Father & Son Camp Report

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Phil Miller brings us this report on last weekend’s father and son camp …

DSC_1087The Fathers and Sons had an amazing time in Gilwell Park. Few of us expected the weather to be so cold in late March but the snow did not stop us all getting fired up. With a camp fire devotional where we learned whose voice we really should be listening out for, to end-to-end running in the snow capturing each other’s flags and hiding out with each other in the mud as we played laser mayhem, we slept well by the end of Saturday night.

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Some of our younger players are proving to be very shrewd indeed. I was caught out more often than I care to remember by someone shooting me from afar as I thought I had the best hiding place huddled in the snow and mud.

 

DSC_1145Sunday morning proved to be a memorable service as the kids, with some help from the dads, put on some really funny and uplifting skits. If you are stuck with what to do for a family devotional just get the Mr. T costume from Chris I’m sure that will help!

 

DSC_0769Life is so busy these days, but this is one event you don’t want to miss. To bond with our sons and see our children build lasting friendships with each other was unmissable.
Great fellowship, great fun and great food (thanks sisters, and Andy, for serving us). What more could a Dad and his son ask for except for the next one to come again soon next year.

Kevin, thanks for organising a memorable and inspirational event.

Phil Miller

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You Invited Me In

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Celebrating 20 Years of Christian Service

1st June 2013

The London Church of Christ has played a very important role in inspiring all the ICC churches around the world to care for the poor and needy.

Please come and join us as we celebrate what God has done with the London Church and HOPE worldwide for the last 20 years, and join us as we try to anticipate His future plans and vision for us.

Go to this site to register: http://www.hopeworldwide.org.uk/conference.asp

Indian Women’s Day With A Difference

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A Mumbai staff sister shares….

It was supposed to be a normal service – a regular Sunday worship service at Asha Kiran, Mumbai. The North, Northeast and West sectors met here. But when I entered at 9 am (1 hour early) I saw some additional decorations – blue and pink balloons all around and a banner on the stage saying “…you are precious and honoured in my sight.” Isa 43:4 “HAPPY WOMEN’S DAY”. Although I was surprised, I was not expecting anything big.

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The service started as usual, and I could see a lot of joy in the air in the congregation. It was all normal until the communion. After the communion someone came up and shared about the women.

He announced that the student men were presenting a dance dedicated to the women in the church…..it was MAGICAL. Soon after that all the women were asked to rise, and Proverbs 31 was read. It was such an encouragement for all of us – but the best was yet to come. All the men had bought gifts/cards and flowers for their mothers, wives and sisters. All women also got a beautiful personalised bookmark with our names on it, even visitors received one.

All of us were encouraged and excited…. and I saw that all the brothers were even more excited! We were inspired  by the way the men were united and kept the whole plan a secret surprise for the women. I am proud of the church that we have brothers like this.

“Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the Lord’s people”. Philemon 1:7

Reaching out to the Villages in India

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We have received this report from our sister churches in India (the story has been edited – original post found here).

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Mark 6:6 “….Then Jesus went around teaching from village to village.”

Mahatma Gandhi said ‘India lives in its villages.’ If we will see this nation saved, we must reach out to the villages. Here is a great story of how God is reaching out to a village in rural Bangalore.

 

Sharadamma is a 56 year old widow who got baptised on 10th March this year. She comes from a remote quiet village ‘Talla Halli’ close to  Chikkaballapur near the Devanahalli township, an area that has been developing at a rapid rate since the international airport came in. She travels every Sunday 85 km both ways (about 43 miles) to reach the church service.

 

She gets up early at 4am, organising fodder for her cattle and food for a little boy Santhosh (11yrs old) who she is raising as she is childless and leaves her village by the first bus at 5:30am to reach the national highway by 6:30am. Then she boards a 7am bus  and reaches Hebbal where her nephew Mahesh, one of the disciples who reached out to her, waits with his car at 9am. They have a quick breakfast at his house and reach church by 10am. She hasn’t missed a meeting for 3 months ever since she got invited except for one Sunday when she fell sick. She travels 40 km every Tuesday for the mid-week daytime Bible talk at 11am.

 

Not once has she ever complained or regretted this decision to know Christ. In fact, many years back when she and her husband were influenced by the teachings of Jesus through a protestant missionary, they decided to dedicate their lives to Christ though no one came forward to teach them anything. Both belonged to a strong conservative community of landlords who own large vineyards and eucalyptus groves on these fertile lands surrounding Devanahalli town. Neither could read or write, yet they would buy CDs of the Kannada language Bible and Christian movies dubbed in Kannada to get an understanding of the scriptures. In fact, since they had no kids they would invite the children of the village to watch Christian movies in their mud house and would play the scriptures loudly on a public loudspeaker every day in the daytime for the villagers to hear.

 

Sharadamma’s husband kept begging many protestant pastors to teach the Bible to him so that he could be baptised and be saved, but sadly none made any effort. He died 2 years ago broken-hearted and sad even though he held on to his faith in Christ. Sharadamma was disheartened but not bitter. She kept praying that someone would reach out to her and baptise her. God had a plan, and answered her prayers through Mahesh, a member of the Bangalore church. Mahesh had won a 15-year litigation suit on his ancestral land this year and decided to visit his land. Mahesh’s mother is Sharadamma’s first cousin and their family had migrated 15 years ago to the city of Bangalore to start a business.

 

Mahesh visited his village and decided to drop in at his aunt’s house. He was amazed to hear her story of faith in Christ. Here was his mum’s cousin in a remote village talking about Christ. Mahesh invited her to church and she decided to start coming. Her first meeting was at the thanksgiving prayer at the ancestral land that Mahesh had won back. The church organised a prayer meeting at this place and invited many villagers to come. To God’s glory ever since that meeting at least 30 villagers still come for the fortnightly mid-week on Saturdays at 4pm. The Christmas service saw 50 villagers join the disciples who had gone to Doddaballpur town.

 

Sharadamma saw this fellowship and the sincerity of our members and decided that she would come every Sunday to the city of Bangalore to worship and she has been doing so for the last 3 months. The family group leaders – Sivatha, Cathleen and Gracy visit the village every Wednesday to study the Bible with Sharadamma and she comes down every Tuesday to the mid-week. These leaders travel by the local state bus at 8am and only reach their home by 5:30pm to just finish one study with Shardamma but everyone is so enthusiastic about her conversion. What a joy to see her baptised just a few days ago! In fact, one of her neighbour’s daughters, Nethra, who is probably the only highly educated young woman in this village, is also studying the Bible.

Nethra is one of the new generation youth of the village who have benefitted by the development of the rural suburbs in Bangalore. Even though she grew up in this village hearing Sharadamma’s Bible stories she never really understood Christ until her parents sent her out of the village to pursue  higher education. Pitted against the urban elitist students in her first B.tech engineering course she got introduced to Christ by a fellow roommate. She continued praying to Christ as she struggled to speak in English and understand the course taught in English. Yet it was at this time she remembered her neighbour Sharadamma and her faith in Christ. Nethra narrated to us how eventually she gained confidence and passed her B.Tech course with a first division and then she joined her masters in a college in Bangalore city . The day the family group leaders Sivatha and Cathleen came to meet Sharadamma, Nethra had come home to visit her parents and she heard the Bible study and got introduced to Sivatha whose house was closer to the college she was studying in and had regular mid-week devotionals. Nethra has also started studying the Bible and comes regularly to church.

Sharadamma’s life stands out like a beacon of hope and faith in Talahalli. Her prayers have been answered, and the villages of India have hope. Please pray for the spread of the gospel in these rural areas.

 

Iceland Church News

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A message from the Reykjavik mission team leader…..

“After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.”
– Acts 4:31

Fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.

After 2 1/2 years of prayer and fasting monthly, God is moving to re-plant the Reykjavik church of Christ. My wife and I, Pauline and Charlie Hovenäs, along with our four children, have been sent out by the Stockholm congregation to lead the re-planting of the mission team. We are blessed to have our Icelandic brother, Rögnvaltur Gudmunssön join our team, as well as Joakim Kjös from Oslo.

We will be hosting an evangelistic campaign April 14-21, the week leading up to our first official worship service on April 21. We need all of the evangelistic help we can get. So, we are calling on brothers and sisters from around the Nordics, the U.K. and Ireland as well as among the churches that so generously suppport the Baltic-Nordic Missions Alliance in the United States to set aside a week of vacation and come and join us in this campaign and attend our inaugural worship service on April 21. Now is the time to take bold action and speak the word of God to the lost people of Iceland, the true descendants of the Viking settlers that came here 874 BC.

The title of the Sermon on Sunday and of the whole campaign is –

Fan into Flame

We are calling on all disciples who long to partake in evangelizing the streets in the northernmost capital in the world.
The program will start Moday morning at 09:00 with our first daily devotional.
We will have daily Bible lessons on the Mission and Christian apologetics, how to reasoning with non-believers, etc.
You will be taught some Icelandic as well, so that you are able to properly address the people here. This language is almost the exact same language spoken by the Norse Vikings over 1200 years ago!
Naturally we will spend hours each day evangelizing Reykjavik and the University.
We will conclude some evenings with a special communion service somewhere in the beautiful nature of Iceland.
On one of these days we will enjoy great fellowship as we travel out into the countryside to experience more of the magic in this unique country.
Guest-speakers will include among others Reese Neyland and Christopher Reed.

If you have ever wondered what it is like to be a missionary, now is your chance to be a missionary for a week and help our small band of faithful disciples become many!

We will make arrangements for inexpensive lodging at one of the many Youth Hostels around the city. Due to the size of our church and our missions’s budget, we need everyone who comes to be self-supporting for their trip, meals and lodging.
Tickets from Stockholm cost around 300€ if you book now, lodging will be between 30-50€ /night and fish is cheap here 🙂

If you are interested in participating in this campaign, please contact me, Charlie Hovenäs at
c.hovenas@gmail.com / +3547770024.

Come, hear the call of our Lord and share in our Joy!

For Samfelag Krists i Reykjavik, Charlie Hovenas
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Pauline & Charlie Hovenas