December 9, 2012
Greetings from San Francisco! Truly, for Elena & me this has already been a “December to remember!” December began with my visiting the Paris Church and seeing first-hand their incredible faith in the light of the denial of the Kernans’ visas, especially Philippe & Prisca Scheidecker who are now dynamically leading this new planting! Then, upon my return, Elena & I drove to San Francisco to join in all the wonderful festivities adjoining the incredible wedding of our youngest son Eric and his awesome wife Tiffany! Then, we were so blessed to participate in the worship service of the San Francisco Bay International Christian Church, excellently overseen by Mike & Brittany Underhill! Then on Monday, Elena & I stopped off in Santa Barbara, so filled with gratitude for all God’s blessings in our lives as we celebrated our 36th Wedding Anniversary! And December is not even half over!
A special thanks to the Kirchners, the Bordieris and Untalans, who drove all the way from LA to participate in Eric & Tiffany’s wedding and the San Francisco Bay Service! Also, thanks to Chris & Theresa Broom who have led the City of Angels Church in our absence! So encouraging for this week in December, the Lord blessed us with two baptisms, one restoration and two place memberships!
More details of this week in Los Angeles follow…
Lou Jack Martinez of the AV Sector of the Central Region: Our God is an AWESOME GOD, He reigns from heaven above, with WISDOM, POWER and LOVE; OUR GOD IS AN AWESOME GOD!We’ve been studying the Gospel of Mark for our Sunday Worship Services and Mark 6:7 led us to a study of the spiritual battle that we all face every day as disciples. We looked at 1 John 4:4 and realized that“He that is in us (the Holy Spirit) is greater than he that is in the world (Satan)!“ So when we’re feeling down, discouraged and depressed, we can call on our God and He can pull us out of “the pit” if we choose to deny ourselves and repent!
We then prayed, ALL TOGETHER one-by-one, and after our prayer, we were REFRESHED and prepared for battle, once again! It was so exciting that Chaquita Hatcher was restored at service today! Please pray for an incredible harvest in “The AV,” as Satan is trying to delay it, but we know that he CANNOT stop it! (Matthew 16:18)
Chaquita (second from the right) was restored
through the efforts of the AV Sisters!
Luke Speckman: Greetings from the beautiful Ventura Region!! Today was awesome as we witnessed a campus man, Joseph, make his good confession and get baptized in the Pacific Ocean! Please pray for Ventura as we work to harvest His field!
Chris Adams of the Irvine Sector in the OC Region: Russ & Lana Preston saw God bless their Bible Talk with fruitfulness for a second time in three weeks, as Mariela Frost placed membership from our former fellowship! Russ & Lana have worked tirelessly, along with their Married Bible Talk, in discipling Ed & Mariela’s marriage for two years.
Earlier this year, Ed overcame his very destructive pattern of sin and was restored to God and the Orange County family! Then God used this Fall’s Marriage Retreat, Hope Springs, in a powerful way to “spur [Ed & Mariela] on toward love and good deeds” in putting their past hurts and sins behind them. Divorce papers were shredded as God’s plan for healing was followed!
Another shining star in the Kingdom is Flor Ortiz, our latest Orange County missionary, who the Spirit sent down last summer to Sao Paulo to assist Raul & Lynda Moreno. She has given her heart fully to the disciples in South America, learned a new language, and has grown so much spiritually, that she wants to go back to her beloved Sao Paulo as soon as her visa situation can be worked out! Everyone agrees that Flor is a different woman because of her time on the mission field!
Nikki welcomes back our dear sister Flor
from Sao Paulo to the OC Region Family!
Argo Arneson our IE Region Leader and the overseeing Evangelist of Russia: It was a great week here in the Inland Empire! Our Sunday service was stirring as we heard the sermon titled, The Bread Of Life. My wonderful wife Anu shared her heart in communion, and contribution was impacting as our dear brother Cesar Limon did a great job lifting up several disciples who have been excellent in their giving.
Of course the best way to end a service is… a baptism! Sergio, a neurology student at the University of California Riverside, was reached out to by Cesar when the IE was first planted two years ago, but he was not ready to repent. After several months of studying, Sergio made the decision to follow Jesus and so he was baptized into Christ! Sergio is a very intelligent, talented young man that adds such a spark to our fellowship! Pray for us as we are expecting a fruitful winter break as many disciples are staying in town to “commit ourselves fully to the work of the Lord!”
Cesar and Argo are fired-up
about Sergio’s baptism!
There has also been a lot of good news happening in Moscow, Russia as they are continuing to grow spiritually and numerically! There was a great student Alexandra (Sasha) added to our number! She came to Bible Talk several weeks ago, together with her friend Ksjusha. Sasha was baptized as a sold-out disciple of Christ this past Sunday, and Ksjusha is studying the Bible moving closer to the waters of baptism!
It was a bad day for the devil also in Novosibirsk, Russia as there was a 46 year old very convicted man Alexandr (also Sasha) restored this past Sunday into God’s family! He was baptized in 1994 in our former fellowship and fell-away from God in 2008. I’m so proud of the leaders of our Novosobirsk Remnant Group, our great friends, Timur & Vika Butakov, who are such great examples in perseverance and faithfulness. As the Spirit in Galatians 6:9 tells us, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up!” And to God be the glory!
Now more good news reports from around the globe…
Raja Rajan of Chennai: Greetings from India, a country one-third the physical size of the United States, but four times the USA’s population! We are excited as God continues to work in the hearts of the people. On Saturday, we were blessed to see Sheela get baptized!
Sheela had first come to church during Kip & Elena’s recent visit to Chennai. Sheela is from The Pentecostal Mission. It is a church with very strict rules and one of their rules is everyone must be dressed in white, even the kids! Sheela is married and has two boys. She had worked as a Radio Jockey in All India Radio. Now after knowing the truth, she has become a person full of joy and “color,” even her boys are very happy to be in the Kids Kingdom in colored clothes! Sheela was invited by Meena and studied the Bible with Leno our newest Intern! Truly God liberates His people.
Sheela (seated in the center) is embraced
by the Chennai Sisters!
Ron Harding of Washington DC: “When Barnabas arrived and saw the evidence of the grace of God, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts.” (Acts 11:23) Greetings from the capital of the United States where we are seeing “the evidence [that] the grace of God” resides in the DC Church! Today, the disciples of the DC Campus Ministry saw the Lord bless their hard work, as we added three souls to God’s Kingdom today!
The Howard and University of Maryland Campus Ministries united for a powerful House Church Service today! Having little sleep from the great number of studies and finding out that her grandmother just had a brain hemorrhage and wouldn’t make it through the night, Julie Clark cooked breakfast for everyone, assisted in leading the singing with zeal and power, and made sure everyone who visited was into a Bible Study after services. Her deep convictions and powerful example are an upward call to all disciples!
Her husband, Jeremiah – who has “grown by leaps and bounds” in his presence and convictions – moved the hearts of everyone with a stirring message about The End Of The World. It was so faith building as we saw three powerful men make Jesus their Lord today! Will, a Howard student, and Suge, who will be attending the University of Maryland, were both baptized! And Marcos was restored to the faith! Watching Jeremiah & Julie lead so effectively has given Tracy & me a great vision of the forceful advancement we are going to see when – Lord willing – the Holy Spirit sends the Clarks to lead the Denver Mission Team next summer! To God be all the glory!
Jeremy Ciaramella of Phoenix: Greetings from the Valley of the “Son!” We are very encouraged that God has moved another heart to repent and be baptized! There are two native American Navajo disciples here in the Phoenix Church that had their cousin Patterson (that they’d not heard from in 10 years) call them out of the blue! He had called from LA, asking them to help him find his way to a real relationship with God. Patterson moved to Phoenix and studied the Bible with his cousins and several of the brothers here. After making some radical decisions to repent of immorality, addiction and then reconciling with members of his family, Patterson was baptized into Christ at our Men’s Midweek Service! To God be the glory!
Patterson radically seeks the
Kingdom and is baptized!
Jacob Beas: Greetings from the Mighty Eugene Church! The disciples were super encouraged as we witnessed the baptism of Jason this past Wednesday! Jason is a single professional and the boyfriend of Whitney who was baptized last month! After wrestling through his pride and surrendering control of his life, Jason made his good confession and was immersed into Jesus Christ’s “death, burial and resurrection!” Keep us in your prayers as there are several men and women studying the Bible who are also eager to make Jesus their Lord!
Jay Shelbrack from Chicago: “Then Jesus took them with Him and they withdrew by themselves…” (Luke 9:10) This week the Staff and Region Leaders had an incredible retreat in Milwaukee! It was a great time of bonding, as we talked about the “state of the union,” and we dreamed of things to come for 2013. We also shared about the victories and the challenges of 2012. After prayer, we put before God our desire to put three more interns on, a part time administrator for next year, and to move to a larger location along with all our other ministry goals!
Today, God blessed us with our 40th baptism – a young man named Akiuwande – since sending-out so many disciples on the San Francisco, Boston and Paris Mission Teams! He is a computer lab assistant at the prestigious Northwestern University. He shared that he had to end a relationship with a woman that he had dated for a year, but knew that God has greater plans for him and all that he will touch. Please pray for us and the city of Chicago as we strive to boldly proclaim God’s message!
Chicago’s Staff and Region Leaders Retreat!
Carlos Mejia: “From one man He made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and He determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us.” (Acts 17:26-27) Greetings from the saints in Santiago! It is a great privilege to see the Scriptures lived out right in front of our very eyes! Just over a month ago, Brittany, an amazing young woman from Chicago, was baptized here in Santiago! This was truly determined by God! We are excited that this young woman of faith will be totally taken care of as she heads back to the United States to be a part of the great Chicago Church family!
Today, the church met for the first time in our three newly defined regions! Jared McGee preached the Word in Spanish for the first time on a Sunday, and the Lord used him powerfully to move the hearts. Also, Job & Erin Sterling are doing a tremendous job leading all of our MERCY Ambassadors, as we continue to prepare to serve this great community in a mighty way this Christmas season! Lastly, please sign up atwww.icisantiago.cl for the upcoming Central & South America Missions Conference on February 15-17th, 2013. The cost is only $150 for registration! We are grateful for your support and prayers!
John Malnegro of Metro Manila: Mabuhay! “When the Lord brought back the captives to Zion, we were like men who dreamed.” (Psalm 126:1) Indeed, the Metro Manila ICC, holds as precious Jesus’ dream of evangelization of the nations in our generation! Finally, God opened the door for us to start a Bible Talk in “U.P.” (University of the Philippines) and blessed us with five very opinionated students as visitors! U.P. is partly subsidized by the Philippine government, as students of the university and its graduates are referred to as “Scholars of the Nation!” This makes admission into the university extremely competitive. Most of the country’s political leaders came from this university. Alvin, Jason and I agreed to have a regular Bible Talk in U.P. on Thursdays!
Saturday, we declared a day of fasting and prayer, pleading to God: 1) To open the doors of all of the universities in the Philippines, beginning in our city of Metro Manila; 2) To lead us to many open people that will soon become Christ’s true followers; 3) To baptize at least one sold-out disciple before the year ends; 4) To give Milo’s dad a complete recovery; and 5) To send His comfort to all the victims’ families of the recent typhoon that stole nearly 700 lives in the southern area of the Philippines.
Another exciting news! Our Women’s Ministry Leader, Gina Dela Pena, who just received her license as Guidance Counselor, and our dear brother Jason Alejandro, who owns a training center, both have merged their God-given talents to form the Makati Business Bible Talk, giving free seminars on “team building” to all surrounding companies! Voluntary donations are greatly encouraged… This will certainly help out the church’s finances! Truly, God’s dream for the Philippine Islands is very much alive!
Ricky Challinor: Good news from the rainy city of Portland, Oregon!!! The church was on fire to see two men come to be baptized! The encouraging part was that both of them are “family” to disciples in the church! The second encouragement was one baptism was from our awesome Latin Ministry and the other from our fiery English Ministry!
The first was a young man named Alonso Limones. He is the son-in-law of our amazing brother Abraham, who is an “up and coming” Bible Talk Leader! It was impacting to see the love Abraham had for him as if Alonso was his own son! God willing this Sunday, Alonso’s wife will be spiritually united to him as she’ll be getting baptized as well!
The second is Fred Fefelov, Fred has an amazing story as he was born in Alaska in a Russian community. While studying with him, it was amazing for me to hear the stories of traditions in the Russian Orthodox Church! At a young age, Fred was left to his grandmother, who raised him for much of his life. As soon as he was able, he moved to Portland to study art at the Art Institute of Portland, and it was there that he would meet his wife Tiffany. Tiffany was baptized exactly six months ago just a few days before the Hardings left to DC! The amazing thing is that Ron & Tracy prayed to see ONE MORE BAPTISM before they headed out! Fred was there to witness Tiffany’s baptism, but would leave a few days later to go to Afghanistan for contracting work as a field service tech.
While in Afghanistan, Ted Green and many brothers “went to work” by sending him packages and emails. In his one year contract, he was given two visits home: his first visit “just happened to be” the weekend of our Marrieds Retreat! It was there that God softened his heart in immense ways, as he made the decision not to go back to Afghanistan but to stay, quit his job, and begin studying the Bible. Within a few weeks, God blessed both he and his wife with great jobs! The rest is history, as today Fred proclaimed, “JESUS IS LORD!”
Fred & Tiffany are now united in Christ!
Lastly, though we smashed our 5X Missions Contribution goal, monies still continue to come in, as we had a couple give a thousand more dollars!!! Please pray for the church as it is beginning to step-up to another level!!
Andrew Smellie of New York City: “‘My food,’ said Jesus, ‘is to do the will of Him who sent me and to finish His work.'” (John 4:34 emphasis added) The disciples of New York City are hungry to save souls! “Baptize Disciples Only!” has been the mantra of our Campaign to 100 Sold-Out Disciples by the end of this year! Pray for us to“finish (this) work” as we are currently at 95 sold-out disciples – five disciples away from reaching our goal! God has been blessing our efforts as nine souls have been added in the past five weeks!
It has also been encouraging to see the strengthening of our disciples as they have been inspired to “see visions” and “dream dreams” (Acts 2:17) for the New Year! At our Campus & Singles Devotional on Friday, we focused on developing a personal “Life Plan” in the areas of ourWorship Of God, Walk With Jesus, Work To Build-up The Body,Witness To The World, and our own personal Well-Being! The disciples were challenged to set goals in these areas in order to bring greater glory to God!
I was also especially encouraged today as my Dad (Karl) and his fiancée (Marie) joined us for an inspiring worship service! At our lunch together after service, I was deeply moved as my Dad asked me to be his best man for their wedding next September! Please pray for him to start studying the Bible with me again (and Marie too!) Pray also as the countdown to the birth of our son Isaiah draws near… December 19th is the due date! Love you!
Anthony Olmos: Salut de Paris! (Greetings from Paris!) It has been an incredible week in Paris, France! I want to start off by saying how blessed I am to be a part of such an amazing church! The “tribe of Paris” has banded together “with one heart and mind” to continue testifying about the “good news of Jesus!” The absence of Tim & Lianne has left many gaps here, but through the training of the Kernans and the power of God, many disciples have stepped-up to fill those gaps!
On Wednesday, we continued our French First Principles Classes.Phil McCallen led us masterfully through Miraculous Gifts Of The Holy Spirit, a study that could give some disciples trouble in English! Phil continues to progress in his comprehension and preaching in the beautiful French language! Saturday night was a very special date night in Paris. We had the pleasure of welcoming in Victor Komo, an amazing brother from London who we will be hosting for the next couple of days.
Phil getting ready to preach First
Principles in French!
Sunday was another amazing worship service! Philippe preached his best lesson to date, as he laid out the importance of Love In Action!Nicole Garland brought our hearts closer to the cross and she shared her powerful testimony completely in French! Of special note, I would like to lift up Tina Nwachukwu. Tina is a self-sustaining intern who continues to have evangelism on her mind. Week after week, meeting after meeting, Tina continues to bring out the lost. Lastly, I want to lift up Philippe & Prisca. The Scheideckers have done an amazing job in their short time as leaders of the Paris Church! They continue to work hard as they breathe love and faith into the entire church!
Steve Ranga: “A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed!” (Proverbs 11:25) Greetings from Syracuse, the “refreshed city” of the East Coast of America! God is working tirelessly to encourage “His own” in this beloved city. Our attendance was over 100, and our one and only Drew Henshaw presented the saints with his first financial presentation, on which he did an incredible job! Since Mike O’Donnell went to serve the amazing NYC Church, Drew took the charge as the head of our board. He has been phenomenal in this demanding role, and we are very proud of him!
After blowing-out our November Missions Contribution last week, without skipping a beat and no preparations of any sort, the sacrificial and refreshed disciples of Syracuse showed their gratitude to Tim & Lianne Kernan, whose presence and teaching have greatly refreshed the Syracuse Church! Since we are the closest city to Canada and the Kernans are Canadians, Tim & Lianne were asked to come here to sort out their legal options on applying for their French visas. The church gave another $700 dollars to this awesome couple! Truly, “the Kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power!”
Coltin Rohn of Boston: “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4) What an amazing Sunday as God gathered 46 people for church! Boston is getting ready for Christmas, and so many are thinking about what they want for Christmas this year. This morning, however, everyone was challenged to have a spiritual mind-set for the holidays, as the sermon was entitled, All I Want From Christ This Year! We are determined to put “Christ” into this year’s CHRISTmas! God blessed us with an early Christmas gift this holiday season – a new brother through the waters of baptism named Preston!
Preston is currently in the US Army and is scheduled to go overseas in July. Preston was encouraged to visit the BICC from our sister Shauna, currently a student in Honolulu! They grew-up together on the Cape. After coming-out, seeing the fire, zeal, and true blessedness (true happiness), Preston was baptized two weeks later! He also brought Shauna’s brother to church who studied the Bible right after service! Preston is determined to be “fully equipped” spiritually, so when he comes back from overseas, he will bring newly converted brothers and sisters with him! Ooh-Rah!
Preston comes out of the water
ready to preach the Word!
Also encouraging is our sister Yvonne, visiting from Phoenix, Arizona! Already she has brought out four different family members and has had a visitor to every “meeting of the body” this past week! Encouraging was her words at Friday Devotional, “Once I heard the singing, I was so fired-up to know the Kingdom is here in Boston!”
Mike Underhill of San Francisco: It was an honor today to have eight “pillars of the movement” – Kip & Elena McKean, Michael & Sharon Kirchner, Nick & Denise Bordieri, and Tony & Therese Untalan – visiting the San Francisco Bay Church! We had an incredible service; the room was filled with the highest attendance we’ve had since our Inaugural Service – 90 people! Kip preached an awesome sermon; the singing was inspiring; and the fellowship was incredible! The disciples are hard at work here in the Bay Area and want to blow-out the month of December for God! There are too many awesome stories to share but, to sum it up concisely, many are studying and want to be baptized! We are praying for an awesome harvest this week!
Matt Sullivan: The real “Magic Kingdom” in Orlando is forcefully advancing! Service today was electric and the fellowship hot! Jonathan & Trish Green (who is pregnant and due any day) started us off with a super encouraging welcome! Then, our brother Anthony Eckels called us higher with a communion message calling all of us to forgive as God forgave us! And then, we got into the lesson! For our recent sermons, we have been doing a Book of Joshua Series, and today, I preached on Joshua 10-15 in a lesson entitled, Let’s Dream! Finally, two came today to be baptized!
OJ Nduka met Andrew just a little over a week ago while job hunting in his “fishing hole” at the Winter Park Starbucks! He invited Andrew to come to church during our Fall Campaign last week, and Andrew was very excited to visit. At his good confession today, he simply said, “Studying the Bible hit me in the head like a brick!” The Winter Park Bible Talk, led by OJ & Jalisa Nduka (recently married!), has had four baptisms in the last four months!
Now that Jedediah has “fully obeyed the gospel,”
he is truly “armed” with the Scriptures!
In August, the Orlando Mission Team came with a prayer goal of 100 additions in our first year… Essentially, two additions a week! So, in just 17 weeks – if we are “on pace” – then, we should have 34 additions. However, God has given us 35 additions – 25 amazing souls baptized, three awesome restorations and seven place memberships! God is amazing!
Michael Williamson of London: “‘To whom will you compare me? Or who is my equal?’ says the Holy One. ‘Lift your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one, and calls them each by name. Because of His great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing!'”(Isaiah 40:26) God is so awesome that He created the stars, calls them each by name, and sustains them in their course! Scientists “guess” that there are about 100 billion galaxies each containing about 100 billion stars! 100 billion times 100 billion equals the number of stars! Yet God is so awesome that He determines the number of stars and calls them individually by name! There are only eight billion people in the world… Imagine trying to come up with different names for each individual? Yet God in His great power, and mighty strength doesn’t miss one! Simply put, Isaiah is communicating that every living creature should “STAND IN AWE OF GOD!” (Ecclesiastes 5:7)
Hiya! What a great week! Friday night at Open Mic, we had a packed house including a TV producer from BEN TV (Black Entertainment Network), who we are meeting with to discuss how the network may somehow film and/or televise our Open Mic Nights! Please pray for not only this meeting, but also the televised Bible Talk that our brother Wayne is working on through a different network!
Sunday’s lesson was simply entitled, STAND IN AWE OF GOD, to focus the church on God not man! Excitingly, we saw the incredibly humble and moving confession of our brother Hilldreth who fell away in 2003. We were all taken-a-back as Hilldreth not only apologized but begged the congregation for permission to be accepted as a brother again. Of course, he was then completely surrounded by brothers and sisters welcoming him home! Additionally when he attended Friday night’s Open Mic, he brought out three family members, one of which was his daughter who “coincidentally” recognized two other disciples from her class!
Sunday, we also recognized our brother Paul, a talented musician who had to count the cost on “FRIDAY NIGHT GIGS versus FRIDAY NIGHT DEVOTIONALS” as he is a key member of a live band! Encouragingly, Paul was baptized while Open Mic was running!
Also, after our brother Martin Scott (the fighting Irishman), gave a challenging communion and contribution speech, we had our third addition for the week – Antony! Antony is from Cyprus and is studying Psychology at Queen Mary College and comes from a traditional Greek Orthodox background. He has been studying diligently for the last two weeks and was so urgent to obey the truth that he was baptized before his good friend Thu Le (who initially invited him) who has been studying for nearly two months! Thankfully, Thu Le will be counting the cost this week, and Lord willing will be our sister soon!
Antony (second from the left), who is from Cyprus,
is the seed of the gospel for another nation!
Lastly, we’ve already found a flat for Michael & Maria Hart, who will be arriving in two weeks – a miracle given London’s current housing market! Truly, we “stand in awe of God!”
Dearest Brothers and Sisters, what an incredible series of good news reports! Let’s keep praying for one another as this Sunday in all of the SoldOut Movement congregations around the world, we will be ushering in the Christmas season with our annual MERCYworldwide Toy Drive!Again, on behalf of Elena & me, thanks for all of your prayers as we have “felt them” these past two very eventful weeks! And to God be all the honor, glory and praise! Amen!