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Letter to the Brethren: December 30, 2021

Letter to the Brethren: December 30, 2021

Dear Brethren and Co-Workers in Christ:

Greetings from the Five Cities region of California.

Much has been happening.

Typhoon Rai

Typhoon Rai caused hundreds of deaths in the Philippines last week (see Deadly Typhoon Rai shows that devastation can come quickly).

As mentioned in the CCOG Letter to the Brethren: December 23, 2021, I had contacted our volunteer leader in the Philippines to see how and if the brethren were affected by the deadly Typhoon Rai, but had not heard back.

He and his wife were finally able to send an email that contained the following:

Dear Dr. Thiel,

Its a sobering news to report to you that our province (Surigao del Norte) was the hardest hit as first landfall of the deadly Typhoon Rai (named Odette here) then, Cebu and other parts of the Visayas. This afternoon so far the first time phone signaĺs appeared but electricity still nil since it went off at the middle of the typhoon. Our electric power system still in state of rehabilitation in cooperation with other neighbouring provinces’ electric cooperatives to hopefully restore the grid in 2 months time. We are charging our phones in a genset only.

Today is Sabbath. Barely able to open your Letter to the Brethren and the Church’s website.

Yes, for a deadly typhoon such as this, damages are always expected. Our own house sustained only a negligible damage compared to others with only a roof flashing blown away. But our shop and garage (a 5-minute walking distance from our home) was totally collapsed. Had I happened to parked our service car inside our garage, that car could have been wrecked by a collapsed roofing and walling. It was a blessing that we have disposed our SUV 3 weeks before the typhoon. This garage was for this SUV. Another blessing in disguise is that there was a delay of the coming of the NEW ONE as replacement for the sold old suv because a new one could surely be kept in the garage. Our business (store) establishment and office in the city proper was topless. Glass panels were all broken. But despite all this, we are thankful to our God who kept us always safe along the way.

I haven’t any communication yet with our brethren in Cebu. We have heard some news that the typhoon hits the Cebu province with the same intensity as ours. I think we should not be much worry for {our man} in Cagayan de Oro City, their place was outside of the typhoon coverage. I will give you updates from them soon after I could make contact with all of them.

I will send pictures in the separate email. Just this is for now.

Our best regards,

Joe and Fe {Lumpay}

Yes, Typhoon Rai has been sobering. Received the following from another supporter in the Philippines:

My family here in Cebu are safe. But my livelihood is greatly damage. Jose Lumpay family are safe in Surigao but no power they just use generator. In my place Looc, Mandaue City, Cebu the power was restored the other day and water was restored yesterday, many of the place here still has no power and water. Drinkable water is hard to find and price surge of drinkable water 2x to 3x. Gasoline station have very long lines. This my boarding house.

Thanks and regards,

Leonilo T.

Thankfully, none of our brethren in the Philippines died, nor, as far as we know, were injured by the typhoon.

I wrote the emailers back and provided some assistance.

Please keep the brethren and those affected in the Philippines in your prayers.

January-March 2022 Edition of Bible News Prophecy Magazine

We mailed the January-March 2022 edition of Bible News Prophecy magazine this past week to our USA subscribers.

We mailed to the non-USA subscribers earlier this month.

It is also available online.

Here is a link to the January – March 2022 edition of Bible News Prophecy magazine.

Richard Close Update

According to the report I got from his daughter Elizabeth last night, deacon Richard Close, who lives in Pennsylvania is currently in intensive care and on high levels of oxygen. Furthermore, in many ways he is struggling.

He is not available for counseling, etc.

His daughter Elizabeth requested continued prayers for him.

Youth Camp

CCOG evangelist Evans Ochieng sent the following reports and photos about our Youth Camps this year:

Pastor Dr Bob,

Greetings from Kenya.I have received reports from all YOUTH Camps in Kenya that the youth camp in December 2021 went very well. I recieved a very good report from kisii that youth camp was fantastic.  But camp at Ndhiwa was wonderful. The youths were very happy and the way they handled the camp this year was quite different. We gave them one full day for their discussion amongst themselves. We noticed that the youths can have a high understanding and true discipline when they get together and teach one another. We saw some good response towards the youth camp. The youths were very happy and some of them wanted me to extend the camp for another week. I was with two deacons who came to teach the youths. Granton Otieno and Kennedy Odhiambo from Oyugis. They gave powerful massages to the youths. I touch a lot from the books of dating by Dr Bob. This book is a very good book for youths above 18 years old. It touches a lot that can help youths to understand about dating and courtship.

The youths from Mbani and Oriang didn’t not attend because of the burial of one of the youths who was in university. 

This time we had 122 youths who attended the camp at Ndhiwa. Ezekiel Oanda also reported that they had many youths in Kisii. I also received a report from {Pastor} Sawek that the youths were so many in Chilani from Kaplecho, Daktech,  motosiet and Chilani. Some came from junction congregation where we supplied cement.

I also recieved a report from Njoro that there was a funeral.  A woman who have been in the CHURCH OF GOD for more than 30 years died a day to the opening date of YOUTH CAMP. So they postponed their youth camp till next week. The report was given by David Cheryot. So they will have camp by next week after burial.What have noticed that the youth camp is very important and it’s really helping youths for their future life.

Here are some photos from Ndhiwa


Pastor Dr Bob,

Here is a photo of the youth camp in Kisii which is cent to me by pastor Ezekiel Oanda.I didn’t report that Bradox took some videos at Ndhiwa youth camp which he is planning to send to YouTube.


It is great that the camps held went well, despite certain deaths.

Pastor Tiongik Sawek sent the following about the camp in his area:

Receive greetings in Jesus Name. The youth camp at Chilani went well. Bomet  and Mau  youth camp went on successfully. The Brethrens were blessed. We taught all the youths to avoid unnecessary plans that are not Godly. We had representatives from Kabolecho and Takitech. We had teachers who taught the youths, the elderly women also contributed in teaching girls to abstain from earthly ways. We taught as seen in Proverbs 22:2.  We taught them through the book of 2Timothy 3:1-7. We further encouraged them to respect the parents and the entire church. They learned a lot about the good ways in the Church and respect for their parents. This will enable them also to show their good behavior wherever they are. (Mathew 5:13,14). We pray that God may succeed the  promise by Evangelist Ochieng concerning constructions of  houses that will be used during church meetings. Attached is the picture taken on that day.

God bless youRegards,

Pastor Sawek

In the end time, we are to work to, “turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers” (Malachi 4:6). Youth camps are just one way to help do that.

Final 2021 Notice on Year-End Income Tax Matters

(Public Domain Images)

The Roman calendar year is almost over. Those who live in the United States, in order to have their contributions eligible for tax deduction for calendar year 2021, need to send electronic or regular mail donations no later than December 31, 2021. For those who physically mail donations, they must be postmarked by December 31, 2021 to be eligible for deductibility for 2021.

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 2021, they likely also need to be made before the end of the calendar year to the CCOG office in Canada. Here is a link to the CCOG Canada donations’ page:

In New Zealand, they use a March 31st date to end their tax year. That being said, here is a link to the CCOG New Zealand donations’ page:

Suggested Sabbath Service

Here is a suggested Sabbath service for 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. 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.


World News Items

COVID has remained in the news (see ‘Omicron Is Pushing America Into Soft Lockdown’)–and infections have been rising (see World hits record Covid cases in a week as WHO warns over Omicron’). But that is not the only health issue of importance (see also, Chuck Norris’ 2022 health and COVID advice for Biden and all Americans). Yet COVID has been used to push fear and totalitarian steps–as such it is partially laying some of the groundwork for the coming Beast of Revelation 13.

Weather issues have been in the news, with Typhoon Rai one of the most recent disasters (see Deadly Typhoon Rai shows that devastation can come quickly). Even ignoring it, the cost of weather disasters is up from 2020, which also have significant serious weather-related disasters (‘Cost of weather disasters surged in 2021’). Weather issues are consistent with the “troubles” that Jesus prophesied during this time of “the beginning of sorrows” (Mark 13:8).

Poland’s national-populist leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski warned that Germany would like to implement the “fourth reich”–a major reign over Europe–somewhat reminiscent of the old Holy Roman Empire (see EuroNews: Berlin wants EU to be ‘Fourth German Reich’, says Poland’s Kaczynski ‘the Holy Roman Empire’). Something like that WILL HAPPEN. And probably not too many years from now. It is likely that the Beast of the Sea of Revelation 13, called the King of the North in Daniel 11:40, will be at least partially Germanic.

Concluding Comments

Is January 1st the beginning of the New Year God declared?


When speaking of the Hebrew month of Abib, which occurs around late March/early April God declared,

“This month shall be your beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year to you” (Exodus 12:2).

January 1st is not the beginning of the year for the true God, but only of certain false gods.

Now perhaps it should be mentioned that other cultures also accept that the new year begins in the Spring. And while those cultures have various non-biblical practices, it is certainly possible that because God’s year begins in the Spring that perhaps anciently these people were aware of it, and retained the correct season, but not the practices.

Not all have followed the practices of Julius Caesar (called “Julie” below):

For some thousands of years before Julie and the Roman Senate got involved, the new year was celebrated with the first edible crops of the season or the first new moon.

In much of India, Nava Varsha is celebrated in March or April, just as in the most ancient civilizations.

Sikhs celebrate Hola Mohalla in March; ditto for Persian Nowruz.

As celebrated in China and southeast Asia, Lunar New Year still has a floating date, the first day of the first lunar month. (Shore R. Pagan Party: New Year’s traditions that hail from the depths of antiquity The Vancouver Sun, Canada – Dec 26, 2008, viewed 01/22/09)

From a biblical perspective, the new year begins in the Spring, and hence not January 1st. And it also begins with a new moon. The fact that even many non-Christian cultures realize that should make it easier for Christians to realize that they too, do not need to heed the later practices of the Romans.

While a new tax year begins for many on January 1st, it is not the beginning of God’s year.

January 1st is not a date for Christians to celebrate.


Bob Thiel
Pastor and Overseer