Tag Archives: Missionaries

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

Longtime Missionaries to Haiti Retire, Leave Behind Legacy of Compassion

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Photo: Jodie and John Ackerman

By Carl Stagner

One of the most devastating earthquakes of the century struck the land, and they were there. When political and economic upheaval ensued, they were there. When crime didn’t decline, and poverty remained, they remained, too. Facing busy schedules and fatigue, they nevertheless lent a hand when other missionaries and ex-pats were in need. Exemplary Church of God missionaries to Haiti for the last thirty years, John and Jodie Ackerman let the compassion of Christ flow through them to the “least of these” under less-than-ideal conditions. Though they’ll soon be retiring from career missionary service, a legacy of compassion will no doubt carry on. Continue reading

Brazil Inspired by the Radical Roots of the Church of God

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By David Miller

In August we were invited to address the issue “Postmodernism and the Radical Roots of the Church of God” at the Brazilian Pastor’s Conference in Curitiba. This photo of Warner’s “Holy Band,” which included youth (nineteen-year-old Barney Warren) and women (60 percent of the evangelistic team!) aroused special interest. Continue reading

Plovdiv Perspectives: Strengthening Marriages in Bulgaria

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By Kathy Rankin Simpson

“Are you crazy?” someone asked upon hearing that we were leading a marriage retreat immediately following the six-day August youth camp. It did push us, but logistically, it was the most convenient time. Four of the couples had been leaders at the youth camp, so they didn’t have to make an extra trip. With fuel at more than $8 per gallon, transportation is always an issue. A few Bulgarians and the international guests agreed to remain to provide child care for the fourteen children of the couples, and to assist with worship times. The youth event planning team had been urging us to lead a retreat for young families. The goal has been accomplished! Continue reading

Renewing the Connection: Global Missions Becomes Global Strategy

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By Ben Shular

As we are challenged to Be Bold at the convention of the Church of God in Oklahoma City this year, we are also challenged to look outside ourselves and reclaim what hell has stolen. Since the late 1880s, the Church of God movement has been reaching out beyond the borders of the United States and Canada, resulting in a church body outside those geographic borders that is more than three times as large as the Church of God in the United States and Canada. Continue reading