Tag Archives: missionary

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

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

From the Archives: The Covenant of Mission

By Maurice Caldwell

“But to each other and to God eternal trueness vow” is a line from a song which celebrates a covenant. When we sing the songs of our pioneers, we echo the covenant concept which permeated their lifestyle. Their songs and their writings contain the authentic accent of covenantal relationships.

Our ancestors understood, also, the purpose of their covenant. They talked about “circling the globe with the truth.” In every generation the church has poured out into the world a multitude of people who have caught the vision and the spirit of God’s mission. Church of God outreach into sixty countries today is based upon the continuing desire to be faithful to clear New Testament guidelines. 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

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

Historical Account of Danish Missionary Captured in New Book

Morris C. Johnson

By Carl Stagner

Simon Jacobsen, a Christian historian and author from Denmark, has recently published a book capturing the history of one of the first two Church of God missionaries to Denmark, Morris C. Johnson. Two years after surrendering his life to Christ at the age of sixteen at a Church of God congregation in the United States, he accepted a call to missions. Since his grandfather had immigrated to the U.S. in 1872 from Denmark, Johnson vowed that he would return to the Scandinavian country of his ancestry. The influence of Johnson’s work, beginning in 1910, was thereafter extensive yet, until now, accounts of his impact for the Church of God—and the kingdom—have been scant, at best. Thanks to months of diligent research across national borders, through the Church of God Archives at Anderson University, and with Church of God Ministries, Simon Jacobsen has chronicled the unique story of Morris Johnson’s life—one of drama, adventure, conflict, and Spirit-fueled perseverance. 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

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

Phoenix, Oklahoma City Regional Conventions Commission All

Friendships, both old and new, are a Regional Convention highlight.

By Carl Stagner

Two of the five Church of God Regional Conventions 2018 are now history, but their impact is still being felt from Alaska to Alabama. Some may have flown to Arizona to escape winter’s clutch on spring, but they stayed to drink from an oasis in the desert. Others may have descended upon Oklahoma City for the fine barbecue, but they stayed because their cravings were satisfied in the life-giving teaching and fellowship. Still others attended, many as first-time guests of a Church of God convention, because this year’s variety of regional locations afforded them accessibility. Challenged to reclaim what hell has stolen, but inspired to fully embrace the Life, attendees of the first two Regional Conventions ultimately climbed in cars or boarded airplanes to return home, ready and resourced to change the world in Jesus’ name. Continue reading

Longtime Missionary Turns 100

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Photo: Bob Moss and Ernest LaFont

By Carl Stagner

1916. That was the year former missionary Ernest LaFont was born. Well-known across the movement throughout the 20th century, he and his wife Grace were regarded by both pastors and laypeople, at home and abroad, as exemplary pillars of the faith. Chances are pretty good that either you are someone who was blessed by the ministry of the LaFonts, or you know someone who was. From Panama to Egypt, to Lebanon and finally Washington State, the widespread reach of this Pacific Bible College (now Warner Pacific) graduate over the span of a lifetime has not ceased, but continues to this day. Family member and friend Bob Moss of Church of God Ministries knows firsthand the incredible impact of Ernest LaFont on the movement, and is honored to offer just a glimpse of the harrowing circumstances that shaped this man of God. Continue reading

Coppess, Stocksdale Families Announced as Missionaries to Botswana

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Photo: Art Clawson, the Nipps (left) at the 2011 Recognition Ceremony.

If there’s one thing we know as Christians, it’s that God works in mysterious ways, often keeping the road ahead of us hidden from our sight. He often calls us to step out in faith, not knowing where that call will lead.

A little more than fifty-four years ago, Jim and Mary Nipp set sail from New York Harbor with a one-way ticket on a freighter ship bound for Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. A year later, God led them to Maun, Botswana, where they began a ministry as independent Church of God missionaries that has blossomed into a healthy, vibrant church, with five congregations across the country. In 2012, Jim wrote: “Our first service was under a tree in Maun. We cut logs for pews. A broken truck spring and a tire lever made a perfect bell. Twenty-one people attended that service.” Over the years, the Nipps have walked in fellowship with these congregations, nurturing them to spiritual maturity. Continue reading

Soldier-Turned-Pastor Washes Feet of World War II Enemies

Bible_and_FelipeMerioles_with_MitsuoFuchida_FORWEB

Photo: Felipe’s Bible (left); picture of Felipe & Mitsuo Fuchida (right).

By Carl Stagner

We cherish the stories of God’s grace and power at work among his people. They have become a part of who we are. We’re eternally grateful to God for preserving his Word through the ages, often in spite of opposition. We’re thankful for our church historians and writers who have told and retold the stories of our pioneer pastors and missionaries in the Church of God. From the biblical narrative, to our earliest days as a movement, to the kingdom activity of our local churches and missionaries today, such stories inspire us, remind us of God’s faithfulness, and bind us together. This year the gripping account of a World War II-ravaged Filipino pastor has come to light. It’s a story which few have heard, but no doubt one for the history books. Continue reading

Former CHOG Missionary, Sister Host Asian House Church

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By Carl Stagner

You may be able to take the missionary out of the country she served for twenty-two years, but you can’t take the missionary out of her. Though God had called Zonia Mitchell off the field after faithfully investing more than two decades of her life in Japan, he had not called her out of missions. Zonia and her sister Keri now minister together to Asians in their West Monroe, Louisiana, home. Continue reading

Never Prepared Enough: Baptisms in Ecuador

By Jon and Karen Lambert

Whenever we are with our indigenous congregations, there are always surprises. Sunday, May 31, was no different. We were supposed to meet the Pisimbilla congregation for a baptism. We were to meet at a gas station in the town of Cayambe at 9:30 AM. We left Quito early to ensure we had enough time. We arrived early and waited…and waited…and waited. Everyone finally arrived at 11 AM. Thus my OCD was beginning to surface! We next drove to a part of Cayambe known for warm volcanic springs. Cayambe can be very cool, and warm water seemed a good idea to me since I was doing the baptizing. As we drove to the springs, Pastor Carlos informed us that he had not been to these springs in thirty-five years. Continue reading