Announcements for July 28, 2016
Trip to Mbungu Gokwe
From Stephen Tshabalala: Each time we travel to Gokwe, Zimbabwe, we plan to leave home very early in the morning. This is because there will be one or more police roadblocks. Also, the vehicle we use often gives mechanical problems, and we need to have time during the day to repair it.
This trip we left Bulawayo at 3 a.m. It was still dark and very cold, but we took enough warm clothes and blankets to keep us warm. Gokwe is also very cold at this time of the year.
After traveling for 185 kilometers (115 miles), we reached the gravel road, and the brackets holding the front bull bar of the truck broke. We removed the bar and left it at a home next to the main road. From that point on, we traveled safely, even though the condition of the road is now worse than ever with deep sand and potholes.
We arrived at Mr. and Mrs. Charumbira’s home at 12 midday, and members had already arrived. Some were already busy preparing food. They had collected enough funds to buy six goats, flour, sugar and rice. We bought bread, butter, vegetables and two more goats, as we were going to be there for four days. Some members would remain behind for various reasons, so we made sure that we had enough food for them as well. They had also collected enough firewood to last three or four days, as it becomes very cold in the evening and early morning.
We slept early, and we were up in time for breakfast and to prepare for the Sabbath service at 11 a.m.
Eddie Moyo gave the sermonette. He is one of the three young men I am training to lead songs and give sermonettes and splits sermons. I gave the main message, and I spoke on “Teaching Our Children God’s Way of Life Early in Their Lives.”
The next morning, the Feast of Pentecost, we started services at 11 a.m. Jealous Matopi, who has been very helpful to me in traveling between the two church congregations and keeping me updated, gave the offertory sermonette. I again gave the main message and spoke on “How We May Know That We Have the Holy Spirit Working in Us.” In the afternoon I spoke on “The Power From Above.”
We had planned to depart at 10 a.m. on Monday morning, but we discovered that the truck’s right side spring had broken. We removed it and sent it with some of the men to have it welded. They arrived back at midnight, and early next morning we were able to fit it.
We then traveled back home without any problems, arriving home at 10 p.m. We could clearly see God’s hand in everything, as we were only stopped once and paid $5 because one wheel nut was missing.
On this trip I was impressed by the number of young people asking to be counseled for baptism. We also had seven young people asking for baptism; all of them are children of existing members. There are two new ladies, but they also have relatives in the Church. The ages of these young people range between 22 and 28 years. They have a deep understanding of God’s way of life and the doctrines of the Church, and they are trying hard to keep the 10 Commandments, the Sabbath and the holy days. I want to return to Gokwe and spend time with these young people. Time will tell if they are sincere or not.
I was able to meet with the leading men and emphasized the importance of always striving to set a good example.
I anointed one woman and gave money to two others so that they could see a doctor. A lady became sick after returning home, but I have heard that she is now feeling better.
Many expressed their gratitude and asked me to convey their thanks for the provisions they have received from the Church.
The members at Mbungu will not need assistance from the Church because they had a good harvest, but the majority of our members at Chemba will need assistance once again. They were unable to harvest sufficient to feed themselves because after planting the maize, the rain only returned once the crops had already withered.
We have now identified sites on which we hope to construct buildings for Sabbath services for both congregations. Jealous will be going to see the council official and to pay deposits for these two sites when sufficient funds are available.
Summary of PCD Activity
From Cecil Maranville: For the second quarter of 2016, PCD handled 1,152 contacts (13 were phone calls from new contacts). That compares to 836 for the second quarter of 2015, a 38 percent increase, for which we are thankful. The sheer numbers make it impossible to offer a narrative report any longer.
We explained previously about a fraudulent real estate scheme that cited http://www.cogwa.org as a reference that would validate its offer. To deal with the many inquiries on this, we created a personalized form response. In it, we assure the contact that we are not associated with the organization offering the real estate—that it is apparently a scam. We contacted the organization, insisting that it cease using our website in its ads. Yet we continued to receive inquiries throughout the quarter. Through June, we responded to 16 people, some of whom had already put money into the deal. Many wrote back to thank us.
Another personalized form we use is for people who send us a thank you email about an article, blog or the website. We don’t send this when we receive just a one-line note, but we use it to reply to those who write in detail about their appreciation. Even though these thank you emails do not ask a question, we feel they present an opportunity to build a relationship with such new contacts. We sent this message—in which we explain the search engine and offer a subscription to Discern—to 35 people this quarter.
Here are some sample questions:
- Hi my name is ____ and I am 6. And me and my Dad’s question is why was everything created for Jesus in Colossians 1:16 and then will be given to God the Father in 1 Corinthians 15:24. And thank you.
- Could someone please be in touch with [me in] regards to church attendance and what is required? Does COGWA have an open door to attendees? Also in regards to teachings, does the church offer a type of course—dare I say correspondence course—to familiarize individuals with the church’s teachings? I was raised in WCG. After Mr. Armstrong’s death, we stayed. I wanted to attend Ambassador, but soon after my family left. Also does the church offer its magazine to nonmembers? And, if so, could I request a subscription for adults and elementary and junior high students? Thank you for your assistance. I look forward to being in touch.
- Is it possible to undo the bad seeds you’ve sown in the past, or are you stuck paying for them now? If so, how can you undo them so that your present life is a happy, God-filled life instead of a life full of suffering for bad choices you made in the past?
- How do I recognize Satan’s tricks when my husband and I are arguing? How do I know when it’s him? We always do the same things, say the same things, have the same arguments. How do I recognize this when it’s happening, and then how do I change it, do it differently?
- I am having such a difficult time dealing with illness, loneliness, chronic pain and major depression. How can I come to feel a sustained comfort and renewed sense of hope from God’s Word?
- I have been arrested a few times in my life and now feel hopeless that I have committed the worst crime in the world, and will never be forgiven because I never had my convictions expunged, and it sounds to me like they will always be on my criminal record. Will God judge me the way the law has been judging me? … Is there a level of sin that I have committed, or am I an equal sinner to everyone else? … And will He forgive me if I pray to the Lord for forgiveness of my sins?
- If a couple is having household problems, is it okay to ask for prayer alone without the wife?
- I’ve been baptized twice, first when I turned 13 years and last when I was [decades older]. Now especially by the second time, I think, but now not too sure, that I recommitted my life to Jesus. Why? Because of my last 8 years were going down both faith and my personal life. I’m full of doubt and fears, and my physical condition doesn’t allow me to get a job. So do I need to get baptized again? That’s my predicament.
- Hi there. My particular sin that has basically ruined my life and kept me from a closeness with God is alcoholism. I try and try and then eventually go back to it over and over again. I really loved this article and would like to know what you would consider an opposite of that particular sin. It’s easy to figure out that the opposite of stealing is giving and that the opposite of coveting is being grateful, but I can’t figure out what the opposite of addiction is. Is it health? Maybe I should devote myself and my time to pursing optimal health. I want to go back to AA, but my pride keeps getting in my way. Any feedback would be appreciated. Thank you.
- I am ____ from Ghana West Africa. … I am 25 years old. I don’t go to church because I am surrounded by Sunday churches. I love to learn the truth about the true means of serving God, I have learnt some but not much, and I would be happy if you could send me more of your books and magazines. If you have branches here in Ghana, I would love to know their locations so I could start worshipping with them. This is my personal mobile phone number _____. Hope to hear from you soon. May God bless you and open your knowledge and understanding to learn more so you could teach us, the lost souls. Thank you.
- What is the origin of the Church? Did the early believers worship in a church? Is there really on this planet the true church, because I am trying to find it in London, U.K.
- I am … in Milan, Italy. … The thing that I am confused about is that our pastor authorized himself as the appointed Son of God, and a lot of our members claim that he is the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. I actually decided that I will no longer attend the service every Sunday. I am really seeking for a congregation that deals about repentance. … I searched on Google about your book called “The Kingdom of God” and I read it all. … Unfortunately you don’t have a congregation here in Milan. But still I believe, by faith, believing in God nothing is impossible unto him, that someday you will be going here in anytime soon. Hoping for your great response. Thank you!
- Is it possible to be given the Holy Spirit and then lose it but not realize it?
- I reside in Lagos, Nigeria, and am interested in becoming a member of COGWA, but don’t have [any] idea about where I can find the branches around me. Please help so I can start observing my worship to God in your congregation.
- Hello, I would like to ask, how can I pray to break generational curses from my son’s life because the father is not with us and he is not a Christian?
Of course, everyone looks for the occasional “unusual” question. Here are a couple from this quarter:
- I really need Finance Miracle $1,000,000.00 so I can pay all of my bills and all of my debts. This coming Thursday … can I ask God for help me to win TOTO [the Singapore lottery] $7,000,000.00 will hit my 6 numbers will came out group 1 winner so that I can solve all my problems?
- To whom it may concern: Have you ever heard of Hefty Garbage Bags? Well, get one because you need to do some correcting! KJV Revelation 7:5 of the Tribe of Juda were sealed twelve thousand. (Not Judah.)