Archive

Archive for May, 2015

Rod Matthew’s Regional Update

May 27th, 2015
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Rod shares news of a new church joining GCI in Myanmar ans Danny Zechariah teaching at a seminar in Dubai.

To view the update please click Regional Update – 27May2015.

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Rod Matthew’s Update from Nepal

May 22nd, 2015
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Deben Sam has sent a report on the devastation affecting Christian communities and the relief work they are doing in the remote areas as well as around Katmandu.

To view the report please click Regional Update – 22May2015 (Nepal3).

The Sydney -Wollongong congregations have raised over $3000 so far for this emergency relief work.

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John McLean Update

May 20th, 2015
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Into Africa: Two Conferences

 You will have seen from our Pastor General’s Updates that there were two recent conferences in Africa. The first was the annual Mission Developers’ Conference, held this year in Johannesburg. This was organized to lead into the second: a general Pan African conference for national ministry leaders, pastors, elders and ministry leaders across Africa. As always, it was a pleasure to catch up with MDs from around the world and Greg Williams, Rick Shallenberger and Nathan Smith from the denominational home office in Glendora. These conferences are part of the way we continue to facilitate, support and nurture our international connections and relationships.  The agenda was a mixture of discussion, updates, and a day of lectures from Dr Gary Deddo.

 It was a rare pleasure and privilege to participate with brothers and sisters from ten countries in Africa in the Pan African Conference. While the newspaper headlines there shouted about “xenophobia” as the motivation for many riots, attack, assaults and murders taking place in South Africa, it was marvelous to see the spirit of accord, joy, peace and harmony among the various conference participants from different nations, languages, customs and backgrounds. Their enthusiasm for the gospel, their gratitude – taking nothing for granted – and delight in fellowship was evident to see. They love being part of the international GCI family. Many of them travelled long and difficult journeys (see KK’s report, below) just to be there, and some were prevented from coming because of the dangerous political situations they are in.

 Conference organizer and co-host, Mission Developer Kalengule Kaoma (known as KK) asked me to do two presentations, introducing ACCM and giving the participants a “taste” of ACCM classes. It was certainly a privilege to be involved in this way. The “taste” was interactive, as our classes are usually taught when face to face, and the group was marvelous, engaged and responsive.

 Joseph Tkach delivered keynote sessions, and Gary Deddo talked about our union with Christ. Among other topics, the conference addressed how the Holy Spirit affects traditional African religion, church planting, updates from various African regions, ministerial training and education, children and youth ministry, and a Q&A on how to teach GCI beliefs. 

 KK wrote to me that “Your presence at the conference in SA provided tremendous support.  Your presentations were well received and I hope that some leaders will see it fit to enroll in ACCM.”

 We currently have several people who have expressed a desire to take the classes, but they come from poor areas and cannot afford the tuition, as modest as it is. If you, or your congregation, would like to sponsor an African ministry leader’s training with ACCM, please contact us at the National Office.

 Here’s a report from KK on the conference.

 Pan African Conference – from Kalengule Kaoma

 Pan African Conference (PAC) was born out of many requests from our African general leadership who wanted to come together. Coupled with this request, an appeal for connectivity also arose. Loneliness and isolation affect many leaders in Africa. Others hear of this GCI global work but wonder whether there are other congregations near them.

 In planning the conference, the following objectives were aimed at:

 1.  Bring African leaders up to date on GCI’s core Theology

2.  Introduction to ACCM Theological Training

3.  Help GCI African leaders create connectivity among themselves

4.  Share ideas on African Missions, Church Administration and Church Finances

 All these objectives were achieved. We thank and praise God for this achievement. Our teams which worked very hard on accommodation, meals, logistics, presentations, praise and worship, set up and take down, communications, media, PA System, translations, intercessors, grounds and all un noticed but essential departments deserve a huge hug of appreciation.

 Emmanuel Okai, GCI Ghana National Director recently wrote: “The learning, fellowship and reunions were fantastic. it was a real blessing to be part of the…conferences. My family truly appreciate our sharing in the…conference.”  These sentiments are echoed by many other delegates.

 For our brother from Madagascar, Dr. Rigobert Rafiringason, he has started using what he learned during the conference. “We are sharing many messages from the Pan African Conference [with] our congregation. The last sermon was about the Triune God.”

 Even though some leaders endured long trips to and from South Africa, they felt the conference provided worthwhile opportunities of learning, fellowship and connectivity. Pastor Silvester Nkosi lives in Lilongwe, Malawi. In his update he declared the conference “wonderful” in spite of a long long and tiring journey. “I just arrived on Thursday 6 p.m after three days of travelling. I used three buses, four minibuses [vans], one car, one motor cycle and one bicycle. Thankfully, I am now safe at home.”

 All in all, the conference brought many brothers and sisters together to learn at the feet of our denominational leaders.

Africa Work Africa Conference 2015 Pictures: top left to right – Malawi delegates with the Tkachs, South Africans with the Tkachs Middle:  Tkachs with Mozambique (left) and right photo shows Kenyans with Joe and Tammy Tkach. Bottom row shows on the left leaders from Ghana and on the right is group photo of PAC delegates.

 Look out for more about Africa and the conference in the next issue of GCI Today. In the meantime, please pray for our brothers and sisters in Africa. Many of them do face difficult situations every day, and they value your prayers and your partnership in Christ.

 Pentecost

 It seems so natural to move from our African brothers and sister meeting in peace and joy to Pentecost. At Pentecost we celebrate the creation of the church through the Holy Spirit. People are brought from isolation into fellowship with God and one another. Pentecost is the culmination of a season of celebration that begins with the Easter commemorations of incarnation, crucifixion, resurrection, continuing for fifty days and celebrating the ascension along the way.

 There would be no church without the coming of Jesus as a human being, uniting himself with humanity, taking our lives into his, and providing redemption and salvation for all. It is the Spirit of the Risen Christ who brings life to the church.

 Jesus came so we might be “partakers of the divine nature”, so we might share in his relationship with the Father by the Spirit. The Spirit, the Holy Spirit, is the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Jesus. The Spirit is the Spirit of adoption, who enables us to share in Christ’s relationship with the Father.

 The Spirit is always in relationship. Or, as Karl Barth said, the Holy Spirit is the act of God’s communion. The church is called from isolation to communion – into a saving communion with God and other persons. The Spirit does not close the circle of Trinitarian life, but opens up the church to the whole world. God’s purpose, reflected in the church, is to bring all humanity to share life with him.

 So, Pentecost is a time of great rejoicing, celebration and joy. Take time to celebrate our international communion of grace, part of the Body of Christ, open to living and sharing the gospel, the love of God, with the world.

 Welcome Packs – Frankston and Rosebud

 Here’s an example of that love from Al Kurzawa:

 Grace Christian community has been helping out the Frankston crisis centre for years through our annual hamper bags, and packing of children packs and bags of toiletries every couple of months.  Rosebud crisis centre got our number from the Frankston crisis centre and asked us if we could also make welcome packs and bags of toiletries for men who are put up in boarding houses.  These houses are of the lowest economic scale and sometimes there are as many as 20 individuals living in a house.  The welcome packs consist of coffee, tea bags, sugar packets, biscuits and milk capsules.  The Rosebud crisis centre has reported back that the welcome bags have had a tremendous boost to those that receive them. Using the welcome packs they have been encouraged to form friendships and as a result, the clients are getting along better and at one of the houses there has not been a police call out due to violent behaviour for 3 months since they started handing out the welcome packs.   Something as simple as the makings of a cuppa can have quite the impact!

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