Norberto Obermann (right) with wife Claudia, son Pedro.
By Carl Stagner
It all began with a prayer. A big and bold prayer—that God would lead Norberto Obermann to do something so challenging it could not be done alone. That, without God, it would simply be impossible. Born in Argentina, and having pastored there and in Brazil for the better part of three decades, Norberto would soon see what happens when such prayers are offered up in faithful surrender. Through a variety of unfolding events, he and his family would be called to pastor North Modesto Church of God in Modesto, California. The quadrilingual pastor—yes, he can speak four languages!—was a perfect fit for the rapidly evolving demographics of the north-central California city. It all made sense to the church and the Obermanns. But God didn’t answer their prayer in the way they were expecting. Instead, they embarked on an adventure that would last two years. Continue reading
Posted in All Church of God, Western
Tagged adventure, application, Argentina, assimilation, bilingual, bold, Brazil, CA, California, CBH, Christensens, Claudia Obermann, cross-cultural, faith, historic, history in the making, hurdles, immigration, international, Jim Lyon, journey, language, languages, Latin America, Mario Hort, Modesto, multicultural, multilingual, Norberto Obermann, North Modesto Church of God, Northern California, overseas, Paul Dreger, Pedro Obermann, pray, prayer, prayerful, precedent, quadrilingual, risk, South America, The Church of God of Northern California Association, trial, visa, waiting
Ken & Keli with extended family of John & Rhonda in their home.
Over the last couple years, the Church of God Disaster Relief fund has provided matching funds to the German national church to support strategic refugee initiatives launched by local German congregations in response to the refugee crisis there. At the invitation and hospitality of the German Church of God, Ken and Keli Oldham (Global Strategy) were able to follow up with a few of these ministries this summer. They witnessed the German church developing significant relationships with refugees as they have sought not just to serve their needs, but to include them into their fellowships. Continue reading
Posted in All Church of God, Disaster Relief, Global Strategy
Tagged 3W, aid, assistance, Disaster Relief, Europe and the Middle East, Europe-Middle East, German, Germany, global, Greece, hospitality, immigration, Iran, Islam, Ken and Keli Oldham, Ken Oldham, Middle-Eastern, migrants, missions, Muslim, refugee crisis, refugees, Syrian refugee crisis, Three Worlds
Photo: The airport welcoming team with the refugee family.
By Carl Stagner
Earlier this year, a report was released indicating that the total number of displaced persons in the world is higher than it’s ever been. At the end of last year, the refugee agency for the United Nations estimated the figure at more than 65 million people.* Staggering statistics like these suggest to some that finding solutions is a lost cause. But Fairfax Community Church, our Church of God congregation with campuses in Fairfax, Virginia, and Clarksburg, Maryland, determined that something had to be done. Boldly stepping into unknown territory, their missions staff cut through red tape and navigated a myriad of challenges until they got the answers they were looking for. Because of their efforts, Fairfax Community Church now celebrates the “adoption” of a Syrian refugee family. Continue reading
Posted in All Church of God, Northeast
Tagged Adoption, Alan MacDonald, Brooke Luther, Fairfax, Fairfax Community Church, government, immigration, Lani Willbanks, Middle East, missional, missions, refugee crisis, refugees, Rod Stafford, Syrian, Virginia
Photo: Dindial “Daniel” Pooran
By Carl Stagner
If you’ve attended any of the Church of God Regional Conventions this year, you’ve heard the gripping account of unfettered grace offered to a young boy in Guyana who ultimately became the founding co-pastor of New Covenant Church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. But Milton Grannum’s isn’t the only grace-in-Guyana story. The story of Dindial “Daniel” Pooran is another testimony to the transformation that can take place when believers invite, and invest in, others. Because of one invitation to church, and the investment that followed, this young man traded Hinduism for Christ. Continue reading
Posted in All Church of God
Tagged British Guiana, Canada, CHOG Table, Daniel Dindial Pooran, Guyana, immigration, Milton Grannum, race, Reconciliation, regional convention, West Indies