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Prayer Request

The following is a prayer request for the family of Takalani Musekwa, the regional director of Southern Africa.

Last month, Takalani and Margaret’s eldest son, Francois, was attacked at his home by armed men, who shot him in the abdomen and leg. They then took him with his car to a deserted spot and demanded a ransom and threatened to kill him if not paid. The car tracker company and the police responded quickly and managed to rescue him.

After spending more than two weeks in the hospital in critical condition, Francois died Saturday, April 6. Our hearts are breaking for the Musekwa family. Join us in praying for them.

Meet Mary Robinson

“Any job that God has given you to do will be a blessing for you and everyone involved. Know that what may seem like a failed event to you is God getting you ready for his future work through you. So just keep working.”

Check out the latest GCI Profile to get to know Mary Robinson, Love Avenue Champion in Ladson, South Carolina. To read her full profile, click here or the image below.

Black History Celebration

On February 24, the GCI Los Angeles congregation held its Black Heritage Celebration worship service, hosted by my wife, Gloria Brooks, and me.

As is the case every year, the theme was Jesus — he is the focal point of Black history and the reason we celebrate. We also integrated the RCL theme, “Trusting in God’s Faithfulness.”

After opening with worship singing and announcements, we offered a prayer of unity. This was followed by a song from our women’s praise team, a poem reading, and a special solo.

We provided two messages. In “There’s More to the Story,” Gloria explained that Black history is more than just the story of slaves being freed. It is also about God’s faithfulness and grace and deliverance for all people. My message, “The Abolitionists,” acknowledged the prominent Black people and white people who opposed slavery but emphasized that Jesus is the absolute abolitionist and liberator.

The service concluded with a worship offering, a final worship song and closing prayer. All of this was followed by great food and fellowship. Special thanks to Leonard and Celestine Olive for capturing the wonderful photos of the event. Overall, the joyful Spirit of God permeated our gathering, and we are so thankful to everyone who joined the celebration!

Steven Brooks, Pastor
Los Angeles, CA, US

Focus on Avenues

Last month, GC Steele Creek provided a presentation we called, “A Whole New World of Avenues.” The purpose was to increase understanding of the three Avenues. The event was a collaboration between our Avenue Champions — Michelle Fleming (Hope), Afrika Afeni Mills (Faith), and Stacey Meade (Love).

After our worship service, we shared a homemade soup and salad luncheon. Following lunch and an introduction by Pastor Dishon Mills, each Avenue champion spoke for 15 minutes, giving a summary of their Avenue. Then we divided into three groups for breakout sessions. Each Avenue had its own station, and groups rotated through, learning more about the Avenue with a hands-on activity.

Our fellowship is a newly formed merger between the Steele Creek church plant and the existing Charlotte congregation. We hoped this activity served as a review of the Avenues and to reinforce cohesion.

Stacey (left) with Afrika Mills

Stacey Meade, Love Avenue Champion
Steele Creek, NC, US

Prayer Update

In December, I was diagnosed with tumours on my right lung through an imaging scan. The outlook was bleak as the doctor gave no signs of hope. Then I saw an oncologist in a Kuala Lumpur hospital where another scan was performed. After the scan, I was not allowed to go home as my hemoglobin levels had fallen drastically. I was in bad shape as I was very weak and coughing constantly. I was hospitalized immediately and received a blood transfusion to raise my hemoglobin levels.

The next day the oncologist delivered the news that the scan showed that no other parts of my body were affected. Then I received a ray of hope from the Lord; the oncologist said that from his observation, the tumours could be removed surgically.

The surgeon confirmed that the tumours could be removed surgically. By God’s grace it happened that he was the best thoracic (specializing in the organs of the chest) surgeon in the country. On January 13, the day I was supposed to leave for the GCI gathering in the Philippines, I had the surgery to remove the tumours. Though I was in the intensive care unit the first day, my recovery was without any complications, and I was back home by the end of the week to rest and recuperate.

Genetic tests were performed on the tumors to determine whether I was likely to respond to a certain targeted therapy. Based on the tests, the oncologist prescribed a specific oral medication. I need to take these capsules for some time as a precautionary measure to prevent the cells from replicating. No other treatment is necessary.

I’m steadily improving and regaining strength. I have returned to normal activities and exercise—though for the moment, I’m doing brisk walking rather than running. Also, I’ve returned to my pastoral duties. But I missed seeing everyone in the Philippines.

God’s intervention was apparent; he reached out and pulled me out of the pit when all hope was against me. The situation was so bad that I thought my time was up. But God rescued me in the most miraculous way and restored me.

Thank you so much for all your prayers. Our great triune God has heard all your prayers.

By Devaraj Ramoo, Pastor
Malaysia

UK and Ireland ACCM

It is important that our church leaders are equipped, confident, theologically aware, and spiritually attuned if they are going to model Christ and lead our members to be the healthiest expression of church that we can be. Most of our leaders in the United Kingdom (UK) and Ireland do not have theological training and, of course, not everyone has the time in their busy schedules, nor the inclination to pursue an accredited qualification. That’s where the Ambassador College of Christian Ministry (ACCM) has proved invaluable to us.

This less formal and more flexible approach to the students’ studies, whilst maintaining academic rigour, has been pitched at just the right level for our needs. While challenging, the modules are accessible to students with varying levels of education.

Over the past few years, we have had a group of ministers, congregational leaders, and regular speakers who have benefited from working through various ACCM modules together as a cohort. Their individual study is complemented by monthly Zoom meetings where they discuss the key points of the lesson and exchange ideas from their study, life, and ministry experiences.

This shared learning journey is providing these GCI members with a sound theological foundation for GCI beliefs. And it is enhancing their skills for the practice of ministry on the ground.

In the UK and Ireland, ACCM is a valuable denominational resource that meets the needs of those who want to advance their service in the church as they participate with Jesus in his shepherding of his people.

ACCM is a course of study that I wholeheartedly recommend to anyone wishing to go deeper in their study and application of God’s word and ministry principles. If that’s you, I would encourage you to begin your voyage of discovery. For more information, see our website.

By Barry Robinson, ACCM Instructor & Regional Director Southern England, the Midlands, and Wales

Fisk Wedding Anniversary

Card artwork by Rebecca Strub

We praise God for the wonderful anniversary celebration that GC Big Sandy hosted after our services Sunday, February 11. We were commemorating the 60th wedding anniversary of members Ray and Nancy Fisk! Ray is a retired GCI employee who worked at Ambassador College for many years.

In addition, the City of Big Sandy proclaimed February 9, 2024, as “Ray and Nancy Fisk Day.” Their committed love for one another inspires us all!

By Jerome Ellard, Pastor
Big Sandy, TX, US

 

Meet Octavia Walenciak

“Watching [the people I serve with] be guided into their callings by God is my favorite part…It’s exciting seeing people who were once strangers actively serving and participating together in the church and feeling like they found their people, their home away from home.”

Check out this month’s GCI Profile to get to know Octavia Walenciak, Love Avenue team member in Surrey Hills, Oklahoma. To read her full profile, click here or the image below.