Category Archives: Global Strategy

Reunited in Orlando: Convention 2019 Speaker, Attendee Connect 19 Years Later

Anne Nelson (far left) and Samir Salibi (second from left) in Orlando.

By Carl Stagner

All she wanted to do was feel closer to her Lebanese family. Anne’s great grandfather was Lebanese and used to write letters to her as a child. The more Anne learned, and the older she got, the more she desired to uncover her Middle-Eastern roots. What if she could communicate with her Lebanese relatives in their language? she wondered, especially after her grandfather passed away. Learning the Arabic language wasn’t in high demand among the public schools in her area, though, presenting a short-lived challenge. Since France had colonized Lebanon in the early to mid-1900s, Anne knew French would be an alternative option. It was Anne’s love for the language that led her to leave her hometown behind in 2000 for a journey that would ultimately bring together the stories of Convention 2019, Samir Salibi, and the financial controller for Servant Solutions: Anne Nelson. Continue reading

Haiti: Four Hundred Blessings and More

Newborn receiving medical care at the CHOG hospital in Haiti.

By Mark Fulton

When the emergency department of the Church of God hospital opened in Haiti in January 2018, the decision was made initially to not have birthing services, as we had too many other things to put into place. How naïve we were! When a mom comes to the ER and is nearly ready to give birth, referring her to another center is out of the question. So, we quickly learned what we needed to procure and arrange to be able to assist with the normal birthing process, as well as finding the personnel to perform surgical birth assistance (Caesarian). Continue reading

Church of God in Bulgaria Celebrates 100 Years

By Kathy Rankin Simpson

Editor’s Note—Kathy and her husband Dave were missionaries in Bulgaria for ten years in the early 2000s.

As Dave and I depart for Bulgaria, we are so happy to be carrying a flash drive with a video greeting from the general director Jim Lyon and Church of God Ministries. The Bulgarians will be blessed to know that the 100th anniversary of the Church of God in Bulgaria is recognized by fellow believers so far away. To them it will be an affirmation of their worth and their place in the Movement. Continue reading

Jamaican Church of God Refocuses National Men’s Ministry

The CHOG men of Jamaica are more service-oriented than ever.

By Carl Stagner

Over time, ministries that were once powerful and effective can grow stale with little or no impact. Of course, this process is usually unintentional, but cultural shifts and other external factors deal unanticipated blows to what was once healthy and of eternal consequence. Thankfully, the God that brought life to such ministries in the first place can breathe new life into dry bones. Such is the case with the national men’s ministry of the Church of God in Jamaica. A new focus and new island-wide strategy have already demonstrated the timelessness of this divine work to reach and engage men at home, at work, in church, and in society. Continue reading

Japan Celebrates Increasing Number of Women in Ministry

Gathering of pastors in Japan, summer 2019.

By Carl Stagner

So much took place during Convention 2019 and General Assembly, and so much has been said about our experience together in Orlando. In all the recap and review, we certainly don’t want to overlook the international component of this pivotal gathering. Sure, there were 180 guests and a couple speakers from outside the United States and Canada. More missionaries were present than at any convention in recent memory, and a global dialogue brought some exciting new ideas to the fore. But there were testimonies given and stories shared of God at work around the world, too. One was the report of the growing representation of women among clergy in the Church of God in Japan. Continue reading

Native American Ministry Advances Amid Wild Weather in South Dakota

Tornado this year near Allen, South Dakota.

By Carl Stagner

Two tornadoes have touched down within a few miles of Pass Creek Church of God in Allen, South Dakota, this year. One of them struck during Church of God Convention 2019 and General Assembly, while Tim and Kim Wardell, Global Strategy missionaries to Native Americans, watched the news coverage helplessly, more than 1,800 miles away from home. Though everyone was safe and overall damage was minimal, the tornado left one family in Allen homeless. While South Dakota is often associated with cold and snowy winters, the state does rank fifteenth in the nation for annual tornado activity. In view of this, and the great need to protect the congregation, locals in need, and work camp guests, the Wardells are looking to the Lord and his church to help them turn a vision into reality. Continue reading

Healthy Steps Toward Becoming a Missionary

Nate and Stacy Tatman

By Nate Tatman

I have worked in the local church for the majority of my adult life. For the last eight to nine years, I have overseen global missions and local outreach. Through my experience as a missions pastor, I can honestly say I have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly when it comes to Christians who feel called into missions. Continue reading

Honduras: Hope in the Midst of Suffering

Special visitors in English class.

By Sarah Hunnicutt

Sometimes the broken things can threaten to overwhelm me, to overwhelm us. Sometimes it’s easier to look away from the broken parts and hope for the best. Sometimes it’s a balance knowing when to go deeper and when to step back. Maybe it’s not a matter of choosing all light or all dark, all rainbows or all difficulties. Perhaps the best way to bring a little heaven to earth, and a little healing to this brokenness, is to keep our eyes up and our feet on the ground. Maybe this is what Jesus meant when he said to be in this world but not of it. When you know who and whose you are, you can join this world in its brokenness because you know each person has a story, and each broken bit of yourself is what makes it possible to pour out the healing grace and love that’s become a part of you. Maybe this is what it means to love God and love others. Eyes up. Heart up. Hands open. Feet grounded. Continue reading

Beyond the Border: A Visit with the Church of God in Northern Mexico

Mexico side of US-Mexico border fence; makeshift tents of asylum-seekers at base.

By Carl Stagner

After borrowing a Spanish New Testament and grammar book to learn Spanish, B. F. Elliot set sail from San Diego for Ensenada, Mexico, with the stamp of approval and exactly two dollars from D. S. Warner himself. B. F. Elliot would be the first missionary of the Church of God, heeding the Spirit’s prompts to preach the gospel to Spanish-speaking people in 1891. Combined with subsequent trips, and enhanced by others who would come alongside and come after, B. F. Elliot got to work, conducting door-to-door evangelism and starting a mission. Seeds planted then would ultimately grow into the active, unified Church of God in northern Mexico it is today. Earlier this year, Global Strategy’s Andrew Gale joined Darren Adwalpalker of Highland Park Community Church (Casper, Wyoming), as well as two leaders from their missions committee, for an eye-opening visit to Baja California. While the media often only portrays a narrow view of Mexico, limited to immigration and border concerns, this visit shone a light on what God is accomplishing through these thirteen congregations, at the border, and beyond the border. Continue reading

Disaster Response Sustains Haiti Hospital through Recent Crisis

Hospital of the Church of God in Haiti.

By Mark Fulton

Responses to crises vary wildly. In February 2019, a faction of the general populous of Haiti responded to economic and governmental crises with a long period of violent protests and roadblocks, leading to advisories from the US Embassy, to all people, to “shelter in place.” In the midst of the uncertain times, the Hospital of the Church of God struggled to continue its normal daily functions. Continue reading

Bolivia: A New Joel

Sunday school in Bolivia.

By Paul and Kattia Jones

Once upon a time, in a small Church of God in Bolivia, South America, there was a four-year-old boy named Joel. He was restless. He participated in very little during Sunday school, and he did not pay much attention to his teacher Irene, either. In addition, he showed his fist to any child who kept looking at him. This type of behavior drew the attention of missionary Kattia Jones, who decided to speak with the teacher. The conversation led to another topic that the missionary suspected was the main reason why Joel behaved that way. Continue reading

Convention 2019 Speaker Fosters Refuge and Redemption in France

Samir Salibi with wife Joanna, sons Maxim and Liam.

By Carl Stagner

The Church of God in Paris, France, is relatively new. It wasn’t until 1989 that the Church of God came to Paris, and not by way of the Church of God in the United States and Canada. The Church of God in Lebanon planted the Church of God in Paris. So when the refugee crisis of 2015 resulted in more than a million Middle Eastern refugees arriving in Europe, the Church of God in Paris was uniquely qualified to respond. Samir Salibi, leader of the Church of God ministry in Paris known as @home, was once an immigrant, himself, also from Lebanon. As you might imagine, the Church of God is especially looking forward to what God has placed on his heart for Convention 2019 & General Assembly. Continue reading

Facebook Seminary: Pakistan Pastors-in-Training Plug In with AU Professor

Students in Pakistan gather around a laptop…

By Carl Stagner

God is on the move through the Church of God in Pakistan, and it’s a breathtaking sight to behold. On Saturday evenings, seminary students in the Middle Eastern country assemble to hear Sarah Blake LaRose teach hermeneutics and exegesis. But Sarah is not in the same room—not exactly, anyway. Ten time zones away, it’s Saturday morning in Anderson, Indiana, where the AU professor has logged on to Facebook Messenger. There she lectures on the topic of Scripture interpretation, fielding questions and interacting with her pastors-in-training in Pakistan. Continue reading

Church of God Missionaries to Sri Lanka Heartbroken After Easter Attacks

By Carl Stagner

Celebration of the risen Christ ended early and abruptly on Sunday, April 21, in Sri Lanka, as the deadliest violence in a decade devastated the island country south of India. More than 300 people were killed and another 500 injured in a series of bombings that struck churches and hotels in the cities of Colombo, Negombo, and Batticaloa. As investigations continue, the Church of God fervently prays for the injured, families of victims, first-responders, and churches affected both directly and indirectly. Steven and Peggy Beverly, missionaries for Global Strategy to Sri Lanka, were just beginning their home assignment at the time of the incident. Their updates on the situation reveal their broken hearts. They would prefer to be with the suffering people they’ve come to love than safe in the U.S. right now. Continue reading

Upside-Down Kingdom: Insights and Updates from England

Community meal at Birkenhead Church of God.

By Zach and Audrey Langford

Birkenhead Church of God, like many of the churches in Europe, is reaching an increasingly secular and post-Christian society. “Be Known, Be Loved, Be Community” has become the church’s motto as we seek to engage people. We have been consistently met with hesitation and skepticism as we introduce ourselves to neighbors. Preconceived notions and barriers make relationship-building slow. Continue reading