The Gainesville Mission Team inside the University
of Florida's infamous stadium – "The Swamp!"
Being in Gainesville this weekend was so invigorating! On Saturday morning, Elena & I "guided" the mission team on a Prayer Walk around this glorious city and campus! We prayed over the former "Crossroads Church building;" my ƩX Fraternity House and all of "Frat Row;" my old freshman dorm – Tolbert Hall; the Florida Football Stadium called "The Swamp;" the Library Quad – The Plaza of the Americas; the empty lot where the 14th Street Church of Christ once stood – the place I was baptized on April 11, 1972; and the new meeting place of the Gainesville International Christian Church – the Holiday Inn at the corner of University and 13th Street, which ironically and fittingly is less than a block from where the Discipling Movement began at the 14th Street Church of Christ in 1967!
Crossroads Church where the Saturday
morning Prayer Walk was initiated!
view above is from the roof of the Holiday Inn
looking onto what was the site of the
14th Street Church of Christ!
God's glory has returned to Gainesville as on Sunday morning Mike Patterson delivered a sermon for the ages entitled, Rebuilding The Wall Of Christianity! This incredibly industrious mission team of 17 (with 22 other visiting disciples) had an incredible attendance of 99! (Yes, Mike and I looked all over for that missing sheep that would have given us 100, but we didn’t find him!)
Mike preaching at the Gainesville
To illustrate "just how far" Christianity has drifted from the truth, Mike used a recent quote from the Catholic Church’s new pope – Francis, the "man" whom many consider to have a greater influence on the direction of "Christianity" than any other person on earth as he "presides" over 1.1 billion Roman Catholics. Mike read this except from Francis' message at the Third Vatican Council, "The time has come to abandon all intolerance. We must recognize that religious truth evolves and changes. Truth is not absolute or set in stone. Even atheists acknowledge the divine. Through acts of love and charity the atheist acknowledges God as well and redeems his own soul becoming an active participant in the redemption of humanity…"
"The church no longer believes in a literal Hell where people suffer. This doctrine is incompatible with the infinite love of God. God is not a judge but a friend and lover of humanity. God seeks not to condemn but only to embrace. Like the fable of Adam and Eve, we see Hell as a literary device… All religions are true, because they are true in the hearts of all those who believe in them… In the past the church has been harsh on those it deems morally wrong or sinful. Today, we no longer judge. Like a loving father, we never condemn our children. Our church is big enough for heterosexuals and homosexuals; for pro-life and pro-choice; for conservatives and liberals – even Communists are welcome and have joined us. We all love and worship the same God… God is changing and evolving as we are…"
Praise God that His truth never changes as "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever." (Hebrews 13:8) Praise God that He is raising up young prophets and prophetesses like Mike & Chenelle Patterson who are boldly "contending for the faith" against the lies and half-truths that those who do not know God so persuasively and demonically preach! (Jude 3) Praise God that His movement has returned to its original "home!" And to our Father be all the glory!
International Christian Church –
Mike & Chenelle Patterson!
While Elena & I were away this weekend, the Lord blessed the City of Angels Church with five additions – two baptisms and three restorations!
And now a few detailed accounts from Los Angeles…
Capil Marhatta: Greetings from the Sensational South! What a glorious week this has been! The Lord continues to grow His church by restoring his daughter Rosa Centeno! Rosa, is a very influential dynamic young lady who was baptized early in 2013 in the Campus Ministry, yet sadly returned back to her former life of alcohol and partying. Our God is truly the "Great Shepherd" who goes after even His one lost sheep! (Hebrews 13:20)
The South Region celebrates Rosa's restoration
by singing, "We Love You With The
Love Of The Lord!"
Excitingly, we were able to witness an incredible "wedding" celebrated in the Southland Region Building as our beloved Andrew & Shamika Johnson "renewed their vows" to be a great example to their children and all the other people in their lives! Tim & Lianne Kernan were able to baptize them last summer, so Tim was asked to "re-marry" them in the Kingdom! What a glorious day to rejoice!
Congratulations to Andrew & Shamika!
Please continue to pray for our Bring Your Neighbor Day on this coming Sunday as we are encouraging each and every very sold-out disciple in the South to bring at least one visitor! Jesus is Lord!
Chris Broom of the OC Region: "Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours." (Mark 11:24) Our 2014 Congregational Theme – The Year Of Prayer – has brought so many blessings already, and on Friday night, we decided to have a Prayer Night instead of our normal Bible Talks and Devotionals. It was so refreshing and unifying to come together and thank God in advance for answering our prayers!
Of course one of the things we are begging God for is a victorious Pledge Drive as we call all of our new members added in 2012 and 2013 to increase their contribution and "invest" even more in God’s Kingdom and in our mission to evangelize the world in our generation! I was especially encouraged today as I worshiped with the Campus Ministry House Church. Adam Blanco, who leads a Bible Talk at Fullerton College, gave a great contribution message where he told everyone that although he was baptized in 2010 and not called to increase his pledge, he was increasing anyway!
Then Emmett Kellog, a young disciple who is a member of the Cal State Fullerton Track Team, shared at our Leader's Meeting that even though it was a challenging time to increase his giving due to school starting and the cost of books and tuition, he decided to answer the call and increase his pledge! Shortly after making this decision, his coach pulled him aside and informed him that because three other athletes on scholarship had dropped from the team, the college would be paying for all of Emmett's books and giving him $1,000! So Emmett is now on scholarship!
Pray for the City of Angels Church Pledge Drive!
Chris Adams sent me word from the Single's Ministry that while many OC Singles are struggling to find good paying jobs in this difficult economy, they decided to call out to God and beg Him to throw this "Employment Mountain" into the sea! God blessed this "Pray-4-a-Job Campaign" with FIVE jobs JUST LAST WEEK and TWO more that are probable THIS WEEK! I hope this inspires all disciples everywhere to have great faith and to continue to call on God who alone makes the impossible possible!
Chris Chloupek: "HOW YA DO'IN?" FROM THE AMS REGION! In the last several weeks, God has been doing great things in the AMS Region! Two Sundays ago, a visitor put $20,000 in $100 dollar bills in our collection basket! We weren't even praying for this! We applied that toward our Special Missions coming up in May. THANK YOU GOD!
Our region is studying the Book of Acts together in a quiet time series that was handed out and I am preaching on Acts on Sundays! We are so inspired how on fire our first century brother and sisters were to advance the gospel to all nations in their generation. We have committed to pray for that same passion and conviction to share our faith daily and be abundantly fruitful this year as over 68 disciples have been raised up and sent out of our region in the past three years! It is time to reap another harvest and do it all over again!
We have started up our Dance and Actor Workshops again! We are able to meet at the famous Millennium Dance Complex in North Hollywood. We rotate every other week our Dance and Actor Workshops. We choose a theme based on Scripture each week so everyone knows we are "Artists who honor God" with our craft. We had over 30 people at our first Actors Workshop last Monday which included many visitors!
Monday night's AMS Actors Workshop!
As I write this, I can't help but think of Ephesians 3:20, "Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us." Please be praying for our upcoming first ever GNN (Good News Network) Video that will be coming out in the near future! It will feature our awesome London and Sao Paulo Churches along with other inspiring good news! Lastly, we have a new amazing AMS Website featuring all the calendar events, along with an inspiring slideshow, and the GNN movie! Check it out at ams4God.com. I am very encouraged to hear about all the AMS Ministries that are rising up in your churches. They will compliment God’s movement as we continue to Evangelize this World in our Generation!
There's no business like "SOUL" BUSINESS!
Ighodaro Odighizuwa of Inland Empire: "The Spirit of the Lord will come powerfully upon you… and you will be changed into a different person." (1 Samuel 10:6) "The Spirit of the Lord" has been moving in powerful ways in the Inland Empire Region! His promise to make whomever it comes on "into a different person" has been fulfilled in Matthew who is the physical brother to our spiritual brother Dennis in Orange County!
Matthew studied the Bible two years ago and refused to repent from some of his sins and thus never became a disciple. God didn't stopped going after Matthew even as he grew deeper into his sin. Matthew came to church last Sunday, and after listening to the powerful preaching, he went up to Erik af Klint (our Swedish brother and intern) and said, "Now I'm ready to give up everything!" That same night Matthew and I went into his house and gathered all the impurities and burned it at a park which drew the attention of the local fire department! When the firemen came, we had to explain to them what we were doing. They said that they appreciated our honesty and warned us not to do it again. Matthew took that as a warning from God and totally repented! After eagerly studying the Bible with the single brothers, he was baptized today as sold-out disciple of Christ!
Matt alongside his new IE Brothers issues
the challenge, "You will be next!"
HEADLINE NEWS – USA and CANADA
NEWS FLASH – Mike Patterson of Gainesville: "So we rebuilt the wall till all of it reached half its height, for the people worked with all their heart." (Nehemiah 4:6) Nehemiah after hearing that the walls of Jerusalem were in shambles had a burning passion in his heart to see the walls rebuilt! Having faith and courage in the midst of tremendous opposition, in just 52 days, Nehemiah and the remnant of God's people completed the building of the wall!
My lesson for our Inaugural Service was called Rebuilding the Walls of Christianity. When we look at "Christendom" today, we see the shambles of false doctrine, denominations, lukewarmness, and even churches that are tolerant of homosexuality and smoking! In Gainesville, a city with over a 100 "churches," the Gainesville International Christian Church has set out to rebuild a true church of Jesus Christ – one composed of only sold-out disciples!
The Gainesville International Christian Church!
Today, history was made at our Inaugural Service as God blessed us with 99 in attendance! I was told that the electricity in the room was like that of a Gator football game! To begin the service, Kip graciously welcomed all with Psalm 126! Then our Sister of Encouragement – Chenelle my awesome wife – greeted our brother Curtis White who placed membership today! Also, many were then moved by Elena – who like Kip is a University of Florida alumni – and her sharing at communion.
As a Gator Alumnus, Elena is "reunited" with the
"Gator Mascots" – Albert & Alberta!
Then, Matt Sullivan challenged and inspired us in the contribution message to become self-supporting financially by raising our pledges so the Orlando Church can get ready to send out Houston!
The Pattersons are embraced by their proud
"spiritual parents" – Matt & Helen Sullivan!
To top the service off, the church saw its first baptism ever! Jacob – who comes from a Pentecostal background and was part of our brother Brady Vaughn's National Guard Unit – was immediately drawn to Brady's unashamed stand for Jesus in conversation amongst the men in their unit. After studying the Bible, Jacob saw the truth of the Scriptures on the Holy Spirit and gladly gave up his former false doctrines. As he shared today at his baptism, Jacob boldly challenged every visitor to study the Bible! Please continue to pray for us as we have around 40 people studying or set up to study the Bible!
Brady and Jacob give a "two thumbs
up salute" to the Lord!
NEWS FLASH – Dale Bryant: Greetings from beautiful Santa Barbara! Today we all gathered for an awesome House Church Service, followed by a delicious Taco Bar Pot-luck! I was given the honor to preach! In my sermon Destined For Greatness, to illustrate my first point – Great Faith – I shared a prayer that I prayed when I started working at In-n-Out Burger: "Father please have one of my co-workers become a disciple before I leave!" Incredibly, seven months later, with this week being my last week at In-n-Out Burger, my co-worker, Teddy, was baptized and became the first addition to the Santa Barbara International Christian Church after being sent out just two weeks ago!
Dale's (second from the right) effective prayers
bring Teddy (second from the left)
into the Kingdom!
Today also marked the end of our two-week UCSB Campaign and there are many open people studying the Bible and close to baptism! Please pray for us as we prepare for our "official" Inaugural Service next Sunday on January 26th! To God be all the glory!
Tim Kernan: Greetings from Toronto Mission Team HQ (Headquarters) in Los Angeles, California! In Nehemiah 1:8-9 is recorded: "Remember the instruction you gave your servant Moses, saying, 'If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the nations, but if you return to me and obey my commands, then even if your exiled people are at the farthest horizon, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place I have chosen as a dwelling for my Name.'" Just like Nehemiah "felt the Spirit's call" to return to his native Jerusalem to rebuild the wall, today as disciples, we are being called by God through His leaders to "return home" to our native lands to expand God's Kingdom in this generation! The Toronto Mission Team is an incredible example of this calling!
Megan is a hero of the faith, who my wife baptized in just one day when we were living for a short while in Toronto! She then moved from Toronto as a young Christian to be part of the London Remnant Group with us. Later, the Spirit called her to LA to lead the South Region Women! She was then offered a part time ministry position in New York City and moved there to serve the Lord AND be closer to her then boyfriend Jake! Megan has longed to preach the Word in her beloved homeland of Canada!
Our dear brother Jake thought he was just marrying his sweetheart Megan, but little did he know that through this decision he became entitled to a Canadian citizenship and passport! Through his marriage, God made him became spiritually responsible for the Canadian people! I see in him the steel of an Evangelist and it’s one of the most exciting opportunities for me "to finish the blade" that Andrew started!
Jake & Megan Studer are sobered by
God's call to Toronto!
Craig & Elizabeth Wademan are true Torontonians who joined the remnant group there and then later moved to Los Angeles for more training and strengthening. We can't wait to see what God will accomplish through them! Eric Boomer of Hilo was born in Calgary, Alberta and is a man of great potential who comes to Canada to train for ministry! Steve Fraser is a true Essex Englishman, who was a hero of the London Remnant Group and a dear brother to everyone in Europe!
Craig & Elizabeth are eager to return to their
beloved Canada to preach the Word!
My lovely wife Lianne was converted in Montreal Canada, turning down an Ivy League Scholarship to become a disciple, and is eager "to get the job done" in Canada! As for me? I'm an Irish Canadian who is going back to my native land for the same reasons Nehemiah did. It's gates are burned and her walls broken down. This excerpt of the French Version of the Canadian National Anthem takes on special meaning for the entire Toronto Mission Team as we get ready to head out: "As is thy arm ready to wield the sword, So also is it ready to carry the cross! Thy history is an epic of the most brilliant exploits. Thy valor steeped in faith…"
Sarah Dimitry of Las Vegas: "Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the Word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives." (1 Peter 3:1-2) Greetings from "Saint City!" Today we had one of the best services as we had 68 attendees on a "non-push Sunday!"
Also, I witnessed the most tear jerking and inspiring baptism I've seen since the mission team planting in April! Tiffany Garcia, a married women with four beautiful children, was baptized joining her physical sister Jenny in the Kingdom, who was baptized last July. Tiffany had to fight hard to stay faithful due to her husband's persecution of both her "life and doctrine." Because of her perseverance, she won her husband Roger over by the same self-giving love that Christ showed the church. We are so proud of both of them and know the Lord has incredible plans for this amazing family! Love you all!
with Jenny – Tiffany's physical and now
spiritual sister – holding the youngest!
Jeremiah Clark of Denver: "But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of Him." (2 Corinthians 2:14) Greetings from the Mighty Denver Church in the Mile High City! Nearly the entire church and many of our friends crammed into Joe & Jolyn Ruybal's home as we watched "God lead" our beloved Denver Broncos in triumph over the Patriots and on to the Super Bowl! Coltin, the dynamic evangelist of our Boston Church, texted me near the end of the game asking that the amazing Denver disciples pull back our prayers for our team so that we could give his team (New England) a chance! Well, I simply replied, "Sorry Bro! Since we are a mile closer to God in Denver, our prayers just get there first!"
Encouragingly, God continues to lead the Denver Church in triumphal procession as we saw Scott Bliss restored to the fellowship today! Sadly, Scott walked away from his "first love" (Revelation 2:4) several months ago but through the persistent love of Cornell Buckner, Scott was inspired to visit the Denver Church. Little did he know that Denver would be where he would find healing. Inspiringly, Scott is our 20th addition in the last 16 weeks! To God be the glory!
Cornell graciously restores Scott to the Lord!
Lou Jack Martinez: I am so blown away by the HEARTS of the disciples here in the Honolulu International Christian Church!!! The stories of faith that are already being told here in the month of January give Cathi & me a tremendous "God-confidence" that HE is going to do something UNPRECEDENTED here in the islands in 2014!!! Our 2014 Prayer Goals have been inspired by our "big sister" church in LA – the City of Angels Church!!! They are as follows:
1) Refocus on our personal relationship with God; A LOT OF US are reading the Chronological Bible this year – the WHOLE Bible in a year!!! 2) Record attendance at BYND! For us, that would be 131! (Interestingly today, we had 121 at Service – a "non-push" record attendance!!!); and to match the new plantings in Santa Barbara and Palm Springs in the City of Angels Church, we're starting three (3) new BT's in three (3) new towns: Waimanalo, Kalihi and Kapolei with our newest BT Leader, Daniel Kelly!! 3) Record number of Remnant Disciples joining us from our former fellowship!!!
Through challenging Prayer Goals the Martinezes
continue to call the Hawaiian Disciples even
higher for the Lord!
4) Raise up FOUR (4) new Interns (paid and unpaid); 5) Raise up TWO (2) new Shepherding Couples to join Joe & Mary Santos, who have been the father and mother of faith and shepherds of this great church for the past six years; additionally, we're looking to have the BEST RETENTION RATE ever in HAWAII, by staying on top of our Follow-up Studies, our New Christians Orientations, and our Disciple Placement Program (finding roles for EVERYONE in the church)! We're also looking for Leaders for the commencement of our brand new CR Ministry!!! 6) An INCREASE in our contribution pledges to $3,000/week by January 31, 2014! And to GOD BE ALL THE GLORY!!!
Andrew Smellie: Greetings from the "Concrete Jungle" of New York City! Today was a day of celebration as the church was excited to begin a new sermon series on the Book of Genesis! We examined Genesis chapter one as we discovered God's plan and purpose for our lives entitled: The Voice Of Creation! Then the church rejoiced as we celebrated our third baptism in three weeks – Bertrice, a campus student at the College of Staten Island! Please join us in prayers as we are begging our Father in Heaven to move the hearts of our friends and neighbors as we prepare to celebrate our Bring Your Neighbor Day next Sunday! And to God be all the glory!
The NYC Sisters are glowing after
Evan Bartholomew: Greetings from San Diego! This weekend has been a spectacular start to our new year as we held our annual Winter Workshop entitled Even Greater Things. We were so blessed to have Luke & Brandyn Speckman from the Ventura Region of the City of Angels Church to come down for the three-day workshop to speak to us and work with the church. Luke & Brandyn have been such incredible friends to Kelly & me, and we are truly grateful for their example of sacrifice. The workshop was amazing, as all the disciples committed themselves to doing "even greater things" in 2014! (John 14:12)
Also very encouraging, we now have a newly engaged couple – Bobby Merritt & Kensey Perkins! Bobby & Kensey lead our Singles Ministry, and have been doing an amazing job! We are so proud of them for their purity, but also how they have allowed their relationship to be secondary to God, His church and His mission! (Matthew 6:33) Please stay tuned for their wedding date!
Kensey goes out "on a spiritual ledge" to accept
Bobby's proposal to be married and
get each other to Heaven!
Dustin Miller of Chicago: "When the Lord brought back the captives to Zion, we were like men who dreamed." (Psalm 126:1) Greetings from the Windy City Campus Ministry known as the D.R.E.A.M. (Disciples Rescuing & Evangelizing All Mankind) TEAM!
This week marks the beginning of the Winter Semester for most of our college campuses in Chicago. We are amazed to see how the Holy Spirit has blown two incredible disciples into our ministry from other churches in our movement. Alton Liu and Lizzette Melo-Benitez are both students at the University of Chicago. The University of Chicago is an incredibly dynamic campus ranked as the fifth Best National University in the US News and World Report. Although we were not planning on having a Bible Talk there this semester, "who are we to stand in God's way!" (Acts 11:17) We started a Bible Talk this week and already God is moving on the campus as many have set up to study the Bible!
The new University of Chicago Bible Talk!
I am so proud of the Chicago Campus Ministry and especially encouraged by the Downtown Campus Men! 12 men have 19 different Bible Studies on 8 campuses this week! Also service today was electric as Jay Shelbrack preached an incredible sermon entitled, Spiritual Warfare calling us to be alert! Excitingly, service was closed by the moving baptism of Liliana from the Latin Ministry!
Through their love, the Chicago Latin Sisters
bring Liliana into God's Family!
Mike Underhill: In San Francisco, we are setting our hearts on honoring God, so we have started a campaign for 2014… The "14" Campaign! For the last 14 DAYS of January, the Campus Ministry is sharing with 14 PEOPLE a day to kick off 2014! By the end of the month, Lord willing, we will have shared with at least 6,000 people for God's honor and to save souls in this very lost city! We're so fired up to already see people who want to get baptized ASAP and we’re looking forward to an even greater harvest at our Bring Your Neighbor Day this upcoming Sunday! Also, a special congratulations to the SFSU Brothers who won the “First Place Dinner” for our First Principles Classes! Keep us in your prayers!!
The First Principles Champions – the SFSU
Brothers – enjoy their victory meal!
Coltin Rohn of Boston: In light of Martin Luther King Jr. Day and the incredible stance that he took during the Civil Rights Movement, the title of the lesson today was, I Have A Dream. Our sermon was based around Jesus' longest recorded prayer, John 17 (Jesus' "I Have A Dream" Speech) and then closed out with a reference to Dr. King’s speech with the words, "Free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"
This came true to Anthony D today! Anthony was invited to church almost a year ago by Sal & Jen Difusco. However God was working on Anthony's heart that whole time. The reason he wasn't able to come to church or return a phone call was because he was in jail for five months. In Anthony's own words, the whole time that he was in jail he was praying that God would get him out, so he could get on the straight and narrow path and truly be set free – both physically and spiritually! Upon being released, Anthony found Sal's card in his wallet and he was the first person he called! Then after a week of studying the Bible, going to the Winter Workshop in Philadelphia, and more studying the Bible, Anthony D was baptized today in the "freeing" waters of baptism! To God be all the glory!
Sal encourages Anthony about "true
freedom" found only in Christ!
HEADLINE NEWS – INTERNATIONAL
NEWS FLASH – Blaise Feumba reporting from Haiti: "Look at the nations and watch and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told." (Habakkuk 1:5) My flight from LA to Haiti was delayed at the New York City stop and redirected to Miami. This started my praying! I finally landed in Port-au-Prince on Sunday, January 12th instead of Saturday 11th. This was the first strike from the Devil after a life changing Winter Workshop in LA where I delivered a speech on Prayer Grows The Church. It was then I began remembering all the Scriptures I felt "others" needed… but I see that my lesson was God preaching to me to get me ready for Haiti!
Our courageous and prayerful
brother – Blaise Feumba!
The goal of this mission trip was to encourage the disciples in three of our four existing Haitian Churches in Chantal, Camp-perrin and Port-au-Prince and to start our fifth church in Jacmel, the most important tourist destination in Haiti. I was greeted at the airport by Alexis and Germain, and we directly drove four hours to the south to reach our first destination, Chantal where we met the disciples.
Preaching and traveling in Haiti will challenge
any disciple's prayer life!
That same Sunday night, we started studying the Bible staying up till 1AM with so many including a preacher from a Baptist Church who resisted the gospel.
The rousing worship service of the Chantal Church!
That said, the Lord blessed our work there with six baptisms in three days! The Chantal Church has now grown to 25 disciples with an average attendance of 70 people every Sunday!
The second, third and sixth baptisms of Chantal!
On Tuesday, January 14th, we left Chantal and drove two hours to Camp-perrin, where we have five disciples. Sadly, we studied the Bible with many people around the clock for two days without any fruit! Then our car broke down and after "much prayer" we were able to drive five more hours on Thursday, January 16th to reach Jacmel at 10PM where we were joyfully hosted by Jean-Bonard the Haitian former Church of Christ preacher baptized during LA's 2014 Winter Workshop!
Driving from Camp-perrin to Jacmel, Blaise and
his fellow preachers' car breaks down! Prayer
and a "car-wise brother" fixes the car!
Jean-Bonard was so blown away in LA by the Kingdom of God that after his return to Haiti he shared with his congregation how sorry he was for leading them astray! Alexis, Lousbert, Reles the 74 years old preacher, Michelet, Germain and myself then started studying the First Principles Bible Studies with Jean-Bonard's entire fellowship of about 45 members during our stay.
Alexis preaching the Word in Jacmel!
changes in his life as a newly
Opposition started immediately as some members of the board decided to oppose the gospel in their desire to remain in "the old way." After wrestling in prayers and Bible studies in a night without electricity and internet connection, we set about using torches to study with people in Jacmel!
Since the electricity was down, torches and lanterns
gave "light" to those who studied in Jacmel!
The Lord finally granted us an incredible turn around on Saturday, January 18th, as 11 people were baptized in the ocean that night! Then, after many studies with the leader of the faction group, (I was praying to God every moment that long night as it was so intense), the Holy Spirit convicted Guy Simon of sin and at 5AM on Sunday morning, he counted the cost, confessed his sins to his wife, and with his two daughters were baptized before the service taking the number of baptisms so far to 14 new sold-out disciples in Jacmel!
Guy Simon – the persecutor and a policeman –
is baptized into Christ!
After the service 10 more people counted the cost and were baptized as disciples!
"The 10" gather to pray before their baptisms!
"The 10" rejoice after being baptized
as sold-out disciples of Jesus!
Thus in less than 24 hours the Spirit gave birth to our fifth church in Haiti: the Jacmel International Christian Church – now with 24 Disciples led by Jean-Bonard & his newly baptized wife Loverlie Colin!
Loverlie Colin – the wife of
Jean-Bonard – is baptized!
So we now have churches in five cities with exactly 70 sold-out disciples from one disciple, Alexis who was baptized in LA after the August 2013 Global Leadership Conference! Pray not only for the new Jacmel Church but for: Port-au-prince led by Alexis & Maryse TURGEAU with 14 disciples; Camp-perrin led by Jean & Ginette DAUDIER with 5 disciples; our smallest church of just two disciples – Montrouis led by St. Jeance & Suzette FRESNEL; Chantal led by Germain & Jeanine JOEL and the 74 year old preacher Latour RELES and his wife Jeanine Latour with 25 disciples!
The 24 Disciples of the Jacmel International
As I learned trials, suffering, persecutions and sleepless nights, prayer does indeed grow the church! To our Awesome God be all the glory!
John Malnegro of Manila: Mabuhay! (Live long!) We rejoiced today as Teng Carino was baptized! Teng first attended the church during Kip & Elena's visit in November last year. When Manny & Beth Ong, not by chance rode in his taxi to church, asked Teng if he wants to join the Sunday service. Without any hesitation he accepted the invitation!
The sharing during his baptism was so moving, especially when Cristy (Teng's wife) shared how grateful she is for Teng's changes, for he had abandoned his wife and three children for 14 years! Teng asked for Cristy's forgiveness in front of everybody, then they both embraced and kissed each other! Cristy is now studying the Bible with the sisters and prayerfully will become a disciple very soon! To God be the glory!
Teng zealously comes out of the waters of baptism
ready to embrace his new purpose in life!
Vic Gonzalez Jr.: Greetings from the plentiful harvest field of Mexico City! This last week was historic for us here in Mexico, as our first Bible Talk in the Southeast region of the city was blessed by God as we had 10 visitors for just two disciples! Then on Friday morning, we witnessed the baptism of Paola Huerta, an incredible young woman that at one time worked at the place where we meet on Sundays. Aurora & I have been reaching out to her for the last few months, and it was very encouraging to see her change – and watch the amazement of her ex-coworkers!
Aurora and Sara hug Paola and welcome
her to the Mexico City Familia!
Friday night we had a record breaking attendance at Campus Devo of 32 people! Excitingly, in the last 24 weeks, we have seen 20 additions: 16 baptisms, 1 restoration and 3 place memberships! See you next week! Much love and a big hug from Mexico City!
Carlos Vargas of Madrid: Last January 5th our new brother Leandro Jesús was baptized for God's glory! Leandro learned about God in an evangelical congregation some years ago where he was baptized but unfortunately nothing happened! However, God brought him last November to His church and Leandro started to study the Bible through the First Principles. His last challenge was seeing that his previous baptism was not a valid one. So after reviewing some Scriptures about Naaman, Leandro was convicted that he needed to be baptized with the true baptism of Christ's doctrine!
Also, last December, we gladly received from Chile our brother Carlos as a temporary place membership. Carlos has come to Madrid to study after have winning a scholarship in Chile! Carlos has an incredible heart to help us to advance God's Kingdom on campus!
Through a scholarship, God sends Carlos (center)
to Madrid to initiate their Campus Ministry!
We are very encouraged for what God is going to do this 2014 in Madrid! We are waiting for the visit of Michael Williamson and George Grima to encourage our sold-out church! Pray for us!
Carlos Mejia: "No tengas miedo, pues yo estoy contigo; no temas, pues YO SOY TU DIOS." (Isaias 41:10) Greetings from Santiago de Chile! We are so fired up to be hosting the Second Annual Central and South American Mission Conference on February 13-16, 2014, entitled YO SOY TU DIOS! All of the events will be held at the Hotel Neruda in Providencia. This will be a life-changing event for all the gallant and brave Latino disciples down here in Chile, but also for the spiritual heroes coming over from Brazil, of whom we are expecting in attendance close to 40!
The CSA Missions Conference is only 25 days away!
With about 50 commitments from other parts of the world, primarily the United States, we are looking forward to upwards around 90 visiting disciples! It will be a once in a lifetime opportunity to hear God's Word preached powerfully, join with the angels in singing with passion and enthusiasm, draw nearer to each other and God through sweet fellowship and prayer with brothers and sisters from around the globe, and to see how our Lord is working so mightily out here on the mission field of Central and South America!
Uniquely, a MERCY Event will be conducted early Friday morning as the weekend kicks off to serve the needy of Santiago, and to get our hearts into the right place to worship our Holy God! If you have yet to register or reserve your room at the Hotel Neruda, fret not, there is still ample time! We are so honored and humbled by the sacrifice made by many who are coming, and we wait with gladness and joy to greet you at the airport with We love with the love of the Lord! Please visit our website www.icisantiago.cl.
As we gear up for the conference, God has been blessing His church! Two were added to the Kingdom here in Santiago! A young single woman Mery Cuevas was baptized in our East Region! Kevin Calle a fired up teen from Peru, was also baptized! He was met by brothers from the Campus Ministry about a year ago while selling cookies to fund raise for Special Missions, but he did not come out to service. As God would have it, Kevin attends the school at which we have Campus Devo and was again invited! This time he came! He studied the Bible almost every day and with his parents and younger brother in attendance Kevin boldly declared, "Jesus es mi Señor y mi Salvador!" To God be the glory!
Kevin "forcefully advances" his way
into the Kingdom!
Raul Moreno: "In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents." (Luke 15:10) Greetings from São Paulo! The angels in Heaven are rejoicing over the two souls that were added to Christ through the waters of baptism! Camila was baptized last week and she is fired up to preach the Word of God at her campus! She travels over an hour and half to two hours to come to church showing her dedication to Christ!
Camila is joyfully "born again of the
water and the Spirit!"
Also, Lorena was baptized! She was actually met by me as she works at my dentist's office. After persevering in inviting her to come out to church, she decided to check it out and the rest is history. This comes to show that God does indeed "set the times and places" (Acts 17:24-26) as He can use us to bring people to Christ even at places that we are not fired up to go like the dentist! The Lord is good! (Psalm 107:1)
The entire Sao Paulo Church – and Lorena's
daughter whom she's embracing –
rejoices at her baptism!
Lastly, so many of the São Paulo disciples watched the "Live Feed Worship Service" from LA on January 5, 2014! What a JOY IT IS TO BE ONE MOVEMENT – ONE BIG FAMILY IN CHRIST!
The Sao Paulo Disciples with the "Live Feed
Worship Service" in the background!
NEWS FLASH – Joe Willis: A Big THANK YOU for all your prayers from Sydney! We have been here a month now and so much has happened! God has generously given us a perfect singles house right on Macquarie Campus in North Sydney! This ministry is led by Jason Woody and Rahnesha White. They are having three effective Bible Talks a week with the "brothers of thunder" – Sean and Erick Valenzuela!
This last week saw the launch of the City Beach Ministry, aimed at getting professionals to a Thursday City Bible Talk! As well, Pete Wade and Jade Reubenstein lead the Beach Bible Talk at the beach on Saturdays! Sydney has 72 beaches that are packed with people every weekend, relaxing and very open to meeting new people!
Pete – aka "Mr. Cool" – becomes
a "fisher of fish!"
For Sunday church, we have a fantastic venue right in the city, which is a dance studio! The acoustics are unbelievable as they make us sound at least twice as big… We all sound like Mason & Natalie's beautiful voices!
Jason, Mason & Nathalie leading the singing at
the beautiful venue of the Sydney ICC!
This Sunday in particular was incredibly special to Kerry & me, to see Ian & Margot Clague restored to God! They have been our friends for over 20 years and joined our little remnant group in Brisbane some eight years ago as we tried to figure out what we were going to do spiritually after leaving what remained of a split church in our former fellowship in that city. Like Kerry & myself before moving to Los Angeles for revival two years ago, without local discipling, lukewarmness and sin had crept into their lives. After a month of really getting back into the Scriptures, being around the mission team and much prayer, they have drawn a line in their life to be totally SOLD-OUT!
The Sydney Mission Team enjoys Christmas
at the Clagues' home!
We had brought to them from LA an "upside down globe" given to all the mission team members before leaving America. We presented it to their whole family as they have been so much part of the set-up of the church, sacrificing financially in a huge way, and serving us all so much, including hosting the team for Christmas!
and Isabelle – are presented a "upside down
Please pray for our Inaugural Service on February 2nd entitled, "How You Doin'?" If you have any family or friends in Sydney, please email me their info and I will let them know of the service details! (firstname.lastname@example.org) Love to all!
Dear Brothers and Sisters: Monday, January 20th is Martin Luther King Day in America! I am forever reminded of this incredible American Civil Rights Martyr as his "three by two feet" picture hangs in my office, which was given to me by Cory Blackwell! "King" was an amazing man as he graduated from Morehouse College at 19 years old in 1948; earned his PhD from Boston University in 1955; inspired the 1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott; delivered the iconic "I Have A Dream Speech" at the 1963 March on Washington; in 1964 was the youngest recipient of the Noble Peace Prize; was imprisoned 29 times; and was assassinated on April 4, 1968 in Memphis when I was in ninth grade!
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivers the unforgettable
"I Have A Dream" Speech on the steps of
the Lincoln Memorial!
The fruits of Dr. King's courage and convictions about racial equality won through non-violence are today felt around the world! Let us have this same passion for Jesus' dream remembering "MLK Jr.'s" words, "The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy." Today let us rise to the challenge by being willing to die for this Heavenly cause of evangelizing the nations in this generation because "this… pleases God our Savior who wants all men to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth." (1 Timothy 2:3-4)
Continue to pray for the Santa Barbara Mission Team as their Inaugural Service is this coming Sunday, as well as for the Sydney Mission Team whose Inaugural Service is just two weeks away! And to our God be all the honor, glory and praise!