Tag Archives: travel

CHOG Minister Completes 4,310-Mile Walk for Adoption, Foster Care

Glenn Koster wets his feet in the Pacific Ocean.

By Carl Stagner

Glenn Koster left South Miami on foot, in February 2018. He intended to reach Seattle by October of last year, but the hazards around the next curve weren’t always visible along the 4,310-mile adventure on which he’d embarked. Ultimately appearing in 51 newspapers, on NPR and K-LOVE, with 44 churches, and for 3 foster-care-related groups, Glenn Koster finally completed his walk across America for adoption and foster care awareness late this summer. As Glenn dipped his feet in the waters of the Pacific Ocean, it was clear that even those frustrating delays would serve a providential purpose. Continue reading

Reunited in Orlando: Convention 2019 Speaker, Attendee Connect 19 Years Later

Anne Nelson (far left) and Samir Salibi (second from left) in Orlando.

By Carl Stagner

All she wanted to do was feel closer to her Lebanese family. Anne’s great grandfather was Lebanese and used to write letters to her as a child. The more Anne learned, and the older she got, the more she desired to uncover her Middle-Eastern roots. What if she could communicate with her Lebanese relatives in their language? she wondered, especially after her grandfather passed away. Learning the Arabic language wasn’t in high demand among the public schools in her area, though, presenting a short-lived challenge. Since France had colonized Lebanon in the early to mid-1900s, Anne knew French would be an alternative option. It was Anne’s love for the language that led her to leave her hometown behind in 2000 for a journey that would ultimately bring together the stories of Convention 2019, Samir Salibi, and the financial controller for Servant Solutions: Anne Nelson. 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

A Visit with the Church of God in Hungary

Joe Cookston (far left) prays at the commissioning of the plant.

By Carl Stagner

Joe Cookston has worn a variety of hats in the Church of God in his lifetime of ministry. Currently he’s most well-known across the Movement for his leadership of CARE—the Clergy Advocacy and Resource Effort. But he’s also served faithfully in a number of important areas, including the local church. One role may not be as familiar to many in the Movement, and that is the position he holds as nonresident board member for the Church of God Hungary. In August and September, Joe and his wife Merry visited Hungary, a place that has become quite familiar and beloved by the ministry duo. Joe and Merry have since returned from the encouraging experience, blessed to report on the opportunities God is opening up in the Eastern European nation. Continue reading

Pastor Engages the Enemy in Adventure of a Lifetime

Chaplain Miller prays with a Marine Corps Special Operations Team prior to a mission in East Africa.

By Carl Stagner

Calculated risk. Often used in the financial sense, Baron Miller uttered the term in the context of fear. Every time you take a drive in the car or catch a flight on an airplane, is there a chance you might not make it back? Sure, there is. But that doesn’t cancel your travel plans. When firefighters have to rush inside a burning building, or law enforcement are called to a chaotic scene, they don’t hesitate. There’s risk involved, but these community heroes trust their training and their gear to help them stand strong in the heat of the battle. The parallel to the Christian experience is inescapable; the soldier of the cross must engage the battle, must reclaim what hell has stolen. Might it get scary? Possibly. Could it get dangerous? Certainly. But at the fingertips of every believer is an arsenal of spiritual weapons and an array of training options to fully engage in the fight. Engaging the enemy—that’s what Baron Miller’s life has been about—from the halls of the Church of God he founded in Bellingham, Washington, to the shores of Guantanamo Bay. Continue reading

Unity in the Caribbean: Convention Helps Re-establish Regional Assembly

Lennox Boyce addresses the Caribbean-Atlantic Assembly in July.

By Carl Stagner

We love to talk about unity in the Church of God, but putting it into practice is often another story. Over the past two years, the national churches of the Caribbean-Atlantic region have taken steps to move beyond theoretical to functional unity once again. Though an assembly of national churches came together formally in the 1970s, recent years had seen a downturn in participation and interest. Until 2018, more than seven years had passed without a convention of the Caribbean-Atlantic Assembly. From July 28 through August 3, seven of fourteen national churches united in a visible recommitment to worshiping and working together for the advancement of the kingdom in their region. Continue reading

IYC Intern Engages in Sports Ministry, Captures Media Attention Abroad

Mark Shaner (left) with Austin Shaner (right) in India.

By Carl Stagner

Meet Austin Shaner. The December 2017 Warner University graduate and IYC2018 intern has his sights set on Christ and his heart tuned to students at home and abroad. An interdisciplinary ministry concentration on sports ministry from Warner left Austin with a deeper desire to spread the hope of Christ through relatable methods like recreation, but that’s not what recently captured the attention of the international media. With his father Mark Shaner, Austin traveled to Bangladesh and India this spring for a few scheduled—and a few unscheduled—ministry engagements. While in India, certain circumstances put him unexpectedly on the front page of the newspaper. Continue reading

Experiencing Egypt for the First Time

A camel ride was just one of those unique Egypt experiences!

By Kara Woolsey

Ever since Muren Church of God in Winslow, Indiana, first partnered with Ken and Keli Oldham, Church of God pastors to the Middle East, the idea of a short-term trip had been tossed around. But what would it look like? And would it be worth it? Continue reading

Double Adoptee Walks Across Country for Foster Care, Adoption Awareness

Glenn Koster takes a break along the scenic countryside.

By Carl Stagner

Abandoned and alone, Glenn Koster was adopted at age six. Due to neglect and abuse, he had to be adopted again at age ten. Sadly, this traumatic childhood did little to prepare him for the real world and, as such, Glenn found an outlet for his pain in alcohol and violence. The Lord turned his life around though, and in 1989, he forever left his alcohol and abuse in the past. Desiring to pay it forward, but not permitted to foster or adopt because of his record, Glenn has instead determined to raise awareness for foster care and adoption. As he walks across the continental United States, the Church of God minister and Leadership Focus participant is encountering not only a wide variety of people, but also his heavenly Father in a fresh and powerful way. Continue reading

Arizona Pastors Invite You to the Sunny Southwest

Sunset over the brand-new Mountain Park building.

By Carl Stagner

Yuma, Arizona, is the sunniest city in the United States. Ninety percent of the time, residents bask in sunshine, while even a couple hours to the northeast, the Phoenix area still sees an annual average of 85-percent sunshine. While no meteorologist or travel agency can guarantee beautiful weather, the odds are good that conditions will be pretty incredible for the kickoff Regional Convention of the Church of God in Phoenix, Arizona, April 17–18. I should know; I grew up just northwest of downtown. Continue reading

God is On the Move in Egypt

Jim Lyon speaks to leaders in Egypt.

By Ken Oldham

The birth of the Protestant Reformation is attributed to Martin Luther nailing his Ninety-five Theses on the door of the Wittenberg Church (Germany) on October 31, 1517. All across the region, this 500th anniversary has been remembered, and the evangelical churches in Egypt began planning months ago to have a special event of their own, encouraging each church group to seek international guests to join the celebration. The Church of God in Egypt was delighted to have Global Strategy regional coordinator Patrick Nachtigall, U.S.-Canada general director Jim Lyon, and Pastor Marcus Archer of Crosspoint Church (Natchez, Mississippi) accept their invitation to join the celebration, November 17–19, in Cairo. Continue reading

Students Experience Cross-cultural Community, Ministry at A.One.8

The A.One.8 group of students and leaders!

By Andrew Gale

On July 6, twelve students began their journey to Lake Wales, Florida, for the start of A.One.8 2017. The students came from nine different states from across the country. For some, it was their first-ever flight, beginning a journey of firsts. Continue reading

Mountain-top Experience Affords Tremendous ViewPoint

The Cove on a clear, moon-lit evening.

By Carl Stagner

At 3,885 feet above the cares of the world, Cedar Cliff Overlook, just minutes from the Billy Graham Training Center, reminds guests that the Artist who painted such breathtaking scenery is the same God who wants to give us a chance to catch our breath. Even in ministry—or especially in ministry—moments of rest and renewal are a must! When the vantage point of a pastor or layperson constantly focuses the eyes on the next task, it’s time to retreat. The CBH Retreat to the Cove has long served as a prescription for long seasons of work, ministry, and hurry. This October 15–18, join Jim Lyon, Larnelle Harris, Joe and Merry Cookston, Melissa Pratt, Wesley Duff, and Rob Kespelher for a mountain-top experience unlike any other. And, as you pull away from the crowd, you’ll find yourself in good company with Jesus (Mark 6:31). Continue reading

When Teachers Become Learners: Barefoot and Humbled in Bangladesh

Photo: Cross-cultural footwashing in Bangladesh.

By Carl Stagner

If you’ve ever been on a mission trip, you know it’s a mistake to think you’re going to another country only to teach and bless someone else. More often than not, you end up learning more than you could offer. Instead of leaving feeling impressed by all the good you did, you feel humbled by the good people you met. When a group from Church at the Crossing in Indianapolis, Indiana; First Church of God in Marion, South Dakota; and Church of God Ministries in Anderson, Indiana, came together for a missions trip to Bangladesh this year, the teachers once again became the learners. Continue reading

CWC Immerses Women in Spiritual, Culturally Rich Experiences Abroad

CWC_ImmersionTrip_Zambia2015_FORWEB

Photo: CWC-sponsored medical clinic, Zambia. Immersion Trip 2015.

By Carl Stagner

Immersion. Often in the church, the word is used to describe the ordinance of baptism. For Christian Women Connection, formerly known as Women of the Church of God, immersion means so much more. Immersion Trips, an integral part of CWC’s ministry since 2005, have made it possible for Christian women to go deeper in their walk with Christ through annual, firsthand mission experiences. A closer look at these popular opportunities sheds light on why this year’s trip to Berlin, Germany, has already reached capacity. Continue reading