supply the place to meet and serve it. Long story short, we are going to try to do something like this more often.


Hector Barrero writes:

About 35 from different regions of Peru came together for a three-day seminar in Lima May 22-24. Leaders from Pucallpa traveled 18 hours by bus to be with us. Others from Piura and Trujillo traveled 12 and 8 hours. Friday, May 22, members approved the documents to officially register the church in Peru. The name of the church will be “Comunion Peruana de la Gracia.” Saturday and Sunday morning we spoke on mission and vision, church growth principles, small groups, how to train small group leaders, how to conduct church services and other support structures. Sunday afternoon we spoke on Trinitarian theology. We closed the seminar with the Lord´s Supper.

Pastors Jose Kasum, Carlos Morote and Eduardo Castro showed interest in taking ACCM classes. I told the group that in about three months I will send Yesid Perez, a leader member of our Bogota congregation, to train them in how to start small groups using discipleship materials we are using in our small groups in Bogota.

3lima-members11 . 3from-pucallpa331 . 3the-groupin-peru11


Rod Matthews wrote:

In mid February, Wong Mein Kong, Malaysian pastor and pastoral coordinator for Myanmar, visited Yangon and met with our pastor from the north, Naing Key Har, and three members from our delta area congregation, including two sons of group leader Saw Htoo Plow.who-is-this11

Wong Mein Kong wrote:

The sons told me their father had a fall last December and injured his back, and as a result he has been bedridden and cannot walk. Their mother was diagnosed with a tumor in her stomach. The house of one of the sons still needs repairs to the roof after the damage due to Cyclone Nargis last May. Funds were relayed to the family for emergency assistance to repair their homes last year, but some was diverted to help the surviving family members of another brother who died in the cyclone. His son also has an eye problem that needs medical attention. So I gave them further financial aid for home repairs and the medical needs of his parents and his son.

Naing Key Har reported that the farms of three families in Chin State were destroyed in a landslide and the homes of two families were destroyed by fire. The members in one village asked for help in buying construction materials for their church building. Further assistance was sent through Naing Key Har to help these members.

Wong Mein Kong continued:who-is-this21

We also discussed how the delta members should continue meeting even as Saw Htoo Plow, the leader of the group all this while, is incapacitated. Other pastoral issues and needs of the group were discussed, including worship music CDs or tapes, sermon outlines, and children’s Bible study materials. I asked Naing Key Har to visit the members in the delta the following week to encourage them and give guidance on meeting as a small group with greater shared responsibilities among the members.

For the first time, Tluang Kung met with the group. He is a young man from northern Myanmar who had been sponsored through seminary in India by one of the Australian congregations, and has now returned home to assist in the pastoring of local churches under his father. We came in contact with his father and another pastor of the Church of God Myanmar (no connection with WCG) several years ago at their request. Upon his return from India, Tluang Kung was asked by the church elders there to start a small Bible school to train local people in ministry, so he is very busy.

Wong Mein Kong said that he did a good job in translating during the various discussions. He added:

I gave some Christian books to Tluang Kung that he requested. He politely asked if we could help his seminary in some way. I basically told him that we could help in providing literature and knowledge resourcewho-is-this31s but not financial. He was understanding and not offended. He earnestly asked me to visit Kalaymyo to speak to the elders, leaders and students from all their various congregations. They generally have no training and little experience, and need further training and teaching for the growth of their Churches of God, Myanmar. He feels they would greatly benefit from a seminar or conference if we hold it for them. He told me there are now regular flights between Yangon and Kalaymyo and many foreign tourists go there, so it is quite safe. He said his group would be able to attend for a few days if that was needed. Any time outside of the rainy season (June to October) would be suitable. I told him I was impressed with the idea, and would discuss it further.

Tluang Kung has just completed translating the 10‐lesson Discipleship 101 course (available on the HQ website) into Burmese. This will be particularly valuable for personal study by remote Christians.

Wong Mein Kong concluded, “I am quite pleased about this trip, and I hope future developments will work for the growth of both WCG and the Church of God Myanmar.”

Prayer Update

Prayer is the battleground where we fight the good fight. Let’s encourage everyone to join together in prayer. Additional spiritual disciplines such as fasting and study draw us closer to God and strengthen us. When more of us prepare individually, the stronger we move together.

Love from my family to yours,
Joseph Tkach