Tag Archives: war

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

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

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

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

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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

Christ Amid Crisis: Syrian Refugees Loved by ‘People of the Messiah’

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By Carl Stagner

They’re not just “swarms” or “masses” of people. They’re people. They’re individuals. They’re individuals for whom Christ died. One of the most complex issues of our day has hit the Middle Eastern country of Turkey especially hard. The Syrian refugee crisis—as it has been dubbed—offers no simple solutions, no easy answers. While the Church of God strategically prepares a holistic, long-term response, believers in Turkey are busy meeting immediate needs. Known by the refugees as “people of the Messiah,” Christians in the region are boldly loving the “least of these.” Ruth Lyons, Church of God contact on-the-ground (Eurasia Ministries), gives us a closer look. Continue reading

Headlines in Perspective: European Refugee Crisis

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By Carl Stagner

Millions of innocent people are displaced in what has been called the worst humanitarian crisis of our time. Homes are broken and families are being torn apart as a result of civil war in Syria that has lingered on into its fifth year. Many caught in the middle have crossed the Syrian border into neighboring countries and beyond, including Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, and parts of Eastern Europe. Millions more, stuck within the Syrian border, have been left homeless and hopeless. Instead of simply putting a Band-Aid on the escalating refugee crisis, the Church of God is seeking long-term, holistic approaches. Ken Oldham, pastor for Global Strategy to Egypt, cuts through the confusion to the heart of the matter. Continue reading

Church of God in Ukraine: Hope Unwavering, Resolve Unshaken

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Photo: Poltava Church of God leadership celebrates the congregation’s eighth anniversary at the the annual convention this November.

By Carl Stagner

You’ve seen the headlines. You’ve read the prayer requests on Church of God social media. You know we have a strong Church of God presence there. Now that Jim Lyon has returned from a trip to Ukraine, you can learn just how our brothers and sisters are faring through the ongoing conflict, politics, and constant threat of war. You can also discover the vigorous spirit behind their rapidly growing congregations that trace their roots back to Christians Broadcasting Hope. Continue reading