Greetings from Los Angeles! As reported in the last Good New Email on May 3rd, the month of May started extraordinarily for the City of Angels International Christian Church (CAICC)! On Friday night May 1st, we met together for the CAICC Basketball League Championship! Then on Sunday morning May 3rd, the congregation again met together for the glorious Manila Mission Team Send-Off Worship Service!
Since the departure of the Metro Manila Mission Team, the City of Angels Church has migrated to three Super Regions (composed of four regions each) which cover the vast five county area of Los Angeles where almost 20 million people live! So for our Tuesday, May 5th Staff Meeting, Elena & I met with the 12 Region Leader Brothers and Sisters on top of Mount Shalom (Mt. Hollywood) from which much of the Los Angeles area can be inspirationally viewed!After a time of worshipful singing, the three new Super Region Leaders preached Jesus’ vision from Acts 1:8, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in JERUSALEM, and in all JUDEA AND SAMARIA; and to THE ENDS OF THE EARTH!” Since Tim Kernan will be leading the LA Church by next summer, he eloquently preached on JERUSALEM; Cory Blackwell, having deep convictions from all his years of raising funds for Missions Contributions, challenged us with the message – JUDEA AND SAMARIA; and Andrew Smellie, soon to be leading the Africa Missions Conference, delivered the inspiring close-out message – THE ENDS OF THE EARTH! Afterward, the brothers prayed in one group and the sisters in their group!
Saturday, May 16th was our May ICCM Session! In September, Dr. Tim Kernan & Lianne Kernan will become the President and Dean of Women of the ICCM – LA, respectively! As well, Evan Bartholomew has joined our ICCM Staff as a Graduate Teaching Assistant!
On the weekend of May 23-24th, Elena & I made the five hour drive to Las Vegas to preach for the church and to participate in the wedding festivities of Udo & Sara Ibe! It truly was a magnificent celebration where God was glorified!
Sunday, May 31st concluded almost five months of efforts to achieve our 20X Missions Contribution! Every member was striving to personally raise at least 20X their weekly pledge from the world or by personal sacrifice. From my perspective, this particular Missions Contribution was one of our most difficult because of all the transitions in our congregation for missions, which included five Regional Leader changes and 49 disciples sent to the mission field! So with a goal of $568,000, God blessed the CAICC with $580,200! Even in the midst of all the multitudinous transitions and monumental efforts to secure our Missions Contribution, in the first 151 days of 2015 the Lord has added to our number 196 souls – 157 baptisms, 19 restorations and 20 place memberships! And to God be all the glory!NEWS FLASH: The inspirational theme of the 2015 Global Leadership Conference (GLC) is SAVIOR OF THE WORLD! Our theme as well as all of the lessons and classes at this year’s GLC focus on the Gospel of John! All of the Conference Program (as well as all of the Pre-Conference Festivities) will be held at the beautiful Anaheim Hilton at 777 West Convention Way, Anaheim, CA 92802!
The registration fee will be the same as last year – $175. The room rate is $139 / night. We are encouraging all GLC participants to stay at the Anaheim Hilton for not only your convenience, but to help us receive a huge discount for the rental of the facilities for the GLC! Please register for the GLC at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/2015-global-leadership-conference-savior-of-the-world-tickets-16571799699. You may secure your rooms at the Anaheim Hilton at https://resweb.passkey.com/go/GlobalLeadershipConf2015. Please register today and pray for this historic event!NEWS FLASH – Nick Bordieri: “Whoever oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God.” (Proverbs 14:31) On June 13, almost 4,000 MERCY Ambassadors will be participating in the Seventh Annual International Day of MERCY! From North and South America to Europe to Africa to the Russian Commonwealth to India, Australia, the Pac Rim and the Hawaiian Islands, MERCY Ambassadors will be serving their communities in projects ranging from serving the elderly to caring for those with disabilities to providing for the homeless to encouraging the youth, just to name a few!
“The worst disaster is not being prepared.” (American Red Cross) One of the highlighted MERCY Projects this year is Prepare SoCal, a partnership with the American Red Cross! For LA’s MERCY Project, almost 1000 MERCY Ambassadors will be trained to prepare for natural disasters and emergency situations and thus becoming part of the solution when – not if – something occurs! After seeing San Andreas, the Hollywood blockbuster movie that depicts powerful earthquakes running along the San Andreas fault from LA to San Francisco, I began to fully realized the importance of “being prepared!” Let us all remember to devote Friday, June 12, to fasting and prayer for the poor and needy around the world. To God be the glory!And now more detailed reports from around Los Angeles…HEADLINE NEWS – LOS ANGELES
Krystal Legarda: Warm greetings from beautiful Orange County! It was a bittersweet time for our region as we sent-off the San Diego Supplemental Mission Team! Although many tears were shed, there was much rejoicing as we “tore ourselves away from them.” (Acts 21:1) We have full confidence that God will use them in great ways in San Diego as they are truly many of our very best!
In the midst of all the transition, God added two to our Campus Ministry! Samantha, a psychology student at Cal State Fullerton was added through baptism!
As well, Karyn Bowman shared powerfully in tears of how far her heart had drifted from God in the past year. Although still attending church, she lived a deceitful life in deep darkness. God transformed her by “removing her heart of stone and giving her a heart of flesh,” as well as an overwhelming desire to live in the light! (Ezekiel 36:26) It was incredible to see Karyn restored to God’s Kingdom!
One more very special addition this month to the OC Family was Lincoln Granados – the newborn son of Matt & Ana! Congratulations!
Please keep Luke & Brandyn Speckman in your prayers as they are on their missionary journey to Chennai, India and Moscow, Russia!
Chris Chloupek: “How ya do’in?” from the AMS Region! Recently, God has added to our number two young men, Carl and Anthony! Both are artists! Carl graduated from Columbia Film School and is excited to use his talents to serve God. He will work on our next short film that prayerfully will screen at the GLC! Anthony is an aspiring actor and singer!
We are so grateful for our AMS Family! We are continuing to grow in our “faith, hope and love!” I am especially proud of our fulltime intern, Nick Iadonisi! He was in charge of the church last week while Sonja & I were out of town. I heard from several disciples that he preached a powerful message on Sunday! I am also so grateful for Jason & Susan Bond, our seasoned Shepherding Couple, who really supported Nick during this week!Congratulations to our newest dating couples, Matt & Naveh and John & Genina! (Matt is from the Southland Region and Genina is from the Central Region!)
Lastly, as members of the Johannesburg Mission Team, Sonja & I are so honored to go to the upcoming African Missions Conference – EVERY TRIBE, LANGUAGE AND NATION! As disciples, we understand the call to serve God wherever we are called! Truly, THERE IS NO BUSINESS LIKE “SOUL” BUSINESS!Bonita Holmes: Greetings from the mighty Southland Region where in the month of May God’s Spirit has been blowing His disciples from city to city according to His purpose! Last week, our dear brother Emmanuel Gonzales (Manny) was sent-off to serve the Lord in Portland, Oregon! Manny is one of the original nine that started the Southland Ministry! He has served humbly and powerfully since its start in 2011! We will miss him dearly, however we are even more excited to witness the amazing things he will do for God in Portland as a Singles Leader and Song Leader!
On that same day we welcomed a warrior princess in the faith – Tracy Harding and her oldest son Devon! Her husband Ron and their youngest son Dillion will be joining Tracy and Devon on June 13th! The Hardings, who led the Washington DC Church powerfully, will be a welcomed addition to the Southland Family!
God also blew our sister Dao Henderson to Southland! Dao is a graduate of Howard University and also comes to us from our sister church in Washington DC! By coming to the Southland Region, Dao is fulfilling her Kingdom dream to train for the Middle East Mission Team!
This month, God blessed us with three baptisms! It is always amazing to see families come together as brothers and sisters in Christ! We witnessed the very heartfelt baptism of our new sister, India Smith, the mother of our beloved sister Jasmine Jennings! India has been around our fellowship for a number of years and has finally found her place in God’s Kingdom, a dream come true for Jasmine
Next, we welcomed our new sister Janae Stallworth, cousin of our sister MsChele Scorza! Janae realized quickly her need to be right with God and was baptized nearly overnight! Last but not least, we welcomed another sister, Destiny Pickett, whose incredible perseverance finally helped reconcile her heart to our Savior!
As we reflect on the past month, we praise God that He allowed Southland to blow out our missions collecting nearly $70,000 to help save souls around the world! We truly are family to the end!Kevin Hetrick: “Sow your seed in the morning, and at evening let your hands not be idle, for you do not know which will succeed, whether this or that, or whether both will do equally well.”(Ecclesiastes 11:6) The Lord God has privileged the North Region this May with victories which have been sought through prayer and diligent sowing in all areas of life! Seeing that a miracle was needed to reach our 20X Missions Goal, our whole region decided to climb to the mountain top in Santa Clarita and beg God, like the prophets of old, to make our hopes a reality! God was faithful as we were able to give generously for His Kingdom, exceeding our goal! If you would like, listen to Blaise’s inspirational sermon THIS GENERATION now posted on YouTube! (https://youtu.be/qyN9E4dchrI)
Also, leaders are rising up in our newly formed Latin Ministry Bible Talk! Our brothers Frank Bedoya and Sal Mosqueda and our sister Aurora Luna started our first “Charla,” reaching out to the Latino’s in our area!
Frank Bedoya, Sal Mosqueda and Aurora Luna (above) are spearheading the Spanish-speaking Charla!
Another fruit was Alex Morales’ attainment of his Bachelor’s Degree from Cal State University Northridge (CSUN) in Sociology! Way to go Alex! Finally, the Lord’s grace was extended as Ruth Libsework was restored today to her “first love!” Having her back in the fellowship is such a blessing as she brings with her a great skill set, and more importantly, a newfound humility toward God’s Kingdom!
Ryan Keenan: Greetings from the Ventura Region Family! Interestingly, “Ventura” means good fortune and the month of May was no exception! Earlier in the month, Myra Hernandez, the mother of disciples Alex Hernandez and Anthony Zarate, became our newest “sister” in Christ! In her moving testimony, she shared how inspired she was by both of her sons’ godly examples!
Then, yesterday, the entire church joined in worship with our sister church in Santa Barbara! We feel honored to send-out “our very best” – Dennis & Corinna Sloan – to continue the Spirit’s powerful work there as Richie & Elizabeth McDonnell move on to build the Washington DC Church!
Lastly, with a 20X Missions Goal of $35,900, we tagged, tax returned, and trash-a-thon’d our way to a resounding victory of $39,109! Pray for us as we begin our Fruit Fiesta Summer Harvest Campaign! See you soon at the GLC!Daniela Payan: Greetings from the Tribe of the Inland Empire! “You sent abundant rain, O God, to refresh the weary land.” (Psalm 68:9) The month of May has definitely been so encouraging, as the IE has been refreshed through five baptisms and one restoration!
To kick-off our month, we witnessed a miracle as Shima, a Persian woman, was baptized into the Riverside Community College Ministry! Shima’s story is inspiring because being deeply rooted in the Muslim religion she almost stopped studying the Bible because of strong persecution from her family! But holding true to John 8:31-32 she made the decision to live out the Scriptures and allow God to set her free! Because of her strong convictions, she has been disowned by her family but holds to the precious gift of being adopted into God’s family and given spiritual parents and siblings in the faith!
Also of special note is the graduation of one of our teen girls, Devon! She graduated with honors and was accepted to UC Irvine and will be studying Engineering! Lastly, I want to give a special thank you to Rebecca Rico for putting on the Inland Empire’s First Latin Women’s Devotional this past Saturday, entitled FEARLESS (SIN MIEDO)! We were blessed with speakers from Orange County – Sandra Zepeda and Lenny Garcia – and from Palm Springs – Patricia Velasco!
It was an inspiring time and gave all of our Latin women great vision! Now we are looking forward to our next Men and Women’s Latin’s Devotional on July 11th! ¡A Dios sea la gloria!Sal Velasco: Greetings from Palm Springs! It has been so exciting to see our God work through the amazing hearts of a young passionate and growing ministry of 34 here in the Palm Springs Region! We prayed and fasted and God blessed us as we surpassed our Special Missions Goal of $10,860 by $5,271!The week after the special, a young college student at COD by the name of John was met by three different disciples in two very distinct occasions and locations! Our dynamic campus leader Alfredo Lopez met John on campus and invited him to church at the school! A short time later, a couple of brothers from our Marrieds Ministry, Daniel Lowe and Robert Kryler, were on the bus and they saw John reading his Bible. They shared their faith with him and later found out that he literally lives across the street from our brother Robert Kryler! God totally had John’s number, and John does actually have a number since he is the second string quarterback on the COD football team!
John had such a pure and eager heart for God that he diligently studied the Bible for a few short weeks, and then at our Tri-Regional Church Service in Riverside, John powerfully shared his convictions before getting baptized!
God is truly blessing the faith and heart of the disciples out here in the desert where there is “living water!” And to God be all the glory!
Andrew Smellie: Greetings from the “Wild West” Region of the City of Angels Church! Today we had a Day of Celebration with food, fun and great fellowship in the park! Despite seemingly overwhelming challenges, our 67 disciples gave $94,517 for Missions – surpassing our goal by almost $4,000! To meet such a lofty sum, we started our First Annual “Pier to Pier” Runfor Missions (from Santa Monica Pier to Venice Beach Pier) from which several disciples raised hundreds of dollars! One disciple, Ariel Hazelton, raised almost $1,200 in just three days after asking associates at her job to contribute! From taking on extra shifts to tagging, to literally praying to get money in the mail, the Lord truly multiplied our efforts!Also of special note was the baptism of Ashley, a senior at UCLA! Ashley is a Pre-med, Physiological Studies Major who is applying for Medical School at UCLA! She just received a high-paying job for the summer working fulltime as an assistant for an Oral Surgeon in the area!
Please join us in praying for the Harvest as we kick-off a Summer Campaign for the month of June and pray for our Father’s Day BYND Service on June 20th!Steve Stencil: Greetings from the Mighty East Region! These past two weeks have been momentous and nothing short of miraculous as we’ve had the bittersweet privilege of sending-off the “Portland Eight”Supplemental Mission Team consisting of Cesar & Debbie Limon, Fernando & Jackie Chavez, George Castillo, Valeria Garcia-Pineda, Phillip Redmon and Monique Carrasco! We understand that God only sends out His best, which leaves the second tier of leadership the responsibility of “raising up and carrying the torch.”
Serving as “interim Region Leaders” are Khamille Sarmiento and myself as we await the arrival of the East Region’s new Lead Ministry Couple – Lou Jack & Cathi Martinez of Honolulu!
More great news are the baptisms of three campus women in just this past week! God was gracious enough to bless us with the spiritual birth of our dear sisters: Devon, Jessica and Kimberlin!Last but not least, Sunday Service was a blast as the East Region met it’s Extended Special Missions Goal by over 100%! To God be all the glory for His ever present grace and mercy!Mark Garrido: Good news from Central Region! This past month has been fantastic! Out of Central Region, we had the greatest privilege of seeing Kyle, Joan, Brett, Conner and little baby girl Bree Bartholomew sent out of LA to Metro Manila, Philippines to commence the evangelization of the Pacific Rim nations!
WEEK ONE: With so many sent out from Central Region, it was necessary for us to raise up new leaders! As we presented our plans to God, it became clear that the USC Campus Ministry should be led by Bryson Okuno & Jazzy Yogi, both transplants of Honolulu! The CSULA Ministry will be led by Jovanny Gochez & Sara Oros! The PCC Ministry will be led by Nathan Carr as our current leader Stefano Barbis is preparing to join Alfredo & Alejandra Anuch in the Santiago de Chile International Christian Church after the GLC where he’ll gather the Lima, Peru Mission Team! Of special note, the ELAC Campus Ministry will now be led by Jeff Martinez who is in fact an ELAC convert!
WEEK TWO: My beautiful and amazing wife Keri & I were blessed with the incredible opportunity to resume the good work that Kyle & Joan have been doing here in Central LA to prepare us for “Lord willing” the planting of the Guam International Christian Church in a year or two to come! Serving, preaching, Bible studies, vigorous discipleship, inspiring, challenging, refocusing, planning and setting goals for our region has made this month a truly delightful experience as we have been drawing close to God all together as a unified region!
WEEK THREE: “Work hard and pray harder” is exactly what we did and now comes the first fruits of the new Central Region Campus Ministry! The ELAC and CSULA men met a Chinese national Thomas on ELAC! Thomas had no knowledge of who Jesus is but after our combined campus efforts and patiently walking Thomas through the book of John and the First Principle Studies, it was nothing less than spectacular to see Thomas realize that he stumbled on the true Kingdom of God! Thomas simply had faith, repented and was baptized and is now your brother in Christ!
WEEK FOUR: 20X Special Missions was achieved! Please be praying for us as many are studying and are near baptism!Lance Underhill: Greetings from the Sold-out South Region! We are so excited and grateful having Tim & Lianne Kernan as well as their sons – Junior and David – back in the South! The Kernans’ love, faith, hard work and vision for the “tribe” here has inspired all of us and we anticipate the “miracles” that are about to happen!Today, we witnessed our first baptism Chatara, since the Kernans were passed the baton! However, most exciting this month to Connie & me was the arrival “home” of our youngest son Joey back after four years on the mission field in Sao Paulo, Brazil!
Because of visa challenges, Joey has not been to a GLC since the Holy Spirit sent-out “The Seven” (on the Sao Paulo Mission Team) four years ago, with only one disciple who spoke Portuguese! Encouragingly on Joey’s last Sunday there, he preached to the whole Sao Paulo Church in Portuguese which now numbers 129 disciples!HEADLINE NEWS – USA SW QUADRANT & THE MIDDLE EAST “Mama Sonia” Gonzalez: God has been doing incredible things in the church in Las Vegas! Last Sunday was an exciting day for us, as we witnessed the marriage of my daughter Sara to an awesome man of God – Udo Ibe!
Of course ”Tio (Uncle) Kip” & “Tia (Aunt) Elena” could not miss it! So we had the great honor and privilege of hearing our brother Kip powerfully preach the Word at our Sunday Service! After a challenging message on bearing fruit that will last, at the end of the service two souls were added to the Kingdom by baptism: Naomi and Eboniee! Naomi is the teenage daughter of our sister Paula Deen! After studying the Bible, Naomi realized the cost of becoming a disciple was her life but quickly proclaimed “Jesus is Lord” and was baptized!
That same day Eboniee, a campus student, was also baptized! After studying the Bible, her eagerness to “seek first the Kingdom” rapidly grew, leading to her good confession, “Jesus is Lord!”We also had the incredible privilege of having our dear brother Blaise Feumba and his awesome family visiting for the wedding and doing communion for us!
Today was the kick-start for our Summer Campaign! Also today, we sent-out two of our best to the West Region of the City of Angels International Christian Church: Arvind and Shamika – both baptized in Las Vegas and willing to “go anywhere, do anything and give up everything” for the Kingdom of God! We are also very excited to send-out at the GLC two more incredible disciples – Dayisha and Shay – to be part of the Sacramento Mission Team! To God be all the glory!Joy Axelson: “Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.”(John 12:24-25) It has been a bittersweet few weeks here in the Mission Bay Church in San Diego. After serving selflessly in San Diego for nearly five years, the Spirit has blown Evan & Kelly Bartholomew to meet the needs of the Orange County Region of our City of Angels Congregation! Together, with five other gallant disciples; Bobby & Kensey Merrett, Tyrone White, Amber Anderson and Alicia Amezcua they have become known as the “OC Seven!”
The OC Seven
After a joyful but tear-filled Send-off Service in which all of the “OC Seven” played a role, the entire church went to an even more tear-filled Going Away Pizza Party! At this gathering, many shared about the spirit of family and love amongst the disciples in the Mission Bay Church that Evan & Kelly have cultivated through the Word! Pray for the OC Seven as they uproot their lives for the Kingdom and give their hearts to save souls in Orange County!
Amidst the tearing of hearts at the departure of the OC Seven, there has also been the buzz of excitement! Princeton & I have now moved down to San Diego to serve in this amazing church!
Five other disciples have agreed to join us as well! So far, we have been joined by Ryan Lomeli and Jennifer Garcia of Orange County, and Sarah Chang of the Inland Empire Region! Adam Blanco of Orange County and Carver Bedeau of New York City will also be moving down in these next two months! We are so humbled to work the harvest fields God has given us in San Diego! Please be praying for us in the Bay!Jeremy Ciaramella: “How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity… There the Lord bestows His blessing, even life forevermore.” (Psalm 133:1,3) Greetings from Phoenix!We are so grateful for our unified movement of churches! This past week we had five incredible disciples visit us from the North Region of LA – David & Ashley Caldwell, Fred & Manu Batson, and Jonathan Panossian! Fred opened our service with a great prayer; Ashley shared vulnerably about the gift of the cross for communion; and Jonathan shared a presentation for contribution – “An Attitude of Gratitude” about his trip with the Feumbas to Haiti! It was so moving many were in tears realizing the suffering of their Hatian brothers and sisters! Thanks be to God that we can have unity in our fellowship so that we can see the needs worldwide and get inspired to go after raising money for Special Missions!
We are so thankful that God has sent to us Gabrille Murillo from Santa Barbara!
We are also grateful that our dear brother Dan Cooke has been restored to the fellowship after a long, hard-fought battle against addiction and lukewarmness!
It is was with bittersweet joy that we prayed over our beloved sister Santana DeJesus who will be going to DC with Richie & Elizabeth McDonnell and working as a fulltime intern with them in the Campus Ministry there! We are also excited that Monica Wilson has been appointed as our MERCYworldwide Intern! The church in Phoenix has raised 60% of its missions and we are very excited about our next AMS sponsored fundraiser – So You Think You Have Talent – which Planet Fitness has already agreed to sponsor!
We were also excited that God gave us the grace of supporting the Guam Mission Team efforts by calling Rico & Janelle Jones to LA to train with our dear friends Mark & Keri Garrido! To God be the glory that we can be a family, unified in heart and purpose, sharing all that God gives us in His people and His wealth with one another for a common vision – to evangelize the nations in this generation!Richie McDonnell: Greetings from sunny Santa Barbara (SB)! It has been an incredible month of May! We had our first Santa Barbara wedding; the new SB Church Leaders – Dennis & Corinna Sloan of LA – placed membership; and the Spirit has sent us out to lead the incredible Washington DC Church!Santa Barbara’s very first convert, Alex, who was baptized almost two years ago as a UCSB graduate student, married Bria, one of the original SB Mission Team Members from Chicago, on May 10th! It was such a privilege being able to reach out to Alex at UCSB, study the Bible with and baptize him, and then to perform his wedding ceremony! God really does have great plans for us when we choose to seek Him with all of our heart! (Jeremiah 29:11-14)
Lastly, today’s church service was one to remember! The Ventura Region of the City of Angels International Christian Church joined the Santa Barbara Church for the Spirit’s sending-out of Elizabeth & me! We will be accompanied to DC by three other SB disciples! It was truly a remarkable worship service with the family! After 706 days, I preached my final sermon in Santa Barbara, titled, PERFECT GIFT FROM HEAVEN(James 1:17) where I thanked God and everybody in the Santa Barbara Church for making these past two years the best years of our lives! There’s so much to reflect on and be grateful for from our time in Santa Barbara: our son Sawyer being born, going into the full-time ministry for the first time, and being appointed an Evangelist and a Women’s Ministry Leader, just to mention a few!Elizabeth & I believe that we both really “grew up” while we were in Santa Barbara! We are going to miss this great church so much (and meeting for Sunday service right next to the beach), but we are excited for the next great adventure that God is taking us on in Washington DC!
Please pray for safe travels as we make our journey across the country!HEADLINE NEWS – USA NW QUADRANT & CANADAGabe Reed of Eugene: “Paul entered the synagogue and spoke boldly there for three months, arguing persuasively about the Kingdom of God. But some of them became obstinate; they refused to believe and publicly maligned the Way. So Paul left them. He took the disciples with him and had discussions daily in the lecture hall of Tyrannus. This went on for two years, so that all the Jews and Greeks who lived in the province of Asia heard the Word of the Lord.”(Acts 19:8-10)
Greetings from the Northwest and Canada World Sector!! I am writing this from our dear partners in the gospel Jason & Sarah Dimitry’s apartment after an amazing weekend with the electric San Francisco Bay International Christian Church (SFBICC)!! My wife & I are so grateful for their friendship and leadership! We have learned so much from them and hope we can imitate and bring many of the great qualities we have seen in them and in the SFBICC this weekend back to Eugene!
In month of May in Eugene, we have seen four more added through the waters of baptisms!! Two from Oregon State University (Riker & Christina) and two more from the University of Oregon (Kelli & Ezra)!
As well, we were privileged to send-out two more disciples to the mission field: our dear Maddie Hackett to the West Region of LA and the beloved Brooke Helm to San Francisco to get ready to go back to her home town on the Sacramento Mission Team!I just want to take the time to lift up our amazing Campus Ministry! This time last year, we had just nine people in our Campus Ministry with just three full-time students at the U of O and one at Lane Community College. Today, after a year of bold preaching and daily Bible Talks, our Campus Ministry stands at 27 strong disciples! Amazingly these original nine disciples did not just grow numerically but also expanded geographically! We now have a presence on the two top schools in the state of Oregon – the University of Oregon and Oregon State University – bitter rivals in the world!
So, we have six fulltime students in Corvallis, Oregon at Oregon State University; one student at Western University in Monmouth, Oregon; one student at Lane Community College; and now seven students at University of Oregon (including myself)!
This summer we will cap off the year by watching our dear sister Megan Loheed graduate with her Bachelor’s Degree in Advertising! Megan walked onto the U of O as the only student in the Campus Ministry! Now, four years later, she will leave behind 27 amazing disciples! And what does Megan want to do now that she’s has her BA Degree? She’s going to be a missionary on the Sacramento Mission Team! Thank you Kip, Tim and Jason for your call to refocus on the Campus Ministry! Pray for us as we dreaming of ways to make this next school year even more glorious than this one!Jason Dimitry of San Francisco: Greetings from your family in the Bay! God gave us great victories in May with six additions, including Brooke Helm from Eugene who placed membership to be on the Sacramento Mission Team!A baptism that particularly ignited the church was that of Tyre Ellison, a UC Berkley starting football player and graduate! Though nobody told his mom or ex-pastor the location of the baptism, they somehow showed up with several members of his church and other members of his family and tried to argue and physically pull him away! It was incredible to see him stand up to them about his convictions and victoriously march toward his baptism even receiving persecution all the way to the waters! When Tyre came out of the waters, the church erupted in joyful celebration as they watched him stand “strong in God’s amazing grace!” Since then, his mom came to church and apologized; his sister came to Bible Talk; and his brother is studying the Bible!
This week it was great to have Cesar & Debbie Limon and the awesome Portland Supplemental Mission Team visiting the Bay Area! I can’t wait to see all that God is going to accomplish through them in that beloved church!Sunday service today was incredible as we had Gabe Reed of Eugene preach and we saw Fred, a newly restored brother, baptize his 70 year old mom Margarita!
Lastly, we were honored to appoint John & Laura Zamora as a Shepherding Couple for our East Bay Region! These incredible “veteran” warriors laid their lives down to help plant the church here in San Francisco and served as a great foundation. They literally housed all 15 members of the original mission team during the initial planting! Grateful for the Kingdom and to God be all the glory!
Ricky Challinor of Portland: Greetings from the City of Bridges!!! This Sunday was one for the history books! We took up our Special Missions Collect and with a goal of $63,720 we raised over $75,000!!!! I am so proud of the church and all the hard work every disciple has put in to make this year’s missions a total success!However, the real highlight was that we had the City of Angels Supplemental Mission Team place membership along with three other amazing sisters totaling 12 additions! Today Coleen & I presented Cesar & Debbie Limon – the new Portland Lead Ministry Couple – with a carved lighthouse to “pass on” this incredible congregation into their hands as they truly will be a “shining light” to this city!
I am so proud of Cesar to see the incredible man of God he has grown into and his wisdom in the ministry as he blew out his first sermon entitled, THE GREATEST FESTIVAL, which of course is Heaven!! Every single person walked away inspired by his lesson and impacted by Debbie’s vulnerable communion! We have full confidence that this incredible couple will do “even greater things” than we were able to accomplish! (John 14:12) We of course ended the service with a prayer on our knees as the Spirit sent us off!
Today was one of those hard times to say goodbye, but Coleen & I are very excited to be with the City of Angels Church Family in the South Region with Tim & Lianne Kernan!
Jake Studer: “Even if your exiled people are at the farthest horizon, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place I have chosen as a dwelling for my Name.” (Nehemiah 1:9) Warmest greetings from Toronto! God is certainly blessing the Northern Land of Canada richly as more families are “giving up everything” and moving back into the city to be close to the disciples! Two remnant families – the Sylvesters & the Lalois – are scheduled to move in June!And of utmost excitement was the baptism this month of Elle Weber, the daughter of our dear original Toronto Remnant Group couple – Harvey & Nanette Weber! Truly an example of God’s love and faithfulness to a couple who continues to display their love and faithfulness in the work here!!
Pray for us to continue to be used by God to forcefully advance His Kingdom in Toronto, in Montreal and into all of Canada! To God be all the glory!Jeremiah Clark: Greetings from the Mighty Denver Church! The last few weeks have been truly faith-building and inspiring as God continues to grow the church both numerically and geographically! First, God has added a new House Church (HC) as we officially planted the East HC led by the dynamic couple – Matt & Marlo Lovacheff! Last week, they had their Inaugural East HC Service and the Lord blessed the 10 disciples of the East HC with 55 in attendance! Matt preached his most powerful and inspiring lesson to date, as he encouraged everyone to give their full hearts to God and His mission!
Also, we were able to see another addition to our powerful CU Boulder Campus Ministry as Vi was baptized into Christ!
We love you all and are inspired to be part of a worldwide movement! To God be all the glory!
HEADLINE NEWS – USA SOUTH QUADRANT Ron Harding of Washington DC: Greetings from the Capital of the United States! “So the Word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith!” (Acts 6:7) I am so very encouraged by the absolute focus of the church as we approach my last week here in DC before moving to LA to serve alongside in the Southland Region with my dear friend – Cory Blackwell! The DC Church has surged forward week after week, adding 12 souls in the last nine weeks!
While we’ve seen campus students and family members converted, most special to me personally was the story of Bayarmandakh “Andy” Byamba – a Mongolian “Christian” minister who knew Enkhee Ganbaatar (now in the West Region of LA) before Enkhee’s conversion two years ago! After Enkhee & Termma moved to Los Angeles last year, our valiant Northern Virginia Ministry Leader – James Haynes – continued to reach out to Andy! After months of studying, just as in Acts 6:7, Andy the Minister“became obedient to the faith” making Jesus his Lord and was baptized for his salvation! Andy’s wife is now studying, and James, along with the other two members of the over 30 year old “Veteran Club” of Jack McGee and Ben Eisenschmidt, will be having “Chariot Ride style” Bible studies with Andy’s entire church over the next several weeks!
I am personally in awe of the Lord and His miracles here in DC! To Him be all the glory, honor and praise forever!Melanie Coyle: God blessed the Houston Church by surpassing our Special Missions Collection this past Sunday! Our faith goal was $31,660, but God blessed us with $32,255! Each Bible Talk pulled together to help one another with their goals, remembering Galatians 6:2 – “carrying each other’s burdens!” One of the highlights was our first Teen Car Wash where they raised over $350 washing giant pick-up trucks!God also blessed us this past Friday with two baptisms, Troy and Jules! A couple weeks ago at Men’s Midweek (held at the University of Houston), John Smoot prayed in the opening prayer, “God I pray that any men who hear this prayer will come over to hear your Word preached, make a decision to study the Bible, and become a disciple!” Troy, a U of H Engineering student, heard the prayer, walked over, and joined the men for Midweek! Troy immediately began studying the Bible and was baptized on Friday!
Following Troy’s baptism, Jules, a musician and student at Houston Community College, was also baptized! Jules is a talented performer and was invited by Brittany Smoot at Starbucks! God continues to encourage the Houston disciples because of their faith, sacrifice and perseverance! Pray for us!Matt Sullivan: “You give me your shield of victory, and your right hand sustains me; you stoop down to make me great.”(Psalm 18:35) The Lord is stooping down mightily for the incredible Orlando Church as we have had 21 additions in the first 22 weeks of 2015 – 16 baptisms and five who moved in!
Please be praying for us as June 14th is our Special Missions and to date we have raised just over $26,000 and are forging ahead for a victory for the Lord! We love you guys and are especially committed financially and in heart to the missions work internationally… We through God’s power will not let you guys down!HEADLINE NEWS – EUROPEArgo Arneson: The Lord appeared to us in the past saying, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.” (Jeremiah 31:3) Greetings of love from Stockholm, Sweden! Our Mission Team is doing great because God is “teaching, rebuking, correcting and training” us so that we may all be “thoroughly equipped” and ready for our Inaugural Service on September 20, 2015!
We have also seen how true Jesus words are when He said, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them.” (John 6:44) God blessed us with an incredible baptism of a great sister named Lina! Lina is single mother of two beautiful children and she was met by our brother Simon when they were studying nursing together four years ago! She even came to our Sunday Service three years ago! We all witnessed how our Father God has been drawing her “with unfailing kindness” all these years towards Jesus and felt incredible joy seeing her enter into God’s Kingdom this past week!
A unique outreach of the Stockholm ICC is through music as we have several former professional musicians in our fellowship! But every now and then the brothers get together to simply entertain the disciples with a Jazz Jam!
Continue to pray as we strive to gain a foothold in the city this summer so that we can officially launch the Stockholm Church in September! And to God be all the glory!Michael Williamson: Greetings and love from London, England! God is AWE-some! With a faith goal of £65,000 (US$99,243) God blessed months of bucket shaking in tube stations (tagging) and financial sacrifice as the church raised £69,786 ($109,734) to blow out our 20X Missions Goal! God also added five souls this month to the Kingdom in baptisms!
We started out the month with a bang at the University Of East London (UEL) as we were not only nominated the Top Student Society on campus, but at Devo we baptized Sandra an incredible campus student who was met at the “Freshers Fair” through the outreach of our UEL Campus Society SWAG (Students Who Apply God)!A few days later on Sunday, Berenice – a young single woman – was baptized! She was met by Michele over a year and-a-half ago and after a wild follow-up story began studying the Bible again! She then attends our incredible Women’s Day and decides to LET IT (ALL) GO and study the Bible! Berenice comes from a religious background where her father was a very famous Pentecostal Pastor in Romania, and she even went to Africa at her own expense on missionary trips to “save the lost!” After doing her timeline with the sisters, she grabbed Michele’s pen and crossed out her whole religious experience and said that means nothing now! It was incredible to see “the scales fall from her eyes” as she became a true baptized disciple and the first seed for our Bucharest Crown of Thorns planting in 2021!
The following Friday night at Devo another campus student from Poland was baptized into Christ, Peter! Also, we saw “love in the air” as campus student Frank Simelane asked Ashley Mathos to be his girlfriend!!Then on Sunday, a Portuguese family was united in Christ as Regina the wife of our brother Helio was baptized!
The following Sunday, Doyin also made Jesus Lord after studying in less than two weeks! She was met by Maria on her way to our Women’s Midweek Service! Doyin attended with her and has been an incredible addition to the church with her infectious energy and warm heart!
To capitalize on “Footy Fever” this past weekend with England’s FA Cup Final on Saturday, we had our first official 2015 “Football Service” entitled WHO DO YOU SUPPORT? The energy was electric as disciples from over 30 Nations with hands in the air shouted team names while donning matching team jerseys to play seven minute round-robin football matches! We then had a nail-biter of a final as Ashley Adjai led his team to victory over a powerful, stacked team with semi pro player Sadique – who’s counting the cost!
Lastly the church is incredibly grateful to the Mighty LA Church for sending Anthony & Cassidy Olmos who will arrive in London late June! With their coming, Lord willing, we will begin regional services this year to achieve geographic expansion and even more numeric growth! To God be all the glory!HEADLINE NEWS – RUSSIAN COMMONWEALTHLarisa Kaminskay: Hello from Kyiv, Ukraine! May was a fruitful month for the Kyiv ICC! Three souls were added to our number through baptism, and now we are 25! God worked powerfully through Oleg & Elena Sirotkin, as they spent four weeks with us in April during their efforts to secure proper papers for their children. From their many efforts, on May 12th, we had a double baptism: two friends – Liuda and Alina – were baptized into our Campus Ministry! It’s very encouraging that Liuda was invited by Ira, who is only 15 years old and only half-a-year in Christ, and whose zeal inspires all the church! Another good news is that Liuda – while studying the Bible – invited her dorm roommate, Alina! They began studying together and were baptized the same day!
On May 24th, God blessed us with one more baptism! Kostia is the husband of our sister Natasha, who was recently restored after more than a 10 years living a non-Christian life! Her persistent prayers were answered, and now Kostia & Natasha are united in Christ!
Elena Sirotkina: Greetings from Moscow! In the remarkable month of May, God bless the Moscow Church with seven new brothers and sisters! We are happy to welcome our new sister Evelina, who was baptized in early May, and then our brother Alexiy, who was baptized after a long search for the “true church!”It is truly wonderful to see how God fills our “international church” in Moscow with brothers sisters of different nationalities with a dream to return to their own nations to lead them to Christ! Vadim from Ukraine was baptized in May! He was impressed with seeing the changes in his mother after her baptism! Then on May 17th, Tatyana from Kalmykia, one of the regions of Russia, was baptized! She grew up in a Buddhist family and steadfastly observed these traditions, but she met Victoria – a disciple of Jesus! Tatiana understood that only Jesus died for her sins and was physically resurrected from the dead! And He is the only Savior! Along with her, in this day in Moscow, was baptized Stephen – our new and very grateful brother from Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo!
The next week, we witnessed the long-awaited restoration of Tatiana! It always touches my heart when God’s children come back to the Father and say, “I’m not worthy,” because it reminds us of just how merciful our Father really is!Then on Saturday, the church gathered at one of the train stations of Moscow to meet with songs our sister Zoe and her little daughter from Yekaterinburg! Zoe left the church several years ago and married and went to live in France. She realized that without a relationship with God and service to Him, nothing makes sense! Zoe has met with the leader of the women of the Paris Church, Prisca Scheidecker, and shared that she is divorced and wants to return home to Russia and to be with the church. Prisca inspired Zoe immediately go to Moscow and go our church! Eventually, Zoe sold her car and went to Moscow with her young daughter. And today all of our church celebrated the restoration of Zoe to the movement of God’s Kingdom!
HEADLINE NEWS – AFRICA & THE CARIBBEANNEWS FLASH: Please pray for all the churches in Africa as we prepare for our First African Missions Conference in Abidjan, Ivory Coast from June 26-28, 2015! Our theme comes from Revelation 5:9, EVERY TRIBE, LANGUAGE AND NATION (TOUTE TRIBU, LANGUE ET NATION! – in French)
It is going to be exciting to fellowship with our French-speaking brothers and sisters in the Ivory Coast, as well as to gather remnant church leaders from Cameroon, Ethiopia, Democratic Republic of Congo, South Africa, Kenya and Uganda, who represent the almost 500 remnant disciples throughout the African continent! Speakers include: Andrew & Patrique Smellie, Chris & Sonja Chloupek, Amadou & Angele Sountoura, Micky Ngungu, Lola Lof, Nick Winn, Kip McKean, and many more! Pray for this historic event!Nick Winn of Gordon’s Bay: “It is the Lord Christ you are serving!”(Colossians 3:24) Straight forward and to the point, as long as we know who it’s all about, He will give victory upon victory!Since returning from LA and the Winter Workshop in January, the church in Gordon’s Bay has had many ups and downs in the form of persecutions, restorations and of course the remarkable visit of Andrew & Patrique which inspired the group in an amazing way! But yesterday and today we saw two wonderful additions to the church! Amid heavy persecution from her husband, Elena Pokotylyuk and her mom Anna – both from Ukraine – studied the Bible! Elena, who speaks good English, studied with the sisters here and was baptized yesterday! And Anna, who studied via Skype in Russian with Sasha Korotova of Moscow was baptized today with the entire church in Moscow watching the baptism live via Skype!
What a faith building day as the Spirit broke down language barriers and distance to show that truly “nothing is impossible with God!” (Luke 1:37)Blaise Feumba – the Overseeing Evangelist of Haiti:“For we know, brothers loved by God, that He has chosen you, because our Gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake. And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the Word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit, so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia.” (1 Thessalonians 1:4-6) I can only imagine the overwhelming joy of Paul the Apostle when he received the news that the Thessalonian Church was still growing even though he only spent three weeks there to plant the church!I am equally amazed by the work of the Holy Spirit in Haiti! 19 new sold-out disciples were baptized as the result of our 10 days trip in April! Marvelously in this month of May 10 more people were baptized in Port-au-Prince and Mirebalais! Our latest planting in Mirebalais, started during our trip with the proper conversion of Louisius Exilien a former Pentecostal preacher and his wife Mary, now have 16 sold-out disciples after the baptism of three more souls this month!
So, the Haitian Story continues… After the conversion of Alexis at the August 2013 GLC, we now have 160 disciples in Haiti in five churches after only 21 months!
Finally, 12 disciples in Mirebalais after undergoing the training received with the Lifestraw Water Filter provided by MERCYworldwide, are now thrilled to have “the privilege” of drinking clean water! Please keep the Haitian disciples in your prayers!Micky Ngungu: The Kinshasa Church, blessed to be the second largest in the movement with over 300 disciples, continues to grow in number as the Lord added to our number five more souls this month!
Of note was the restoration of a student named Brunel who left our former fellowship seeking revival! Brunel is now ready to start a new Bible Talk at the University of Kinshasa!Lola, my awesome fellow church leader, and I are so eager to attend theAfrican Missions Conference in Abidjan at the end of this month! Pray for us! And to God be all the glory!HEADLINE NEWS – CENTRAL & SOUTH AMERICA
Adriana Gomez: Greetings from the Bogota ICC! This is an example of our unity in Christ… Some months ago, a Colombian couple had fled our country threatened by evil people! They arrived to Chile and when they and their children were hungry, cold and practically naked, they contacted the church there and the disciples helped them, showing them the true love of God! The news traveled across the Andes Mountains and their families wanted know “that kind of Christian people” here in Bogota! Last month, the wife’s sister, Elena was baptized in Christ, and recently, her parents, Joaquín & Belén were baptized in Christ too! Also, Elena’s other two sisters and their husbands and children are now regularly attending church!
Also, another Colombian was recently baptized in the LA Church! He shared his faith with a very close friend here in Bogota! She called us and started to study the Bible… And Marta Lucia Rodriguez was baptized in Christ too!
Our heart was touched when Hector (my awesome husband) told us about his encounter with Milton Puentes, baptized eighteen years ago in our former movement! He lost all – marriage, family and wealth – when after the crumbling of our former movement he turned back to the world. Today, he was restored to the Lord and added to His family again!
Now, after a year of our adhesion to the SoldOut Disciples Movement, our Remnant Group has grown to 19 brothers and sisters in Christ! And to God be the glory!!!Raul Moreno:“And the Lord added to their number…” (Acts 2:47) The Lord was so good to us here in São Paulo as we had eight additions in the past four weeks! Jefferson and Clara were baptize from USP University; Jefferson studies Math and Clara Natural Sciences!
Then, two incredible physical sisters were baptized in Patricia and Priscila! Then, we had two amazing restorations in Eduardo and Andreia! We also had the privilege to receive Olimpia Argueta as a missionary from LA, and to tearfully send Joey Underhill back to LA after serving the Lord here as a missionary faithfully for almost four years!
Finally, an awesome single named “Mesias” was baptized! “Mesias” means “Messiah” so with that name I’m confident he will bring many to the ultimate Messiah – Jesus Christ! We love you with the love of the Lord!Carlos Mejia:“After He drove the man out, He placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.” (Genesis 3:24) Greetings from Santiago! Today was an historic day in Santiago as the Lord has allowed us to “hand over” the church to our dear friends Alfredo & Alejandra Anuch, the first Chilean nationals in the history of this movement (and the ICOC) to lead the church in their home country!Lucy & I presented Alfredo & Alejandra with a Bushido sword, or “Samurai Sword,” which is an emblem of power and spirit! The very possession of such a valuable instrument imparted to the samurai warrior a feeling and an air of dignity and responsibility! It was also a symbol of what was to be in a Samurai’s heart and mind – loyalty and honor! A Samurai would choose death over living with a false heart. As we presented Alfredo & Ale with two Samurai swords, I read from Genesis 3:24 and charged them “to guard” the church with their sword of truth, which is the Word of God!
Although we were honored and glad to be a part of this significant event, it was also a bittersweet time as it was the last service here in Santiago for Lucy & I and the remaining five missionaries that are leaving for Mexico City! We were so moved and many were brought to tears by the lyrics in a song performed by the church band and written by our amazing sister Mirza entitled, Gracias which of course means “Thank You!”
Over the past few months, each Bible Talk has been working hard for Special Missions! Today we were able to see the fruit of that labor, as God blessed our 14X Contribution with $20,000 USD! It has been incredible to see the hearts of all the disciples as they sacrificed to do their part in seeing the world evangelize in our generation. To God be all the glory!HEADLINE NEWS – PACIFIC RIM & AUSTRAL-CHINAKyle Bartholomew: Greetings from Manila, Philippines! We are so very grateful for all of the churches around the world who sacrificed by taking up a Special Missions Collection this year which has enabled us to be sent out to the Philippines!
It has been an amazing past three weeks since the mission team arrived! I am happy to report that all of the mission team members are settled into their new homes and have fallen in love with their new country! We have all been working hard as we prepare for our Inaugural Service on June 7th with a prayer goal of 261 in attendance since the original Manila Mission Team in 1989 had 260 at their Inaugural Service! Excitingly, 343 people have already committed to come to this historic event at the Intercontinental Hotel in Makati with just under a week to go!
We have also been solidifying our convictions as we just finished a three week First PrinciplesCourse! Amazingly, with all the distractions of getting settled, studying for First Principles, and preparing for the Inaugural Service, God has already begun to display His power among us! We have already seen three precious souls baptized (Lou, Christialyn, and Cherry) and two restored (Rogelio and Annaliza) in the past three weeks, and there are a lot more that are close to being added! Mabuhay! (Live long! in Tagalog)
Liz Okuno of Honolulu: “On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, ‘Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.'” (John 7:37) If there is a woman who is thirsty for God’s Word, it is Kristen! We first met Kristen about a month ago near the Art Building on the UH Manoa Campus! My boyfriend Kawika & I were sharing for Bible Talk and God planned that our paths should meet Kristen! We invited her to Bible Talk and she eagerly accepted! Kristen later shared that, at the time, she felt lost and confused! She was searching for more from life! In her Bible studies, she drank deeply from God’s Word, and I had the privilege of witnessing the “living water” refresh her soul! “The burning sand will become a pool, the thirsty ground bubbling springs…” (Isaiah 35:7)With her soul finally fulfilled with God’s Word, Kristin was asked to give up everything for Jesus and His Kingdom, and she was baptized today in the beautiful Hawaiian waters and now she is your sister in Christ!
On a sad note, we said goodbye to Lou Jack, Cathi, Christine and Philip Martinez today and sent them off with several gifts from the Islands, and of course, a whole lot of love and ALOHA! We are so grateful for all they taught us and shared with us, and know the Honolulu Church has been both edified and solidified, and is ready now to MULTIPLY under the new leadership of Jake & Jen Ramsier and Curtis & Morgan Valdez of LA!
The Ramsiers will again lead the congregation and the Valdezes will lead our new West Region!!! Please keep Honolulu in your prayers!!!
Joe Willis: Greetings from Sydney! We were blessed to welcome another beautiful Aussie woman into the church this past weekend as Kate Dillon was baptized into Christ! The 20 year old, hair dresser was going through a lot at the time when Kerry reached out to her while she was getting her hair done at the salon where Kate works.She first came out to church while Kyle & Joan Bartholomew were here on their way to Manila and was particularly moved by Joan’s communion! She started studying the Bible and realized her need for God and soon decided to get baptized! This girl has persevered through so much to get to where she is today and we couldn’t be happier or more proud of her and her decision to make Jesus Lord! Welcome to the family Kate!!
HEADLINE NEWS – USA NORTH QUADRANT & INDIAChris Broom of New York City: The Bible says in Psalm 145:7,“They will celebrate your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your righteousness.”Truly, May has been an incredible month with much to celebrate! First, God added six more to our number – three baptisms and three place memberships! Of special note was Bonnie, a Chinese engineering student and the first baptism in our newly formed Columbia University Bible Talk! And she was baptized during finals week! Bonnie was one of three freshmen selected to go on an all-expense-paid trip to Japan, where the student ambassadors visited prestigious universities to help “bridge the gap” between the two countries!
The celebration continued as 16 of our disciples have graduated this month from various academic levels and schools including Manhattan’s prestigious New School and Seton Hall University!
In closing, I want to highlight an incredible sister in the New York City Church, Nicole Garland! May was a month to remember for Nicole as she graduated from our Chemical Recovery Ministry, led powerfully for the women by Dejaimenay Pedican! Nicole was also able to fundraise over $500 from her office for our upcoming Missions Contribution, and thanks to her boss matching all she raised from her other co-workers! Then, she was blessed by God with a pay raise! Finally, as Nicole went to sign the papers for her new apartment that she would share with her soon-to-be husband Vladimir Antoine, she saw that the realtor had lied about their income, saying they made more than they did… probably to give them a better chance of getting the apartment! Knowing they could deny her the apartment, Nicole told the truth! Amen! Not only did they give her & Vladimir the apartment, but since the realtor was fired, they saved $1,175 on the realtor’s fee that they did not have to pay!This past Saturday, she married her best friend, Vladimir Antoine! The wedding was absolutely breathtaking and we enjoyed wonderful fellowship with disciples who were visiting from Los Angeles, Boston, Washington DC, Dallas, Syracuse and Toronto! So awesome to be a unified movement of churches!
Brian Carr of Boston: Greetings from the land of many “hahvest fields!” “The wind blows wherever it pleases… So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” Super excitingly, Sean – a grad-student from Beijing, China – started coming to church and immediately fell in love with the fellowship! So this month after a few weeks of studying the Bible, Sean was baptized into Christ in the Charles River! God continues to build the Hong Kong Mission Team!
Other additions are also coming soon as Tyler Payne & Sarah Polum of the Syracuse Church will be placing membership in Boston on June 7th! Thank you so much to the Syracuse Church for sending us such an incredible couple!
It has been nothing short of a faith-building time this year raising Special Missions! Our great God has blessed the efforts and hearts of the disciples by allowing us to surpass our Special Missions Goal this year!Finally, the Spirit has decided to blow Preston & Shauna (soon to be the Inkley’s on June 6th!) across the country to be the Campus Ministry Couple in the Antelope Valley Region of LA! I originally thought the Spirit was blowing a bit too hard as it can be so challenging to say goodbye to your best friend! Preston and I have grown so close and it has been such a privilege to walk together and see him grow up spiritually over the years. I’m so proud of the man of God that he has become and I’m reminded in our friendship of Proverbs 18:24, “There is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” God has raised him up to be an amazing peer to me and a great leader! I speak on behalf of the whole church when I say it’s hard to lose someone like Preston, but we are fired-up to be part of a sold-out movement of churches and we are willing to do what it takes to see this world evangelized in our day! We will miss them both so much, but we are excited to see the great things they are going to do in the AV!
Jay Shelbrack: Greetings from Chicago! We have had a month filled with activity! We had 11 graduations, tagging for three Saturdays, our Latinfest, a new baby, and our send-off for the Economos to LA! The Latinfest was amazing as we had Sal & Patricia Velasco, the Palm Springs Region Leaders of LA, come to inspire our Latin Ministry as they preached powerful lessons for both a Friday Night Devo and the Sunday Service! Latinfest was indeed a fun-filled day with special entertainment, a bounce house for the kids, face painting, clowns, basketball, volleyball and of course great food!
We are also fired-up to announce three new fulltime paid staff who will be helping us take the Chicago Church to another level: Stephania Brooks, who turned down an acceptance letter to Medical School to work in the West Region; Marlyn Montano who will be co-leading the Central Region and the Latin Ministry with her husband, Victor; and finally Umberto Muniz will be training to lead the West Region with its many campuses while being a student at Dominican College!
We also had three additions for the month – two baptisms and one restoration! Joshua who is the brother of Jesse Rhobles was baptized! Marcus, who was met by Omar and who are both personal trainers, had rejected God’s plan for his life but couldn’t deny the truth and has become very bold even confronting his former minister who agreed to study the Bible!
Finally Anna DeBarras, the sister of Nikki and Maria, has rededicated her life sharing how discouraged she had become without God in her life!
Finally today was one of mixed emotions as we said goodbye to our dear friends Nick & Jacque Economo who have served the church as Administrators, the Web Deacon, Secretary on the church board, and the overseers of all of our printing! They have been with us for seven years and have been a very foundational couple! We are truly excited for them as they have taken on a great role as World Sector Administrators for the City of Angels Church!
Please pray for us as we fight to glorify God with our lives and for next week’s Special Contribution!Courtney Parlour: “‘I will shake all nations, and what is desired by all nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory,’ says the Lord Almighty.” (Haggai 2:7) God is shaking up the city of Syracuse, New York! These past few weeks have been exciting as we are wrapping up our fundraising for missions! Some of the amazing women in the church put on a Rummage Sale that was an astonishing HIT! We had advertisements in the newspaper, on the radio, sign holders on the streets, a bake sale, and lots to sell! Not only was it a great way to raise money, but also to empty our homes and share our faith! Hundreds of dollars were raised in just a few hours!God is also shaking up the campuses here in Syracuse! This week it was very encouraging to watch another OCC student baptized – Tilia! She is a vibrant young woman and has already brought out many of her family members to church!
And a couple of weeks ago, we saw another amazing thing happen! Never, to my knowledge, in the 22 years of the Syracuse Church has someone been baptized on the prestigious Le Moyne University Campus. About a month ago, God just so had it that some of the brothers would run into Andrew while hanging out near the campus. He is a pre-med student and on top of that he is in three Honor Societies, serving as the president of one of them! Amidst finals and studying for his MCAT, Andrew studied the Bible and made Jesus Lord of all!
We are very excited to now start up a Bible Talk at Le Moyne College in order to reach the amazingly gifted 3,600 students! Pray for our boldness!Debs Rajan: Namaste! (Greetings in Hindi!) Thank you LA for sending Luke & Brandyn Speckman to Chennai! We are very grateful for the partnership to evangelize 1.7 billion souls in the Sub-continent of Asia! The disciples have been very encouraged by their Scriptural teachings!
Last Sunday, was our monthly Evening Campus Service for which our 30 campus students had 88 in attendance! Tharas Richard, another student from the prestigious Loyola College, who came for the event studied the Bible and in just one week was baptized today!
There has been so much fruit this entire month! God is truly multiplying disciples!
Contrary to popular opinion, “lightening does strike twice,” as my husband Raja struck again by snatching another soul from Satan’s clutches! I’m reminded of Acts 18:8, “Crispus, the Synagogue Leader, and his entire household believed in the Lord; and many of the Corinthians who heard Paul believed and were baptized!” Philip, a Pentecostal Pastor, came to Chennai from Raipur for a Pastors Conference and was rushing to catch the train when Raja invited him! Raja persevered with Philip through phone calls and emails for more than two months and convinced him to come and visit the Chennai ICC Church! Philip travelled more than 1,000 miles (32 hours by train and bus) just to visit the church! At his very first church service, Philip was touched by the love of the disciples and humbly accepted that he was not a Christian! After studying with Raja, he made Jesus the Lord of his life with tears and was baptized!
Philip went back to Raipur with another disciple Suraj and they are now studying the Bible with nine others from Philip’s old congregation! Already, Dhasharath, a former soldier of the Indian Army, has been baptized!
So now in the SoldOut Movement in India, we now have churches in Chennai, New Delhi, Bangalore and Raipur! And to God be all glory!Dear Brothers and Sisters: In closing, let us all praise God for the phenomenal 20X Missions Collection taken in the United States Churches for international missions now totaling over $1,500,000! Now let’s pray that God will multiply these “loaves and fishes!” (Matthew 14:19-21)Please keep on praying for the Inaugural Service of the Metro Manila International Christian Church just a week away! After the Inaugural, Elena & I will travel to Sydney to once again be side-by-side in the Lord’s work with Joe & Kerry Willis! We will return to LA on Sunday, June 21st. Then, Lord willing on the 22nd, I will go to witness the miracle of the First African Missions Conference in Abidjan, Ivory Coast! If all goes as planned, I will return June 29th!
In closing, thanks for all of your gracious greetings on Facebook and in cards on my 61st Birthday on May 31st! This last picture was one of my favorite cards!
“Finally Brothers, pray for [Elena & me] that the message of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honored, just as it was with you! May the Lord direct your hearts onto God’s love and Christ’s perseverance!”(2 Thessalonians 3:1, 5) We are family… to the end, Kip