Category Archives: Global Strategy

Johnsons Announced as Regional Coordinators for Africa

John and Gwen Johnson

By Stephen Lewis

Regional coordinators are thoroughly integrated into the structure of Global Strategy and the way that we work with national leaders and missionaries around the globe. These people are critical to the mission of Global Strategy. So, it is always with trepidation and a sense of uncertainty that we approach a transition in regional coordinators. It was with grief that we saw Mike and Heather Webb step out of the role of regional coordinators for Africa at the end of July 2019, yet we were excited to see them assume new roles as executive directors of Children of Promise in August 2019. Continue reading

Beauty from Ashes Amid Loss of Historic CHOG Building in India

Flames engulf the historic Qualapatty church building on November 17.

By Don and Caroline Armstrong

In the early morning hours of November 17 in Shillong, India, a fire broke out in the historic Qualapatty Church of God. After having stood so prominently for more than a century, this beautiful, 117-year-old building became engulfed in the flames as a firetruck that was too big for the narrow road blocked the way for the smaller firetruck behind it. Continue reading

Christmas in Côte d’Ivoire

By Carl Stagner

“I’ll be home for Christmas” might be the popular refrain among families spread across North America this time of year, but often included among those who can’t be home for the holidays are our Church of God missionaries. While there are some aspects of the season they miss—family, friends, foods, and familiar sights and sounds—there are some things about Christmas in America that they’ve learned to live without. Looking past the rampant commercialization and materialism attached to the holiday here, Christmas celebrations in many other countries have their own appeal, and have much to teach us, too. The Church of God in Côte d’Ivoire offers one example. Continue reading

Pink Door: Longing to Be Loved

Pink Door Country: a place of peace, grace, and abundance.

“Everyone longs to be loved. And the greatest thing we can do is to let people know that they are loved and capable of loving.” —Fred Rogers

One day at Pink Door, we were talking about what we admire in others. One woman’s response was the ability to give and receive gnade (grace). She went on to explain that it is impossible for her to receive this from others. When asked why, she hung her head in silence. “Do you feel you don’t deserve it?” She broke her silence with the answer “No. I don’t deserve it.” Continue reading

Steadfast Stateside: A Sister’s Perspective on Missions

Kay and Sherman Critser

By Cheral Critser

Editor’s note—Sometimes the story that doesn’t get told is the one about family and friends who are left behind when missionaries leave for the field. Honoring the retirement of career missionaries Sherman and Kay Critser, Cheral Critser—Sherman’s sister—offers a tribute to the couple and, at the same time, a unique perspective on missionary service.

Kay Critser was pregnant with Ryan and went to the doctor to see if she was having twins (Kay was a twin and there are twins in our family). They called on the phone, asking me to come over. I was excited and asked if they were having twins. Sherman laughed and hung up on me! As I went down the hill from the dorm, I was thanking and praising God for the twins. I crossed the street and was at the light post on the corner of the college library. I heard a voice loud and clear, “They are not having twins.” I jumped, looked around and there was no one around. The voice told me God was sending Sherman and Kay to Africa. Continue reading

CHOG in Northern Brazil Grows at “Incredible” Pace, More Pastors Needed

Seminary student worships at regional youth convention.

By Carl Stagner

Though its roots are in church tradition, today’s festivities of Mardi Gras tend to reflect the worst of culture more than the person of Christ. In Brazil, the celebration of Carnival has similar Christian roots but, like Mardi Gras, hardly resembles its origins. Thankfully, as the Church of God in northern Brazil continues to grow, so does its influence on the culture, especially in the city of Itaituba. Missionaries Jonathan and Beth Todd have been blessed to witness firsthand the mighty move of God in recent years, which has resulted in a good problem to have—they need more pastors. Continue reading

Haiti Hospital Stays Course Amid Civil Unrest

Church of God hospital in Haiti.

By Carl Stagner

As political tensions increase and vital resources become scarce, Haiti’s social conditions continue to decline. With an end to the volatile situation nowhere in sight, the safety and health of the country’s citizens is a chief concern of the church and broader community. In the midst of chaos, the hospital of the Church of God in Saintard (St. Ard) is staying the course, even while limited in staff and function. Global Strategy missionaries Mark and Kathy Fulton, who also work at the hospital, remain stateside, unable to return to their beloved brothers and sisters via routes now considered impassable. They provide the latest information with insight on how the Church of God outside Haiti can best support the Church of God within. Continue reading

Church of God Raises $25,000 for Dorian Disaster Relief

Residents affected by Dorian are blessed with hot meals.

By Carl Stagner

While Labor Day weekend may have been a picnic for many in the United States, it was nothing short of disaster for those distressed and displaced due to Hurricane Dorian. The 185-mile-per-hour winds struck the Bahamas with torrential rainfall and left widespread destruction in its wake. The Church of God would not stand idly by, however, as the days and weeks that followed were marked by an outpouring of generosity. In total, more than $25,000 have come in since the hurricane, and news of such an impact is only beginning to come to light. Continue reading

Philadelphia Pastor Publishes Legendary Account of Pain, Redemption, and Triumph

Milton Grannum telling his story at Church of God Convention 2009.

By Carl Stagner

Because of his commitment to Jesus Christ, Milton Grannum’s family kicked him out of their house when he was only fourteen years old. Adding insult to injury, they tossed his school books out the door and told him he should go live at the church. The words of the psalmist brought comfort to young Milton: “For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the LORD will take me in” (Psalm 27:10 ESV). Stuffing all his belongings in a pillow case, Milton left, unsure of what he might face. Still, Milton Grannum found resolve in the words of a song: “Whether I live or die, whether I wake or sleep, I am the Lord’s, I know.” Continue reading

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