March 31st 2013

Dear All,
Greetings from Los Angeles! On Easter Sunday, God blessed us with a record “non-push” attendance of 1,156 and a contribution of $33,572! During the week, the Lord added to our number six baptisms and two restorations – giving us a total of 50 additions in March!

Also very encouraging is that God is using the CAICC Basketball League to bond the disciples – players and coaches, as well as the fans from every region! This Saturday’s games were incredibly exciting: the powerful Knicks (OC & IE Regions) inspired by Robbie Robinson’s play defeated the spirited Celtics (South Region) 61 – 56; the amazing Lakers (AMS, North & Ventura Regions) with Brian Jackson’s four three pointers in the closing minutes overcame the inspiration of Kyle Bartholomew’s return to the Heat (Central & East Regions) 48 – 46; and the Bulls (South Central Region) squeaked-out a win over a tremendous effort by the Thunder (West Region) 56 – 53!

The Laker fans of the AMS, North
and Ventura Regions!

The top scores for the CAICC Basketball League are: Robbie Robertson (Knicks) – 25 points per game (ppg); Amar Pandaranga (Celtics) – 22 ppg.; and Ace Watkins (Heat) – 21 ppg. with Amar Pandaranga and Patrick Gadson (Thunder) tied for the most three pointers with 14 a piece! So heading into the last regular season game the standings are:Lakers 3-1Bulls 3-1Knicks 3-1Celtics 2-2Heat 1-3Thunder 0-4.

Commissioner Untalan calls upon the Thunder
and Bulls Teams to honor God with their play!

On Wednesday of this week was Cory Blackwell’s 50th Birthday! That morning Elena & I had a delightful breakfast with Cory and his awesome girlfriend Geraldine Luque! Then in the evening at Midweek Service, Nick Bordieri “grabbed the mic” so that the South Central Region could encourage Cory with sharing filled with heartfelt gratitude! Then to close-out the evening, Cory proposed to “G” and of course she said “yes!”

Cory & Geraldine on the morning
of his 50th Birthday!

On Sunday night, about 40 of Cory’s physical and spiritual families gathered for his 50th Birthday Party! What a night of sharing and tears highlighted by the detailed early life accounts of Cory from our sister, Cory’s mom – Wazirah!

At his Birthday Party, Cory’s physical Mom – Wazirah
and his spiritual Mom – Elena both shared
moving accounts of Cory’s life!

At Cory’s 50th Birthday Party, his children Avrie, CJ
and Amber dynamically and vulnerably shared
about their awesome Dad! Amber and Avrie
also play alongside Cory for the
Bulls (South Central Region)!

And now more reports from around Los Angeles…

Kyle Bartholomew: Greetings from the Central Region! Today was an awesome day as we celebrated the resurrection of Jesus with a great service and the welcoming of our latest addition – Jovanny! Jovanny is a campus student at ELAC that was reached-out to by his brother Walter, who is in the West Region! Jovanny studied for just a few short weeks with our mighty intern Curtis Valdez and was baptized into Christ on Wednesday! Lord willing, Jovanny is the first of many campus students to be converted at ELAC! Pray for us as we strive to expand the boundaries of the gospel!

Lou Jack Martinez of the AV Sector of the Central Region: What an incredible week in the Antelope Valley!!! We had one of our BEST attendances EVER at 110, and a blow-away contribution of well over $3,000!!! Additionally, RICH TABIZON from the Downtown Sector of the Central Region came up on Friday and preached an INSPIRING message on Our Kingdom Inheritance, as we packed Clay & Rashima Erickson’s house full of disciples and visitors!!! Our Central Region Shepherding Couple, DAMON & VICKY JAMES, were also in attendance as they really wanted to reconnect with the disciples in “The AV”  to make sure they were meeting our needs!!! Gotta LOVE the LOVE in the Kingdom!!!

Our Sunday Service featured an amazing contribution message from BIG ED AGUIRRE, as well as a heart-moving communion by JASON & MONIQUE AGUILAR, our two newest disciples! They drive 100 miles round-trip from California City every Sunday, because they truly BELIEVE that “A Church ALIVE is Worth the Drive!!!” In fact, during a conversation with Jason & Monique, they shared with me that Jason had been talking for a while about his “American Dream” of owning a HUGE house with a pool, game room, “man-cave,” etc.  Well, Monique just shook her head and told him, “Well you can give that dream up, because God has an even BIGGER dream than that big house; and I’m gonna be there to help you realize it!!!” This brand new couple in the Kingdom is already talking about going into the full-time ministry!!! And they have both the talent and the hearts to do just that!!!

Big Ed and Clay are forcefully advancing
the Kingdom in “The AV!

We have SEVERAL people getting close to baptism and restoration, so please keep the prayers coming up the 14 Freeway to the Antelope Valley!!!

Gabe Reed of the East Region: This has been an incredible week in the Lord, particularly our Sunday morning service! We had so many of our friends and family visit us today, as we had one of our highest attendances of the year on this Easter Sunday! Very encouraging for me personally was our sister, Keziah Mwanga, who was visiting her physical family here in the East Region from the San Francisco Bay Church! Last August at the GLC, we sent out five mission teams including San Francisco, and from this effort, last December Keziah was baptized! It’s great to be able to come to your physical home and know that there are disciples there who will take care of you just as they would in your spiritual home church! Only through the sacrificing of so many for Special Missions Contribution in a unified movement can this be accomplished!

After service, we entertained our friends and family with food, an Easter Egg Hunt, and a talent show! Many of our visitors stayed for three or four hours after service was over! Please pray for us as we know that this sweet fellowship and deep love for one another is melting away the hard exterior that many visitors can display when they first come out!

The East Region Sisters enjoyed the Easter
Egg Hunt as much as the children!


Elizabeth is baptized by her daughter Rahnesha!



Congratulations to Chris & Sonja on their
18th Wedding Anniversary!

Joel Parlour of the Orange County Region: Greetings from the OC! Today was an incredible Easter Sunday, as we came together with friends and family to worship God, and as Russ Preston put it in the welcome, “Every day is Easter for a disciple as we constantly celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ!” Then, we said goodbye to our dear sister Jhoally – as she will be leaving on the Las Vegas Mission Team! In her sharing, Jhoally thanked a number of people especially the UCI Ministry for their genuine love in her time here in the OC.

Next was an incredible sermon on John 20 and Luke 24, as Chris Broom inspired us to “stop doubting and believe” with much compelling evidence on Jesus’ resurrection! In closing, there were three powerful young men baptized into Christ! A dynamic CSUF freshman film student – Mikael, a “Triple Jumper” from the CSUF Track Team – Emmett, and the 12 year old first born of Tyler & Krystal Williams – Kristian!

After Emmett’s and Mikael’s baptisms, the
Fullerton Brothers are “all smiles!”

Kristian shared in tears about his vision to evangelize the Middle Schools of Orange County! Many were inspired as our 14 year old disciple Dylan asked Kristian for his good confession! Then Kristian, as a “man of God,” boldly proclaimed, “Jesus is Lord!” Kristian’s baptism very much reminds me of my baptism and deepened my conviction for the urgency of saving the youth, who promise to be the future of God’s Movement!

The OC Teen Ministry celebrates after
Kristian’s amazing baptism!

And now more good news reports from around the globe…

Raul Moreno of Sao Paulo: “When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dreamed. Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy.” (Psalm 126:1-2) Greetings brothers and sisters! We are full of joy as nine were added to the Sao Paulo Church this week!

Eight of them were place memberships from the former Sao Paulo ICOC Sector of Artur Alvin! They all counted the cost prior to placing membership and they are all dreaming to evangelize the 23,000,000 of Sao Paulo, the 191,000,000 of Brazil and the over seven billion of the world! So in the past two weeks coming over from our former fellowship to God’s new movement is now 15 disciples! One of the married couples who joined, Manuel & Ana Cristina, were baptized in 1990 and are fired-up to see that both of their baptized teens will be in a fellowship that will inspire them and call them higher in their commitment and love for Jesus! “Therefore pray for the remnant that still survives!” (2 King 19:4)

In the past two weeks, 15 incredible disciples have
placed membership in the Sao Paulo ICC
from our former fellowship!

Also, it was great to witness Marla get baptized as she is a campus student at USP University! She is the fruit of our dear sister Fernanda, who is in New York City for a six month internship and is graciously being taken care of by the Mighty New York City Church! We love you with the love of the Lord!

Marla is baptized into Christ by two
fellow USP Students!

Andrew Smellie: “This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of God’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, men will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else.” (2 Corinthians 9:12-13) Happy Resurrection Day from the saints in New York City! This week was particularly inspiring for us in NYC as we are anticipating BLOWING OUT our Missions Contribution next week! Our Second Annual “Run 4 Missions” on the George Washington Bridge raised thousands of dollars and inspired even non-Christians to run with us!

The NYC Disciples gathered early in the morning
on the George Washington Bridge
to “Run 4 Missions!”

Today at service, the 108 NYC disciples had a record “non-push” attendance of 184, and we have already collected over $38,000 in advance of our $65,000 goal next Sunday! Today was also special for us as we were able to welcome Li Ngungu, the son of our dear brother Micky, one of the ministers of our sister church in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo! Li’s journey to the United States is remarkable, as he was first a student in South Africa, and then literally “won the lottery” for a 10-year visa to the States! We are excited to see God open the floodgates of a spiritual and financial harvest next week! We love you!

Andrew welcomes Li to New York City!

Maria Franklin of Chicago“Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the Lord makes his life an offering for sin, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand. After he has suffered, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities.” (Isaiah 53:10-11) At our Easter Service, we celebrated the“Light of Life” as we focused on Jesus’ death on the cross and His amazing resurrection!

Also today, two more souls were justified through the waters of baptism! First, from the Mighty West Region, Vanessa, an 18 year old nursing student at Morton College was baptized! Vanessa first had contact with the disciples about a month and-a-half ago on Club Day at Morton! She began studying the Bible and although she believed she was a Christian, her humility helped her to accept the truth of the Scriptures and so be saved! Immediately afterward, Tatisha – also from the West Region – was baptized! Tatisha is married and a dental assistant! So for the month of March, God graciously blessed us with 11 additions placing us at 27 additions for the year!

Lola Lof: Greetings from the Kinshasa mighty prayer warriors of the Lord in the Democratic Republic of Congo! We appreciate the grace of God evidently manifested on the cross of Golgotha and the ensuing “Easter Party” of our congregational service where 351 people attended!

It was a hot Sunday worship which started with incredible songs of adoration to honor the Lord Jesus, who is our real “Pesach” – the Hebrew word for “Protection” or “Deliverance!” Micky Ngungu did a fantastic job on his sermon entitled, More Than Winners! God then blessed the church with four powerful baptisms! The three women were: Nenette, Cele and Gracia, and the one man was Albert. Of note: Gracia, our newly baptized sister, is my niece and her father, Paul is my elder brother! Please pray for my brother Paul, who is interned in the hospital. The doctor made up his mind to surgically intervene for his case and that can happen within two days. We count on God for this matter and are praying that it will end well.

Of note, we ended the service with a special song as all the church gave a tribute to our brother Micky, who is celebrating his 58th birthday today! We rejoice in the Lord for this special day and to Him be all the glory!

Alongside his nephew, John Itetsi – one of the West
Region Leaders, Micky (right) celebrates his
58th Birthday by singing to the Lord!

Mandee Rohn: Happy Easter from your Boston Family! Today was glorious as 67 people gathered together to worship God this Easter Sunday! This was our first service at The Boston Hotel & Conference Center, the new venue with which God has generously blessed us! The service was outstanding as we heard special songs performed by the very talented Sal DiFusco & Stephen Rydstedt; a vulnerable and heart-moving communion message by Jen DiFusco; and a powerful sermon by my husband Coltin!

Coltin helped everyone in the room “stand in awe of God” and Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross by preaching a sermon titled, The Rest Of The Story. During his last point – Without The Cross Your Life Falls Apart, Coltin presented a projected picture of “Laminin!” Laminin is the adhesive molecule in every person’s body that literally holds us together physically, and amazingly this molecule is in the shape of a cross! While looking at the image nearly everyone in the room gasped as we learned that the cross holds us together spiritually and physically! (Colossians 1:15-18)

The Laminin Molecule!

After the sermon, the sisters gathered to introduce to the church – Grace, a Masters Student at Boston University! While studying the Bible, Grace had some major acts of repentance to do, one of which required her to move into a new home before becoming a disciple! With that being said, Grace eagerly moved into the sisters’ apartment, and today she was “raised to a new life” in Christ after she made her good confession and was plunged into the saving waters of baptism! (See all this on our YouTube Channel “Boston Disciples.”) To God be all the glory!

Grace receives grace!

Ron Harding: Greetings from Washington DC! The last few weeks have been amazing! Today we saw  Lou Vivas – an 18 year old disciple who joined us from the ICOC – restored to the Lord! This Easter Sunday before a crowd of 175, we studied the topics of Following Jesus In His Death, Following Jesus In His Burial, and Following Jesus In His Resurrection! Immediately after the sermon, three people came to me wanting to be baptized as soon as possible! We also had several visitors from the surrounding ICOC churches!

So excitingly for Tracy & me has been the passion of the DC disciples to see our movement’s mission teams be sent out by the raising of money for our Annual Missions Contribution! This weekend, our Marrieds raised $508, the Singles collected $676, and our amazing Campus Ministry gathered $1,844 in six hours, for a total of $3,028! In the last three weeks we’ve raised a total of $7,055 without selling anything, without draining our bank accounts, and without any upfront costs! It simply cost us 16 hours of being out of ourselves – tagging! Many ask how is it possible to “give beyond your ability” as it says in 2 Corinthians 8:3? The DC disciples have answered this question by their unity, zeal and passion! To God be all the glory!

Jarod McGee: “Where there are no oxen, the manger is empty, but from the strength of an ox comes an abundant harvest!” (Proverbs 14:4) Greetings from your brothers and sisters in Santiago de Chile! This week the Lord has added another “ox” to the campus ministry“manger,” a young man named Felipe! Felipe was met three weeks ago at the first Bible Talk of the semester for the very fruitful campus INACAP! Felipe seriously counted the cost, gave up everything, and was baptized Friday afternoon after Campus Devo! He is fired-up to “bear the yoke” of the Lord and make many more disciples himself!

After seriously counting the cost, Felipe is
baptized as a sold-out disciple of Christ!

On a personal note, my wife Rachel & I celebrated our first year anniversary on Saturday night! It has been an incredible year being here on the mission field, and we are so grateful to the Mejias for discipling our marriage from the beginning, and in so many ways, making it possible to celebrate with joy, peace and a baptism! And to God be the glory!

Jeremy Ciaramella of Phoenix: Greetings from the Valley of “The Son!” It was a powerful Easter Service as the heat is turning-up! We had 175 in attendance – the best so far this year in 2013, and in the last six weeks, our giving has averaged over $3,800 per week which is $300 over our current operating budget of $3,500! Also, God has been moving in the hearts of the disciples here as over 20% of our Special Missions Contribution has already been turned in! We love you all with the love of the Lord!

Helen Sullivan of Orlando: We had an amazing service today! It started off with an international flare, as our dear friend and brother Eldrin Rojas, leader of the Curacao Remnant Group, prayed in Papiamentu! Then Matt preached an incredible Easter message about the resurrection to 120 people – our highest non-push Sunday attendance!

Eldrin & Mariela and their two awesome
children – Daniela and Joshua!

Excitingly, Arielle, a three month old campus disciple, had her parents come out to service for the third time even though her parents travel over two hours each way in order to participate! After service, they asked us to study the Bible with them! Additionally, Vanessa, a Valencia College student, was baptized! This is the third woman baptized in two weeks!

God continues to pour out His blessings on the
Orlando Church as Vanessa is baptized!

Michael Williamson of London: We had an incredible Easter Sunday as the Lord encouraged the congregation with the presence of George & Angelica Grima! Although academic education comes to an end, God’s invaluable life lessons do not! (Hebrews 12) George shared passionately about the history of our movement, and how God strengthened George’s character through unimaginable trials and the pain of losing many good friends including his former wife.

Angelica’s communion speech had the entire congregation speechless! She shared vulnerably on how God replaced her “heart of stone” and through love and discipling produced that inner stillness to trust in God’s wisdom and timing specifically with dating. (Ezekiel 36:26) The church was totally inspired at the announcement that George & Angelica will place membership in the next two weeks! Please pray as they have already found a flat on the famous “Abbey Road” across from the Beatles’ old recording studio!

Additionally, the church was encouraged at the restoration of our campus student Mathew Ali! Wanting to prove his repentance with deeds, Mathew on his own accord caught up on all his tithe (eight weeks) alongside paying all his Special Missions Contribution! We also raised another $800 USA dollars tagging! God’s moving!

Like his namesake in the Bible, Mathew (left)
leaves his riches behind to follow Jesus!

Ricky Challinor of Portland: Good news from the City of Bridges!!! God began this week with a bang, as we had an incredible woman Nan baptized before our weekly Staff Meeting on Monday night! Nan is the grandmother of Daniel Morales, who leads the PCC Bible Talk. This awesome woman has lived her life in the denominational world loving God to the best of her ability, and yet now older in age, Nan didn’t allow her age or “experience” to blind her from seeing the truth!

Sharon, Nan, Ab and Kathy are united by the Truth!

This week was special as we were able to send out our four Las Vegas Mission Team members! So on Saturday, the church gathered at the park to have a Going Away Party to send-off Jeff & Lucia Eitelbach, Mason Lally and Sean Simonet! Our hearts and prayers go with them!

For me, the absolute highlight of the week was at our Easter Service where we witnessed a friend and brother to many in the movement Gordo Esparza baptize his mother Francisca!! Gordo shared in tears that when he was baptized eight years ago his mom threatened to disown him! Yet now to see how far she’s come is amazing! There was not a dry eye in the house! She shared how she prevented her children from studying the Bible but now is dedicated to helping them enter the waters of baptism! It truly was a testament to the congregation of the perseverance of Gordo that in his words, “If my mom can change, anyone can!” Pray for us to blow out our 16X Missions Contribution and to continue to baptize many!

After eight years of perseverance and love,
Gordo baptizes his mom – Francisca!

Dearest Brothers & Sisters, It has been one of the greatest joys of the Kingdom for me to have known Cory since 1991! That year, God brought us together to initiate the Cross & Switchblade Ministry which became the South Central Region of the LA ICOC with over 1,000 disciples! Later, Cory spearheaded the initiation of the LA ICOC Basketball League, and more importantly, the evangelization of the Muslim world where he oversaw the planting of discipling churches in 21 Middle East nations! Through the last decade, Cory and I have been greatly humbled by our God, yet by His great mercy “our souls are knit together” as “partners in the gospel” again, as we dream and strive to evangelize the nations in this generation! (1 Samuel 18:1 KJV; Philippians 1:5)

Cory and Kip in 1991!

With the advent of Cory’s 50th Birthday, I am reminded of James 4:14,“Why you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes!” Life is indeed a mist, so let’s be all the more zealous to be“fishers of men!” As seen at the end of the third episode of the History Channel’s Bible Series, Jesus and Peter are in a boat on the Sea of Galilee as Peter pulls up his net full of an amazing haul of fish! At that moment, Jesus says to Peter, “Come follow me and I’ll make you a fisher of men.” Peter responds, “So what are we going to do?” Jesus with a smile answers, “Change the world!” And that’s exactly what Jesus is calling His new movement to do in our generation! And to Him be all the glory, honor and praise! Amen!
Much love,