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Prayer Guide—November 2022

“Prayer is the natural outgushing of a soul in communion with Jesus. Just as the leaf and the fruit will come out of the vine-branch without any conscious effort on the part of the branch, but simply because of its living union with the stem, so prayer buds, and blossoms, and fruits out of souls abiding in Jesus.” ― Charles Spurgeon

Join us in prayer this month as we thank God for including us in his good work. Click the image below to download the November Prayer Guide and check out what’s happening in our fellowships around the world. #WeAreGCI

Death of Alice Tkach

Retired President, Joe Tkach, shared the following note about his mother. We join the Tkach family in their grief and in their hope of resurrection.

Our mom, Alice Elaine Tkach, was four months shy of turning 93 and lived a full life. She loved God, church, and family. She was the youngest child of Angelo and Lura Apostolou, born near Gary, Indiana in January 1930. She passed peacefully in her sleep on October 2, after praying with my youngest sister Jennifer.

We are comforted with the knowledge that she has now burst into eternity in the full realization of sitting in heavenly places with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Of course, my family and friends already miss her, but we feel the total joy she now fully realizes in Christ.

She is survived by her three children, Joseph Tkach II (Tamara), Tanya Horchak (Doug), and Jennifer Raica (Ricard) as well as her grandchildren; Joseph III and Lapio Tkach, Stephanie and Evan Green, Christine and Jeremy Sehler, Gregory and Sandy Horchak, Rebecca and Michael Gutierrez, Janelle and Chad Tracy, Joseph and Ebony Butler, Jonathan and Melisa Butler, Jessica and Ryan Sheehan; and great grandchildren: Dorian Sehler, Zoe Sehler, Camilo Guterriez, Halen Tracy, Bodhi Tracy, Oliver Butler and Riley Butler.

Cards may be sent to:

Grace Communion International
3120 Whitehall Park Drive
Charlotte, NC 28273
Attention: Tkach Family




Retirement of Tim Snyder

I’m honored to share that Pastor Tim Snyder retired in September. Thank you, Tim and MaryAnn, for your faithfulness and for your sacrificial love for more than five decades! We love you and appreciate you more than words can ever express!

Mike Rasmussen, Central Regional Director

We ask Tim to share his story with Update. Congratulations!

MaryAnn grew up in the Chicago area under the tutelage of Dean Blackwell and those he trained. Her father was a local elder; her mother’s ministry was hospitality, especially to the members. From high school in Joliet, IL, she went directly to Ambassador College in Pasadena, CA.

I grew up in western North Carolina in the Appalachian area known as the Great Smoky Mountains. I received a distinct calling to ministry in the first grade, but gradually disregarded it until it returned in my freshman year of studies in Aerospace Engineering at NC State University, funded in part under a grant from NASA. I transferred to Ambassador College, Big Sandy, TX after two years in engineering. I try to follow space exploration, physics, and math to this day.

MaryAnn and I met on the “Big Dig” in 1971. As all students were assigned to specific project areas (called “holes”) for archaeological excavation, we were among the “leftovers” from the three campuses and were the last assigned. Our little group was truly international and fun-filled every hot and dusty day. It couldn’t have been better. MaryAnn and I married in 1972 after graduation.

MaryAnn and I have served in northwest Arkansas (wonderful people, stories and memories), northern Florida (great citrus and marvelous people), eastern North Carolina (serving some of the members I remembered and enjoyed from my time at NC State), West Virginia (intelligent and engaging members, and where our daughter was born), Chicago area churches (exciting times and people from all walks of life), Michigan (adapting to the challenges of rapidly evolving technologies), and finally Denver and Colorado Springs, CO (wonderfully talented members who helped adopt and adapt to all the changes in the church, technology, and society).

We have found the saints of God varied, engaging, and sometimes temperamental (but aren’t we all?) – their lives of faith in trials and joys always inspiring and uplifting; their endurance in life’s challenges well beyond those of the most accomplished public figures. God’s children are always humbling to know and behold. We count them among our greatest blessings in life!

While MaryAnn still works at the executive level of Lockheed Martin (ironic, since that was where I had hoped to develop my Aerospace career), we look forward to more international and domestic travel, new culinary delights at home, renewed engagement for me in Radio Controlled Aircraft building and flying (meaning more community involvement), renewed opportunities for entertaining at home, photography, videography, reading, writing, the Arts, community involvement (public speaking for me), some wide-ranging college classes and more.

We eagerly anticipate the gathering of all saints at Christ’s return, opening the real-time avenue of renewing relationships, exchanging stories, making new eternal friends and seeing the hidden potential of all mankind and nature finally beginning to be realized.

“Thank you” to our sisters, brothers, and friends around the world for their acceptance and encouragement. With God all things are possible!

Tim Snyder

Birth of Frankie Brandt

The following birth announcement is from Brittany and Alexander Brandt. Recently, Alexander was installed as the pastor of the Winnipeg congregation in Manitoba, Canada.

Congratulations! We are sharing in your joy at the birth of your first child.



Frankie Lynn Brandt was born late Wednesday night, October 12. She was 7 lbs and 19.5 inches long. She instantly became an incredible blessing to our family! She is a vivid reminder of the miracle of life and how incredibly we are loved by God.

Remembering the Life of Carl Parks

Carl Parks PortraitCarl Parks, a long-time elder in the Salem Oregon congregation, suffered a severe heart attack and passed away on December 23. Carl and his wife Francis served the congregation faithfully for many years, hosting a variety of events in their home until recently moving into a retirement community. As an Assistant Pastor, Carl coordinated most of the senior activities and Bible Studies, as well as serving on the pastoral team. One of Carl’s favorite hobbies was woodworking, and the beautiful communion trays he turned in his shop are often used as part of the Lord’s Table service.

Carl is survived by Francis, his wife of 64 years, as well as three sons, a daughter, 13 grandchildren, 26 great grandchildren, and 2 great great grandchildren.

Cards can be sent to Francis Parks at
5210 River Road N Apt. 3020
Keizer, OR 97303

Johnstons’ daughter

Ted and Donna Johnston send their thanks for the prayers, cards and other expressions of support concerning their daughter Traci (Johnston) Calvert, who recently was diagnosed with cancer (click here for the original prayer request).

Traci is doing well and returns home this week after undergoing the first round of chemotherapy at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, TX. Subsequent rounds will be administered in Mobile, AL. While in Houston, Traci was cared for by her aunt Jan, Ted’s sister (shown below with Traci), while Ted and Donna remained in Alabama to help care for Traci’s two children and her husband Troy.

Your continued prayers for Traci are needed and much appreciated. Please pray that the cancer (which was successfully removed in surgery) will not return, and that Traci will be blessed with long life in good health.

Pat Evans

Jack Evans, pastor of GCI’s congregation in Kenai, Alaska, reports that his wife Pat continues to struggle with pain and cognitive impairment since being in an auto accident in 2016 (click here for a prayer request at the time).

Jack and Pat Evans

Recent medical tests indicate the possibility that Pat has autoimmune encephalitis. Further tests are planned to determine how to treat her medically. Jack notes that he and Pat are going through a lot of stress and uncertainty, though they know God is with them. Please lift them up in prayer. Cards may be sent to:

Pat and Jack Evans
308 James Street
Kenai AK 99611

Death of Jerry Backhus

R.I.P. (Rejoicing in Paradise) Gerald (“Jerry”) Bachus.

We were saddened to learn of Jerry’s recent death. He died at age 77 after many years of service to GCI in New Jersey as an elder and pastor.

Born in Clifton, NJ, in 1941, Jerry graduated from high school in 1958 then entered the Air Force and was stationed in the Azores. Following honorable discharge, he married Joan Sprick in 1964. Jerry and Joan (pictured together above) enjoyed a loving marriage for almost 50 years. Jerry was employed as a salesman for packaging and paper companies.

Jerry is survived by a son and daughter, eight grandchildren, and a sister. His wife Joan and his parents preceded him in death. A memorial service for Jerry was held on December 3 in Parkesburg, PA. Another is being planned for the spring in New Jersey. For information email Craig (CMBackhus@hotmail.com) or Kym (Kymberlys@verizon.net).

Here are excerpts from an obituary written by Jerry’s son-in-law:

I’ve been involved in the Emergency Medical Services for a large portion of my life and the most dreaded dispatch of all is when you hear your home address come across the airwaves followed by “A Cardiac Arrest!” I want to thank the Oxford Fire Company, Medic 94 of Southern Chester County EMS, and the Pennsylvania State Police for their expeditious response and heroic efforts. They worked tirelessly to revive Dad but God had other plans. We will miss him but we are comforted knowing he is at peace with his soulmate, Joan, who preceded him in death four years prior. I know he’s looking down on us now, smiling.

Johnstons’ daughter

GCI Publications Editor Ted Johnston and his wife Donna request prayer for their daughter Traci Calvert.

Ted, Donna and Traci

Six weeks ago Traci underwent surgery to rid her of large fibroids growing rapidly in her uterus. Following the hysterectomy, it was determined that one of the fibroids contained a rare and aggressive cancer (leiomyosarcoma). Thankfully, the surgery had removed these fibroids intact and a follow-up scan showed no evidence of remaining cancer. However, because this type of cancer often spreads, additional medical treatments are being considered.

Your prayers concerning treatment decisions and Traci’s healing are needed and appreciated. Please also pray for Traci’s husband Troy and their two pre-teen children, Lauren and Jack. It’s a trying time for the whole family. Cards to Traci and her family may be sent to:

Ted Johnston
12289 Venice Blvd.
Foley, AL 36535