Tag Archives: Missionaries

CWC Today: Standing in the Gap for All Women (and Men, Too!)

CWC’s Arnetta Bailey and Global Strategy’s Colleen Stevenson.

By Carl Stagner

Women were among the earliest pioneers of the Church of God movement, and some of our most outstanding preachers have been, and continue to be, women. In spite of such a rich history dating back to the beginning, not to mention the wealth of biblical support, women—both pastors and laypeople—have not always been given the same opportunities as men. But since 1932, women of the Church of God have rallied together to stand in the gap, not only providing necessary care to countless missionaries, but also being a voice for Christian women everywhere. Though the name of the affiliated agency of the Church of God is different now than it was then, Christian Women Connection’s timeless mission has remained the same, returning to its roots even more in recent years. Still, many men and women are unaware of the incredible depth of vital ministry made possible by CWC today. A recent interview with CWC executive director Arnetta McNeese Bailey takes us behind the manger scenes and beyond the sewing circles to discover there’s far more to CWC than you may know. Continue reading

Côte d’Ivoire: A Church is Being Built!

Team working together to tie a post.

By Bobby and Jenny Mihsill

On a Sunday morning in the village of Sinfra, about an hour and fifteen minutes from where we live in Yamoussoukro, people sit shoulder-to-shoulder on backless wooden benches at the local Church of God. The church has been meeting in the living room area of the house that was built for the pastor, although they outgrew the space some time ago. Continue reading

Japan Congregation Embraces Opportunities to Give Life

Children enjoying a meal provided by the church.

By Bernie and Akiko Barton

April is a time of new beginnings in Japan, with a new school year and the start of a new fiscal year. At Futsukaichi Eiko Christ Church, a new community outreach ministry began this April—Flowers of the Field Meal Service. With more families needing dual incomes these days, kids often don’t have family meal times. Throughout Japan there is a push for meal services to help provide kids with stable, nutritional meals. Our church has started the only meal service in our immediate community. We provide a low-cost, nutritious meal, two Friday evenings a month. The response has been surprising, with almost twenty coming each time so far. Please pray for our pastor’s wife, Kazuko Numa, as she leads this ministry and for church volunteer staff as we relate to our neighbors who join us for supper. Continue reading

Church of God in Nicaragua Takes Steps Forward Amid Challenges

Feeding ministry program in Nicaragua.

By Jason and Abby Torgeson

An important part of our new role as regional consultants involves traveling to check on the missionaries and projects in our area. For our first such trip, we decided to pay a visit to our neighbors to the north. Guillermo Herrera and his son Lesly are the pastors and leaders of the two Church of God congregations in Nicaragua. They are currently in process of transitioning from being launched by the Costa Rican church and funded by outside resources, to a self-sustaining ministry. The process has been challenging, as Nicaragua is one of the top-three most impoverished nations in the Western hemisphere. As Pastor Guillermo Herrera said, “Our congregation has eighty members. Eleven have jobs, and, of those, seven tithe.” Continue reading

Produce, Poultry, and Professions of Faith: Church of God Celebrates Harvest in Brazil

Worship on Palm Sunday at the Central Church of God pavilion.

By Carl Stagner

The Holy Spirit wasn’t waiting until Easter to do something big in Brazil. Over the weekend leading to Palm Sunday, a spiritual retreat took place at Maloquinha, the Church of God farm and retreat center in Itaituba. Initial reports indicate forty-eight people surrendered their lives to Christ by the conclusion of the experience at several churches across the Amazonia region of Brazil. The ongoing harvest of produce and poultry at Maloquinha is only matched by the latest harvest of souls. Far more than a church campground or conference center, this Church of God-owned property is giving life to Brazilians in a variety of unique ways. Continue reading

From Alabama to Destination Unknown: Church Launches Leaders Around the World

Special service at Riverchase Community Church.

By Carl Stagner

Regional consultant for Latin America, Abby Torgeson. Missionary to Germany, Joshua Weiger. Missionaries to Japan, Christy and Terence Van Dam. Pastors to the Middle East, Ken and Keli Oldham. Matt Anderson, pastor of the thriving desert oasis in Scottsdale, Arizona, McDowell Mountain Community Church. Besides their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, each one of these has something unique in common: Riverchase Community Church. To one degree or another, these and numerous other Christ-centered leaders were formed and/or launched into ministry from this modest-sized Church of God congregation in Birmingham, Alabama. Considering the church’s heart for missions and intentional discipleship strategies, it’s no wonder that they can’t hang on to their brightest and best. But, they wouldn’t want to. Continue reading

Hurricane Irma Disaster Assessment Begins

Warner University students safe in their shelter (credit: David Hoag).

By Carl Stagner

More than six million people in Florida remain without power today as the remnants of Hurricane Irma batter much of the southeastern United States. What once was a Category Five storm has been downgraded to tropical storm status, but not without leaving behind damage across much of the state of Florida and utter devastation on some Caribbean islands. Residents in much of Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina are not yet out of the woods. At last count, Irma’s wrath has claimed nearly forty lives across the Caribbean and some reports suggest up to 95 percent of buildings on the island of Barbuda. As of Monday, September 11, assessment is ongoing. Continue reading

A Glimmer of Hope in the United Kingdom

By Carl Stagner

Hope is at a premium in the United Kingdom. Recent terrorist attacks have ignited fears among many, but desperate poverty has been widespread in parts of the country for years. The city of Birkenhead, 227 miles northwest of London, exemplifies a post-Christian culture where the traditional role of church in society seems to have disappeared. Though just across the river sits the affluent city of Liverpool, Birkenhead faces all the usual struggles of a city stigmatized by economic decline and rampant unemployment. In the midst of this dark environment, Egan Road Church of God has been a constant glimmer of hope for ninety years. Today, Global Strategy missionaries Zach and Audrey Langford lead the congregation, now positioned to reach the community—including, and especially, the younger generation. Continue reading

Missionary Couples’ Adventures Begin Before Botswana

Collage: Coppesses (left), Stocksdales (right)

By Megan DeBruyn

It wasn’t a message in the sky that led both Abby and Corey Stocksdale and Joy and Tim Coppess to understand that they were being called to overseas missions in Maun, Botswana. Slowly, however, and ever-so-gently, the Lord revealed his divine plans to each couple, and subsequently surrounded them with a community that lifted them up and championed them in pursuit of their calls. Continue reading

Join Us in Wichita, Celebrate Movement’s International Reach

Photo: Missionary commissioning prayer in Philadelphia last year.

By Carl Stagner

The Church of God is so much bigger than most of us can imagine. With nearly 900,000 believers around the world, attending nearly 8,000 churches in 89 different countries, the international reach of the Church of God is both broad and diverse. It can be hard to visualize the magnitude of that which God has allowed us to be a part, especially when our only consistent interface with the movement is from fifth pew back, piano side, once or twice a week. One of the best things about the Church of God Convention is the opportunity to see, hear, and participate in what God is doing outside our regular sphere of ministry. Church of God Convention 2017 will once again celebrate the international reach of our movement during worship gatherings and extra events. Continue reading

Gathering Connects, Trains Young Leaders Across Europe, Middle East

Photo: Multinational prayer at the gathering.

By Carl Stagner

Across much of Europe and the Middle East, evangelical Christians compose only 0.25 to 4 percent of the population. While young Christians in North American have been given the opportunity to experience worship and fellowship with thousands of other believers—such as IYC—many Christians across European and Middle Eastern countries have never been in the same room with more than a dozen young adults who share their faith. The presence, support, and comradery of other believers is often a breath of fresh air among those for whom isolation is the norm. The second gathering of the Three Worlds Leadership Network commenced in beautiful Switzerland in early May this year, bringing with it that much-needed breath of fresh air. Continue reading

South Korean Chooses Generosity Over Knee Surgery

Photo: Pastor Moon and his wife with Bokja Lee (center).

By Carl Stagner

If you’ve ever stood in need of knee surgery, you know the kind of pain she was in. She’d saved approximately $17,000 (US) and used it all. Every last penny. Today she’s still in tremendous pain, but not because the surgery was unsuccessful or because she’s on a long road to recovery. She decided to forego the operation, but not because it was too risky or because she got cold feet. Instead of using the money for herself, she was impressed by the Spirit to give it all away. Bokja Lee chose to support a building project in the Philippines over paying for knee surgery, and she puts up with the constant reminder every day. This is the story of her radical generosity. Continue reading

Cultural Differences Eclipsed by Christmas

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Photo: Pastor Mejia, with Kathi Sellers translating.

By Carl Stagner

One church worships in Spanish. The other, English. The two churches are just a few miles apart in the same city, and both lift up the name of Jesus Christ. But these two Church of God congregations weren’t even acquainted with one another. Often the holidays are associated with family scuffles and awkward dinner conversations that lead to division. When Christ is at the center, however—when Jesus is the subject—Christmas has a way of bringing believers together. Just before Christmas, Iglesia de Dios La Hermosa and Main Street Church of God of Anderson, Indiana, united in a special worship service open to the community. Continue reading

On Being Fed: A First Christmas on the Mission Field

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Photo: Beth, Jonathan and Miriam Todd

By Beth Todd

Our last blog entry (which you can find at www.jbtodd.org) was about a few recipes we have come to enjoy during our first few months in Brazil. Jonathan and I are serious food people. I blame it on my wonderful cook of a mother from Georgia. Jonathan only likes two kinds of pie—hot and cold. In fact, I find that our Portuguese vocabulary grows faster in food words than others. We are still trying to learn all the names of fruits here, many of which we have never seen before. We are relearning how to feed ourselves in a place that doesn’t have the same ingredients we are used to. Continue reading

Alejandro and Carmen De Francisco Announced as Missionaries to Spain

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Photo: Carmen and Alejandro De Francisco

In this week of the Midwest Regional Convention of the Church of God in Anderson, Indiana, Global Strategy and Church of God Ministries are pleased to announce the appointment of Alejandro and Carmen De Francisco as missionaries to Spain, working with the Three Worlds team in Europe and the Middle East. Alejandro and Carmen will be commissioned on Tuesday, June 21, in the evening service of the regional convention in Anderson. Continue reading