Good News Fellowship, the GCI congregation in Nashville, TN (pastored by Jonathan Stepp) hosts Community Cafe following its worship service each Sunday. The purpose of the Cafe is to feed homeless people with both food and the hope of the good news of God’s grace.
Some homeless or otherwise disadvantaged people walk to the Cafe. Others are driven to the Cafe in the church’s van. Several of the Cafe regulars attend the worship service before the meal, though the meal is available to all, whether they attend church or not.
Each week, the simple, yet tasty and nutritious meal is prepared at home by church members who then bring the food with them to church where it is heated and served in the fellowship hall in the building where the church meets. Here are some pictures.
On September 2, GCI members from Luanda visited Bengo Catete, which is 44 kilometers away. Their goal was to strengthen the members of a new congregation of immigrants being led by Pastor Fragoso. This congregation has 32 members, including children.
The group gathered for worship, meeting in the shade of a large tree. After a sermon from Pastor Oliveira, they received the testimony of a new member (Papa Garcia) who has been a deacon in the Church of the Seventh Day. He shared his thanks to God for inspiring GCI’s pastor general to lead people in the good path of the gospel of Jesus Christ, which has led to this new alliance of churches.
Anthony Mullins who leads GCI Generations Ministries (GenMin) camps and mission trips, submitted the following report.
2011 was a fruitful year! Through the devoted work of 811 volunteer staff we conducted 16 camps and eight short-term mission trips. Through these events we were blessed to join with Jesus in touching the lives of 1098 teens and 1609 children.
Though the numbers in our camps were down a bit, the numbers in our mission trips were up. We thus experienced significant growth overall, despite the weak economy. We are grateful for this growth, but above all, we rejoice that the lives of campers and staff are being transformed. In that regard, it is our experience that one of the primary benefits of our camps and mission trips is in serving as “incubators” for the development of new (and often young) mission-minded GCI leaders.
On behalf of GenMin, I want to thank all our volunteers, and also the members who give their support and prayers. Thanks also to the congregations that ‘loan’ their leaders, that provide scholarships to campers and missionaries, and that, as a congregation, donate to the GC Next Domestic Mission Fund, which helps to fund these events. For more information about how congregations can support GenMin, go to http://genmin.gci.org/donate.htm.
The following report is from Gary Moore, national director for GCI in Canada.
For health reasons, Alan Redmond will be stepping aside at the end of this year as District Superintendent of our western Canadian churches. He will continue to pastor our Winnipeg and Thunder Bay congregations. Alan has done a great job as a D.S. I have appreciated his wisdom, hard work and support as part of our national team. Bill Hall has kindly agreed to take Alan’s place. Bill has worked in the national office and edits the Northern Light magazine. He has also served for a number of years as a pastor.
Todd Martin will be writing a new “Single Page” feature that will appear on our Canadian national website (at www.gcicanada.ca). Todd pastors Harvest Christian Fellowship, the GCI congregation in Abbotsford. He has written regularly for the local paper, and there has been good feedback. Our website will be enriched by Todd’s contributions.
On November 5-6, young members, friends and families from Quebec and Southern Ontario met in Toronto for the annual Volleyball Weekend. The event included a worship service and meal followed the next day by volleyball games in nearby Whitby. Twelve teams participated, with the “Where is Waldo?” team from Ottawa winning the gold medal.
Lee Berger who leads the Generations Ministries Crossing Borders mission submitted this update concerning their upcoming mission trip to Mexico:
I have exciting news! As some of you know, we’ll be heading to Nuevo Laredo, Mexico on December 9-11 for our shoebox delivery mission trip. This is always a wonderful event, but especially this year because immediately after delivering the shoeboxes, four of our group will travel farther inland to Ciudad Victoria. By God’s grace, airline flights have just begun being offered between Nuevo Laredo and Victoria, so we’re flying to avoid the inherent risks of traveling by road.
We’ll be spending four days with Karen Salinas and her group of orphaned and abandoned children. We have visited these children for several years on the border, but about a year ago they were forced to migrate inland to get away from the violence. We are excited to be able to see them again!
We’ll be presenting the kids with gifts, helping them with homework, singing and laughing and praying with them, eating meals together, and hopefully helping Karen with some projects at their home. There is a GCI member in the city, and we will make plans in advance to try to meet up with her. We’ll also try to visit some other ministries in the city. Who knows if God may open new doors for future Crossing Borders mission work?
Please add this to your prayer list. It’s only a month until we leave.
The following report is from Rod Matthews, GCI’s Mission Director for Southern Asia, New Zealand and the Pacific.
Papua New Guinea
I met recently with Pastor Gabriel Mumuga who leads Papua New Guinea Ministries, a network of 25 non-GCI churches located in a rugged and remote part of PNG’s Central Highlands. Pastor Mumuga has been using our Discipleship Course in training pastors and other congregational leaders in his network. He had visited one of our Australian congregations, was very impressed, and met with me to discuss how his network might develop a closer working relationship with us.
A group of GCI members from Fiji, the United States, Australia and New Zealand met in September for the Coral Coast Festival in Fiji. Isei and Va Colati, who pastor the local GCI church served as hosts. This annual festival is the only time Fijian members are able to get together. Special activities included some wonderful theme evenings – first dinner then a few items of entertainment – all themed to one of the countries represented (America, India, Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands). An outstanding aspect of the festival was the music – both the congregational singing and special music presentations which included solo, group and choir songs along with dramatic and traditional dancing. Dennis Richards, a GCI pastor in New Zealand, served as guest speaker.
New Zealand and Sri Lanka
Back in March, Christchurch, New Zealand was devastated by a second major earthquake in six months. Members of GCI’s congregation there were directly affected, suffering loss and breakage of household goods. Two members have been unable to continue living in their homes. Nevertheless, in a living example of John 17:35, our members in Christchurch sent financial aid to those suffering from earthquakes in India and Nepal, and flooding in Pakistan! Also thanks to the generosity of our members in New Zealand, our booklet, The God Revealed in Jesus Christ is now available to people in Sri Lanka in the Tamil language. This complements our Sinhala edition, which was published last year. This is the first booklet we have ever published in Tamil and with the previously published Discipleship Course in both languages, adds to our growing inventory of biblical educational material in the two primary languages of Sri Lanka.
About 400 people attended the GCI Dells Celebration held in Wisconsin Dells, WI on September 29-October 2. The theme of “Lord, what are you up to?” was developed in messages and workshops from Willard High, Stephen Hill, Anthony Mullins, Tracy Porter, Dave and Linda Holmes, Sam Butler and Doug Johannsen. Audio recordings of most of the messages and workshops are available from Michael.Hill@gci.org.
Preparations for next year’s Dells Celebration on September 27-30 are under way. As in years past, the event will be held at the Kalahari Resort.
Members from the Philippines attended the annual Philippine Festival on October 28-31 in Cagayan de Oro City (with simultaneous celebrations in Bukidnon, Manila and Davao). The festivals followed the GCI Philippines 2011 national theme, “Growing Together in His Love.”
Festival highlights at the main site included worship services, a Trinitarian theology forum, variety show, family day, and socials for youth, singles, couples and seniors. Festival speakers included Eugene Guzon (Philippine National Director, who discussed the topic of “Our Foundation Is Love”), Len Joson (director of Philippine Media and Communications, who discussed “The Gospel of Forgiveness”), Jess Bahinting (Area Superintendent for Visayas, who discussed “Salvation That Leads to Good Works”) and Jeng Manriquez (Area Superintendent for Mindanao, who discussed “The God Who Loves Sinners”).
Naciancino and Alejandra Rico (pictured at right) celebrated their 63rd wedding anniversary during the Seniors Social. They have nine children and 24 grandchildren.
The Trinitarian theology forum was facilitated by Len Joson. Eugene Guzon answered some of the questions. One participant commented that her new understanding of Trinitarian Christ-Centered theology will help her relate with others much better.
Another highlight during the festival was the baptism of seven individuals who committed their lives to Christ.
This report is from Hector Barrero, national director for GCI in Colombia.
Our annual retreat/seminar in Colombia was held recently at a beautiful retreat center near Bogota. Members from several congregations participated.
We were blessed to have Heber Ticas, pastor of the GCI church in San Fernando, CA, as our guest speaker. Our theme was “Freedom in Christ” and Heber preached on the subject and held workshops on leadership formation. Our Colombian members were joyful and blessed to have a Spanish-speaking pastor from the U.S. visit and minister to us in such a powerful way. The work of the Holy Spirit was evident as our members gathered in unity.
GCI members in Switzerland recently gathered in the town of Zug for a few days of study, prayer, praise and fellowship. The theme for the retreat was Our Identity in Christ. Your Swiss brothers and sisters send their love and warmest regards to their worldwide family.