Tag Archives: hope

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

Governor Appoints CHOG Pastor as Faith Commissioner on Suicide Prevention

Kevin Wayne Johnson

By Carl Stagner

The former pastor of First Church of God in Accokeek, Maryland, was intent on cultivating a congregation-wide heart for community and societal transformation. In the last five years of his thirty-four working for the federal government, Kevin Wayne Johnson served the local church faithfully as a bivocational senior pastor. For Kevin, this calling was far more than filling the pulpit; it was about shifting the gears of the congregation to a more community-oriented direction, all the while laying the groundwork for evangelism and discipleship that would continue long after his tenure was complete. Observing national holidays and marking months of societal awareness quickly became a tangible step toward accomplishing these goals. One of the church’s annual emphases, in particular, caught the attention of the governor’s office—suicide prevention. Continue reading

Serving Hope in Venezuela

Serving food – and hope – in Venezuela.

By Jason and Abby Torgeson

One of the countries of our region that has been making the news lately is Venezuela, and it’s a country that is particularly close to our family’s heart. Abby’s sister Emily studied in Caracas for a year and a half in 2003–04, and Abby had the opportunity to spend a month there in her first real overseas Spanish-immersion experience. Both were struck by the country’s tremendous beauty and rich culture. While the rumblings of discontent were evident even then, it’s been impossible to wrap our minds around the crisis that has exploded there over the past few years. Continue reading

Holistic Help and Healing for Women Beyond and Before Trafficking

Residents of the ministry’s Nashville, Tennessee, home.

By Carl Stagner

In 2014, the Church of God reengaged in a more than one hundred-year battle against sex trafficking through the launch of Trafficklight. In the years since, individuals and congregations have rallied for the cause, raising awareness and funds to advance freedom. Stories have illuminated the hand of God on this initiative across North America and around the world, and partnerships have been developed and promoted with ministries doing the grunt work on the ground. The work of a parachurch ministry known as Mercy Multiplied has captured the attention of many in the fight for freedom. It’s not only helping young women break free of destructive situations—like trafficking and abuse—but also from a wide variety of destructive behaviors. Continue reading

Georgia Church Gives Food, Health, and Life to Community

Children, families are important to Community Church of God.

By Carl Stagner

When Jason McClendon was a child, there were grown-ups in his life who spent quality time with him. One gave him his first Bible, and said, “Jason, God will do something special in your life.” That moment may have seemed insignificant to the one who said it, but to Jason, it meant the world. Over the years, he’s not forgotten that blessing, he’s learned to love authentically, and he’s developed an especially soft heart toward children. The pastor of Community Church of God in Macon, Georgia, says, “Now, I have the privilege to look into a child’s eyes and say, “God has the ability to take you to places you’ve never been!” It should come as no surprise then, that when the need became clear for a summer feeding program for local children, Community Church of God rose to the occasion. Continue reading

Trafficking Victims Find Hope, Healing at Reclaim 2017 Host-City Haven

Photo: Mentoring based on God’s Word at Hope Ranch.

By Carl Stagner

In February 2015, we first shared the story of how Hope Ranch for Women in Wichita, Kansas, came to be. A little over two years later, their story of reclaiming what hell has stolen from the lives of victims of exploitation continues to unfold. With its origins in one of several strong Church of God congregations in Wichita—Christ Church—Hope Ranch will be celebrated at Church of God Convention 2017 for its highly effective ministry. Those who attend the Freedom Summit on Friday, June 23, will also have the chance to tour their life-giving campus. Before you go, get to know a bit about the ministry which has forever changed the course of sex trafficking survivors. Continue reading

Indiana Church Offers Ministry for Children of Divorced Parents

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Photo: Madison Park Church of God

By Karen Roberts

It started about a week after Noah’s dad left. Fear like nothing he’d ever experienced before. Unable to sleep. Unable to concentrate at school. It felt as if he were dying, and his dad was no longer there to help. Where was his dad?

Noah’s mom didn’t understand what was happening to her seven-year-old son. She was devastated by her own immediate circumstances. She needed a full-time job. The aging van was on its last legs. What would happen to the family home if she couldn’t keep up with the mortgage payments? She knew she needed an attorney, but she had no money to hire one.

And then a caring friend told her about DivorceCare for Kids (DC4K). Continue reading

From the Archives: The Church That Never Fails

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By Henry G. Johnson

In Acts 12 we read of some discouraging circumstances that faced the early church. Herod had killed James with the sword and put Peter in prison, intending to kill him after Easter. If the early church had been inclined to become easily discouraged, it would have failed at this time. But instead of letting these discouraging circumstances drive them to despair, they drove them to their knees in prayer. A praying church is one that will never fail, for when a crisis comes it knows what to do; it is acquainted with the One who knows all things and can work all things out for good to those who love God. Continue reading

Joy Comes in the Mourning: Houston Church Finds Hope Amid Loss

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By Serena Ellens

“…The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away. Blessed be the name of the LORD” (Job 1:21 NKJV). Often cited in times of trial or difficulty, these famous words perfectly embody the attitude of Houston First Church of God during the past few months. The trials began with severe flooding in the church, which was due to the heavy rainfall and resulting damaged drainage pipe that burst in the roof above the youth room. Filling the church with one to three inches of standing water, the flood damaged numerous areas of the building and required that much of it be gutted and completely redone (drywall and insulation included).

Then the church was struck again, this time with the traumatic and sudden loss of their lead pastor, John Miller. After suffering a stroke on June 2, Miller passed away a few days later, leaving his congregation behind while he went to be with the Lord. Continue reading

Standing Victorious: Missionary Chronicles Cancer Struggle, Healing

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Photo: Tim and Colleen Stevenson

By Carl Stagner

“You have cancer”—three words no one ever wants to hear from a doctor. In February 2014, a blank stare spread across Colleen Stevenson’s face as a doctor in Uganda uttered these same three words. Once the initial shock wears off, many new cancer patients like Colleen are left to wrestle with feelings of disbelief, dismay, and disillusionment. Along with her husband Tim, the Church of God missionary has certainly had to climb her fair share of mountains over the past thirty years of service in and around Uganda. Never before, however, has her journey been marked by a mountain so massive, so steep. But by God’s amazing grace, the view on the other side is nothing short of spectacular. Continue reading

Extreme Love Explosion in Florence, South Carolina

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By Carl Stagner

Juvenile crime—down 39 percent in one year. Arrests—down 54 percent in one year. Since 2004, overall juvenile crime has plummeted by more than 70 percent. Some crimes are now virtually nonexistent. The past thirteen years have ushered in a new era of learning to work together to transform culture. As a result of strategic partnership between churches, schools, and government, there has been an explosion of extreme love in Florence, South Carolina. Pastor Clyde Odom of King of Kings Church of God has brought this incredible story of transformation to light. Continue reading