SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA – On September 13th, with a mission team of 14 disciples led by Jacob & Courtney Beas and 35 visiting disciples, the Lord blessed the Inaugural Service of the Sacramento City International Christian Church with an attendance of 132!
At the awe-inspiring Inaugural Service, Courtney shared in tears about her conversion during communion and Jacob preached a dynamic message from John 4 entitled, A CLOSE ENCOUNTER OF THE JESUS KIND!
Already, the Lord has blessed this young congregation with two baptisms and two restorations!
This energetic mission team was composed of disciples from the Portland, Eugene and San Francisco Churches and funded exclusively by our brothers and sisters in San Francisco, while also contributing to our movement’s 20X Missions Collection in May! This is the fifth congregation in the State of California which joins Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco and Santa Barbara! As Jason Dimitry – the Lead Evangelist in San Francisco – proclaimed, “With churches established in the five largest population centers of this great state, from a Pauline perspective, California has been evangelized!” (Acts 19:10)
Elena & I were very moved as we saw the fulfillment of 2 Timothy 2:2, where Paul admonished Timothy, “And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others.” In this Scripture are four generations of discipleship: Paul, Timothy, “reliable men” and “others!” So at the service were Jacob & Courtney so well trained by Jason & Sarah Dimitry, who were trained by Tim & Lianne Kernan, who Elena & I were given by God to train!
Most often when a congregation sacrifices and sends out the mission team leaders and members, there is a subsequent slowing down of evangelism. It should be noted that San Francisco also had the privilege to host the IGNITE Teen Event in July! Yet the Mighty San Francisco Church remained undeterred and undistracted! Since the 2015 Global Leadership Conference in early August, the Lord has blessed this thriving congregation with 13 baptisms! Two of those baptisms were Sierra and Nicco who were baptized at San Francisco’s Third Anniversary Service last Sunday! They were both brought out by their high school friend and now fellow SFSU classmate, Matthew, who was just baptized two weeks ago! The three of them are now best friends in the Kingdom!
The San Francisco Anniversary Service was electric with 176 in attendance! They also unveiled the “Canaan Project” which is the plan that God put on their heart to evangelize the greater San Francisco Area! Pray for all the churches in California to have an incredible Fall harvest! And to God be the glory!
Argo Arneson preached in Swedish – while translated into English by Erik af Klint – the heartfelt message, A WELL FOR ETERNAL LIFE! Not only did Argo also use the account of Jesus and the Samaritan woman, but he closed this amazing sermon with Genesis 26:18, “Isaac reopened the wells that had been dug in the time of his father Abraham, which the Philistines had stopped up after Abraham died, and he gave them the same names his father had given them.” Argo inspired all with the concept that the Spirit had sent the team from LA to Stockholm to once again dig up the wells of “living waters” that had been filled with earth and rubbish – false doctrine and disillusionment from the fall of our former fellowship. He promised to call people back to the pure Word of God being unafraid to name our efforts with the same names as when our earlier movement was proliferating such as Bible Talks and Discipleship Partners!
One of the many highlights of Sunday was the baptism of Tamara from their Campus Ministry led by the new dating couple Kaspar Tambaur & Ashley Godwin! Our fantastic new sister Tamara, who is a student in Stockholm University, has an Iraqi background so the questions before her baptism were asked in her mother tongue. Everybody was inspired to hear Tamara proclaiming her good confession in Arabic, “يسوع هو الرب” – “Jesus is Lord!”
That night, we gathered in the same old and striking brick-walled room beautifully decorated and illuminated by candle light to celebrate this great victory for God’s glory! Anu Arneson – who had many sleepless nights preaching the Word and dealing with challenges – prepared “carrot cheese soup,” an amazingly delicious Swedish meal! Afterward, so many on the mission team shared about the incredible service and the openness of their visitors!
Let’s continue to remember the 2015 European Missions Conference in London on November 5-8, 2015 where those that participate will be able to meet our heroic brothers and sisters of Stockholm!
So as Argo proclaimed, let’s reopen the wells of the living water welling up to eternal life in all nations! And to our God be all the glory!
NEWS FLASH – The Nigerian Call
Several months ago, Benedict Atason – a 61 year old Mainline Church of Christ preacher from a small city in Nigeria – contacted me on Facebook. I invited him to the 2015 African Missions Conference in Abidjan, Ivory Coast in late June. Proving his sincerity to join the movement, he paid his own way through his savings and selling possessions. At the conference, Benedict studied the Five Core Convictions of the SoldOut Movement with Andrew Smellie, Blaise Feumba and me for three straight days. Afterward, Benedict simply said, “I’m all in!” Then again paying his own way, Benedict came to the 2015 GLC and stayed for a month to learn from the City of Angels Church!
He was so excited that he contacted his oldest son who is a Mainline Church of Christ preacher in Lagos. After studying with his father and Andrew, Goodhope Atason joined God’s new movement but the cost was losing his paid position at his Mainline Church of Christ congregation. Excitingly, Goodhope has initiated the Lagos ICC Remnant Group! As of today, he is in Los Angeles visiting us to strengthen his convictions!
Interestingly, Nigeria has a population of 182 million people and is the seventh most populated nation in the world! Forecasters believe that in the next 30 years Nigeria’s population will soar beyond the United States to 440 million! The capital city of Lagos has the present metropolitan population of over 21 million and thus is the largest city in Africa!
In Acts 16:9-10, Luke writes about the Macedonian Call, “During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, ‘Come over to Macedonia and help us.’ After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.” Very similarly, we have seen a man of Nigeria – Benedict – begging us to “Come over to Nigeria and help us!” Andrew believes that this is God calling him to preach the gospel to them! So we are getting ready to do this at once! Therefore, this Good News Email is the Nigerian Call for all disciples in any of our churches who hold Nigerian passports (or who can obtain them) to join Andrew & Patrique Smellie when they leave to plant the Lagos International Christian Church on April 1, 2016!
Therefore, joining our new plantings in Abidjan and Korezouzoua, Ivory Coast, will be the following plantings in Africa in 2016: 1) In February 2016, Blaise and Andrew will travel to Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo to plant this congregation through reconstructing the 350 member remnant group! 2) Lagos will be planted by a mission team sent out from LA in April 2016 which will join the small remnant group led by Goodhope! 3) The Johannesburg Mission Team will be sent out from LA at the 2016 World Missions Jubilee in August! After building the Lagos Church for four months, the Smellies will then leave Lagos to lead this Tenth Crown of Thorns Planting!
Debs Rajan: Vannakkam! (Greetings!) The Lord has been blessing us abundantly since our Inaugural Service one year ago on September 21, 2014! God has blessed us with 102 additions – 95 baptisms and 7 restorations!
The beginning days were difficult as we did not have a mission team of trained disciples since we were a remnant group. Therefore, most of the disciples were young Christians who had never been outside of India to train in a church such as LA. We are very grateful for Luke & Brandyn Speckman’s effort to visit us, encourage us and train us last September for three weeks. The Speckmans poured out their hearts from six in the morning to late night filling their time with appointments as they admonished and encouraged the disciples.
A special thanks to the LA Church for the increased financial support to have full-time Interns. Once these awesome disciples were full-time, my husband Raja could meet with them every morning for teaching and training. We did have a couple of months with no baptisms and Raja personally showed the way in “going out and making disciples” and the fire caught on! Of special note, he baptized Satish, the Captain of the prestigious Loyola College Football Team, who is doing his Masters in Economics! Satish not only Captains the college team but also plays for professional clubs.
We also baptized Ritchie, who is doing his Bachelors in Economics and who leads the Dance, Music and Theatre Group in Loyola College!
Satan, has been trying to discourage us with intense persecutions but our God has been faithful. We have had threatening calls from several disciples’ parents! One set of parents came to our service with lawyers to question us. Their daughter is 22 years old and was working as a Software Engineer. After the service, they forcefully took her away to their hometown. Her father used to beat her with a stick while asking the question, “Can your Jesus save you now?” She refused to compromise! Her parents then admitted her to a mental institution and asked the doctors to drug her so she would lose her memory and forget about the church and Jesus. But our sister kept fighting the good fight! The ordeal ended when she complied to do higher studies, a plan foretold by a pagan Palm Reader!
She accepted to study for her Masters… in Chennai! Her mother and uncle brought her back to Chennai for admission. She took the opportunity to come to church and the disciples were overjoyed to see her! Hugs and tears were exchanged! Sadly, that very night our sister was drugged and made unconscious, her hands and legs bound, and then she was transported back to the same mental institution. She is now kept locked in her house. She is still fighting for her faith! Our God has been protecting her and saving her life. Please remember her in your prayers. In spite of all this, God has blessed the efforts of all the leaders of the Chennai Church by giving us exactly 40 additions – 38 baptisms and 2 restorations – in 60 days! 16 are from the campus!
The whole church is now going through the First Principles Classes. The Chennai Church has matured in so many ways over the past year!
The Chennai disciples are on fire for God and are ready to “go anywhere, do anything and give up everything for Jesus!” To God be all the glory!
Oleg Sirotkin: “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” (Jeremiah 33:3) I still vividly remember that it was a very snowy and cold day on February 1, 2015 for the Inaugural Service of the International Christian Church in Moscow! The Moscow Mission Team was composed of 17 Russian and Ukrainian disciples who spent their own money to travel and train in the South Region of the LA Church! Through God’s grace these 17 courageous disciples were joined by the 33 in the Moscow Remnant Group – who all counted the cost – to form the Moscow ICC! These 50 disciples witnessed a modern day miracle as God gave us an attendance of 227!
Oleg preaching at the Moscow ICC
Congratulations to Dima & Tanya!
We also want to share with you some good news from Kiev, Ukraine! In spite of a very damaged relationship between Russia and Ukraine, at this moment we can truly describe our two churches as one family! Last April, Elena my wife, Sofia and Lida our daughters and I because of visa challenges visited Kiev for several weeks. Sofia studied the Bible with a teen girl Ira – and Ira was baptized! Then in May, Ira invited a campus student Luda, and Luda was baptized! Then the same month, Luda invited her roommate Alina, and Alina was baptized! Then Alina invited her classmate Masha, and Masha was baptized! Now we have a very dynamic Campus Ministry in Kiev Remnant Group!
As Los Angeles pulled us in to train, so we are so happy that on this week the leader of the Kiev Remnant Group – Sasha Axiutkom – is moving to Moscow to train as an intern!
Another addition to our “staff family” is Masha who in spite of severe persecutions from her family sacrificed a very well paying job to become an intern! She also was in LA for training and returned to Moscow to plant the church. God used her to start the Teen Ministry here in Moscow and all of us were so happy to see the first teen baptism in April – her 13-year old sister Janet!
This summer at the GLC, we also saw the Kingdom appointments of Zhenya & Julia Sobolev – former full-time ministers and the leaders of the church in Minsk from the previous movement! Zhenya first met the new movement in 2010 in Kiev. At that moment he was in sin and had many doubts, but after meeting with Kip decided to join! After his good example, four months later Julia joined the movement wholeheartedly! It is amazing to see how God has raised them up! Prayerfully they will lead a church planting in the near future!
Also in 2015, God brought to our congregation two more full-time workers from the ICOC Church of Minsk, Belarus – Slava & Lena Kapskiy! They left their lucrative business and beautiful apartment and moved from Belarus to Moscow to join the new movement and retrain for the ministry!
Keep us in your prayers as God continues to do “great and unsearchable things” in Russia and throughout all Eurasia!
Carlos Mejia: Greetings from the now 50 disciples in the sixth largest metropolis of the world – Mexico City! On the morning of June 14th, my wife Lucy, our two boys and I arrived with the gallant Supplemental Mission Team from Chile and immediately began to dream and realize the vision to evangelize the over 21 million lost souls of Mexico City!
One of the highlights of the church before our arrival was the dynamic Campus Ministry at UNAM (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México), which is home to the 365,000 best and brightest students from all 32 states in Mexico! Starting with just four disciples, this ministry had 10 campus baptisms last semester! The diverse harvest of souls included the following majors: three in accounting, two law students, one in electrical engineering, one mathematics major, one in business administration, and a medical student! We are so proud of Jared & Rachel McGee who valiantly led the church before we landed and at the same time succeeded in building an exciting Campus Ministry!
Another highlight of our good news is our Marrieds Ministry led by Jose & Daniela Otero who restored a very dynamic AMS couple from our former fellowship, Hugo & Adriana! Hugo & Adriana are an artist and voice over actress respectively. Amazingly, Hugo & Adriana have already been fruitful five times in the last few weeks with baptisms and restorations, one of which was a main song leader from our former fellowship! His name is Fernando Cabrera who in turn baptized his wife, Alicia!
Incredibly, in the last six weeks this up-and-coming congregation has had 12 additions; 6 baptisms, 5 restorations, and 1 place membership from our sister church in Toronto!
In the Singles Ministry, one restoration that was especially moving was a young woman named Sadhvi Monfleur, who was originally baptized in the Teen Ministry in LA in 2000. She drifted as she “fell through the cracks” after the demise of our former fellowship. Once she found us online, she visited and at her first service was asked to study the Bible. Immediately she said “yes” and exclaimed that “this is the church in which I was baptized!” Sadhvi studied diligently every day and was restored the very next Sunday! She immediately “got to work” picking up right where she dropped off!
Equally encouraging was the baptism of a single man named Sergio who is a paramedic and is the fruit of Ezequiel Gonzalez! Our prayer is to build a very fruitful and dynamic Singles Ministry of totally committed disciples with undivided devotion to our awesome God!
Finally, we are very excited to announce that the 2016 CSA Missions Conference will take place in this great city in February 2016! Lord willing, our dream to plant the church in Bogota, Colombia will become a reality as we send out the mission team from Mexico City at this CSA Missions Conference! Very excitingly, the team will be led by Jose & Daniela Otero! Please stay tuned for the exact dates of the CSA Missions Conference, which promises to be an historic event not to be missed! We are family… to the end!
Kyle Bartholomew: Greetings from Metro Manila, Philippines! I am excited to report what God has been doing in the church since our Inaugural Service to the present time. On June 7, 2015 we held our Inaugural Service to kick-off the official planting of the Metro Manila International Christian Church! With just 9 disciples on the mission team from LA joined by 49 from the Manila Remnant Group, God gave us an attendance of 306!
Since then God has been adding to our number in an amazing way! In less than four months, we have seen exactly 50 souls baptized into Christ, 9 restored to a sold-out relationship with God, and 9 place memberships! Every restoration and place membership has come directly from our former fellowship seeking revival and a renewed vision of the evangelization of the nations! Our membership has ballooned from 58 to 117 disciples!
Another incredible story has been the De Ocampos! Obie De Ocampo humorously stated upon placing membership, “When I first attended a service at MMICC, I did not come for the purpose of worshiping with you but rather to spy on the church!” He even received the approval from his ministry leader in our former fellowship who thought it would be a good idea! But then things got complicated… He gives this account, “By the second week, my children asked if they could study the Bible with the other campus students. I thought to myself, wow, they don’t even want to attend any of the events at our present fellowship and after two weeks they want to study the Bible in this church!” Amazingly within the next month, both of his kids Sam and Geneva De Ocampo were baptized into Christ! Not wanting to be hasty in judgment, Obie took another month, turned in another report of what he saw to his former ministry leaders, and then he and his wife officially placed membership!
There are so many other stories of inspiration to tell, such as: The revival in the Campus Ministry as we have seen it grow from just three disciples to 27 and now have disciples on 14 different college campuses!
Lastly, we are so excited to witness the upcoming marriage of the powerful leaders of the UP Campus Ministry, Zack Shields & Ariel Butler!
Please join us in praying for the over 24 million lost souls of Metro Manila as each person that is baptized or restored is a miracle of God! We thank our gracious God for every miracle that He has so powerfully performed up to date and we ask Him to continue to bless us beyond what even we can imagine!
LOS ANGELES, USA
Tim Kernan: “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 Campus Ministry of the City of Angels International Christian Church (CAICC)! Lianne & I are so excited and glad to be back on campus with all the brothers and sisters preaching the Word this Fall! I want to say how proud I am of all the campus disciples and campus leaders from each region who are so bravely and boldly imitating Christ on campus!
Very excitingly, this past summer, we initiated the Tyrannus Project which is a plan to reach all of the prominent campuses in LA, which have a combined enrollment of 993,265! Already we have 286 students enrolled on 31 campuses, so we have 25 more to go! At the beginning of this semester, we sent out three mission teams at our All LA Campus Devotional to plant Biola University in the East Region, Cal State Channel Islands in the Ventura Region, and Cal State Dominguez Hills in the South Region! Lord willing, we will plant at least three more campuses at the 2016 Winter Workshop! Pray for the liberating of all campuses across Southern California for the Lord!
Dearest Brothers and Sisters: Since the historic 2015 GLC, because of the almost 300 disciples that have been sent to the mission field from LA in the past three years, the leadership of the City of Angels Church has seen a tremendous need to re-emphasized Bible Talks! In August for three straight Staff Meetings, we heard the lessons: Hit The Reset Button – Parts 1, 2, and 3! Though the CAICC presently has expanded to 118 Bible Talks, the charge was given to our 12 Region Leader Couples to get with each Bible Talk in their region to help them become more fruitful and more family! As well, in an effort to build family, each Bible Talk selected a fun name to create a greater sense of identity and unity!
The fruit of our focus on Bible Talks is now beginning to be seen as we had 1,610 at Sunday’s Bring Your Neighbor Day and 15 additions this week!
Following this very intense month of August, in September the City of Angels Church held its Annual Labor Day Picnic and Fun Day! All of our members and their children gathered that Labor Day morning at William R. Mason Regional Park in Orange County. The 12 Regions were divided into eight teams for sporting competitions. Highlighting these events was the finals of the two day CAICC Women’s Volleyball Tournament! The Women’s Volleyball Tournament was dreamed of and overseen by Brandyn Speckman very similarly as Cory Blackwell built our CAICC Basketball League, where almost all the teams were men. This first year the West Region Sisters won this highly competitive event!
As for the entire Play Day, we had co-champions – the West Region and the AMS/East Region! Congratulations to all of these brothers and sisters!
Also, in September was the Red Cross/MERCY National Blood Drive!Nick & Denise Bordieri – our Directors of MERCYworldwide – called this effort “an overwhelming success!” In LA over 200 pints of blood were collected and around the nation over 400 pints have been given so far by willing disciples! The Bordieris recently shared that each pint of blood is valued at $400! Therefore, the MERCY Ambassadors have raised $160,000 worth of blood for the Red Cross!
Lastly, the International College of Christian Ministries has “gone global!” We now have Extension Campuses which we call: ICCM-Manila, ICCM-Portland and ICCM-Sao Paulo! As well, Tim & Lianne Kernan have assumed the leadership as the President and Dean of Women for ICCM-LA! Therefore we have now established what we call ICCM-Global as the overseeing body for the Extension Campuses. This will allow us to expand to as many churches as their lead evangelist earns their Master’s Degree.
So on a go forward basis, I will serve the ICCM-Global as Chancellor, Elena is the Vice Chancellor of Women, Chris Adams is the Vice Chancellor of the Graduate School, and Rebecca Rico will serve as the Provost of Academics in charge of report cards for all of the ICCM Extension Campuses! Up to this point in our young “school of prophets,” three have received their Doctorate Degrees, eight have received their Master’s Degrees, and 230 have received their BA Degrees in Ministry! Excitingly, we now have 45 enrolled in our Master’s Program!
Indeed God is moving in unprecedented ways on all six populated continents of the world! “Grace and peace to you from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Thessalonians 1:2)