Dear Brethren and Co-Workers in Christ:

Another week of proclaiming the good news of the Kingdom of God to the world as a witness in accordance with Jesus’ prophecy in Matthew 24:14.

This included writing internet posts, being on conventional and internet radio, our YouTube videos, telephone contact, handling matters in various countries, and putting together printed materials.

Ethiopia and South Sudan Update

Kenya-based CCOG Pastor Evans Ochieng sent me the following update:

Pastor Dr Bob,

Greetings from Kenya.

I was writing to you on Friday about my trip, but when I tried to send the letter, the power went off. So I don’t know whether the letter went through or not. My trip was good.

Though the distance from Adis Ababa to Gambella was very far. The distance is 750 km.  I got total welcome in Ethiopia. The brethren in Ethiopia are good people, rich in faith but very poor. On our way to Gambella, we passed many refugee camps. We did not know that some of our brethren are among those who lived in these camps. They are just staying in huts.

When we reached in Gambella, among the brethren who met us was one of the brethren who stay in refugee huts. If I am writing this letter, I’m almost shading tears as I remember the poverty that our brethren in Gambella are facing. if you see a place where these our brethren are sleeping and
type of hut they are living in, you can cry. They don’t have enough food to eat. Ooh the life is very tough in that area. I beg any person who can come up to help these people, and may God bless who is ready
to assist our brethren in Ethiopia.

MEETING
We met many questions from our brothers in Ethiopia who wanted to learn more truths. They were long members of seventh day church of God. When Koang visit CONTINUING CHURCH OF GOD website, he found many truths which were not in Seventh  Day Church of God. He took the message back to other brethren. Most of them were still doubting him and when we discussed with them, they fully agree to be full members of CONTINUING CHURCH OF GOD.  Now we have ten families who are church members in Ethiopia. The next day I met a man from South Sudan who was in the church then later decided to marry two wives. we discussed with him many scriptures in the Bible. He separated with his second wife and remain with the wife of his youth. We left him and he is happy and he decided to join the brethren.

GOD’S ORDAINED FEASTS.
When we were talking with them about God’s ordained feasts, they told us that many years they were keeping only three feasts, Passover, Pentecost and Feast of Tabernacles. but for the last four years, they
had never keep any feast even Passover. This is because nobody was ordained a deacon or pastor. We talked with them that as from next year they will keep all the seven feasts. I did not ordain anybody
because I wanted them to learn first all the truths. I will be back early next year to visit them and if possible I will ordain one of them so that he can help the work in Ethiopia. We planned to have Feast
of Tabernacles in Ethiopia next year. When I will go back to Ethiopia next year, I will take one laptop to them for the church.

We took many photos and I will send soon.

I am not feeling well.  My leg has swelled and having more pain. Please pray for me. I can’t walk and soon we are going to have youth camp. The youth camp will start on 16th December 2015. It will cover all
youths from our congregations in Kenya. I will also talk with Samuel from Ghana to know if they will have youth camp in December.

BAPTISM
I did not handle any baptism in Ethiopia because there are many things for them to learn and I hope if I go back next year then I will handle it.

Evans

In time we hope and pray that more in Ethiopia will be with us.  But it takes time and I am glad that those who have checked us out enough are with us and others are willing to look more.

As Pastor Ochieng’s letter indicated, some of the people associated with the Ethiopians live in South Sudan, and one day we hope to have more members there.  But there are complex issues we still need to deal with.

We are looking to provide some financial assistance for food in the next few days to Ethiopia, but realize that what we will be able to send will not solve the problem, but we hope to at least be able to reduce some of the burdens there (Galatians 2:10; cf. 6:2).

Another Seventh-day Adventist Leader Says He Sees the Truth

This week, I received two emails from a Seventh-day Adventist pastor in Garissa, Kenya.  Here is the first:

Dear in Christ Bob,
Praise the lord? Am pastor Peter Makendo from Garissa Kenya,  Am  Adventist i have a church and the orphanage, the church has 137 members and the orphanage it has 89 orphanage, all of the are 226 people. we have the church at the same compound with the orphanage, the church it has  two years old and the orphanage it has 1 year and 2 months old. i visited your website and i was happy and interested with what your are doing and i decided to write to you and request if i can partner with your ministry so that we can spread the gospel of the lord to those who are in darkness to come to the light.
I do support my Adventist ministry and the orphans thru the salary of my wife, my wife she is a teacher so we do depend on her salary to buy food and other things that are needed at the orphanage and the church. We are blessed with three children, Joshua, Mary and Samuel. we will talk deeply about my ministry when i will hear from you. I will love to hear from you, may the heavenly father bless you…..Pastor  Peter

Anyway, I responded, told him to check out more of our teachings, and in particular with what we teach about the gospel.  Plus, I told to him to contact CCOG Pastor Evans Ochieng.  Pastor Ochieng sent him an email that said:

Dear Peter,
Thank you very much for being interested in truth. I was a pastor of
seventh Day Adventist for a long time. I was also selling books of
Adventist. I loved that work of selling books because it gave me
enough time to read all Adventist books.  books like Early writings,
the great controversy, revelation of things to come by wieland, time
running out, bed stories etc. what  I want to tell you is that most of
the things we were reading from these books were just imaginations.
there was no truth in them. if you read Revelation of things to come
by wieland, he was saying that the 24 elders in heaven are David,
Ibrahim Enoch etc. This is not true. So many things which are written
in those books are not true. Now if you decided to join God’s church,
that is good because you are being called by God. Jesus says that:–No
one can com to me unless the father who sent me draws him.; and I will
raise him up at the last day. So Know that if you are called to come
out of SDA then that is God’s call. we have only one church. And this
church is built on the foundation of apostles and prophets. Jesus
Christ  himself being chief cornerstone.(Ephesians 2:20). CONTINUING
CHURCH OF GOD is where there is a total truth. it is the pillar and
the ground of the truth. (1Timothy 3:14-15). I may urge you peter to
study all things though CCOG website and many truths will be revealed
to you which were not in SDA. You can send me your phone number so
that we can meet and give you more books that can help you and the
magazines. Or you can call me from this number—–0728216321. That is
my number. may God bless you Peter.
waiting to hear from you
Evans

Pastor Peter then responded with:

Dear brother Bob and Evans,
How are you doing in the name of the lord? Am really happy to hear from you about the teachings that you have. I have been a pastor for almost 15 good years but i have never came across the teaching that you have  sent me, am really happy about it with the truth the teachings has. I took all the teachings from both of you that you Bob and Evans sent me and i called all my staff member and we discussed about our church if we can change from SDA  to partner up with your ministry but many were against, but when i gave them all the teachings that you both sent, in fact they were happy to read it and they learn a lot of things that we have never known since we started worshiping in the SDA.

Surely there is NO truth in SDA’s teachings i was shocked to learn many things that brother Evans wrote to me to be the truth with another more from what brother Bob sent me. As leaders in our church we decided to change the day and all of them agreed that we get more books to teach our members more about it and of course it will be hard to change the minds of this members about the SDA but i hope God will help us and giude us in all the teachings that we will teach them and understand.

I trust and hope that if i myself i was very hard to be confused about the SDA and nobody was not to try to change me because i was strongly believed in SDA and there teachings but it was easy for and my staffs to change with the prove of the teachings of the books, now i hope that they will believe and follow the teachings and trust that its from God, if i was changed by the teachings then them also will be changed by it too.

I have seen that the SDA has lost many people of God into darkness but i hope and trust that many will come to understand it and get the truth the same way i have got it. i talked with one of my friend who is a pastor at Wajir but i never a greed with me but i sent him the teachings and am waiting to hear from him after he has completed reading the teachings. My wife was very happy to read those teachings even my children, my elder son who is the secretary in our ministry was happy too and he advised us that we should get more books to change other people who are in darkness to bring them to the light and the truth.

Am very happy and i will try my best with the God’s help to change many and give them the teachings. The problem we have here in Garissa is that many people are Muslims and the Muslims are against the christianity some days ago people died here because they were christians but i hope in the will of God, He will protect us and guide us. i will love to hear from you again…….shalom……pastor Peter

Pastor Evans Ochieng has NOT yet been able to visit him, so we will see how this goes.

We have a similar situation with a Seventh-day Adventist pastor in Nigeria.  He also runs an orphanage.  Pastor Ochieng has been in contact with him (and others in Nigeria) and wants to visit once we have available funds.  We have been able to help that orphanage in Nigeria a little bit in the past and hope to be able to assist a little bit more this month.

Ndhiwa, Kenya Youth Camp December 16, 2015

All youth from CCOG congregations in Kenya have been invited to come to Ndhiwa for youth camp starting December 16, 2015.  A similar camp was held last year. We hope to provide photos from the camp after it begins and they are sent to us in the USA and Canada.

Note From Ghana

Church of God Pastor Samuel Fosu sent in the following note:

Dear Bob, Greeting from Ghana to you and the entire members, I highly acknowledge your intention to bring Africa to the light. Having joined your evangelical train, we in Ghana support your idea and are praying hard to The Lord for your ambition translated into reality.

We are working in many places in Africa, in order to fulfill God’s plans for reaching the world with the good news of the Kingdom of God (Matthew 24:14).  We believe that through the internet, personal contact, printed publications in African and other languages, radio, CCOGAfrica YouTube, and other forms of media that we will reach even more in Africa.

The Ghanaians first contacted us earlier this year, because of our internet presence.  We later were able to send Pastors Ochieng and Owak from Kenya to visit them.  We have also been able to provide some limited literature to them.

Note From the Philippines

Received the following short email note from the Philippines:

Hello Sir,
Greetings!!!!!
I would like to say Hi…together with my dad and my siblings…please extend oour regards to all our brethren there,
Thanks and God Bless.
Truly,
Hans Mediavilla and Family
Philippines

So, decided to pass the greetings on directly here.

Radio

Ended up on domestic and international radio Thursday over the Genesis Communication’s Network.  This was basically a last-minute interview that was confirmed shortly after I sent out last week’s Letter to the Brethren.

Topics covered included the Islamic terrorism and the Bible prophecies related to it and the destruction of United States. We also discussed the possible solutions, such as repentance, but mentioned that the real solution was the establishment of the millennial portion of the Kingdom of God.

We also discussed the fact that Christmas is pagan.

Radio is one form of media that we keep utilizing to reach people around the world.

Income Tax Matters

Those who live in the United States are reminded that for contributions to be eligible for tax deduction for calendar year 2015, all donations mailed must be postmarked no later than December 31, 2015.

All contributions received via US mail for residents of the United States should be processed based upon the postmarked date on the envelopes.

For contributions received via PayPal, we use the date that PayPal gives us.

In New Zealand and Canada the rules may be slightly different for mailed and other contributions, so if you want the tax deduction for calendar year 2015, you may wish to make your next contribution relatively soon.

World News Items

On the date that it celebrates something that did not happen called the ‘feast of the immaculate conception’ (see also), the Church of Rome commenced what it calls a “Jubilee year’ (see alsoVatican’s latest ‘jubilee year’ to begin this week).  This is NOT related to the biblical jubilee of Leviticus 25:8-55 and seems to be another way that Pope Francis is using to get publicity.

Religious and political leaders around the world keep promoting their ‘climate change’ ideas as a means of unity (see Ecumenalists push for COP21 ‘climate change’ agenda: a solution for terrorism? Barack Obama seemingly wants to stay the course).  While reducing pollution is a good idea, there are issues that world leaders will not resolve–instead of focusing on repentance and the Kingdom of God, they seem focused on creating the rise of the final end-time Mystery Babylon the Great that the Book of Revelation warns against.

We are now in the season that the Jews refer to as Hanukkah.  At least one Protestant prophecy-prognosticator has assigned more prophetic significance to it than the Bible does (see Hanukkah: Jewish Christmas and Hidden Key to Prophecy?).  But it is true that some of the events that triggered the ‘Hanukkah’ lights were a ‘type’ of events that will occur in these last times.

In the USA, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump dominated the news the past few days because of his proposal to temporarily block travel by Muslims into the USA.  This generated a lot of controversy (see Donald Trump blasted and blasts back), but of course, this will not stop Islamic terrorism.  The Bible prophesies “There shall be terror within”(Deuteronomy 32:25) and there are already millions of Muslims within the borders of the USA, and polls suggest at least multiple thousands support Jihad.  The Bible teaches also the “way of peace they have not known” (Isaiah 57:8).  The only real solutions to terrorism for the USA are national repentance (not likely) and the Kingdom of God.  The Kingdom of God will not come until AFTER the Great Tribulation and the destruction of the USA (Daniel 11:39-45). Therefore, more should consider personal repentance, as God does have a way of escape for the end time Philadelphian Christians (Revelation 3:7-10; 12:14-16; see also There is a Place of Safety for the Philadelphians. Why it May Be Petra).

Some are concerned that World War III is about to begin and that there are ten safe nations to look into for protection (see 10 safest nations to be in during World War III? Has WWIII begun?).  However, while some nations temporarily will be safer than others, the authors overlook what the Bible teaches, and the reality is that few would carnally pick the place in the wilderness that God will use to protect (Revelation 12:14-16) His Philadelphian remnant (Revelation 3:7-10).

 Suggested Sabbath Service

Here is our suggested format for Sabbath services this week:

  • 2-3 hymns (our songbook, The Bible Hymnal, contains the materials from the 1974Bible Hymnal from the old WCG with new covers, plus ten additional hymns; there is also some Choral Accompaniment online).
  • Opening prayer.
  • Sermonette, which for many who receive this letter via email will be a recorded one titled: Can the Great Tribulation Start in 2016? Other sermonettes are available at theBible News Prophecy channel.
  • Announcements (if any; though for many it will be this letter) and one hymn.
  • Sermon, which for many who receive this letter via email will be a recorded one. The one suggested for this week is: Birthdays, Christians, and December 25th. 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 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

Notice the following from the Book of Leviticus:

2 “Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘The feasts of the Lord, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, these are My feasts. (Leviticus 23:2)

Brethren, “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:24). And the truth is that neither birthdays nor any annual holidays that people keep in December or January of the year are holy convocation or listed among those feasts of God.

Sincerely,

Bob Thiel
Pastor and Overseer