Letter to the Brethren: January 17, 2019

Dear Brethren and Co-Workers in Christ:

Greetings from the Five Cities region of California.

There is so much going on in the church around the world as well as in the USA.

As far as the USA goes, as mentioned last week, we contacted two cities requesting proposals for the US site for the Feast of Tabernacles in 2019.

At this instant we are looking at two cities in Missouri–St. Louis and Springfield. This is something you may wish to pray about.

Manipur, India

As mentioned last week, on January 10, 2019, Elder Alexsandar ‘Sasha’ Veljic flew to Manipur, India. He sent me several emails that he said to take out parts out of them to include in this Letter. So, here we go:

Dear Bob,

As soon as I arrived, I met with 8 members of Church of God.  I told them the purpose of my visit and why I came.  I also told them that I could see with corresponding with Sani Mao that they are well established in the doctrines of the Bible, so that I will endeavor to give them messages that will corroborate their faith.  That was met with thrill.  If there is one word to describe that group of people, the first thought that comes to my mind is – ZEAL!  And no wonder that they wanted to associate with us for the zeal is one of the characteristics of the Philadelphia church.  As far as I could assess, their mutual relations are on the same level.  It brings a great joy to my heart that those people fast twice a month and they get together on those occasions.  They all confirmed to me that Sani Mao has been serving them faithfully for years and that they are all here due to what God has done through that man.  On the other hand, they are responsive and helpful and they have been keeping the Feast in a very organized manner, so I would add that the government of God, such as should be administered in the proper way, has been present in this group all along.

The whole structure is there, but this group has been waiting, with a great discipline, to have an a ministerial approval.  They were very worried that I might not come as they are expecting that help from me.  Sani Mao talked to me on Friday evening about my ordination and his correspondence on that matter.  Now we talked about it alive, so that I could better understand motives and reasonings on his part.  As I have already established, he is man of one wife and he has never been divorced.  His wife and him are both employed by the government, which speaks loudly of their reputation.

I feel that these people have been yearning for my visit to be approved as full-fledged part of the true community of the Philadelphia remnant.  I live far away and so do you.  But, they already have everything in place to operate as the Church of God and for that they do not seek, nor do they expect any financial support.  I am, for example, deeply impressed at how faithfully and in an organized manner they kept the Feast for years, being cut off by their former Church organization, and enduring and waiting for my visit.  At certain moments I even feel uncomfortable with the level of trust and respect they show me (I surely am not worthy of that).   However, while I am here, I want to do my part and leave this community at peace and see it thrive with God’s merciful help here in the second populous nation in the world.

Now, I remembered that there was that accusation about them having Pentecostal spirit, or Pentecostal behavior.  You can rest assured that I would not have hesitated to correct that and put things in order had that be true.  Now that I have had a Sabbath services with them, I understand better the things. There is nothing Pentecostal in terms of “speaking in the tongues”, or a disorder at services.  On the contrary, there is peace and order.  Perhaps there is some intensity of emotions in the air, with which a Westerner might not be comfortable with.  But, as for me, I am perfectly comfortable with that.

I want to assure you that I am well taken care of.  To all my questions I get very detailed answers.  I haven’t noticed any half truths.  I am only afraid of mosquitoes.  The weather is beautiful, so my windows were open, and then in the evening the room was full of them.  Sani Mao and I killed most of them.  One remained hidden.  I managed to kill it later at night when I talked to the congregation in Serbia on Friday evening (Serbian time).

A few more things I need to bring to your attention.

1.  Sani Mao related to me how they had become spiritual orphans when they were abandoned by LCG.  Other than the unfounded accusation about Pentecostalism, a LCG minister made derogatory comments about women.  That their place is to wash the cups.  He would not accept that a woman might have a dream coming from God, such as we know that has happened in our CCOG history.  And so, when LCG announced that there was no LCG in India, that came out of the blue and has devastated these people.

2. Coercive hierarchical control.  They were told not to get together for Bible studies, or when they fast with no Scriptural explanation whatsoever and contrary to what we are told in the Book of Hebrews.

3. I had another baptism counseling session after the Sabbath.  A young man was present as an interpreter.  After counseling, he told me that LCG always had short counseling and would dismiss people.  I just don’t understand such an approach.  When I counsel people, I try to bring up the important points for their salvation.  I also asked questions.  I let them talk to me.  I need to see if they are repentant to be baptized.  Sani Mao’s daughter, for example, asked me several questions from the Scriptures seeking help to defend her belief against here Protestant peers who mock her beliefs.  I also read some scriptures related to baptism.  I never limit counseling time.  I let it continue until all relevant points have been exhausted.  That is new to this group as well.  But I would find it highly disrespectful to just have short counseling and then dismiss them.

Now, having said all this, I need to tell you that I prayed and thought about ordinations.  After getting your approval, which I read on the Sabbath morning, I realized there is no more reason to wait and delay.  The intensity of prayer and faith that these people had about me coming – and I came against all the odds – and them hanging in and enduring all that they have, made me convinced finally that I couldn’t leave them orphans in spiritual terms.  Plus, on Friday, during a counseling session, one of the members here said he had a dream before my coming.  A hand on which an oil was poured was there to anoint Sani Mao.  And that member told others not to worry, that I would come against all odds.  Also, after his dream, his Bible was opened to Romans 5:4.  When I read that verse, I realized it aptly describes Sani Mao.  Therefore, when he came to pick me up for the Sabbath, I asked him if he had any objections to being ordained on this Sabbath.  He didn’t have any, even though he was surprised that I would do it during this visit.  He said he thought it would take some time.  I didn’t see any reason to take any more time.

And so, after the Sabbath services and refreshments, I have ordained Sani Mao a deacon.  I also called all baptized men to join me on the stage and follow me in laying hands on Sani Mao as a symbolic consent of the entire congregation to having now finally the government of God restored in India.  After that act, Sani Mao addressed the congregation briefly and, as he admitted, for the first time he broke in tears in front of that group.  I also announced that I want to bless the children after ordination ceremony, so that the ladies would be prepared for that.  And I was about to that, but realizing what a great emotional thing Sani Mao’s ordination has been for both the congregation and me, I stepped in to make another announcement.

I said that we better prepare emotionally for something else and that I made a decision based on what I feel God led me to.  And I said that I have decided to anoint Mary, Sani Mao’s wife as a deaconess next Sabbath.  That announcement came a bolt from heaven.  Sani Mao’s wife was shocked and then she broke into tears.  Almost all the ladies in the congregation wept silently as I explained the reasons. I see that a strong presence of the ladies in the congregation.  I could feel that their involvement has kept that congregation together and that such thing had to be recognized by God somehow.  I asked God to show me what to do about it, and then Mary came to mind.  I considered some other ladies as well, those that I met, however I felt that Mary was a strong example of the faith and that she should be ordained.  That I didn’t make a mistake in that judgement it was confirmed when the anointing for illnesses came later and Mary related her health problems, but she also enumerated the cases when she was supernaturally healed without medical intervention.  Besides her other illnesses, she was cured of a womb cancer.

So, after giving this message of preparation for the next Sabbath, all the children, small ones and even some bigger ones, encouraged by their mothers and aunts, came forward and knelt.  I pronounced a blessing on them and asked the Eternal to protect them and be with them in this spiritually evil and dangerous society.  Following that, I announced that those who may have ailments should ask to be anointed.  A good portion of the congregation came forward.  They all knelt spontaneously and so did I with them.  First I anointed males so that they could be watching over children and do other needed things.  Then I anointed all the ladies that came forward.  With short breaks between prayers and anointing, I think it probably took about 45 minutes to one hour to complete all that.

We have videoed my sermon with translation to Manipuri language, so part of that can be used for Behind the Works Feast video.

January 12, 2019, goes down into history as an important date in the history of (Continuing) Church of God and in the history of God’s people in India.

With my best regards,

Sasha

As reported previously, I have been communicating with Sani Mao for many years as he was hosting the group there. And as far as women’s roles in the Church of God go, that is something he asked me about several years ago. And actually, because Sasha was there last Sabbath, they would not have watched our recommended sermon for that week, which happened to be (and not because of Manipur, India) Women’s Roles in the Church.

Anyway, we are glad to have this new congregation.

The Manipur Dream

Let me write more about the dream that Sasha mentioned, and add some background, to make it a bit clearer.

Years ago, Sani Mao had a dream which helped him better understand that the Sabbath is on Saturday. He also had one that may have pointed to the Continuing Church of God (or perhaps COGwriter)–see Letter to the Brethren: December 13, 2018.

Well, we now have a report of another.

Because Alexsandar ‘Sasha’ Veljic was having travel and visa issues, some were concerned that he would not be able to make the trip to Manipur.

Someone in Manipur had a dream that he would make it–and he did. But the more unusual part of that dream was that the person dreamed that Sani Mao was going to be anointed with oil.

Well, no one in Manipur was aware that Sasha and I discussed the idea of anointing Sani Mao as a deacon–presuming after Sasha arrived and reviewed the situation there, it seemed appropriate. Anyway, on January 12, 2019, Elder Veljic did anoint Sani Mao with oil and laid hands upon him to be a deacon.

So, another associated with CCOG had a dream that was confirmed by subsequent events.

God has been using dreams for several associated with CCOG (see Dreams, the Bible, the Radio Church of God, and the Continuing Church of God).

Many, however, do not believe that God uses dreams–but the Bible shows that He has and does (Genesis 20:3-7, 28:10-17, 31:10-13, 31:24, 37:5-10, 40:5-18, 41:1-32; Numbers 12:6; Judges 7:13-15; 1 Kings 3:5-15; Daniel 2:3-45, 4:4-27, 7:1-28; Matthew 1:20-25, 2:12, 2:13, 2:19, 2:22; Acts 16:9).

Hopefully, you have already decided that since the Bible prophesied that God would use dreams in the end times (e.g. Acts 2:14-18), and since several associated with CCOG have had dreams that have been confirmed, you accept that dreams are one way God has shown His favor on CCOG as the best representative of the Philadelphian portion of the Church of God in this Laodicean time.

Malawi and Mozambique

CCOG Malawi-based host Radson Mulozowa (who assists in Malawi, Mozambique, and Zambia) sent the following report:

CONTINUING   CHURCH  OF GOD  CONGREGATIONS

MALAWI   CONGREGATIONS:

  1. MIGOWI:  78
  2. PHALONI: 28
  3. NAKHUNI:  25
  4. SUNUZI: 106
  5. MATEKETA:  70
  6. ZOMBA:  33
  7. CHIRINGA:  48
  8. NAKHOMBE: 8
  9. NJENJETE:  131
  10. WILLIE: 21
  11. MUKWAMBA :     65
  12. GUNDA ;    17

MOZAMBIQUE  CONGREGATIONS:A

  1. CHINDOLA :  30
  2. THUNDU: 28
  3. KHWALIVO: 13
  4. INDIA:  24
  5. CHUNGUZI :  7
  6. MICHOLO:  172
  7. DOMASI: 60
  8. MUKHULUMBA :  32

ZAMBIA  CONGREGATIONS:

KITWE:  15

TOTAL MEMBERSHIP IS: 1011

  1. Pray for {a Mozambique leader’s} wife is sick the doctor find her with high blood pressure ,sugar and Hiv/aids diseases.
  2. One elderly person brother Pasiya in Mozambique is battling with his life after the house fallen on him in the night when he was sleeping .this happen due to heavy rainfall. We went there to see him with my wife and I assisted him with funds.
  3. There is much heavy rainfall from 1 December 2018 until now and it is raining daily which has resulted in the falling down of the following  church building structures :

1.Willie 2. Domasi . 3. Njenjete . 4. Gunda . 5. Chiringa. Pray for me as am trying to building temporary structure so that brethren will have access to church service

  1. In Migowi the houses of two brethren has fallen down and I have told them to transfer to my house since they don’t have a place to stay .
  2. There is flash floods in Mozambique and our brethren from Mkwamba and other places are in that problem .These floods water have destroyed and swept away hectors of maize including houses. Some brethren are developing sickness like malaria, cholera ,dysentery and diarrhea. The life of brethren is in jeopardy.
  3. I received a report from … about his letter he wrote to you requesting funds and you told him to refer to me about his concern. … you can direct us what to do then because I haven’t answered  him anything.
  4. Pray for us as we are passing tough times this season of the year with much rainfall.
  5. Let me thank God for healing my leg, I have recovered and thanks for your prayers.
  6. As you advised me to discuss with Evans I did. Has he reported to  you.
  7. Let me remind you about Chichewa songbook .

Pray for me am leaving for Mozambique this evening to visit brethren who are in problems.

Best Regards,

RADSON MULOZOWA

Radson Enock Mulozowa

Here is a photograph he sent related to one of the collapsed buildings:

So, there are many issues in that part of the world.

Radson Mulozowa is reporting massive growth from where we began in Malawi and Mozambique (plus it is great there are also now some in Zambia).

We are trying to figure out how to best assist those in Malawi and Mozambique (and Zambia). Nearly all are fairly new to the CCOG and do not have a Church of God background. We are trying to figure out how to best assist them physically as well as spiritually.

To be sure that they have proper understanding on many matters, we are trying to get more materials translated into Chichewa–but this will take time. But we were able to get scores of them Bibles in Chichewa last year (see Letter to the Brethren: November 15, 2018).

Furthermore, because of the switch from CreateSpace to KindleDirect, to KindleDirect informing us they will not print materials in African or Asian languages, plus incomplete information from Malawi, we have not been able to print songbooks for them as we originally hoped. But we are working on aspects of this and we are looking into later printing them in Kenya or Malawi.

Evangelist Evans Ochieng is planning on going to Malawi (and possibly Mozambique) to better assess the needs and situation there in either February or March (originally he had hoped for this month).

In the meantime, we also sent some herbal digestive support products to the East Coast to be included with the next shipment of laptop computers to Kenya (those in Malawi would like two of the laptops). Our hope is that on some trip that Evangelist Ochieng goes to Malawi (or elsewhere) he may also be able to assist with some of their health needs. While we realize that this will take quite a long time to arrive for them, it seems wise to get the process going to have some over there to assist people, if not now, later.

Such items were helpful for people the two times I was in Kenya and may be able to help some in Malawi and other parts of Africa.

Furthermore, notice something that Jesus told His disciples:

37 … The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. 38 Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest. (Matthew 9:37-38)

Please pray for more quality laborers for the harvest.

Radio

Last Thursday afternoon, I was on the radio on the NutriMedical Report with Dr. Bill Deagle. We finished discussing the 19 matters related to items to watch in 2019 (see also 19 items to prophetically watch in 2019).

I am scheduled to be on again today at 2:06 PST.

Dr. Deagle’s program is on the Genesis Communications Network, Revolution Radio, Red State Radio, and other outlets.

US Donation Receipts

We mailed receipts for donations to all who provided us a mailing address in the USA.

If you need a receipt and do not receive one within the next week, please send me an email: COGwriter@aol.com

World News Items

On Tuesday, the British Parliament overwhelmingly defeated Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit agreement with the EU (see Parliament strongly rejects May’s Brexit deal). No matter how this ends up, the Brexit vote has upset the Europeans and they will not forget.

A couple of Sabbaths ago, I gave a sermonette on the opioid crisis (watch Opioid Crisis). Well, it is now being reported that more US Americans die from an opioid overdoes in automobile accidents (see ‘Americans Are Now More Likely To Die Of An Opioid Overdose Than On The Road’).

On other matters, there was some positive international news to report–Brazil’s new president signed a law making it easier for students to be off on the Sabbath and biblical holy days (see Brazil’s President signs a law to help Sabbath and Holy Day-keeping students).

While we know that the world will turn even more against the Sabbath and Holy Days (see also The Ten Commandments: The Decalogue, Christianity, and the Beast), until that time, hopefully more nations will follow the lead of the Brazilian president.

In the USA and some other countries, there are provisions, though they are not always adhered to.

But, for our students in the USA, we send a letter (to those who request it) to point out the legal rights of our congregants (student or otherwise) to keep the biblical Holy Days.

Suggested Sabbath Service

Here is a suggested Sabbath service for this week for our scattered brethren:

  • 2-3 hymns (our songbook, The Bible Hymnal, contains the materials from the 1974 Bible Hymnal from the old WCG with new covers, plus ten additional hymns; there is also some Choral Accompaniment online).
  • Opening prayer.
  • Sermonette, which for most who receive this letter via email will be a recorded one. The one suggested for this week is: 5G and the Antichrist? Other sermonettes are available at the Bible News Prophecy channel.
  • Announcements (if any; though for many it will be this letter) and one hymn.
  • Sermon, which for most who receive this letter via email will be a recorded one. The one suggested for this week is: Peter, the Rock, and the Keys. Other sermons are also available at the ContinuingCOG channel. Other sermons are also available at the ContinuingCOG channel.
  • Final hymn.
  • Closing prayer.

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. 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 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. There are also some messages at the CCOGAfrica channel.

Concluding Comments

Another ‘blood moon’ is expected next week. And this one has been called a “super wolf blood moon.”

Some Protestants (including at least one Messianic) and others have claimed it has biblically-important significance.

Like the ones that I denounced in 2014, 2015, and 2018, this one is also not of real prophetic significance.

January 2014 edition of the Bible News Prophecy magazine denounced certain Protestant blood moon views

The Bible teaches:

2 The LORD says, “Do not start following pagan religious practices. Do not be in awe of signs that occur in the sky even though the nations hold them in awe. 3 For the religion of these people is worthless. They cut down a tree in the forest, and a craftsman makes it into an idol with his tools. 4 He decorates it with overlays of silver and gold. He uses hammer and nails to fasten it together so that it will not fall over. (Jeremiah 10:2-4, NET Bible)

So, before the longest blood moon of the century occurs, I again want to inform people that this eclipse is a natural phenomenon.

Perhaps the most ‘prophetic significance’ I can see associated with this one is that once again false prophets are making predictions which will tend to get others to scoff against biblical prophecies (cf. 2 Peter 3:1-7; see also No BIN and WND: Next blood moon is NOT a sign for Jews to return to Israel).

Beyond that, it may be of interest to mention that I was asked to submit comments to a British newspaper about this one, which were published (see ‘Blood Moon prophecy 2019: Is the Super Blood Moon a portent of DOOM?’). And this time, the name of our church was included. This should help demonstrate that we have a history of correctly denouncing false prophecies.

Sincerely,

Bob Thiel
Pastor and Overseer