Dear Brethren and Co-Workers in Christ:

Greetings from the Five Cities region of California.

Church Fast?

Last week I had considered calling for a church-wide fast related to the situation in Haiti and various other prayer requests and health issues of various members. Other than the Day of Atonement, where true Christians will fast whose health and situation allow for, we have never called for a church-wide fast in the Continuing Church of God (CCOG).

After thinking and praying about it, I decided that I personally would fast, but not make an announcement that the CCOG as a whole also try to do. So, last week Tuesday, I did. But I was surprised to find out last Friday that many in the CCOG also decided to do so. I had not communicated this with anyone, but was pleased when I learned that many others in CCOG were also doing so.

Whether you fasted or not, please keep the situation in Haiti, in particular, specific health problems, and various parts of the world, in your prayers.

Let me add that I really would like the Haddons to be able to safely go to Haiti to reach our brethren there.

As far as health issues go, two of Evangelist Evans Ochieng’s children (daughter Marie Goff and son Emanuel) were hospitalized with Malaria and other issues and he asked me to pray for them. He later reported that they were improving. Please pray for them as well as Evans Ochieng as, for many reasons (including automobile issues), he has been having a very difficult time.

Update on Vince Patterson


Vince Patterson

Elder Sasha Veljic sent in the following report:

Dear Bob,

I have corresponded with Sharon Patterson, wife of UK member Vince Patterson. …

We have known for four years that Vince Patterson suffered from a stroke, yet we have not been aware of his general conditions.  And these are his general conditions:

“Vince is fed through a tube directly into his stomach, he has a superpubic catheter, is washed and dressed by others, turned every 2/3 hours by others, put in a wheelchair by hoist”.  When he had “brain haemorrhage”, “he was not expected to live beyond 48 hours” his wife wrote to me.  A year prior to that incident, Vince lost his mother in law and his brother in law, the only brother of his wife and her only surviving sibling.  Four months prior to his brain hemorrhage their youngest son Vincent died in a car accident.  In spite of all those tragic events, and the experiences Vince’s wife has been through, which we cannot even imagine, she visits him every day.  …

Now, not only do we need to pray for Vince’s recovery and further involvement in the Work of God, but also about upcoming surgery. “He is due to have what should be minor surgery on the 23/03/2020, so your continued prayer support will be much appreciated.  Thank you again for getting in contact it has lifted my spirits and I will also let our girls know that though out of sight he is still in the prayers of your members”, wrote Sharon Patterson.

Let us now pray that this minor surgery goes well and let us pray for the miracle of God to heal Vince completely. Of course, we should not forget to remember his family in our communication to the Eternal.

Sasha

As mentioned last week, please remember to keep Vince Patterson in your prayers.

Three Baptisms


Sandra, James, and Ruth Rake

On Sunday, Deacon Richard Close sent the following report:

Just writing to let you both know that  I baptized 3 individuals this afternoon.  They are all members of one family.  Ruth Ann Rake,  James Maurice Rake-the brother of Ruth, and Sandra Kay Rake , the wife of James M Rake.  The brother and sister have been waiting a long time for baptism,  having started to listen to HWA on the radio in the 1950’s with their mother who was a baptised member to the WWCG.  Ruth and her mom  attended the Mt. Pocono congregation in the 1970’s. Ruth was starting the baptism process  and beginning to counsel with the minister in the area at that time. They moved just about the time of the “great east coast rebellion” that took place in the 1973-74 time frame.  I was attending Mt Pocono congregation at that time but I do not remember them. They were invited to go with the minister that left but his attempt at a church was to far to travel.  James did not attend at that time.  He had moved prior to that and soon married Sandra. They moved again in 1992 to Elmira area and the three of them have a home together but soon after the move, WWCG started going very liberal and protestant and that was not what had been taught so they stayed home, not going anywhere but still maintained what they had learned and observed under Mr. HWA. They later began following LCG and cogwriter and ended up in CCOG. Sandra read and studied with them and God drew her also. It was a very emotional baptism with some tears of joy afterwards.
      Regards to all     Richard

Jesus said, “there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents” (Luke 15:10).

So, the angels had three times the joy last Sunday!

Anyway, the Rakes live in Pennsylvania and have long been co-workers in CCOG. It is great to learn of their baptisms.

Speaking of baptisms and baptismal counseling, in North America most of that is done by Deacon Richard Close. For more information about him, etc. check out the article: How does the CCOG handle Counseling, Prayer Requests, Funerals, and Anointing of the Sick?

If you are in the USA or Canada and need counseling, etc, Richard Close’s email address is: closesr@comcast.net

In other areas, please contact the minister or host for the area. A listing of congregation locations, certain minister/host names, and email addresses is in the following link: Congregations of the Continuing Church of God.

Kabolecho Project

Pastor Tiongik Sawek sent the following report and photo today:


Kabolecho building

Receive greetings from from Kabolecho Local Church. The construction of the church has been started. The roofing has only been done only that the construction is pending. The iron sheets and cement is currently limited. Currently, the normal church services are being done despite the ongoing construction of the church. Kindly pray for the child who has been sick in the local church of Mau. Also in Ndiwa local church, the children of Pastor Ochieng are not well. In Chilani local church, my wife is not well also and the child that has been unwell for sometime. The rain is heavy as at now and this has affected the crops. We therefore request for the prayers and support.
God Bless you
regards Pastor Sawek

Yes, please pray for them. Also, we did send a little financial support for the women’s group in Chiliani today, that Evangelist Ochieng will later deliver.

Report from Malawi and Mozambique

Deacon Radson Mulozowa sent the following report and most of the photos:

TERRY NELSON VISIT TO MALAWI.

During their visit  they visited the following congregation both Malawi and Mozambique:

  1. MWANZA Mwanza , Tulonkhondo, Kajiya, Chileka gathered together at Mwanza yet other other congregation could not come due to transportation.

Mwanza congregants

  1.  Njenjete and Kachingwe  congregation were at Mwanza.

Njenjete congregants

Radson Mulozowa, Terry Nelson, Evans Ochieng

  1. SUNUDZI Sunudzi and Willie congregation were at Sunudzi.

Sunudzi congregants

  1. MAMBUCHA IN MOZAMBIQUE Domasi, Chindola, Nankhombe, Muguliwa, Nasiyaya. Mukhulumba, Nagaga were at Mambucha. Mkwamba congregation could not come because of transportation since its very far from where the meeting were held.


Mozambique congregants

  1. MIGOWI Migowi, Chiringa, and Migowi congregation were at Migowi.

Migowi congregants and the Nelsons

TOPIC THAT TERRY COVERED.

  1. How the Continuing Church of God Differs from Most Protestants
  2. Tithes and Offering
  3. A short summary on the books he brought to Malawi since he distributed to every host in each congregation including the Chief in Mozambique since he knows English.

PLANS OF THE WORK

Pastor Evans and Terry said:

  1. The plans of poultry farming where by {many} congregations can have 100 chickens to care so that the {members will have more} so that church can have funds to help preaching the gospel.
  2. Irrigation programme. We have place that sustain water through out the year so Evans told me that he will discuss with you so that 2 engine pumps can be bought to start that, in so doing we can elevate hunger problem  among brethren.
  3. Terry promised to assist the elderly in the church who met them at Sunudzi since many of them can not care themselves.
  4. Upon seeing unfinished hall at Migowi he said he will talk with you so that we can finish it and put chairs since it has started raining again it show that our hall will be at risk if the rains continue. Bearing in mind that this is centre church for all the congregation both Malawi and Mozambique.

His visit has brought great change to the work and truth about the kingdom.

Terry Nelson and I discussed the chicken project, which is similar to something that Steve Dupuie and I discussed in the past. We sent some funds today, so are about to try this in four locations: one in Malawi, one in Mozambique, and two locations in Kenya (Kisii and Nyakach). We will have to see how it goes before we attempt to involve more congregations.

As of this instant, I do not know the costs of the irrigation pumps (but I did send an inquiry to Malawi about that), so do not know if we will be able to do this or not. We do provide some support for widows, the elderly, and orphans, but am not sure how much more we can provide at this time.

Terry Nelson and I did discuss the unfinished hall in Migowi, but no one has let me know how much that would cost (but I did send an inquiry to Malawi about that), so I have not committed to that yet. We will see. A concern is that without more cement it may collapse in the rainy season.

Terry Nelson and Evans Ochieng also discussed trying to get more Bibles in the Chichewa language. This is something we have done before, and hope to assist again in the future.

As far as other plans, we have been working to get more CCOG literature in the Chichewa language. We believe that this will not only serve the brethren, but will result in more people learning the truth.

Deacon Radson Mulozowa also sent a chart:

CONTINUING CHURCH OF GOD MARCH REPORT

Num. CONGREGATION DISTRICT MEMBERSHIP
1 MIGOWI PHALOMBE        40
2 PHALONI PHALOMBE        18
3 CHIRINGA PHALOMBE        18
4 SUNUDZI ZOMBA        114
5 WILLIE ZOMBA        21
6 NJENJETE ZOMBA        96
7 KACHINGWE MULANJE        35
8 MWANZA MWANZA        122
9 TULONKHONDO MWANZA        89
10 KAJIYA MWANZA        64
11 NENO NENO        50
12 CHILEKA BLANTYRE        30
13 FALAWE NENO        78
14 MALOWA BLANTYRE        54
15 NAKHOMBE MILANJE MOZAMBIQUE       40
16 NASIYAYA MULUMBU, MOZAMBIQUE       65
17 MUGULIWA MULUMBU, MOZAMBIQUE       35
18 CHINDOLA MILANJE, MOZAMBIQUE       28
19 DOMASI MILANJE ,MOZAMBIQUE       39
20 NAGAGA MILANJE, MOZAMBIQUE       32
21 MUKHULUMBA MULUMBU, MOZAMBIQUE       12
22 MKWAMBA MKWAMBA, MOZAMBIQUE       70

According to the above report, we have 829 in Malawi with us and 321 in Mozambique. As we work in those areas, while we ultimately expect more growth, we also anticipate various hostile issues.

Please keep Malawi, Mozambique, and all of Africa in your prayers.

God has opened the door to reach Gentiles (Acts 14:27), Philadelphian Christians are to go through that door (Revelation 3:7), and the full number of Gentiles must come in before Jesus returns (Romans 11:25; What About Romans 11:25 and the Full Number of the Gentiles?).

We are diligently working to fulfill Matthew 24:14; Matthew 28:19-20; and Romans 11:25.

World News Items

The coronavirus continues to dominate much of the news around the world. Europe’s economy, particularly its tourism, is taking a big hit (see ‘Will Brexit and coronavirus end the EU? and ‘Coronavirus Fear Cancels Events Across Asia, Striking at Economy’ ‘Tourism is 10% of GDP in France, 13% in Italy, 15% in Spain. And Now it’s in Free Fall’ and ‘Facing recession, Europe grasps for ways to limit damage’). Last night US President Donald Trump announced a 30 day ban on flights from Europe–with the notable exception of the British Isles–and the Europeans and not pleased with that (see ‘World walls off as leaders warn viral pandemic will worsen’). This ban not only could push Europe into a financial crisis, it is another move separating the US from the bulk of the continental Europeans. They will not forgive and forget this–this will be added to the list of reasons they will hate the US for.

Regarding COVID-19, some ‘fact checkers’ have been a bit dismissive of some ways to strengthen the immune system (e.g. COVID-19 and Vitamin C: The truth, the myth, and the hype). While washing hands is good (see ‘Coronavirus: Steps to stay safe,’ ‘How To Avoid Getting Infected By The Coronavirus,’ ‘Italy Shuts Down North in COVID-19 Fight,’ ‘Every EU member except Cyprus has infections,’ and ‘COVID-19 Leading to 666?’), things such as fasting and eating more fruit (when not fasting, of course) can help the immune system–though neither of those are guaranteed ways to avoid getting COVID-19 or other ailments.

That being said, the fallout from COVID-19 looks to be a way to get people to become more suspicious of physical cash. This will likely make the implementation of ‘666’ financial controls (Revelation 13:16-18) more politically-acceptable in the future. Our recommended sermonette for the week is related to that: COVID-19 Leading to 666?

Tensions between Turkey and the European Union remain as Turkey is pressuring the EU by releasing/pushing out certain Syrian refugees near the Greek border (see ‘Turkey Tears Down Greek Border Fence: Floods EU with Syrians’). While Turkey looks prophesied to separate from Europe and align itself with the Arabic King of the South for a time (cf. Daniel 11:40-43; Psalm 83:5-7), this will not last and Turkey will later align with the European Beast (cf. Daniel 11:25-26, 11:41).

Over in Russia, a constitutional change was announced that theoretically could result in Vladimir Putin being in office until 2036 (see Reuters: Putin opens door to changes that would allow him to stay in power until 2036; COGWriter: Could Vladimir Putin lead the prophesied 200 million man army?). It is possible that if he does do so, that he could be the leader of the 200 million man army of Revelation 9:16 as the Old Testament points to Russia leading a major force in the end times (cf. Jeremiah 50:8-9, 41-43; 51:11) BEFORE Jesus returns.

Speaking of Russia, it and Saudi Arabia split over oil production this week. Some wonder if this could more negatively affect Saudi Arabia than Russia and potential cause some type of change or unrest in the Saudi kingdom (see SF: Saudi-Initiated All-Out Oil War Could Lead To Collapse Of Kingdom Itself; COGwriter: A prelude to the King of the South?). It is possible that what is happening in what looks to be a producers’ ‘war’ may be a factor in change coming to Saudi Arabia as it will one day, temporarily, support the coming King of the South (Daniel 11:40-43).

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 most who receive this letter via email will be a recorded one. The one suggested for this week is: COVID-19 Leading to 666? 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: Exodus 33-36: Moses Shown and You Should Too. 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 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.

Concluding Comments

Jesus told the Philadelphians:

10 Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. 11 Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown. 12 He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name. (Revelation 3:10-12)

Yes, brethren, we all need to persevere despite the tests and trials. Also, remember that pillars start out by standing distant from others, before the entire structure is completed. So yes, many of us are distant from other members. But to be Philadelphian, we need to be willing, like a pillar, to stand for the truth, even if there are not others geographically near us.

Sincerely,

Bob Thiel
Pastor and Overseer