Greetings from Manila, Sydney, Abidjan and Los Angeles! Elena & I arrived in the Philippines on Thursday night June 4th to help with all the preparations for the Inaugural Service of the Metro Manila International Christian Church (MMICC)! For the next three days we could not help but reminisce about bringing the original Manila Mission Team of 26 disciples in 1989! With joy we remembered that God provided the Makati Intercontinental Hotel as the cheapest venue! At that incredible service in 1989, God gave us an amazing attendance of 260! On this historic Sunday of June 7th, the 49 disciples of the Manila Remnant Group joined the nine disciples on the Manila Mission Team from LA at the same hotel in the same room, and God blessed the Inaugural Service of the MMICC with 306 in attendance!
To prepare for the Inaugural, we celebrated the Day of MERCY one week early on June 6th! The MMICC served the children of one of the more impoverished neighborhoods of Metro Manila called Payatas. Payatas is the home of 5,000 poor families who make $1 a day scavenging the dump-site for scraps of plastic, metal, paper and glass to sell to junk shops that surround Payatas. Here songs and food were shared with the very grateful children! As well, over 200 pairs of flip flops were given out!
The MMICC had an incredible beginning as in their first eight days, God showered them with eight additions – three baptisms, three restorations and two place memberships of disciples seeking revival directly from our former fellowship!
On Tuesday, June 16th, Elena & I continued on our missionary journey and landed early in the morning in Sydney, Australia! Joe & Kerry Willis have done an outstanding job leading this now one year old church in this very atheistic country.
Yet, this second year, the Sydney Church has not seen the forceful advancement for which they had dreamed and prayed. For the next few days, we spent time with the leaders listening to their perspectives, studying the Scriptures and praying.
Then we preached to the church on Thursday night! On Saturday, Elena preached for the Women’s Day on the theme – LET IT GO! Praise God that Sydney’s 13 women disciples had an attendance of 34!
With this great attendance, the entire church believed again that “the fields are ripe for harvest!” (John 4:35) This Sunday, another awesome Chinese college student was baptized into Christ continuing to build the Hong Kong Mission Team!I flew back with Elena to LA on Sunday, June 21st and met that evening with Tim & Lianne Kernan – who did a marvelous job leading LA in our absence – and the LA Shepherding Couples: Nick & Denise Bordieri and Tony & Therese Untalan to catch up on how the City of Angels Church was doing! A glowing report was given!The next morning, I was off to Abidjan, Ivory Coast for the First African Missions Conference (AMC)! After four plane flights, I arrived at about 10PM on Tuesday night and received one of the warmest welcomes imaginable! Not only did the 75 disciples at the airport sing in French We Love You With The Love Of The Lord, but then I was ushered outside where I was presented with a gorgeous bouquet of flowers!
Then to the beat of African drums, the Abidjan disciples spread a beautiful blanket on the ground and one by one different disciples danced on it for me as my formal welcome! Then Blaise Feumba whispered in my ear, “Bro, get ready because they would like to have you dance for them!” Andrew Smellie must have seen my facial expression, and encouragingly said, “Bro, just take my hand and follow my lead and I’ll help you out with the rhythm!” So Andrew and I danced for the Abidjan Church!
In many respects, the AMC began in earnest the next day! I was blessed to have a brother and preacher from the Mainline Church of Christ in Nigeria – Benedict Atason – come from contact on Facebook! After three days of Bible study and discussions about the differences between the International Christian Churches and the Mainline Church of Christ, Benedict wholeheartedly decided to join God’s new movement and to bring those he influences in Lagos with him!
Officially the AMC began on Friday afternoon with the Bible Talk Leaders Session!
On Saturday, we had Men and Women Sessions in the morning. Then in the afternoon, we participated in a very moving MERCY Event of feeding the starving children in the heart of Abidjan!
Saturday night a Great Banquet was held at Paul & Odile Bekoin’s house! An incredible feast was prepared which included such delicacies as fish heads and giant snails!
On the Sunday morning of the African Missions Conference, gathered with the 200 disciples from Ivory Coast were a total of 26 other disciples from the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Africa, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Sierra Leone, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, France, England and the United States! We had an amazing attendance of 498 with 12 baptisms and the restoration of Lyly Ngungu – the awesome wife of Micky Ngungu!
With so many remnant disciples in Africa joining the new movement, I am reminded of God’s words in Jeremiah 23:3-4, “I myself will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the countries where I have driven them and will bring them back to their pasture, where they will be fruitful and increase in number. I will place shepherds over them [so] they will no longer be afraid, nor will any be missing!”I began to fly home that night… and after five flights arrived in Los Angeles late on Monday night tired but totally in awe of God and His forcefully advancing movement!For the City of Angels Church, the months of May and June have been times of leadership transitions! The Spirit has sent out incredible leaders from LA: Kyle & Joan Bartholomew, Marc & Maika Carbonell, Zach Shields, RJ Castro, Johnny Cortez and Ariel Butler to Manila; Cesar & Debbie Limon and Fernando & Jackie Chavez to Portland; Anthony & Cassidy Olmos to London; Jake & Jen Ramsier and Curt & Morgan Valdez to Honolulu; Princeton & Joy George to San Diego; and Dennis & Corrina Sloan to Santa Barbara! In total so far in 2015, exactly 40 disciples have been sent out to strengthen and plant churches!
During this same two month span, we have welcomed several new leaders to our church family: Tim & Lianne Kernan from Toronto, Ricky & Coleen Challinor from Portland, Evan & Kelly Bartholomew from San Diego, Ron & Tracy Harding from Washington DC, Nick & Jackie Economo from Chicago, Rich & Angie Tabizon from Manila, Preston & Shawna Inkley from Boston, and Lou Jack & Cathi Martinez from Honolulu – who baptized their daughter Christine on July 4th!
Also, we are beginning a training program for South Asia Missions in the OC Region of LA under the dynamic leadership of Luke & Brandyn Speckman – who oversee this geographic area of the world which includes the 1.27 billion people of India! Roger & Yassa Green of Chennai have just arrived to train for six months!
In addition, congratulations to all of our High School and College Graduates! A very special congratulations goes to Avrie Blackwell who was the Valedictorian for Crenshaw High School!
As well, congratulations to our Central Region Interns Bryson & Jazmine Okuno, who were married in their home city of Honolulu on June 14, 2015! Also we are so happy for Mike & Stephanie Schafer of the OC Region who were married on June 19th!
Our third wedding was of extra special joy because after years of living together Juan & Eunice Luna became disciples in the Southland Region, and then were married today! Their two kids Joey and Jenisis were as fired up as dad and mom!
Even in the midst of all these transitions, in the first 181 days of this year God has blessed the City of Angels Church with 247 additions – 190 baptisms, 21 restorations and 36 place memberships! And to God be all the glory!NEWS FLASH: The 2015 Global Leadership Conference is just days away! Though the “pre-festivities” begin on Tuesday, July 28th, the actual conference begins Friday morning July 31st and concludes Sunday afternoon August 2nd! Our theme this year is SAVIOR OF THE WORLD and indeed this is why we gather annually in LA for this historic seminar!
The registration fee is $175 again this year and you may register online at: 2015glc.eventbrite.com. So far 441 have registered. Our “break even goal” is 1,400! So please register today and pray for this life-changing conference!
NEWS FLASH – Nick Bordieri: “You’re So Special!” – The Seventh Annual International Day of MERCY! “The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.”(Galatians 5:6) Everyone needs that special touch of Jesus, and this is especially true for the poor and needy around the world!I was so encouraged to receive the good news to hear about how each of you, MERCY Ambassadors, expressed your faith through love by touching the lives of those less fortunate across the globe from the Annual MERCY Community Day Fair in Hilo; to serving orphans in Santiago, Sao Paulo, Haiti and Phoenix; to community beautification projects in Chennai, San Francisco and Boston; to restoration projects in NYC; to youth education programs in Dallas, Syracuse and Washington DC; to serving those with disabilities in Chicago and Moscow; and to encouraging the elderly in Brazil and Houston; and feeding the poor in Abidjan and Manila!
For the International Day of MERCY in Los Angeles over 600 MERCY Ambassadors divided up into five super regions, and were provided the basics of disaster and emergency preparedness by the American Red Cross. The question is not if something happens, but when! By being prepared for what to do in a natural disaster or emergency situations, like fires, car accidents, shooting incidents and terrorist acts, we become part of the solution rather than victims that need special attention. Echoing the Red Cross’ slogan for disaster and emergency preparedness, “The worst disaster is not being prepared!”
The impact on the lives of so many around the world during the International Day of MERCY 2015 can be summed up by the three words in a card written by one of our youngsters to encourage the homeless in London: “You are special!”I’ll close with a quote from Trina Strand, the Director of Janus Youth – a transitional housing program for homeless youth in Portland, “These kids get forgotten by everyone else, and the fact that you guys are here helping shows them that they matter!”
Thank you MERCY Ambassadors for letting the poor, needy and less fortunate in your communities know that they matter to us and to God! Through your relentless efforts, the loving touch of Jesus is making them feel “so special!”And now more good news from our world sectors around the globe…HEADLINE NEWS – USA SW QUADRANTJeremy Ciaramella: In 1 Chronicles 28:17 it is written, “I know, my God, that you test the heart and are pleased with integrity. All these things have I given willingly and with honest intent. And now I have seen with joy how willingly your people who are here have given to you.”In the Valley of “the Son,” we are rejoicing that God has blessed the willing hearts of the brothers and sisters! We blew out Special Missions with over 104% of our goal! God also blessed us with five additions in the month of June! We are so grateful for the efforts and creativity of our AMS House Church Leaders, Josiah & Kristin Smith! They planned the “So You Think You Have Talent” Event this year and rallied many in the church around this amazing production! Some very talented artists performed and were reached-out to as well as over $5,000 profit was raised for missions!
We also profited greatly from our brother Anthony Patterson’s visit to the African Missions Conference! Upon his return, he gave a very stirring and sobering account of his experiences in Abidjan, opening our eyes to how privileged we are in the USA!
The first of the five added to our number by God was an amazing single mother – Tasha Moore! She’s been attending church for almost a year and her oldest teenage daughter Jazylyn is now studying the Bible! Next, God brought us “triplets” on Father’s Day! He added a college student named Cisco, a single brother named Darryl, and the physical sister to our campus ministry women’s leader Brittany Bulerin – Deliisa! It is totally inspiring to see God change Deliisa’s heart from persecuting her sister to now living as a joyful and faithful disciple!
The Lord also added to our number our newest sister Regina Daniel, and so all of us are so very grateful to see God growing His church!
“This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples!” (John 15:8) We are humbled and grateful to be witnessing our Father’s glory in Phoenix!Victor Gonzalez: Greetings from Las Vegas! “Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us…” (Ephesians 3:20) A year ago, David & Sonia Green came to Las Vegas as a part of the missionary group to strengthen the church! Now after having an awesome and productive year, they are being sent to Orlando as potential members of the Miami Mission Team to continue their training under our dear friends Matt & Helen Sullivan! I am super proud of my daughter and my son in the faith and even though it is very painful to separate from them, my wife Sonia & I understand that this is the price to evangelize the world!
Last week, we had Jonathan & Bree’s wedding! Today is David & Sonia’s last Sunday here in Vegas and we had an awesome Sunday, as well as another wedding – Saul & Shirlyn – and they were baptized immediately following the ceremony! It is incredible seeing God change their lives!
We are getting ready for an amazing GLC and super fired-up to have the opportunity to fellowship with disciples from all over the world!HEADLINE NEWS – USA NW QUADRANT & CANADACesar Limon: “In His defense Jesus said to them, ‘My Father is always at His work to this very day, and I too am working.'” (John 5:17) Grace and peace in abundance from the Portland Saints! Sadly this past week, Oregon passed a law where people are able to consume, grow and possess marijuana legally and now there are more marijuana shops in Portland than McDonalds or Starbucks! Satan is working to numb out people from reality but thankfully God and His church are working here to do just the opposite as this past month we held the first Portland – ICCM Session, hosted five MERCY Events, and we witnessed nine added to the Portland family – three baptisms, three restorations and three place memberships!First to be baptized was Megan from the Singles Ministry; then Mercedes from the Latin Ministry; and lastly, Arrow at today’s service!
It was amazing how God worked with Arrow to bring him out! Arrow had a prayer Monday morning to find people to study the Bible with and about four hours later he met Jorge Castillo at PSU! Fascinatingly, that same morning Jorge had prayed a specific prayer for God to add more “arrows” to his quiver (Psalm 127:3-5)… Who would have thought that God would not just give him a great PSU student but that his name would literally be “Arrow!”Baptisms are incredible, but equally awesome are restorations and this week Whitney Santos-DiLoreto, a very dear sister to many in the Kingdom, was restored to the Lord! She also gave birth this past week to her new baby boy, Noah!
Lastly it was amazing to have heroes in the faith Juan Carlos, his wife Betty, and his mother Blanca place membership with us from the New York City Church! Great to be in God’s SoldOut Movement! Mucho amor from Portland!
Jake Studer of Toronto: Warm greetings from the “Eh-Team!” We have had an exciting month as God has already richly blessed the work of the campus disciples with our first campus baptism of the summer on the FIRST day of summer – Father’s Day! Our new brother John Froese is a second year Criminology Major at the internationally renowned University of Toronto!
In addition, we are humbled to have celebrated our FIRST YEAR ANNIVERSARY today and enjoyed an incredible service complete with a commemorative video which can be seen on YouTube here: https://youtu.be/m5rcVzgzYUw. To God be all the glory!
Jason Dimitry of San Francisco:“So the Word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly!” (Acts 6:7) June has been a month of incredible victories here in the Bay! We have seen the number of disciples increase by six giving us 106 sold-out disciples in the San Francisco Bay Church!
We were all truly blown away on Father’s Day when we took up our Special Missions Contribution collecting 144% of our Movement Goal! This abundance gives us the means to now see “the Word of God spread” to Sacramento, which means from a Pauline perspective California has been evangelized!It was so inspiring last week to “spy out the land” with the Beases! Jacob & Courtney have so much vision for California’s capital city! Another highlight was seeing the beautiful wedding of Elliot & Camille Svenkeson!
So excited to see you at the GLC!Jacob Beas: Greetings from the soon-to-be Sacramento Church! We are thrilled to report incredible news from the “spying out the land” trip we took with the Dimitrys on June 22-24th! It was both a faith-building and humbling time to visit the Capital of California and to realize that God has already given this incredible city to us! We made a special point of visiting the four largest campuses praying at each one for many souls to be saved there! Then we claimed the land by stomping our feet in unison!We were also able to take the majority of our mission team the following weekend for a day trip, imitating the faith-building time we had with the Dimitrys!
We are eternally grateful for our amazing leaders, Jason & Sarah, who took us under their wings and have invested so much to get us ready for this mission! Can’t wait to be sent out at the GLC! See you there!HEADLINE NEWS – USA SOUTH QUADRANTMike Patterson: “However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me – the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.” (Acts 20:24) Greetings from Gainesville! We have been in the race to win souls not only spiritually but physically as well! Our Annual 5K Run For Missions is a fundraiser for our Special Missions Contribution to support God’s work around the world. We run the race and then have church in the park!
Congratulations to Jason (University of Florida baseball player and disciple!) who won the event this year! It was coordinated by our brother Brady Vaughn with this year’s theme being the Fire & Ice: Water Run!
We added a “slip and slide” in the middle of the race and at the finish line with participants being sprayed with water guns and possibly hit by water balloons! God helped us the following week to blow out our 25X Special Missions Goal by raising over $36,000!
Not only are we running the race to raise money to win souls but also to complete “the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace” through people being added to God’s church. On June 24th after Men’s Midweek, we saw an incredible University of Florida student named Evenson baptized into Christ and then today we were able to witness an amazing young woman named Kelsey make Jesus Lord by entering the waters of baptism!
We also want to thank Anthony & Elizabeth Eckels for hosting an incredible Singles Retreatin Destin, Florida last weekend for the US South Quadrant Churches. We came back with a vision of an AMS Ministry and had our first ever AMS Life Group (Bible Talk) with five visitors at a coffee shop that was hosting an Open Mic Night! Please pray for our Bring Your Neighbor Day this Sunday! We look forward to seeing you at the GLC and to God be all the glory!Tyler Sears: Greetings and “Howdy Y’all” from Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW)! The last couple weeks have been encouraging as the Lord added three to our number – one baptism and two restorations! Several weeks ago Sarah was baptized into Christ after meeting Jodwin at his job. She was doing an internship and was impacted by Jodwin’s boldness and his life!Also, Anthony & Kayla Clark were restored last week! After moving to DFW from Tulsa, Oklahoma for the sake of being in a SoldOut Movement Church, they shared how their sins had taken them out of the Kingdom but rejoiced at the chance to do it “God’s way” again! Shay & I were personally inspired as they were an answered prayer!
Matt Sullivan: Greetings from the Orlando Church! Indeed, nothing is impossible for our God! We committed to the needs of the movement months ago to give $38,000 for Special Missions and to give again in November… but wanted to give all at once so our goal June 15th was $50,000! We then set a faith goal of $65,000! God did the impossible and blessed us with $76,106!Another financial miracle was seeing God answer our prayer to have Adrian Jimenez come on Staff! So we prayed and his family committed to supporting him for a year full-time by giving his intern salary directly to the church! Also a joy to the entire congregation is our newest dating couple – Adrian Jimenez & Kacie Fligor!
In the last three days, the Lord added to our number again as Dinayjah and Stefen were baptized from our Full-Sail Singles/Campus Bible Talk! And to God be the glory!HEADLINE NEWS – EUROPEMichael Williamson: Greetings from London England! Amidst historic warm weather here in the UK, it’s been a joy watching the Holy Spirit move through the London International Christian Church! God has blessed the church with eight additions and a new dating couple in the past five weeks! It was awesome to see two siblings come to the Lord; Jeanette Yeboha’s brother Ridge was the first to be baptized; then Kenny Giwa’s brother and semi-pro footballer (soccer player) Sadique was baptized a week later! The Kingdom unifying families is what it’s all about!
The following week Sadique was determined to convert his best friend Michael who is actually just as talented on the football pitch! God blessed his prayers as Michael was added just a week later!We then baptized an incredible young Hungarian woman named Eni (Annie) who’s gentle and quiet spirit refreshed the saints! Eni’s story is amazing as she was baptized into the Golders Green Bible Talk after her cousin, who stopped studying the Bible, gave her a share card and said that Eni would find the studies helpful!
The following week, we hosted the Singles Retreat where an incredible zealous brother Sean, asked our dear sister MJ to be his girlfriend!!!!
We also restored our sister Stephanie at Campus Devo, and baptized an incredible Lithuanian single professional man named Arunis!
The following weekend, we had an incredible Marrieds Encouragement Weekend, where we were able to have a lovely boat cruise, dinner and for “dessert” all the men recited poems to their wives (flowers in hand) in front of huge crowds in South London’s beautiful historic Richmond Area!Lastly, Anthony & Cassidy arrived from LA on Monday and the church is so fired up! Anthony has already been dubbed “Instant Impact Anthony,” accompanied with his amazing wife “Kind Cassidy!” We are so honored to work side-by-side with this amazing couple building Europe for God’s glory! Thank you LA, and all who have poured their hearts into this amazing young couple!
Cassidy wilted hearts with her communion, and Anthony flat preached the Word at Bible Talk Leaders Meeting! Can’t wait to see you in a few weeks at the GLC!
HEADLINE NEWS – RUSSIAN COMMONWEALTHElena Sirotkina: Greetings from the Moscow, Russia and the Kiev, Ukraine Churches! This past month in Moscow started out great as we had the encouraging visit of Luke & Brandyn Speckman fresh from their missionary trip to Chennai, India!With this boost in June, the Moscow and Kiev Churches added 11 new brothers and sisters by baptism! Our two great and faithful brothers from Congo – who were baptized less than two months ago – shared their faith with students in the People’s Friendship University of Russia. And so at the beginning of June, Stephen from Cameroon and Zhan-Pol from Congo were baptized!The next Sunday, we had an amazing International Service where everyone came in costumes representative of their nationalities! It’s was funny, colorful and most importantly a fruitful service, where we witnessed four baptisms – two men and two women!
So great to see how God is adding to the church in Moscow people from different nationalities who are living in Russia! This Thursday, we had the baptism of Timur from Kalmykia (Muslim Republic) from the Bible Talk of Timur & Vika Butakov! Now we have two brothers and a sister from this country! So pray for the mission team that God is forming for this great nation!
Another great news is from our dear church in Kiev, Ukraine! One year ago our daughter Sofiia was baptized into Christ! After one month, we were able to visit Ukraine and encourage our church there. On Sunday service, Sofiia met her friend Irina from Kids Kingdom! Irina, was very humble to ask Sofiia to study the Bible with her. Sofiia felt privileged to do it and after some time Irina was baptized!Irina, who is 15 years old, prayed to be fruitful, and two months ago she shared her faith on campus and invited Ludmila, who started to study the Bible! Ludmila shared her faith with her roommate Alina and both of them decided to become disciples and were baptized! Then Alina asked her classmate Masha to help with preparation for an exam. Masha was kind and came to help, but Alina thought that she doesn’t have the money to pay Masha… Then she realized that she had a lot more than money – her faith and a little knowledge of the Bible! Masha was atheist, but because of Alina’s teaching from the Bible, she was interested to go to service. Last Sunday, we were able to see this miracle of faith as Masha was baptized!
For the Day of MERCY, Moscow held a photo contest titled, “The Moment” to raise awareness for people with disabilities. Over 110 photographs from across Russia were displayed. This momentous event was attended not only by the public but also government delegates, sponsors and founders of philanthropic foundations!
On June 27-28th, we had our first Campus Retreat near Moscow and five new disciples from Ukraine registered and after 20 hours trip by bus came to their first Campus Retreat! In a time where the countries of Russia and Ukraine have a very tense relationship, it great to see that in the Kingdom there is nothing but peace and love! To Him be the glory!HEADLINE NEWS – AFRICAAndrew Smellie: To my African Brothers and Sisters: “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!”(Psalm 133:1) I thank God for the opportunity to have met all you at the First African Missions Conference of God’s new movement! It was a privilege to worship side-by-side with you as we prayed for God to gather His remnant from the farthest horizon! (Nehemiah 1:8-9)
I will never forget the privilege to feed the children for our Day of MERCY!
Or the “conga-line” of disciples dancing as Micky led your glorious singing! The Lord blessed us with 498 souls in attendance on Sunday (not including the dancers!) As well we witnessed 12 baptisms and one restoration – Lyly Ngungu!
To God be the glory! It was especially encouraging to notice that the first two baptisms were Soumaila & Judith Gouba, who are now eager to start a remnant group in Burkina Faso!A special note of thanks is due to Amadou & Angele Sountoura of the Mighty Abidjan Church for being such incredible hosts! Patrique & I felt completely cared for and loved. It is my hope that our time together was just the beginning of uniting our hearts as we serve together faithfully building our ministries!
Dear African Family, Let us all take the challenge to have weekly D-times with our discipling partners as we pray for God to bring forth an abundant harvest throughout the continent of Africa! Pray for the “reconstruction” of the Abidjan and Korezouzoua, Ivory Coast Remnant Groups (numbering about 140 and 60 respectively), where each member will “count the cost” to be added to the official membership list! Prayerfully, Abidjan will celebrate their Inaugural Service on July 19th and Korezouzoua will celebrate their Inaugural in late August!Looking forward to returning to Africa in early 2016 with my wife and dearest partners in the gospel – Blaise & Patricia Feumba – to see for the first time our 325 member Kinshasa, DRC Church dynamically led by Micky Ngungu and Lola Lof!
For a slideshow on the AMC please see go to: https://drive.google.com/a/usd21.org/file/d/0B4P43SUHI40mUkE3N0ExYzR1Tk0/view! We are family…to the end!HEADLINE NEWS – CENTRAL & SOUTH AMERICAAlfredo Anuch: Greetings from Santiago de Chile! Although the past few weeks have been extremely cold here (it’s winter in the Southern Hemisphere!), the church has been completely on fire!!! In the last five weeks, God has blessed us with eight additions!Ramón, the father of our young disciples Gonzalo and Paulina, came to visit and when he realized the changes in his children, he decided to study the Bible… In less than two weeks, Ramón was baptized! His words were, “Finally, after so many, many years, I’ve found the church of God!”
Onésimo & Jolymar, an incredible Venezuelan married couple, visited the church after finding us on the Internet! Onésimo, having studied theology and with an ample knowledge of the Scriptures, and Jolymar, a journalist by profession, became like children to receive the message and thus be born again!
Equally encouraging, Jorge was baptized in the ICOC in 1990 which was the year that the church here in Santiago was planted! He was a faithful disciple up to 1996… After 19 years of being lost, José Andrés, our Shepherd-in-training, had Jorge on his heart. So José Andrés contacted him, talked about the Lord, and the new movement! Jorge was so excited that after a month of studying and repenting, he was restored!
And, this Sunday, Felipe – another Civil Engineering student at the prestigious Universidad Católica – was baptized! Malcolm met him and in just two weeks Felipe became a disciple! To God be the glory!
Raul Moreno: “For this reason I kneed before the Father, from whom every family in and on earth derives its name.”(Ephesians 3:14-15) Greetings from your fellow brothers and sisters in Sao Paulo, Brazil! We look forward to seeing all the churches at the GLC in just three weeks!In June, the Lord was good to us as two more USP campus students were baptized! First Sandra was baptized who is doing her doctorate in Statistics! Then Rafael was baptized, who is in his first year doing Engineering! As well this past month, two amazing single women were baptized! Their names are Giovanna and Amanda! God has been very good to us! We love you with the love of the Lord!
Carlos Mejia: “The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”(John 3:8) Greetings from the SoldOut Movement disciples in Mexico City and a very Happy Fourth of July to all of our American brothers and sisters!The month of June brought with it the spiritual winds of change with the bulk of the Supplemental Mission Team from Santiago arriving in June. Although change can be challenging (especially when moving from country to country) these 12 gallant disciples have given up every comfort for the cause of Jesus and have already strengthened the church here in immeasurable ways! We are all eager and excited to build a pillar church for all of Mexico and Central America!
Amidst all of the transitions, God has not ceased to add to our number through baptisms and several restorations! Noteworthy was the restoration of a very dynamic “veteran” couple, Hugo & Adriana Barcelo who came directly from our former fellowship seeking revival! After coming out to service to see a longtime friend Jose Luis Cruz be restored, they immediately recognized that this was the “church that they were baptized into!” As they traversed through the Bible studies, skillfully led by Jose & Daniela Otero, the Barcelos were asked how they felt about placing membership, to which they emphatically responded, “WE NEED TO BE RESTORED!” Many tears were shed as they shared at their restoration!
And so all of us, together with the angels in Heaven, rejoiced in the fact that the Lord is gathering His remnant! And to Him be all the glory!HEADLINE NEWS – PACIFIC RIM & AUSTRAL-CHINAKyle Bartholomew: “The Word of God continued to increase and spread!” (Acts 12:24) In early May, the Manila Mission Team was sent out from the City of Angels Church! Upon landing there was so much to do, but the Manila Remnant Group and especially Rich & Angie Tabizon made it a very smooth landing!On June 7, 2015 was our Inaugural Service where 49 disciples from the Remnant Group and nine from the Mission Team saw God bring 306 and one baptism and two restorations! There were so many open people and remnant disciples! We so appreciate Joe & Kerry Willis, Michael & Sharon Kirchner, Kirk & Margie Hamula, and especially Kip & Elena helping with all the visitors that day!
One very special remnant couple visited that morning – Simple & Jehney Castro! Though they were a bit distant at first they were quick to accept an invitation by the McKeans to study with them about the core convictions of the new movement!
The following Sunday was spectacular as we had 155 at service as Kip preached a great lesson on True Greatness! Other highlights that day included two more baptisms and the placing of membership by the Castros! They brought their four daughters, and at their time of sharing before the congregation, Simple in tears and holding up a very weathered Bible said, “For 14 years my life has been Hell! Though I have never missed church, when the former fellowship abandoned discipling and accountability, to my shame, I went back to my old sins even worse than before!”
This Sunday, the three oldest daughters placed membership – Kendi (pronounced “Candy”), Keyk (pronounced “Cake”), Chocolate Kisses – and the youngest – Caramel – was baptized! Needless to say, the Castros are a very “sweet” family!
So just 29 days after our Inaugural Service, God has blessed us with 22 additions – 11 baptisms, six restorations and five place memberships directly from the ICOC!
Joe Willis: Greetings from the Kingdom “DOWN UNDER,” also known as the Sydney International Christian Church! If we could explain the love and joy that have been bred into the disciples by the Lord’s triumphant and gracious victories, it would be best depicted in Psalm 96:11, “Let the Heavens REJOICE, let the earth BE GLAD; let the sea RESOUND, and ALL that is in it!”First off, on the 20th of June this year, God blessed the church with such inspiration through a gorgeous and spectacular Women’s Day! What a “faith-increasing” moment it was as the 13 sisters stepped up to the plate and were therefore blessed with an amazing total of 21 friends and family present! With the beautiful theme LET IT GO, the Spirit truly led the event to deeply impact everyone’s hearts! From vibrant sea-blue colors in flowers and decor, to heart-wrenching testimonies of young and tender-hearted Christians, to an outstanding powerful skit creatively pieced together, and to finally, the courageous barrier-breaking speech brilliantly done by Elena McKean, so many friends and family eagerly signed up to return for either Bible studies or to be part of Bible discussions!
In addition to God’s generosity and plan to encourage us with Kip & Elena visiting, at our church’s MERCY Event, we cleaned up a common beach area at Neutral Bay by taking away glass, drug needles, etc! A local resident took notice of the significant efforts made by the disciples who served wholeheartedly that day! This kind gentleman saw it in his heart to thank the Sydney International Church with a donation to Special (in a time of such need) totaling $200!
Since Kip & Elena’s visit, with renewed vision and direction, we have seen a dramatic change in forceful advancement, starting with the baptism of our new Christian brother Calvin Shuen, an Australian national from Hong Kong studying at Macquarie University! This baptism is doubly special as he is the younger brother of our sister Themis, who had been praying to see her brother become a Christian this year as part of her “2015 impossible prayers!”
HEADLINE NEWS – USA NORTH QUADRANT & INDIAChris Broom of New York City: Greetings from “The City That Never Sleeps!” The disciples here have been working tirelessly to fund-raise for World Missions and now, the Global Leadership Conference! With a Missions Contribution goal of $148,000, the 136 disciples of NYC gave $156,905! Amen!Then, in the spirit of missions, on Sunday June 28th, we bid farewell to some incredible disciples! First, we sent-off some of my dearest friends, Juan Carlos Garcia, his wife Betty, his daughter Samantha, and his mother Blanca to be with the Portland Church. Juan Carlos has been very ill for many years, is still in need of a kidney transplant, and is on dialysis every day. Despite all this, he has fought valiantly to build Spanish Ministries in all the churches that he has been a part of, and now as he returns to the Portland Church, we pray that he will be able to regain his health and be a powerful part of the Spanish Ministry there!
The Lord has blessed us to receive two incredible sisters: Hope Gbadayor, from the Syracuse Church, and Malorie Dela Cruz, from the San Diego Church who has come to train for the ministry alongside her boyfriend Amar Panduranga!
We were also thrilled to send Aaron Viscichini & Sharmayne Villarino to Manila to be a part of the Inaugural Service there! Sharmayne brought out 14 of her friends and family to church that day! Aaron & Sharmayne are engaged to be married on December 19th and are our newest Region Leaders as they now lead the Brooklyn / Staten Island Region!
Aaron has hit the ground running and baptized two men at St. Francis College (both named John)! We are currently praying to baptize “3rd” John! Also, another CCNY student, Marcus, was baptized as well!
Finally, our incredibly talented brother Ernest Felton Baker, winner of the US Presidential Scholarship at the Kennedy Center, and a cast that included 18 disciples and some of our “talented teens” performed this month on the main stage at the historic 2015 Harlem Arts Festival! His Biblically inspired work HOME is an incredible performance that involved praise, hip hop, African, contemporary and interpretive dancing, hymns and sermons! When asked by the announcer what HOME was about Ernest said, “The journey from dark to light!” To God be the glory!
Courtney Parlour: This past month has been action packed here in Syracuse! Joel was grateful to see a lifelong dream be fulfilled as he went to the African Missions Conference! He came home with an inspired faith and vision! Thank you Abidjan Church for hosting such a historic weekend! This is only the beginning of the thousands of miracles to come! Also, we are very happy to have our Russian missionary home from Moscow, Oksana Ososkolo!
About nine months ago, Akilah was reached out to on campus by Miriam and Gina. She studied the Bible and almost got baptized but then walked away. The women stayed in contact with her and through their persistence and many prayers, Akilah was inspired to come back to church! She studied the Bible for a few more months and finally surrendered everything over to God! When it was time to answer the questions at baptism she quickly said, “Jesus is Lord! Let’s go!” She could not get into the waters of baptism quick enough!
Also, our brother Kwaku was restored today! He is more zealous than ever before to win Syracuse University to Christ! A special thanks to Chris Broom for preaching an incredible sermon today! Chris & Theresa and many other disciples from Boston and New York City joined us for worship today and then we had the amazing wedding of Tyler & Sarah Payne! We believe God is going to do countless miracles through them in the years to come!Maria Franklin of Chicago: “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, ‘The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.'”(Lamentations 3:22-24) What an incredible month! Today we celebrated the Great Chicago Church’s Nine Year Anniversary! It was an awesome time of celebration of what God has done these past years!Jay’s sermon however encouraged us to make tomorrow and the days to come the “Glory Days!” Of note of the original Chicago Mission Team, so many have been sent out from Chicago on other plantings all around the movement! That said only five remain: Jay & Barb Shelbrack, Joe & Denise Chiappetta, and my husband Anthony Franklin!This month God has blessed the church with six additions – four baptisms and two place memberships! Two of the baptisms were daughters of members here in Chicago! Marisol is the daughter of Letty & Moises! Jennifer, a teen, is the daughter of Veronica who was just baptized in March!
Also of note, Walter, who is from China, was baptized and will be graduating with a Masters in Accounting at DePaul University!This month we participated in our Fourth Annual Men’s Retreat with the North Region blowing out the competition and winning the coveted “Diotrephes” Trophy. (Diotrephes in 3 John “loves to be first!”) It was a day of food, fun and games!
Finally we are so fired up to have seven new Unpaid Interns for the Summer! Pray for us to have an incredible Summer Surge this month!Coltin Rohn: Greetings from Boston – the land of many “hahvast fields!” “‘The silver is mine and the gold is mine,’ declares the Lord Almighty.” (Haggai 2:8) With a Missions Contribution Goal of $50,000, God gave us over $52,000 – thanks to 30 disciples giving well over 100%!God also allowed us to baptize a physical therapist from Nigeria and is God’s encouragement to us and the movement as his name is “Endurance!”We also had a great Day of MERCY as we continued our bond with the Lynn School District Coalition, and also with KIPP (Knowledge is Power Program)! Pray as Ted Karonis may become the Camp Director for “Camp Free” and would provide a way to help so many poor children throughout the North Shore!
Debs Rajan of Chennai: Greetings from the land of 210 languages – India! Raja, my awesome husband, has deep convictions that in order to evangelize India and the surrounding nations, every disciple needs to know a minimum of three languages: English, Hindi and the local language of the state! So the Chennai disciples have started taking Hindi classes!
Excitingly, Philip, a Pentecostal Pastor who was baptized in Chennai, went back to his hometown in Raipur and started preaching about his transformation and God’s new movement! To assist him, we sent Roger, Yassa, Parthiban and Amanda to study the Bible with his congregation! Bad weather, poor living conditions, different food habits – nothing could stop these valiant disciples from baptizing those who were willing!So amazing, Anil, who was leading three churches, studied the Bible and went back to his churches and told them that “he is not a ‘true Christian’ so they too are not ‘true Christians!'” Then he too came to Chennai and was baptized!
Philip’s wife Pinky, his niece Dolly, Alisha and her sister Asha, her friend Princykala and Dhasharath’s wife Sushma all were baptized in the river! We now have nine disciples in the Raipur International Christian Church! To God be the glory!
Dear Brothers and Sisters: In closing, let us fall to our knees to praise our Almighty God and Father for an incredible 20X Missions Contribution in the United States Churches for international missions that now totals over $1,500,000! As well, let us give praise to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for the Day of MERCY celebrated by all 59 SoldOut Movement Churches in 29 nations!
Let us continue to pray for what promises to be the best Global Leadership Conference… yet! “Finally, brothers, pray… that the message of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honored, just as it was with you!” And to God be all the glory!