Letter to the Brethren: December 21, 2017

Dear Brethren and Co-Workers in Christ:

Greetings again from the Five Cities region of California.

From Asia, Jay Chiang mentioned that he participated in an online public speaking course with an online media company called London Real, with nearly 300,000 followers/subscribers on its YouTube channel hosted by Brian Rose. Jay Chiang was able to share some info about the future of Europe to its viewers and students of this course.

The message is going out into the world and we are taking advantage of whatever doors the Lord opens.

Youth Camp in Ndhiwa

Evangelist Evans Ochieng sent the following report:

Pastor Dr Bob,

Greetings from Kenya.

A wonderful youth camp has ended today. Since I started to attend youth camp in the church of God, this is the biggest camp that I ever attended. The youth camp in Ndhiwa was attended by the youths from 10 congregations. That is Ndhiwa, Mbani, Oriang, Kiseke, Migori, Kihacha, Nyakach, Eberege, Nyasembe and Bethseida.

The number of youths who attended the camp this year was 201. The attendance of this year in youth camp show clearly that the church in Kenya is having positive growth. Last year the number of youths who attended the camp was not all that big compared to this year. I see the gospel is reaching almost every part of Kenya and hope to reach all of Kenya.

The youth camp in Rift valley was also going well. I talked with Pastor Sawek in the morning and he told me that the camp having many youths who attended the camp. Attached are pictures of the youths who attended the camp in Ndhiwa.

Evans

Here are the photos:

Grantone Otieno sent in the following report about this camp:

Dear Pst. Bob.
  I would like to express my sincere appreciation for we had successful youth camp as from 13th – 16th this month.The number  was bigger than our expectation and the management was  forced to look for other ways on how the youth camp would be successful.
  All in all, youths who attended were able to be lectured  and the teachers stressed  to them on life, Doctrine and practices which they can put into actions in their lives in early stage and years of growth and also to remain faithful to the true teachings of the true church of God as well as to know how to be grounded strongly in the word of God
  May the creator reward you together with those who have given a hand for the success of this youth camp.  A thank you for both spiritual and financial support. Glory be to the most High God.
 Yours in One Hope,
 Grantone Otieno

We had 152 youth attend camp in Kenya in 2016, 130 in 2015, and 71 in 2014. So, having 201 just in Ndhiwa in 2017 reflects growth.

We are pleased to be able to have such growth and to reach the youth in this part of the world.

Youth Camp in Rift Valley

Pastor Sawek sent the following report about the youth camp in Rift Valley, Kenya:

Receive greetings in Jesus Christ name. We are thankful to God for enabling us complete the youth meeting which began on 13. We wound up the camp on Sunday morning.
The meeting were all well attended from all regions:- Njoro, led by Ev. David Cheruiyot, Bomet, Led by  Eric, Mau led by Veronicah Cherotich, Transmara Led by Pst. Sawek & Pst. William Kirui and all locals in Transmara. The hosting church – Chilani had the highest attendants.
Because of the high number of attendants the hall was filled to maximum and we do pray that the hall/church may be expanded since it cannot accommodate a large number of people.

We thank Pst. Ochieng for his support for the meeting
Attached are some photos.

May God Bless you

Pst. Sawek

He also sent the following photographs:

 

It is good that we are able to reach the youth in parts of Africa this way.

Muhuru, Kenya

In the , we asked all of you to pray about a campaign in Muhuru Bay, Kenya. As reported last week, it was successful.

 

Yesterday, I received the following email:

It is my privilege and joyous moment to share with you the greetings from our beloved  brethren  at Muhuru area towards Lake Victoria region whom I visited on a Sabbath of 16th this month. I was sent to them by Pastor Evans Ochieng to teach and assist them on how to conduct Sabbath services.
    Since they are new to CCOG, they asked  for a regular visit so that they would not be left out of God’s wonderful plan of salvation to all mankind. I also managed to teach them HYMNAL songs and I left the some two copies.
  We were able to meet under a tree freely  because the day was a little calm remember that we are experiencing  a rainy season. We thanked the Almighty for that.
 We had 10 positive brethren who seek to know more concern the truth of the Bible.   May you remember them your prayers because they don’t have a meeting hall and used to meet under a tree every Sabbath. These brothers are thirsty to learn  more.
  Yours Sincerely,
  Mr. Grantone Otieno


Grantone Mangiana Otieno, Host, Migori, Kenya

It is great that people are responding. The New Testament states, “God … opened the door of faith to the Gentiles” (Acts 14:27)–a door we continue to try to go through and teach (Matthew 24:14; 28:19-20).

The Gospel in Kiswahili

We finally have The Gospel of the Kingdom of God booklet formatted and ready in the language of Kiswahili.

Kiswahili, often simply called Swahili, is widely spoken in Africa.

The booklet is available online: Injili ya Ufalme wa Mungu.

The files for the booklet have been sent to Kenya for printing.

Troubles in Ethiopia

Deacon Koang Deng sent the following email:

Dear elder Bob:

Greeting to you and all members with you there in USA. Again, there a little problem happened in this two months here in a Country, which restrict cars travel from region to region,but Gambella is safe. Please pray for us. Another thing is that, Pastor Evans, planned to visit Ethiopia on Month January or February. Because of this problem,then I will inform him to wait for a moment until we have a good day.

Thanks,

Koang Deng

Our congregation in Ethiopia is in Gambella.

Please pray for our people in Ethiopia and other parts of Africa, as well as for the safety of Evangelist Ochieng.

Google Campaign

Google reported that our campaign with them reached 2,063,207 computers last month. That is up a little from the previous month. In addition COGwriter.com and the official CCOG websites are also reaching people over the internet (as do our YouTube channels).

A witness is going forth as we are working to fulfill Matthew 24:14 and Matthew 28:19-20.

Calendar Year-End Income Tax Matters

As a reminder, we are getting close to the end of the calendar year. Those who live in the United States, to have their contributions eligible for tax deduction for calendar year 2017, need to send mail donations no later than December 31, 2017. Those who physically mail donations must be postmarked by December 31, 2017 to be eligible for deductibility for 2017.

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: http://www.ccog.org/donations/

In Canada the rules may be slightly different for mailed and other contributions, so if you want the tax deduction for calendar year 2017, they likely also need to be made before the end of the calendar year.

(In New Zealand, they use a March 31st date.)

World News Items

US President Trump concerned Russia, China, Iran, and others with his “America First” plan (see and ‘Russia Criticizes Trump’s ‘Imperial’ Security Strategy’ and ‘Washington’s interest in European security will make them more careful of what they wish for’).

Over in the Middle East, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is making it clear that he does not trust the USA and its President Trump. He wants the United Nations, not the USA, to mediate a future peace deal (see Palestine’s Abbas wants UN not USA, Turkey’s Erdogan says recognize Palestinian Jerusalem). Generally, speaking the Europeans have opposed Donald Trump’s position on Jerusalem (watch Palestine’s Abbas wants UN not USA, Turkey’s Erdogan says recognize Palestinian Jerusalem), and the Bible shows that at least one leader in Europe will confirm a seven year ‘peace’ deal (Daniel 9:27). While the USA may still have involvement, its involvement is not specifically prophesied.

More are talking about a “United States of Europe.” Europe launched four more satellites for its Galileo communications system, which it expects will make it independent from the USA that way–and instead, Galileo will make the USA partially dependent upon Europe (see Europe’s Galileo system gained four more satellites). Europe is working on its own military and other objectives it has–which can differ from those in the USA. Europe is also seeing the rise of more leaders which have issues with Islam (see Austria’s far-Right Freedom Party, who says ‘Islam has no place in Europe’, is sworn in to power with country’s new conservative leader Sebastian Kurz).

Europe continues to be upset by US actions, particularly those under the leadership of Donald Trump (see Tax bill, Iran deal, Climate deal, and Jerusalem: Europeans are upset with the USA). It is also upset with the UK related to Brexit (see also EU says Brexit transition to end by 31 December 2020).

The world is changing. And those who do not sufficiently value biblical prophecies are not seeing what will really happen.

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: Fires and the Wrath 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 most who receive this letter via email will be a recorded one. The one suggested for this week is: James Ossuary, Fake News, and Jesus’ 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 BibleNewsProphecy channel. There are also some messages at the CCOGAfrica channel.

Concluding Comments

Notice some passages from the Hebrew scriptures as translated in the old King James Version of the Bible:

29 When the Lord thy God shall cut off the nations from before thee, whither thou goest to possess them, and thou succeedest them, and dwellest in their land;

30 Take heed to thyself that thou be not snared by following them, after that they be destroyed from before thee; and that thou inquire not after their gods, saying, How did these nations serve their gods? even so will I do likewise.

31 Thou shalt not do so unto the Lord thy God: for every abomination to the Lord, which he hateth, have they done unto their gods; for even their sons and their daughters they have burnt in the fire to their gods.

32 What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it. (Deuteronomy 12:29-32, KJV)

1 Hear ye the word which the Lord speaketh unto you, O house of Israel:

2 Thus saith the Lord, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them.

3 For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe.

4 They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not.

5 They are upright as the palm tree, but speak not: they must needs be borne, because they cannot go. Be not afraid of them; for they cannot do evil, neither also is it in them to do good. (Jeremiah 10:1-5, KJV)

Brethren, many this time of year are embracing/endorsing forms of worship that God condemns. While all of you know that, remember that we are not to follow their ways.

Sincerely,

Bob Thiel
Pastor and Overseer

Posted in Letters to the Brethren
About CCOG
The Continuing Church of God, which attempts to represent the most faithful remnant of the Philadelphia (Revelation 3:7) portion of the Church of God, bases its beliefs on the Holy Bible. Read CCOG's statement of beliefs for more information.