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

HOPE FOR THE DUMP

Hope for the Dump ministry in Asuncion, Paraguay, cares for the children living in the city dump.

Earlier missionaries to Paraguay, Paul and Rhonda Stockard, were deeply moved when they realized no one was trying to alleviate the situation of children living in the dump. The couple set about establishing a relief program to help them. Formally known as “Children of the Dump,” the dump was home to children who were oHope for the Dump Kidsrphaned for various reasons. The children made make-shift shacks and sorted through the dump contents to sustain them. It was a pitiful existence.

Thanks to the efforts of the Stockards, the new administrators Todd and Rhonda Taylor, are continuing the ministry to even greater heights and have given the ministry a new name: “Hope for the Dump.” Along with being fed and clothed, the children are given an education in a private school just for them, and clean water is provided, as well. Hope for the Dump continues to provide care and support to the most at-risk children in the capital city.

Relationships are being built, and lives are being changed. Families are coming to Christ because of the dump ministry. One family of seven recently accepted Christ on a Sunday morning. The entire family came to an altar of repentance.

World Missions’ emphasis “True Love for Children” is an essential part of assisting ministries such as Hope for the Dump. International World Missions Director Dr. David M. Griffis and Assistant Director Dr. M. Thomas Propes are adamant about serving orphans, no matter where they are, because World Missions leadership realizes the church of tomorrow is residing in the children of today.

Give to Project #497-0091

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

BANGKOK – SL2C UPDATE

International World Missions Director Dr. David M. Griffis and Assistant Director Dr. M. Thomas Propes are pleased with the progress that is being accomplished with the SEND THE LIGHT TO THE CITIES project.

SL2C Bangkok Dream Central

Asia/Pacific Field Director Andrew Binda reports the Church of God in Bangkok is currently working in partnership with Dream Central, a functioning ministry already in place in the city. Revitalizing will occur in this ministry, upgrading their current facility, and utilizing it as a center to train pastors and church planters not only in Bangkok, but across Southeast Asia.

The Church of God has nine congregations in Thailand with 332 members. Bishop Somnuk Montrelerdrasme is the national overseer.

Dr. Griffis states: “A church that loves the world with a John 3:16 passion cannot take its evangelism mandate seriously without looking to the cities.” And the Church of God is looking to Bangkok!

Project #102-9435-002

MISSIONARY EVANGELIST PASSES AWAY

Martin Lee Studdard passed from this life on Saturday, November 4, 2017, in Richardson, Texas. He was born December 29, 1933, in Port Arthur, Texas. Martin obtained a BA from Lee University and an MA from the Pentecostal Theological Seminary with an emphasis on missions.

Martin began his missions ministry in 1996 after he had fulfilled some military service at the Subic Naval Base in the Philippines. After retiring from the US Navy, he went to Mindanao to evangelize. Souls were saved and Martin felt God had confirmed his calling into missions. Later, Martin taught at Davao Bible College and was senior pastor of the church in Davao City.

At first, Martin did local church evangelism, then tribal mission trips into the mountains with students from the seminary in Makati Metro Manila, intending to reach the unreached of Southeast Asia. At one point, Martin stated: “My assignments require mosquito netting, insect repellent, water treatment tablets, and an inflatable air mattress. Hot water is something I don’t experience until I return to the States!” The Studdards ministry mainly consisted of equipping ministers and laity of the Philippines.

When Martin’s health would no longer allow him to travel, he continued to raise money for the needs in the Visayas Region, especially the children’s feeding center.

A memorial service will be held on Monday, November 13th, at the Dallas National Cemetery for Veterans.

Condolences may be sent to his wife, Barbara, at: 2713 North Spring Dr., Richardson, Texas, 75082

I WAS THERE

I was there! Or, more correctly, we were there. My wife and I had landed on the island of Puerto Rico a few days earlier at the invitation of two churches from the Disciples of Christ. While there, we also had plans to do two more things we normally do when we visit the island: we wanted to be active in some sort of ministry connected with the Church of God, and Ada and I wanted to visit with friends and family.

Victor and Ada Pagan

The first part of the agenda was completed September 16th when VIDA Foundation partnered with the Theological University of the Caribbean to sponsor a seminar on Pastoral Care. The next day, we ministered at one of the aforementioned churches. On Monday and Tuesday (18th and 19th), we visited with relatives. On the 20th, Maria arrived! Yes, we are talking about the Category 4 hurricane which hit the island of Puerto Rico on Wednesday. Needless to say, the rest of the agenda seemed gone with the wind. The pastor from the second church called to cancel the scheduled services for Thursday and Saturday. Sunday was put on hold, but by Saturday, it was confirmed that one combined service would be held instead of the two regular services usually conducted at the church.

I was amazed at the courage of the people. A poster on a wall read, “We shall rise stronger.” Some had to drive on flooded roads, around fallen trees, and over electrical lines. A generator gave us some power—not enough for the air conditioner to work—but at least, we could use a microphone. Our praise and worship had no obstruction rising to the heavens, because the roof of the building was, in reality, gone. It was a scene to behold some 500 brothers and sisters hugging, kissing, crying, and comforting each other. The Holy Spirit got involved with His presence, and His peace was felt in a real and quiet manner; in clear contrast to the noisy and intimidating winds brought by Maria.

As I write this, I sadly report that more than five weeks have passed since Maria, and the pace of recovery is extremely slow. The number of casualties is already over 50. Many are now learning of property losses, including Ada’s sister who lost her house. People were dismissed from their jobs, others’ working hours were reduced. Those, who can afford it, are moving to the States, some permanently.

As a Puerto Rican, I am grateful for the impactful response and assistance we have received from Church of God World Missions. The leadership of World Missions has been concerned about the state of the church in Puerto Rico from the onset. Other agencies and ministries, like Operation Compassion, have also assisted. It should be noted that Bishop Angel Marcial from the Southeastern Hispanic Region has led a remarkable effort collecting and sending goods, money, and generators to Puerto Rico.

Finally, a word of caution … we still have among us evil people who would take advantage of the pain of others to help themselves. Don’t become a victim by sending money to people you don’t know or agencies that are not trustworthy. Be a wise and a good steward of your financial resources. World Missions has established a project number, 765-0036, for those interested in helping Puerto Rico or any other of the Caribbean Islands affected by the recent hurricanes.

Dr. Victor Pagan
Former World Missions Assistant Director

 

THREE ARDUOUS WEEKS

Hong and Esther Yang

Hong and Esther Yang recently returned from spending three arduous weeks of teaching and preaching in Botswana and Zambia, Africa. The teaching involved the BA and MA degree levels.

Students, who were trained in over 100 hours, attended from nearly a dozen nations throughout Africa. Africa is experiencing a great revival, especially in the Muslim areas.

The Yangs also evangelized hundreds, including the many Chinese living in these African nations.

Five more mission trips for Hong and Esther are scheduled at the start of next year in Kenya, Uganda, and Rwanda. Please keep the Yangs in your prayers for provision and safety.

Project #060-0036

COGWM BOARD OF DIRECTORS FALL MEETING

Much was accomplished at the November 1 meeting of the Church of God World Missions Board of Directors. From the opening prayer to the ending item, there was an evident spirit of cooperation and care for the Church of God in 181 countries and regions, besides the USA and Canada.

COGWM Board of Directors

Disaster relief was a large focus of the board’s discussion. “The World Missions Board of the Church of God met this week and completed all administrative tasks required for both the urgent and on-going needs around the world,” director Dr. David M. Griffis said. “However, the primary focus was on the massive needs created by the natural disasters that have occurred in recent months. World Missions is committed to being proactive in our outreach and meeting the needs of those suffering under the shadow of famine, to help bring relief and assistance to those who have suffered natural disasters, and to preach Jesus Christ to those who do not know Him. This is more than just a proclamation…it is our proactive mission and our real-life calling.”

Another key area of focus was a report on the progress of the Send the Light to the Cities project. Said assistant director Dr. M. Thomas Propes, “I’ve often heard our General Overseer, Dr. Tim Hill say, ‘World Missions gets in your blood.’ How true those words are for LaQuita and me. The Send the Light to the Cities project has ignited a spiritual fire in the Church of God around the world. Special thanks to the World Missions Board of Directors for its support and vision to see this global ministry succeed!” In the coming weeks, World Missions will share updates on the happenings in each of the project’s Lighthouse Cities.

At the conclusion of the day, the board re-emphasized the charge of Church of God World Missions to bridge the divide between individual church congregations and the need for the gospel on the field. Please continue to pray for workers to go into the harvest, and consider how you can be part of the effort to FINISH the Great Commission.

 

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

BABY LIAM MAKES IT BEFORE THE STORM ARRIVES

September was supposed to be such an exciting month for my family.

My youngest sister was having her first baby. She and her husband are pastors of a small church in San Sebastian, Puerto Rico. Our flights were booked and we were eager to meet the newest addition to the family at the end of the month.

Then, we got word that Hurricane Maria was headed for Puerto Rico on September 21—that was my sister Natalia’s due date. Due to the threat of the hurricane, her labor was induced to avoid going into labor during the storm. Complications developed after being induced and she began hemorrhaging; an emergency C-section was performed. We received word she was okay and the baby was fine, but then all communication ceased. Hurricane Maria hit on the 21st and tore through the island.

Baby Liam

What a sense of devastation and helplessness! Our family here in the States had no way of knowing if our family in Puerto Rico was all right. We only knew what the media was reporting, and we were extremely worried; a feeling of desperation settled over us. We finally heard through other people that my family was okay and on October 3rd, I was finally able to speak to my sister. She had traveled over an hour to get a signal to contact us and let us know how they were doing.

Today, they are still without electricity and endure very long lines everywhere they go to purchase fuel and food. In the midst of it all, our family has been able to see God moving in their lives and taking care of them. Random people have stopped by their house to drop off water and formula, and just recently a few US Army Soldiers dropped off three cases of water, three packs of diapers, a cooler of canned foods, Lysol, and bug spray.

We are extremely thankful to them and for their generosity. The icing on the cake was that the soldier took a picture and we finally saw a picture of Baby Liam. PTL!

—Yvette Morales
Assistant Manager
World Missions Donor Relations

To give to continued recovery efforts in Puerto Rico and the rest of the Caribbean, go to cogwm.org/caribbeanrelief.

Posted in Home Featured Post | Comments Off on BABY LIAM MAKES IT BEFORE THE STORM ARRIVES