Greetings from Los Angeles!
This weekend the City of Angels Church simultaneously held our Campus and Marrieds Retreats! The location of the Marrieds Retreat – BEST FRIENDS OF ALL TIME – was the beautiful Westlake Village Hyatt in Ventura County! Elena & I both agree that this was far and away the most inspirational Marrieds Retreat that we have ever attended!
200 Disciples gathered for the 2014 Marrieds
Retreat – BEST FRIENDS OF ALL TIME!
On Saturday, we heard incredible messages from Argo & Anu Arneson, Nick & Denise Bordieri, Tony & Therese Untalan, Luke & Brandyn Speckman and Blaise & Patricia Feumba!
Luke & Brandyn preached on the theme,
"Live In Peace With One Another!"
The other highlight were the games, entitled, Minute To Win It hosted by "Graham Wellington" (aka Jason Bond)! Each of our 11 regions in the City of Angels Church selected a couple to represent them! These wholesome and creative games included: Mad Dog, Tea Party, Ready Spaghetti, Tilt-a-Cup, Separation Anxiety, Shoe Fly Shoe, Movin' On Up, Chocolate Unicorn, Face The Cookie and for the championship – The Elephant Walk!
"Graham Wellington" hosts MINUTE TO WIN IT!
Pat & Sparkle of the Southland Region win
the first round of "Mad Dog!"
The Batsons of the North Region battle against the
Carbonells of the West Region in a furious
game of "Tea Party!"
Between games, "Graham" would solicit volunteers
for random questions that would be
rewarded with gift cards!
"Ready Spaghetti" proves quite difficult for the
Ericksons of the AV and the Garridos
of the Central Region!
The Bogartz almost master "Chocolate Unicorn"
where they must build a seven layer
tower of ding dongs!
"Elephant Walk" decided the winner…
The Diazes of the East Region are crowned
champions by overcoming the gallant
efforts of the Swanns from
the Ventura Region!
Sunday's Worship Service was even more exciting! The singing for us "old married people" was almost angelic; Chris & Kerri-Sue Adams moved our hearts at Communion; the Bartholomews increased our faith at the Contribution; and Luke Speckman hit a "homerun" on the keynote speech! However, the singular highlight for me was the restoration of a couple – Nelson & Jhoanna Umlas – in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia – that we all observed through Skype being projected on our screen! Thus formed the SoldOut Movement's first church in the Middle East! After both made tearful confessions of faith centered on Jeremiah 29: 11-14 where God promises, "I have plans to prosper you…" the entire Marrieds Retreat sang to Nelson & Jhoanna, We Love You With The Love Of The Lord!
As Cory & Jee Blackwell look to the large screen,
AJ has the Umlases viewing through Skype the
entire retreat audience as they are restored!
Since their picture was on the cover for the Marrieds
Retreat, the Limons have literally become the
"poster children" of the Marrieds Ministry!
The Perezes and the McKeans shared a lovely
double date on Saturday night!
The Stockholm Mission Team Leaders – Argo &
Anu Arneson – did a phenomenal job
directing the Marrieds Retreat!
And now more detailed reports from each of our World Sectors…
HEADLINE NEWS – LOS ANGELES
NEWS FLASH – Andrew Smellie, the West Region Leader & City of Angels Congregational Campus Ministry Leader: "Exalt the Lord our God and worship at His holy mountain, for the Lord our God is holy." (Psalm 99:9) "You are to be holy to me because I, the Lord, am holy, and I have set you apart from the nations to be my own." (Leviticus 20:26)
The SET APART Campus Retreat was indeed
a "mountain top experience!"
Saturday was an all-out onslaught of inspiration, fun and fellowship! Patrique & I preached about Set Apart To Be Holy, followed by Discussions Groups and Human Foosball!
The men and the women had intense, encouraging
and prayerful D-groups that will help set
them apart as Christian students!
Richie & Elizabeth McDonnell share how the
Lord has worked on the Santa
Patrique gladly helps Rebecca with her lesson!
Kwaku preaches the Word!
By studying the Word, the Campus Brothers are
determined to be Mighty Men of God!
Congratulations to our newest dating
couple – Kwaku & Ashley!
The Campus Brothers and Sisters are so fired-up
that Kwaku is finally dating!
Adam passionately pleading to the students that the
Campus Ministry is the key to world evangelism!
As the retreat ends, all of the campus disciples are
inspired to be SET APART upon their return!
Jee Blackwell of the Southland Region: The Singles Ministry had a great victory this past Wednesday as Vanessa Ortiz made Jesus Lord of her life and was baptized! One of our Bible Talks went door-knocking around a sister's apartment complex, selling raffle tickets for Special Missions, and sharing their faith. Vanessa, a young professional woman who works for LAUSD, specifically prayed to find a way to be right with God. He answered her prayer by sending three sisters to knock on her door and invite her to church! She not only studied the Bible all the way through, but she gave wholeheartedly to our fellowship by bringing home-baked cookies to Bible Talk, going door-knocking for missions, and attending the Singles Retreat! We are truly blessed with an amazing new sister in Christ!
Vanessa even before she was baptized
began to serve like a disciple!
Kyle Bartholomew: Greetings from the Central Region! These past two weeks were incredible as we saw two baptized into Christ! First, we saw a young man who is an ELAC student named Randy baptized! Having trouble finding water to baptize with on a Wednesday night, Randy demonstrated the same determination as the Ethiopian Eunuch as he saw the "pond water" at Almansar Park and said, "Here is water! Why shouldn't I be baptized?" (Acts 8:26-39) Then this past Sunday, Latrice who is a young single professional, surrendered her life to God and was baptized into Christ! Please pray for us as many more are on the way!
Luis Miguel Limon: "You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit – fruit that will last – and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you." (John 15:16) Greetings from the Inland Empire Region! God has "appointed" the disciples in the IE to bear much fruit as this week, God allowed us to break the 100 member barrier!
Last Sunday, we had the privilege to worship with the Central and the East Regions as my dear "double brother," Cesar Limon, and the woman of his dreams, Debbie Bosch, became "one!" We were all inspired as Cesar & Debbie set a great example of purity and faithfulness in their relationship. The same day, God added to our number two souls through the waters of baptism! The first was Elim, a UCR freshman, declared Jesus as her Lord and so was baptized!
Elim joins the IE Sisters in issuing their almost
daily challenge, "You will be next!"
As well, Julie, a teen from Realto High School, studied the Bible a few weeks ago and saw that she needed to become a disciple in order to make disciples! So she invited her boyfriend, Erick, to Sunday service. After studying the Bible with the brothers, he saw clearly that although he thought he was a Christian and even tried to share his faith, he had no convictions from the Scriptures. After The Word Study – on his own initiative – he quickly broke up with his girlfriend Julie and was baptized that next Sunday as a sold-out disciple of Christ!
Erick is more than happy to give the challenge
to his ex-girlfriend, "You will be next!"
This weekend was definitely "set apart" from all others as we went to Big Bear Mountain for our Campus Retreat! Every segment of it left us in awe, but the most exciting part was Saturday afternoon when Julie, Erick's ex-girlfriend, was "appointed to bear much fruit" as she proclaimed Jesus as her Lord and was baptized as the 100th member of the IE Region! It’s incredible how God allowed her to bear fruit before she was fruit!
As the 100th member of the IE Region, Julie
proclaims, "You will be in the next 100!"
Also, Martin, a COD student from Palm Springs, was baptized today after being reached out to by Alfredo, a brother baptized just three weeks ago!
The Palm Springs Sector Brothers teach their new
leaders – the Velascos – and their new disciple
Martin to joyfully issue the IE Challenge!
Continue to keep the Inland Empire in your prayers as we are working to blow out our 6X Thanksgiving Missions Contribution in November! And to God be all the glory!
HEADLINE NEWS – USA SW QUADRANT AND THE MIDDLE EAST
NEWS FLASH – Cory Blackwell, the Middle East World Sector Leader: "When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dreamed. Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy." (Psalm 126:1-2) This weekend was amazing as Jeraldine & I participated in just our second Marrieds Retreat! I am so humbled by God and His mercy! In September 2010, I limped into Los Angeles just a shell of a man. Because of the love and mercy of God and Lou Jack Martinez's constant invitations, I was tearfully restored to my "first love" and to His SoldOut Movement on November 17th! The Lord (through Kip) then reinstated me as an Evangelist!
In January 2011, we again started the South Central Ministry of the City of Angels Church, now named the Southland Region! On July 28, 2013, I married my best friend in all the world Jeraldine – a woman I believe God hand-picked to walk side-by-side with me to fulfill the call of evangelizing the Middle East!
God's "hand-picked" partners in
the gospel – Cory & Jee!
The Middle East is arguably the hardest world sector to evangelize. However, God is gathering His people from the "farthest horizon!" (Nehemiah 1:8-9) Today God showed His great power and love as He allowed Nelson & Jhoanna Umlas to be restored to the Lord and to officially start the Remnant Church in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia! They were a part of our former fellowship, but after the ICOC demise from the "Henry Kreite letter," they lost all hope as our former fellowship sinfully abandoned discipling relationships and the dream to evangelize the world in our generation. From that time, the Umlases wandered in darkness.
Recently Kip & Elena were on a missionary journey to Manila, Philippines. While there, he helped to restore a brother Lymwel Mejia into the Metro Manila ICC! Lymwel and Nelson have been good friends for many years as Lymwel at one time worked in Saudi Arabia! Lymwel told Nelson to check out the church online. Nelson contacted Kip by Facebook and then Nelson, Jhoanna, Jee and I studied every day for a week! Each day he and his wife's faith grew stronger. Each day after our study, they would say, "Jesus is Lord!" My eyes were filled with so many tears of joy as I saw God working in their lives and opening the doors of salvation to millions of lost souls. The restoration took place by Skype with all the Marrieds at the retreat looking on! It was the first time in our history that a restoration took place in this manner!
The Jeddah Remnant Group Leaders – Nelson
& Jhoanna Umlas and their precious
children Nicoli Joshua and Michele!
Amy Ciaramella of Phoenix: Warm greetings from the "Valley of the Son!" Our Annual Marrieds Retreat entitled, Song Of Songs, was held in lovely Fountain Hills, home of one of the world's largest fountains! It was undoubtedly a refreshing weekend of laughs from our "Truly-Wed Game," to tears from newfound convictions, and then to joy from life-giving repentance toward our spouses! Jeremy & I were the "guest speakers" as we preached alongside our inspiring and loyal partners in the gospel: Scott & Sandy Lunde, Robb & Teresa Hamblin, and Chris & Darby Schultz!
Song of Songs was the romantic theme
for the Phoenix Marrieds Retreat!
The refreshment poured over into today's service as the Phoenix Church witnessed the miracle of Destiny Piercey's baptism! Rod & Sharil are her proud parents who have weathered through many battles to see their 17 year-old "Kingdom Kid" blossom into a wonderful God-centric, chore-loving, faith-sharing, family-gluing, aspiring women's ministry leader disciple! It was mostly due to the Global Leadership Conference in August and the love of disciples that radically motivated Destiny to turn away from the world and to turn to God – embracing her eternal "destiny!" We are in awe of God's faithfulness!
Destiny is destined to do great things for the Lord!
Elizabeth McDonnell: Greetings from Santa Barbara! We're so happy to share with you great news from the last two weeks! The Santa Barbara Church had its first ever Women's Day – Unconditional! The event was incredible from start to finish! I'm so grateful for the disciples from the LA Church that came up to support the event. There were moving testimonies, incredible performances and a great keynote lesson by Brandyn Speckman! With the nine Santa Barbara women, plus eight disciples from LA, there were 40 women in attendance! My prayer was answered as there were at least 40 women! Next year, I'm really going to "up" the number I request God to bring!
The radiant speakers and teachers for the
glorious Santa Barbara Women's Day!
That leads to our next piece of good news! One of the sure signs of the Kingdom is when family members turn to the Lord. In Malachi 4:6 its says, "He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers." Excitingly, the family members of three different disciples have also been baptized this week! The first is Gabby Murillo's mother, Sonia, who was baptized in the South Region, as well as the Christian, the brother of Andre Bedoya, and Mariah, Andre's best friend, who were both baptized in the North Region Campus Ministry of LA! We're so grateful for a unified worldwide movement that can help family members be united in Christ!
Gabby baptizes her dear
Evan Bartholomew: A bit of personal good news here in the beautiful city of San Diego! At about 4PM on Tuesday, October 7th, my amazing wife Kelly gave birth to our second son, Blake! He was 8 lbs and 10 oz, and an instant joy to all including his big brother Chase! I just wanted to lift up the church here, as each night since the delivery a different disciple has brought us dinner! It's awesome to be a part of the Kingdom of God where there is so much love and support from one another!
Mom and her youngest son Blake! And
yes, Dad is doing just fine!!!
Please continue to keep us in your prayers as there are many studying who are very close to being baptized!
HEADLINE NEWS – USA NW QUADRANT AND CANADA
NEWS FLASH – Ricky Challinor of Portland: "The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." (1 Corinthians 15:56-57) Greetings from the City of Bridges! It is with much sorrow and yet even more joy that I write to the brethren.
On Saturday at 10am on their way to our 2014 Marrieds Retreat, Fred & Tiffany Fefelov were in a fatal car accident with their seven month old daughter Mila. The church was heartbroken, yet on Sunday we had a service of "victory!" We sung many hymns and many of the disciples came up front to pray through their grief of losing Fred, Tiffany and Mila. Yet, it is incomparable to the glory these souls have brought God! At that service, we had multiple fall aways come and at the end were emphatic that in light of the Fefelovs' death and future resurrection, they see their need to be restored immediately! Beyond that, we are excited to know that they have "checked into Heaven" before the rest of us!
So dear to so many, the Fefelov Family – Fred,
Tiffany, Ewan and Mila!
I would like to call on all disciples to please show our support to our brother and sister by donating whatever we are able to help the church and their family through this tragic time. http://www.gofundme.com/Fefelovfamily
Excitingly, we also had a young woman baptized named Christine! She definitely is a true example of a Berean and understands the importance of having her own convictions based on God's Word. Her baptism definitely spoke about what Fred & Tiffany would have wanted at a service of their remembrance – souls to be saved! Her baptism was filled with so many mixed emotions but it definitely gave us a laser focus like never before!
Christine's baptism helped the Portland
Church to remember their purpose
in the midst of tragedy!
NEWS FLASH – Tim Kernan: Dearest Brothers and Sisters: It's been an incredible couple weeks here in Toronto! Last week, we had the privilege of hosting a Leadership Retreat for the Northwestern United States and Canada World Sector!
David welcomes the USA NW Quadrant
Church Leaders to Canada!
The NW USA – CANADA World
It was so encouraging to have Jason & Sarah Dimitry and their team of leaders from San Francisco; Jeremiah & Julie Clark and their team from Denver; Ricky & Coleen Challinor and their team from Portland; and last but not least, Gabe & Stephanie Reed from the Eugene Church come into town! We had an unforgettable time of fellowship and building convictions on God's Word!
The Kernans take the NW USA Church Leaders to a
local vineyard and share about John 15!
Angelo is baptized by his father Tony as his
loving mother Vita fully approves!
This weekend the brother and sister duo of Kevin Smellie and Donna Clark led the Toronto Church while the Kernans, Studers, Daniela and Michele headed to Montreal for an incredible House Church Service with Steph Brown and his mighty men – Claud and Willie! The Montreal Remnant Group continues to amaze us with their tenacity and faith! We all had an incredible time and we all returned with a greater zeal to evangelize all the cities of Canada that are in such desperate need of discipleship!
The disciples after the Montreal
House Church Service!
Tim & Lianne adore Montreal as they were
both baptized in this great city!
Today our thoughts and prayers are with the Portland disciples and we all mourn together the tragic passing of a beautiful young couple, Fred & Tiffany Fefalov, as well as their baby daughter. "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His faithful servants." (Psalm 116:15) They are dearly loved and will be very missed. They are survived by their six year old son who is also in our prayers today. Let us draw close to God and to one another as we struggle with great faith in this broken world and look forward to His coming and the end of all tears!
Sarah Dimitry: Good news from San Francisco! What a refreshing and inspiring week! I want to personally thank the LA Church for doing an incredible job in spurring on all five of our Married Couples at this year's Marrieds Retreat!
Also, this week we witnessed the miracle of Angela baptized! She's a nursing major and our first convert to our new CCSF Bible Talk led by our incredible dating interns, Elliot Svenkeson & Camille Santiago! The family gathered after Women's Midweek at a very dark and foggy ocean beach. Though we couldn't see them thru the fog, we "knew by faith" that out there in the cold waters of the Pacific Ocean, Angela's sins were being washed away! She is from Hong Kong and is fired up to be a part of a movement that has a plan to get to her homeland! To God be all the glory!
Somewhere under this nighttime fog bank, we "know
by faith" that Angela was baptized into Christ!
Angela emerges from the fog and darkness
of sin and becomes our dear sister!
Gabe Reed: Greetings from the Mighty Eugene Church! Last weekend, we had the amazing opportunity to go to Toronto to be with "the Tribe" for our leadership retreat for our World Sector! We want to thank the Kernans and the Toronto Church for their incredible hospitality!
The Reeds are in awe of God's power conveyed
by watching Niagara Falls!
While we were away in this beautiful Canadian city getting great spiritual training, there was another soul added through the waters of baptisms in Eugene! Evgiste is a graduate student from Rwanda studying biochemistry. Evgiste was brought out by our brother Enoch, from Ghana, who was baptized in July!
Evgiste is the seed of the gospel for
his homeland of Rwanda!
This weekend, we had our annual Marrieds Retreat with the Portland Church. Our hearts and prayers are with the Portland Church and the friends and family of Fred & Tiffany Fevalov. Although the news was sad to receive, it indeed knitted our two churches together to fall on our knees in tearful prayer to our Heavenly Father and realize this is why we work so hard to baptize "as many as possible!"
HEADLINE NEWS – USA SOUTH QUADRANT
NEWS FLASH – Mike Patterson: "In those days when the number of disciples was increasing…" (Acts 6:1) Five have been added to God's Church in Gainesville in the last two weeks! Two of the three baptisms came from Tim & Katie Le's Bible Talk! Sharea is friends with our awesome sister Summer White and had been coming to church for a while. Last Thursday after doing The Cross Study, she decided she wanted to get baptized that night! She was baptized at 1:20AM in the morning!
Sharea is warmly welcomed into
the Kingdom of God!
Today Jalisha and Samuel were added to God's Kingdom! Samuel is a business analyst at Tim Le's work place who was baptized today! Together Samuel and Tim have a small hand full of people from their work place studying the Bible!
God also gathered Dennis & Kathi Bell, an amazing "remnant" couple who placed membership last week! Kathi went to high school with Elena McKean, and they were "prayer partners" at one point back in the "Crossroads days!" Dennis & Kathi were both baptized as true disciples in 1995. After our former fellowship returned to a "more Mainline Church of Christ theology," they began searching for revival. Through Facebook, we first came in contact and I'll never forget what Kathi shared. She said, "I have been holding my breath for years and when I walked into your service for the first time, I could breathe again!" After doing some Bible studies, they placed membership a week later!
Dennis & Kathi find revival in the GICC!
If that wasn't enough, we witnessed today the marriage of Joseph & Courtney who were baptized earlier this year! God truly is moving here in Gainesville!
Congratulations to Joseph & Courtney!
NEWS FLASH – Matt Sullivan of Orlando: The last eight days our nets have been filled with a "large number of fish!" (Luke 5:6) The Lord has added six to our number: two who placed membership and four who came to be baptized! Seeing so many miracles has purified the heart of the church and given us some incredible victories! Last Sunday, we witnessed four baptisms: Will, Jennifer, Zarius and Rosalie!
Our newest disciples in the great Orlando Church –
Rosalie, Zarius, Jennifer and Will!
In addition, our sister church in Gainesville sent us an incredible young disciple (baptized August 31st) Keisha, who placed membership here last week. Also, Nancy placed membership today after seeing a drastic difference coming directly from our former fellowship!
We closed out the Sunday service with the announcement of our Special Contribution. Our goal was $40,000 (20X our weekly) and the Lord blessed the hard work, fasting, much prayer and "gallons of plasma" with an amazing $48,000! Then just after the announcement several came to me and said, "I will be giving more the next few weeks!" We are so fired-up to be able to send this precious gift to support our missionaries and the Crown of Thorns Project and use the rest to hire our first intern since the sending-out of the Houston and Gainesville Mission Teams earlier this year!
Then this week we had our Fall Harvest Campaign entitled: IMPACT 2014! The Marrieds shared with 10/day; the Singles 25/day; and the Campus 50/day! And it was awesome! About 4,000 people were shared with in just six days, and then today, the 75 members of the OICC celebrated with 135 in attendance at our First Annual Chili Cook-Off!
The Sullivans have done an outstanding job
motivating the Orlando Church after
sending out so many disciples to
plant Gainesville and Houston!
Anthony Eckels: Greetings from Houston! We are very excited to report that after 26 years of prayer and perseverance, Elizabeth's mother was baptized into Christ! Her mother Martha has stage 4 cancer!
Elizabeth and her mom Martha are
now sisters in the Lord!
Houston's Teens, Campus and Singles gathered together on Friday for our Purity and Dating Workshop! We are excited to announce that our amazing Campus Ministry Leaders, Chris Jones & Melissa Pierre-Paul are going steady!
Chris surprises Melissa with roses and asks
for her to be his girlfriend! Of course
she said yes!
This past Sunday the teens and teen workers led our worship service! We were all convicted as Alonso Hernandez prayed for the church; Maya Robinson and Joshua Kelly opened their hearts at communion; Noah Robillard shared contribution; and John Smoot preached! It's amazing to see what God has done in six months and that our Teen Ministry has grown from zero baptized teens to five! And to God be the glory!
HEADLINE NEWS – EUROPE
NEWS FLASH – Michael Williamson: Greetings from London! We are only two weeks away from the 2014 European Mission Conference and with weekly additions for the past seven weeks, the church is very fired up!
There's still time to come to the 2014 EMC –
Zeal For My Father's House!
Last week, it was incredible to get away for a night with Michele for her birthday. As we all know, the Father is always working (John 5:17), and not coincidentally, the hotel we stayed in accommodated a special friend I’m reaching out to Anthony Joshua – an Olympic Gold Medalist and rising UK boxing phenom! Amongst several clamoring fans, Anthony casually asked me to pray for his fight! We prayed on the spot and that night God allowed him to win! Now I am praying for the next victory – his baptism!
The Williamsons reaching out to Anthony Joshua!
Additionally last week, we had an amazing single sister Mo baptized, and this week Aline placed membership from our lovely Paris Church! Aline is studying at the prestigious Sorbonne University and is completing an internship here in the UK until December.
Mo (left) is greeted by her new sisters
Krista (middle) and Diane
who met her!
Huge thank you to Katherine Pope serving as WebDeaconess (in training), Jacques Groenewald our new South Africa Remnant Group Leader, and Robert Wolf in Germany for helping develop our new website! Sunday, we had our first visitors from their efforts, who incidentally live very close to Michele & me and Lord willing will be attending our Bible Talk this Thursday night! All of us in London are praying for all the saints in my home town of Portland, Oregon. It's wonderful knowing we are surrounded by God's love during times of adversity.
HEADLINE NEWS – AFRICA & THE CARIBBEAN
NEWS FLASH – Blaise Feumba, Overseeing Evangelist for the French-speaking countries of Africa and Haiti: God has done a great thing among us with the amazing way the Haitian Churches were formed! In August 2013, Alexis Turgeau a former Mainline Church of Christ preacher visited the City of Angels Church during the Global Leadership Conference (GLC) seeking revival for himself and for his beloved Island of Haiti.
After being convicted by Jesus' teachings about being baptized with a true disciple's heart and attitude, Alexis quickly realized he was baptized for the wrong reason. After his true baptism at the GLC, he went back to Haiti rejoicing like the Ethiopian Eunuch and willing to lay down his life to lead his people to Jesus. God did an amazing thing by multiplying Alexis into four new churches: Port-au-prince, Jacmel, Chantal and Camp-perrin with now 110 disciples in just 14 months!
The three French-speaking Evangelists – Tim, Blaise
and Amadou – study with Alexis (second from the
right) and make him into a baptized disciple!
Alexis lives near here in Port-au-prince!
Jean Bonard & Loverly Colin – leaders of
50 disciples in Jacmel, Haiti!
Ouattara an ex-Muslim getting baptized!
Ouattara (second from the left) issues the challenge
to all Muslims, "You will be next!"
Abidjan's Campus Ministry continues to baptize
amazing students like Gerard!
Our brothers and sisters in the Democratic Republic of Congo in Africa are living in a constant nightmare because of the long-running insecurity. Only in two decades the recurrent civil wars and conflicts have seen six million casualties. One half of the population lives below the poverty line, surviving on less than a dollar a day!
One of our Evangelists, Micky, had a surprising visit this week when bandits entered his house and took away some of his belongings and Lola – our other Evangelist – is battling a new diagnosed diabetes which has already affected his right eye! In spite of all these daily challenges, disciples are focused on the mission "to seek and save the lost." God added to their number five more through baptism this week: three women – Judith, Lyly and Mado; and two men – Vicky and Pamuke! We now have a vibrant church of 282 disciples in Kinshasa! Please keep them in your prayers.
Micky holds Vicky's hand up
HEADLINE NEWS – RUSSIAN COMMONWEALTH
Eugen Sobolev: Privet from Moscow! "News of this reached the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. When he arrived and saw what the grace of God had done, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts." (Acts 11:22-23) Thank God for unity and connections we have in the Kingdom of God! This last week, we had the privilege to meet Sergey & Lena Pometun after their six-month long training in LA. They sacrificed their own funds for tickets, accommodations and food with one purpose only – to grow in our Lord Jesus Christ! We are all happy to have them back!
Dr. Sergey & Lena Pometun go to Moscow
now equipped to make disciples!
As soon as they had arrived, another warrior of God – Dima Serafonov – left to LA to do the same: training and growing! Dima is an intern in the Moscow Church and he moved to LA to be a part of the missionary team, which Lord willing will arrive to Moscow in mid-December! All of us look forward for this historic event!
Dima (left) doing a study at a famous Russian
restaurant in Moscow – McDonald's!
And – last but not the least – we are happy that God allowed Moscow ambassadors of MERCYworldwide to take part in the huge festival, where different charity funds served more than 1,000 orphans from different orphanages of Moscow. God allowed us to play games with these children, serve them and help them to know our great and MERCYful God!
The Moscow MERCY Ambassadors!
Andrew & Larysa Kaminski: Greetings from Kyiv, Ukraine! On Monday, October 20th, we sent one more sister – Liuda Voitsekhovska – to help build the Moscow Church! In spite of the devastating war between Ukraine and Russia, that has been undermining the economic situation in our country, resulting in growing inflation, prices and unemployment, Liuda has collected a sum of money to move!
Liuda leaves everything behind in the Ukraine
to join the Moscow Remnant Group!
God worked in such a wonderful way that she also rented her room (which will help her financially to stay in Moscow) to a refugee from Lugansk – a city suffering from war! Liuda invited this man, Yuri, to her last service in Kyiv. He not only came and was very fired up, but is already started studying the Bible! Please pray for the Moscow Remnant Group and Mission Team, so that soon after the Moscow planting a team can be sent to Kyiv from Moscow!
HEADLINE NEWS – CENTRAL & SOUTH AMERICA
Raul Moreno of Sao Paulo: "For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come." (1 Timothy 4:8) This past Sunday, we joyfully celebrated our congregation's Annual Olympics! Our mighty East Region battled our valiant Center/South Region!
Olympics Day for the dynamic Sao Paulo Church!
We had many fun events like Men's and Women's Soccer, Basketball, Tug-of-War, Men's and Women's 100 Meter Dash, Two-Legged Race, Chess and even a Cheering Competition! Our mighty East Region proved to be victorious once again and everyone had a lot of fun and some "physical training!"
Only disciples can have this much fun!
The Sao Paulo Interns: Joey Underhill, Caio Lopez,
Rocky Valadez, Vini Rodrigues, Carol Postigo,
Danilo Bataglin and Mariana Souza!
Another Kingdom Kid – Regiane – truly
enters the Kingdom!
Greetings from the "guardians in Christ" here in Mexico! Last week, we were very privileged to have our overseeing evangelist Carlos Mejia come and visit us! Carlos became my "father through the gospel" almost four years ago when I moved from New York City to Washington DC! My wife & I are so very grateful for the discipling, training and love that we have received from Carlos and his incredible wife Lucy! We are 100% united with the Mejias and the rest of the leadership of the Central & South American World Sector, valiantly led by the dearly loved Morenos!
Father and son in the gospel – Carlos and Jared!
Carlos encouraged the church with his preaching, guided our hearts with his discipling, and helped us all to refocus our efforts on the advancement of God's Kingdom down here "south of the border!" Following in the footsteps of her husband Felipe who was baptized three weeks ago, the most inspiring moment of last weekend came when Martha was baptized to become your sister in Christ! Martha now dreams with her husband of converting her whole family! Her daughter is already confirmed to come to our upcoming Women's Day which is entitled, Preciosa! (Isaiah 43:4)
Martha & her husband Felipe are
now one in Christ!
Also, a big thanks to Ron Harding and the entire DC Church for graciously receiving Rachel & me as we went to visit our family there! Only in the Kingdom!
HEADLINE NEWS – PAC RIM & AUSTRAL-CHINA
NEWS FLASH – Nathalie Fetelika of Sydney: "O Lord, You are my God; I will exalt you and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness You have done marvelous things, things planned long ago." (Isaiah 25:1) "G'DAY (Good Day) MATES" ALL THE WAY from the SYDNEY INTERNATIONAL CHRISTIAN CHURCH!
As the Scripture so intricately describes the heart of the Sydney Church, we are so grateful for the "marvelous" plans that God has delegated since long ago! Since before we had even moved here, God knew that the disciples in Sydney would experience such a bonding period together in training for and participating in the Spartan Race (14K and 25 obstacles)! Even more so, God knew we all would get to celebrate and cherish such a memorable baptism of Leslie – Lennox's youngest sister – at Clovelly Beach! And finally, that we would rejoice in the glory of God amongst two of the most endearing people – Jay & Barbara Shelbrack – at an incredible and victorious "Favorites-themed Sunday Service" breaking an attendance record at 57 people!
"The Favorites-themed Sunday" and
the afternoon picnic!
The Sydney Disciples have a Spartan-like mentality!
In addition to that, Leslie, who is an eighteen-year-old, first year university student, has brought many to tears as she stood in the waters reminding us all that there is always hope for our physical families for as long as they live! With perseverance and prayer, Len & his girlfriend Keira have both poured themselves out to her as baby Christians and have learned the compassionate heart of God who does answer "impossible" prayers. Leslie is now fired-up to spread God's Word all over her own university campus in which she is the only disciple there… so far!
Leslie is baptized by Nathalie, Keira
and her brother Len!
Early on Friday morning, those living in the Willis household were amazingly blessed to have the penetrating warming presence of Jay & Barbara Shelbrack as they came to stay the night, preach to the church, and to celebrate their anniversary! At communion, Barbara spoke with an inspirational tone which gave the church a great opportunity to reflect on how God's planning has led all of us to the greatest peace possible – in Christ. Jay did a phenomenal lesson entitled, Isaac Transferring Our Faith. With charisma, humor, deep conviction and such wisdom, God used him to cut our hearts with the Word and helped us to see how we can practically change to be "the real deal" as Christians in our examples to non-believers all around us. It was so incredibly refreshing to have them with us!
Barbara & Jay have inspired the entire
Sydney Church by their preaching,
teaching and example!
NEWS FLASH – Joe Willis, World Sector Leader of Austral-China: Greetings from the Hong Kong Mission Team! With the sending-out of the Hong Kong Mission Team – Lord willing – in 2017, God is gathering the Chinese disciples from around the world in Sydney! It was fantastic to see the restoration of Keiko last Sunday, after having moved to Sydney a month ago to restore her faith. She had previously made bad decisions the year before to put her mother's will above God's will for her life by returning to Hong Kong where there is no church. So we now have "The Hong Kong Five!"
Nathalie restores Keiko to her "first love!"
With Keiko's restoration, we now
have the "Hong Kong Five!"
These five have made a decision to make Jesus Lord of their life in China. Initially, as with most students who come to Australia, The Five's dream was to build a new life for themselves. So before anyone that is Chinese is baptized here in Sydney, they must be willing to go back to China proving that Jesus is their Master and not their career or family! We are also excited to work with Hanna Wang from the OC Region of LA who, God willing, is planning to move to Sydney at the end of 2015!
Brian Lin from the Santa Barbara Church is planning to move to Sydney in 2017 and is trying to come to Sydney in 2015 for a Summer Ministry Internship! Charlotte Xia from the West Region of LA is planning to move to Sydney in 2016!
The Duong Family from the OC Region of LA is planning to work through all the complications of finances and visas to move to Sydney, with at least Gloria if not all the family coming on holiday next year to look for jobs as well as Dylan their teen son who will stay longer for a Summer Ministry Internship!
The daring Duong Family!
I personally want to call all disciples from China, Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan to contact me in the next month at email@example.com to work out a plan to move to Sydney to be part the Hong Kong Mission Team; to have faith that God will give them the desires of their hearts, even if it means to short term give up their university plans or go against their parents’ wishes. "'I tell you the truth,' Jesus said to them, 'No one who has left home or wife or brothers or parents or children for the sake of the Kingdom of God will fail to receive many times as much in this age and, in the age to come, eternal life.'" (Luke 18:29-30) Please also join me in praying for the fall of communism in China by 2020 to enable the Gospel to explode into all the 160 cities in China with over one million people in their metro areas!
Terra Utter: Greetings from Hilo, Hawaii on the "Big Island!" There are two major cities on the Big Island – Hilo and Kona. They are about an hour and a half drive away from each other. So, it was an amazing victory for the Lord in Kona today as the Kona House Church (of the Hilo ICC) had their first Sunday service since arriving in July! With just seven disciples in the Kona group and six from Hilo, God blessed our service with an attendance of 39! Many hearts were impacted by the sermon today as David Kelly preached a powerful lesson entitled, Zeroes and Heroes: Harry Potter vs. The Scorpion King, which was a character study on Simon the Sorcerer and the Ethiopian Eunuch!
Dave preaching to an amazing crowd of 39 in Kona!
Rich Tabizon: Greetings from Metro Manila! Just as the Psalmist wrote in Psalms 126, "'The Lord has done great things for them.' The Lord has done great things for us; and we are filled with joy." In the same way, the Manila Church has much to be grateful for as four were added to our number in the last two weeks! First of all, we witnessed two – a father and son – come to be baptized in the Lord! Both Noli and Ivan Tible braved a torrential downpour to make Jesus Lord of their lives!
Ronnie baptizes Noli…
Noli baptizes his son Ivan…
Now, father and son are brothers in Christ!
Furthermore, God the Father allowed the Metro Manila Church to continue its expansion as two remnant disciples – Nimrod & Vismalou (Vis) Malnegro – placed membership with the congregation moving all the way from the Island of Mindanao! This addition will allow the Malnegro Family to unite with their eldest son Michael who serves the Lord in the Campus Ministry! Also Nimrod's brother John is my awesome "right hand" here in Manila!
Nimrod & Vis Malnegro are astute in the
Philippines Banana Business which
is #3 in the world!
Last, but in no means least, Angie & I had the pleasure of adding Rosas (Rose) Sobrino, as the very first intern for the MMICC! Rose has been an active contributor to the work here in the Philippines and is regarded by the entire church as one of our most fruitful disciples! To God be the glory!
Our newest intern in Manila – Rose!
HEADLINE NEWS – USA NORTH QUADRANT & INDIA
NEWS FLASH – Chris Broom: Greetings from New York City! In the past week, God has added four more to our number! First, Miguel was baptized last Thursday night! Then today, Edwin returned from the Southland Region of LA and placed membership; Onz was baptized at the end of service; and Courtney was baptized a little after 10PM! Courtney is a dancer with the Dance Theater of Harlem!
Edwin, Onz and Miguel – the three amigos!
Courtney (far right) is embraced by
her new found family!
During Sunday’s contribution, we had a few people share good news about their missions fundraising. First of all, the CCNY Campus Ministry sold cupcakes and raised over $700! Then, the Queens Campus Bible Talk imitated them and in nine days, eight disciples raised over $900!
Brittany shares that the cupcakes are selling
like hotcakes at NYC!
Joel Parlour: Autumn greetings from the beautiful city of Syracuse! The foliage of Central New York is reaching its peak and the trees are absolutely gorgeous! Yesterday, we restarted an old Syracuse tradition – The Annual Woodcutters Ball! It was a tremendous time of fellowship and fun activities that attracted tons of new faces, many of whom attended church today! Excitingly, those present were able to witness the baptism of an awesome new brother named Kwaku! He is a freshman environmental engineering student from Syracuse University! Kwaku serves as the committee president of his dorm and is responsible for getting to know all the students on a personal level!
Since Kwaku is baptized as a freshman, the Syracuse
Church is praying that he will become a
great campus leader!
I was very moved today by the contribution message humbly shared by our recently restored sister Deb LeVancher. Deb convicted everyone with her story of first being converted 18 years ago and as a poor single mom not being able to give to God the way she wanted. In fact, as a counter, she noticed that every week her check was the lowest amount out of everyone in the church! Inspired to contribute more financially, she decided to go back to school fulltime which meant working four part-time jobs in the process to afford it! After "upping her lifestyle," she was blessed by God with a high paying job that afforded her and her daughter a new car, their own house, and most importantly a much higher contribution! After today, there are many disciples who are starting to plan how they can imitate her faith!
Lastly, with four weeks to go, the whole church is fired-up about our Thanksgiving Missions Contribution and has already turned in over $14,000 which is half of our goal!
Coltin Rohn: "Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." (Matthew 28:20) Greetings from Boston, where there are many "havhast fields" because Jesus is with us! Today, God blessed us with the place membership of Brad Matthews from Washington DC and a baptism!
Brad is overjoyed to place membership
in the Mighty Boston Church!
Christi was met by our brother Thomas, who was sharing by the river for our Bring Your Neighbor Day! After coming to service and hearing Chris Broom preach, she was bound to come back! Since Christi is a nurse, Dr. Dorvil and Dr. Joseph quickly got in there to study the Bible with her and show her the love of Jesus. The single professionals were not alone as our married sisters Janah Cook and Jasmine Graham "taught her the Word of God more adequately." (Acts 18:26) After seeing the sacrifice Jesus made for her, she was ready to give up everything and follow Christ as her Lord and Savior and today she was baptized by these awesome sisters!
Christi's passion for people came from
her passion for God!
Maria Franklin: "The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, for all whom the Lord our God will call." (Acts 2:39) Good news from your brothers and sisters in Chicago! The past couple of weeks have been so inspiring through incredible miracles and bonding retreats! Two weeks ago, the entire church rejoiced as young Luke Chiappetta was baptized into Christ! A true "Kingdom Kid," being 13 years old, he joyfully proclaimed "Jesus is Lord" at our Midweek Service! We are so grateful for the multiplying HYPER Teen Ministry so powerfully led by Kenneth Cook; as well as his devout and faithful parents whose years of labor have produced great fruit!
Joe congratulates his son Luke after
the biggest decision of his life!
Last week, the Marrieds gathered in Zion, Illinois for a refreshing, unifying and exciting Marrieds Retreat creatively entitled, 1+1+1=ONE. We were inspired to see how many disciples have grown so much and have been able to teach us through their life and example. It was also incredibly encouraging to have so many visitors attend the retreat!
This weekend, the church gathered in house churches as the Campus Ministry headed to Oregon, Illinois for an inspiring time at the Campus Retreat entitled, ELEVATE! The preaching "cut to the heart" and inspired us all to make radical changes! The prayer by the bonfire under the stars was humbling yet "elevating!"
Dustin preaches on "Seeing What God Sees!"
Please keep us in your prayers as so many are close to baptism this week! On another note, we are deeply moved and praying for our dear brothers and sisters in Portland after the tragic loss of our beautiful family this weekend.
NEWS FLASH – Raja Rajan of Chennai: Namaste! (Greetings in Hindi!) The weather here in Chennai is abysmal with non-stop rains which has led to flooded streets, power cuts and traffic jams, but our God is Sovereign! Last week nothing could dampen the Chennai disciples spirits as God added five more souls of which four of them are from the Campus: Sharath, a graduate from Loyola College; Gabrila is doing her Bachelor's in English Literature; Alpha is pursuing his Engineering in Electronics and Communication; and Tina working on her Bachelor's in Bio-Chemistry were all baptized!
The Chennai Campus Ministry is on fire! Gabriela
(back center) is one of four students
baptized in the last two weeks!
The Chennai Brothers rejoice after Alpha
(checked shirt) is baptized!
Tina (center green) is a brilliant young woman who's
smart enough to make Jesus Lord!
We also had Mary restored last Sunday! God is blessing the hard work of the Interns!
Mary (center) is restored at a House Church Service!
Since September 21st, the date of our Inaugural Service, our Father in Heaven has graciously added 17 precious souls! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you, American Churches for your sacrifice that we could have the Speckmans train us for three weeks and to support now 14 paid or part-time interns! We will be praying for your upcoming Thanksgiving Contribution as we too continue to sacrifice for the evangelization of all India! To God be all the glory!
Dear Brothers and Sisters: Recently, Malala Yousafai of Pakistan received the Nobel Peace Prize as its youngest recipient ever! Her convictions against the suppression of children and their right to education – especially girls – cost her being shot in the head by the Taliban two years ago on October 9, 2012 at 15 years old! Only now does the world recognize Malala's heroic rhetoric and stance! Are we likewise convicted about "all men [and all women being] saved and coming to a knowledge of the truth?" (1 Timothy 2:3-4)
Malala is the youngest Nobel Peace Prize
winner ever and lends her voice to
change the world at the
risk of her life!
In closing, because of the inspiration of the Marrieds Retreat, I would like to salute the woman that likewise has inspired me by taking her stand for God’s honor by her "rhetoric and stance" after almost 39 years of marriage – my wife, Elena! As I age (she hasn't), I so appreciate even more the price that Elena has paid for world evangelism… and for being my wife! Thank you dearest partner in the gospel, lover and best friend!
Thanks for everything Elena for "charm is
deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a
woman who fears the Lord is to
be praised!" (Proverbs 31:30)
In closing, "I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world!" And to our Father in Heaven be all the glory, honor and praise! Amen!