What an incredible week for the City of Angels Church as the Lord blessed us with 21 additions – four place memberships, two restoration and 15 baptisms! As well, our All Congregational Easter Service was blow away from the "Good News Sharing" by the Region Leaders to the Sounds of the Cross Communion by the AMS Ministry to the "laying on of hands" for our two newest Regional Shepherding Couples – Travis & Cecy Frazier (North Region) and Rich & Angie Tabizon (Central Region)!
"You are looking for Jesus who was crucified.
He has risen!" (Mark 16:6)
So excitingly, our Easter Service – through the efforts of our incredible CyberEvangelists and WebDeacons – was a "Livestream Broadcast!" According to our data there were "seekers" in 43 nations: Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Croatia, England, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, France, Gambia, Germany, Guam, Guinea, Haiti, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Italy, Ivory Coast, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Martinique, Mexico, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Peru, Philippines, Puerto Rico, Russia, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turks and Caicos Islands, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, and the United States! The world is being evangelized! And to God be the glory!
"Jesus said to His disciples, 'Go into all the world
and preach the good news to all
creation!'" (Mark 16:15)
And now more detailed reports from around the LA Five County Metro Area…
Capil Marhatta: Greetings from the Sensational South! He has Risen! The Lord continues to use us "to raise to a new life" lost souls especially on this Easter Sunday! To God's glory five souls were added by baptism to God's precious Kingdom here in the Long Beach Area!
Stacy & Lynette Ybarra were "on cloud nine" with the angels rejoicing as they saw their son Christian (20) & daughter Cameryn (14) get baptized at yesterday's Easter Service! Stacy & Lynette were just recently restored to the Lord last month and God has blessed their repentance by their kids becoming disciples!
Last Easter, Cameryn asked Lynette about Jesus and she realized that Cameryn didn't even understand that Jesus died on Good Friday not Easter! Then just a few months ago, Cameryn asked her father Stacy to baptize her and Stacy knowing the truth (even though he wasn't living it or even going to church) saw that the only way he could baptize his daughter was to get right with God himself! Stacy phoned Chris Chloupek who married Lynette & him and through the AMS and South Region disciples, the Ybarras were restored and now their kids are disciples!
After Cameryn is baptized by her dad & mom, her
"brother brother" Christian applauds!
The Teen Ministry has been on the rise as well as they have added three in the last month with Myles Ellison-Keys and Cameryn Ybarra added Sunday! Myles (13) is a very pure hearted boy who became a man of God as he made Jesus the Lord of his life! Myles is a "Kingdom Kid" whose mom is Stephanie Keys, who has been serving tirelessly for years in the City of Angels Church!
Our new brother Myles has come "miles" to
become a baptized disciple!
Also, a young man named Harry DeBerry was baptized! He is an incredible young man who was dating our dear sister Mitchelle in the world while playing semi-professional football, and by Mitchelle's faith in God and example he has joined the party in the Kingdom!
Lance (left) and Andrew welcome
Harry into the Kingdom!
Finally, our Russian sisters Aliona and Olena baptized a Russian-American young lady named Anya! She has been wrestling with the Scriptures for a few months and came to the conclusion that Jesus isn't a mean God but in fact was loving, compassionate and humble!
Our dear American-Russian sister Anya is baptized
just in time to start training for the
Moscow Mission Team!
In other good news, when disciples are bearing fruit God blesses relationships as well! Anthony Olmos & Cassidy Deaves who lead our crankin' Campus Ministry were engaged last week where Anthony & Cassidy had their whole family present! Amen!
Since Anthony & Cassidy served gallantly on the
Paris Mission Team, the Kernan Family
congratulates them upon
Finally, to cap off all of the victories in the Lord today, my co-leader in the Sensational South Teen Ministry Joe Estep asked me to be his girlfriend down by the famous ship, the Queen Mary in Long Beach! As Ice Cube once sang, "Today was a good day!"
Congratulations to Joe & Capil!
Kyle Bartholomew of the Central Region: Greetings! Joan & I were so privileged to appoint two of our closest friends as a Shepherding Couple – Rich & Angie Tabizon! Though sad for all of us in the Central Region, the Tabizons will leave for their new home in Manila on May 26th! Of course, this is exciting news that the Metro Manila ICC will have its first Shepherding Couple! Joan & I look forward to meeting them in Manila just a little over a year from now with the rest of the mission team! And to God be the glory!
Kyle & Joan Bartholomew (left) appoint Rich & Angie
Tabizon to be a Shepherding Couple for the Central
Region and for the Manila Church!
Tyler Sears: Greetings and Happy Easter from the West Region! God is always faithful to His promises, and we in the West are very grateful for this! Last week, the Lord added two to our number through baptism with a young, single man named Femi and a UCLA student named Stephanie! This week, for Easter, we baptized another UCLA student named Chase who studied every day until he was baptized!
UCLA has had two awesome baptisms in the last two
weeks – Stephanie (above) and Chase
(second from the left)!
Brandyn Speckman of the Ventura Region: Greetings from Ventura and the Teen Retreat Headquarters! Today we welcomed two incredible disciples into the Ventura Region! Scot Kendrick returns to Ventura from the Dallas-Fort Worth Remnant Group as an engaged man! His "wife-to-be" is an awesome single mom in our region – Michelle Turner!
The entire Ventura Region is so excited about
Scot & Michelle's engagement!
Also, Violeta Swann comes from the mighty San Diego Church! We now have three generations of Swann disciples in our region! This family united in Christ brings us a great hope for all of our family members "to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth!" (1 Timothy 2:4)
The three generations of Swanns – Violeta (front
center), her son David (back right)
and his son Kyle!
On another note, we bring back a "good report" from the AWESOME Teen Retreat last weekend! What an incredible group of young men and women who simply want to serve and honor God! Our weekend theme was Zeal For Your House (John 2:17) and the camp grounds were a perfect location for the 40 Teen Participants (majority disciples) to put their "zeal" into practice!
The CAICC Teen Retreat was awesome!
Brandyn captivates the young women's hearts
with an inspirational Bible lesson!
The camp highlights included homemade feasts (prepared by my amazing husband!), archery, a volleyball challenge, basketball, Sunday service on the top of a mountain, late night "Capture the Flag" Tournament, peer preaching, d-groups, campfire preaching, and of course, S'mores!!! One teen disciple commented, "This was just what I needed to get back to my first love and have zeal for God!" We saw hearts convert from weary upon arrival to on fire at departure!
Luke wakes up extra early to make a
scrumptious pancake breakfast!
The Brothers waste no time eating the
scrumptious pancake breakfast!
Nothing like a hot chocolate to start the day!
Nothing like S'mores to end the day!
The Teen Worship Service begins!
Kirk Hamula preaching about zeal!
The dangers of preaching outside – Kirk moves
a stink bug in the middle of his lesson!
We love you from the bottom of our hearts! Please keep Ventura in your prayers!
Tim Kernan of the North Region: "'I myself will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the countries where I have driven them and will bring them back to their pasture, where they will be fruitful and increase in number. I will place shepherds over them who will tend them, and they will no longer be afraid or terrified, nor will any be missing,' declares the Lord." (Jeremiah 23:3-4) This Sunday was such a special day for Lianne & me as we were able to appoint our dear friends Travis & Cecy (Mejia) Frazier as powerful shepherds of the Lord over the North Region!
The Willises and the Kernans trained Travis & Cecy
Frazier to become a dynamic Shepherding
Couple for the North Region!
In working in the North with Travis & Cecy, Lianne & I constantly have to pinch ourselves to see if we are only dreaming! But we aren't dreaming, this serving, loving, humble couple is for real! Cecy is the sister of Carlos Mejia, the powerful evangelist in Santiago, Chile! Lianne & I are so proud of the region even as we are preparing to leave to go home to Toronto, but we know Travis & Cecy will welcome Blaise & Patricia Feumba and their children from London as well as Josh Koralek from New York City with all their hearts!
Also it has been incredible to welcome Steve Fraser from London and Eric Boomer from Hilo who have arrived to train for the Toronto Mission Team! Pray as well for the North Region to blow out our 20X Missions Contribution!
Helena Wademan (right), Junior Kernan (center) and
David Kernan are tagging to raise funds for
the Toronto Mission Team!
Cory Blackwell: "Not to us, O Lord, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness." (Psalm 115:1) Today was amazing! Kip's sermon touched many hearts. I was really convicted when Kip spoke from the Scripture about the two thieves, "They both had the same circumstances, but totally different responses. So clearly circumstances do not determine the heart!" Another thought-provoking illustration was from the movie FROZEN, where to "unfreeze a frozen heart" required an act of love! Seeing what God is doing here in LA and around the world, I feel my heart becoming more and more "unfrozen!"
Elsa and Anna – the stars of the movie FROZEN!
There is so much good news in Southland! At the beginning of the week, I prayed so hard for fruit that I did not see. However, I was certain God would provide! God did "more than all I could ask or imagine!" (Ephesians 3:20) I am so proud of the Southland Ministry and honored to lead such incredible people! The Lord added to our number five strong men! Tyrone Davis, a single father of three, inspired us with his love for his three boys and now an even greater love for Christ!
Tyrone is surrounded by his physical family – his
three precious sons and his parents!
Lupe de Jesus Chavez, a single brother who studied for almost a year, shared before his baptism that he may not be a great speaker or a fast learner, but he was not afraid to speak boldly that "Jesus is Lord!"
Lupe makes a rock-solid decision to
be a sold-out disciple of Jesus!
Oscar Salvado battled hard. At times it seemed that his sin might master him, but after wrestling with God he received his blessing in the waters of baptism. Isidro Ayala has been eager from day one, decided that not another day would pass without him being sure of his own salvation. He stayed up the next 24 hours studying until he was baptized Sunday at church!
Isidro studied the Scriptures all night and
was baptized Easter morning!
Very dear to my heart was the return of my brother Johnny Sanchez! He and his wife Veronica were the number five and six baptisms in Southland. Both were awesome Bible Talk Leaders, but sin and doubt "froze" their hearts and they fell away. Johnny's heart has thawed and he has truly repented and is ready to preach the Word once more! Pray for us that the harvest continues to come in and that we will continue to mature into mighty disciples that will evangelize all the 3.8 million lost souls in the Southland Region!
Victor Gonzalez Sr.: Greetings from the mighty East Region! Our whole region has been working tirelessly tagging Monday thru Saturday to raise money for special missions! We are praying to have it done by April 27th three weeks early!
Another miracle was our dear brother Josue Soriano getting restored to the Lord! The disciples and all the angels in heaven were rejoicing over him being reunited with his true family again! He is the "hope of Honduras" where his physically family lives. Pray for Josue to someday be strong enough to return to plant a sold-out church in his beloved homeland!
Josue's return to the Lord will prayerfully allow
him to fulfill his destiny to bring the
gospel to Honduras!
For the last two weeks, we also had the privilege of hearing Tim Kernan and our "soon-to-be Region Leader" Cesar Limon preach powerful midweek lessons to inspire us to go to all nations! To put the cherry on top, at our All Congregational Service today, we had two baptisms! One from our Cal Poly Ministry a woman name Serena, who is from the nation of Jordan, and a dynamic young man who was met by the Mt. Sac Ministry – Gilbert.
Serena (back center) surrenders her desire to be
baptized in the Jordan River of her home
nation because of her urgency to
be right with God!
Over 1,000 in the audience thunderously applauded
when Gilbert shared before his baptism that to
become a disciple he had to give up his
job at the marijuana dispensery!
Please continue to pray for the East Region as we strive more and more to gather the harvest for more workers!
Erik af Klint: "There will be large numbers of fish, because this water flows there and makes the salt water fresh; so where the river flows everything will live." (Ezekiel 47:9) Greetings of love from the Inland Empire!
The life-giving waters of baptism continue to flow from God's Temple here in the Inland Empire! His fishermen continue to catch fish as this past week, four more were saved by the fresh waters of baptism! Very excitingly, four of our ministries each caught a fish! First was a very humble young man named Alex from the RCC Campus! Second was Maria from UCR, who had been part of a religious group on campus for a long time but now she has the truth and is ready to preach the Word!
Two of the IE Regions' newest disciples – Alex and
Maria – issue the challenge, "You will be next!"
Then we had two baptisms in our "Mingles" (Singles and Marrieds) – Celennia and George! George was reached out to by Robert, who is the father of Brandon, an awesome disciple in San Diego! God put Robert in charge of his own nephew, George, and simply brought him along to church. From the start, George loved the truth of the Scriptures as God truly "appoints the times and places!" (Acts 17:26-27)
George likewise gives the IE's weekly challenge!
Lastly, we saw Celennia, a mother of two daughters, baptized into Christ! Celennia inspires so many as she has been through so much! Last year, her partner was murdered and so she was alone and depressed but this tragedy led her to start seeking for the truth! She was invited to church and being that her two daughters loved it, they begged her to bring them back! Celennia is an example of how our God can heal anyone that has been through anything!
Celennia's journey to become a true Christian
inspires the City of Angels Church!
Also great news is that we have almost 80% of our Special Missions completed so that the waters of baptism continue to flow from the Temple of God into the desert and into all the world!! To God be all the Glory!
HEADLINE NEWS – USA & CANADA
NEWS FLASH – Jason Dimitry of Las Vegas: "Don't you have a saying 'It's still four months until the harvest?' I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for the harvest." (John 4:35) Greetings from "Saint City!" The Las Vegas Church was planted just 11 months ago! However, just two months from now our "baby church" has been called by the Holy Spirit to send out 13 of its leaders to humbly serve alongside the incredible disciples of the great San Francisco Bay Church! But even in the midst of a transition, the Bible says that the harvest is ripe RIGHT NOW! And we're so fired up to see the harvesting of four souls in the last two weeks!
Victor & Sonia Gonzalez will become the new
LV Church Leaders in July!
It was incredible to see our dearly loved sister Daisha baptize Danesha and Shay, her two teen sisters!
Then, God gave us two incredibly zealous Filipino nursing students, who were baptized into Christ: Eliza a dorm student from UNLV and Vaughn from College of Southern Nevada!
Eliza's baptism will allow the LV Church to
have a Dorm Bible Talk at UNLV!
And to top it all off we have a new dating couple, Mason Lally & Sam Wilson!
Mason & Sam are all smiles after
they start dating!
Please pray as we could have several more baptized this week!
Richie McDonnell: Greetings from beautiful Santa Barbara! Of recent, there has been great excitement in the Santa Barbara Church! This past week, God has added one to our number through the incredible birth of Elizabeth's & my first baby, Sawyer Samuel McDonnell at 7lbs. 15oz and 20" long! He was born on Saturday afternoon, April 12th. Sawyer and Elizabeth are both very healthy and doing great! So is Dad!
Sawyer Samuel McDonnell!
Elizabeth & I are both very encouraged as the Lord has really been blessing the Santa Barbara Church with other additions as well! The original mission team started with just 11 disciples in January, and by next Sunday we will have two more disciples move in from San Diego which brings us to 17 sold-out disciples! And there are a few people who Lord willing will be baptized very soon! The faith goal we set before the Lord when we planted the church in January was to double the original mission team to 22 in six months! Please be praying for the Lord to multiply His disciples in Santa Barbara!
The Santa Barbara Church runs
to raise mission funds!
Courtney Parlour: "With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God's grace was so powerfully at work in them all…" (Acts 4:33) We have seen God's grace powerfully at work here in the Syracuse Church! Today we had our largest service yet as 133 people gathered for an incredible church service full of musical performances, a creative play, a graceful dance, and the Word preached with conviction by my husband, Joel! We were personally encouraged as Joel's parents, Roger & Kama, were visiting from Boston and were able to share powerfully for communion and contribution! The Parlour Sr.'s are heroes in the faith to many in the Syracuse Church as they were on the original church planting to Syracuse in 1993!
Courtney writes a song that the Syracuse Kids
Kingdom performs on Easter Sunday!
The highlight of the service today was the baptism of our new sister Delilah! She is an amazing single mom of three boys, one of which has autism. Delilah was first introduced to the church ten years ago at the age of 17, but unfortunately decided to plunge into the world. God later put a sister named Amy Ludwig in her life and she was reintroduced to God and the church. A couple of months ago, Delilah decided to move her wonderful family from Albany to Syracuse. This radical decision was so that she could be around the Kingdom to become a true disciple and to give her boys the opportunity to become disciples!
In the midst of finding a new home, a new job, and putting her boys in school, Delilah studied the Bible diligently! She truly has made every effort to enter the Kingdom!
Delilah makes the radical decision to move her family
to Syracuse in order to seek the Kingdom first!
We are with you heart and soul here in sunny, Central New York State!
Coltin Rohn of Boston: "I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit He prunes." (John 15:1-2) Pruning is needed, but it's super painful! However, we presently have 45 disciples, but God blessed us with 97 in attendance at our Easter Worship Service! Many are set up to do Bible studies and I believe, we will be "even more fruitful" in the weeks to come! God also allowed us to take up our Special Missions today and we collected over $32,000 for the Lord! With more to still be collected! Happy Resurrection Day!
Matt Sullivan of Orlando: God has been so good to us as we are striving to rebuild a firm foundation of disciples and leaders after the planting of two churches in the last four months! Even after 26 members have been sent out (25% of our congregation) – we had a great attendance this Easter Sunday of 106 with so many visitors! It was awesome! I was personally encouraged that several remnant disciples decided to "check us out!"
Mackenzie was fired up to be a disciple at her first Easter Service, as she was met by Tia at Rollins College and just baptized this last Wednesday night after First Principles!
Tia and Mackenzie are now partners in the gospel
at the prestigious Rollins College in Winter Park!
In addition, Yvonise from our rapidly growing AMS Ministry was baptized last Sunday and now has joined her husband Donald in the Lord as a faithful baptized disciple! They are an amazing couple who have already added so much to the ministry here in the Real Magic Kingdom!
Yvonise & Donald are now united in Christ!
Please keep us in your prayers as we seek to rebuild here in the South which God has charged us to evangelize! Also please keep Houston and Gainesville on your prayer list!
Anthony Eckels: God blessed the 21 person mission team of the Houston International Christian Church with an amazing Inaugural Service with an attendance of 86! The church was so inspired to have Kip & Elena, Tyler & Shay, Matt & Helen, and Job & Erin as well as other disciples from LA, Gainesville, Orlando and Dallas to support our efforts! We would like to send a huge thank you to all who attended!
The DFW Mission Team Leaders – Tyler & Shay
Sears – and the DFW Remnant Group
Leaders – Job & Erin Sterling –
support their Texas sister
The service was very encouraging as Sharon Cambell and her son Joshua Kelly were welcomed by the Sisters of Encouragement as they placed membership from LA! Then Matt & Helen zealously shared for contribution; Elena shared a heartfelt communion; and then I preached a message entitled, A Church After God's Own Heart! Following the message, Matt presented the Mission Team and the Houston Remnant Group with upside-down globes and prayed over the church!
The phenomenal Inaugural Service of the Houston
International Christian Church!
This past week was equally encouraging as we saw our daughter and son in the faith, as well as some of our closest friends, Smoot & Brittany wed one another! There was not a dry eye as Brittany walked down the aisle. Their families both attended the wedding and were showered with love. Smoot's brother shared at the rehearsal dinner that he was blown away by the love and warmth of the church.
Congrats to Smoot & Brittany!
Please pray for us as we have many studies, and are trying to "break the religious chains" Satan has on Houston!
Maria Franklin of Chicago: Last Sunday, Gaby was baptized into the saving waters through the efforts of the Latin Region! Gaby was met by Alma over five years ago! Alma persevered with Gaby even though she had studied with her over a year ago and had rejected God. Gaby finally decided to surrender to God by giving up a twelve year relationship and the father of her ten year old son. She even gave up a vacation because she was so urgent to get right with God! Her gratitude is inspiring as she continues to radically share her faith!
The Chicago Latin Sisters worked hard and
long to bring Gaby into God's Familia!
Today, at our glorious Easter Service, Jada humbly declared "Jesus is Lord" and was baptized! Jada was reached out to by our awesome sister Samara while they rode the bus about a month ago! Jada is a freshman at the Art Institute for Culinary Arts!
After her baptism, Jada looks to Heaven
while praising God!
As we gear up for our Special Missions Contribution next week, God has moved in the hearts of the disciples as so many have sacrificed and worked hard! So far, we have already turned in over $67,000 as well as collected over $12,000 through our tagging efforts! Please pray for us, as we pray for you!
Lou Jack Martinez: We finally broke the month-long drought here in Honolulu as JACOB FURUTO was baptized last Thursday!!!
On Easter morning, Jacob joyfully celebrates
his new life in Christ!
Additionally, God has blessed our last few tagging efforts with over $5,000 in only three outings!!! Finally, the Campus and Singles Ministries went on a combined retreat this past weekend at the beautiful Pu'u Kahea Conference Center on the Waianae Coast!
All had an amazing blast, not to mention an amazing Easter Sunday Service with the Married Ministry joining them on Sunday!!!
The Easter Egg Hunt is on!
Please keep praying for the harvest in the Islands!!!
Ron Harding: Greetings from the Washington DC! After successfully beginning the new pattern of three Regional Services with fulltime couples leading each region, God blessed the DC Church with 190 in attendance at our Easter Service – the largest Easter Service since DC was planted in 2009!
One of the highlights of the service were the restoration of Anthony Basdeo, who like Noah ran away from the Kingdom – all the way back to his homeland of Trinidad. He poured his heart out saying because he didn't speak English well and it was hard to find work here in the US that he thought the only way they would survive was to go back to Trinidad. But he soon found out that life without the Kingdom is tougher than being in a familiar place and familiar people who speak your same language! It was inspiring to see Anthony run back to the God and His Kingdom, leading the way for his family to return as well.
Anthony discovers that with God "you
can run, but you cannot hide!"
Following this moving moment, "The DC Choir" blew the roof off the Hyatt singing Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee.
Tracy enthusiastically directs the gifted DC Choir!
Then our sister Melika Johnson (a trained opera singer) performed La Via Dolorosa as our young fiery campus sister Shyloe Pollard did a beautiful dance routine, melting everyone's hearts in preparation for communion. It is such an honor to lead a groups of talented and committed group of disciples! Happy Easter and to God be all the glory!
Evan Bartholomew: Greetings from San Diego – a city always in motion! This week has been an exciting week, as we were able to witness the baptism of Walker Mahdessian and then the sending out of two incredible disciples to Santa Barbara! Walker is the son of Vartan & Jill Mahdessian who were restored in January of this year! Walker was so "blown away" by the radical change of his parents, and also the commitment of the younger disciples in the church, that he quickly decided it was time to take the refreshing dip into the waters of baptism! He is now our only teen disciple, and therefore the beginning of our Teen Ministry!
Vartan, Jill and Walker are now a
family in God's Family!
Also exciting, is that after a powerful Easter Sunday Service where almost a hundred were in attendance, the Holy Spirit "blew" Gabriella Murillo and Chris Baty up to Santa Barbara! (John 3:8) As a memento, the San Diego Church presented each of them with an armillary globe. These nautical globes were invented way back, before even Jesus' time. They were an attempt to map out the planet's and star's orbits around the earth. Later, when it was realized that the planets and stars actually revolved around the sun, these globes were changed and the center became symbolic of the sun instead of the earth. They are a powerful reminder to both Gabby and Chris that as long as the "Son" is in the center of their lives, they will never lose their way!
The armillary globes will always remind
Gabriella and Chris of their days in
the great San Diego Church!
Mike Underhill: Words can't express how grateful we all are here to have a "veteran" and "prodigal son of God's household" join our fellowship in San Francisco! Rob, a brother in Christ, who just like myself fell away and starting bartending and riding motorcycles, was restored a few years ago in our former fellowship. I was so grateful to start building a friendship with this dear brother when he contacted me after he began listening to the sermons on our website! (Thanks to Tim Le and Aaron Viscichini for their website work!) Rob was searching for the "sold-out fellowship" that he was baptized into before falling away in the 90's.
Over this past year, Rob and I simply became good friends and I did my best to help Rob in whatever way possible. Rob finally began seeing the "immovable lukewarmness" that persists in his former fellowship, and after finally seeing his own convictions affected and eroding, he placed membership with us in order to protect his relationship with God! Sadly, his former church immediately labeled him as a "false brother," his roommates asked him to move out, and his girlfriend ended their relationship! But, God encouraged him today by giving him his first non-Christian friend out to church in many, many months! It is such a joy and I am filled with tears to be in the presence of a man who has persevered in this spiritual battle and remained faithful to the Word of God at all costs! We love you with the love of the Lord, Rob!
Rob pays the price to join the San Francisco
Bay ICC Band of Brothers!
Coleen Untalan of Portland: Happy Easter from the City of Bridges! This weekend has been filled with so many great things happening as we had not only an incredible Easter Service, but also fantastic Women's Days in both the English and Latin Ministries! We decided to imitate the City of Angels Church and have as our theme UNCONDITIONAL. Sonia Gonzalez Sr. was the guest speaker for the Women's Day in the Latin Ministry entitled INCONDICIONAL. She did a great job speaking to the women as she is a "mother in the faith" to many of our Spanish-speaking sisters!
"Mama Sonia" and a dear sister Leonor!
In the English Ministry, we had a sort of mother-daughter theme as my mom Therese Untalan was our guest speaker! Many of the women wanted to meet my mom and it was evident to them "where I got a lot of who I am from" both physically and spiritually! I am so grateful that my mom is a disciple and that we can impact the world together!
Beautiful – inside and out – Coleen
and her mom Therese!
It was incredible to see the women in both ministries work so hard for the Lord and with 50 disciples we were able to have 125 women out! But most inspiring were the baptisms of Jennifer who is 19 and in the PSU Campus Ministry and Marixa who is 16 and in the Teen Ministry. Jennifer challenged her mom about being a disciple so much that she was able to have her out to Women's Day to witness her baptism alongside her dad and another friend!
Portland's new twin Sisters – Jennifer and Marixa!
Jennifer really is a young fireball as she and another sister put Women's Day invites on every bathroom stall of PSU and she gave her 20X Missions Contribution even before she became a disciple! Marixa's mother is a disciple in the Latin Ministry so it was equally powerful hearing how their relationship had changed because of Jesus. Truly the Lord has moved but there is so much more work that must be done! Please continue to pray for us as we have so many people studying who must resurrect with Jesus!
Andrew Smellie of New York City: Greetings from the "City That Never Sleeps!" Today we celebrated our "Resurrection Sunday" as the children sang O Happy Day! and danced as they praised the Lord! Despite several disciples out of town, the Lord blessed us with 171 at service including my Dad (80 years old and looking like 40!), his fiance Marie and Patrique's sister Nicola!
"Grandpa Smellie" and Naomi!
It was encouraging to also welcome one of our newest additions, Wyatt, the baby of Wes & Debbie Hardin to his first service!
Wes, Debbie and Baby Wyatt!
This week was also a joy as we hosted Chris Broom and his son Austin as they were in town to "scout out the land" for housing and schools as they prepare for their move with 25 other disciples on the NYC Supplemental Mission Team at the end of June! Chris preached powerfully for the Bible Talk Leaders last Sunday, and we were able to enjoy the excitement of a Yankees baseball game victory over our famous rivals and reigning World Series Champions, the Boston Red Sox!
Nick Bordieri wishes he could join Andrew,
Austin and Chris cheering, "Go Yankees!"
Please pray to the Lord of Harvest to help us to "resurrect" this dying world! Happy Easter!
Jeremy Ciaramella of Phoenix: Greetings from the "Valley of the Son!" Today's Easter Service was electric! We had one of our best contributions of the year of almost $4,500 and one of our best attendances of 176! Disciples also gave an additional $4,700 for early missions as well! Immediately afterwards, we shared in communion and two gifted sisters sang La Via Dolorosa in English (Sandy Lunde) and Spanish (Laura Barrett) so powerfully that many were moved to tears!
The highlight of the day was seeing Christine Melgar "baptized into Christ" and "raised to a new life!" (Romans 6:2-4) God had His timing in mind when she started studying the Bible over a year and-a-half ago! Today she shared openly about how she kept fighting God, fighting the sisters, and resisting because of her pride and religious background. She humbly shared that the biggest road-block for her pursuit of brokenness and trusting God was her past with her father – resulting in bitterness, mistrust and disdain toward men. Her sharing, confession and baptism were the perfect close for an amazing Easter Sunday!
The love of the Phoenix Sisters ultimately
brought Christine to Christ!
HEADLINE NEWS – INTERNATIONAL
NEWS FLASH – Joe Willis of Sydney: Greetings from Australia!! God has blessed us with an incredible two weeks here in Sydney! Just two weeks ago, a young man named Kavendu – who is a Sri Lankan Engineering Graduate brought up in Greece and educated in England – searched the internet for a church after landing in Sydney four days earlier. He arrived at our church service and after the message explained that while he had been going to church in England, he was not really a Christian as he came from a Buddhist background. Within 11 days, he told his parents he was converting to Christianity, had given up his long term girlfriend, and was baptized at our Midweek Service on Wednesday!
Coming from a Buddhist background, Kavendu is
so grateful for his new t-shirt which reminds
him that Saved = Christian = Disciple!
This inspired Maggie, our first Chinese conversion and a student at Macquarie University, who told her parents she was going to become a Christian and was baptized today at our Barbecue Easter Service at the beach!
Prayerfully, Maggie is the first of many Chinese
disciples that will be sent by the Holy Spirit to
evangelize the 1.3 billion people of China!
As well today was our best attendance yet with 38 people at church including friends from some of our former movement churches. Also this week Pete Wade landed his first architectural job, and Jade Rubenstein is now employed at her first job! And amongst the excitement of this week, Sean Venezuela – putting his full trust in the love and protection of God – cashed in his 21st birthday present from everyone in the church, put on his scuba gear, and fed the sharks at Sydney Aquarium!
Happy 21st Birthday Sean… "May the
odds be ever in your favor!"
Lastly, a BIG thank you to all those in LA for collecting and sending our "missionaries care package," especially Cesar & Debbie! This was incredibly encouraging!
The Sydney International Christian Church!
God is truly moving powerfully here in Sydney! Please keep us in your prayers!
NEWS FLASH – Eugen Sobolev: "If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:8-9) Greetings from Moscow! I want to share with you the astounding story of Yuriy & Yulia who were restored in Moscow on Sunday, April 13th!
They were baptized in the middle of the nineties in Moscow, but sadly fell away in 2007. Then everything happened as it is described in the Book of Deuteronomy – they lost their love, close relationships, and finally were very close to divorce. At that moment, Yulia understood that she needed to repent, met with sisters, and declared her decision to her husband. Later he said that this decision moved him so much that he repented too! So now it's a real "second honeymoon" after 24 years of marriage!
The dramatic restoration of Yuriy & Yulia!
Also, last Sunday we witnessed the restoration of Igor – a young single professional who was baptized about an year ago here in Moscow. Unfortunately, he fell away six months after his baptism and allowed sin to capture him again with drugs, alcohol, etc. "But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession" that Igor's heart changed! He totally repented and rejoined God's church!
And last but not the least, God continues to gather disciples from the 15 nations of the "Russian Commonwealth" to Moscow! When Kip, Elena, Oleg & Aliona came here last November there were 20 disciples in Moscow and Kip took a decision to gather 40-50 disciples in Moscow by June 1, 2014!
Pray for Oleg Sirotkin – the Moscow
Mission Team Leader!
Since then, Fred & Alya Muratov have moved from Moscow to lead the Kiev Church, but God has given us four restorations, two baptisms and nine move-ins (one from Novosibirsk and eight from Kiev)! At this moment we have 33 totally committed disciples here in Moscow, and we expect one more brother from Belarus this week and eight more in May! Last Sunday two more brothers from Ukraine – Ruslan and Viktor – moved to Moscow from Kiev and placed membership! We are closer and closer to our goal – at least 40 members by June 1st! Please keep us in your prayers!
Carlos Mejia: We are so proud of the church here in Santiago! In the past two weeks, the Lord has blessed us with three restorations and one baptism! Sonia, Alejandra Anuch (Women's Ministry Leader) and Guilermo Galvez (Campus BT Leader) baptized their mother Sonia Galvez! Because of Sonia's convictions to give up the religious world and become a true sold-out disciple, Sonia’s mother is now studying the Bible!
Sonia (green) rejoices in her salvation
with her physical family!
Another miracle that we witnessed is a restoration that I need to tell you about. Marlene Viveros was restored/place membership today and her story is amazing! She was originally baptized here in the ICOC in 1993. She is the one that reached out to Alejandra Anuch, who is one of our Women's Ministry Leaders! She also reached out to Carlos & Maria Elena Gallardo! This woman is a power house for evangelism!
The only problem has been that she has not had discipling and has not had a church to bring people to! It is so frustrating to her to want to share her faith and bring people but nobody in the old church had the heart to study the Bible with her friends. When she came out to church she exclaimed, "This is the church that I was baptized into… A church with a dream to evangelize the whole world!"
The Gallardos and Lucy welcome Marlene (orange)
into the fellowship of God's SoldOut Movement!
When Marlene shared today it reminded me of my return to God through the new movement and all the dreams I had lost and all the time that had gone by without any discipling. I am so grateful to be a part of the new movement! So, in the past four weeks, we have seen three disciples join us from what's left of the ICOC. We are looking forward for many more to come and roll up their sleeves and help us to evangelize the world!!
Lola Lof of Kinshasa: Greetings from the Democratic Republic of Congo! "Don't be yoked with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial?" (2 Corinthians 6:14-17) As the Bible teaches Christians must marry Christians, the church in Kinshasa celebrated the wedding of our dear brother and sister Willy & Gertrude Kafwenge!
Willy & Gertrude dance with all their might
in celebrating their wedding day!
This wonderful event coincided with our Easter celebration so all the disciples and our guests were so delighted to take part in a very electric service! Also of note, the Holy Spirit moved the heart of a young man after studying the Bible and repenting from his sins, Henock decided to be baptized into the body of Christ!
Lola baptizes Henock on Easter!
Continue to pray for all of your African brothers and sisters, as we pray daily for you!
Michael Williamson: God has blessed us in London! After weeks of grueling fundraising events including "Car Boot Sales," Walk-a-thons, Lift-a-thons, and bucket shaking (tagging), the church raised £43,420 or $72,967 for our 15X Special Missions! It was so incredible seeing God's hand helping the church over the past few weeks!
Two Sundays ago, a faithful hero to so many in London, Steve Fraser was sent out to join the mighty Toronto Mission Team in LA! We organized a huge party for Steve accompanied with sharing and his favorite food dish (popular in West Africa) "Jollof Rice!" Steve has been an incredible pillar to the church sacrificing both monetary and physical resources to support the church in its remnant days and after the mission team arrived! He will be missed!
Blaise, Michael Williamson and Michael Hart help
Steve to find the courage to be on the
Toronto Mission Team!
We also baptized two incredible singles – Brenda and Clark! Clark's infectious smile is much like his father in the faith Victor Komo. He also is challenging the brothers on personal fitness, as his daily workout includes 300 pushups and crunches!
Clark is a welcomed addition to the
Excitingly we just received approval from home office here in the UK to hire Krista Cameron as an intern! God is awesome!
Krista will soon be joining her awesome
boyfriend Victor in London!
Raul Moreno: "In the last days, God says, 'I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.'" (Acts 2:17) Greetings from São Paulo! The Lord was "good" as He always is, as He allowed us to get a "taste of the Scripture" above! First, we witnessed the old "dream dreams" as Terezinha was baptized at 80 years old! Even at her age, she was radical in her commitment to Christ and broke up with her boyfriend to become a true disciple! She is dearly loved and has a great personality and has become a spiritual grandmother to many!
Terezinha has become the grandmother
for the Sao Paulo Church Family!
Then we witnessed the young "see visions" as Ana was baptized as a 19 year old! She has a full ride scholarship studying Law School and she is the sister of our dearly loved brother Valdermar, who is doing a one year internship in London being graciously loved and sustained spiritually by the awesome London Church!
The Sao Paulo Disciples celebrate with Anna!
Through a global movement, God can convert our family members, even if they are in other countries! "Nothing is impossible for God!"
Debs Rajan of Chennai: "Like cold water to a weary soul is good news from a distant land." (Proverbs 25:25) I bring you "good news from the distant land" of the Tamils! In the Chennai Church there is an expectation to know the countries and their capitals of all the distant lands! Ouagadougou, Nouakchott and Yamoussoukro are some of the capital cities which I have never heard of, but because this month is all about Africa and the Book of Acts, I came to know about it and now I care for the lost souls there!
On Friday we had a workshop with teachings on The Holy Spirit by Raja and How To Help Our Muslim Friends by Thomas, as well as skits on discipling and fellowship which were hilarious! It truly was a Good Friday! And on Saturday, we went to Bala Vihar, an orphanage that takes care of the mentally challenged kids. The games and songs brought joy to these children and tears of gratitude to us!
The Chennai MERCY Ambassadors bring the
love of Jesus to the Bala Vihar Orphanage!
On Sunday, the Easter Service ended with great rejoicing as Christopher became engaged to Amanda!
Christopher & Amanda will make a
powerful married couple!
The risen Lord brings joy in our daily lives!
NEWS FLASH – John Malnegro: Only great news from the Metro Manila ICC!!! God has continued to move powerfully in the Metro Manila Church, as over the last four weeks we have witnessed miracle after miracle!!! Beginning the last Sunday of March, our dear sister Susan Vinuya (wife of Wisly Vinuya) was restored in the Lord!!! This was followed by the baptisms of Raygun and Romalyn last Sunday!!!
And today, God blessed us with not just another awesome restoration but five baptisms!!! During the last day of our incredible three day retreat where we had a total of 72 delegates, Nita made Jesus the Lord of her life as she was restored to her "first love!"
The Metro Manila ICC Retreat!
And so excitingly, Mark (Kate Ong's classmate), Cristy (Teng Carino's wife), Michael (Nimrod & Vis Malnegro's son), and Jash and Jorge (Anna's and my two precious daughters) were all baptized at the waterfalls in Kiangan, Ifugao – home of Arnold & Masah Melicor!
John baptizes his nephew – Michael!
John baptizing his oldest daughter Jash!
Cristy and Nita who is restored!
What an awesome way to celebrate an Easter Sunday!!! And to God be all the praises and glory!!!
Dearest Brothers and Sisters, Around the movement, prayer is needed for our upcoming May Missions Contributions! Most churches have a goal of 20X their weekly pledge! This indeed is challenging, but let's be motivated that the "disciples before us" sacrificed even greater amounts so that we could hear the "good news of the Kingdom!" (Luke 4:43)
A few weeks ago, Michael Kirchner asked the question: Do you know since the send-off of the LA Mission Team from Portland, how many multiples "we" have given for missions? Through these almost seven years, the gallant 42 disciples who planted the City of Angels Church on May 6, 2007 have sacrificed: 15X in March 2007, 10X November 2007, 15X in April 2008, 15X in April 2009, 4X in November 2009, 15X in April 2010, 15X in April 2011, 4X in November 2011, 15X in April 2012, 5X in November 2012, 20X in June 2013, 3X in November 2013, and now 20X in May 2014 for a total of 156X our weekly pledges! And most of us gave above and beyond what was asked on several of these occasions!
Lord willing, the Toronto Mission Team will be sent
out by the Spirit from LA on May 25, 2014!
Elena & I continue to give cheerfully because we believe that even though there are a few disciples in other "restoration churches," we believe that only a movement of "sold-out disciples" can multiply to evangelize the nations in this generation! Therefore, though it may sound brash to some, the only hope of this very lost world is God's new SoldOut Discipling Movement! Let us humbly sacrifice for this year's Missions Contribution so that through God's power we can "proclaim His Salvation day after day, [declaring] His glory among the nations, [and] His marvelous deeds among all peoples!" (Psalm 96:2-3) Amen!