June 22, 2011

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Hearty congratulations to Eleazar and Benina Benavides, who will be celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary this weekend! Yes, that’s sixtieth! Eleazar is an elder in our Albuquerque, New Mexico, congregation.

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Sleep: food for thought

According to Science Fair, researchers in Wisconsin and Italy have found that the brains of rats kept awake past their bedtimes begin to turn themselves off, neuron by neuron, even though the rat is still awake. This suggests that that the 35 percent of Americans who routinely sleep less than seven hours a night are also having portions of their brains go off-line even though they’re still awake. The message is that we need to take sleep seriously (from Science Fair, 4/27/11).


Lexington, Kentucky

From John Halford: Sunday, June 19 was a bittersweet day for the Lexington, Kentucky, congregation. Ron Dick, who has been the congregation’s pastor for more than 20 years, will be retiring to Florida. Ron’s wife, Linda, has been ill for several years, and she finds the warmer climate more favorable.

As his final act of official service to the congregation, Ron ordained Beth Jeffers as an elder. I was asked to represent the denomination in installing the new pastoral team consisting of Beth Jeffers, John Bailey and John Todd.

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The Lexington congregation has recently been blessed with a remarkable outreach opportunity. One of the members heard about a pastor of a Hispanic congregation who was looking for a location for his newly planted church to meet. The leaders of the two churches met, and our church agreed to let the new congregation use our building on Sunday afternoons. In return, the members of the new church offered to take care of the landscaping of our property, something that was beginning to be a challenge for our aging members. In addition, the two congregations decided to join together for occasional worship services and to work alongside one another in community outreach.

The pastor and elders of the Hispanic church attended our service last Sunday, and Pastor Emmanuel Romero sang some special music in English and Spanish. Then Ron invited them to join us in ordaining Beth and commissioning the new pastoral team. I found this development inspiring and encouraging, and I have asked Beth Jeffers to tell the story more fully for a future edition of Christian Odyssey.


UK Women’s Conference

Friday, June 3, some 60 women gathered in glorious sunshine at High Leigh Christian Conference Centre for a weekend of relaxation, inspiration, conversation and fun. After a warm welcome and dinner, Nancy Silcox led worship and Shirley Henderson, who coordinated the conference, gave a message focused on the theme of the weekend, “Love Never Fails…What can I do?”

Saturday dawned another beautiful day. Hard working ladies behind the scenes, led by Joy Barlow, arose early and posted a letter beneath our doors to set the tone for the day ahead. After welcoming the day visitors, Julie Robus led worship and Helen Francis did a reading. Our keynote speaker for the day, Tammy Tkach (editor of Connections, a publication for women in ministry and wife of the GCI president, Joseph Tkach) spoke about how knowing God as triune deepens our personal relationship with God.

After the all-important tea and fellowship break, Tina Sullivan invited everyone to share their outreach activities. Barbara Wilkinson led worship in the afternoon, and then the group split up for the four workshops being offered. Evelyn O’Callaghan Burkhard led “Helping People Deal with Loss”; Irene Wilson led “Beware! Comfort Zone!”; Tammy Tkach led “Praying Outside the Box”; and Sinead Henderson led “Building Accountability.” Saturday concluded with a evening of hilarious games provided by Sinead Henderson and Comet Chukwurah.

Sunday was another glorious day full of chatter and reminiscing as the weekend drew to a close. Julie Dickson led us in uplifting worship as the focus moved deeper into relationship and communion with God. Tammy spoke about the freedom we have to know God’s love and give it more fully, and Shirley led us in the final Communion service, reminding us of our place together in the body of Christ. Due to the individual efforts of all, many of whom travelled long distances, gave up time, invested ability and listened and shared, the weekend was a resounding success.


Visit to biblical and classical Turkey

The UK church is planning a tour to biblical and classical sites in Western Turkey.The tour would leave on Saturday, June 2, 2012, and return on Sunday, June 10. Flights leave from the UK to arrive late into Izmir (ancient Smyrna) via Istanbul on the Saturday night, June 2. Then we would travel by air-conditioned coach to Ephesus, Miletus, Hierapolis, Laodicea, Sardis, Pergamum, Troy, the Dardenelles, and Istanbul, from where we would return home on June 10.

Among the many highlights would be visiting some of the places where Paul and John were in New Testament times, exploring archaeological sites, and going shopping in the world-famous Grand Bazaar in Istanbul.

The cost is still being finalized, but is likely to be about £1200 per sharing adult. The single supplement is £249. The cost is inclusive of flights from Heathrow or Manchester, half-board accommodation, entrance fees to sites, land transport in air-conditioned coaches, airport transfers while in Turkey, plus the services of an English-speaking guide. Not included are travel insurance, visa costs (£10 cash upon arrival), lunches, tips (voluntary circa £50 per person for trip). Also not included are any increases in flight taxes and fuel surcharges.

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To register an interest please email: james.henderson@gracecom.org.uk

Please note that departures from New York and France may also be available.


Prayer Requests and Updates

From Dennis Lawrence:

I began my new treatment yesterday and am feeling rather poorly today. I have some abdominal pain but I have medication to control that. My treatment involves cycles of three weeks where I go in at the beginning and have an infusion of retaximub, a chemo drug, and get panobinostat in pill form. This treatment is a hopeful one, but we don’t know how long it will take to make the difference we want to see made. After that, I only need to return to hospital weekly for checkups. I feel weak today but tomorrow should be better and I hope to be in church in Montreal this weekend, but I have to go day-by-day right now. Thank you very much for your ongoing prayers, calls, and emails of support and encouragement. It makes a tremendous difference.

Cards may be sent to:
211 De L’ile Blvd
Pincourt, PQ J7V 3R6
CANADA

Remember that prayer is the battleground where we fight the good fight of faith. Let’s encourage everyone to join together in prayer, for we belong to Christ, and by the Spirit it is in Christ that we pray. Prayer and other spiritual activities help keep our hearts in tune with God and remind us of who we are in Christ. He is our all in all, and in him we are eternally beloved of the Father and blessed to share his good news with others.

Love from my family to yours,
Joseph Tkach


June 15, 2011

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Please join me in extending hearty congratulations to a friend and brother in Christ, Charles Fleming, who graduated from Fuller Theological Seminary last week with his Doctor of Missiology degree. Charles was also selected by the faculty for one of three leadership awards from among the 74 doctoral graduates. Moreover, congratulations go to Charles and Carmen’s two daughters, Michelle and Anne Marie. Michelle just graduated with a Masters degree in Mental Health Counseling, while Annie graduated with a Masters in Business Administration.


We also salute Robert Meade and Bret Miller on 25 years of employment with the church. Robert is manager of our accounting and Bret is our IT manager.

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Ohio

Kayla Shallenberger, daughter of Rick and Cheryl Shallenberger, graduated this past Saturday from Ohio University with a degree in Elementary Education. Kayla graduated Summa Cum Laude, or in the top five percent of her class. She is serving as a care-giver for her grandmother this summer as she prepares to return to Malawi in September to teach at our school in Blantyre.


Abbotsford, Canada

Sally Miller, daughter of proud parents Jim and Karen Miller of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Abbotsford, was the valedictorian of Langley Secondary School this year. Jim is an elder in the congregation, and daughter Sally regularly takes part in worship leading.


Generations Ministries

Our GenMin summer camp and missions season is in full swing. Please join us in praying for success and safety. You can find a list of all the camps and missions at http://genmin.gci.org/campministries.htm.

Professional musician and Dallas GCI member Doc Gibbs wrote a song to accompany the “Living Loved” 2011 camp theme and curriculum. You can listen to it at http://genmin.gci.org/Web Documents/Living Loved theme song.mp4 and download the lyrics at http://genmin.gci.org/Web Documents/Living Loved theme song lyrics.docx

Thanks Doc!


Dallas, Texas: Heart O’ Texas Camp

Twenty campers and 15 staff came together for a weekend of training, sharing and fellowship, and “Acts of Random Kindness” in the local community was again the exciting highlight of the camp. Anthony Mullins, GenMin camps and missions leader, gave the chapel messages and participated with the campers in their activities. Dallas North youth ministers Scott and Shawna Herridge led camp activities and kept the campers engaged. Camp concluded with a worship service in the Dallas North church, where each group of campers shared their camp experiences with the congregation.

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Office of Reconciliation and Spiritual Mediation (ORSM)

On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday last week Curtis May was guest speaker at an inter-church, multi-ethnic conference in Dallas, Texas, on the topic of Church Growth in a Changing World. The conference was hosted by the Baptist Church Missions Association.

On Tuesday evening Curtis spoke on Jesus’ example of crossing barriers in John 4, then held a Q&A session. On Wednesday he spoke from Ephesians 2, emphasizing the need for prayer, love and willingness to fellowship with people of all walks of life. A round-table discussion and Q&A followed.

On Thursday Curtis joined Baptist Mission Director Scott Whitson in leading a lively round table discussion in which pastors were asked to share their issues relating to church growth and diversity. The conference ended with a round table discussion at a Spanish church with a group of White, Black and Hispanic pastors.

GCI pastor and ORSM chapter leader Tom Pickett did most of the preparatory work for the conference, assisted by Baptist Pastor Charles Dorsett.

Photo: Curtis and Jannice May (far left) take part in a round table discussion with more than two dozen Dallas area pastors.


Canadian Thanksgiving Celebration

Craig and Debbie Minke sent this update regarding the Thanksgiving Celebration Retreat being held in Penticton again this year. Due to the Canadian rotating mail strike, they asked me to include this information in my update, so that anyone interested would be able to receive the information. Guest speakers include retired elder Ronald Kelly, who served our denomination for more than 45 years, and elder Randal Dick, who served as our director of international missions from 1993 to 2007 and is now a senior consultant with Design Group International.

Gary and Wendy Moore will join the group for a few days, with Wendy presenting a GCI Canada missions update. Planned events include a lunch cruise, a winery tour, a Thanksgiving Banquet, and other activities.

More information is available on the Vancouver church website at http://www.gcicanada.ca/features/penticton2011.php


Prayer Requests and Updates

Jewel Love, one of our elders in the Beaumont, California, congregation sent this update about his treatment for prostate cancer:

We have completed a week of radiation treatments. So far my treatments have been routine. I have suffered no adverse side effects yet. They have put us up in the Fisher House. The main number is 310-478-3711, and our room extension is 45916. We have a private bedroom and bathroom. All residents share the large living room, kitchen, dining room, family room, and library, and the common areas. Lelia, my wife, who is serving as my caretaker, has worked diligently and enthusiastically to organize our living quarters. Her efforts have produced an extra clean and sanitary place for us to live in for the next few weeks. We have seven weeks more to go, so please continue to remember us in your prayers.


Retired church employee Rona Martin died May 13, 2011. Rona worked full time for the church as Herbert W. Armstrong’s housekeeper from September 1965 until March 1986, when she retired and moved to Tucson. She was born in October 1914.

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 8, 2011

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Pastor Bill Ford sent this report after the Massachusetts storms last week:

Our hearts and prayers go out to the folks in West Springfield, Springfield, Munson, Brimfield and the other communities who were hit so hard by the devastating storms. I have contacted most of our members in the Amherst and Holden churches who live south of the Pike in western and central Massachusetts, and all contacted are safe, although Ken Whiting did sustain some roof damage at his shop in West Springfield. Ken was there when the tornado passed within 100 feet of his place. His comment: “Scary stuff.” Tom and Nicki Marion had a close call when the storm went just to their north in Springfield, yet they had no damage to their property. As of this report, I have not yet been able to make contact with Scott Kellogg, who lives in West Springfield where the storm seems to have originated.

As to the Holden churches members, Sue Gaulin, who lives in the Charlton area, north of the Pike, let me know that they were safe. I have yet to make contact with George Dembowski who lives in Southbridge in direct line of the storm just east of Munson, one of the towns that were hit so hard. The cell towers may be down in his area.


Philippines

GCI Philippines reached a milestone Saturday, May 28, 2011, with the 50th anniversary of the local church in Kiara, Mindanao. Pastor Jojo Geron and wife Tata led the pastoral team in welcoming more than 400 members and guests.

The Kiara church began with a small group of settlers from the Visayas area who took advantage of a government program of land distribution in Mindanao. The leader of the group, Fidel Cambare, who was associated with the Church of God (Seventh Day), made contact with the Radio Church of God through its Philippines representative, Pedro Ortiguero. Church headquarters in Pasadena sent Gerald Waterhouse to visit the group and officially establish the Kiara church.

That small group grew into an enduring and vibrant church that helped establish other churches and is now actively supporting several tentmaker missionaries, especially in Thailand. With attendance of more than 200 on a regular basis, Kiara is still the biggest local church in the Philippines.

National and Missions Director Eugene Guzon gave the anniversary message entitled, “What the World Needs is Jesus.”

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Colombia

From Hector Barrero:

On May 29, the Bogota congregation celebrated Mothers Day. The children had a special presentation, while the men, led by members of the Spokesman Club, presented flowers to all our mothers and women. At the end of church services we surprised the mothers with a Mariachi presentation before dinner. More than 150 people attended services that day.

Nine new people have been attending as a result of the radio programs, and some of them now want to become members. Nearly every Sunday there are visitors who listen to our radio programs.

We have opened a Wednesday weekly church service at 7 p.m. with an average of 20 people attending. We also have eight small groups led by church members.

We are about to finish this year’s 4-month marriage series. Eight couples will be graduating. Two of the couples attend our church, and the other six are members of other denominations who took the class so that they could teach it in their churches.

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Prayer Requests and Updates

Bernie Schnippert sent this update about his health:

As you may recall, over the last few months I had four procedures performed to “kill” five or six major carcinoid tumors in my liver. Two of these procedures used radioactive beads, and two used chemically infused beads. In my last update, I told you the next major step was a CAT Scan to occur about five weeks after the final procedure to see how successful the procedures had been. Last week I traveled to Portland for the CAT Scan. The results were declared to be “very successful” in that most of the major, treated tumors showed substantial decrease in size, indicating their mortality in whole or part.

I still have not recovered 100 percent from the procedures, which were to some degree debilitating, or from the previous cancer downturn, which caused us to need the procedures in the first place. (As I have mentioned before, there is no cure for my cancer at this stage. Also, there are probably countless other smaller tumors in my liver and elsewhere that cannot be treated.)

Another positive step, however, is the new use of a pill that recent studies have shown to possibly stop carcinoid growth or even reverse it in some patients. (This pill has been used for years with kidney cancer and was recently tested for carcinoid.) This is in some ways a major breakthrough, because up until now there has been no pill which had any effect on carcinoid, yet this one is proving effective for some types of carcinoid cancer (there is more than one type). Of course, it varies widely with the patient, so only time will tell how it affects me. It has numerous potential side effects, some of which are serious and would result in me being taken off the drug.

The biggest “win” for me going forward would be that I recover all my pre-cancer strength, that the treated tumors continue to shrink some more, and that they do not grow back, or that they grow very slowly. Although there is no cure, it is still our goal that I “die with the cancer, not from the cancer,” which is in effect as good as a cure.

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 1, 2011

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Charles Fleming reports that Leroy Joiles and Daniel Graham have been ordained as elders in Jamaica. Leroy was installed as Senior Pastor, serving as National Leader for our churches in Jamaica and as pastor of the Christian Pen congregation. Daniel was installed as Assistant Pastor for the Christian Pen congregation. Charles said that both men have done an excellent job serving as pastoral leaders for several years and that it was a pleasure to formalize their roles. They are both much loved by the congregation.

Last weekend, Charles led approximately 25 of the leaders of all four Jamaican congregations in a three-day retreat for integration of spiritual formation exercises and strategic planning. Participants expressed appreciation for the time, and Leroy told Charles that they have already scheduled follow-up sessions.

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According to George Barna

While more than 66% of Americans say they are either “religious” or “spiritual,” just 18% claim to be “totally committed” to engaging in personal spiritual development. Among adults who claim to be Christian, just 14% say their faith in and relationship with God is the highest priority in their life. While 80% of U.S. adults say they are Christian, only 20% contend the single, most important decision they have ever made. Only 22% of adults who believe they are Christian state they live in a way that makes them completely dependent upon God. Other Barna research indicates such dependence only emerges in times of crisis or suffering.

An eight-decade-long research effort found that children of failed marriages died almost five years earlier, on average, than children from intact families. The results of the research are published in a book titled The Longevity Project and provide some sobering insights. “Parental divorce during childhood emerged as the single strongest predictor of early death in adulthood,” said the authors. The causes of death ranged from accidents and violence to cancer, heart attack, and stroke. The authors noted that the early death of a parent did not have the same effect on children’s lifespans or mortality risk as that of parental divorce and family break-up. (The Longevity Project, by Howard S. Friedman and Leslie R. Martin, Hudson Street Press, & LifeSite News 3/23/11)


ORM becomes ORSM

From Curtis May

To broaden the effectiveness of our outreach, we have updated the name Office of Reconciliation Ministries to Office of Reconciliation and Spiritual Mediation. Our brand and our mission will not change, but the new name will enhance our ability to reach out to more organizations as we continue to advance the work of reconciliation, mediation and oneness.

Some have asked what I will be doing now that I have retired. I will continue as director of ORSM. I will also continue serving the church as an elder and board member. Although I will maintain the ORSM office in Glendora, California, most of our work will be done at our new address in Banning, California, which is:

Office of Reconciliation and Spiritual Mediation (ORSM)
300 S. Highland Springs Ave., Ste. 6C #108
Banning, CA 92220


Bangladesh

John Biswas reports that by many miracles of God’s grace, the church in Bangladesh is growing. In spite of the very difficult climate of hostility, John has recently started two new village churches about five miles from the mission center. We now have 16 churches in Bangladesh. The members of the two new churches either have to meet out in the open or walk the five miles to our mission center. Because of the harsh conditions, this is difficult for mothers with children, so John hopes to construct a multipurpose building for each church. These can be used for our worship services and Bible studies, plus act as shelter when needed. Two photos show an outreach meeting where the men and women traditionally sit separately, and the other two are of the members of our two new churches.

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Prayer Requests and Updates

Update on Joplin
From Jim Kissee:

Long time Joplin member Veda Wead sustained serious head injuries in the recent tornado, but is recovering well. For nearly a decade, due to health and age, Veda has been limited in attending services or church activities. Dan King, who has been of tremendous service in the aftermath of this storm, found her alive in ICU in Freeman Hospital in Joplin. She had been dug out of her residence by her children and transported to the hospital. However, she was “lost” for two days in the jumble of movement and activity.

Meanwhile, members Don and Shirley Haas sit in what seems like a silent world. As Shirley said, though they are so near, yet they hardly know what has taken place. Don is legally blind, and age limits their movements. Don’s son, Calvin, has had four tours of duty in Iraq. He shared that he hadn’t seen anything like this. The community of Joplin whittles away to restore the city’s heart, and a lot of whittlers are coming from small hamlets, large cities, counties and states to provide strength, support and encouragement.

Please send cards, for now, to the church address and we’ll be sure they are delivered. All the Joplin members and especially those directly affected thank you for your prayers.

PO Box 611
Joplin, MO 64802

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


May 25, 2011

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Joplin, Missouri, Pastor Jim Kissee reported:

I visited the members in Joplin yesterday. All the members are okay though understandably they’re nervous about the weather. Except for chainsaws and clean up noise, the lack of connection (radio, TV, electricity) for the elderly and disabled is like a bygone time. Words and even pictures cannot portray the reality. Front porches, bedrooms, years of life, cars all disassembled and left in a huge pile like brush. While not far away from these “brush piles” the evidence of life was vacuumed from the scene to who knows where. In the midst of unrecognizable places people are sitting in the rubble not knowing where to start, and a few blocks away others are searching frantically on an almost barren location hoping to find a few memories to give hope to the future.

I drove through backstreets to within a block of a member’s home north of the tornado touchdown point where the only evidence of a nearby disaster was the national guard and police directing traffic on the main roads into the devastated area. Trees were standing with leaves and bark while just a few blocks away you view the national news iconic St. John’s Hospital with land denuded all around. And a few blocks on the south side of St. John’s, the campus of the other major hospital stands as it did on Sunday before the tornado hit.

When I got home my daughter had heard from a former AC student and classmate of hers that her parents lost their home and three of her cousins lost homes as well. On Sunday a huge double rainbow (filmed for national news) followed the storm track from Joplin to the east, eventually reaching our home 80 miles away. Though sadness prevails, hope, like this rainbow, is rising.

Thankfully, all the members are well, though all the members know or have friends who suffered severe loss and even ultimate loss. If anyone wishes to send encouragement to Kathy Bettes whose home suffered damage within view of St. John’s on the south side, or to Don and Shirley Hass, who suffered damage to their property and lived just northwest of St. John’s, or for Gerald and Gloria Ambrosius, whose home was in the direct path of the tornado at the east end and was destroyed after nearly a half century of living there, please send cards, for now, to the church address and we’ll be sure they are delivered. All the Joplin members and especially those directly affected thank you for your prayers.

PO Box 611
Joplin, MO 64802

We are in contact with Pastor Kissee regarding emergency needs so the GCI Disaster Emergency Fund will be used as needed. If your congregation would like to donate to help members recover from this or future disasters please send donations to the GCI Disaster Relief Fund. This fund has been established so we can respond with help for costs of emergency member needs in the wake of such disasters. These costs include such items as food, water, clothing, and temporary housing, as well as temporary local pastoral salary expenses and other emergency local church expenses. The fund is generally coordinated by pastors in the affected areas working with the Treasurer’s Office in Glendora. Since Grace Communion International is a non-profit organization, donations to the Disaster Relief Fund are tax-deductible in the United States.

Donations can be made online at our website at www.gci.org, or for those who would prefer to mail a check, the address is:

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


Oklahoma City

Pastor Mike Rasmussen in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma reported that members and property are safe after a tornado came within one mile of their church building and two miles of the Rasmussen home. About 60,000 people are currently without power in the area.

The Oklahoma GCI Crosswalk camp starts this weekend, so Mike is asking that we pray for good weather.


Northeast U.S. Conference

At the GCI regional conference in Parsippany, New Jersey, we had the joy of witnessing the ordination of GCI church planter Dishon Mills. A video of the ordination can be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m-z2kHehwiM. Dishon and his wife, Afrika, are in the process of planting a new GCI congregation in Randolph, Massachusetts (near Boston). We thank God for Dishon and Afrika and are praying for their journey in ministry with Jesus.

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Anthony Dady

United Kingdom

Congratulations to UK elder Anthony Dady, who was elected May 5 to be a councilor in Corby, the town where he lives. Councilor Dady sees this as an exciting development in his community ministry, where he is already active in many initiatives designed to share the love of Jesus with local residents.


Grenada

Over the weekend of May 6-8, the Grenada church held a spiritual formation retreat with 15 of its members. Spiritual directors for the weekend were Larry Hinkle, and Charles and Carmen Fleming.

Larry, who pastors GCI congregations in North Broward and Port St. Lucie, Florida, is developing a spiritual formation retreat model. The retreat was designed to bring us into a greater awareness of God’s loving presence through a wide range of spiritual formation exercises.

Attendees appreciated being able to experience the presence of God in this way, and they want to make this retreat an annual event for their congregation.

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Southern Africa

From South Africa National Director Tim Maguire:

I would like to update you on my trip to Mozambique over the Easter weekend. As you probably know, GCI Canada had very kindly sponsored a pastoral training long weekend to allow Caleb Makhela and me, along with a visitor/translator from GCI-Portugal, Daniel Fernandes, to ground them in basic theology and train the Mozambique pastors in GCI theology.

I collected Daniel from the airport at 6 a.m. on the Wednesday before Easter and left straight away for Louis Trichardt, where we picked up Caleb, then on to Mutare in Zimbabwe, where we slept over at the Govas’ home, one of our Zimbabwean pastors.

Travelling in Africa is never easy, as Daniel found out at the Beitbridge border-post. We stood in queues for about five hours on the Zimbabwe side, and Daniel was greeted with his first African sunset as we were finally ready to drive into Zimbabwe. He took out his camera and snapped two pictures of trees with the sun setting behind them. Unfortunately, we were still in a restricted area where cameras were not allowed, and the Zimbabwe CID pounced, arresting him on the spot. They took him into a back room, confiscated his passport and camera and told him he would have to appear before a magistrate the next day.

I realised what they were really after when the Zimbabweans started rubbing thumb and forefinger together in the universal sign language of money! On telling them we were pastors and were unwilling to pay any sort of bribe, and threatening to phone the Portuguese Embassy, they made Daniel delete the pictures and we were on our way again, arriving at Pastor Gova’s home after midnight.

We left Mutare the next morning, eventually arriving in Morrumbala in northern Mozambique just before midnight on Thursday. Most of the conference attendees had already arrived and were dancing the night away in praise and worship. After a warm and touching welcome, we crept off to our hut to sleep. The music and dancing continued into the early hours of the morning.

Only the next morning did we realise that instead of the 54 delegates we were expecting, more than 350 had arrived! They had brought their reed mats with them and most were sleeping under the stars, without even blankets to keep them warm. What a humbling experience to see this thirst and sacrifice for God’s word.

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We also discovered that since my last visit in September 2010, no longer were there just 54 congregations, but 87. Another 33 churches had been raised up in just six months!

The next four days were spent in fellowship, song, praise and teaching. They hungrily drank in and accepted the good news we were blessed to bring them. On Sunday I had one of the most moving experiences of my life when we formalized the affiliation process and welcomed our brothers and sisters from Mozambique into the GCI fellowship. We then took communion with them, which was a first-time experience for most.

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Please remember to pray for Mozambique. The challenges these people face are many. Disease is rife. The average life expectancy is at least 20 years below the world average. It is one of the poorest countries in the world. We now have about 2500 members there, not one of which is employed or has any means of income. They are all subsistence farmers and live day to day, hand to mouth, scratching a living out of the harsh African soil. Yet they are filled with joy and the fruit of the Spirit, a humbling lesson to us all. I have attached a few pictures of the trip.

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Prayer Requests and Updates

Andrew McArthur

Pastor Andrew McArthur from Living Hope Family Fellowship in Hillsdale, New Jersey passed away on May 16, 2011. He leaves behind his wife, Falisa Evett, and three children Elyse, Evan, and Everett. He will be greatly missed by all his friends and family.

Cards may be sent to:
411 Harrison Ave. Apt.3
Garfield, NJ 07026


Cora Guice

GCI board member, Frank Guice, shared this request regarding his wife, Cora:

Cora would like for the church to join her in prayer for healing of her neck, right shoulder and arm areas. She fell about two months ago, but we are not sure that is the actual cause of the pain and other symptoms.

On May 15, she needed to go to Urgent Care, and since that time the pain worsened with spasms, swelling, numbness, tremors and tingling in her arm and hands with cold sensation. She had an MRI on her neck today, May 25, and will have another MRI on her arm tomorrow.

Cora appreciates your sharing of love and concern.

Cards may be sent to:
7411 Juneau Ln
Fontana, CA 92336-0717


Jim Meade

Robert Meade, manager of our accounting department in Glendora, updated us about the condition of his father, Jim Meade, who is pastor of the GCI congregation in Port Huron, Michigan. Jim had a successful surgery Monday for his heart blockages. Robert wrote, “He had three stents put in, and by that afternoon he was talking, joking and eating! He was released from the hospital Wednesday morning, and is now home recovering. After the surgery, the surgeon said the blood flow through the heart was at about 70 percent (up from less than 10 percent). Once he has sufficiently recovered, he will need to go back in about six weeks for another set of stents to get the blood flowing at 100 percent. Also, his blood pressure is kind of high, so they are hoping that comes down to a normal level as well. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers for him and his wife, Kim.”


Patsy Ross

Pastor John Ross informs us that his wife is continuing to have consistent pain, recently had neck surgery, and will be consulting to have future surgery. Pastor Ross would appreciate our prayers.

Cards may be sent to:
Mrs. Patsy Dezell Ross
1204 Glendale Cir
Greenwood, MS 38930-7203


Dave Fiedler

It has been a while since I could give you anything definitive on my eye. I had a checkup with the surgeon last week and she said the retina is holding. She said that I should come back in July to see about trying to remove the oil again, and then have a lens implant. She understands my reticence about that, because when we tried it in February, my eye pressure went down to zero and the retina re-detached. I asked about trying a contact or aphakic lens first to see what kind of vision I could get back. She thought that was a reasonable idea. So yesterday I went to an optometrist and after an hour of tests and trying different lens, we’ve concluded that my vision can’t be improved enough to even begin working with my good eye. Looks like I’m stuck with being the one-eyed “cyclops” for the remainder of my life. I don’t think I’ll have the oil removed again (risking another detachment) unless I go blind in my good eye. I can still drive, golf, fish, and see my beautiful wife and grandkids, so life is good!

Cards may be sent to:
20389 Strawline Road
Bend, OR 97702


Don Lawson sent good news about Sue’s treatment progress:

After 46 days at USC Norris Cancer Center, Sue is finally home! She was in protective isolation, and on two kinds of chemo for 40 days. She will now be going in for outpatient chemo five days per week, four weeks on and two weeks off. This will last for six months to a year. They have pronounced her in remission, which does not mean cancer free. They have to continue treatment to make sure they got all the cancer cells. We are very thankful she is home, and she wants to say thank you for all the prayers and cards. Sue loved the cards, and the doctors and nurses could not believe she got cards from all over the world. We taped them to the walls in her room, and they covered most of the room. I stayed with her most of the time and was able to relate our experience of coming out of legalism into the grace of God to the hospital chaplain. He shed a few tears of joy, and we prayed together.

Thanks so much for your thoughts, prayers and loving concern for the last 13 months!

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


May 18, 2011

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Randy Bloom, director of Church Multiplication Ministries, interviewed Dishon and Afrika Mills, who are starting a new GCI congregation in Randolph, Massachusetts, and District Pastoral Leader Larry Wooldridge, who explained the role of his district in supporting the Mills.

You can view the interview by visiting: http://gci-usa.blogspot.com/p/multiplying-leaders-ministries-and.html.


Update from the UK

While in the UK recently for our UK church board of trustees meeting, I traveled to the north of England to attend a most enjoyable outreach event put on by the Northampton congregation. Two pictures below:

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SEP Luzon 2011: "In His Love"

Philippines

Luzon

The Villa Julia Resort in Silang, Cavite, was the venue for 136 campers and 48 staff for this year’s Summer Enrichment Program in Luzon. One camper, Albert Longhurst, came from New Zealand and joined SEP, commuting all the way from Ilocos, where the family was visiting.


Santa Rosa

"Lost World" VBS in Santa Rosa

Sixty-seven enthusiastic kids, ages 4 to 12, attended GCI Santa Rosa’s Vacation Bible School (VBS), held April 17-21 at the Laguna Bel-Air 3 Learning Center. Most participants were children from the neighborhood, but a number were shuttled daily from Barangay Don Jose, where GCI holds a regular Bible study for children. Grateful parents expressed their appreciation for the outreach activity, which was held in cooperation with the Laguna Bel-Air 3 management, which provided the venue free of charge.

The theme of this VBS was ”The Lost World,” which highlighted the fallen nature of creation and God’s intervention to save the world. It featured dinosaurs, Noah’s ark, the Garden of Eden, fossils and other interesting subjects in a safari-style learning experience, which was a hit among the young ones.

The event was spearheaded by National Director Eugene Guzon, who is also the pastor of the Santa Rosa congregation.


From CAD: Church Growth Conference

On April 26-29, thirty GCI ministry leaders attended the Exponential Conference in Orlando, Florida. Exponential is an annual resourcing event focusing on starting new churches. Nearly 4,000 people attend from across the US and various international areas. To learn more about Exponential and to register for the 2012 conference, go to www.exponentialconference.org.

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You can also view GCI pastors telling about their experiences at Exponential by visiting http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tseLf1Mmdg8


Jamaica

Charles Fleming shared a note from Daniel Graham about a special memorial service for Lateef Edalere.

The memorial service for our late pastor, Mr. Lateef Edalere, held May 1, was an historic service. The Edalere family was all in attendance, including Mr. Edalere’s grandchildren. Many former WCG members attended, and the fellowship was very rich and exciting.

Among those giving tributes were Michael Mitchell and Leaford Henderson. Mrs. Anthea Henderson read the moving eulogy. Leroy Joiles delivered the sermon.

The Lateef Edalere Fund was set up in memory of Mr. Edalere, who was known for his love for children.

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Spain

From Pedro Rufian:

Thanks for your prayers and thoughts for the people affected by the recent earthquake in Lorca, Murcia, in the southeast of Spain. Thanks to God we do not have any members there, but we asked that God may give comfort and encouragement to everyone of those who have lost loved ones, or whose properties have been affected and are in fear without being able to go back to their homes. About 40 percent of the city buildings suffered damage, many of them are reparable. Maybe 10 percent of them will need to be demolished. How is it possible that a 5.4 earthquake has brought about so much damage? The explanation has to be that the collision point of the two plates, the African and the European, was just about 1000 meters deep, very shallow for these types of events. These two geological plates stretch along the coast on an inland band of about 50 kilometers wide from Valencia to Huelva. This area has the highest earthquake risk in Spain.

The members nearest to the earthquake zone, Alex and Maria Luisa Valencia, live about 100 kilometers from Lorca, and were not affected, other than to feel some shaking.

The sister of our church treasurer here in the Madrid congregation does live in Lorca with her paraplegic son who is confined to a wheelchair. They live in an apartment on the fifth floor and could not get outside during the earthquake because the elevator was destroyed. Some hours later, with the help of her elder son and two police officers, they were able to be brought down the stairs. They will stay in another home they have in Aguilas City, about 50 kilometers away, until the apartment building is repaired. Our treasurer, Marivi, and her husband drove about five hundred kilometers from Madrid to Aguilas to be with them during this past weekend.


Prayer Requests and Updates

Jewel Love, assistant pastor in Beaumont, California.

Lelia Love requests prayers for her husband, Jewel, who was recently diagnosed with prostate cancer. They will move into Veterans Housing in Los Angeles on June 6 and he will begin radiation treatments that afternoon. They are scheduled to remain in Los Angeles until approximately August.

Cards may be sent to:
Mr. & Mrs. Jewel R. Love
850 Gail Ave
Redlands, CA 92374-2544


Jim Meade

Thank you for your continued prayers for Jim Meade, pastor of the GCI church in Port Huron, Michigan, who was diagnosed with serious artery blockages and valve leaking. Last week, while he was not feeling well enough to have open heart surgery, he took the time to get a second opinion. Thanks to God and your prayers, he got in touch with another specialist who feels that he will not need the trauma of open heart surgery, but instead his blockages can safely be handled with stents. This is a far less invasive treatment, so both he and his wife Kim are happy to be able to go this route. He has been feeling better, and so has scheduled the surgery for Monday, May 23.

Cards may be sent to:
3665 Ruddock Rd
Kenockee, MI 48006-4212

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


May 11, 2011

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Glendora, California

On May 7, the New Covenant Fellowship of Glendora, CA celebrated its 14th annual “Hispanic Heritage Day and Cinco de Mayo” celebration.

Cinco de Mayo (May 5) commemorates a major battle outside Mexico City in 1862 when a French army was turned back from occupying Mexico permanently and threatening to undercut the effort of President Lincoln to reunify the United States. This year Assistant Pastor Paul Tellez explained why Americans of Hispanic descent celebrate this day with such gusto and how it points to the need to relate to each other and appreciate each other as part of that great multicultural community we see in Acts 2 — the Church. Our Mexican-American members hosted the event with decorations, lively music, special food, themed messages and the annual smashing of the piñata by the children.

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Photo captions: 1. Pastor Neil Earle with children on Glendora Church’s 14th Cinco de Mayo service 2. Auryn McNally goes for a whack at the pinata 3. Glendora cuties line up in their “piñata hats”


Canadian Update

Gary Moore sent this inspiring note from Alan Redmond about a major award given to Sandra Norris, wife of Charles Norris, one of our elders in the Winnipeg congregation. I have mentioned the wonderful work of Hands of Hope that operates in Winnipeg in previous updates, and want to add our congratulations to Sandra for the wonderful way she has yielded her life to the Jesus Christ. The love of God expressed through her for those less fortunate is indeed transformational and inspiring!

From Alan:

On April 27, 2011 Sandra Norris was presented an award for Community Leadership at Volunteer Manitoba’s 28th Annual Awards Dinner in Winnipeg.

Carolyn and I attended the celebration. Also the Premier of Manitoba was present at the Winnipeg Convention Centre along with Federal and City politicians.

In 2000, Sandra and her husband Charles began taking furniture to the less fortunate in Winnipeg. In 2002 Hands of Hope was incorporated as a charity with support from the Winnipeg church, now called Grace Christian Church. As the organization grew, Charles and Sandra received a salary, but in addition worked many extra volunteer hours.

After operating out of a donated building with no heat or electricity, Hands of Hope was able to get a piece of land from the City of Winnipeg and funding from the Provincial and Federal governments to build a warehouse, which officially opened in September 2005. Sandra and Charles sold their home in the country and moved to Winnipeg in order to better serve the community.

Since its humble beginnings, Hands of Hope now employs five full-time staff and networks with social workers, the Health Sciences Centre, half-way houses, refugee centers, women’s shelters and other organizations. Two years ago, Sandra gave up her position on staff and now continues to serve as a dedicated volunteer. Sandra is a remarkable, deserving recipient of the Volunteer Manitoba award for Outstanding Community Leadership.


Update from the UK

SEP UK is a two-week summer activity for young people aged 12-17. It’s located on the banks of Loch Lomond, about 40 miles north of Glasgow. It offers a range of about 20 activities and welcomes young people of all denominations and none. This year it runs from July 31 to August 13. (The early booking discount has been extended to May 16.) For more details, see www.sepuk.org. Adventure Camp is for 7-13 year olds. It’s from August 27-29 and is being held again at Well End Activity Centre, Borehamwood. For more details see www.wcg.org.uk.


Prayer Requests and Updates

Update on Martin Manuel’s grandson

Jason passed another milestone Wednesday afternoon when the medical staff removed the breathing tube and his body reacted without a glitch. He immediately talked because he had something urgent to tell us, although his throat was very sore. This morning, speech therapists worked with him to determine his ability to speak, reason, and understand. He wowed them. His progress continues to amaze the staff. He already wants to go home, but has more major milestones to pass. This is trying his patience. Still undetermined is the next step for his heart. Will he go on the list for a transplant? What treatment will he need in the short term? He is still in the ICU. Also unresolved is the matter of fluid on his brain. Please include these matters in your prayers as well as Jason’s need to cope with all that he must go through. Thanks for your continued loving support.

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Cards may be sent to:
Jason Richards
16917 NE 99th Court
Redmond, WA 98052


Brendan Terry

We received this note from Mary Terry, Pam Morgan’s mother, concerning her five year old grandson, Brendan:

I just wanted to let you know the results of Brendan’s chest X-ray. He does not have pneumonia. I believe that God intervened on his behalf. The fever and cough he had for the past week indicated that something was seriously wrong. The staph infection is also clearing up, after only two of the chlorine baths, which is also evidence that God is truly there for us. I can only praise His name and give Him my thanks. Thanks to everyone for their loving kindness for Brendan. Lovingly, Mary

Cards may be sent to:
Brendan J. Terry
137 Poppy Avenue
Monrovia, 91016

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


May 4, 2011

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Grace Communion Lisburn held its first worship service at the St. Patrick’s Pastoral Centre, Chapel Hill, in Lisburn, Northern Ireland, on Easter Sunday, April 24. UK and Ireland National Director James Henderson gave the inaugural sermon. Elder David Stirk from Banbridge assisted Mr. Henderson in the commissioning of three men to the new pastoral council: Elder Bob Beggs, Worship Leader John Magowan and Council Chairperson Stuart Foster. Grace Communion Lisburn meets at 11 a.m. each Sunday at the St. Patrick’s Pastoral Centre and is planning an official public launch on Pentecost Sunday, June 12.

Photo caption: UK & Ireland National Director James Henderson, far left, with the new congregation of Grace Communion Lisburn and guests at its inaugural meeting.


Aurora, Colorado

On Easter Sunday the Ground Zero Church in Aurora, Colorado, celebrated the resurrection of our Lord and as a bonus the church also celebrated the ordination of their pastor, Aaron Armstrong. A record 74 people attended the service.

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A video about progress in the Ground Zero church plant is posted on our It Looks Like This blog at http://gci-usa.blogspot.com/p/multiplying-leaders-ministries-and.html


Tegucigalpa, Honduras

More than 50 people attended a three-day ministry development conference April 16-18 in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, facilitated by Randy Bloom and Hector Barrero. The interactive sessions included “Becoming a Missional Church” and “Preparing to Start New Churches.”

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Photo caption: 1. Pastor Carlos & Family 2. Pastor Joel & Family 3. Pastor Manuel, Family & Friend 4. Pastor Mauricio & Family


Cagayan de Oro City, Philippines

About 59 campers attended the Summer Enhancement Program April 21-24 at Esmeralda Beach Resort. It was a memorable experience for the campers and staff as they enjoyed the camp activities with their old and newfound friends. The theme was “Seeing Him in You.”

GenMin’s ELATION curriculum was used during the camp devotionals and sessions. The curriculum discussed our identity in Christ through the acronym CHILD (Chosen, Healed, Included, Linked, Disciple). Ten campers were baptized.


Catbalogan City, Philippines

GCI Catbalogan conducted a Holy Week Vacation Bible School April 20 to 22 at Barangay Talib, Zumarraga, Samar, an island town and a native place of the De Guia Family. Three classes were conducted for 63 students. The children, ages 3 to 12, eagerly participated, and afterward, expressing their gratefulness, asked when the next VBS will be. Barangay officials and local residents attended the graduation day.


Prayer Requests and Updates

Pastors Bob Miller, Tim Brassell, Mike Horchak, Paul David Kurtz, Tom Mahan, Jonathan Stepp, John Novick and Rick Shallenberger let us know that our church members in their respective areas weathered the recent tornados without injury.


Martin Manuel’s grandson

From Martin: “My grandson, Jason, remains in a medically induced coma. There is much that we will not know until he is awakened, and the doctors now think that will be another week away. In the meantime, his life signs are stable…. Genneen and I have been in Seattle since Saturday night. Our presence here is not only for our grandson; we are part of the essential support that Janet and Colin need for themselves as well as for their other two children, ages 12 and 4. It is clear to us that we will need to be involved for some time.”

Cards may be sent to:
Jason Richards
16917 NE 99th Court
Redmond, WA 98052

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


April 27, 2011

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

I had the pleasure of spending the weekend in the Chillicothe and Columbus, Ohio, congregations pastored by Jeff Broadnax. These congregations are a new assignment for Jeff, who recently transferred from New York, where he had pastored three congregations for many years.

The worship was warm and the fellowship an equal delight. It was serendipitous to be there on that particular weekend, because Good Friday (and Earth Day) this year were also the occasion of John Halford’s 70th birthday. John and Pat, who live in Indiana and attend church in Cincinnati, were visiting along with other Cincinnati members.

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Randolph, Massachusetts

Dishon Mills, pastor of a new church plant in Randolph, Massachusetts, sent the following report about the informal “friendship feasts” that he and his wife, Afrika, are conducting to bring unchurched people together to develop relationships and share God’s life and love.

Thank you for your prayers. Our first friendship feast had a total of seven people. This time 31 people came (19 adults and 12 children). It was wonderfully diverse, with people representing at least seven different ethnic groups. We focused attention on ensuring that people could easily break the ice and be comfortable. Here are some of the things we did:

Nametags. We put a “getting to know you” question on the bottom of each nametag (e.g., What is your favorite ice cream flavor?). This provided an immediate conversation starter.
Paper tablecloths with crayons on the tables. Everyone loves to doodle, and giving adults (not just the kids) permission to play set a lot of folks at ease.
Puzzles and Games. We brought games for the kids and small puzzles for the adults.
Gifts. We gave everyone a small gift to say “thank you for coming.”

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Dishon and Afrika will have another friendship feast in June. Please keep them in your prayers. You can visit their website at: www.redeemedofchrist.org.


Philippines

Joan Lumabe and Eddie Centellas, two Oyango tribal members, were baptized April 17, 2011. They attend Christ the King of Glory Church, a congregation of GCI composed of the Oyango tribe. Pastor Boni Gonzales, who is now working in Canada, planted this church. Pastor Doming Trilles conducted the baptism ceremony.


New Churches in Mozambique

Tim Maguire (National Director in South Africa), Caleb Makhela (one of our South African pastors) and Daniel Fernandez (a deacon from our Portuguese congregation) are in Mozambique for a conference with about 55 pastors of the group that has now become part of GCI. Your prayers for a very successful and encouraging time of learning and fellowship would be greatly appreciated. The deacon from Portugal will provide translation into Portuguese. He was born in one of the Mozambiquan towns in which we now have a congregation.

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Photo captions: 1. Board representing the 55 congregations in Mozambique 2. Pastor Mariano Binzi (regional pastor) and Tim Maguire (National Ministry Leader in South Africa) 3. Mozambique Congregation 4. The Late Pastor Domingos, his wife and the youngest of their three children. (Domingos was the initial contact between GCI and their group.) 5. Local church building 6. Pastor Mariano Binzi visits congregations on bicycle.


Prayer Requests and Updates

Karl Reinagel sent this note regarding the tornadoes in St. Louis:

We have no reports of damage to any members’ homes, though there have been power outages for those closest to the airport. Thankfully no lives have been lost and all reported injuries have been minor—cuts and scrapes from shattered glass, etc.

It is strange the way some homes can be totally wiped out and others just next door seemingly untouched. Thankfully, we have been spared this time. We appreciate your concern and your prayers.


Retired District Superintendent Don Lawson sent this update about his wife, Sue, who is undergoing treatment for leukemia at USC University Hospital:

I had to come home and get some rest for a day, but am going back to the hospital today. Just had a phone call, and the report is very good. Her white cell count is on its way up, also the neutrophil count. The doctor said she may be out of protective isolation by the end of this week. Looks like she may be able to come home soon. She will still have a lot of chemo to go through, even after returning home. We want to say thank you to all for prayers, cards and concern. Would appreciate your keeping Sue on your prayer list. We thank God for how far she has come since this started.

Cards may be sent to:
78406 Hampshire Ave
Palm Desert, CA 92211-1954


Please pray for Jim Meade, pastor of In His Grace Community Church, in Port Huron, Michigan.

While being checked for some longstanding stomach pains, Jim was referred to a heart doctor the same day. They discovered that he had several major arterial blockages (some more than 90 percent) and some valve leakage. After an overnight hospital stay, he met with a cardiac surgeon who confirmed the diagnoses, and is now scheduled for quadruple bypass surgery Tuesday May 3.

Cards can be sent to:

Jim & Kim Meade
3665 Ruddock Rd
Kenockee, MI 48006

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


April 20, 2011

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

I thought you might enjoy some photos from the recent writers workshop that John Halford and Mike Feazell conducted in South Africa for the staff and potential writers for GCI Southern Africa’s Face to Face magazine. Face to Face is in its second year of production and growing steadily. South Africa national director Tim Maguire requested the workshop to strengthen the magazine’s editorial, distribution and theological effectiveness.

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Photo Captions: 1. Face to Face staff 2. John Halford discusses identifying your readers. 3. Mike Feazell discusses Christian journalism. 4. The group relaxes for a lunch break. 5. Waiting for Tim’s brother to come to the rescue when the truck broke down. 6. A male impala poses with his harem. 7. Left to right: Mike Feazell, GCI vice president; Tim Maguire, GCI South Africa national director; Kalengule Kaoma, East, West and Central Africa missions director; John Halford, GCI international publications advisor.


Fred and Maryann Stevens’ son, Alex, was part of the Arcadia, California, drum line that just won the national competition in Ohio. Fred is an elder in our Eagle Rock, California, congregation. You can view Alex’s team’s winning performance here on YouTube: http://wgi.thefannetwork.org/?vod_id=5d9c9452-c256-4b6f-a963-d52d7382009c


Sri Lanka

From Rod Matthews

Rod Matthews

The GCI Discipleship 101 course continues to be one of the most useful resources in our evangelical and mission work in Asia. Last year we had it translated into the Tamil language in Sri Lanka to complement the Sinhala language edition, which is already in print. The Tamil edition has just been printed by the Publishing Division of the Colombo Theological Seminary (CTS), so both the major ethnic groups in Sri Lanka now have an edition in their native language.

Mohan Jayasekera, pastor of our Perth, Australia, congregation, and who oversees our Sri Lankan church, has shared with me a message he received from his cousin, Lokendra Abayaratne, a retired Anglican archdeacon, and prominent religious leader in Sri Lanka. Lokendra has taken responsibility as the “person on the ground” for coordinating the translation and printing. He personally distributed copies at a major church near Colombo when he went there to preach last week and then asked the pastor to announce the availability of the publication at next Sunday’s service.

Lokendra also forwarded the following message he received from the director of Publishing at CTS:

Dear Father,

I thank God for using us as partners of this project. We are confident that this book will be a blessing to the Tamil speaking community. We thank God for Pastor Mohan and Grace Communion International ministry. Thank you for choosing us as partners of this publication. May the hand of the Lord be upon all your future endeavours.

Yours in His service,
Lal Wijesinghe
Publishing Coordinator


Reconciliation Ministries

From Curtis May

Curtis May

We are nearing completion of a DVD about the life of a woman who was kidnapped along with her two sons and held for several years. They went through unspeakable torture. Eventually she found a way to flee with her sons and get help. Long story short, she is now a member of GCI, serving in the church and working as a counselor. She has been able to forgive her attackers and has triumphed in Jesus. Her story is very moving and inspiring! Please pray that the DVD will be an effective witness of the grace and power of God!

Another opportunity that recently opened to us is a request by the Burleson/Cleburne (Dallas, Texas area) Ministerial Association and the Baptist Director of Missions to conduct a three-day reconciliation conference to help bring the local communities together. These communities have a history of racial conflict even among people in the same fellowship. GCI churches are involved in this process of building unity among them. Your prayers would be much appreciated. The dates of the conference are May 31 through June 2.


James Henderson

Lisburn, Northern Ireland

European Missions Director James Henderson is scheduled to preach at the inaugural service of Grace Communion Church, Lisburn, on Resurrection Sunday, April 24.

The new congregation hopes to provide a haven of God’s peace in a long troubled, but slowly healing region. They ask for prayer that with God’s help their limited resources will be focused effectively and that they will faithfully follow the Spirit’s lead.


Prayer Requests and Updates

Pastor Paul David Kurts reported that no GCI members have been hurt by the recent tornados in North Carolina, but as we have seen in the news reports, dozens have died from the severe weather the region is experiencing. Your prayers for protection and for the ability to help those in need are much appreciated.

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