Tag Archives: Missionaries

Steadfast Stateside: A Sister’s Perspective on Missions

Kay and Sherman Critser

By Cheral Critser

Editor’s note—Sometimes the story that doesn’t get told is the one about family and friends who are left behind when missionaries leave for the field. Honoring the retirement of career missionaries Sherman and Kay Critser, Cheral Critser—Sherman’s sister—offers a tribute to the couple and, at the same time, a unique perspective on missionary service.

Kay Critser was pregnant with Ryan and went to the doctor to see if she was having twins (Kay was a twin and there are twins in our family). They called on the phone, asking me to come over. I was excited and asked if they were having twins. Sherman laughed and hung up on me! As I went down the hill from the dorm, I was thanking and praising God for the twins. I crossed the street and was at the light post on the corner of the college library. I heard a voice loud and clear, “They are not having twins.” I jumped, looked around and there was no one around. The voice told me God was sending Sherman and Kay to Africa. Continue reading

CHOG in Northern Brazil Grows at “Incredible” Pace, More Pastors Needed

Seminary student worships at regional youth convention.

By Carl Stagner

Though its roots are in church tradition, today’s festivities of Mardi Gras tend to reflect the worst of culture more than the person of Christ. In Brazil, the celebration of Carnival has similar Christian roots but, like Mardi Gras, hardly resembles its origins. Thankfully, as the Church of God in northern Brazil continues to grow, so does its influence on the culture, especially in the city of Itaituba. Missionaries Jonathan and Beth Todd have been blessed to witness firsthand the mighty move of God in recent years, which has resulted in a good problem to have—they need more pastors. Continue reading

Haiti: Four Hundred Blessings and More

Newborn receiving medical care at the CHOG hospital in Haiti.

By Mark Fulton

When the emergency department of the Church of God hospital opened in Haiti in January 2018, the decision was made initially to not have birthing services, as we had too many other things to put into place. How naïve we were! When a mom comes to the ER and is nearly ready to give birth, referring her to another center is out of the question. So, we quickly learned what we needed to procure and arrange to be able to assist with the normal birthing process, as well as finding the personnel to perform surgical birth assistance (Caesarian). Continue reading

From the Archives: The Great Commission at Home

By Luz Gonzales

Christ spoke to his disciples and said, “Go into all the world and make disciples” (Matt 28:19). The King James Version says, “to preach the gospel.” Either way you want to read it, this is a command to evangelize the world. You and I—men and women, boys and girls, preachers and laypeople—are privileged to be called of God for this world-evangelization task. However, it seems to me that we commonly misinterpret this text to justify “sending missionaries to a foreign field,” and this is a mistake. Continue reading

Japan Celebrates Increasing Number of Women in Ministry

Gathering of pastors in Japan, summer 2019.

By Carl Stagner

So much took place during Convention 2019 and General Assembly, and so much has been said about our experience together in Orlando. In all the recap and review, we certainly don’t want to overlook the international component of this pivotal gathering. Sure, there were 180 guests and a couple speakers from outside the United States and Canada. More missionaries were present than at any convention in recent memory, and a global dialogue brought some exciting new ideas to the fore. But there were testimonies given and stories shared of God at work around the world, too. One was the report of the growing representation of women among clergy in the Church of God in Japan. Continue reading

Healthy Steps Toward Becoming a Missionary

Nate and Stacy Tatman

By Nate Tatman

I have worked in the local church for the majority of my adult life. For the last eight to nine years, I have overseen global missions and local outreach. Through my experience as a missions pastor, I can honestly say I have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly when it comes to Christians who feel called into missions. Continue reading

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

Convention 2019: An International Affair

Convention guests from Mexico and Ghana together in 2013.

By Carl Stagner

In 2015, the General Assembly passed a resolution directing the Church of God Convention to “encourage broad participation” by the Church of God around the world every fourth year. The first of these gatherings with an international emphasis is Convention 2019 in Orlando, Florida, June 27–30 (www.chogconvention.org). With Church of God speakers from outside the United States and Canada, approximately 170 international registrants to date, and a variety of missions conferences and events, Convention 2019 and General Assembly is gearing up to be one of the most international experiences of the Church of God in North America. Continue reading

Upside-Down Kingdom: Insights and Updates from England

Community meal at Birkenhead Church of God.

By Zach and Audrey Langford

Birkenhead Church of God, like many of the churches in Europe, is reaching an increasingly secular and post-Christian society. “Be Known, Be Loved, Be Community” has become the church’s motto as we seek to engage people. We have been consistently met with hesitation and skepticism as we introduce ourselves to neighbors. Preconceived notions and barriers make relationship-building slow. Continue reading

Children of Promise Introduces Webbs as New Directors-Elect

The Webbs

After an extensive and prayerful search, the board of directors of Children of Promise is pleased to announce the selection of Mike and Heather Webb as the next co-directors of Children of Promise, the child sponsorship ministry of the Church of God. As longtime Church of God missionaries to Africa and, most recently, regional coordinators for Global Strategy to Africa, the Webbs possess the heart, cross-cultural ministry experience, and gifts necessary to fill the vacancy left by Paul Maxfield when he retires on September 30. Continue reading

The Rising Influence of the Church of God on South Sudan

Tim Stevenson preaching under the fig tree.

By Carl Stagner

With continued expansion in northern Uganda, the influence of the Church of God on South Sudan is also on the rise. Though South Sudan achieved independence in 2011 when Africa’s longest civil war ended, tremendous socioeconomic and political struggles persist. Clashes between clans, tribes, political parties, and religions have left behind widespread destruction and hopelessness. It has been reported that over 1.2 million refugees have fled South Sudan for Uganda, the country where Global Strategy missionaries Tim and Colleen Stevenson have worked for thirty-four years. Their work is having a direct impact on South Sudanese refugees as the Church of God establishes “centers” of hope, each noted for its congregation, school, well, and other programs for physical and spiritual health. Continue reading

Côte d’Ivoire: Missing Miracles in Our Midst

Abigail and her friend who had been blind.

By LeAnn Sellers

We get busy with so many things in our lives, that we sometimes miss important things in the lives of our family or friends. Do we not also get so busy that we miss something amazing that God is doing right in our midst? Continue reading

Three Worlds Leadership Network 3.0 a Blessing to All

3WLN 3.0 participants

By Patrick Nachtigall

It’s hard to believe, but we have just completed our third Three Worlds Leadership Network (3WLN) conference! It has been amazing to watch how quickly this support network for church leaders between the ages of 18 and 45 has grown in just a couple of years. For this year’s event, we had 85 delegates from 16 countries, representing 29 different nationalities. It was wonderful to see all of these sharp, promising young leaders continuing to connect, dreaming up new dreams and visions, and supporting one another. Continue reading

Learning Curves in Botswana

Long lines form outside ATMs in Botswana.

By Tim and Joy Coppess

We have encountered several learning curves in adapting to our new home. Our role in this first year is to build relationships and begin learning the language (Setswana) and culture of Botswana. Since people are drawn to their mother tongue, this focus will help us more effectively carry out our assignment of facilitating discipleship and leadership development. Continue reading

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