Dear Brethren and Co-Workers in Christ:

Greetings from Grover Beach, California.

We have been working to coordinate people to come to next week’s conference in Nairobi, Kenya. Additionally, I am trying to figure out how much printed literature I can bring, as well as electronic literature files to give for printing and translations.

The last time I went, one of the suitcases was damaged because of the weight. However, for many reasons, it is helpful to bring a lot of printed materials to the conference to share with our scattered African leaders.

Rain Miracle in Kenya?

Aleksandar ‘Sasha’ Veljic arrived in Kenya, from Serbia, on January 27, 2017 at my request to visit some of our congregations there with Pastor Evans Ochieng.

Before going further, notice the following scriptures:

1  Now Peter and John went up together to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour.  2 And a certain man lame from his mother’s womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms from those who entered the temple; 3 who, seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, asked for alms. 4 And fixing his eyes on him, with John, Peter said, “Look at us.” 5 So he gave them his attention, expecting to receive something from them. 6 Then Peter said, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.” 7 And he took him by the right hand and lifted him up, and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. 8 So he, leaping up, stood and walked and entered the temple with them — walking, leaping, and praising God. 9 And all the people saw him walking and praising God. (Acts 3:1-9)

With that in mind, notice that Pastor Evans Ochieng sent me the following in an email on Sunday, January 29, 2017:

Pastor Dr Bob
Greetings from Kenya.

Here is a photo of, from left Tiongik Sawek, David Chariot, Alexander and Evans Ochieng Kisiengo. We are in front of the hotel where we are going to spend a night.

Today Alexander was praying for the rain in Kenya. After ten minutes the rain came from nowhere and rain. This is the miracle we seen when we are in Narok. He was feeling very bad when he saw how people were suffering in Kitengela Nairobi simply because of water. His prayer is answered. …

May God bless your family and the work you are doing.

Evans.

Like the Apostle Peter once did, instead of proving money, Sasha Veljic brought prayer, and God answered. Let us praise God.

Notice also the following:

17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. 18 And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit. (James 5:17-18)

So, prayer can affect the weather–and it just did in Kenya.

Some of you may recall that we had a healing prayer miracle in Malawi last year.

On February 14, 2016 Pastor Evans Ochieng 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. … So tomorrow I will conduct baptism in MALAWI.

Evans.

So consider that we had the deaf who 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 then, not only to heal the man who could not hear, but to also get the Sunday pastor’s attention last year.

God is working and thankfully some can see that.

Pastor Ochieng sent me the following on Monday:

Pastor Dr Bob.

Greetings from Kenya

We were in Mau and that is the Mau congregation with us.

Alexander is very very happy. He has taken numerous photos with the brethren here.

Evans

Here is a photograph of the Mau, Kenya congregation that Pastor Ochieng and Aleksandar Veljic visited:

We are pleased that we have so many faithful in various parts of Africa.

Late last night, my wife Joyce showed me the following email:

Greetings dear brethren,

I am taking advantage of the fact that I have a wi-fi at the hotel where I am staying tonight, so I am able to drop you a few words. I arrived to Kenya last Friday evening, just about the beginning of the Sabbath. The hotel in Nairobi didn’t have Internet access, so I basically couldn’t write anything. Then we kept the Sabbath with a small group nearby Nairobi. On Sunday we hit the road and travelled to Kenya interior. That traveling has continued to today and will will continue until Friday. Then after the Sabbath at the home of pastor Evans Ochieng, it should continue next Sunday. I have been preaching the Good News basically day and night, trying to help the small congregations in Kenya and also help pastor Evans and ease his burden. I have been giving him and his son some useful ideas on how to speed up the Work in this area. And I am full of impressions. The brethren are generally responsive and just yesterday we had an unexpected visitor from Adventist church. Upon hearing my preaching on the meaning of prophecy and seeing that the congregation remained still for three hours, this man declared that he cannot longer be in the Adventist church and wants to join this Church that preaches the truth. Another younger man, right after my speaking, asked pastor Evans to baptize him soon because he is ill with cancer and he doesn’t want to die without being baptized in the true Church of God. (Please, pray that he would be healed of cancer).

The greatest miracle for which I prayed in this country is – rain. I began to cry and pray to God for that miracle because there was nothing I could do about it, nor there is anyone who could have done anything about it. I asked God to intervene for our members have not been able to grow crops, many remained without seeds and some were facing starvation to death. So I began to pray for rain. And the first word that was on my mouth ever since I arrived in Kenya, the word that I so often mentioned was only one word – rain. On the Sabbath, I prayed with the small local congregation in Kitangala, nearby Nairobi, for the rain. On Sunday, as we were asking blessing for a meal, I mentioned rain. Ten minutes afterwards there came rain over the city we were staying in – Narok. In the following days it was raining everywhere. Even tonight, here where we are staying (Kissi town) we had a downpour of rain. Exactly what I asked God, everything happened when it comes to rain. I have tens of witnesses that it is true.

I now pray for other miracle – that I would manage to get organic seeds to our brethren, so that they would be able to grow their own food. If you don’t mind, please join me in prayers.

I am supposed to return to Serbia on February 13th, following the Church conference in Nairobi. On another topic, I connected a man from Tanzania who got in touch with me seeking the truth with these people even before I came to Kenya. This evening, the man wrote me the message and asked about baptism. He kept the Sabbath with our members in Tanzania last week and he is very happy with it. A young man from Uganda also contacted me even before I came to Kenya and he has been searching deeper understanding of the truth. I have connected him to this people even back then and continue to maintain that contact.

Again, I couldn’t write you anything as I was on travel, then I had no Internet and tonight I am using that opportunity to drop a note that I am fine and will continue to preach the Good News of the coming Kingdom of God. I could tell you yet many things about the ways that we have preached Gospel here without saying a single word, simply because of our skin colours, but I will leave that for another time.

Would you, please, in the days to come, set aside a day for fasting and praying for the success of our Church conference here in Africa, which will be held next week.

With appreciation and gratitude,
Sasha

Joyce asked me if we could get and send seeds. We looked online and could not find a reliable local source. So after prayer, we ordered what I thought I could bring in online. Please pray that they will arrive in time for me to bring them and that they will grow in Kenya. I will not be able to bring much considering the great need (and have customs concerns), but hopefully what I many be able to bring will help some.

Prayers for the Conference

Please pray for the safety and success of this upcoming conference in Nairobi, Kenya. We keep having to deal with issues so that leaders in places like Ethiopia will be able to come. Today, I had to write and send my third letter to Ethiopia to try to assist with this.

As far as safety goes, there was a terrorist bomb blast in Nairobi when I was there for our conference back in 2014. Last Sabbath, the terrorist groups Al-Shabab (which has ties to Al-Qaeda) attacked a Kenyan military base in southern Somalia and killed over 50 soldiers. In addition to safety, terrorist incidents affect travel and could impact some of our leaders’ travel to Nairobi.

For another area of prayer, consider the following from Jesus:

37 “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few.  38 Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” (Matthew 9:37-38)

While, yes, I have quoted that many times in the past, and we have great needs in many parts of the world, there are decisions that we need to make in Africa concerning leaders. This has been a matter of prayer and fasting for me (cf. Acts 14:23) and I ask that all of you would pray that we handle this correctly in accordance with God’s will.

On other African matters, while it is my intent to send out next week’s Letter to the Brethren, in case there are problems sending out emails (and there are issues in Nairobi) and the Letter does not get sent next week, there will be at least an abbreviated Letter for February 10th that you should be able to access from this link: Letter to the Brethren.

Booklets

Related to the Kenya conference, I reviewed and slightly updated all six of the booklets we have available. Essentially, I added more scriptural references to nearly all of them. It is not that they did not already have a lot of scriptures, it is just that there were other verses that I thought these booklets would benefit from, and before I suggest that some of them be translated into additional African languages, I thought that the additional scriptures and other additions would be best to be there first.

On a distantly related note, I have began to write a seventh booklet. Hopefully it will be completed sometime this year.

World News Items

In early January 2017, we put out a BibleNewsProphecy sermonette video titled Half human, half pig: What’s the difference? Some Church of God critics took exception to its relevance and made a variety of improper accusations. Yet last week it was announced that part-human, part-pig, ‘chimeras’ have actually been produced in the USA (see Scientists produce and destroy part-human, mostly-pig, chimeras). Please do not let those associated with the accuser of the brethren (cf. Revelation 12:10) or anyone else ‘take your crown’ (Revelation 3:11). Critics and false accusers can cause some to fall by the wayside (Matthew 13:9), yet when you, brethren, hear criticisms of me or the CCOG, remember that Jesus taught:

11 “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.  12 Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Matthew 5:11-12)

Anyway, in the case of human-pig chimeras, we were proven correct.

Earlier this month, as well as during this week, we have seen a lot of threats against Jewish Community Centers in the USA (see First they came for the Jews, then will they come for the true Christians?) and 2016 was a record year for anti-Jewish acts in the United Kingdom (see Berkeley protests against speech; Record year for anti-Semitism in UK). While some may not think this type of thing can affect them, consider that persecution will be coming to those who have Christian practices that many condemn as Jewish.

Also in the USA, we have seen more ‘success’ for those pushing the LGBTQ agenda. The ‘Boy Scouts of America’ has decided to allow girls to be members if they ‘identify as a boy,’ whereas US President Donald Trump is proud to have signed some pro-LGBTQ order (see BSA decides to admit girls who dress and call themselves boys as Boy Scouts; Donald Trump endorses LGBTQ ‘rights’). These moves are not good (Romans 1:18-32).

Yet, it is other statements and practices of US Donald Trump that continue to cause controversy around the world (see Trump rattles international community regarding migrants, Trudeau offers Canada). Furthermore, at least two leaders in the European Union have basically listed Donald Trump as one of the European Union’s biggest threats this week (see EU’s Tusk considers Trump a major threat. Trade war?). Notice also something from the German press:

The EU has to stand up to Donald Trump

The US was a wonderful country, then Donald Trump came along. His policies will certainly damage Europe – they are supposed to. The EU must defend itself by being as united as possible, says DW’s Bernd Riegert.

31 January 2017

In his confused worldview, Trump sees the EU and Germany as economic competitors that must be beaten. In the eyes of his very roughly hewn administration, Germany, with its high US trade surplus, is seen as the root of all evil. Trump seeks to turn back the US trade deficit with half-baked slogans such as “buy American, hire American.” He wants to create new taxes and tariffs whether these make economic sense or not. Thus, the EU must prepare itself for a trade war the likes they have never seen.

Europe must be ready to find new economic partners in Asia when the president destroys the existing world economic order. http://www.dw.com/en/opinion-the-eu-has-to-stand-up-to-donald-trump/a-37358179

The divide between the EU and the USA is growing, as is the divide between the UK and the EU. The British House of Common overwhelmingly approved the Brexit vote yesterday, and the British House of Lords is expected to approve it next month (see Trump vs. Europe; Brexit moving closer). Change is happening.

Partially because of Donald Trump, Pope Francis is concerned that Europe could get another Adolf Hitler (see France’s President warns Donald Trump of ‘dead-end,’ whereas Pope Francis warns Europe may get a new Adolf Hitler). What Europe will ultimately end up with is the ‘Beast’ leader (Revelation 17:12-13), who will be worse than Adolf Hitler (cf Matthew 24:21; Revelation 13:1-18).

Also in Europe, one who I am watching related to possibly becoming (or at least supporting) the Beast, former German Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, is re-entering German politics (see Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg has re-entered German politics). He left politics because of a plagiarism scandal and has been under self-imposed exile in the USA. In December 2015, Herr Guttenberg called candidate Donald Trump, “that blonde lunatic named Donald.” Many Europeans seem to now believe that, though Herr Guttenberg is the only one I am aware of who worded his view of Donald Trump that way.

We are seeing more strident statements from Europe indicating that Europe wants to be independent and not subservient to the USA (see Germany and France want a ‘stronger Europe’ without subservience to the USA). This will result in the military takeover of the USA (Daniel 11:39) as well as its Anglo-Saxon descended allies (cf. Daniel 8:24-25; Jeremiah 30:7) years in the future.

World events continue to align with our understanding in the Continuing Church of God of biblical prophecies.

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 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

The Apostle Peter was inspired to write:

8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 9 Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. (1 Peter 5:8-9)

This past couple of weeks, this verse has come to mind for various reasons, including the fact that the computer program we use for this weekly Letter has not been working correctly (it is now working better).

But we pray and push forward as you brethren should also do when you encounter difficulties.

Sincerely,

Bob Thiel
Pastor and Overseer