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Letter to the Brethren: December 21, 2023

Letter to the Brethren: December 21, 2023

Dear Brethren and Co-Workers in Christ:

Greetings from the Five Cities region of California.

As is obvious by various store displays and advertisements, much of the world is focused on the renamed celebration the alleged birthday of the sun-god Mithra/Mithras soon. This week’s recommended sermon, Arguments for Christmas?, discusses views on that observance.

We skipped a doing a sermon on Christmas last year, but instead Steve Dupuie and I did a sermonette video about it in 2022 (here is a link: 22 Points to Consider About Christmas).

For 2023, I thought it might be interesting to try a different approach to the topic. And that approach was to quote from four articles by Christmas supporters (two Protestant and two Roman Catholic) to show how their arguments in favor of observance by Christians are contrary to various scriptures and historical facts. Here is a link to that sermon: Arguments for Christmas?

On other matters, we received another 25 translations of our English booklet titled The Gospel of the Kingdom of God. The work we are doing to help fulfill Matthew 24:14 is continuing.

Malawi and Mozambique

Evangelist Evans Ochieng delayed his trip a couple of days and went to Malawi last Sunday, instead of Friday. He visited our congregation in Mwanza and was pleased that it grew from 11 the last time he was there to 24 this time. Here is a photo of part of that congregation:

Mwanza, Malawi

After leaving Mwanza, Evans Ochieng traveled to Mozambique. Here is a photo and a report:

Pastor Dr Bob,

Greetings from Malawi.

I went to Malawi to meet our brethren in Malawi. I was accompanied by Radson Mulozowa,  Likuva, and Radon Mulozowa’s son Victor. Victor was the one who was a photographer.  The meeting was so wonderful. I met also the chiefs and a leader of those chiefs who is heading the whole of that area where our churches are situated. … Pastor all our churches in Mozambique are all steady. …

I met so many people. They really welcomed me. They also made for me food. And after eating is when a man from Chiringa congregation forced us that we must go to his house again and eat.

It was a full joy. Funny enough … some two men who were not in the hall heard when I was talking about the end time generation and the false ministers who are pretending to ministers of God (2corithians 11:13-14.) Also I was preaching about the true church of God and how to distinguish between the true church of God and false churches under false ministers. Those two men confessed that today they know the true church and they are joining the church and on Thursday they will come to the youth camp in Malawi.

After the services I met the chief who headed all chiefs in that area. We had a long discussion with her and Radson Mulozowa. The discussion went well. After that I met other chiefs who some of them joined the church during my last visit in Mozambique and they are still in the church up to now. One of them is now hosting … there nowadays.

When we finished we drove back to Malawi because I was also attending the youth camp headed by Sosten Libungwa. I met more than one hundred youths there. We finished late. Then I rushed to where I’m staying. Now is when I’ve taken shower and I have time to give report before I sleep. …

What I was told by One of the chiefs, is that XXXX sent some people there to go and bribe people with iron sheets and money for hunger. But people rejected them and those people came back to Malawi. That’s the sad story I got in Mozambique. So pastor all our members in Mozambique are all there and steady. I’m going to send photos from Mozambique and photos from the youth camp. Tomorrow we shall go to Jenjete in the morning and {later} I will be at the Youth camp teaching youths.


Hunger remains an issue throughout Africa and we do provide assistance from time to time for that. But would like to provide more.

Here is a report related to his visit in Jenjete of Zomba, Malawi:

Pastor Dr Bob,

Greetings from Malawi.

We had a wonderful meeting at Jenjete congregation where our host Luka Likuva is hosting. … The number has increased more than my expectations. GOD is opening the doors for the gospel to move forward. I met so many people and other two new congregations joined us. Radson Mulozowa has been visiting those two new congregations. Our congregation at Kaching we also came. I met all leaders separate. Also we had Three chiefs in the meeting and I met them separate and talk with them.

The meeting was wonderful. The only thing have experience in both Malawi and Mozambique is that there’s a great hunger in both countries. If you can get some assistance for them can be good. I also found if the Hall project for Jenjete congregation is finished. They only need to plaster the floor and wall. They built a good Hall. … After the meeting I met Sosten and we had a very long discussion. Tomorrow we shall meet with him and Radson Mulozowa together.

I’ll let you know the Way forward tomorrow after a close meeting of the three. Evans, Radson, and Sosten.

I met 140 people plus the children.

Tomorrow we shall be at the YOUTH CAMP lead by Radson Mulozwa in Migowi. All youths from Mozambique and Malawi will be there. …


Youth Camps

While in Malawi, Evans Ochieng visited a youth camp being put on by Sosten Libungwa. Here is a photo:

Evans Ochieng (in orange) at the Malawi Youth Camp

Sosten Libungwa was with us many years ago, but we took disciplinary action related to him and replaced him with Radson Mulozowa about seven years ago. Sosten has wanted to come back to the CCOG the past several years and has many affiliated with him that he says want to be part of CCOG. We are trying to best evaluate how to deal with this.

That said, we expect to get a report about the youth camp in Migowi, Malawi fairly soon as well as start the youth camps in Kenya later this month.

Radio in Kenya

We are on radio on the Milambo Radio station in Migori, Kenya on Friday from 6pm to 7pm every week.

Charles Agwenge sent the following report today:



I want say that we are grateful for having been given the opportunity to be involved in the Radio program. We have been doing sermons and Bible studies for the past one month.


As the above shows, we have been using many different people to speak on the radio in Kenya. Costs are a bit high, so please pray we will have the income to continue to go through this proclamation door.

Rift Valley Campaign

Pastor Tiongik Sawek sent the following photo and report:

Receive greetings in Jesus Name.

We are doing well here in Rift valley. The mission was to go to Olmegenyu and Mau  with Elder Cheruiyot. We met with Brethren from those areas and they warmly welcomed us. We advise those who are at Olmekenyu to meet with Mau Locals during the sabbath while those in Chesige to meet with Brethren from Nkaroni, Segemian. We were with Pastor Stanley Kibet, Mau leader. We were happy to meet the Brethren though we had faced with Weather challenges and the topography of the area which was not friendly but we managed to cover those areas well. We were forced to wear gumboots until our return. When we were remaining with one day to Sabbath, Pastor Stanley Langat went ahead of us in order to arrange the Sabbath venue  with the Brethren. We noticed that there is much work to be done in those places because the Continuing Church of God has grown so much. They requested for more books as we were coming back. We promised to visit them again with the books very soon. We stayed for a period of ten days in those places breaking a record. We were to visit Narok but due to limited fare, we had to return. We thanked Evangelist Ochieng for supporting us and we managed to stay the night at Bomet. The next morning we met with Brethren from Bomet. Their locals have grown as compared to other days. The Brethren at Bomet are trying so much because they rely on small businesses which they cannot assist much. They only have a hall that they rented which will expire this month. We are requesting support for the rent fee. The Brethren come from different parts of Kenya and they are important because they portray a good picture and they are showing a good picture in Bomet Town. Let’s pray for each other. I was to report this message last Wednesday but I was faced with a power outage and I traveled to the nearest centre to pass the message. I therefore request for a laptop to ease the communication on time. The Brethren are very happy after receiving a report from Evangelist Ochieng that the permanent church will be built in Chilani very soon. Lastly, this is the rainy season and we are getting reports that this is El Niño. …

God bless you.

Pastor Sawek

Also from the Rift Valley, Tomas Koskei sent the following report today:

Dear Bob Thiel
I salute you in Jesus name! The work of the Lord is going well here at Bomet.
Thank you

Yes, we have continued to have growth in the Rift Valley of Kenya over the years. Please pray for the people there and that we may have more laborers for the harvest.

Year-End Income Tax Matters
(Public Domain Images)

As mentioned last week, we are getting close to the end of the Roman calendar year. Those who live in the United States, in order to have their contributions eligible for tax deduction for calendar year 2023, need to send electronic or regular mail donations no later than December 31, 2023. For those who physically mail donations, they legally must be postmarked by December 31, 2023 to be eligible for deductibility for 2023.

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

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

The PayPal donation link for the USA is at:

In Canada the rules may be slightly different for mailed and other contributions, so if you want the tax deduction for calendar year 2023, they likely also need to be made before the end of the calendar year to the CCOG office in Canada.

(In New Zealand, they use a March 31st date to end their tax year.)

Suggested Sabbath Day Services

Here is a suggested Sabbath day service for our scattered brethren and other interested people:

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 ContinuingCOG channel AND MANY SERMONETTE MESSAGES ON THE Bible News Prophecy channel. There are also some messages at the CCOGAfrica channel. There are also messages in the Spanish language at the CDLIDDSermones  channel.

World News Items

The European Union and Kenya have agreed to a trade deal that their respective parliaments are expected to approve (see EU and Kenya sign a trade deal). The Bible tells of the coming European Babylonian Beast power and points to it being a major trading power (cf. 17th and 18th chapter of Revelation). The EU has been working in Asia, Africa, and Latin America to try to secure trade deals that it wants.

The EU is also interested in expansion, and despite issues of disunity, it expects to have the nations in the Western Balkans join it (see EU Summits: Disunity and Talks of Enlargement with Ukraine and the Western Balkans). Having some or all of those nations–Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia (and in the case of Kosovo a disputed one)–join the EU would be consistent with prophecies such as Daniel 8:9.

Over in the Vatican, Pope Francis declared that his clergy can bless “same-sex couples’ who participate in what the Bible refers to as abominations (see Pope Francis authorizes his clergy to bless the abominable). The Bible warns:

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, … 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, …

24 Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, …

26 For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. 27 Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.

28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, 30 backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; 32 who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them. (Romans 1: 18,22, 24 26-32)

Notice that after speaking against aspects of gay and lesbianism behavior, the word of God warns against “inventors of evil things” and an innovation of blessing of sin would certainly qualify as be one.

The Bible also warns:

20 Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil;
Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness;
Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!

21 Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes,
And prudent in their own sight!  (Isaiah 5:20-21)

The above pretty well sums up those pushing and/or blessing aspects of the LGBTQ+ agenda.

From Jerusalem, the Temple Institute sent out its newsletter telling people that God uses dreams and that Joseph remembered his dreams–to that I added that various ones affiliated with the Church of God also remembered their dreams (see Temple Institute: And Yosef remembered the dreams that he had dreamed; COGwriter: So did Loma Armstrong, myself, and Fesilafai Fiso Leaana).

Concluding Comments

Brethren, I received several messages from contacts on Facebook who suspected that friend requests that they received which supposedly came from me were fake on December 15th and 16th in 2023.

Well, yes, they were fake.

While I normally receive Facebook friend requests multiple times per week, I have not sent out any Facebook friend requests myself to anyone for over a decade. Generally speaking, I try not avoid Facebook, but only try to be to it the minimum time possible-which I sometimes need to do for some church matters.

If you got a request supposedly from me, how can you tell that the request is fake?

For one, the faker has put a dove with an olive branch symbol over a globe on my picture if you go to what was supposed to be my page. Notice:

That dove on a globe picture is not on my actual Facebook page.

Furthermore, while I have over 1,000 “Facebook Friends” on my actual page, the fake version of me only had several dozen when I last checked.

I also have reported this fake page to Facebook.

As many of you are aware, we have warned about the emergence of deepfakes for some time now. Back in 2021, the Continuing Church of God (CCOG) even put out a related video on our Bible News Prophecy YouTube channel: Lies and Deepfakes.

Earlier this year, I was presented with what I considered to be a “deepfake” computer-conversation related to another CCOG leader (Evans Ochieng) that I was able to determine could not have happened as it was presented to myself and others. Sadly, however, some preferred to believe that lie.

The Bible warns against:

15 … idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie. (Revelation 22:15)

Jesus once said to some near Him:

44 You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.  (John 8:44-45)

Whoever is pretending to be me has the devil as his/her father.

Speaking of fakes and Facebook, on Friday I received a Facebook friend request from a name and photo I recognized in the Church of God, so I accepted the request. Then, when this person tried to push to sell me something today on the Sabbath, I realized that this, too, was a fake. So, I “unfriended” her (or him, as with a fake, it is hard to know who sent it).

Many use a variety of techniques to try to deceive.

The Apostle Paul warned:

1 But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: … 13 … evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. (2 Timothy 3:1,13)

Yes, the emergence of various fakes is a sign of the last days.

It is sad that some wish to try to deceive others that way and other ways.

The Apostle Paul also warned end-time Christians, “not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, … Let no one deceive you by any means” (2 Thessalonians 2:2,3).

That includes trying not to be deceived by “deepfakes and phony computer requests.”

Yes brethren, I believe that this is only the beginning as deepfakes will get worse consistent with the prophecies in 2 Timothy 3:13 and 2 Thessalonians 2.

Be on guard.


Bob Thiel
Pastor and Overseer