ZYGAREWICZ: Plant Churches and Train Leaders

For the Zygarewiczes, beginning missions service in Bolivia and then changing to Russia is quite a cultural stretch. Extreme weather conditions were also a drastic change, as temperatures in Russia are frequently below zero … like -30! The Zygarewiczes currently serve as associate missionaries.

Ministry in Bolivia

Adam Zygarewicz was born in Paraguay of Slavic heritage. He graduated from Bible school in 1962, and he and his wife, Abisag, organized several new churches. For 15 years, the Zygarewiczes served as overseer of Bolivia. Their plate was full: planted new churches, developed a curriculum for the Bible school, pastored a couple of churches, and were heavily involved in leadership training, humanitarian work, orphanages, and social work.

Russia and USA Ministry

Planting a church in St. Petersburg, Russia, in 1994, Adam’s influence through humanitarian efforts at a local crisis center produced converts for the Kingdom of God, as the leaders of the center joined the Church of God. Returning to the States in 1981, they planted a church in the San Francisco Bay area. Adam was director of the Regional Bible School for the Hispanic Churches of God in San Francisco, where he developed new course work and revised the curriculum implementing missionary work in the United States and Mexico. Additionally, he frequently served as an evangelist and translator for crusades in the U.S., Latin America, Ukraine, and Russia for many years.

Returning to Minister

While Abisag has suffered health issues in previous years, she is recovering well from a recent surgery. Adam and his son, Marc, are soon making a trip to Bolivia … the place Adam’s ministry began over 50 years ago. Future plans are to visit Russia later in the year—Russian pastors and churches continue to face daily restrictions and persecutions, much like it was during the Soviet era.

Adam states: “For over 30 years I prayed for the Soviet Union, the land of my parents, and asked God to open the doors to the Gospel. I am glad God gave me the opportunity to go and preach the Word in the needful country of Russia. Our vision was to plant as many churches as possible, and train Russian leaders!”

Click here to give online to the ministry of Adam and Abisag Zygarewicz: Project 065-0032

 

TRAINING MINISTERS TO LEAD

May I repeat this challenging, nine-month program? It has been difficult, as a busy pastor, father, and husband, to find time, but my ministry has been so blessed. I need to repeat it.”

I was totally taken aback. The program is exhaustive and rigorous. But this question from one of my students exemplifies the hunger among our European ministers for training to reach the harvest.

As superintendent of the 11 countries of Western Europe, I am helping today to train dozens of such dedicated church planters. It clearly shows that Europe is far from being a lost cause! During the last 37 years, I have been training ministers here … the light has been shining ever more brightly into the darkness. Churches are growing after being planted. Just as in the case of this pastor when he successfully took the Ministerial Internship Program for a second year. His church became six times the size it was before. This story has been repeated at the national level in many of our countries where the MIP continues to be taught.

The Church of God is here to answer the call of Jesus to “Go and make disciples of all nations.” Even now, there is a campaign to “Send the Light” to four of the major cities of Europe: Amsterdam, Paris, Prague, and Moscow, as part of an 11 cities worldwide outreach into the darkness. Souls are not only to be won, they are to be discipled as Jesus commanded through training in the Word. We are excited to do our part.

Training ministers to lead is at the heart of what Jesus did for three years during His earthly walk. The training was to follow—imitate Him and then pass on His teachings. The disciples were instructed to lead others likewise. As Paul said, “Imitate me as I imitate Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1).”

Training is also at the heart of what the Church of God has undertaken in 183 countries around the world—to FINISH our commitment to the Great Commission through the MIP, CIMS, and our Bible schools: Focus, Invade, Navigate, Intercede, Send, and Heal. All these aspects done intentionally and together will raise up a new generation of prophets among the youth as our General Overseer has called for in the Jeremiah Project.

This is what Kathy and I are doing in Western Europe. Helping equip a mighty army of new ministers, lay and credentialed. Many are in ministry as couples. Some are women being mobilized and empowered by the Holy Spirit in various women’s gatherings organized by my wife, Dr. Kathy Watson-Swift. I will never forget the words of one lady co-pastor, “Our ministry has been through such fiery trials that we were asking God if it was time to resign. But after this women’s conference, God has given us new vision and determination to stay the course!

Training leaders is an essential task! Let us continue to train to lead.

Chris Swift
Superintendent, Church of God in Western Europe

Make PRAGUE A Lighthouse City

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:5).

“ … Contemporary Europe is the closest thing to a godless civilization the world has ever known,” declared the Wall Street Journal in a 2006 article. At the heart of this dark continent is the city of Prague, Czech Republic, the city with the highest percentage of atheists. Yet, beyond what the news media and statistics declare, a spiritual awakening has begun to flow from the heart of Europe. In 2002, before my family and I moved to Prague to plant the first Church of God in that country, God gave us this word: “This is a latter-day Antioch, and from this place will flow ministry that will impact this entire part of the world.” Today, there is a thriving local church in Prague, and the Church of God has nine churches throughout the country.

Participation in the Lighthouse project in Prague is the fulfillment of a word of prophecy.

Prague was the Imperial City of Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV and is home to the largest castle in the world, covering 18 acres. As Europe’s 14th largest city, Prague has 1.3 million residents with a total of 2 million within its urban sprawl. One of the few cities in Europe that was not bombed during World War II, the center of Prague is protected by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), is called the “Golden City with a Thousand Spires,” and welcomes more than 6 million tourist visitors each year—only four cities in Europe receive more tourists annually. In 2016, Trip Advisor rated Prague sixth among the top destinations in the world. Charles University, located in the center of Prague, is Central Europe’s oldest university with 51,000 students, almost 7,000 of whom are international.

Behind this beautiful physical façade, lies a dark city in desperate need of the light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Faithful, spirit-empowered Church of God believers are daily sharing the Good News. With the securing of the Lighthouse building, the Church of God now has its first church building in the country—where a thriving local church, a community outreach center, and ministerial training classrooms will be housed.

The Czech word “Prague” means “threshold.” This Lighthouse city is a spiritual threshold for what God is doing this part of the world!

Click here to give online to make Prague a Lighthouse city!

Jonathan Augustine is regional superintendent for Central Europe East/The Balkans.

Church of God in Scotland is Thriving

Through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God” (2 Corinthians 9:11).

The Church of God in Scotland, led by Overseer and Career Missionaries Dennis and Vanna Tanner, is thriving. Their ministry encompasses evangelizing the lost, discipling new believers, training spiritual leaders, and planting churches.

Training and Licensure of Ministers

Recently, three new ministers were licensed in the Church of God. Varghese Thomas from Kerala, India, and the senior pastor of the Lanarkshire Christian Fellowship received his ordination. Laura Shreenan and her husband, Colin, received the Ordained Ministers License on behalf of her parents, Derek and Astrid Gobbett, who were unable to attend due to illness.

New Church Planted

Through the generosity of donors, the Hosanna Romanian Church of God was established in Edinburgh. Pastor Daniel Karacsony and his assistant pastor, Cosmin Radesclu, report continued growth and are now looking for another facility in which to worship.

Community Ministry

Lighthouse Christian Ministry Center, which houses the national offices and various other venues, also serves as a drop-in center for the community.

The Tanners, the pastors, and church members thank God for all you have done to prosper the work in Scotland, and they are praying for everyone who is supporting the ministries.

Project Number 065-0213

GREECE: United in the Spirit of the Lord

With the Church of God established in 183 nations of the world, it is easy sometimes to overlook some of the countries where God is doing a great work. One such location is Greece, which also comprises 150 inhabited islands.

Legacy

Herodotus Kourpas founded the Church of God in Greece in 1964. The pastor of a group of born-again and Spirit-filled believers, Kourpas became acquainted with Vessie Hargrave, then World Missions director, and the small congregation joined ranks with the Church of God. He later was appointed to serve as overseer. Kourpas passed away in 1998, but during his lifetime of service, the Gospel of Jesus Christ was spread to many places in Greece.

Despite troubles and opposition of the official Greek Orthodox Church (the state religion of Greece), thousands of people were evangelized and hundreds gave their hearts to the Lord. God used ministers of the Church of God to establish missions, Bible studies, and three churches … one in Athens, one in Thiva, and one in Kokkinos Mylos. The pastor at Kokkinos Mylos, Alkis Gatzelias, graduated from the European Theological Seminary in Germany.

Leadership

The present overseer of Greece is Anastassios (Tassos) Aronis, who received his call to the ministry while kneeling in prayer and meditating on the Word of God, specifically Joshua 1:1-9. The Holy Spirit revealed to him he would preach repentance to God’s people and that he would bring God’s people back to the land of his forefathers! Aronis was ordained in the Church of God in 1994. Later, God mightily used him during the European Conference of the Church of God in Kircheim, Germany, in 2001. Shortly thereafter in 2002, he was granted the leadership of the Athens Church of God. The World Missions Board appointed Aronis as overseer to Greece since 2000 until the present time.

Labor

Eighty (80) kilometers from Athens is the church in Thiva, one of the centuries-ancient Greek cities. A population of 35,000, the people are farmers, industry workers, traders, and shop owners. Refugees comprise Pakistanis, Indians, Albanians, and Romanians.

Despite propaganda against them and the persecution of the Greek Orthodox Church, the Thiva church proceeds before each Sunday morning service to teach the Word of God to 12 children—refugees from former Albania (Muslims)—who are accepting the truths of the Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The outreach extends to Gypsy camps, as well.

In 2005, the first “Romanian Church of God” was established in Tsesmes, Crete. Since then, several other Romanian churches have been birthed. The first convention of the Churches of God in Greece, held in Athens in 2006, consisted of Church of God Greeks, Romanians, Filipinos, and Africans, as well. Experienced was a new and active vision among leaders to work together in spite of the ethnic and cultural differences, and to be united in the Spirit of the Lord and the denomination. At the beginning of 2008, two Filipino churches were added to the Church of God constituency.

The Church of God in Greece is extremely grateful for the leadership of the Church of God in the United States, Europe, and the World Missions Department for their love and support in accomplishing His mission. They hold in their hearts great anticipation for all God is going to perform through them in the near future.

 

 

 

THE LEAST OF THESE …

Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”

An adorable little girl lives in one of the villages where Missions-Romania, spearheaded by Robert Schmidt, ministers.

On a recent visit, the little girl was standing outside without a coat … and, it was cold! When asked “Where is your coat?,” the child looked up and responded: “The rats were eating their clothes, and she didn’t have a coat anymore.” At that moment, the mother appeared and told her not to talk about it. The child’s family consists of eight children and they live in a 2-room shack. Earlier reports from Bob Schmidt mentioned that parents sleep in shifts so the rats won’t nibble on their children.

The clothes these families wear are clothes provided by Missions-Romania for the families and their village. The next week when Missions-Romania arrived, they had several more bags of clothes, and especially a coat for this little girl. Missions-Romania also provided this precious child her favorite lunch that week—samarles (cabbage rolls with pork and rice).

When the little girl saw the coat and smelled the samarles, she giggled and said “thank you.”

God is so good … Missions-Romania helped the “least of these.”

To partner with the Schmidts online, click here: Project Number 731-1169

ETS Launches “Give a Window” Campaign

The Church of God European Theological Seminary in Germany launched a “Give a Window” Campaign several weeks ago—a fund-raising project aimed at replacing the school’s deteriorated windows.

Because the dormitory windows are extremely old, water is seeping into the rooms during winter and the rainy days. Adding to the dilemma of inadequate windows, was the fact that a great amount of money is expended each year on fuel to ensure a comfortable room temperature for the students.

The project is long overdue! After careful consideration, administrators concluded the best long-term solution would be to replace the windows with newer, better ones. Not only would this provide accommodating temperatures in the school, but it also would mean saving a significant amount of fuel usage.

By faith, ETS has initiated its extensive window replacement project. To date, the school has received donations for 24 windows, but to complete the project, more help is needed … 23 windows have yet to be sponsored.

The price of one window is $719.33 US. If you cannot provide a donation to cover the entire cost of the window, any amount is welcome. Step-by-step, each donation will help raise the remaining amount.

The burden is lighter when carried together!

Project number 710-0058-020

GETTING TO KNOW YOU … Lisette & Steffen Schumaker

The daughter of former missionaries, Jake and Becky Popejoy, Lisette was born in Bury St. Edmunds, England. Having lived her earlier years in several European countries, she developed an interest in languages.

Lisette received her calling to missions during college, and upon graduating, a door opened for her to spend the summer teaching English in Mongolia. She also spent a year teaching English at the Church of God seminary (SEMISUD) in Ecuador. Yet, Lisette had a strong desire to return to Europe. In 2000, appointed as an associate missionary, she was sent to Central and Eastern Europe/CIS, based in Germany, and now is presently serving at the European Theological Seminary.

Lisette is married to Steffen, a German minister, who adds many gifts of his own to the ministry they are privileged to accomplish as a team. He holds an M.Div. and is presently pursuing a Ph.D. in Biblical Studies.

Lisette believes that education and communication are areas in which the people of God can work toward seeing the people of the world receive a clear knowledge of Jesus Christ. Training takes place on several levels—the missionary trained on the homefront; the missionary training leaders abroad; and the new leaders training their own people.

To the Schumachers, the ministry partnership with donors means they can focus more fully on their responsibilities on the field; will not feel alone in the work they’ve been sent to do; and can know people are thinking about them, praying for them, and believing in them enough to invest in their ministry, which affirms them when the times of discouragement come.

Project number 065-0131

CITY OF LIGHT … Paris, France

Because the name commonly given to Paris is the City of Light, its vision is entirely in keeping with the World Missions Send the Light to the Cities Initiative.

First, it is important to recognize that when we talk about Paris, we are also talking about the extended Paris area—the suburbs—since that is where the Churches of God are located.

I asked myself this question several years ago when I accepted my duties as National Overseer … isn’t bringing the Light for one purpose—to let the kingdom of God spread? To accomplish the task, teamwork was necessary. Everyone needed the same goal for a common objective … to gather our “strengths;” hence, the “slogan” which illustrates our actions: “A common vision for a common interest: the kingdom of God.”

Once this common interest was adopted, it was necessary to unite in our acting together. But, as Amos 3:3 says, “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” So, the first work is internal; it is maximizing the human aspect, the people who will let that Light in them shine forth.

Where people feel well, accepted, and fulfilled, they will want to work, share, and take people with them in this endeavor. Once cohesion is created, then it attracts, motivates, and causes people to arise and, in turn, build a structure to continue fulfilling the common goal.

Of course, this is not done without the Holy Spirit and without prayer and fasting, so we must always be challenged about the life of prayer and the life of the Spirit. We can organize any kind of plan, but without prayer and without being led by the Spirit, nothing will last.

An essential part on this road map for the Light to shine, is that it is a star that lasts for time and is not a shooting star which is beautiful, but ephemeral, and that part is THE TRAINING! If we stop training, our service dies. If we stop training, the next generation will die. The school of ministry of the Church of God in France was born in the Paris region in September 2016. It is essential to continue training and to train a new generation of servants, as well.

Today, the initiative has been launched … now it is crucial that this Light spreads. We want to continue to shine, to develop what has already been put in place, so that the foundations are strong and the kingdom spreads.

Where there is gold, the seekers will come.

Christian Merlo

Overseer-France/Guadeloupe/Martinique

Project number 102-9435-009

WHAT IS YOUR MINISTRY?

“We were in Croatia meeting with the local pastors that will host the upcoming concerts of the Metro Big Band. As we sat down to lunch with one of the pastors and his wife, the question was asked: ‘What is your ministry?’

The answer went something like this: ‘Even though we have a multifaceted ministry, one of our favorite things to do is sit down for lunch with a pastor and his wife, just like we are doing today, and listen to them tell us about their ministry, their family, their victories and their struggles.’ Big smiles broke upon their faces. Rose assured them that we wanted to be an encouragement to them.

I then told them about a weekend of some years ago when an elderly couple from Huntsville, Alabama, called Mom and Pop, who made a trip to Europe and obtained a list of some missionaries to visit. Somehow, we were included on their list. Mom and Pop treated us to a meal at a restaurant and we accommodated them in our home. Their visit came at a most crucial time. It was as if they were a lifeline sent to rescue us!

“How do we express this ministry? Maybe we are called to ‘encourage the encouragers!’ This week in Croatia was very special and included more meetings than usual … a couple in Bicske, Hungary; two couples in Vukovar, Croatia; a couple in Vinkovci, Croatia; a couple in Slavonski Brod, Croatia; a family in Kiskoros, Hungary; a couple in Budapest, Hungary; and a pastor in Budapest, Hungary.

We want to be a lifeline to them, just as someone was to us.”

—Dan and Rose Smith

Missionary Parachurch Groups:Hungary and Albania

Click here to join your ministry with the Smiths: Project Number 065-0448