Letter to the Brethren: August 20, 2015

Dear Brethren and Co-Workers in Christ:

Greetings once again from the Five Cities region of California.  I spent several busy days in Michigan.  It has taken a little time to try to get back to ‘normal’ as there were difficulties and delays not only with the airlines, but also associated with uploading the sermon and sermonette messages for the YouTube channel.

We still are working on camcorder issues related to the Canon model we bought, but at least were able to get a sermonette and sermon ready.  But, I need to warn everyone that the audio for the recommended sermon this week did not record properly.  We have been working to try to fix this, so it is better than it would have been.  However, you probably will have to adjust the sound on this sermon (starts out fine, but then you may have to turn it up then down then up, etc.) while you are viewing it.  We talked with Canon yesterday, and have concluded that the camcorder will NOT work for the Feast of Tabernacles so we will have to start all over to find one for the Dupuies who need one to record sermons in North America.

In the past few days, coordinating and uploading foreign language materials have also taken extra time.  Some of the new translated materials are mentioned later in this letter.

Wixom, Michigan Services Last Sabbath.

We had services in a room at the Wixom Public Library last Sabbath.

This was the first time I was able to personally meet most of the people who attended.  The only ones I had met before were Steve and Ruth Dupuie.  Since the Steve Dupuie is scheduled to give sermons in the North American sites when I am not there, this was my only opportunity to meet with him and his wife this year.  And, this was necessary to make specific plans for the Feast of Tabernacles.

At some point in time, we hope to have more services in Michigan.

Reaching Malawi

Continuing Church of God Pastor Evans Ochieng sent the following report:

Pastor Dr Bob,

Greetings from Malawi.

The trip to Malawi was very safe even though it was a long trip. It took 2:40 hrs from Kenya to Lelongwe Airport. From Lilongwe to Blatyre is 500 km. we traveled by bus, and from Blantyre to is 2oo km. So the trip was too long, but at long last we reached safe. I am very happy when staying in Malawi according to people whom I met. These people are friendly and Sosten is a very good Man. We met 48 Members who realty need to know more about the truth. They were very open to tell us that before joining CCOG, they were keeping Sunday. And since Sosten started to contact you, his eyes were opened and noticed that it is very important to keep God’s commandments. So he started to teach the whole congregation about Sabbath. They all agree to be in CCOG and follow the commandments of God. Even though they are keeping Sabbath, they didn’t realize that we have Clean and unclean meat.. I found if most of them are eating unclean meat like Rats, pigs etc. So I talk to them not to eat unclean meat, To keep God’s Sabbath correctly. I also touched the God’s ordained feasts and true repentance.

LANGUAGE

Malawi and Mozambique are speaking Chewa/Chihewa as a national language and most of them do not understand English. So it is very important if the Magazines can be translated in Chichewa so that it can help both Malawi and Mozambique. We talked deep with Sosten to see how we can help the church to grow in Malawi. My decision is to teach Sosten to learn more truths and to send him more books so that he can learn every subject and be baptized so that in future we can see if he can stand for Malawi and Mozambique. It will be cheap for him to preach in this countries because they are speaking the same language. I talked to some members who are ready to translate the magazines voluntarily. But we can’t allow them to do it at this time because they have know all the truths about the kingdom of God, Feasts, Sabbath, Clean and unclean meat and true repentance. I’m saying this because since we do not understand their language the can make a mistake that cannot be easily corrected. But if the have learn and understand exactly what is to be true then they can do the translation better.

FEAST OF TABERNACLES

I noticed that these members are still new that they don’t understand anything concerning the Feast of Tabernacles. It is not easy to keep Feast of Tabernacles this year in Malawi. We can do it next year after when they have known the truth and be baptized. My decision is to call Sosten to come and Keep the feast of Tabernacles in Kenya so that he can learn more when he is there.I hope this plan will help him to learn things quick. My main agenda is to make the work in Malawi move. Malawi is a very peaceful country. It is a good place to preach the gospel. I really like this country and the members who are hear. BOOKS It is very important to send more books to Sosten to make them learn more. So try to send them CHURCH HISTORY, WHERE IS THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH TODAY, SABBATH, CLEAN AND UNCLEAN FOOD, THE GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM etc. I hope this will help them a lot. I carried for them some Magazines, Barack Obama, Last pope, Fatima Shock and few songbooks. I also give Sosten funds to buy some Chichewa bibles to members.

PICTURES

I took some picture that I will send to you. May God bless the work in Malawi. We are moving back to Kenya today and go to Ghana tomorrow. Evans.

There are people around the world who want the truth and had not heard it in the past–they need to receive the witness of the Kingdom of God (Matthew 24:14) and some are now being called.

CCOG Pastor John Otieno Owak, who accompanied Pastor Ochieng, also sent in his report today:

Hello Mr. Bob.

Much thankful to God our Father who enable us to reach this far end to bring His wonderful Gospel to these people here, its truly that Peter stated in Acts 2: 38-40, that the Promise was for the children of Israel and to all those who are far those The Father will call to His Church. Our journey was well and safe of which we reached in Malawi at 10:30 AM on 16th and after that we took a bus 6hours drive from the capital city of Lilongwe to another City called Blantyre of which after the following day we took two buses again to the remote town of Mr. Sosten which also took us a bout four hours drive. we were welcomed by joyful members there whom we found were still waiting for us, and we join them when they were singing praises to God. we had a very wonderful time with them of which we cover some important topics like God’s Kingdom and our destiny, Sabbath day, Clean and unclean meats, and partly God’s Holy Days. This we promise them to dwell on since they are the key subjects of the Church to be known by all members, and also we touch water baptism too. I hope that we will get time to send you more up dates and photos we took on this our journey. time is short and we will report more after our visit to Ghana. we will took off from this country at midnight today so that tomorrow we will be at the Kenyatta airport to travel to Ghana. Keep us in your prayers for our mission to be fulfilled in these two countries.

Pass greetings to all. Bye.

Yours in Christ’s work, John.

Here is information I received today from Sosten Libunga from Malawi:

Dear Our Editor In Chief.

Christians greetings from Sosten the representer of COG Malawi. Well we had very wonderful meetings with pastor Evans and John Owak really they are a great blessings to the people of Malawi. This is the true teachings that are needed now as last days, many teach false doctrines like people will go to heaven and many things that are not in the bibles. Thank you very much for the gift… it will enable us to get some few bibles. Till now I have not received the booklets you sent but I hope now they are near, but did you include the Church History? Clean and unclean meat? What about the the true Christians today? I and my Church people wants this encouraging books and booklets. Thank you again for the books and English hymns book it has also strengthened our new faith and the Church will grew because of this books. The coming of Evans to Malawi has opened our eyes that was blind. Please if possible we need them soon to come again, because the time of Evans to be in Malawi was too short, our preparation was not good in terms of people attendance but though it was like this, they were able to teach to 47-50 people at our day meetings. Looking to hear from you.
Sosten.

While English is the official language of Malawi, not all there are comfortable with it. We sent English-language booklets to Malawi some time ago, but I put more together for a mailing today.  Although we do not  yet have a booklet on clean and unclean meats, I enclosed a long article I wrote about it in the mailing titled The New Testament Church, History, and Unclean Meats.

The cost to send our pastors to Malawi is high, so it will likely be a while before we can do that again (mailing costs are high too).

However, I really like Pastor Ochieng’s plan to have Sosten Libunga attend the Feast of Tabernacles in Kenya as that should help him and those in Malawi.

It is my hope and prayer that Pastor Ochieng will be able to visit those in Nigeria and Ethiopia sometime after the Feast of Tabernacles–he has too much to do before then to visit them at this time.

We in the Continuing Church of God are reaching people in places that others have tended to ignore and plan to go through whatever doors that God opens for us (Revelation 3:7-13).

Booklet in Ekegusii

We now have our first item translated into the language of Ekegusii, also known as Kisii.

CHCOG Ekugusi Book Cover Front

Ekegusii is mainly spoken in part of Kenya.  The booklet just was posted online Tuesday.  Here is a link to it: Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.

The booklet is also available in English: Continuing History of the Church of God, Spanish:Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, and German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes.

Booklet in French

Of course, Africa is not the only place we are trying to reach.

FAITH Cover Front Final - French

We now have a new booklet in the French language.

Here is a link: La Foi pour ceux que Dieu a Appelés et Choisis.

This booklet is also available in English: Faith for Those God has Called and Chosen, Spanish: Fe para aquellos que Dios ha llamado y escogido, and n German: Glaube für die von GottBerufenen und Auserwählten. Here is a link to shorter version of the written article in Mandarin Chinese 一篇关于信仰的小文章.

Other items in the French language are available at the French language portion of the CCOG.euwebsite.

Google Campaign Reaches Millions in July

Just received a report from Google that our campaign to help show that the Continuing Church of God is the true church, as it is the most faithful continuation of the original Christian church, reached 3,322,944 computers/devices all over the world in July 2015.

We have the most cost-effective campaign to reach people over Google of any group that I am aware of (we typically pay about 90-98% less per click than the groups who are often trying to mainly reach people in other COGs).

Grover Beach, California

Tomorrow, the movers are scheduled to move our furniture, books, computers, and business property from our location in Arroyo Grande to our new location in Grover Beach.

As mentioned before, our new address is to be:

Continuing Church of God
1036 W. Grand Avenue
Grover Beach, CA 93433

The construction of an actual office is completed, so we anticipate that we will be moved and hopefully pass final government inspection next Monday.  Without passing the inspection, we will not be allowed to properly use the facility.  I plan to provide a few more details on the new location next week.

World News Items

Iran’s ‘Supreme Leader’  continues to denounce the USA and has stated that despite the proposed nuclear agreement, his country intends to block the influence of the USA (see Iran’s Khamenei vows to block USA influence as USA Congress considers the nuclear deal).  While Iran may decide to release one or more US hostages that it holds, Iran has no intention of being friends with the USA.  The Bible teaches the following:

8 Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall. (Proverbs 16:18)

Iran needs to consider that it is NOT prophesied to takeover the world according to the Bible.  It is likely that Iran will take steps that the USA, Israel, and/or others will find so unacceptable that Iran’s influence will be neutralized.

There have been reports that the terrorist group Hamas is about to sign an eight-year peace deal with Israel.  However, Israeli government sources have denied this (see Hamas allegedly ready to sign 8-year peace deal, but Israel denies discussion in progress).  The time will come when there will be a time-related deal in the Middle East involving Israel per Daniel 9:27.  And while the Hamas proposal is not likely to be that deal, it does show that a timed ‘peace-deal’ is very much on the minds of world leaders (the Iranian deal also has time elements).

Speaking of peace efforts, a Catholic official in Fatima, Portugal announced that it will send the so-called ‘Fatima statue’ to Syria to hold a vigil to help bring peace to Syria (see ‘Fatima statue’ to bring peace to Syria next month?).  The statue was requested by “Gregory III Laham, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, and Alexandria and Jerusalem.”  Gregory III is the head of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church.

Let me add that right after Pope Francis held a vigil and prayed to images of Mary for peace in Syria two years ago, the USA decided against bombing Syria for its alleged use of chemical weapons.  While this would give the appearance of an answer to prayer, the reality is that the lack of USA action turned Syrian opposition leaders against the USA and galvanized them to support the group that rose up which now calls itself the Islamic State.  The Islamic State has been responsible for atrocities in Iraq, Syria, and elsewhere.

But have no doubt, one day a temporal ‘peace deal’ will be in that region per Daniel 9:27–a deal that will be broken around the time of the start of the Great Tribulation.  If the deal comes after prayers to ‘Mary,’ some may foolishly believe that she can bring peace.   If the Catholics have enough Marian peace vigils, it may well be that they will improperly point to her non-existent intervention (Mary is currently dead awaiting the resurrection, not alive as an intercessor) as the source of peace.  Although the Bible refers to Jesus as the ‘prince of peace’ (Isaiah 9:6), Roman Catholics refer to Mary as the ‘queen of peace,’ despite the fact that the Bible never does.

Some are concerned that military cooperation between Russia and China threaten the USA (seeRussia and China increase military cooperation as Eurasian Economic Union expands with Kyrgyzstan).  The reality is that the rise of China and Russia in military circles continues to push the USA to overlook aspects of Europe.   This is causing the Europeans concerns and they will take stronger military steps.  The world will marvel (Revelation 13:4) once Europe takes over the USA (Daniel 11:39).  Because top USA politicians do not heed biblical prophecy, their focus on Russia and China tends to blind them from the real threat that will come from Europe (cf. Isaiah 10:5-11).

Suggested Sabbath Service

Here is our suggested format for Sabbath services this week:

Note: If you have a slow internet connection, you can watch these by starting the video, then below it (and towards the right) look for an outline of a gear–if you click on that, it will allow the YouTube video to be played with lower video quality, but at least it will not stop often–you can select a quality as low as 144p.

If your internet connection is still too slow (as my home one is) and/or you prefer audio messages to audio-visuals ones, go to the YouTube link for the message, click on SHOW MORE related to the description. You will then see something that says, “Download MP3.” Below that is a link to an MP3 file. Most computers (and even some cellular telephones) will allow MP3 files to be downloaded and played. This is an option we have made available (but we are also looking into ways to improve that as well)–and, of course, we have written article options that we list each week.

Some people have found that if their internet connections are not fast enough, that they can simply listen to the messages that are found at the new Bible News Prophecy online radio channel.

IN CASE YOU DO NOT RECEIVE A ‘LETTER TO THE BRETHREN‘ FOR ANY WEEK, REMEMBER THAT THERE ARE MANY SERMON MESSAGES ON THE ContinuingCOGchannel AND MANY SERMONETTE MESSAGES ON THE Bible News Prophecy channel.

Concluding Comments

The Bible teaches:

5 The thoughts of the righteous are right,
But the counsels of the wicked are deceitful.
6 The words of the wicked are, “Lie in wait for blood,”
But the mouth of the upright will deliver them.

7 The wicked are overthrown and are no more,
But the house of the righteous will stand.

8 A man will be commended according to his wisdom,
But he who is of a perverse heart will be despised.

9 Better is the one who is slighted but has a servant,
Than he who honors himself but lacks bread.

10 A righteous man regards the life of his animal,
But the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.

11 He who tills his land will be satisfied with bread,
But he who follows frivolity is devoid of understanding. (Proverbs 12:5-11)

Brethren, think on “whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy — meditate on these things” (Philippians 4:8).  Practice wisdom, be kind, and work as you should.

Sincerely,

Bob Thiel
Pastor and Overseer
Continuing Church of God