January 26, 2014

Greetings from Santa Barbara! Yesterday, on a cold and rainy morning, the Lord blessed the 11 member Santa Barbara Mission Team (with only Elena & me visiting) at the Inaugural Service of the Santa Barbara International Christian Church with an attendance of 32 adults!


Richie & Elizabeth McDonnell – the charismatic
leaders of the Santa Barbara International
Christian Church!

As is the custom of the SoldOut Movement, all
mission teams are celebrated with a tasty
specialty cake emblematic
of their cities!

One of our most gifted young preachers, Richie McDonnell, delivered a very impassioned sermon simply entitled, Zeal For God! One visitor that I talked to immediately following this moving service exclaimed, “I just love the energy here! I’ve never seen any other Christian group like it before!” Continue to pray for Richie, his incredible wife Elizabeth, and our other dear disciples in what is already a tremendously dynamic congregation!


With 32 in attendance at the Inaugural Service –
almost two visitors for every disciple – Jason
leads a powerful communion song!

 


It is so remarkable that at just 22 years old,
Richie’s enthusiastic and indepth
preaching of the Word moves
the entire Inaugural
Service crowd!

For Elena & me, the entire weekend was so encouraging! On Saturday, we traveled to UCLA to open up the new semester of the International College of Christian Ministry (ICCM)! In attendance were 75 young Christians eager to embrace the rigorous demands of the BA Degree in Ministry. This half of the year, we will focus on a “verse by verse study” of the Book of Luke using the 2,148 page, two volume Baker Exegetical Commentary by Darrell L. Bock as our text book. We will also be learning to write outlines for textual sermons from Luke and then delivering them at midweek services, as well as memorizing all the capitals of the USA States and being able to identify all 196 nations of the world on a map! In the ICCM, we also have 15 enrolled in our Master’s Program and three presently pursuing their Doctorate in Ministry!


Elena, as the Dean of Women for the ICCM,
graciously welcomes the new students!

Then on Sunday morning in the City of Angels Church, each of our 11 regions held our Annual Bring Your Neighbor Day (BYND)! Collectively, the Lord blessed us with a record 1,572 in attendance, 11 baptisms and one restoration! That evening was the Region Leader and Shepherding Couples Meeting where 53 of us gathered to celebrate God’s victory at our BYND and introduce our newly appointed Regional Shepherding Couples: Pat & Pam Boea of the Southland Region, Jim & Donna Fenton of the West Region, and Russ & Lana Preston of the OC Region! And to God be all the glory!


The fired up Shepherding Couples and Region
Leaders of the City of Angels Church!

And now more detailed reports from around Los Angeles…

Chris Broom of the OC Region: “This is what the Kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain – first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.” (Mark 4:26-29)

After working hard all week despite numerous obstacles and extreme cases of the flu, I spent Saturday evening going over final details, making follow up calls and praying on the phone with each of our Orange County House Church Leaders and Shepherds! I went to sleep with a great sense of peace knowing that God was working, even while we slept! And what an incredible Bring Your Neighbor Day Service the Lord blessed us with as in 2013, our highest attendance was 237, but on Sunday, there were 280 at church!


The inspirational songleading of Ryan Lomeli
was one of the highlights of the OC
Region’s BYND Service!

Then, Theresa & I, along with Tony & Therese Untalan – Shepherding Couple for great City of Angels Church and the Movement – were pleased to appoint Russ & Lana Preston as a Shepherding Couple in the Orange County Region as they have served the Lord tirelessly in our Teen Ministry and Chemical Recovery Ministries!


The Brooms (left) and the Untalans (right)
congratulate the Prestons on being
recognized by God and men as
a Shepherding Couple!

Finally, an incredible young woman named Erin was introduced to the church as our newest sister! Erin is 17 years old and was invited to come to church and study the Bible by her friend Alicia! They have known each other since they were in the eighth grade. Alicia was baptized a few weeks ago in the Fullerton College Ministry and quickly began to reach out to her friend Erin. After Erin was taught about discipleship by one of our awesome ministry interns Krystal Legarda, Erin was so convicted that she did four more studies right there on the spot! Then she studied every day and was baptized after Campus Devotional on Friday night!


The baptism of Erin (in red) inspires not only the
Teen Ministry but all of the OC Region!

Pray for the harvest that is SURE TO COME!

Capil Marhatta: Greetings from the Sensational South! The Lord continues to show favor to our region as two more were added to the region on Sunday! The South again “passed the acid test with flying colors” of converting family members as Mitchelle was baptized who is the twin sister of Shamika who got married in the church just last week! Mitchelle has been coming around for months and finally realized how much she needs the Savior!


Shamika warmly welcomes her twin sister
Mitchelle into God’s Family!

Also, very encouraging to us was the placing membership of Joe Estep who moved to Los Angeles for strengthening after serving many years in the Portland and Eugene Churches. He has helped many come to know God and helped many remain faithful over the years. Personally, I am grateful for him as he reached out to me a few years ago to bring me back to God and His Kingdom!

There is so much excitement in the air as we are launching Bible Talks throughout the city of Long Beach! We are especially going after the Campus Ministry and are fortunate to have such an awesome field to harvest at Long Beach State with over 35,000 students! God – working through the Sirotkins, our awesome South Region Leaders – has graciously allowed me to start an All Women’s Bible Talk at this amazing college!


Capil (in yellow on the lower right) is adored by the
“Sensational South Region” as an effective
Women’s Bible Talk Leader
and zealous servant!

Lastly, today’s Bring Your Neighbor Day was so incredible as we set a record attendance of 114! My mom was “my special neighbor” as she traveled from New York City, but originally is from Nepal where I too was born! Join me in praying for a mission team for Kathmandu, Nepal!

Tyler Sears: “Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which He bought with His own blood.” (Acts 20:28)
Greetings from the West Region Family! Today was a historic service as the Lord blessed our Bring Your Neighbor Day Service! Shay & I are so proud of the West Region Bible Talk Leaders as they worked hard and saw the fruit of their labors – a record attendance of 191 at church!

It was also historic because of the appointment of the first Regional Shepherding Couple in the West – the beloved Jim & Donna Fenton! Already, Jim & Donna have faithfully served as the Congregational Deacons for Kid’s Kingdom and lead the Teen Ministry in the West – not to mention their excellent example in so many areas of their lives. We feel honored that “the Holy Spirit has made [them] overseers” in the West!


The beloved Fenton Family!

Please continue to pray for the West as we continue to be shepherded by the “Great Shepherd” – Jesus Christ! (Hebrews 13:20)

Kyle Bartholomew: Happy Bring Your Neighbor Day From the Central Region! Today was phenomenal as we appointed two Deacon Couples, two young single men were baptized into Christ, and we set a Central Region record attendance of 107! It was a great joy to honor Sean & Grace McCarthy as our new Deacon Couple of Kids Kingdom! As well, Jake & Dada Tuason were appointed as a Deacon Couple after years of serving as “lead ushers” in several of the City of Angels Regions. To show our appreciation for their service, we presented both couples with plaques inscribed with the appropriate Scripture found in Joshua 24:15,“As for me and my household we will serve the Lord!”


Jake & Dada have been asked to move to their
homeland of the Philippines in the next few
months to strengthen the Manila
Remnant Group!

Then our newly formed Singles Ministry led by Mark & Kerri Garrido stirred the waters as Abel and Damont were baptized into Christ! Please pray for us as we strive to spread the gospel message throughout Central LA!


Abel rejoices in his salvation!

Brandyn Speckman: “Don’t you have a saying, ‘It’s still four months until harvest?’ I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.” (John 4:35) Greetings from the Ventura Region! Church was on fire today as 40 disciples had 96 people at our BYND Service! The buzz in the packed room was incredible as my amazing husband Luke convicted us with the Word of God! The fellowship continued as “[we] ate together with glad and sincere hearts” (Acts2:46) immediately after service! We have so many Bible studies set up for this week!

Also, today Jessica was added to God’s Kingdom through baptism!! She is an incredible soft-hearted woman who first attended church and began her Bible studies in the West Region with Maika Carbonell and Sharon Kirchner! Realizing she lives and attends school in our region, they lovingly sent her to us and thanks be to God, as well as for the love of Kiana Lindsey, Jennifer Habib, Denise Talavera and others, that Jessica is now your sister in Christ! And we are especially excited because she is a freshman at Cal Lutheran University, which is one of two four year universities in Ventura County!


The Ventura Sisters tenderly encouraging
Jessica before her baptism!

Please pray for the harvest in Ventura as we pray for you!

Cesar Limon: “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up: do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.” (Isaiah 43:19) The grace of God is evident in the Inland Empire Region as we surpassed our old record attendance of 80 with a total of 138 and a new sister was added to God’s Kingdom!!

Amazingly God is “doing a new thing” as we had our first service in Palms Springs, where nine disciples of the “new” Palm Springs Sector had a total of 42 in attendance! It was truly a historic service, so much so that God blessed us with having the entire service professionally photographed and recorded for FREE! Also encouragingly was our first baptism, Jasmine, who is a student in Riverside but was home for the break. She shared that she used a Smart and Final grocery bag to put her baptism clothes in symbolizing it was a “SMART decision” and her “FINAL decision” to give her life to God!


Jasmine joins the IE Sisters in their weekly
promise, “You will be next!”

I am so proud of the entire Palm Springs Team and their hard work and I’m especially proud of my co-leader Debbie Bosch, who brought many to tears at communion as she shared how the cross brought true freedom in her life. Incredibly, Debbie also translated the entire service to our future Latin Ministry! It has been apparent that God is “making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland” as He is opening the door for us to become the ONLY “Christian Club” at the College of the Desert! I see it more than ever that we are the hope of the Desert, the Inland Empire, and ultimately the ENTIRE world!

HEADLINE NEWS – USA 

NEWS FLASH – Mike Patterson of Gainesville: It came to my attention on January 21st that the quote I used in my sermon on January 19th attributed to Pope Francis was from a “satire website” that many news sites had mistakenly reported as a real story. The pope never said that quote. Like others, I personally found the quote from a site reporting it as a true story. Although an honest mistake, I take full responsibility and will make sure to do extra research when using any source in a sermon. Regardless, I believe the quote does capture the attitude of many “Christians” today and stand my sermon’s message from the Scriptures that only “sold-out baptized disciples” have a true relationship with God. (Matthew 28:19-20)

“As they traveled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, ‘Look here is water. Why shouldn’t I be baptized?'”(Acts 8:36) God amazed our “two week old now 20 member church” with His mighty power as 55 people attended church today! With so many of our studies wrestling over baptism and Gainesville being a religious city, I preached on the Ethiopian Eunuch and the urgency that he had after hearing the gospel to be baptized in water! The Eunuch saw H20 Is The Way To Go and that was the title of my sermon! The three points were H – Humble To The Message; 2 – 2 Things Received At Baptism (forgiveness of sins and the Holy Spirit), O – One Baptism!(Ephesians 4:4-6)

God illustrated the sermon as Nathan was baptized today seeing “H2O was the way to go” after realizing that he had never been baptized as a disciple! Nathan was met by our sister Tia Taylor of Orlando after the Inaugural Service last week and invited to come play Ultimate Frisbee with the church that afternoon! After playing, he even came to our Leaders Meeting!


Even the way that the Gainesville Disciples have
fun in such games as Ultimate Frisbee
draws the lost to Jesus!

Then, Daniel Morales (who moved to be on the team from Portland) and the other brothers urgently studied the Bible with Nathan! Although Nathan was very religious and growing up with a dad who was a Presbyterian minister, much darkness reigned in this young man’s life. By the second study, he threw away all his marijuana to start living according to the Word. Sadly, his wife and he have been separated for a couple of years and Nathan was literally going to sign the divorce papers, but Sunday night – after playing Ultimate Frisbee and coming to the Leaders Meeting – something told him to wait. After seeing what Jesus did on the cross, Nathan radically repented by giving up his sin which included extending forgiveness to his wife and to fight for their marriage! It was one of the most radical heart changes that I have personally seen in a long time!


Nathan (left) and Daniel imitate the IE Disciples
in issuing the challenge, “You will be next!”

Please pray for our Pledge Drive ending on Super Bowl Sunday as we are striving to become self-supporting by next week! Glory be to God!

NEWS FLASH – Anthony Eckels: Greetings from the Houston Mission Team now being gathered in Orlando to be sent out at the end of February! My wife Elizabeth & I were so honored to be asked by Matt & Helen Sullivan and the McKeans to lead this God inspired venture! It was on that note that last week Matt Sullivan of Orlando, Tyler Sears of LA, Michael Kirchner of LA, Tim Power of Dallas, Chris Rollins of San Antonio, and Elizabeth & I met with the awesome five disciple remnant group in Houston and “spied out the land” to make plans for the “official planting” of the Houston International Christian Church! Excitingly, we found that the Houston disciples already have several people studying the Bible, including John Hurey’s brother and his fiancée, as well as a women’s basketball player from Rice University!


Anthony & Elizabeth Eckels are the dynamic
leaders of the Houston Mission Team!

Upon returning to Orlando, we had an incredible service with an attendance of 120, in spite of recently sending out 12 on the Gainesville Mission Team! Following service, the church joyfully witnessed the marriage of Devon & Sheena Gleason! When they were met by Will Davenport and Elizabeth & me just two months ago, they were living together with their adorable twins. After studying the Scriptures, they made the decision to put God first; Devon moved out; and they were baptized into Christ! Today was so victorious as we know God is pleased! Please continue to pray for the selection of those the Lord wants to be on the Houston Mission Team!


Houston has a metro population approaching seven
million, which makes it the fifth
largest city in America! 

Ron Harding: Greetings from Washington DC! “A man reaps what he sows… The one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:7-10) Even with many disciples feeling a bit “weary” from a “history-making 2013” and all of the preparations for two Winter Workshops, the DC Church reaped what we’ve sown with 189 in attendance at our Bring Your Neighbor Day – the largest service since we sent out 30% of our congregation on the Denver Mission Team and disciples to four other congregations throughout the movement!


Ron Harding’s faith has inspired the DC Church
to send out the Denver Mission Team and to
build a new region to evangelize Baltimore!

After the incredible worship service, we had 64 disciples at our Bible Talk Leaders Meeting, all excited about imitating the patterns of growth in LA through a new regional setup in which we will “regionalize” Washington DC and Baltimore, with each region having full-time leadership the moment we have special collected! Pray for us!

Coltin Rohn: Greetings from Boston – the land of MANY “Hahvast Fields!” “Pray continually!” (1 Thessalonians 5:17) In keeping with our theme “The Year of Prayer,” we decided to have a “House of Prayer Midweek!” (Mark 11:17) We first prayed on our knees for every member in the Boston ICC. Next we prayed through each one of our nine 2014 Prayer Goals sitting down while holding hands! Then we prayed for all of you – each church in the SoldOut Movement and their respected leaders by name with “holy hands lifted to the Lord!” (1 Timothy 2:8) Our night of prayer brought a few sore legs and arms for the “older disciples,” but many miracles this week! Starting February we will now have both Sunday services AND midweek at the Hyatt Regency Hotel!


Overlooking the picturesque Charles River, the
Hyatt Hotel is the “home” of the Boston ICC!

Also another answer to our prayers was the baptism of Dr. Cassandra Dorvil!  After being asked by Ronel Dorvil, a brother in DC, our sister Jovanni Small texted Ronel’s sister Cassandra asking her to come to church! After coming to our incredible Woman’s Day FEARLESS back in November, Cassandra’s heart would be forever moved! My beautiful, amazing, most awesome wife Mandee instantly started to pull in many of the sisters for her Bible Studies. Cassandra shared that it was the love of all the women who were willing to embrace her without “knowing her” that helped her understand the love that God has for her and how He has been trying to embrace her this whole time! So with the conviction to be at all “the meetings of the body” and driving in the hour one way drive from Fittsburgh, (as she works at a hospital there), “Dr. Cassandra” was baptized as a sold-out disciple of Jesus!


Dr. Cassandra Dorvil will now assist the
Great Physician in His ministry to heal
the world from the curse of sin!

Oh yes… One more answered prayer, this one of 10 months: Mandee & I are going to be “fruitful” with our second child! Pray for us!!!


The Rohn Family will be “fruitful” again!

Joel Parlour: Greetings from Syracuse, New York! It has been about six months since Courtney & I arrived here and we have seen God do some amazing things and change many hearts. Indeed, the Syracuse Church is a wonderful church with many incredible disciples. I immediately saw it as a “gold mine” for maturity and experience in God’s Kingdom as many of the 63 members have been disciples for at least 10 years, and some for over 20 years! During the past two weeks, Courtney & I met with every member of the church through small groups and have hit on some key areas that we as a church need to focus on. Through these intense d-groups there has been much sin exposed including a lot of “acedia” manifested through a lack of motivation and laziness. Many disciples have been tearfully confessing sins of “spiritual depression” and “spiritual sickness” (Proverbs 13:12; 1 Corinthians 11:30) and a feeling of “being left behind” as the years have gone by.


Joel & Courtney display a maturity beyond their
years in gently rebuilding a sold-out
foundation of disciples
in Syracuse!

It is very true that in the last 20 years Syracuse – “the little church that could” – has sent out millions of dollars, dozens of Bible Talk Leaders, and many church leaders (like the Brooms, Smellies, Adams, the Roger Parlours, and the Boeas), as well as most of the disciples on the Chicago and Washington DC Mission Teams! We know that these were all by the will of God and have impacted countless lives! Unfortunately, these remarkable efforts of faith became excuses for many people to lose their dreams in God’s Kingdom. That being said, please pray for us as this Wednesday we are all coming together for an Evening of Refreshment where we will hear the Word preached, confess our sins to one another, and pray for a year of fruit like never before!

Excitingly, people are not waiting for Wednesday to repent of their sins! What Paul preached in Acts 26:20 that we must “prove [our] repentance by [our] deeds” was evidenced in our Bring Your Neighbor Day today! The title of my sermon was Men Who Dream! My points were: 1) Dare To Dream (Genesis 37:2-11); 2) Dare To Share the Dream (Genesis 37:5); 3) Dare To Live The Dream (Genesis 39:1-20); and 4) Dare To Dream Again (Genesis 39:20-40:23). Truly today many disciples had their vision renewed and dreams restored as we had 104 in attendance – second highest to our 20th Anniversary Service when scores visited from around the movement! As well, Dave & Barb Root placed membership from our sister church in New York City and we are truly excited to welcome them into the fellowship!


Rod & Sarah Carter (left) and Bob & Mary
Thomas (right) welcome Dave, Barb
and little Marcus to the Syracuse
Church Family!

But very special to me was the baptism of Ramon to conclude our service! He is an answered prayer for so many people! He is a leader, speaks Spanish, and has been and is a coworker of several disciples at the Home Depot. He is an inspiration because he obeys the Bible including the hard passages! He quit smoking after being addicted since the age of ten (25 years) to become a disciple! His baptism inspired tons of new people to want to study and the six visiting fall-aways present to get restored to God!


Like Paul, the repentance of Ramon makes everyone
think, “If he can change then so can I!”

I am so proud of our church as they truly have sacrificed much over the years, and now God is about to open the floodgates of heaven to pour out so much more blessing! Please continue to keep us in your prayers!

Lou Jack Martinez of Honolulu: God has begun to doUNPRECEDENTED things here in the Islands as – with a PRAYER GOAL to break our attendance record (131) – the LORD OUR GOD blessed us with ONE HUNDRED AND EIGHTY-FIVE (185) at our Bring Your Neighbor Day today!!!

God also gave us a baptism and an ENGAGEMENT, as Josh Aguirre finally asked Kristin Fukuda to marry him and she said “Yes!!!”


Let’s all congratulate Josh & Kristin
on their engagement!

Our awesome miracle baptism was Reece Yoshimura!!! Reece was actually met by our brother Martin Justinecivius a couple of years ago, but Reece was having “too much fun” with his friends in the world, and working over 55 hours a week at his job. Sadly, over those two years, Reece lost several friends to drug overdoses and tragic mo-ped accidents, and so he recently began to question what was really most important in his life. Well, as God would have it, the LORD sent our young intern-to-be Chaz Schmidt into Reece’s life, and Chaz asked him to study the Bible. The timing could not have been more perfect (Acts 17), so Chaz and Devin Kanda began urgently studying with Reece, and TONIGHT REECE WAS BORN AGAIN, the last baptism in the U.S. of A on January 26, 2014 at 10:00 PM, Hawaii Time!!!


For Reece, the beauty of Hawaii is only
superseded by the Kingdom!

Well, needless to say after a BYND like today, we have set up at over 30 NEW studies so far (to add to the 20 we ALREADY have), so it looks like we’ll have several more baptisms over the next few weeks, Good LORD willing (and we KNOW He is!) Please continue to pray that EVERY day this year will be a BAD DAY FOR THE DEVIL in Honolulu, throughout Oahu, all the Hawaiian Islands and the entire South Pacific!!!

Becky Mitchell of Las Vegas: “To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, ‘If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.'” (John 8:31-32) Greetings from “Saint City!” Today was incredible, as we had 64 in attendance on a “non-push Sunday” with 40 disciples and 24 visitors!

God is moving powerfully as the Single and Married Sisters had the privilege of baptizing an incredible young woman – Tanisha Thomas! Tanisha has persevered through many trials to make it into the Kingdom of God! She was met by our awesome brother Jamel of the West Region of our great LA Church. While studying the Bible, she broke up with her boyfriend, with whom she has three young children, in order to become a true disciple. As 2 Corinthians 6:17 teaches, “Come out and be separate…” Satan definitely threw his punches but God has prevailed and now she is our dear sister, who is so grateful to have found the truth and to be “set free!”


Tanisha’s smile says it all!

Equally encouraging, Cerone the father of Tanisha’s beautiful children, wants to start studying the Bible! Please be praying for our Bring Your Neighbor Day on February 23rd! To God be all the glory!

Tim Power of Dallas: God is moving in Texas! Dallas witnessed the baptism of Texas native Jason Montgomery this weekend! It took every effort for four months for the Dallas International Christian Church to win Jason over to the Light! Of special note is my faithful partner in the gospel Kevin Carr. Not even a year old in the Lord, Kevin left the comforts of the “cranking” Boston Church and his own brother (Brian) to come plant the Dallas Remnant Group in July. Kevin literally laid his life down (sleeping on Jason’s floor for two months), refusing to give up on him as he battled with his demons, and showed him how true disciples love!


Tim (left) and Kevin (right) joyfully baptize
Jason into Christ and His movement!

Jason shared powerfully for communion today that it was “the love of the disciples expressed through patience and kindness that he’d never seen before” that kept him coming back again and again! He concluded his communion with a song he wrote and sang called Calvary. Watch Jason’s Song Here!

Jay Hernandez of Hilo: Aloha from your brothers and sisters on the Big Island of Hawaii! This week we witnessed the incredible baptisms of Shane & Kristel Emerson! Robbie Robinson, one of our awesome Shepherds, has reached out to Shane for many years. Shane always told Robbie that he would let him know when “he was ready,” and a month or so ago Shane told Robbie, “I am ready!” It has been great to see Shane and his wife “come around” and now become our newest brother and sister in Christ!

Mike Underhill: “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. O Lord, save us; O Lord, grant us success.” (Psalm 118:24-25) Hello from the great city by the Bay… San Francisco! This past week has been truly incredible for the church! At our SFSU Frisbee Bible Talk we had 20 visitors out and a great discussion between some intense frisbee games! Then at Men’s Midweek, we all got on our knees and loudly cried out for our future brothers not yet baptized (John 10:14), our weak brothers in the church (James 5:13), our upcoming Bring Your Neighbor Day (Acts 1-2), and then our love for God (Matthew 22:37-39)!

We zealously continued our “14/14/14” Campaign, sharing with thousands of people this past week! Then my wife Brittany, the incredible Ashley Godwin, and I traveled down to LA over the weekend to attend the ICCM and listened while Kip McKean preached two amazing 45 minute sermons on the book of Luke back to back – the first on Luke 1 and after a short break the next on Luke 2! We returned for our anticipated Bring Your Neighbor Day Service and God blessed us with an attendance of 102 and two place memberships – our best church service since our Inaugural when many disciples came to support us from LA! Pray for us in the Bay!

Jay Shelbrack: Greetings from the Windy City! “I led them with chords of human kindness, with ties of love; I bent down to feed them.”(Hosea 11:4) This week was flat amazing as we fought through the cold and snow to transform two lives through the miracle of baptism! Victor, who is the brother of both Jocelyn and Tina, had studied the Bible a year ago but at that time decide “to forfeit the grace that could have been [his].” (Jonah 2:8) This did not stop his sisters who continued to battle for his soul. All were moved as Victor shared with tears his gratitude that they had not given up and neither had God!

 


Victor, Jocelyn and Tina are now siblings in the Lord!

Also baptized today through the efforts of the amazing Teen Ministry was Iliana, who is a friend of Theo & Leslie’s youngest son Lamar! This young woman is 17 years old and multitalented! We are so proud of how she surrendered all her dreams to take on God’s Dream and we believe she has a huge future in front of her!


At 17 years old, Iliana finds “hope and a
future” in the Kingdom!

This last Friday night, we all were greatly encouraged by our Annual Church Banquet! It was so much fun as there was great food and entertainment! We are so fortunate to have so many amazingly talented disciples! The Staff put together a video presentation for the congregation as a spoof from the sitcom The Office calling it The Stafftrying to simulate a humorous version of what goes on in a regular Staff Meeting!

This Sunday many of our members participated in our MERCY Blood Drive. We are so proud of the 44 MERCY Ambassadors who came to donate blood! The Red Cross Staff admitted to being “blown away” by the integrity and full engagement of the MERCY Ambassadors: 98% of those registered showed up! A special thanks to Joe & Denise Chiapetta for making the Blood Drive happen!


Joe (right) leads the way in Chicago’s
Red Cross Blood Drive!

Finally, we are so very excited to announce the official hiring of Anthony & Maria Franklin as they will now serve fulltime as “Region Leaders-in-Training” for the West Region! Maria and her two daughters had lived with Barb & me for a year shortly after she was converted, so Maria is a true daughter to us and her precious daughters like granddaughters! Maria is known as a faithful prayer warrior that has inspired many on many levels! Anthony is known for his zeal and powerful preaching! He has become a true son in the faith to me as I have had the privilege of discipling him for over five years! They have powerfully led our Teen Ministry with seven baptisms in the last year! We know God will continue to do many amazing things through their lives!


God gives Anthony & Maria “the desire of
their hearts” – to be full-time
in His ministry!

HEADLINE NEWS – INTERNATIONAL

NEWS FLASH – Blaise Feumba reporting about Haiti: “And it happened that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the inland country and came to Ephesus. There he found some disciples. And he said to them, ‘Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?’ And they said, ‘No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.’ And he said, ‘Into what then were you baptized?’ They said, ‘Into John’s baptism.’ And Paul said, ‘John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, Jesus.’ On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus… There were 12 men in all.” (Acts 19:1-7)

I am blown away by the humility of these 12 Ephesian disciples who were true seekers of “the Truth!” When they understood through Paul’s teaching that their first baptism was not done according to “the Way of the Lord Jesus,” they humbly repented and after being taught the way of the Lord more accurately were baptized “again” this time “in the Name of the Jesus!”


Blaise Feumba’s gallant efforts for the Lord extend
from Africa to England to Haiti!

The Lord is continuing to bring glory to His Mighty Name in the City of Jacmel where 24 souls were added to His Kingdom last weekend to initiate the Jacmel International Christian Church! It is inspiring to see that the 24 disciples after our departure continued to encourage those among their friends who were part of their former fellowship to surrender to the Lordship of Christ. The main issue when we studied the Bible last week with most of these believers was that their former baptism was not made according to the standards of Jesus. Jesus commands in Matthew 28:19 to baptize only those who are made disciples!

 


Jean-Bonard – the 10th Mainline Church of Christ
preacher who was baptized at the LA Winter
Workshop – baptizing Carole
his sister-in-law!

If you remember, at 5AM a week ago on Sunday morning, Guy Francois – the Police Officer and the leader of the opposing camp – came running to us to count the cost and was baptized with his two lovely daughters in the Caribbean Sea! Now one week later another crew of great souls in whose hearts the Spirit has been working surrendered to the truth like the 12 disciples of Ephesus and yesterday five more were baptized after being made into disciples by Jean-Bonard & Loverlie his incredible wife!


Jean-Bonard baptizing his “ministry assistant” in
their former congregation – Kenol!

Among those five are Kenol Juillet, Jean-Bonard – gifted assistant in the former fellowship, Marjorie Francois – the wife of our dear brother Guy Francois, Wislaine Kesnel – the wife of John Kesnel the architect who was among the first 11 baptisms of last Saturday night, Elissaint Colin – the brother of Jean-Bonard, and his dear wife Carole! So, in just a little over one week, this young church has seen 29 people baptized into Christ!


Marjorie Francois – the awesome wife of Guy the
police officer – expresses her appreciation
to Jean-Bonard after her baptism!

To our dear Father in Heaven be all the glory!

Vic Gonzalez Jr.: Greetings from the plentiful harvest field of Mexico City! Today was incredible as we had 47 in attendance at our Sunday service! Before service, I was able to baptize a dear friend and now“partner in the gospel,” Allen Franco! Allen and I met through Isaac Garcia. Isaac was the worship leader at a denominational church here in Mexico City and I say “was” because two weeks ago he resigned to become a disciple of Jesus Christ! Allen was the bassist at that same congregation! His parents attended the baptism and today’s service and were blown away!

Victor, Allen and Ezequiel “shine like stars in the
universe as [they] hold out the Word
of life!” (Philippians 215-16)
Please be praying for “Super Sunday” next week – our goal is to have 100 people at service! So in the last 25 weeks, God has blessed us with 20 additions: 17 baptisms, 1 restoration and 3 place memberships! See you next week! Much love and a big hug from Mexico City!Raul Moreno of Sao Paulo: “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) Today at our service was a bittersweet moment as we bid a “temporary good-bye” to our dearly loved brother Valdemar. Excitingly for him, Valdemar will be leaving for London where he has a full scholarship for one year! Valdemar studies Civil Engineering at USP and he is very eager to be with the great London Church for the coming year! This is one of the many awesome things about God’s Modern Day Movement as disciples can move from one country to another and find the same “life and doctrine… everywhere and in every church!” (1 Timothy 4:16; 1 Corinthians 4:17)

Valdemar (center in the second row) with
the ever fruitful USP Campus Ministry!
Lola Lof of Kinshasa: Greetings from your beloved brothers and sisters who love the Lord Jesus and belong to his holy family in the Democratic Republic of Congo!

Our dear brother – Lola Lof!
Worship in the Great Kinshasa Church!
“Does a lion roar in the thicket when he has no prey? Does he growl in his den when he has caught nothing?” (Amos 3:4) The prophet Amos shows how two events can be linked together as Jesus has linked both: “Go on the mission to make disciples and baptize them!” (Matthew 28:19) This week, we did just that as one lady named “Love” and two guys – Paul and Blanchard – have heard the Lion of Judah’s roar and become His prey which simply means all three people decided to make Jesus their Lord and Savior and were baptized into Christ! To God be all the glory!

Our new sister in the Lord – “Love!”
Michael Williamson of London: We had a powerful Winter Workshop this weekend hosting Philippe, Prisca and Sandra from the Mighty Paris Church, as well as Menno, Yuklin, Rene and Anita from the Great Amsterdam Remnant Group! The title for our workshop was Well Done My Good And Faithful Servant and we kicked it off Friday night as Blaise Feumba (back this week from his missionary journey in Haiti) delivered a spectacular lesson calling us to be servants of prayer!God has been raising up new leaders in London as Charles Anate and Kathryn Pope, two exceptional campus students, did an amazing job challenging the church on being servants of excellence! Charles graduated high school early at 16 and just finished his Bachelors in Engineering at only 19 years old! Kathryn attends one of London’s top universities SOAS and is a top student there!The entire week was just buzzing as we had several visiting from our former fellowship at our Sunday Service! Philippe & Prisca gave the most entertaining of welcomes (with a theme and dance inspired by The Avengers), and Rene & Anita (Shepherding Couple in Amsterdam) brought us to tears with their communion lesson. Rene shared about his current health challenges, while Anita vulnerably opened up about their special-needs son Rean. We ended the service with the incredible baptism of a dynamic single professional Sean, who is excited to use his talents in our AMS Ministry!


After his baptism, Sean “enjoys the
favor of all the [disciples]!”
NEWS FLASH – Debs Rajan of Chennai: Today was an incredible Sunday! The church was jubilant to see a restoration, an engagement and two baptisms all happen on the same day! Amazing eh!!!“If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.” (1 Corinthians 12:26) Truly this verse was fulfilled today though our sister Nisha! A while back, Nisha decided to leave the church and marry her Hindu boyfriend; it brought so much pain to all our hearts. But God has His ways of bringing His people back! Nisha faced many problems in her marriage this past year to a point where she and her husband contemplated committing suicide. Nisha knew there is one place she can get help from and decided to come back to God and His church! So yesterday, Nisha’s husband Arumugam was baptized and today Nisha was restored!

Arumugam & Nisha are now happily united in Christ!
At the end of this glorious service, Roger did the closing and said he wants to make an important announcement. Then he went on his knees and proposed to our beloved sister Yassa! The church was ecstatic!
Congratulations to the future Mr. & Mrs. Green –
a future ministry couple!

As with all sisters in every culture, the Chennai
Sisters rejoice with Yassa over
her engagement!
Then we went to the beach to baptize Yogaraj – an MBA graduate – and Parthiban, who has a double Masters in Mathematics and currently doing his PhD!

Simon and Thomas give two thumbs up to
Yogaraj after his glorious baptism!

With a double Masters in Math as well as working
on his PhD., Parthaban galactically increases
the average IQ in the movement!
Today being Raja & my 20th Wedding Anniversary, the church made us special with garlands, gifts and a marathon sharing for more than two hours! Thank you Chennai Church! You indeed are very dear to us. Let us continue to serve the King of Kings!

The entire Chennai Church celebrates Raja &
Debs’ 20th Wedding Anniversary!
Dearest Brothers and Sisters: The Lord is truly moving in amazing ways! Last week, there was the tremendous Inaugural Service in Gainesville! This week was the incredible Inaugural Service in Santa Barbara! And next Sunday, February 2nd – “Super Sunday” – we will celebrate the Inaugural Service of the Sydney International Christian Church! Lord willing, I will be in Australia to encourage our Sydney Mission Team on this historic occasion, so next week there will not be a Good News Email. Keep me in your prayers!

Pray for the Inaugural Service of the Sydney
International Christian Church
this coming Sunday!
Also, let us continue to pray for each other to withstand the vicious attacks of our “enemy the devil who prowls around [the world] like a roaring lion,” so that “the Word of God [will continue] to increase (numerically) and spread (geographically)!” (1 Peter 5:8; Acts 12:24) Pray as well that in the next 11 months the Spirit will send-out mission teams to Houston (in March), to Toronto (in April), to Dallas-Ft. Worth (in August), and to Moscow in December! And “may the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” (2 Corinthians 13:14)
Much love,
Kip