December 16th 2012
Holiday greetings from Los Angeles! This Sunday our Annual Christmas Service was one of our most memorable ever! Even before the worship service “officially” began, the disciples were so fired-up to participate in the global MERCYworldwide Toy Drive – excellently overseen by Nick & Denise Bordieri!
Tyler & Shay arrived early this morning
from Sao Paulo at LAX!
For many, the highlight of the service was the drama, Playing Christmas! This AMS Production was written and directed by Chris Chloupek (our AMS Region Leader), and he was ably assisted by Karen Bowden and Danny Drew. (Chris also played “Satan” in this amazing drama!) Then keying-off the play, Chris Broom moved everyone’s hearts at the communion – “keeping it real” while addressing the Newtown, Connecticut incident. Chris reminded us all that we will triumph over Satan only “by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of [our] testimony.” (Revelation 12:11) Afterward, Tony Untalan’s contribution talk challenged us that at stake is the salvation of the world! We closed the service with two baptisms, and then stood arm-in-arm while singingFeliz Navidad, led by Carlos Diaz!
Satan (Chris Chloupek) tries to overcome
God’s beloved little angel Eunice (Brittany
Bell) in the drama Playing Christmas!
With a few more days left in 2012 and four more baptisms this week, the Lord has blessed us in 2012 with 419 additions: 270 baptisms, 50 restorations and 99 place memberships – about half of whom have joined us from our former fellowship seeking revival!
More good news from Los Angeles…
Courtney Parlour of the Fullerton Sector of the OC Region: “I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow.” (1 Corinthians 3:6) Last winter, Erica from our CSUF Ministry reached out to a bubbly student named Nicole! Nicole came out to our 2012 Women’s Day and studied the Bible afterward. However, she was not quite ready to become a disciple. A while later, Nicole started to come out to Bible Talk, and did Bible studies with Coleen Challinor.
Fast forward about seven months… and Nicole was reached out to again! As she studied the Bible, she began to put all else (including finals, and a lock-down because of gunfire at CSUF) aside, and made God her first priority. Today, Nicole stood boldly in front of a“great cloud of witnesses” with her brother and grandmother in the audience, and proclaimed “Jesus is Lord” and was baptized! God is so good! He is always working!
Nicole rejoices in her salvation!
Sal Velasco – the Latin Sector Leader of the OC Region: Greetings! We have been focusing on building family in our ministry. We started by having the Singles Bible Talk at our house, and God used them to add five souls to His Kingdom in five months!
Now we are having all of the Married Bible Talks meet together to build unity. On Friday, our God blessed us with our first baptism! She is a passionate woman named Maria Diaz, who was baptized in the rain at our Latin Sector Christmas Party! In another Married Bible Talk, my cousin is counting the cost and at the verge of getting baptized, and her husband is at the Cross Study! On top of that, I recently reached out to my uncle Alfonso and my aunt Norma (who “just happen” to live here in Orange County) and they just started the studies and have committed to make this their church home! Please keep praying for our sector as we aim to have all of our Bible Talks fruitful by the end of the year!
Now more exciting reports from around the world…
Raul Moreno of Sao Paulo: “Paul chose Silas and left, commended by the brothers to the grace of the Lord.” (Acts 15:40) This Sunday, the Sao Paulo Church was full of tears – sad and joyful at the same time – as we saw our dear heroes, missionaries, and fellow Evangelist and Women’s Ministry Leader – Tyler & Shay Sears leave for LA to the lead the future North Region of the City of Angels Church, and God willing, plant the Dallas Church in August 2013!
While in Sao Paulo, Tyler & Shay have been best friends to Lynda & me, and they go “commended by the brothers [and sisters] to the grace of the Lord” for the great work that the Lord has done through them! During their year-and-a-half stay, they led the Campus/Teen Ministry which grew from 0 disciples to now 19 disciples, while they were learning Portuguese and adapting to a very different culture plus being newlyweds!!! I remember them sleeping on the floor for their first month as a married couple (without one complaint), as we were looking to find apartments. What a way to start a marriage being totally sold-out for God! The church feels a great loss in their departure, but we are fired-up to be part of a worldwide movement that will evangelize the world in our generation, and thus, we understand that all of us will be “torn… away”from each other just as in the early church to see God’s will be done! (Acts 21:1) Then one day, we will all be reunited in Heaven as we celebrate with the Lord and each other!
Also, it was really cool to see Sergio be baptized this Sunday as well! He is our first campus conversion from a Jewish background and actually speaks some Hebrew! We saw his heart for God, as even before he was baptized, he purchased his ticket to go to the Central & South American Missions Conference in Santiago, Chile this February! We love you with the love of the Lord!
Andrew Smellie of New York City: “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned… For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:2, 6) The events of this past weekend have been both tragic and miraculous. Friday, we joined with our nation in mourning the horrific tragedy of the shooting spree death of 28 at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. However, the following day, Patrique & I rejoiced in the birth of our son, Isaiah Christopher Smellie! Isaiah was born by cesarean section (c-section) on December 15th at 12:59pm, weighing six pounds and three ounces! Our toddler, Naomi, is now a big sister! Patrique and Isaiah are both well, but please pray for Patrique as she recovers from surgery. Thank you for the outpouring of love and support!
Today, we celebrated the physical birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ at our Christmas Service! Making this occasion extra special was the welcoming back of Tim & Lianne Kernan to New York City! Tim & Lianne are dear friends to Patrique & me, having first met when they courageously took a stand against the lukewarmness in our former fellowship in Montreal, Canada over a decade ago when Patrique & I were in Syracuse, New York!
Tim preached powerfully on Psalm 126 about Living The Dream In Tears. Lianne shared vulnerably for communion about the challenges of being kept from returning to Paris, having been forced to leave their church family and earthly possessions behind, because their visa application to France was not approved. In response to these intense trials, the NYC Church stood-up in approval and applause as we presented a $1,500 check to the Kernans, as a gift from the abundance of our 5X Missions Contribution! As Proverbs 11:25 states, “A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.” It was a privilege to be able to refresh our dear friends as they have refreshed so many in the Lord! We also welcomed back our dear sister Nicole Garland! She returned from her study abroad in Paris after having left only two weeks into her walk as a baptized disciple in NYC! God is continuing to move powerfully as we are closing in on our goal of 100 disciples for the Lord by the end of the year!
The “Kernan Clan” and Nicole are reunited in NYC!
The MERCYworldwide Christmas Toy Drive was also a great success, as we were delighted to donate toys for the second consecutive year to the Dr. Rose B. English School in Brooklyn – known for its violence, gang activity and abject poverty. Many of the children who attend this school live in shelters, so the gifts given by MERCYworldwide could very well be the only gifts many of these children will receive all year!
The representatives on hand from the school were blown away not only by the number of gifts, but by the hearts of the NYC disciples! Special thanks are due to Drs. Kenneth & Cheryl Chin, who have done a great job as our Coordinators for the MERCYworldwide events for the NYC Church. Next Sunday, we look forward to hosting the McKeans as they will be in town to visit their family for the Christmas holiday, and Kip will be preaching the Word! Pray for us to “bear much fruit” so that together, all of the SoldOut Movement Churches will see the nations evangelized in THIS generation as we hope to show ourselves to be Jesus’ disciples! (John 15:8) And to God be all the glory!
Michele Williamson of London: “All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.” (2 Corinthians 4:15) Greetings to all from the UK! Christmas is almost here, but I’m so proud of the London disciples who have not stopped working hard to bring the gift of grace to this hurting world. Our Sunday service was special for me… Kia Pope gave a heart-wrenching and moving communion as she shared such personal details from her past. Yet, immediately after, an incredible young woman named Thu Le made Jesus her Lord and was baptized!
Thu Le was born (as I was) in Vietnam and moved here with her parents to start a “better life.” She is in her first year at the University of East London studying Business IT. She started to study the Bible about three months ago after being reached out to by Keithra at the New Student Orientation Day. Having a Buddhist father, she has to be bold in her convictions because she has experienced so much persecution from her family. Today, she shared 2 Timothy 3:12 and stated confidently, “I know and understand what it will take and what it will bring to follow Jesus. And even though I’m a target for Satan, I have an army of disciples by my side!” Amazingly, Thu Le has already been fruitful, as her friend Antony was baptized last week! Thanks to all the campus women who studied patiently with her, especially my dear sister Jen Watkins!
Thu Le and Michele share a Vietnamese heritage!
Krista Cameron of Paris: Bonjour de Paris! God is doing incredible things in the “City of Lights!” Philippe & Prisca Scheidecker have been diligently leading the church, and we are so proud of them! Philippe preached a hardline sermon this Sunday on Birth And Rebirth. He very clearly laid out the meanings and parallels of Jesus’ resurrection, the resurrection of baptism, and the resurrection of the church. There was a mother and daughter in attendance for the first time today, who were met in September by Blaise & Patricia Feumba on their train from London to attend our Inaugural Service. After service, the 17 year old daughter said that she wants to study the Bible and be baptized! It’s so encouraging to be a part of a worldwide fellowship!
Friday night was bittersweet as many tearful goodbyes were said to our sisters, Nicole Garland of NYC, Deanna Lawrence of DC, and Bridgette Martin of LA! Nicole came as a university exchange student and met Deanna who was baptized in October. She had no idea that the woman sitting next to her on her plane ride to Paris, would leave as her sister in Christ! Of special note is Bridgette Martin, who heroically gave up everything to be on the Paris Mission Team. She served the church and the lost of Paris tirelessly. We are well-pleased to send her back as one who has been, “tested and approved.” (Romans 16:10)
Lastly, the campus women have been fighting “to win as many as possible!” In the month of December that is typically quiet, we have seven campus women who are studying the Bible! I believe this is God blessing our perseverance, as well as the women’s focus and drive to improve their French! Please pray for a harvest in the Campus Ministry!
Krista with Omarr and Anthony – all
Paris Church Interns!
Thank you all for your love and prayers around the world! We are grateful for the support and sacrifice from all of the churches!
Mike Underhill of San Francisco: This week, the Lord added Keziah to our number! As a graduate student who is studying City Planning at UC Berkeley, Keziah moved here from Kenya on a scholarship with the dream of transforming the horrible slums of Nairobi. Although Keziah was untrusting at first, it was undeniably the love of the disciples, along with their uncompromising convictions, that won her over. Now Keziah has the dream to transform the hearts of the lost souls of the world – especially of her beloved nation of Kenya!
Kithy Ranga of Syracuse: What an awesome day in the Lord! The super excited disciples in “the little church that could and did” continue to do great things for God! Our Christmas Service and play were entitled,It’s A Blessed Life. The actors in the play were incredible, as they told the story of a disciple’s life. Each disciple has “a blessed life” and has been given the ability to call people to that life. The play creatively called us to continue to share our faith and to call others to this incredible life!
The entire service was phenomenal, including the Children’s Ministry! They performed Jingle Bells and were so good that they looked like professionals in their Christmas costumes! We also had 116 in attendance and many who are now studying the Bible! We are looking forward to seeing a harvest in the Lord, ending 2012 strong and encouraged!
Bryson Okuno of Honolulu: Aloha and greetings from the Island of Oahu! The Lord has been faithfully adding to our number this week, as we witnessed our sister Sammy baptized into Christ! (Acts 2:41) Sammy has been attending church for over a month, and at Devo, she made the decision to make Christ her Lord! She shared, “I was so overwhelmed by the love from each of you that I don’t know how I could live without all of this!” God has given us a great victory as she died to herself on Friday night in the waters of baptism!
Secondly, we witnessed the return of our brother Riaz from Pakistan this past Tuesday, who for nine long months was separated from the fellowship. Riaz was met and baptized while studying as an exchange student, but after his baptism he was forced to return to his Taliban-controlled hometown. Riaz was in our prayers and our “God of all comfort” (2 Corinthians 1:3-11) was with him as he searched for a way to make it back to the U.S. and the fellowship. We are all inspired by his faithfulness to God even under these extreme trials! He was returned to us safely with a five year visa and a plan to re-enroll at KCC as he stays here with the brothers. Glory be to God and please keep all of us in your prayers!
Carlos Mejia: Greetings from Santiago, Chile! Today, we had an amazing Sunday service and MERCYworldwide Christmas Toy Drive!Our MERCY Directors, Job & Erin Sterling, did an OUTSTANDING job overseeing and organizing this tremendous effort! We partnered with ECAM – a non-profit that works with disadvantaged children from orphanages, AIDS victims, and various developmental issues – to make this Christmas a memorable and life-impacting time! Our goal as a church was to collect 105 toys, but the disciples blew it out by giving 120! This year, the gifts that were collected will be distributed at a Christmas Party where our MERCY Ambassadors will be helping to host and provide entertainment.
Also, Jose Otero, our Singles Leader, is masterfully directing a play which will be part of the festivities. Most impacting for the children in the orphanages will be the delivery of new bed sheets, covers and pillows by the MERCY Ambassadors, which have come through a generous MERCY donation. These beddings will make a huge difference as winter approaches and the children will definitely feel more comfortable, warm and at home. The volunteers will be helping to “make the beds” as part of the “gift giving” this Christmas!
Job & Erin Sterling (far left) with the MERCY Elves!
Please continue praying for us as we get ready to host the Central & South America Missions Conference! Please help us by telling everyone you know to visit our page at www.icisantiago.cl. We love you all! To God be all the glory!
Argo Arneson – the overseeing Evangelist of Russia: “We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all God’s people… [This same] gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world – just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and truly understood God’s grace.” (Colossians 1:3-6) We are so glad to share with you that the gospel is continuing to bear fruit in Moscow, Russia! We are so encouraged by the faith of the Moscow disciples and proud of our dear friends Fred & Alja Moratov, who are leading the Moscow Remnant Group.
A few months ago when our dear brother Dima was sharing his faith on the streets of Moscow, he saw a group of guys rapping at a cafe. He sat with them and boldly began to share his faith. One of the rappers, Boris, started to study the Bible with the brothers! He’s had a very tough background involving drugs and living in a very poor neighborhood. As he studied the Bible, he understood that he had to change his life. Of course, his group was not very happy with that. They began to threaten him and threaten the church! They gave Boris a choice – to choose the church or them. Boris chose Jesus and was baptized this past Sunday as a sold-out disciple of Christ!
Jay Shelbrack from Chicago: “‘I am the Lord’s servant,’ Mary answered. ‘May it be to me as you have said.'” (Luke 1:38) Today was our Christmas Service which was filled with much singing, skits, special readings, fun and food! The theme was Luke 1:38… and it was powerful! The service concluded with the baptism of Cathy, who is a sophomore at Daily College studying electrical engineering! She was reached out to by Vero, her close high school friend, who was baptized in September! She shared how science had been the answer to everything for her, but then realized how empty life was. After seeing Vero’s life change, she wanted to know about God too. Cathy really knew very little about the Scriptures, but was very open to all that God wanted for her life.
Earlier in the week Helena, a graduate student at Loyola in accounting, was also baptized! She had moved from China this summer where she was raised as an atheist. Helena shared how she knew nothing about God and was also wide open to the Scriptures and eager to make Jesus Lord. She was met by Denise Chiappetta, our North Region Women Leader!
Lastly, we finally tallied all our tagging monies for the year and found out that we had collected over $39,000 in 12 Saturdays of hard work! With this kind of hard work and faith, nothing will be impossible for our amazing God in 2013!
Jason Alejandro of Manila, Philippines: Greetings from the Far East! Just a few weeks ago, only a handful of “remnant” disciples worshiped God on Sundays, but God blessed that seed of faith – led by John Malnegro and Gina dela Pena – to grow to an attendance of 30 (19 adults, two teens and nine kids) this past Sunday! This truly is the work of the Lord! On a special note, a great couple from our former fellowship (Arnold & Masah Melicor) traveled eight long hours to be one with the Metro Manila International Christian Church! When Masah witnessed first-hand the fellowship, she said that she had “goose bumps” and remembered the zeal, love and sold-out commitment that she once had!
From left to right – Gina, the Melicor
Family, and the Malnegro Family!
Meanwhile, God is wide opening the doors for the MMICC Business Bible Talk! Our Women’s Ministry Leader, Gina (a licensed Guidance Counselor), did a phenomenal job in presenting the “Business Seminar – Bible Talk” in one of the companies in Makati City (the business capital of the Philippines). Six employees were impacted and are now drawn closer to the church through the disciples’ professionalism, wisdom and life testimony. We pray for the conversions of company owners, professionals and managers in the next few months to help supply for the needs of this multiplying church. And to God be all the glory!
Coltin Rohn of Boston: What an amazing time it was today as 49 people gathered in “the upper room,” and were all encouraged by God. Not only did we get to have an incredible MERCY Toy Drive where we collected over 35 toys, but we also were blessed to see Brian Carr “formally” recognized as our Administrator. He was presented with a certificate and a symbolic gift – a watch that shows its precision and the gears that are constantly working behind the scenes just like our Administrator!
We also recognized Mercedes Bonilla, as our own Mercy Worldwide Director! She received a certificate and a gift as well – a necklace of a “key” to represent how she is opening the doors for the whole church to serve the poor in our local community here in Boston! Janah & Corinne – accompanied by Sal DiFusco (Berklee School of Music Professor) on the guitar and Kevin Dawson on the keyboard – were outstanding in singingO Holy Night! It was also encouraging as one of our new sisters, Naamah Armstrong, did an interpretive dance to the playing of the guitar by Sal DiFusco. One visitor said the performances moved him to tears!
Sal plays while Naamah performs
an interpretive dance!
In the sermon, we then took a look at “Old Saint Nic!” No, not the white bearded guy in a jolly red suit, but “Saint Nic” – Nicodemus, who came to Jesus at night! (John 3:1-2) Encouraging were all of the Bible studies after service today! At our Leaders Meeting, Roger Parlour gave a convicting message about prayer, as we have an outstanding “wish” for our God to grant before 2012 is over! (John 15:7) We “WISH” that our number will increase by six before the end of the year, because Jesus promised, “…ask whatever you WISH and it will be given to you!”
Ron Harding of Washington DC: Greetings from the “City of Magnificent Intentions,” where quite different from the world’s intentions that usually amount to nothing, all of the disciples’ “intentions” are turning into impact for the Lord! The weekend began Saturday morning with greeting our young sister Ruth from Hilo, as she arrived to visit her family in Baltimore. Her father just kept saying, “Thank you! Thank you! Thank you for coming!” We then traveled almost two hours back to Dulles Airport in Virginia, where 42 disciples gathered to greet our dear young sister Deanna, who moved here to place membership from our incredible Paris Church. It was truly like a church service, impacting many who were standing by!
Then on Sunday, our MERCY Toy Drive and our First Annual Christmas Talent Show were fantastic! As everyone came pouring in, we gathered 361 gifts for our Toy Drive, which were presented to the staff of Garfield Elementary school during the welcome. The principal came forward, expressing his amazement at how we’ve continued to serve the poor children of his school. Also in attendance were three teachers, the school psychologist, and two family members of the teachers. Then we welcomed into the DC Family our dear sister Deanna from Paris. During her sharing, she quoted her mother saying, “Seeing all of those people come there to greet you makes me want to join your church!”
Deanna (center) is welcomed by the DC Sisters!
What was inspiring to me personally was finding out that our very own spiritual daughter, Brittany Lukins, met and converted the woman who went on the Paris Mission Team (Nicole) and met Deanna! It’s awesome to see the spiritual lineage grow! Witnessing all of these miracles was a record crowd of 159 in attendance! Jeremiah preached an incredible charge. Tracy & I can’t wait to hear about all those in Denver who are moved to tears by Jeremiah’s preaching there this coming August!
Then at the end of service we found out that Ruth’s parents were so impacted by our greeting that they were inviting us to have dinner with them on Tuesday! We are now at 98 with three people predicted to be baptized and two possible people to be restored in the next two weeks! Pray that we reach our prayer goal of 100 by New Year’s Eve!
Jeremy Ciaramella of Phoenix: Greetings from the “Valley of the ‘Son’!” God has worked another miracle, proving His sovereignty as “He determined the times set for [Gerald] and the exact places where [he] should live!” The Lord put Gerald in the path of some of our campus sisters who shared with him “so that [Gerald] would seek Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him!” He is a student at Mesa Community College and is from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Our brother Marvell from the Campus Ministry is also from Milwaukee, and has been praying to meet someone from “back home” that he could help become a disciple! Gerald and Marvell actually attended the same high school and Gerald knew of Marvell’s “wild past.” Gerald was blown away by the changes Marvell had made in his life and this moved him to study the Bible seriously.
Over the past couple of months, he has diligently studied the Scriptures and today, made his good confession and was baptized with his mother, father and younger sister in the audience! We are grateful to God to be in the battle with all of you, please keep us in your prayers! To our heavenly Father be the glory!
Gerald and the brothers who led him to the Lord!
Lola Lof of Kinshasa: Glory to God for all the wonders and exploits He performed in His church here in the Democratic Republic of Congo this week! The Spirit of God conducted our Sunday service in an incredible way as a powerful sermon was preached entitled, The Keys Of A Radical Change. The three points were: 1) Indignation; 2) Confession; and 3) Decision To Repent. Also, the Spirit has moved four awesome individuals to change their lives of which two of them stirred the waters of baptism – Simeon and Paola, and two others were restored – Sabrina and Gode! Several others are studying the Bible and we hope to plunge them into the water soon!
Evan Bartholomew: Greetings from San Diego! Today’s Christmas Service was truly spectacular, thanks to the Children’s Ministry who put on an amazing Christmas play entitled, A Super Christmas. The gist of the play was that all of the “superheroes” were upset, because Jesus was coming to save the world – thus, taking their jobs! It was both cool and humorous to see all of the kids (including my son) and a few adults, dress-up in super hero costumes and take part in our First Annual Christmas Play. In attendance were 91 people: 24 disciples, 19 kids and 48 visitors! It was our highest attendance ever with exactly two visitors for each disciple!
Joseph & Mary with the Baby Jesus surrounded
by the disappointed Superheroes!
A special thanks and shout-out to Kim Yeater, who produced and directed the entire Christmas play! Equally encouraging, was the donation of toys from our MERCY Toy Drive to an organization called, “Beloved Butterflies.” They are a non-profit organization that focuses on helping out young, underprivileged girls. (Their website can be visited atwww.belovedbutterflies.org.) As an expression of their appreciation for the toys, and for MERCYworldwide, they will be bringing all of the girls who received toys to a future church service to say “thank you!” Please keep us in your prayers as we close out the year!
Ricky Challinor of Portland: Today was an amazing day for God! We were so privileged to give a plentiful amount of toys ranging from footballs, to dolls, to arts and crafts, and to even a BIKE!!!
It was a great time to have Ted & Kathy Green do the communion playing the part of Mr. & Mrs. Claus!!! It was funny and yet moving as they read through letters of little children asking for things that Santa “couldn’t” give them: to stop a divorce; to aid them in their challenges; and to help other little children. It was moving as they struck the point that there are so many things that ONLY Jesus Christ our Savior can fix! Encouragingly, God blessed us with MANY visitors so that we were able to have an attendance of 194!
But most amazingly was the baptism of Jessie Limones, the wife of Alonso who was baptized last week! She and her husband studied the Bible once before this Fall, but was discouraged when her husband stopped studying. Since then, God has “put her through the ringer” and brought her to her lowest point. She shared that nothing else made more sense than obeying God. Jessie is the daughter of Juaqina & Abram in our Latin Ministry. Please keep us in your prayers as now Jessie’s mother-in-law and younger brother are now studying the Bible!
Matt Sullivan of Orlando: Another phenomenal week in the “real” Magic Kingdom! The Lord is working powerfully to evangelize the nations and is showing His sovereign power by inspiring, guiding and mobilizing disciples to boldly share their faith as in Acts 8:26-30, “Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, ‘Go south to the road – the desert road – that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.’ So he started out, and on his way he met an Ethiopian… This man had gone to Jerusalem to worship and on his way home was sitting in his chariot reading the book of Isaiah the prophet. The Spirit told Philip, ‘Go to that chariot and stay near it.’ Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. ‘Do you understand what you are reading?’ Philip asked.”
Guided by angels and the Spirit, Jessie – an awesome sister who was baptized just over a year ago – invited Mark to come visit church. He immediately responded and was excited to come out! He experienced the fellowship, heard the singing, was moved by the message, and saw two powerful baptisms! Mark described today at his sharing, “My first service blew my mind as I had never seen a church like this!” After seven days of pouring over the Word, Mark saw clearly that he HAD to become a true disciple. Today Mark was baptized into Christ!
In another example of how disciples are guided by the Spirit, Tia Taylor of New York City followed-up with a sister who had fallen away from the Lord in New York – Victoria. On her way to visit her parents, Kris & Tiffany Taylor for Thanksgiving, she decided to call Victoria who was now living in Orlando. Victoria had just been married three weeks ago to an awesome man named Jose, but Jose was not a disciple. Undeterred, Tia asked her to come visit the Orlando Church while she was in town. Victoria agreed and brought her new husband Jose. They loved it and began to study the Bible. Devon & Melina Hairston along with the West House Church shared their hearts with this newlywed couple! Jose saw clearly that he had to be a husband who puts God first, and so he made the radical decision to make Jesus his Lord and was baptized today! Victoria is praying and fasting for her own heart and should be restored very soon, thus uniting her marriage in the Lord this coming week! Please pray for her!
God has now blessed the Orlando church with 27 baptisms in the last 18 weeks! To God be the glory for the power of His Spirit who guides, the angels who serve, and His Word that cuts hearts and heals hearts with truth and grace!
Maria Hart of Curacao: Greetings from the sunny Caribbean! Today was a special day as it was our family’s last service with the disciples here in Curacao before we move to be a part of the great London Church! The disciples did such a great job with the service: showing a video for us, a special song, and sharing… (I was reminded of Paul’s leaving in Acts 20!) Many of our friends and several fall-aways came to say good-bye! It was very touching. We had 26 adult visitors come out!
I see God’s hand at work in a powerful way. A sister who fell away some time this year, came with her children and mom. Another one, even sent me a message and said she wants to come back and allow God to grow what we planted. She is even thinking of moving to London to be restored there! Glen, Jhoyceline’s son – who has not come to church for many, many months – came and dedicated a song he wrote to my husband Michael. That was so moving! On a special note, the mother of our dear and precious foster daughter Keinah came. In addition, our helper Margot came; my nanny/helper from years ago also came; Dylan’s best friend’s parents came; a couple of friends who fell away about 13 years ago also came! It was a full house! Yesterday, I was so, so proud of Eldrin, Jhoyce, Claudette, Rosa, Hilda, Mayo, Elsio and each of the 16 disciples… WOW!
Pray for the Curacao Remnant Group. Pray for the Lord to strengthen them, and for those who can, to move to a thriving congregation where they can get the discipling they need. All the glory and honor to God who has allowed us to serve Him here in Curacao, all the while leading us through a spiritual desert holding us by our right hand and allowing us to join His new movement! Truly, He has given us the honor to serve His people on this lovely island for the last 15 years! On to new challenges and dreams…
Raja Rajan: Greetings from the city of Chennai, where we have only three seasons ’round the year – Hot, Hotter and Hottest! It’s “Hot” right now! “I write to you, fathers, because you have known Him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men [and women], because you are strong, and the Word of God lives in you, and you have overcome the evil one.” (1 John 2:14) The disciples rejoiced as two more souls were added to the Kingdom of God! Suguna, who works as a nurse in a private hospital, was invited by Jayasree while traveling in an auto rickshaw. Suguna hails from a Hindu family. Through the years, she had started to believe in Jesus and was baptized in a Pentecostal church. Suguna’s life had never changed, and while she was musing about this, she was invited. Suguna took the God-given opportunity, studied the Bible, and was baptized on Sunday!
After Suguna’s baptism, she is embraced
by Jayasree and Devika!
Our brother Thomas made a new goal for himself of inviting five people every day and that’s how he met Fredrick. Fredrick has completed his Master’s Degree (Commerce) and is also a professional soccer player for the Chennai Customs! Fredrick was so hungry for the love of God and truth that he got baptized in five days! The disciples of the Chennai Church are looking forward to our retreat during the last week of December titled, Ablaze for God!
Fredrick, a professional soccer player for the Chennai
Customs, is baptized by Johnny and Raja!
Brothers and Sisters, since this is the last Good News Email of the year, I would like to express my heartfelt appreciation to my awesome secretary Nathalie Moningka and to my dear wife Elena – my two best “critics” in producing each week’s Good News Email! Our next Good News Email will be Sunday January 13, 2013!
Elena and Nathalie are very vital in
producing the Good News Email!
Please keep in your prayers possible new remnant groups forming or joining us in early 2013: Caracas, Venezuela; Davao, Philippines;Istanbul, Turkey; Minsk, Belarus; Port-au-Prince, Haiti; San Pedro Sula, Honduras; and Sydney, Australia! Indeed, 2012 has been another year that God has done “immeasurably more than all we asked (prayed) or imagined (dreamed)!” (Ephesians 3:20-21) Pray that in 2013 the Lord will accomplish “even greater things” through our “faith, hope and love.” (John 14:12; 1 Corinthians 13:13) And to God be all the glory! Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year!