AS FOR ME AND MY HOUSE

The 24th Annual National Conference of the Ukrainian Church of God was held in October in Svyatogorsk. With an emphasis on the health of pastoral marriages, much time in the seminars was dedicated to maintaining healthy relationships. Additional time was given to enjoy the mountain scenery and the nearby ancient monastery. The evening services encouraged the delegates to continue the good work of evangelism and discipleship—reminding that some plant, others water, but it is God who gives the increase.

Plenty of celebration ensued in reaction to God’s increase. During the past year, the Churches of God in Ukraine received 14 new churches into its fellowship—seven of the churches were independent churches from the Kiev region; seven additional churches were newly organized church plants, mostly in Eastern Ukraine along the war front. Despite losing four congregations (mostly due to displaced members from the warzone), the Churches of God in Ukraine reported a net growth of 10 congregations. Over 500 people were saved, and some 379 were baptized in water during the past year through the ministries of the Church of God in Ukraine.

Also emphasized during the conference was the development of chaplaincy and humanitarian aid ministries with new ministers/groups meeting the ever-increasing challenges presented by the ongoing military conflict in Eastern Ukraine. Acknowledgement was given to the donors and sponsors from Europe and the United States whose support has tremendously helped the church’s ministry to the needy in the conflict area.

Tom Rosson
Regional Superintendent-Eastern Europe and CIS
President – CIS/ETS
Moscow

Project #061-0004

COMFORTED BY THE WORD OF GOD

Middle East Map

Amidst the multiple disasters that have drawn our attention recently, we are reminded yet of another tragedy taking place.

In a Mideast nation, adversities have increasingly worsened with no relief in sight, mainly due to the strict rules of the country’s leadership. One pastor was imprisoned, falsely accused to trying to overthrow the president. Another pastor was confined, as Christians are considered “terrorists.”

Attacks continually take place, with individuals killed and others wounded. An undertow of fear is prevalent, making it difficult to evangelize. If suspected of evangelizing, one is taken to the police station and exorbitant money must be paid for release. Yet, the church survives.

Because obtaining a visa is becoming a problem, it is difficult for workers to get into the country, and a harvest awaits.

The people are comforted by the Word of God: “No weapon formed against you shall prosper; and every tongue which rises against you in judgment you shall condemn” (Isaiah 5:17).

Project #132-5116

AMSTERDAM—SL2C UPDATE

Although Amsterdam, as a Send Light to the Cities designate, has experienced obstacles which did not allow it to move forward quickly, every effort is strategically directed. Not having a strong presence initially in the Netherlands has hindered as there are only five total congregations. However, a new church plant was recently begun in the city. Purchasing or leasing a building is not easy, because of extremely high real estate costs. The search continues to acquire property in the city.

Amsterdam

Special attention is being given to finding a building that can eventually serve as a self-supporting and self-sustaining property—by subleasing to other tenants so lease expenses can be shared, or possibly even eliminated. The goal is to survive without outside assistance no later than three years after the project begins, but, ideally, even sooner.

Innovative and creative approaches to church planting must be found … a seeker friendly environment is more likely to attract interest, with a building having the capacity of accommodating 200 to 500 people.

John and Shakila Olsen are pastoring a daughter church under Senior Pastor Bishop John Lataster, who is also the World Missions representative in the Netherlands. These individuals affirm they are ready to Send the Light as soon as funding is released. In the meantime, the School of Discipleship is scheduled to begin January 2018.

Stephen Darnell is the field director, who is overseeing the project.

Project #102-9435-001

UPDATE FROM THE O’DOWDS

Missionaries to Europe, Tom and Kuulei O’Dowd, participate in a wide range of ministry. Their desire is to do the work of the Lord, no matter what circumstances they may personally face.

Earlier in the year, Kuulei’s elder brother passed away due to a strange stomach cancer. Not completely over the loss, Kuulei lost her father in August—a sudden stroke. During their darkest hours, prayers and letters grounded them in God’s great grace. The O’Dowds continue to share the Good News of the Resurrection in their time of sorrow.

MALTA, GREECE, AND AUSTRIA

O'Dowds with students

Traveling first to St. Paul’s Bay in Malta, Tom and Kuulei interacted with students there from ETS (Iraq, Egypt, and Germany). After preaching and uplifting the Church of God in Athens, Greece, the O’Dowds visited Vienna, Austria, where they enjoyed the spiritual and educational investment they had previously made with the students. Tom and Kuulei feel they can now learn as much from the young ministers as they ever taught them.

ALBANIA

The O’Dowds have a vibrant and exciting vision for the Church of God in Albania! Powered by the Holy Spirit and dynamic leadership, the work is growing tremendously. They will be teaching in Tirana’s Bible school next February.

ASIA

While working mainly in Europe, the O’Dowds are heading to Asia to visit five countries: Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines, Turkey, and Singapore. Since they had lived in Asia for 15 years (and have not been back in seven years), it will be a special “homecoming” for them, especially to see old friends.

Give to this project, #061-0002.

A LOT GOING ON

Missionaries in Romania, Michael and Mihaela Gravitt, have a lot going on with family and church of late. Among the activities has been the children’s church hiking trips, camping trips, cookouts with small groups, VBS outreach in a poor village, Mihaela’s brother visiting from Canada, and the fact the associate pastor was on vacation for two weeks during this busy time!Romania Gravitts

But, there is big news … three people will be water baptized. None of this, however, would’ve been possible without support. Michael is grateful for the prayers, the giving, and basically helping to keep them in Romania. Because of that support, more souls are going to heaven, and more missions-minded people are reaching the lost. When the Gravitts see the children they are able to reach and the church they are able to support, the realization comes that donors are as much a part as they are, and they could not do what they do without them.

Because of the “I Dream of a Church” campaign and City Church of Chattanooga, they have finally been able to purchase a parsonage for their family to stay in! For the first 6-1/2 years, they lived in an extremely hot 380 sq. ft. top-floor apartment. Next, they lived with a church in their house for approximately 3-1/2 years. Finally, they now have a place to stay with their family and are able to focus their money and time on the church and the ministry.

Project #065-0957

THE EYES OF GOD

Middle East Map

Latin America is sending career missionaries around the world—a missions field that has turned into a missions force. One such couple from the Church of God in Argentina now ministers in a Middle East country.

Praying for the political situation in the country where they are located is only part of the urgent task that remains to establish disciples of Jesus Christ who can continue the extension of the kingdom of God in the region. In the natural perspective, it looks negative, but if one sees with the eyes of God, a small cloud can be seen in the distance—a great harvest of souls coming to the knowledge of our Redeemer!

The missionaries were blessed to recently pray and minister to some women and children who have escaped war. How heartbreaking for them to witness what people are suffering from having to leave their homes because of war; especially, to see the children, and humanly not be able to help enough!

Most of the individuals with whom God has allowed them to share, to reach, and to baptize, stand firm in the way of God. Amidst many dangers and threats, the local church continues to advance. New believers are often preparing to be water- baptized.

Believing God is in control of history, with His help, the missionaries will continue to share the love of Jesus Christ.

Project # 102-7075-001

MISSIONARIES ARE PRAYING FOR THOSE AFFECTED BY HURRICANES

World Missions received a touching email from Missionary Kelly Myers in Prague, Czech Republic:

Kelly Myers in Prague, Czech Republic

I write to you today from Prague with a heavy heart. It has been difficult to see the news in the U.S. the past few weeks. I have been praying for everyone affected by the hurricanes and continue to pray for rebuilding efforts. If you or a loved one you know has been affected by this, I am so sorry. There is not much like a huge natural disaster to make us feel completely helpless and overwhelmed. And yet, we trust God to help us carry on and help carry the burdens of those in need right now. May God give us all strength and grace to pray and help where we can in this difficult time. May the God of peace and mercy be ever close to you.

As much as the Church of God prays for its missionaries, how encouraging it is to know they are in earnest prayer for us, as well. Many of them have experienced drastic situations and know exactly how to pray. We thank God for them and the work they accomplish on the field.

Kelly says that recently they experienced the largest gathering of Christians in the Czech Republic (that they know of) since communism fell 28 years ago! Awakening Europe held a conference specifically called “Awakening Prague” that was within walking distance of Kelly’s flat. Up to 12,000 believers gathered in one area! Amazing. At the end of the conference, Missionary/Pastor Jerry Lillard, also the overseer, prayed over the city and country that many would come to know God personally.

Thank God for His hand that is resting upon the Czech Republic!

Click here to partner with Kelly: Project #065-0883  

 

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NEW CHURCH IN FORRES, UNITED KINGDOM

Paul McLaughlan, Sr.

The first beneficiary of the Paul McLaughlan Memorial fund for church planting will be in the village of Forres in the north of Scotland.

Forres is one of Scotland’s oldest small towns. Situated in the north of Scotland on the Moray Coast, it is approximately 25 miles east of Inverness and only a few miles from the Findhorn Community, a center for the New Age movement established in 1965. Forres is a beautiful historical town with a population of over 12,000.

Church of God ordained ministers Derek and Astrid Gobbett have moved to Scotland from Zimbabwe, South Africa, where for over 30 years they were involved in evangelism, leading short-term missions, church ministry, and a successful marriage discipleship ministry.

The Gobbetts have a burden to see a powerful center of truth based on biblical teaching and the love of Jesus established in Forres. The new work will be named the (Church of God) Cornerstone Fellowship Forres.

Project #132-9213

Click this link to support and partner with the Paul McLaughlan Memorial fund for church planting.

 

THE MOST INCREDIBLE GOD-MOMENT…

“The Most Incredible God-moment I Have Witnessed in an Atheistic Culture.”

Living in Czech Republic as a foreigner has taught me much about being in the minority. I am in the minority in relation to my language, culture, and nationality as an American. I am also in the minority in my religious belief. As a Christian in a country where the majority of the population of 10 million profess they do not believe God exists, I am one of a minority of believers here.

So it does not surprise me God called me, and many others, to be missionaries here. We daily plow through this hard ground of unbelief with the goal of showing God’s love to all and proclaiming with our lives and actions that He is real and does indeed exist.

Because it often takes years for a Czech to come to faith in Christ, most of the discipleship I do here is relational. This involves understanding that God is moving in a person’s life even though you may only see a few signs of this over the years. Being a missionary in Czech Republic will certainly teach you patience as you daily endeavor to let God’s light shine though you into the darkness that is the spiritual landscape here.

One of the more concrete ways my church in Prague seeks to proclaim the existence of God is to hold an annual English Camp. As we offer a camp that teaches English to Czech children and teenagers, we are clear that because this is a church-sponsored activity, we will talk about God.

Many times, during the camp, we have campers whom we see come to the belief that God actually exists. This is always a time of rejoicing for us, as we see seeds planted during the camp bear beautiful, life-giving fruit.

The most incredible God-moment I have witnessed in this atheistic culture happened during one of these camps. During our scheduled gospel night, when we presented the reality of the existence of God, we again hoped a few of the campers would come to the knowledge that God is real. However, at the end of the night, the presenter asked if anyone would like to believe in God for himself/herself. Amazingly, four teenagers raised their hands! Some of these teens had been coming to our camp every summer for eight years. All the seeds planted over the years had finally born the fruit of salvation. This was a miracle for our church!

This God-moment showed me God has a heart for this atheistic country and that His timing is perfect. Often as I go through the daily motions of ministry here, I forget God is always working behind the scenes. Through this God-moment, I was encouraged that the work here is never for naught and that fruit will come in the proper, God-directed time.

Kelly Myers, Career Missionary in Prague, Czech Republic

Click this link to give support and partnership to Kelly – Project 065-0883

 

FIELD DIRECTOR STEPHEN DARNELL: MOSCOW, RUSSIA UPDATE

Moscow, Russia, is the major political, economic, and scientific center of Eastern Europe. By broader definition, Moscow is the 11th most-populated city within the world, and is recognized as having the 14th largest metro area of the world. She is the largest city entirely on the European continent. On my most recent trip to Moscow, I met with Superintendent Dr. Tom Rosson and National Overseer Bishop Pavel Abashin and was excited to learn of the aggressive vision cast by these great leaders. The regional overseer of Moscow, Bishop Vitality Arhipkin, shared with me that we currently have 30 active congregations in Moscow. Within the past four months, we have organized two new churches and are presently assisting two additional new church plants. It is our heartfelt desire to not only strengthen our existing churches in Moscow, but to plant 10 new churches within the next four years.

The Eurasia Theological Seminary, located in Moscow, continues in advancement in every way with a current enrollment of more than 400 students. Many of these students are preparing themselves for full-time ministry roles within our churches. In February 2017, this seminary was awarded Level IV Accreditation from the Church of God Division of Education. The Regional Evangelical Accrediting Association Committee submitted a recommendation to the Association Board that all Master Level Programs be changed from “Candidate” status to “Accredited” status in May 2017. This seminary has established itself as the Pentecostal Training Center for the Church of God in Russia, and continues to prepare the way for greater church growth and development within Eastern Europe.

Apprehensions were voiced concerning a new law passed in Russia in July 2016 which restricted the personal witnessing, as well as evangelistic witnessing of Jesus Christ openly outside the actual church structure. There is no doubt—this is an important matter! While this has limited the outside activity of ministry teams, along with open crusades, the Church of God is serving in a leading role in legally challenging these new laws. Bishop Sergei Riahovsky, the former Church of God national overseer of Russia, serves as the president of the Pentecostal Union of Russia. In a recent meeting with Bishop Riahovsky, he pledged to me, Dr. Tom Rosson, and the Russian National Council that, in the appropriate settings, the Pentecostal Union is committed to continue representing the rights of religious freedom for the people of Russia. Together, we will continue in the pursuit of righteousness and the preaching of the uncompromised Word of God.

—Dr. Stephen Darnell, WM Field Director of Europe/Middle East/CIS

Click here to partner and send light to Moscow!