April 7th 2013

Dear All,
Greetings from sunny Los Angeles! This week, our Father in Heaven graciously added seven more to our number – five baptisms and two restorations! Also, after a month long pledge drive, God has given us an increase of almost $6,000 from $28,000 on January 1, 2013 to as of today – $33,881! And with over 20 disciples away for special occasions in San Francisco, San Diego and Phoenix, we gave to the Lord $32,957! The City of Angels Church is to be commended for this expression of their wholehearted devotion to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

In the CAICC Basketball League, the regular season came to a close as the Lakers (AMS, North & Ventura Regions) defeated the Thunder (West Region) 63 – 55! The Heat (Central & East Regions) overcame the Celtics (South Region) for the last playoff spot 72 – 64! And the Knicks (OC & IE Regions) overwhelmed the Bulls (South Central Region) 97 – 64! So next week’s playoffs will be the Lakers (4-1: the #1 Seed) vs. the Heat (2-3: the #4 Seed); and in a rematch of this Saturday, the Knicks (4-1: the #2 Seed) vs. the Bulls (3-2: the #3 Seed). Following at 1PM will be the All Star Game!

The tip-off of the Heat vs. the Celtics game
that determined the final playoff spot!

The regular season ended with Robbie Robinson (Knicks) leading the league in scoring with 27 points per game (ppg), followed by Amar Pandaranga (Celtics) with 23 ppg. and Erik Russell (Thunder) with 22 ppg! The MVP Award will be given after the completion of the playoffs, but the “Spirit Award” goes to Alton Liu of the West Region… not even a player but a fan!

The Thunder Basketball Team of the West Region!

Though his team – the Thunder – were “winless” (0-4) in league play and down by 25 points with eight minutes to go in their final game, Alton continued to stand-up and boisterously cheered on the Thunder! It was then that the Thunder staged a rally for the ages as the Thunder closed the gap to just a couple points on the Regular Season League Champion Lakers! Though the Thunder ultimately lost, Alton’s and the Thunder’s spirit is what the CAICC Basketball League is all about!

Alton stands alone rallying his Thunder Team!

Lou Jack Martinez of the Antelope Valley Sector of the Central Region: “Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” (Ephesians 3:20-21) Our awesome God continues to do “immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine” up here in the Antelope Valley as FOUR WERE ADDED TO OUR NUMBER THIS WEEK!!!  

Our head usher, JOHN CARRILLO & his wife SHARMEEN have two of the most incredible hearts you will ever love!!! John had a dear friend, MILTON CABRERA, who use to translate sermons for our former fellowship in “The AV.” Through the lukewarmness that began to permeate the church in 2003, and because of his own weak faith, Milton began to make decisions that further shipwrecked his faith including moving to Las Vegas and then to Tehachapi, California where he eventually fell away. Well, because of the fact that he is the caretaker of his elderly mother CANDELARIA CABRERA, Milton not only fell away, but sadly led his mother away from the faith as well.

But John Carrillo NEVER gave up on his friendship with Milton, as he continued to call him “off and on” for several years! Finally Milton called John and told him he needed to “come back home to the church!” John & Sharmeen made room in their own home to house Milton and his mother, Candelaria, and they both immediately began their RESTORATION STUDIES this past Monday! TODAY both Milton and his mother Candelaria were restored to the LORD with tears of gratitude!!!

John & Sharmeen Carrillo and their
children – Robbie and Kirsten!

Additionally, the Inland Empire Region sent us a GIFT in transferring BIG CHAD & ERIN WELCH to the Antelope Valley!!! They are going to help us to begin a Bible Talk in Bakersfield, as they have just relocated to Taft, California!!!

Chad is fired-up to initiate the Bakersfield Ministry!

So, in one week God has enabled us to start TWO NEW MINISTRIES: A Spanish Ministry and a Bakersfield Ministry!!! God is truly showing “His power that is at work within us” in the Antelope Valley!!! And finally, we had our FIRST KINGDOM WEDDING IN THE AV as FERNANDO LOPEZ-LARA and KAROL URIBE became MR. & MRS. FERNANDO LOPEZ-LARA – AND OUR VERY OWN CLAY ERICKSON DID THE HONORS!!!

Fernando & Karol Lopez-Lara!

Sal Velasco: Greetings from the Latin Sector of Orange County! It is truly amazing when a faithful brother hears the Word and puts it into practice as it says in Mathew 7:24! One month ago, we had a very challenging Men’s Midweek Service about bearing fruit and being sacrificial for God and our worldwide movement. Adolpho Alarcon heard the message, and immediately after our Midweek Service, he went to the supermarket across the street from my house and shared his faith with a young man at the store. The Market is called Superior, and Abraham received a “superior calling” that night and he knew it!

Abraham came to an atmosphere of family at our park service where we had barbequed chicken and all the “fixin’s!” He was inspired and began to study the Bible with our Singles Ministry. At his baptism, he shared about how excited he is to understand the Scriptures and to be a part of God’s great family! And to Him be all the glory!

Like his namesake, Abraham is “looking forward to
the city… whose architect and builder is God!”

And now more good news from around the globe…

Raul Moreno of Sao Paulo: “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever!” (Psalm 106:1) Greetings my brothers and sisters! The Sao Paulo Church was jubilant today, as we held our service at Vilalobos Park, which is one of the many amazing parks in this great city! This is always fun to do, as the disciples bring food and drinks and there is an extended time of fellowship! Many were playing “futbol” (soccer) and other sports. Our younger children and the campus also had a blast as one of the visitors brought his “tight rope” and fixed it between two palm trees just about three feet from the ground and many were attempting to walk on it!

At the end of the service, it was awesome to have the 16th disciple place membership from our former fellowship in just three weeks – Mara! Also at that time, we presented Mariana from USP University, who was baptized at Friday Night’s Campus Devotional! We love you with the love of the Lord!

Our newest sisters in the Sao Paulo
Church – Mara and Mariana!

Jason Dimitry: Good news from the Las Vegas Mission Team!“Remember the instruction you gave your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the nations, but if you return to me and obey my commands, then even if your exiled people are at the farthest horizon, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place I have chosen as a dwelling for my Name.'”(Nehemiah 1:8-9) We’re only a week away from “Send-off Sunday” in Los Angeles, and God has wasted no time in starting His work! Already, we have a “veteran” (remnant) couple studying the Bible in Las Vegas with those on the team that arrived early! Prayerfully, this couple will be restored shortly after our landing! Also, I received an email from a former disciple who contacted the new LasVegasicc.com Website and is excited to come out to our first service! It’s amazing to see the principle of Nehemiah 1:8-9 at work in God’s modern day rebuilding of the wall!

Lastly, I’m excited to announce that 11 of our 16 missionaries have already secured employment in Vegas! God is truly taking great care in setting up the soon-to-be Las Vegas International Christian Church! Please be praying for our landing and our May 19th Inaugural Service. Join us if you can!

Tamru Belihu of Addis Ababa: Greetings from the East African nation of Ethiopia! What a surprising Sunday it was! Our service was historic in that we had three baptisms at one time! Of the three, two are sisters whose brother had come to the Kingdom of God just three months ago! And the other brother is also studying the Word of God. Please be praying for us as many more are close to being baptized!

Barb Shelbrack from Chicago: “How priceless is your unfailing love!” (Psalm 36:7) Greetings from the Windy City, as it has been a “Priceless Weekend!” We were honored to have Helen Sullivan from the great Orlando Church be our guest speaker for our Women’s Day. We had a marathon Saturday as Helen spoke for the English women in the morning and then spoke for the Spanish-speaking women in the afternoon! Both events were held on a skyway overlooking the skyline of Chicago.

The day was filled with powerful singing, expressive dancing, and personal heartfelt sharing. Helen preached dynamically about the“PRICELESS” love of God. We had a total of 251 in attendance for about 100 women disciples! Hearts were moved as many want to study the Bible and many came to church today as we had our highest non-push attendance of 343! On a personal note, spending time with Helen was a treat and very encouraging! We so appreciate her sacrifice to come to Chicago!

Barb and Helen bond together as they lead
the inspirational Chicago Women’s Day!

Another Women’s Day miracle happened, as a Latin brother was texting someone to communicate information. A woman he did not know received the text and responded back asking, “Who is sending this text?” They quickly realized that they didn’t know each other and had no idea how they made the connection! Then, the brother invited her to theLatin Women’s Day! Julie came and wants to start studying! Another heart touched was Maria, the single mom of Aracely (Campus Ministry) and Janette (Teen Ministry), became a disciple today! Aracely shared how she was broken-hearted when her mom had stopped studying the Bible for a while, but was proud of her mom’s changes and her decision to put God first! Truly, our God is always working even if we do not “see” it!

Aracely and Janette become sisters in
Christ with their mom Maria!

Anthony Olmos: Salutations de Paris! What an incredible week we have had in the City of Lights! God has again added to our number on Friday night, as we saw Eunice, the wife of our dear brother Blessing, baptized into Christ!

Blessing & Eunice are united in Christ!

Eunice shared at her baptism that the love of George & Angelica Grima has shown her what “true Christianity” looks like! (John 13:34-35) In God’s sovereignty, the Grimas have been able to spend three amazing months in Paris. During those three months, they have made such a powerful impression on not only the disciples, but also the lost. They have exemplified true leadership as they have shown us how to truly serve! Sunday marked a bitter sweet moment, as it was their last Sunday with us. God has chosen to send them to London, England! Please continue to pray for us as we fight not only to advance the gospel into all of France, but also into all of Continental Europe! We here in Paris believe that God’s movement is the world’s one and only hope!

George & Angelica at their “Send-off
to London from Paris Party!

Kithy Ranga of Syracuse: “And now, brothers and sisters, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian Churches. In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the Lord’s people. And they exceeded our expectations: They gave themselves first of all to the Lord, and then by the will of God also to us.” (2 Corinthians 8:1-5) Greetings from “the little church that could” and still can! The saints in Syracuse are excited, because our 15X Missions Goal was $38,470, but God blessed us with a total of $41,494! My husband & I are very proud of the Syracuse disciples as they have always given sacrificially, but even more so during these difficult financial times. Please pray now that after reaping a financial harvest, we can reap a harvest of souls in the month of April!

Matt Sullivan of Orlando: “In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. I will show wonders in the Heaven above and signs on the earth below!”(Acts 2:17-19) What an incredible Sunday as so many “dreams” came to life and so many “visions” were lived out!!!

First of all, we had the privilege of having an “older man” and clearly a Spirit-filled brother, Lance Underhill of LA, in town visiting! He encouraged the church with his powerful opening prayer and sharing in the fellowship about what God is doing in Los Angeles! Then, we collected our Special Contribution. With a goal of $34,450 (15X our weekly contribution) and a prayer goal of $43,000, our God blew it out by blessing our sacrifice with a total of $80,780! As the total was announced, the church was jubilant and several disciples simply burst into tears! After months of hard work, sacrifice, much prayer, fruitful tagging & other fundraisers we were all so fired-up to see what our God can do!

Right after that modern day miracle, we witnessed three more miraculous baptisms – Lobis from the AMS House Church, Josh from the Campus Ministry, and Latoya (daughter of our faithful brother Lance) in the West House Church! It was truly incredible to witness the grateful spirit of the church as we sang to the new disciples and to one anotherWe Love You With The Love Of The Lord! What a remarkable Sunday!

Outstanding is just one of many words that
describe Matt’s & Helen’s efforts in
building the Orlando Church!

Ricky Challinor of Portland: Greetings from the City of Bridges! This week, we were able to meet for a Singles/Campus/Teen Dating Devotional! We talked about the “absolute need” for weekly dates, the standard of “absolute purity” and to build “absolute convictions” from the Scriptures on why disciples marry disciples!

Then on Sunday, we saw Alex baptized! Alex is the ex-boyfriend of Fransisca, Gordo’s mom! He inspired the church as he shared powerfully before his baptism! Pray for many more to be added to God’s church in Portland!

The Latin Ministry Brothers baptize Alex into Christ!

Evan Bartholomew: We had an incredible Missions Sunday Service in San Diego! God blessed us by allowing Jason & Sarah Dimitry – the Las Vegas Mission Team Leaders – to be in San Diego for a brief vacation before leaving for Las Vegas! Jason preached powerfully at service and gave us the charge to embrace the fight as disciples! It was awesome to see Sarah, Jason and “little Micky” as they represent one of the four mission teams to be sent out this year in the movement! Later in the service, we announced the results of our Special Missions Contribution. Our 15X goal was $19,665, but the Lord gave us $19,915! Praise God for giving us such an incredible victory!

The San Diego Church Leaders – Evan & Kelly
Bartholomew on her 31st Birthday!

Coltin Rohn of Boston: “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?” …So they gathered the leftovers and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves not eaten by those in attendance.”(John 6:9, 13) Our God is so awesome! I can’t help but proclaim the miracles He has done in Boston!

God has once again multiplied the disciples’ small donations by faith! With 33 disciples here in Boston, our weekly “tithe/sacrifice” is $1,675. However, this past month the disciples “gave more than their ability”as we collected an average of $2,300 per week! Also, some of our disciples decided to buy and donate a brand new sound system for the church – a $4,500 value!

Today we had an attendance of 66 and a Special Missions Goal of $24,465. God multiplied our giving as we gave $29,000 with more still to be collected! I am so grateful to be with such brave disciples, who are willing to “test the Lord” in the area of giving! (Malachi 3:6-12) Glory to God!

Frank Hines delivers a powerful
contribution message!

Pray for us as Mandee will be visiting the mighty Portland Church for the week with her whole family from Idaho. We will be a part from each other for her birthday (April 11th), and this will be the longest we have been away from each other since our Wedding Day – July 10th of 2010! I already miss her! Thanks for your prayers as we love and cherish each one of you in God’s SoldOut Movement!

Ron Harding of Washington DC: Greetings from the Capital of the United States! Today was one of the most inspiring and faith-building days of my life as a Christian! Our Campus, Singles, and Marrieds continued to amaze us by increasing their four week total from “tagging” to nearly $10,000! With one week to go and about 30 disciples set to give next week, we’re just about to surpass our movement goal and move onto raising the additional money needed to send-out the Denver Mission Team!!

After last Sunday’s Easter Lesson, three people came to me wanting to be baptized, and today, the first of those three became your brother in Christ! Malachi 4:6 says, “He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers.” We literally witnessed a modern-day fulfillment of prophecy as the Lord turned a father’s heart back to his daughter! Kadiah Kamara of New York City became a disciple of Jesus three years ago, and like so many other disciples, she has always dreamed of her family becoming disciples! That was nearly an impossible prayer considering her father – Amidu – grew up in Sierra Leone as a Muslim, then turned Pentecostal, and then Seventh Day Adventist! He has preached and used the false teachings of this religion to try and bring people to these same false doctrines since the late 1960’s!

Kadiah prayed constantly, and a couple of months ago, she contacted Eric Chapman – one of DC’s incredible Shepherds – and asked him to reach out to her father. So Eric and Jack McGee joined forces and went to Amidu’s nursing home to reach-out to him. Well, long story short, in Eric’s words, “Amidu was not very welcoming to me reaching-out to him at first, until Kadiah came down for that service to share some family troubles her father was not wanting to admit.” Upon Kadiah’s sharing, Amidu immediately broke! Then at our Easter Service, Amidu came to me asking to be baptized. Today, he was baptized, sharing his dream of going home to Sierra Leone to save his people for real! And to God be all the glory!

After years of searching for the truth, Amidu
truly finds the Lord through his
daughter Kadiah’s faith!

John Malnegro: Mabuhay from the Metro Manila International Christian Church! Our dear brother Paul, writes in Philippians 3:7, “But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ.” With the same level of heart and conviction, we as disciples of Christ in the Philippines have nothing else left in our hearts, but only God and His Kingdom!

A week ago, God encouraged us with the visit of Jake & Dada Tuason of the City of Angels Church. With Jake’s convicting sermon and Dada’s incredible sharing, they have inspired us all to be more sacrificial to get our generation evangelized! Also, this week has been so exciting for us, as we had our first Church Retreat in Ifugao (a nine hour drive from Manila), the place of the famous Banaue Rice Terraces – the “eighth wonder of the world!” We were all blown away by God’s wonderful creation! Everyone, including our friends, experienced a lot of pure and spiritual fun that can only be found in God’s Kingdom! A special thanks to Arnold & Masah Melicor for hosting this life-changing event!

Jake & Dada (center) greatly encouraged the
Metro Manila Remnant Group!

Today, after our worship service, we baptized Oliver Arzadon after more than two months of making him to be Jesus’ sold-out disciple. Oliver is Kim’s second fruit in God’s new movement! (Kim is the sister who contacted Kip on January this year through Facebook, and was restored into Christ shortly afterward!) All the glory to God!

Dressed in white, Oliver rejoices in
his salvation with the Metro
Manila disciples

Jeremy Ciaramella of Phoenix: Greetings from the Valley of “The Son!” The church here is very inspired by the Campus Ministry at the ASU “Poly-Tech” Campus, as God blessed them with 18 visitors at their Bible Talk this past Tuesday night! We’re also celebrating a brand new dating couple in the Campus Ministry: Dale Bryant, of the Ventura Region in LA, is now dating our dear sister, Karyn Bowman – who also co-leads the ASU “Poly-Tech” Bible Talk!

We also had the amazing privilege of seeing Josiah Smith & Kristen Anderson joined together in marriage to the glory of our God! Many disciples visited from all over… from the AMS, North and Ventura Regions of the City of Angels Church, as well as disciples from our sister churches of Eugene and Portland in Oregon! There were many friends and family of the bride and groom who were very impacted by the love and generosity of the disciples in Phoenix! Our dear brother Mark Garrido pulled together a team of brothers and sisters who served tremendously and handled the serving, feeding, and cleaning-up after all the 100+ guests at the reception. There was a crystallized sense of love showing in the level of excellence and attention to detail – from the carefully crafted menus to the smoked teriyaki-glazed chicken breast! It was indeed a “love feast!”

One of the most impacting moments of the night was Kristen’s older sister sharing during her toast that she was so inspired that Josiah & Kristen have done this all “God’s way” as Josiah led the way in setting “boundaries” in their dating so that their purity would “honor God!” Truly, watching our “life and doctrine closely” and dating only disciples with God’s standards at the forefront has a profound impact on our family and friends! The joy felt by all was evident, and what is written in Proverbs 18:22 was shown true, “He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the Lord!”

Kristen celebrates becoming Mrs. Josiah Smith!

The Sunday after the wedding, we were very encouraged by Chris Chloupek delivering a powerful lesson about overcoming failure through a consistent turning to God! Princeton George of LA shared an insightful contribution talk about staying generous with God, and Jason Bond, a Shepherd from the AMS Ministry in LA, delivered a deep communion! It is great to be part of a family of churches that celebrates and encourages alike!

All of us were inspired to see Janelle Rushen graduate from the CR Ministry (led by Scott & Sandy Lunde) and also to see Josiah’s mother and sister both at our Sunday service! Last but certainly not least, the family celebrates fruit here in Phoenix with the addition of Kailani Schultz! She was born April 4th to our beloved Chris & Darby Schultz! To God be the glory!

Mike Underhill of San Francisco: It was exhilarating to see Jesus testing the San Francisco Bay Church in our Missions Contribution! It was the very first Missions Contribution for all the recent baptisms and an awesome reminder for the newly restored Christians! Our goal was blown out when we collected over $27,000 as a “baby church!” God is awesome!

Andrew Smellie of New York City: “Anyone of His people among you – may his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem in Judah and build the temple of the Lord, the God of Israel, the God who is in Jerusalem. And the people of any place where survivors may now be living are to provide him with silver and gold, with goods and livestock, and with freewill offerings for the temple of God in Jerusalem. Then the family heads of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests and Levites – everyone whose heart God had moved – prepared to go up and build the house of the Lord in Jerusalem.” (Ezra 1:3-5) Greetings from the saints in the “City That Never Sleeps!” Today, God blessed our “freewill offerings” for “His temple” as we celebrated the completion of our 2013 Missions Contribution! With a goal of $64,719, we collected $69,096 with another $2,500 coming in soon!

The New York City Church displayed a creative
chart to show the progress of their
Missions Collection!

In addition to our financial harvest, the Lord also blessed us with a spiritual harvest as Ernest was baptized into Christ! Ernest is a senior at the prestigious New School in Manhattan, with a double major in Dance and Film! Ernest was first invited out to our AMS (Arts, Music & Spoken Word) Showcase by our dear sister Shannon Berry, and performed a dance routine at our Showcase that was both dynamic and powerful! It has been a joy to study the Bible with a young man who has the formidable character to be a light for the Lord despite the extremely liberal and immoral environment of his school in Greenwich Village!

Rashad and Josh flexed their spiritual muscles
to get Ernest into the waters of baptism!

Please pray for Ernest, as he has just been selected to be a part of the Cannes Film Festival in Paris, France in May, and has already connected with disciples in the Paris Church!! Please continue to pray for us!

Michele Williamson of London: “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.” (Luke 15:22-24) Greetings from Great Britain!

Today was an incredible day as we were able to celebrate the restoration of a dear sister Cat Tuohy! Cat was baptized about a year ago, but soon fell away after listening to gossip and half truths about the church. She soon fell into her past sins and one of her daughters called me during the European Missions Conference last year begging me to contact her mum, because she noticed Cat was a better person when she attended the church! I contacted Cat immediately and we commenced the process of restoration. It has been encouraging to see Maria Hart build a great friendship with Cat along with Jeanette Groenewald and all the sisters in the Barnet Bible Talk.

Maria (right) helps Cat to be restored
to her “first love” of the Lord!

Sunday, we thoroughly enjoyed my husband Michael’s creative sermon entitled, Facebook! He used this social media phenomenon to highlight five things about Facebook that need to be in the heart of every disciple. He shared the staggering statistic that 28% of all Facebook users (500 million globally) check their Facebook before getting out of bed! Then Michael asked what a different world it would be if this many people read their Bibles before getting out of bed! His points used language familiar to every Facebook user including: “add friends” (evangelism), “block friends” (do not be yoked), “poke” (discipling), and “its free to join” (Jesus paid the cost)! We were all certainly entertained but deeply convicted!

Please continue to pray for our Special Missions as we were able to raise another $535 this week tagging! Keeping all of you close in prayer!

Dearest Brothers and Sisters: So incredible to see the Lord bringing into His new movement so many former fulltime ministry people – awesome “veterans” of God! Since March 1st, God has restored Chris Bryant – former leader of the Miracle Mile Sector in the LA ICOC! The Lord has refreshed Mike & Dena Sanicola – who served in Sao Paulo, Denver, LA and Miami, and who will now be fulltime on the Denver Mission Team with the Clarks! Our Father has drawn Gustavo & Claudia Escobedo – a former fulltime couple who led 500 disciples in the San Pedro Sula, Honduras ICOC and will now start our Guatemala City Remnant Group! And of course, our Father has strengthened Renato & Maria Jose Tria when they joined the Sao Paulo ICC! They are now fulltime “partners in the gospel” with Raul & Lynda Moreno! Pray for God to continue to “gather His people [into His new movement] from the farthest horizon!” (Nehemiah 1:9)

One last note, excitingly, the Sanicolas and the Escobebos will be visiting us in the City of Angels Church for our All Congregational Worship Service next Sunday! And to God be all the glory, honor and praise! Amen!
Much love,