Letter to the Brethen: July 3, 2014

Dear Brethren and co-workers in Christ:

We were able to get the English edition of the Bible News Prophecy magazine mailed to subscribers everywhere except Kenya and Tanzania.  We are intending to print the magazines in Nairobi and then distribute them over there to save on funds.

We received the translation of the magazine into Kiswahili this week and have worked on reformatting it for printing.  Kiswhahili is widely spoken in East Africa and is the dominant language in Tanzania.  We sent the electronic file for the English and Kiswahili magazines to Evans Ochieng in Kenya today.

For those of you not in Kenya or Tanzania, you should be receiving the magazine soon if you have not already received it.  Also, we included a copy of the new booklet Faith for Those God has Called and Chosen with the magazine to save on postage.  While nearly all of the information in the booklet is also in this edition of the magazine, as I have written before, I do not believe we can have too much faith, so reading about it more than once should be spiritually profitable.

We also mailed copies of the Faith for Those God has Called and Chosen booklet to Kenya as it may be slightly cheaper to print and mail light-weight items from the USA than to print them in Nairobi.

Reaching Asia

We are reaching people around the world.  In this letter, I thought providing additional information on what we have been able to accomplish over the internet related to Asia would be good to share.

Our main man in China sent me the following report using WordPress statistics:

As for ccog.asia, as we near the one-year anniversary of the starting of this website (July 8th) it seems we’ve hit a new record of hits anyway for the past month:
88341 pageviews
399 human visits
343 unique IPs
235 new visitors
Top 8 countries: US 61.48%, South Korea 11.47%, Netherlands 10.76%, Ukraine 10.67%, Sweden 2.03%, China 1.44%, Iran 0.28%, France 0.25%
Top 10 accessed posts:
Study the Bible Course Lesson 1 14.37%,
What is the Gospel in Korean 7.28%,
The Coming Eurasian Union 5.21%,
CCOG Statement of Beliefs in Mandarin 4.19%,
What Appeared at Fatima 4.19%,
Study the Bible Course Lesson 2 4.15%,
Study the Bible Course Lesson 3 4.10%,
Blood Moons 2.80%,
Final Phase of the Work: Africa 2.75%,
What is Faith+Apparitions 2.31% (tied)

CCOG.asia has articles in English and Mandarin Chinese.  It also has a couple of items in Korean.  It should be noted that our regular statistics program says that we had a minimum of 530 human visitors, but also less article views.  That being said, we are reaching people with ccog.asia.

But ccog.asia is not our only Asia-oriented website.

In June 2014 we set an all-time record for the pnind.ph website.  This site has information in English and Tagalog.  10,58 people visited, an average of 2.36 times each, for a total of 25,001 recorded visits.  Those visitors accessed 42,391 articles (also called page views).  The phind.ph is targeted towards those with a Filipino background.  Since many Filipinos live abroad, the vast majority of visitors to that site are accessing it from other countries around the world.

One of the websites we have that gets a lot of visitors in ccog.in.  10,647 people visited, an average of 3.05 times each, for a total of 32,497 recorded visits.  Those visitors accessed 94,647 articles (also called page views).  This is the website targeted towards those with an Indian background.  The site is almost entirely in English, with one large item in the Hindi language.

Perhaps I should mention that we had problems with our AWstats program again in June 2014 and all the figures are probably understated by about 38%.  Which means that we likely had 38% more articles read, 38% more visitors, etc. than we have reported.

Feast of Tabernacles

We have decided on Orlando, Florida as the location for the USA Feast of Tabernacles’ site in 2014.  We are trying to negotiate details with the potential hotels and hope to announce the actual hotel later this month.  Since my last letter, I have spoken with representatives of five hotels and am awaiting their responses.  We wish to finalize the hotel some time this month.

We are also trying to figure out how to handle Africa this year.  We plan at least one site in Kenya in the Ndhiwa area, but may end up with another site in Kenya and/or Tanzania.  We plan to make more announcements related to this in the future.

Information is also in the article Feast of Tabernacles’ Sites for 2014.

World News Events

There are many wars and rumors of war occurring (Matthew 24:6-7).

Over in Ukraine, the Kiev-government sent in troops to fight separatists in the eastern portion of that land who prefer closer alignment with Russia (see Ukraine’s Poroshenko sends in fighting troops, Russia’s Putin vows to defend, and many do not trust the USA). Russia is not pleased with this and has suggested that it may need to take action.  The USA is opposed to Russia on this.

In the Middle East, a new nation, basically within the borders of Iraq, was declared this week and is calling itself the Islamic State (see ISIL declares itself ‘Islamic State’ and Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as caliph).  While this is not a generally recognized nation, its leader believes that he is the caliph that Islam has looked forward to and has invited all Muslims who have talents to assist to come to his declared caliphate (see ‘Caliph’ calls for Muslims to move to his ‘Islamic State’).  The Bible shows that a confederation of currently Islamic states will form (cf. Daniel 11:40-43; Ezekiel 30:1-8) and this Sunni Iraqi leader thinks he has started the process.  This is at least the third time in the past four years that someone has essentially stated that the supposed  ‘sixth caliphate’ has began (the other two did not work out as those who declared it hoped), and this particular one will need to make changes if it hopes to survive.

Also in the Middle East, Israel and Gaza are fighting again (Gaza and Israel bomb each other).

Over in the USA, its government has sent advisers into Iraq to try to deal with this (see Fierce fighting in Tikrit; Russia, Iran, and Syria try to help Iraq while the USA tries political advice and drones), while also providing about USD$500 million funding to insurgents fighting the government of Syria.  However, it should be noted that both the current government of Syria and the USA are opposed to the new Islamic State, so they are supposedly on the same side against them, while the USA is funding those who want to overthrow Syria.  The leaders of the Islamic State also want to overthrown the government in Syria.  There are many ‘tangled’ alignments.

Because of the situation with Ukraine, Iraq, Syria, and elsewhere, more and more are starting to wonder about the USA as an ally (see Ukraine’s Poroshenko sends in fighting troops, Russia’s Putin vows to defend, and many do not trust the USA).  And in the USA itself, more are wondering if the USA dollar is irreversibly doomed (see ‘The Coming Death of the Dollar’).  Since the USA is the largest debtor in human history, unless national repentance occurs, the USA dollar will one day be doomed.  While the final collapse of the USA dollar would seem to be sudden (cf. Habakkuk 2:6-8), it will have ups and downs until that time.  Some are seeing that what the USA has been doing financially is irresponsible, and carnally-speaking, irreversible.  The time of Jacob’s trouble is coming (Jeremiah 30:7).

Over in Europe, the UK’s Prime Minister David Cameron upset many in the European Union when he opposed the nomination of Jean Claude Juncker for European Commissioner.  Prime Minister Cameron wants the UK to remain in the European Union and is concerned that the actions by the EU will be enough to cause the British to vote to leave the European Union once they get a chance.  Such a departure has been dubbed as a “Brexit” (British exit) or a Brixit (British exit).  For more details, check out A Brixit, a Brexit, EU concerned about a British exit.  The UK simply will not remain an equal partner in what will rise up in Europe.  Instead, it will be taken over by Europe and its lands divided (cf. Daniel 11:39).

The Temple Institute in Israel reported last month that a ‘red heifer’ was located in America that it believes is needed for the Messiah to return (see Red heifer discovered in USA and the Temple Institute is interested in it).  This week’s recommended sermonette is related to that and is titled The Red Heifer, Jewish Beliefs, and the End of the World.

Spanish News Items

The primary volunteer translator into the Spanish language for the Continuing Church of God (CCOG) frequently translates Church of God News articles into the Spanish language.  Here are the latest that he sent me:

Kerry in Iraq: Too little, too late?
Kerry en Irak: ¿Demasiado poco, demasiado tarde?
Large Hadron Collider set to double: Another step forward for Europe?
Gran Colisionador Hadron dispuesto a doblar: ¿Otro paso adelante para Europa?
Chikungunya virus: A growing threat
Virus Chikungunya: Una creciente amenaza
FBI rescues 168 victims of child sex trafficking
FBI rescata 168 víctimas de trafico sexual infantil
Pope Francis, the Mafia, and the Beast of the Earth
El Papa Francisco, la Mafia, y la Bestia de la Tierra
Heaven, Christianity, and the State of Dead
El Cielo, el cristianismo, y el estado de los muertos
Monarch butterfly navigation: Evolutionary quirk or Creator genius?
Navegación de la mariposa monarca: ¿Rareza evolucionaria o genio del Creador?
What is the meaning of YOUR life?
¿Cuál es el significado de SU vida?
What should you pray about?
¿Acerca de que debería orar usted?
Iraq’s PM rejects governmental change, Syria intervenes, and ISIS tries to gain and hold territory
PM de Irak rechaza cambio gubernamental, Siria interviene, e ISIS trata de ganar y conservar territorio
Birthdays: A connection to Satanism?
Cumpleaños: ¿Una conexión con el Satanismo?
PCG gives three erroneous ‘reasons’ for why it claims Iran is the King of the South
PCG da tres ‘razones’ erróneas de por qué ella dice que Irán es el Rey del Sur
U.S. economy turned in its worst quarter in five years
La economía de los EE.UU. produjo su peor trimestre en cinco años
EU Summit opens, UK’s Cameron expected to lose related to J. Juncker: a prelude to a Brixit?
Se abre cumbre UE, Cameron del Reino Unido se espera que pierda con respecto a J. Juncker: ¿Un preludio a Brixit?
St. Mark,’ Venice, and ‘apostolic succession
‘San Marcos’ de Venecia, y la sucesión apostólica
Red heifer discovered in USA and the Temple Institute is interested in it
Novilla roja descubierta en EE.UU. e Instituto del Templo está interesado en ella
UK’s Cameron ‘the loneliest man in Europe’
Cameron del Reino Unido ‘el hombre más solo de Europa’
WSJ: ISIS forming Osama bin Laden’s caliphate
WSJ: ISIS formando el califato de Osama bin Laden
Irenaeus of Lyon: Faithful saint or major heretic?
Ireneo de Lyon: Santo fiel o gran hereje?
A Brixit, a Brexit, UE concerned about a British exit
Una Brixit, una Brexit, la UE preocupada acerca de una salida británica


The main Spanish language website for the  Continuing Church of God is CDLIDD.ES La Continuación de la Iglesia de Dios.

La Continuación de la Iglesia de Dios (that is the translated title of CCOG) produces a lot of materials in the Spanish language.

Approximately 414 million people speak Spanish as a native language, making it second only to Mandarin Chinese in terms of its number of native speakers worldwide.  There are more than 500 million Spanish speakers as a first or second language, and 20 million students of Spanish as a foreign language. Spanish is also one of the six official languages of the United Nations, and it is used as an official language by the European Union and Mercosur.

This is a door (Revelation 3:7-9; ) that the Continuing Church of God continues to go through. And we are pleased to offer as much material in the Spanish language as we do.

Suggested Sabbath Service

Here is our suggested format for Sabbath services 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. So, 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 that we list each week.

Concluding Comments

The Apostle Paul wrote:

1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

3 For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. 4 For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, 5 so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.  (Romans 12:1-5)

Brethren, it is not always easy, but together we can lead the final phase of the work.  All can contribute with their Spirit-given individual talents and abilities.


Bob Thiel, Pastor and Overseer
Continuing Church of God

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.