Dear Brethren and Co-Workers in Christ:

Greetings again from the Five Cities Region of California.

We are in the world’s season of shopping, Christmas, Hanukah, and New Year’s, so we put together messages related to two of those since our last letter to you.

Over 500,000 views of BibleNewsProphecy YouTube ‘Television’

We are still having success on YouTube.

We have now passed 500,000 views of one of our YouTube channels.

The BibleNewsProphecy channel has now had over 500,000 views. The ContinuingCOG channel has had over 268,000 views.

We originally choose YouTube ‘television’ because it was convenient and basically free.  It also has wide viewership all over the world. As of this morning, we have 2,569 ‘subscribers’ to the BibleNewsProphecy channel and 1079 for the ContinuingCOG channel. This is up from September 1, 2016 when we had 2,425 subscribers to the BibleNewsProphecy channel and 985 for the ContinuingCOG channel.

YouTube says that “Subscribers watch more,” meaning that they typically watch more of what is on the channels they subscribe to than non-subscribers.  Anyway, we have never promoted getting ‘subscribers’ to the YouTube channels, but the numbers have been increasing.

We are reaching people with this form of media.

Google Reached over 3,700,000 Computers in Novembers 2016

Google reported that our campaign with them reached 3,742,757 computers last month. While this is down a little from the previous month, it still shows that we are diligently working to fulfill Matthew 24:14 and Matthew 28:19-20. We expect to be able to increase the Google campaign in 2018. 2017 might be possible, but with the scheduled African conference in 2017, 2018 (when we do not have such a conference scheduled) may be more feasible.

Kenya Youth Camp

Pastor Evans Ochieng sent in the following report:

Pastor Dr Bob,

Greetings from Kenya.

It was a wonderful week that the youths enjoyed the best youth camp in Kenya. I was very happy to hear that the youth camp in Chilani was wonderful that influenced even the youths from outside to join and hear the teachings of the church. This was one of the best way to preach the gospel.

The youth camp in NDHIWA was wonderful and was the largest youth camp in Kenya with 152 youths. The teaching was good. We were 6 people who were teaching youths. These are Evans Ochieng Kisiengo, Bartholomew Ogada, John Owak, Nimrod Ondigo and Granton Otieno and Ezekiel Oanda. I noticed something very important about youth camp. It is increasing the faith of youths.
I received the report from Mau that the youth camp was very good.

Pastor I want to  thank you very much for the work that you are doing in Africa. You did a wonderful work to help the youths to enjoy their time in the camp by providing their transport and food. The youths who were in NDHIWA came from far distance,that they were to be supported with transport. Especially those who were coming from Kisii. Thank you very much pastor.
I will try to send more pictures.
Evans.

We are grateful that God is allowing us to reach people around the world, and so many in Africa. I would thank all who have supported CCOG through prayers, tithes and offerings, and volunteering to help.

Pastor Evans Ochieng sent the following (blurred) photograph from Kenya our youth camp in Ndhiwa:

youthcamp2016
Ndhiwa Youth Camp

There were three youth camps in Kenya this year. Before going further, let me add that Pastor Evans Ochieng is expecting to go to Malawi very soon and asks for all your prayers to grant him the wisdom and patience to properly handle the CCOG there.

Getting back to the youth camps, here is information about the one in Transmara:

I greet you in the Name of Jesus Christ, we are happy in the lord and the church is doing well in Rift Vally, Transmara. We really thanked God for he made of possible for us to begin the youth meeting from the evening of Tuesday 13th on 8:00am of 14th the first lesson kicked off, there were three facilitators for each day, which was equivalent to three lessons which were covered each day. The first one had to cover from morning to break and continue from 2:00PM. It was time the youth to ask any question related to bible and to be answered by the facilitators to 4:pm and it was time for break again and from 5:00pm to 6:30pm it was time fro another lesson, thereafter it was time for super from 8:00pm .It was now time for songs,choirs and hymns from youths from various locals church up to 9:30pm when they had to go to bed. Every church had been represented by youths who had attended  the meeting. The local church which had fewer youths was Bomet, Chebunyo had sent 5 youths.

The local church which registered the highest number of youths were Chilani, Motosiet, Tokitech and kabolecho. The facilitators had been drawn from all the local churches from Bomet we had evangelist from Bomet we had evangelist Erick Koech who play an important role in teaching the youths for five years ago and now he is married and is blessed with twins. His parents have been  church members for quite along of time and therefore was brought in a christian family in recent years also has been assisting the pastor in the execution of the church duties  in Bomet church. He was in charge of the feast of tabernacles and managed it properly. We are therefore seeing the church of Bomet growing spiritually. We were thinking that the church might collapse when the pastor who was in charged move to another area whom had not  invited us to go and see now he is doing  int he place he has moved to. We have added another brethren from Transmara who will begin from January to assist each other with  this brethren, for he is now staying in Bomet and therefore will assist each other in the execution of the church duties until the Passover is over. we shall give you his full names and his contact. The total number of youths  who had enrolled in the meeting were 130. We were proposing that a hall be constructed for us at Chilani for the one which is too much small. However the strangers who were mainly drawn from Sunday believers and other sabbath churches were 30. Indeed there could be more youth if it he announced earlier but time was too short. We end our Camp on 17/12/2016 at night and the youth travel the following day on Sunday. We are thankful for the Continuing Church of God together with pastor Ochieng who supported the Camp attached are a few photos

Lord bless you.

Joseah Kipngetich

Here is a photo that Joseah Kipngetich sent related to the above:

chilaniphoto2016
Rift Valley

Here is information on the youth camp in Mau:

REPORT FROM MAU FOR YOUTH.

I greet you in the name of Jesus Christ . We had a blessed youth camp  here in the Mau Church, where there were representatives from the locals within the Mau Region. Three lessons were covered each day together with songs and hymns for praising the Lord.

Pastor Stanley Kibet was in charge of the meeting together with the Deacon  and the elders. We thanked pastor Ochieng for he prepared for us this meeting and gave support to the meeting . We are seeing church growing in the Rift Valley day to day.
God bless you
Yours Faithfully
Joseah Kipngetich
It was great that the camps were able to be held.

Vince Patterson

Last Sabbath, I received the following update on Vince Patterson:

This past Tuesday (Dec 13th) Vince was moved from Northampton General to a specialist unit in Leamington Spa Rehabilitation Hospital. He is being well taken care of and provided with needed therapy. The family continue to rely on God for healing and appreciate your continued prayers.

I have still not heard from Vince Patterson directly. He lives in the UK and I met him there once in 2014 and in 2016 at the Feast of Tabernacles in Gouda, Netherlands.

Calendar Year-End Income Tax Matters

Those who live in the United States are reminded that for contributions to be eligible for tax deduction for calendar year 2016, all donations mailed must be postmarked no later than December 31, 2016.

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 2016, you may wish to make your next contribution relatively soon.

World News Items

Over in Syria, there have been evacuations from Aleppo (see Aleppo Disaster and Evacuation). Let me also mention that many in Syria have been subject to such atrocities that show the low state of humanity cut off from God. While we all need the Kingdom of God, this is surely what the Syrians need quickly. The Syrians are in my prayers.

Over in Germany, someone suspected with Islamic ties (as of today, it is believed to be a Tunisian immigrant named Anis Amri–see German anger and Geert Wilders’ statements about Berlin’s Islamic terrorism) plowed into people in Berlin killing a dozen and injuring about 50 others (see Terrorists hit Germany: Will the Europeans act against Islam?). This senseless terrorism brings the following scripture to mind that Jesus predicted:

2 …  yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service.  3 And these things they will do to you because they have not known the Father nor Me. (John 16:2-3)

Although there were no Church of God Christians killed in the Berlin attack as far as I know, the fact is that Islamic terrorists do not know the Father or Jesus and most certainly are not doing God a service.

Over in the USA, its Electoral College voted to make Donald Trump the next President of the United States (see Electoral College confirms Donald Trump, but he is NOT the ‘trump of God’). This was expected. But I will add that the election victory of Donald Trump has shaken many in the world and various analysts believe he will have major economic impacts in 2017 (see 2017 concerns about ‘Black Swans’ and Twelve ‘grey swan’ events to watch for in 2017?).

Over in China, they are preparing for a possible trade war because of Donald Trump (see ‘China Seen Readying for Trade War During Trump Presidency’). Trade disputes are likely to be a factor in triggering world war and the Great Tribulation.

Suggested Sabbath Service

Here is a suggested Sabbath service for this week:

  • 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 many who receive this letter via email will be a recorded one. The one suggested for this week is: God’s or Satan’s New Year?  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: Fake News, Jesus, and His Birth. 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 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 ContinuingCOG channel AND MANY SERMONETTE MESSAGES ON THE Bible News Prophecy channel.

Concluding Comments

Should Christians participate in pagan holidays?

Notice what the Apostle Paul was inspired to write:

19 What am I saying then? That an idol is anything, or what is offered to idols is anything? 20 Rather, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice they sacrifice to demons and not to God, and I do not want you to have fellowship with demons. 21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the Lord’s table and of the table of demons. 22 Or do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than He? (1 Corinthians 10:19-22)

Brethren, Christians in the Apostle Paul’s day had to deal with winter holiday celebrations–several of which have at least partially carried over to the 21st century. Do not provoke God to anger. Do not participate in demonic holidays.

Sincerely,

Bob Thiel
Pastor and Overseer