Letter to the Brethren: February 18, 2016

Dear Brethren and Co-Workers in Christ:

Greetings once again from the Five Cities region of California.

Always a lot going on.

Spent a lot of time working on the potential Feast of Tabernacles’ site for the USA, and expect to be able to have more information on that in a future letter.  We have a co-worker in the Aurora/Naperville, Illinois region and he agreed yesterday to visit a couple of hotels, that I have spoken with, in the area that may be appropriate for us to use. He plans to get back to me next week.

We updated a version of the Where is the True Christian Church Today? this week. We also sent it to translators and made an arrangement to hopefully to have it translated into 50 different languages!

In addition to being freely available from our websites, the booklet is also planned to be made available via Amazon.com in multiple languages. We are not yet sure if Amazon will allow all of those languages, but it might (we plan to find out as we get the translations back). We are trying to reach people who are looking for books on Christianity all around the world and in as many languages as possible. For those who do not tend to visit our websites, we have the plan for Amazon.

We are also planning on making some changes to the www.ccog.org website to make it easier for people who do not understand much English to find materials in their native languages. We expect to have materials in over 50 languages some time in 2016.

Miracles in Malawi

Pastor Evans Ochieng has been in Malawi meeting with Sosten Libungwa and others in that nation. He is to fly back today.

On Sunday, he sent the following report:

Pastor Dr Bob,

Yesterday was a Sabbath and I kept Sabbath with a group in Migawi. The service was very good.

When we wanted to close, one old man stood up and testify that one of his ears had been bad and did not hear anything but when I was preaching, he testify that all his ears we opened miraculously.

I also met a Sunday pastor there who told me that I have to visit him in his place. So when I went, he took me to his meeting hall where I met all members. I met a total of 94 people and when I taught them about Sabbath and baptism, all of them turned their heart to keep Sabbath. And now they are Sabbathkeepers. One old lady insisted that I must baptize her tomorrow.

After coming back I and Sosten went to the river to check a place of baptism. So tomorrow I will conduct baptism in MALAWI.

Evans.

So, we have the deaf who now hear, the gospel being preached, and the spiritually blind who can now see (cf. Luke 7:22)!

It looks like God may have performed a miracle, not only heal the man who could not hear, but to also get the Sunday pastor’s attention.

As far as being offended, many not part of the CCOG have posted false things about us on the internet and seem not to realize that God can, and does, work in places like Africa.

More on Malawi

Those who contacted us from Malawi last year did NOT have a Church of God background.  But we have been working with them.  After Pastor Ochieng’s first visit to Malawi, Sosten Libungwa came to Kenya for the Feast of Tabernacles to learn more about the ContinuingChurch of God, beyond what he and others saw over the internet.

Anyway, here is a report from Sosten Libungwa:

Dear Dr pastor Bob,

Greetings from Sosten. We had a very good meetings with Africa Missionary Pastor Evans. His coming to Malawi was timely valued to the people of Malawi, though he did not go to Mozambique due to funds.  We had baptism yesterday where 7 candidates were baptized,the first candidate to be baptized was Sosten seconded by my beautiful wife Delia and after her the rest were immersed. Also, am very happy this means the work has started now,pray for us. I took Evans to another congregations almost 15 kilometers away from our Church hall where two congregations gather at one place and Evans preached to this two congregations and they were over 97 people besides children. And from that congregations two people were baptized, one young man and a lady over 70 years old. This is not only the thing being done there, but also Evans did many charity works in the areas as well as helping the needy with food and some cash to start business. There is a lot I will do when funds will available to finish where Evans has started. Today Evans is going back to Blantyre and from Blantyre to Lilongwe tomorrow so that on Thursday should take a plane to Nairob Kenya. We like him and we will need him again here this coming Feast of Tabernacle or before if possible.

Sosten, Malawi Leader.

Here is a report received Tuesday from Pastor Ochieng:

Pastor Dr Bob,

Since I entered in Malawi, I experienced  many bad and good things. I
took my time to visit each and every member in their various homes. By
the time I was doing this, I was able to be studying many things concerning the life in Malawi.
First I noticed that Malawians are good farmers, but last
year there was a flood everywhere that caused a great hunger in
Malawi. The people are really starving. No food, some are going
without food for two or three days. So they need some assistance in
these season. At this time, their farms are doing good, that means
next harvest they are going to have good harvest. And I hope next
season there will be no famine in Malawi.

Another thing that I experienced in Malawi is that, most Malawians are
having no mattresses, they are just sleeping on a mat which they put
on a floor.  At first I was thinking that it is just because of
poverty but what surprised me is that, almost every home there is no
mattress. So I failed to understand whether it is their culture or
poverty.

PASSOVER
Since we have baptize members in Malawi, it will be very important for
them to have Passover in their country. So it will be our
responsibility to see how they can do it. The members are very much
dedicated and humble. I told you last time that Malawi is a peaceful
country.

FEAST OF TABERNACLES.
I found a good place in Malawi where they keep the feast of
tabernacles this year. it is a clean, peaceful and cheap. The rent is
not so high. so I think we can use it for them to keep the Feast of
Tabernacles this year in Malawi.

CONCLUSION
I am now asking brethren who can support our brethren in Malawi this
time to get what they eat during this tough time. Our brethren in
Malawi are really suffering at this time. but next season it will be
ok.
Evans

While we will try to provide some financial assistance, we simply do not have enough funds for all the issues in Africa, but that does not mean that we do not try at all.

A group in France, that we have communicated with for years, helped yesterday by sending some funds for the hungry in Kenya. We are grateful for their assistance. This will make it easier for us in the USA, Canada, etc. to assist those in Malawi and Mozambique as we will not need to provide quite as much support for the needs in Kenya.

Activity in Australia and the Philippines

Rarely do I report about Australia here as we only have had one baptized member with us (and I baptized her personally during Pentecost weekend when she, my wife, and I were in New Zealand last year).

Well, in the past several weeks, three people (none of whom live anywhere near each other) all contacted us and have now been put on the list to receive this weekly letter.  Perhaps in time, we will have multiple congregations in Australia.  And even a Feast of Tabernacles’ site there.

Currently, the closest Feast of Tabernacles’ sites to Australia we expect to have this year will be in New Zealand and the Philippines.

Speaking of the Philippines, a family asked to be put on the list to receive this weekly letter there a few days ago.

Now on Amazon in French and Hebrew!

Last week, I mentioned we were working on the first Bible News Prophecy magazine in the French language. It is also now available from Amazon.com.  As is our first printed Hebrew magazine.

Here are what the covers look like on Amazon.com:

BNPFrenchApril2016BNPHebrewApril2016
French Edition                     Hebrew Edition

For languages who use our alphabet characters (known as ‘Latin I’), we are able to have a fancier cover than for other languages at this time. We, sadly, cannot do that currently for languages like Russian, Greek, Hebrew, Mandarin, Hindi, or Arabic as their character styles are not supported by the cover program we are trying out from CreateSpace (which is an Amazon company).

But, fancy or not, we are getting the truth out to the world in more and more languages consistent with what Jesus taught (Matthew 24:14; 28:19-20).

World News Items

Many are seeing that the Islamic migrants in Europe are an issue and are leading to changes there (see Migrants to lead to ‘end of Europe’ or rise of the Beast of Revelation? Or both?).  The migrants will apparently be a factor that will lead to the rise of the final King of the North in Daniel 11.

The situation with the UK and European Union remain in the news.  The USA has officially stated that it would prefer the UK to stay in the European Union and that it wants a strong European Union (see Obama Administration wants strong European Union and wants the UK in it).  Whether or not it continues to be called the European Union, after some conflict and difficulties, a military-strong power will arise in Europe that will defeat the USA (Daniel 11:39). Because most US officials do not understand biblical prophecy, they are unwittingly encouraging the rise of a future enemy.

Pope Francis has been traveling.  He went to Cuba and met with Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill (see Russia, Pope Francis, and international politics).  This meeting is intended to set the stage for future cooperation.  Right now, the Vatican is on pretty good terms with all the Eastern Orthodox, with the main exception being those in Greece.  And I expect to see an eventual improvement in relations with Greece, despite the fact that some the Greek Orthodox bishops have been vehement in their opposition to Pope Francis and his ecumenical agenda.

Pope Francis also went to Mexico and went to see the ‘Lady of Guadalupe’ (see Pope Francis promotes a modified Aztec goddess in Mexico).  The so-called ‘Lady of Guadalupe’ is credited for at least partially convincing most in Latin America to become Roman Catholic. The use of ‘Marian’ images and symbolism is part of Pope Francis’ improper ecumenical and interfaith agendas.  But he has been relentless in pushing both since becoming pontiff.

In Saudi Arabia, the “North Thunder” military war games are going on.  They are billed as the largest in the world (see World’s largest military exercise taking place in Saudi Arabia– a prelude to the King of the South?).  Basically, this involves 20 predominantly Islamic nations from the Middle East and Africa. This exercise proves that the Muslims of the region certainly can put together a military coalition like the one the Bible prophesies will one day be led by the final King of the South of Daniel 11:40-43.

 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: Colossians, Galatians, and the Feasts of God. 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 many who receive this letter via email will be a recorded one. The one suggested for this week is: Courage and cowardice. 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 ContinuingCOGchannel AND MANY SERMONETTE MESSAGES ON THE Bible News Prophecy channel.

Concluding Comments

Notice the following:

22 Then He said to His disciples, “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; nor about the body, what you will put on.  23 Life is more than food, and the body is more than clothing.  24 Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap, which have neither storehouse nor barn; and God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds?  25 And which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?  26 If you then are not able to do the least, why are you anxious for the rest?  27 Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.  28 If then God so clothes the grass, which today is in the field and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will He clothe you, O you of little faith?

29 “And do not seek what you should eat or what you should drink, nor have an anxious mind.  30 For all these things the nations of the world seek after, and your Father knows that you need these things.  31 But seek the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you.

32 “Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.  33 Sell what you have and give alms; provide yourselves money bags which do not grow old, a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches nor moth destroys.  34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Luke 12:22-34)

Brethren, have the right focus, put your confidence in God.  Do not give up.  Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.

Sincerely,

Bob Thiel
Pastor and Overseer