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
Posted in All Church of God, Global Strategy
Tagged Andrew Gale, Baja California, border, Camp Abarim, Capser, Darren Adwalkpalker, Ensenada, government, Highland Community Church, Mexicali, Mexico, northern Mexico, politics, San Luis Colorado, Sonora, WY, Wyomin
Down to the studs at Community of Hope!
By Carl Stagner
Rusty Akers couldn’t have known what the journey would entail, but no doubt he knew it would be the journey of a lifetime. Planting a church in the heart of one of the fastest-growing cities in the country had its strong points, but it wasn’t going to be easy. The hard work of holding services in an elementary school, the years of community involvement, and the faithful communication of the gospel has more than paid off in eternal rewards—souls won to Christ, believers baptized, lives transformed, and a community better for it. But more than one purchase of property since 2005 and a community far more transient than expected, resulting in frequent turnover of residents and congregational makeup, has proved grueling. Nonetheless, the opportunity seized recently by Community of Hope, a life-giving Church of God congregation in Maricopa, Arizona, is one with implications for both now and the future. By the end of the summer, they will have completely renovated a former jail, transforming it into the church’s new children’s ministry wing. Continue reading
Posted in All Church of God, Give Life, Western
Tagged Arizona, AZ, building project, challenge, children, children's ministry, community, Community of Hope, construction, expansion, Give Life, Jesus Is the Subject, kids, Maricopa, Mexico, municipal, New Life, Reclaim, rehab, renovation, Rusty Akers, school, service project, setbacks, Southwest, triumph
Digging up the time capsule.
By Carl Stagner
At 5536 N. 6th Street in Phoenix, Arizona, you’ll find sacred grounds. On these grounds, souls have been won to Christ. Believers have been baptized. Lives have been transformed. Memories—of both challenge and triumph—have been made. Of course, it’s not the address, the parking lot, or the building that make it so special; it’s the Lord, whose providential hand has preserved that space for his glorious work for three decades. And it’s the believers themselves, who had worshiped at another location even longer—since the 1940s. Though the name over the door has changed over the years, the Lord over all has remained the same. In view of The Gathering Place Church of God positioning itself for expansion, congregants from generations past-to-present recently reunited to unearth a time capsule, whose contents not only bring back cherished memories, but speak of an unchanging, eternally faithful God. Continue reading
Posted in All Church of God, Western
Tagged anniversary, Arizona, AZ, CCV, celebration, ceremony, chairs, Christ's Church of the Valley, community, creative approaches, discovery, heritage, history, Mexico, North Hills Church of God, partnership, Paul Johnson, pews, Phoenix, reminiscence, seating, special activities, The Gathering Place, time capsule
By Carl Stagner
They raise the funds themselves. Then they go out and build a house. They give the home to a needy family, debt-free. Then they do it again. Their work touches the lives of families in Guatemala, Mexico, and soon in the Dominican Republic and the United States. The first time Thursday Church of Vincennes, Indiana, built one of these homes, the new homeowners weren’t the only ones blessed. Since that day, Thursday Church has never been the same. Continue reading
Posted in All Church of God, Great Lakes
Tagged Bicknell, building, construction, Debbie Salters, Dominican Republic, global, Guatemala, homes, Honduras, houses, Indiana, international, Mexico, missions, outreach, prostitution, sex trafficking, sexual abuse, Thursday Church, Vincennes
By Carl Stagner
Just when you think you’ve got it all figured out, God throws you a curve ball. For nine years, Abner Rodriguez and his wife had been praying for a house. After only two months to settle into their new home, God revealed his plan to send the family to Del Rio, Texas, to plant a church. It would be Abner’s first church plant in the United States, though for a decade he’d been a highly successfully church planter and pastor of some two thousand people spread out among twenty sites in the Mexican border city of Piedras Negras. An inflatable bed hasn’t been the most comfortable sleeping arrangement, and the added commute between churches has been far from pleasant. Nevertheless, the blessing of being on the frontier of revival among our Hispanic brothers and sisters has been worth every mile and trial. Continue reading
Posted in All Church of God, Central
Tagged Abner Rodriguez, church growth, church planting, Del Rio, FCF, Frontier Christian Fellowship, Hispanic, Luz Gonzales, Mexico, Piedras Negras, Spanish, Texas
Photo: Spread the Word team on Mexico trip this year.
The Youth Network Team of the Church of God recently traveled to Eagle Pass, Texas, and crossed the border to Piedras Negras, Mexico, for a time of training, planning, and outreach. This effort was part of the Spread the Word (STW) initiative. Since 2002, Church of God students and their leaders have given more than $775,000 through STW for tools for evangelism. One of the primary reasons for this trip was to see STW funds in action and to hand off the Five Principle Training system.
By Duane Parker
My Global Gathering story stretches back almost a year to an important meeting at Wesley Biblical Seminary in Jackson, Mississippi. I had made an appointment to visit the seminary to inquire about a rental for our state General Assembly meeting in February 2013. Ken Money took me on a tour of the building and discussed our needs and those of the other regular users of the building and grounds. As I described our organization, he interjected that his assistant was an ordained Church of God Minister from Mexico. He introduced me to a quiet young Hispanic man who did in fact confirm that he was Juan Gonzalez, from Saltillo, Mexico. During that meeting he told me how he had met his wife, the daughter of the vice president of the seminary, married, and moved to Mississippi to complete his master of theology. He was working for the seminary and taking classes at the same time. Continue reading