Reaching The Unreached In SE Asia

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Not all of the pioneering work of Sovereign Grace Churches can be reported openly and easily. For some their work is in countries “closed” to the Gospel and so the reporting of such has to be discreet, as is the case with the following update…

I recently spoke with our team leader in SE Asia and here’s what he very kindly gave me to share with you…

“Just under three years ago now a cross-cultural ministry team from Sovereign Grace Churches was able to launch into a Buddhist majority country in South East Asia.  Over the past year, two new families from Sovereign Grace were sent and added to us as an existing family on the field.  All the team members have now been growing in language and cultural studies as well as learning how to effectively minister in this new cultural context.  As a team we’ve also been able to make exploratory trips to a region of this country where we aim to serve a large unreached people group. God-willing, we hope to move to this region in the near future.”

“Would you please pray for continued unity of the team as well as open doors of ministry among the unreached people group that we hope to minister to in the future?  And would you please pray that God would continue to raise up more workers from Sovereign Grace, as well as indigenous workers for this field?”

My friends, we may not be able to post you their names, but may we all be standing with them and carrying them in our hearts to the One who knows everything about them. May His grace truly abound to this team in this great endeavour.

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Growing Gospel Partnerships In Brazil

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Submitted by Bert Turner, Pastor at Covenant of Grace Church in Copley, Ohio…

Larry McCall, Pastor at Christ Community Church in Winona Lake, Indiana and I were in Brazil from March 1st to March 14. Our trip began with a wonderful week with the Sovereign Grace Church plant in São Paulo, led by Pastor Fabiano Medeiros. We taught a retreat over the Carnival holiday that included the SGC plant, Igreja Graça Soberana and another church, Comunidade Bíblica do Calvário – led by Pastor Marcos Arrais, that is pursuing adoption by Sovereign Grace Churches. With 24 million people, São Paulo is ranked as the fourth largest city in the world.

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Fabiano, Bert, Larry & Marco

After the retreat, we flew 850 miles to the city of Rio Grande, the southernmost city in the southernmost state of Brazil (the state of Rio Grande do Sul).  Larry and I had a delightful four day visit with the church, Igreja Nova Vida, led by pastors Lisandro Canes and Emerson Soares. We are humbled that Lisandro and Emerson are also pursuing adoption by Sovereign Grace Churches.  We were amazed as person after person told us of following Sovereign Grace Churches for years – listening to teachings by CJ Mahaney, singing Sovereign Grace worship songs and loving the Sovereign Grace Seven Shared Values.

While in Rio Grande, I met with Pastors Milton Medeiros and Pablo Gomes. Milton (brother of Fabiano) is the founder of a family of eight churches called Espaço Christão.  They are eager to pursue a growing relationship with Sovereign Grace Churches.

We ended our trip some 1,100 miles to the north in the Marvelous City, Rio de Janeiro where we met with a Brazilian producer, Elivelton Horst, who is recording 15 Sovereign Grace Music worship songs in Portuguese later this year. There is a growing hunger in Brazil for Christ-centered, theologically rich music, so this will serve them well. 

We are so excited to see all that the Lord is doing in Brazil and Lord-willing, we are eagerly looking forward to being a part of planting and building with many more churches there.

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Fabiano & Marcia Mederos

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Carol, Lisandro

& Elisa Canes

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Emerson & tate Soares

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Pablo, bert & milton

Colombia & Venezuela

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An update from Joselo Mercado, Lead Pastor of Iglesia Gracia Soberana in Gaithersburg...

Kalib Wilkinson and I met at Houston Airport on Thursday, April 11 to spend two days in the Colombian Caribbean Coast.  The purpose of the visit was dual. On one part we desired to connect with Pastor Eduardo Osteicochia from Merida in Venezuela and then on the other, we went to serve a network of Biblical Churches in the North part of Colombia.  

Because of some flights delays we were able to connect with Pastor Eduardo in Bogota and spend 5 hours with him catching up and just encouraging him. In headline, Pastor Eduardo is very interested in adoption into Sovereign Grace and so we’re looking forward to exploring this possibility further. The situation in Venezuela is very difficult and so Iglesia Gracia Soberana was able to collect around $2,400 to help support the saints in there in Venezuela.  

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We then headed over to Barranquilla and once there I got to preach 3 times on the Friday on the Gospel Centered Church and then 3 times on the Saturday morning on the Gospel Centered Life.  We were able to connect with dozens of pastors, which is wonderful,  but more closely with a group of 7 pastors that are organizing a network of churches to promote training in the northern part of Colombia.  Around 11 million people live in this area and it was so amazing to see how the Lord has used Sovereign Grace Music to shape so many of the Churches that we came into contact with.

Kalib was a huge blessing throughout this trip. People loved him and it is very encouraging for Hispanics to see Americans that demonstrates love by putting themselves in a vulnerable situation of being in a different culture.  

Some of the churches that belong to the network are very interested in the type of government, care, and values that SGC have. With that in mind I will be having some follow up conversations in the weeks and months ahead.

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Croatia Trip

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From C.B. Eder, Senior Pastor of Christ Community Church, Sinking Spring, PA…

On February 4-11, John Reyes (Fellow Pastor in Christ Community Church) and I had the honour of traveling to Croatia to visit our Sovereign Grace Church plant near the strategic capital city of Zagreb.  Pastor's college graduate Mario Vucenovic and his wife Jen, have been laboring hard with their six children to proclaim the gospel and care for the souls of the believers in this precious work that just celebrated its one year anniversary! 

Church of God's Grace is now officially recognized by the Croatian government, and is gaining momentum as long term missionaries Daniel and Kaitlyn Crocker were sent out to join them in their labours.  Mario and Jen, and Daniel and Kaitlyn, make a great team together, and what a joy it was to see the church growing in size and in passion for Jesus! 

Mario and Jen will be returning to the U.S. this summer for a relationship building and fundraising furlough.  Please pray for that effort to secure them funding which will strengthen the church heading into its future.  Thank you for your giving to Sovereign Grace, which has helped strengthen this work, and please pray about becoming a prayer and financial partner for this Sovereign Grace church plant! 

If you are interested, please contact Mario Vucenovic at mvucenovic1@gmail.com.  He would be very encouraged to hear from you.  Our international church planters are in need of as much encouragement and support that we can give them, being on the mission field far away from their Sovereign Grace sending churches, regional fellowship, and friends and family.  As we plant more and more churches internationally, may God give all of us grace to encourage these servants well!      

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Things To Pray For In April

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Like with this car, if we’re going to keep moving forward on this journey, then we’re going to need a miracle. We’re going to need much wisdom, much grace, much insight and much favour, and so here’s a few things that we can be praying for in the month ahead...

  1. Please pray for Joselo Mercado (Senior Pastor of Gracia Soberana, Gaithersburg, MD) and Kalib Wilkinson (Pastor in Grace Church Frisco, TX) as they head to Colombia, 12th-14th April, to continue building relationally with two key pastors; one from Colombia and the other from Venezuela. Please pray that they’d love these pastors, their churches and countries well, and that God would give them much wisdom and discernment as they consider next steps with both of these dear brothers. Please also pray for the political scene in Venezuela, understanding how difficult things are there at this time. 

  2. Please pray for Lynn Baird (Pastor in Sovereign Grace Church, Pasadena, CA ), Dave York (Senior Pastor of Covenant Life Fellowship, Roseburg, OR) and Myself as we head to the Philippines, 26th April - 5th May. Whilst there we will be preaching at the Church of the Chief Shepherd Leadership Summit in Manila, on the first weekend. We’ll then be relocating to Cebu to run our second ever Sovereign Grace Churches Philippines Pastors Conference, and so please pray for us and the 80+ delegates that are planning to attend that conference. All these delegates are pursuing partnership with Sovereign Grace Churches and so please pray that this conference is a blessing and encouragement to everyone in attendance.

  3. Please pray for the Emerging Nations Church Planting Committees as we begin to process new Church Planting opportunities in Bolivia and Ethiopia, as well as continuing to move forward with other already agreed upon  opportunities in Australia and Brazil. We are so in need of His wisdom and leading in this as we move forward together, with at least four church plants on the cards for late 2019/2020.

  4. Please pray for Brendan Willis (Pastor in Sovereign Grace Church, Sydney, Australia) as he continues to liaise with Moore Theological College in the putting together of our Sovereign Grace Theological Certificate, specifically designed for our Global Partners, particularly those who can sometimes struggle to get good theological training in their countries. This could be such an important piece for the establishment of Sovereign Grace Churches in other countries and so please pray for this endeavour. 

  5. Please pray for our brothers and sisters in Liberia. Below is the Church Plant facility that Eric Turbedsky (Senior Pastor of Sovereign Grace Church of Orange, CA) spoke at just a few weeks ago. There was a storm after we left and the building, which also houses a school that they run, completely collapsed. Sovereign Grace Churches have been able to supply the finances to rebuild this before the rains come, which is wonderful news, but they’re still going to need to actually make the rebuild happen. Please pray for Pastor William for grace and peace in this, as well as for speediness for the workers, and that God shows would show them all much favour in this as they begin to rebuild. 

Another month on and yet the same wonderful and faithful God. For all of us then, may we always ‘keep looking up’. 

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Zambia Pastors College Celebrates First Graduating Class

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From Doug Hayes, Pastor in Covenant Fellowship, PA, and Executive Director of Covenant Mercies…

Way back in 2006, I made my first trip to Ndola, Zambia, to visit Wilbroad and Zicky Chanda in my capacity as director of Covenant Mercies.  They had recently founded Lighthouse Christian School with a mission to serve orphans and vulnerable children in their own community.  A formal partnership quickly ensued, and I have been a regular visitor to Ndola ever since.

Wilbroad had become familiar with Sovereign Grace while studying at Reformed Theological Seminary in the U.S.  After returning to Zambia, his desire to be part of the Sovereign Grace family grew, eventually leading him to plant Christ Community Church in Ndola. 

As we have gotten to know Wilbroad through the years, his gifting/calling to train and equip other pastors for the work of ministry has become increasingly clear.  As a result, Sovereign Grace (especially the Northeast Region) has stood with him in his vision to formalize a Pastors College in Ndola modeled after the Sovereign Grace PC.  Thus was born the Copperbelt Pastors College (named for the Copperbelt province in Zambia, of which Ndola is a part), with the initial goal of equipping a small group of aspiring pastors who may be called to plant churches in the region. 

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As word of Wilbroad’s pastoral training efforts spread, an increasing number of students expressed their desire to be involved; many of them already functioning as pastors, but with very little training.  Rather than turn these men away, Wilbroad decided to absorb them into an ever-growing class, eventually dividing into morning and evening streams so that all could be accommodated (classes are typically held on evenings and weekends, since most students occupy full-time jobs and/or carry significant ministry responsibilities).  In time, the class grew to more than 60 committed students.  Five different Sovereign Grace pastors have flown in to teach weeklong modules.  In the end, the class received the essential theological content of the Sovereign Grace PC curriculum over the course of about three years.

Earlier this month, I had the great blessing of participating in the graduation ceremony for this inaugural class.  It was a joy to commend them for the diligence, hard work, and sacrifice I have observed over the past three years.  They have truly “studied to show themselves approved.”  While this won’t result in 60 Sovereign Grace church planters, a few graduates will have internships at Christ Community Church in the months to come, and we pray that some will plant churches and play a part in the formation of a new Sovereign Grace region in Zambia/southern Africa.   

It has been a humbling and inspiring experience to observe the diligence and commitment of Wilbroad and these students for the past several years.  We pray that this “day of small beginnings” will continue to grow into a work that equips many more pastors and leaders in the years to come, for the glory of God and the strengthening of His church in this region of the world.

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Serving God In Belarus, Eastern Europe

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From Kyle Huber, Senior Pastor of Greentree Church, NJ…

Greentree Church has been serving churches in Belarus since 1999. Back then, this was when the surge of evangelism and church planting that began with the breakup of the Soviet Union was beginning to fade, leaving tiny churches and unprepared pastors feeling overwhelmed and discouraged.

In 2010, myself and Sergei Lukyanov, a young church planter, formed SEE Global, to organize our efforts to “Support, Encourage and Equip” pastors. This included forming a Leadership Academy to train church leaders and over many years now, this has been a real joy to serve in.

Right now, Belarus is experiencing a new generation of men with faith to place church planting in the forefront once again. But a major obstacle is the absence of men trained in biblical leadership and pastoral ministry.

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That’s why Dave Taylor asked Nathan Smith (Senior Pastor of Grace Church, Bristol & Regional Leader for Sovereign Grace Churches, Europe) to come and visit Belarus with me in February, to investigate how Sovereign Grace Churches may be able help churches train leaders, so that good strong healthy churches can send out healthy church plant teams. Our time in Belarus featured many meaningful conversations over generous portions of food, with leading influencers in the growing movement of church planting. One evening was spent with over thirty young men discussing their chosen topic, “Dangers for Church Leaders”

A meeting with Lenoid Mikhovich, the new President of the Baptist Union of Churches revealed encouraging commonality in values and doctrine. Lenoid expressed eagerness for Sovereign Grace pastors to bring their experience and gospel-centeredness to help Belarusian churches. This was so encouraging for us.

I then stayed longer in the country teaching a course on Biblical Shepherding at the Leadership Academy. This was well received and several churches asked to have this training brought to them.  In fact, perhaps the most exciting part of this trip was to witness this humble desire in churches to have training brought to them. Understanding that this gives our family of churches a wonderful grace filled opportunity to engage with so many men who have a hunger to learn. 

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Gospel Partnership in Liberia, West Africa

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In 2012 Dyonah Thomas (Lead Pastor of Grace Life Church & Founder of Grace Network) heard the song “Let Your Kingdom Come” by Bob Kauflin. He loved it and wanted to know the story behind it, and that led him to Sovereign Grace Churches. Over the past few years our friendship has been deepening. I have had the privilege of mentoring Dyonah and so in heading on this trip I had high hopes of what we would find in and in every way this trip did not disappoint!

In March of 2019 Eric Turbedsky (Senior Pastor of Sovereign Grace Church of Orange, CA), Ben Kreps (Senior Pastor of Living Hope Church, PA) and Myself, got on a plane and made the trip Monrovia (Liberia, West Africa). Dyonah is himself a Lead Pastor and Church Planter, having planted 8 churches in Liberia. He also leads a Bible College with over 85 students and is eager, as are we, to work out what partnership with Sovereign Grace Churches would look like in Liberia & other nations in West Africa. That’s why going on this trip was so important to us and so we attended with eager anticipation.

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Over the week we had the privilege of teaching at the Bible College. Over 100 Students and Pastors had come in from Liberia & other countries in West Africa. During that time we had the privilege of teaching on ‘The Life & Ministry of Jesus’ and ‘The Life & Ministry of the Pastor’. In addition we had the privilege of speaking at Dyonah’s Church and a couple of his Church Plants on the Sunday, aswell as get to know the Eldership of Grace Life Church, a very special and dear group of men. 

Please pray for this dear Church and this group of Churches going forward. They are eager to partner with us, as we are with them, and so please pray for us in this new initiative and endeavour. It is truly an honour to be involved with Grace Life Church and Grace Network. 

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Gospel Partnership With Moore Theological College

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From Brendan Willis, Pastor in Sovereign Grace Church of Sydney, Australia…

Last week I had the privilege of meeting with Dr Simon Gillham who is the head of the Missions Department of Moore Theological College. Moore College is Australia’s largest Evangelical Bible college which has made a wonderful contribution to the kingdom of God by training men and women for gospel ministry over many many years. Many notable authors from Moore Theological College such as Graeme Goldsworthy and P.T. O’Brien have served pastors in Sovereign Grace Churches through their writings over decades. 

Moore College has for many years offered a course to congregation members of Australian churches called the Preliminary Theological Certificate (PTC). The PTC is a wonderful course that is usually completed by correspondence over 6-18 months and is aimed at improving the theological education level of average Christians in churches. PTC covers a range of topics from Biblical Theology to Doctrine, Church History to Ethics with multiple subjects on the New Testament and Old Testament and has been completed by tens of thousands of Aussie Christians over the years. Due to its success in Australia and beyond, the Moore College Centre for Global Missions (CGM) have been looking to make PTC available to Christians across the globe who may have limited access to theological education. In order to do this they’ve invested a huge amount of money to produce an online version of the course, to fund its translation into many languages and to create a phone app that allows you to access the course in places that have limited internet access.

When I met with the team at Moore College just over a year ago and explained what God has been doing through Sovereign Grace Churches around the globe they expressed their excitement about the possibility of partnering with us! Due to their incredible heart for the nations they have now formally offered to allow us to use this amazing online resource in all of our global churches practically for free. We’re planning on including some additional subjects that reflect our shared values and calling it the 'Sovereign Grace Churches Theological Certificate’. We’re hoping that over the coming months we will be able to make this course available to both pastors and congregation members in SGC around the globe!

Would you join with me in thanking God for the amazing generosity of Simon Gillham and the team at Moore Theological College!

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Ante Su Palabra Conference in Argentina

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Thanks so much for praying for Joselo Mercado and the Ante Su Palabra Conference in Buenos, Argentina last month. Here’s a quick update from Joselo on how it went. Joselo, thank for doing all that you do to make much of Christ my friend!! …

Just came back from Argentina.  Very encouraging time. I was able to translate for John Piper in the Ante Su Palabra Conference, and there were over 1,000 people and thousands watching over the internet.  

I was able to spend significant time with Pastor John and was very much affected by his evident love for Christ that is fuelled by his view of Christ as the greatest treasure.  

It was very encouraging to be approached by over two dozen people at the conference to thank me for sermons, articles or interviews that have affected their lives. Also, two pastors came to encourage me, each one with a story of people getting saved by a sermon I preached two years ago in Argentina.

So encouraging. All glory be to God.

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Growing Gospel Partnership In Italy

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From Nathan Smith, Lead Pastor of Grace Church Bristol, UK, and Ed O’Mara, Lead Pastor of CrossPointe Church in Arnold, MD, USA…

Italy is a country of over 60 million people, with less than 1% evangelical gospel witness. By God’s grace, Sovereign Grace has a growing window of opportunity to serve gospel progress. CrossPointe Church in Arnold, MD has been building relationship with Verità di Grazia (VDG), which means Truth of Grace. VDG is a reformed-continuationist church in Chiavari (a metropolitan area of over 40,000 people near Genoa) that was planted by Lee and Jeanette Walti, Americans who have been living there for over 10 years.

CrossPointe’s lead pastor, Ed O’Mara, has built a friendship with Lee and Jeanette. In 2017 CrossPointe brought the Walti family to Arnold to deepen the relational ties and then to the Sovereign Grace Pastors Conference to equip and care for them. This relationship has been a means of grace and refreshment for the Walti’s as they labor in the gospel in a need place. It has also afforded Lee and Jeannette the chance to begin relationship with Nathan Smith, who serves Sovereign Grace by helping coordinate missions in Europe.

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In the summer of 2018, CrossPointe sent a team of 17 people (including a couple from Living Hope in Bowie, MD) to serve at VDG’s annual “KidzGames.” Over 140 children heard the gospel clearly proclaimed in a fun environment. Additionally, members of CrossPointe were able to build relationship with members of VDG and encourage them in the faith. During that week, elders from CrossPointe also met a church planter from Sicily who shares Sovereign Grace’s theology and values, and since then Ed has continued to build relationship and support these dear pastors.

Since then, Larry McCall, of the Christ’s Covenant Church in Winona Lake, IN has agreed to lead a marriage equipping context in April 2019 in Chiavari. In addition to serving VDG, this conference will include other Italian pastors who share Sovereign Grace’s values and a love for the gospel of Christ. Then, in the summer of 2019, the Mid-Atlantic Region has joined together to share labor and support of three different missions trips, with KidzGames in Chiavari being one context that members of Mid-Atlantic churches can participate. While these are small beginnings, God is doing a good thing a need place!

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Things To Pray For In March

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John Piper says that, "prayer equals dependence on God” and when it comes then to all that we have planned globally, oh how we need Him! Here’s some headlines for you on how you can be praying for the pioneering work of Sovereign Grace Churches around the world in March...

  1. Please pray for Joselo Mercado (Lead Pastor of Iglesia Gracia Soberana in Gaithersburg), as he translates at the Ante Su Palabra Conference in Buenos, Argentina (1st-2nd March) for Dr John Piper.

  2. Please continue to pray for Eric Turbedsky (Senior Pastor, Sovereign Grace Church, Orange, CA), Ben Kreps (Senior Pastor, Living Hope Church, PA) and myself, Dave Taylor, as we serve in Liberia, Africa, through to 9th March, to serve our good friend Dyonah Thomas. Whilst there we’ll be teaching over 110 pastors who will be attending their Pastors College for that week, teaching in some of their Grace Network Churches, and continuing to develop and strengthen our partnerships with the brothers there. Please pray that God would give us wisdom in how to best steward our growing partnership with Dyonah and the churches he serves in West Africa.

  3. Please pray for Wilbroad Chanda (Senior Pastor of Christ Community Church in Ndola, Zambia) as he and the team in Zambia prepare for their very first Pastors College Graduation Ceremony on 12th March.

  4. Please pray for Bert Turner (Executive Pastor of Covenant of Grace Church, Ohio) and Larry McCall (Pastor in Christ’s Covenant Church, Indiana) as they head to Brazil, 1st-13th March. They’ll be a week with Fabiano and the Sovereign Grace Church plant in Sao Paulo, teaching through our Sovereign Grace shared gospel values material. They’ll then be heading to Rio Grande, the southern state of Brazil, to meet with some other like minded pastors who are keen to talk more about partnership with Sovereign Grace Churches. Please pray that Fabiano and Marcia would be greatly encouraged and strengthened from this time and that God would be glorified in all that takes place on this trip.

  5. Please pray for Brendan Willis (Pastor in Sovereign Grace Church, Sydney), Jeff Purswell (Director of Theology & Training), Josh Blount (Pastor in Living Faith Church, Franklin, and Member of the Theology Committee) and myself, as we continue to think through "all things theology” and what this looks like in a growing global family of churches.

We are dependent and eager to see what the Lord has for us in each of these things. Thankyou so much for your prayers, may His grace abound to us all!

Croatia Church Plant Celebrates One Year

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This past month Church of God’s Grace in Croatia celebrated one year together since their launch, and what a celebration it was! (See video below)

Mario & Jen Vucenovic were first sent out from their home church, Christ Community Church of Reading, Pennsylvania in 2016. Mario is passionate about sharing the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ and teaching the Word of God. His desire is for his people to know the hope, joy, and peace we have in Christ, what he himself simply never knew as a young boy growing up in Croatia. 

To that end Mario planted Church of God’s Grace in Zapresic, Croatia, and began holding regular services in January of 2018, with just six adults and eight children. In what is such a difficult country for gospel mission, God has been so good to them, has blessed them in so many ways, and continues to establish the fruit of their hands by His grace.

For the first few years Mario & Jen were sent out with grants from their home church and from Sovereign Grace Churches, but they will now be transitioning to more traditional missionary fundraising efforts to ensure that their mission is funded into the future. If you’d like to hear more about their work into Croatia or give to these efforts, then please click the following link. They’d love to hear from you! (https://www.cityonahillcroatia.org/take-action)

What a privilege it is to partner together in this way as Sovereign Grace Churches.

Marriage Conference In Puerto Rico

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An update from Joselo Mercado, Lead Pastor of Iglesia Gracia Soberana in Gaithersburg;

On January 11th and 12th I was able to spend two days with over 50 couples on the subject of the centrality of the gospel and marriage.  Pastor Junior Martinez of Iglesia Bautista La Gracia invited me to share on the topic. The church is in Yauco in the south west side of the island. Pastor Junior was one of the Pastors that we provided with a generator last year and the church was not able to meet for a considerable amount of time because the bridge that connected the community was washed out by the storm. It was a very encouraging time. The teaching was able to help them to see how the gospel changes who we are, in our identity, to be able to walk according to the Gospel. Many of them let me know that this was something new for them but they can see how significant it is for their marriage and for their walk as believers.  

In the coming months we will go back to the island to continue to help pastors apply the Gospel to everyday life.  In May we will have a bible interpretation workshop with more than 70 pastors, in conjunction with Simeon Trust. In August I will teach at a masculinity conference and in October I will travel with Jared Mellinger to do a preaching workshop for pastors.  God is at work in the island and Sovereign Grace Churches are helping pastors to apply the gospel to their lives and ministries. Thank you so much.

India Trip - January 2019

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From Todd Peterson, Pastor in Cross of Grace Church, El Paso, Texas…

It was my privilege to travel to India at the beginning of the year to visit several pastors in their home villages to better understand their ministries and to better understand if and how Sovereign Grace could partner with them in the gospel.  As those of you who have traveled internationally understand, even though you may be going to discuss partnership, the majority of your time is spent doing ministry alongside these pastors in their context to the people God has given them.  Whether it was an outdoor night “gospel” service in the streets of Gundugolanu, Andhra Pradesh with pastor Jayaprakash Ravuri, a pastors prayer meeting in Puritigadda, Andhra Pradesh with pastor Suresh Vemulapalli or a pastors and wives meeting in Shillong, Meghalaya, with pastor Alpha Syiem, it was wonderful to see all of the ways God is working through the gospel to redeem people from all over India to Himself, and in most cases away from the clutches of Hinduism (picture above).  

I was also able to meet many of the pastors that are associated with both Jayaprakash and Suresh’s ministries and hear their stories as well an understand their needs and pray for them.  In many cases I was able to visit their churches and learn how God had built their churches in those villages, many times in miraculous ways.  I believe that God also gave us clarity and one mind with the pastors I visited as to how to move forward with Sovereign Grace Churches and what partnership opportunities may be available. 

We are looking forward to all that God has in store for us as we partner together in the gospel with these pastors in India!!

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Parramatta Launch Team Gathers

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From Riley Spring, Church Planting Intern in Sovereign Grace Church, Sydney…

I am excited to announce that we have raised up a team of 28 men and women along with 15 kids to be the Launch Team for our upcoming church plant. We will be planting into an area of Sydney called ‘Parramatta’, which is 25 minutes down the road from our home church, Sovereign Grace Church Sydney. It is a strategic area because of its rapid growth, its proximity to the sending church, and there is much need for more gospel preaching, gospel celebrating churches in the area. 

My wife, Maddison and I joined the church in Sydney in 2013 after we moved into the area. We now have three children, Evie (6), Jasper (4), and Judah (9 weeks!). When I first joined the church, I spoke with Dave Taylor and shared with him my sense of calling to pastoral ministry and a desire for church planting. Dave began mentoring me, giving me opportunities to preach, and lead, and eventually brought me onto their Core Team. In all that time, the team was assessing whether I was called to ministry and specifically to serving with Sovereign Grace in Australia as a church planter. By God’s grace, we passed the test and our church raised the finances to send us to the Pastors College in 2017/18. They have now taken me on as an intern to prepare me for the church plant and to complete my ordination. We now feel as though we are an in position where we are ready to transition to leading this new team and begin a new gospel venture in Parramatta.

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In the very first service of Sovereign Grace Church Sydney on September 5th 2010, Dave Taylor prayed for their first church plant, asking the Lord to make it happen! Now, God willing, Sovereign Grace Church Parramatta will launch in September 2019, 9 years later! In the next 6 months, the launch team will meet weekly for training, fellowship, and equipping for the task ahead. 

Would you please pray for:

  • Myself, my wife, and kids, and the members of the Launch Team, that God would unify us, equip us, and protect us for the journey ahead.

  • For many new disciples to be made in Parramatta

  • For a location for our church plant to meet in. 

  • For the finances to fund our venture. I will be going down from full-time to 3 days a week to ease the financial burden on the budget, so please pray for provision of work for me, and the ability to go full-time as soon as possible.

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Marty Machowski In South Korea

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From Marty Machowski, Author & Pastor in Covenant Fellowship Church, PA:

It’s been a delight getting to know Songhwan and his wife Miran from South Korea at our annual pastor’s and wives conference. They were the ones who first alerted me to the fact that my books were being translated by a member of their church into Korean and published in South Korea. To date, four of my books have been translated into Korean and distributed within South Korea among home school families. So, when I got an invitation from the Homeschool Support Center to speak at their annual home school conference it seemed good to me and the elders of Covenant Fellowship that I should accept the invitation, which would also provide an opportunity for me to visit Songhwan’s congregation, Lord’s Grace Church, in Seoul as well as speak at a half dozen other churches in the two week visit.

Spending time with Songhwan and Miran, who gave me a crash course in Korean cuisine, was the best part of my time! The Spirit of God blessed the conference and seminars in the churches I visited. I got the opportunity to share my parenting failures and share my own weaknesses and mistakes as a dad in parenting my children. God used me sharing my challenges publicly to pour out his grace to folks who often feel the need to hide their struggles. One of my translators shared,

While translating the sessions today, I found there were countless moments that I felt God spoke to me on the many areas that I struggled as a pretend-to-be-a-good-father, even to the extent that I lost some of your words while you spoke. I find my family already changing as my wife and I applied what we've learned this evening. We almost told to ourselves, ‘Are these kids the same ones we had yesterday?’ As you took the journey up to this point with your six kids under God's Grace, I also find confidence, not on me but on His promise, that I will run the race with great excitement.”

 I’m looking forward to see what future opportunities will come to partner with our brothers and sisters in South Korea as the Homeschool Support Center is planning to translate two more of my books this coming year. 

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Things To Pray For In February

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Psalm 127.1 says, ‘Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labour in vain’, and in headline, that’s why we so need your prayers! Unless the Lord builds the house, we labour in vain and so as we look out on February and what’s ahead, here's some headlines that you can be praying for…

  1. Please pray for Riley Spring (Church Planter - Sovereign Grace Church Sydney), as he begins weekly meetings with the Parramatta Church Plant Team ahead of the church plant launch on Sunday 8th September.

  2. Please pray for Kyle Huber (Senior Pastor of Greentree Church & Co-Founder of SEE Global, Belarus) and Nathan Smith (Senior Pastor of Grace Church Bristol, UK) as they make a trip to Belarus, 18th-25th February. They’ll be meeting with key church leaders who Kyle’s known for a number of years now, to assist them in the planning of training for their leaders as they seek to raise up more church planters. As well as identify pastors who may be well served by a growing relationship with Sovereign Grace Churches.

  3. Please pray for C.B. Eder (Senior Pastor, Christ Community Church, PA) and John Reyes (Pastor, Christ Community Church, PA) as they head over to Croatia, 4-11th February, to visit with and encourage Mario & Jen Vucenovic, as well as Daniel & Kaitlyn Crocker who were sent out to support them as missionaries. Please pray that God would refresh the Vucenovic's and Crocker's, and that our Sovereign Grace Church in Zapresic would be greatly encouraged through our gospel partnership.

  4. Please pray for Eric Turbedsky (Senior Pastor, Sovereign Grace Church, Orange, CA), Ben Kreps (Senior Pastor, Living Hope Church, PA) and myself, Dave Taylor, as we head over to Liberia, Africa, 27th Feb - 9th March, to serve our good friend Dyonah Thomas. Whilst there we’ll be teaching over 110 pastors who will be attending their Pastors College for that week, teaching in some of their Grace Network Churches, and continuing to develop and strengthen our partnerships with the brothers there. Please pray that God would give us wisdom in how to best steward our growing partnership with Dyonah and the churches he serves in West Africa.

  5. Please pray for ongoing safety for our Pastors around the world, particularly those in unreached nations, or nations hostile to the Gospel.

    Thankyou so much. May His grace abound to us all!

First Service - Grace Family Church, Jamaica

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From Joel Bain, Senior Pastor of Grace Family Church, Caymanas Estate, St Catherine, Jamaica…

Brothers & Sisters,

I just wanted to give you a brief update on our first meeting that took place just a few Sunday’s ago. God was very kind to us and we felt his presence with us! The morning was joy-filled and Christ-exalting. I preached from Luke 24:13-35. The feedback on the whole service was encouraging. People appreciated the simplicity of it and enjoyed experiencing the leadership from Sean Taylor, Sheldon Campbell, and me. Sean and Sheldon did very well.

We had a total of approximately 40 adults and a good number of children. Some of our guests were friends and family who are committed to other churches. It was wonderful to have them with us for our first service to celebrate God's faithfulness to us during these past several years of training and preparation. 

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It was especially encouraging to have 3 families who live in the immediate area, 2 of whom we had not met face-to-face before, as well as a few families who live in nearby communities. One wife who lives in the area said to me, "I'm glad that you all are here." Another family from the area has committed to coming again. That was very encouraging to me, especially as I continue to lead our core team, most of whom travel from Kingston to work alongside us. The team worked willingly and diligently to set up and to serve our guests. They are a great blessing to us. Please pray that we'll care for them well during these demanding first few months.

And please pray for us as we continue. This Sunday, I kick us off a preaching series in Colossians, with Sheldon and Sean preaching in consecutive weeks after that. 

Again, we are so grateful for your partnership with us. 

Joel

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