Things To Pray For In June

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In John Piper’s book ‘Let The Nations Be Glad!’, he writes, “Not only has God made the accomplishment of his purposes hang on the preaching of the Word; He has also made the success of that preaching hang on prayer”… And oh my, how true that is. It is why the Apostle Paul said in Col 4.3, “And pray for us too, that God may open a door for the Gospel”. We so need those “open doors” too my friends, as we seek to do what we can to take the Gospel to the Nations, and so here's how you can be praying for us in the month ahead...

  1. Please pray for Joselo Mercado (Senior Pastor of Gracia Soberana, Gaithersburg, MD) as he heads to the Dominican Republic, 20th-22nd June, to serve as one of the main speakers at the Por Su Causa Conference (www.porsucausa.org), led by our friend Miguel Nuñez. Joselo will be teaching in two main sessions and so please pray that God would give him the grace to serve in a humble and effective way in those messages, dependent upon the Holy Spirit. Please also pray for the hundreds in attendance and thousands online, that the glories of the Gospel would change their lives.

  2. Please pray for Larry Malament (Senior Pastor of Grace Church of Clarksburg, MD) and the 12 strong team from three different churches (Clarksburg, Knoxville, and Orange County) who are heading to South Korea this month to serve Lord’s Grace Church and our dear friend Songhwan Kang. Each year Songhwan’s church hosts a family retreat called 'The Gospel & Family’ where there is a children’s camp and a series of seminars for the adults. Please pray for the 12 strong team as they run the children’s camp, and please pray for Larry as he teaches the three seminars, teaches on the Sunday at Lord’s Grace Church, and shares at the Church Planters Gathering on the Sunday afternoon.

  3. Please pray for Erik Rangel (Senior Pastor of Legacy Church in Yuma, AZ) as he heads to India, 7th-21st June, to serve at the Bible College there that he’s been partnering with for the last 6 years. Jayaprakash, one of our main partners in India will be joining Erik for some of the trip. This will be a 24+ hour train ride for him though and so please pray for safety for that travel and also for good gospel friendships to blossom on this trip amongst like-minded (i.e., evangelical, reformed, continuationist) brothers.

  4. Please pray for Brendan Willis (Pastor in Sovereign Grace Church, Sydney, Australia) as he begins to liaise with our Global Partners about our Sovereign Grace Theological Certificate that we are putting together in partnership with Moore Theological College. This could be such an important piece for the training and establishing of Sovereign Grace Churches in other countries, especially in Third World settings, and so please pray for this endeavour. 

  5. Please pray for Myself (Dave Taylor), Rich Richardson, Mark Prater & Tommy Hill as we continue to prayerfully and wisely put together our Emerging Nations budget for our next financial year, September 2019-September 2020. With 27 different Countries to consider and with the potential of 4 Global Church Plants, we are in great need of His wisdom and grace in this.

Thank you so very much. May His great and glorious grace abound to us all.

SG Philippines Pastors & Wives Conference

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Last year marked our very first Sovereign Grace Philippines Pastors & Wives Conference and it was an absolute joy to build on that conference this year, with our second Sovereign Grace Philippines Pastors & Wives Conference held in Cebu, Philippines. 

For myself (Dave Taylor, Lead Pastor of Sovereign Grace Church, Sydney and Director of Emerging Nations), Lynn Baird (Pastor in Sovereign Grace Church of Pasadena, California) and Dave York (Lead Pastor of Covenant Life Fellowship in Roseburg, Oregon), our journey began in Manila, where we had the privilege of serving our friend Jeffrey Jo and his wonderful Church. I have known Jeff, his Elders and Church (CCSGM) for a number of years now and it continues to be an absolute joy to serve them and call them friends. 

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On the Saturday Jeff gathered all of his key leaders together, aswell as some guests, and we ran a leadership summit entitled ‘Famine In The Land - The All Encompassing Role Of The Scriptures In Our Daily Lives’. It was a wonderful day of worship, teaching and fellowship. We reconnected with old friends and continued to make new ones. It was a truly fantastic day, as was the Sunday, when Myself, Lynn & Dave had the privilege of speaking in the three CCSGM Churches in Manila.

Three different locations, but one same aim and one same glorious King. It was a pure joy to be with these leaders and churches.

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On the Monday, we then relocated to Cebu and the Pastors & Wives Conference began. One of the things we get asked about in the Philippines, literally every trip we go on, is the question of manhood and womanhood. The Philippines is filled with Churches being led by Pastors, and what they call ‘Pastoras', women who are carrying the role of Pastors, and so it never takes long before we get asked about our value of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. That’s why the title for this years conference, in a desire to stand alongside and serve our dear brothers and sisters there in the Philippines, was ‘God’s Grand Design’ and the theme for the entire time was Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, in the home, in the church, and in all of life. 

In headline, in God’s kindness, the conference could not have gone any better. The teaching was well received by all of the 80 plus pastors and wives that we had in attendance. We were thanked numerous times for coming and serving them in this way, something that it was a pure delight to do, and once again His Dwelling Place Church in Cebu, led by our friend Nilo Ebo, did a wonderful job of pulling everything together to run a conference. The time was blessed in every way and God willing, we look forward then to making this an ongoing annual gathering, continuing in 2020.

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All of the 20 plus churches in attendance are pursuing formal partnership with Sovereign Grace, something that we are eager for aswell, and so please pray for us all as we continue to move forward in this.

To that same end, please also pray for our three key pastors there (Jeffrey Jo, Nilo Ebo & Pete Valdez) as they continue to work through our SG Ordination Process. These men are such a blessing to serve and work with, and so please pray that His grace would truly abound to them in this process and in the months and years ahead of partnership. May all the glory be His. 

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Covenant Mercies - 17 Years In Africa

Photo by David Sacks

Photo by David Sacks

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

It’s hard to believe it was seventeen years ago – in February 2002 – that we established Covenant Mercies as a separate nonprofit alongside our church, for the purpose of serving orphans in collaboration with indigenous churches in the developing world.  The elders of Covenant Fellowship set me apart to lead the work, and in December of that same year I was blessed to set foot on African soil for the very first time.  Sovereign Grace was beginning to invest into some relationships on the continent, and I was asked to lead a construction team to Uganda, to assist some believers there in constructing their first church building.  

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Now, anyone who knows me will confirm that the term “unskilled laborer” doesn’t go nearly far enough to describe me.  While I tried to make myself useful on the building site, my main goal was to get to know Ugandan church leaders and explore ways we might partner together to serve the multitudes of children in their community who had been orphaned by the HIV/AIDS pandemic.  By God’s grace, we launched our Orphan Sponsorship Program about six months later, with approximately 200 children in rural eastern Uganda, a bold mission, and a vision to see God’s mercy touch the lives of the fatherless in Africa through partnerships we would continue to build with His people there.

Fast forward to 2019, and we have formal partnerships on the ground in four geographical regions: western Uganda as well as eastern; Ndola, Zambia; and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.  As I write, we have approximately 1,400 children actively under sponsorship, and hundreds more who have graduated from our program.  As the critical importance of education has become increasingly clear to us through the years, we have engaged in several special initiatives to ensure a quality Christian education for as many of our children as possible, most recently through a brand new primary school project that we broke ground on in Uganda just last month.  

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Through all the years of growth and change, one thing has remained constant for Covenant Mercies:  our commitment to work with and through God’s people on the ground in the areas where we are serving.  Whether in our home communities or in “emerging nations” around the world, God’s explicit intention is to work through the local church. What a joy it is for us in Covenant Mercies to join hands with our brothers and sisters around the globe as they embody the love and mercy of Christ in their own communities, and reach out to the lost in His name.

Photo by David Sacks

Photo by David Sacks

God's Grace In Guadalajara, Mexico

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An update from Roberto Estupinian, Pastor, Gracia Soberana in Guadalajara…

Thirty-five years ago, a man of faith with his family, planted a church in Guadalajara (second largest city of Mexico, with a population of about 7 million). His name is Luis Bermea. As the time passed, he felt the need of being in partnership with other gospel-centered churches that shared the same values in doctrine and practice.

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In God’s sovereignty, in 2012, he was introduced to Carlos Contreras and the Sovereign Grace family of Churches. After a couple of years, Luis requested a formal adoption to SGC. The church was adopted in 2014, and since then it has been a walk of communion and partnership in Christ. 

An important need the church, was the need for a plurality of elders, so Luis and the leadership started to pray to have another Pastor in the team as soon as possible.

In 2015/16 I went to the Pastors College, sent by Gracia Soberana de Ciudad Juarez, after PC I returned to serve in the Juarez staff as a Pastor in training, and started the process of ordination, which I completed in 2018. In November 2017 the Pastoral Team, and Carlos as Regional Leader, asked me to pray about if I would like to consider moving to Guadalajara City, and become part of the pastoral team, and serve this church, if it was the Lord’s will. So I visited the church www.igsg.org.mx prayed about it, and finally confirmed that was the Lord’s plan for our lives.  

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We moved with my family last December. It was a sweet and sour experience; we left a church that we deeply loved, but also had great expectation of how the Lord may use us to spread the Gospel in another city, and to share with the what we had received. Five months on, I can say that we are more than blessed. The church is a wonderful church, they are faithful disciples. We are about 190 people (adults and children) and growing. We have an average of about 6 guests every Sunday, we now have a staff of two Pastors, and we are training 2 potential Deacons or Bi-Vocational Elders (Mario and Gerardo).

We have seen great progress in six months. We have established weekly Elders meetings, a preaching series on the book of Romans, an Alpha Course, a Parenting Class and a Membership Class with an attendance of 20 in each class. We are having good fellowship among the pastoral families, and my wife and I have found great grace within the church. 

We have also had some events in the Region in partnership with other ministries. In April we had the Charles Simeon Trust workshop for Expository Preaching, and we had 60 Pastors from all over Mexico attend. Carlos Contreras, Jeremy Meeks, and myself were the instructors. It was a true blessing to witness how all of the Pastors were blessed and equipped, and how the Church responded. In addition, in October we are having a Gospel Coalition event for Women, with around 400 attendees.

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I am impressed on how fast our Church is moving towards a unified integrated team and am happy to watch how my family loves the city as well. We ask for you prayers, for wisdom, for opportunities for the gospel, for a smooth transition, and for continued grace in our own lives and parenting.

In Christ, Roberto.

Songs For The Nations

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I recently asked my friend Bob Kauflin, the Director of Sovereign Grace Music, if he could update us on how our music is being used around the world. I’m so grateful for Bob and all things Sovereign Grace Music. It always amazes me how so may folk globally have heard of us through our songs!!! Here’s Bob’s encouraging update…

One of the privileges we’ve experienced in the 30+ years Sovereign Grace Music has been around has been seeing our songs translated into other languages. Currently, we have songs translated into 30 languages–with Spanish, German, and Russian leading the way in number of songs translated. But we also have Sovereign Grace songs translated into Indonesian, Catalan, Chinese, Farsi, Finnish, Haitian Creole, Japanese, Manipuri, Nepali, Tagalog, Thai, Welsh, Yoruba, and more.
 
Right now, we’re working on establishing teams in each language that can oversee translations, and maintain the balance between lyrical equivalency, melodic faithfulness, and aesthetic relevance and beauty. In other words, we want to make the songs sound as much as possible like they could have been written in the translated language.

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The fruit of our labors has been evident as we’ve received encouragement from various countries in which our songs are being sung, as well as requests to translate more songs. On YouTube, our translated songs are actually doing better than our English songs. Of our top 20 videos on YouTube, 15 are Spanish! We also recently produced three Chinese songs, and are excited to release our first Portuguese album this year, containing 15 songs recorded in Brazil.
 
Ultimately, we’re praying God would raise up songwriters of every language to write songs in their native tongue that are theologically informed, gospel driven, and emotionally engaging.
 
It’s been a joy to work with different individuals over the years like Roxana Muñoz, Frank Huck, Fabiano Medeiros, Michael Ostanin, Daniel Lobo, and many others, to translate our songs. Please pray God will continue to raise up men and women who would partner with us in seeing the gospel proclaimed in song to every tribe and tongue!
 
Here’s a video recorded last year of the Spanish translation for “O Lord, My Rock and My Redeemer”.

Things To Pray For In May

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Like a child to a Father, that’s how we get to come to the Lord. Once His enemies, now seated at His table, how amazing is that!! Here then are some things we can be praying for and talking to Him about over the next month…

  1. 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 continue our serve in the Philippines, 26th April - 5th May. Last weekend we had the privilege of preaching at the Church of the Cross of Christ Leadership Summit in Manila, God was so good to us, such a great time with a wonderful Church!! We’re now 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.

  2. Please pray for Joselo Mercado (Senior Pastor of Gracia Soberana, Gaithersburg, MD) as he heads to Puerto Rico, 16th-20th May, to partner with the Simeon Trust in teaching hermeneutics and expository preaching to around 50 pastors and leaders. Please pray that God would help Joselo to preach with zeal during this time and open many doors for good relationships with these brothers.

  3. Please pray for Sri Lanka following on from the terrorist attacks on a Christian Church on Easter Sunday. The explosion at St. Sebastian’s Church was one of numerous blasts unleashed by eight suicide bombers at six different sites in three cities. 250 people lost their lives in the explosions. Please pray for their families, that they may be comforted by the great Comforter at this most difficult time, and that the word of God, even in and through this tragedy, may go forward in this country.

  4. Finally, please pray for the Emerging Nations Team (below). We are continually amazed by all of the opportunities and doors that are opening up to us at this time, yet are consistently aware of our need for wisdom, insight and grace. Please pray for us as a team, that God may continue to give us all of those things in the days, weeks and months ahead, and as a result, that we may serve Him well. There’s a big world out there and so may His grace abound to us all.

    … Thanks so much for standing with us in prayer, we appreciate it very much!

Emerging Nations - Meet The Team

One of the things I get asked at different times is just, “How do you do it all? I mean with stuff going on in 27 different countries, across 6 different continents, just how do you do it all?”, and my honest answer to that is, “I don’t”.

In God’s kindness I get to work with a team of wonderfully able, skilled and servant hearted men, who work ‘together’ with me to seek to establish and support indigenous Sovereign Grace churches and partnerships around the world.

I’m eager for you to meet them so that you can recognise them, give thanks to God for them and be praying for them, and so here goes…

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Dave Taylor

Sydney, Australia

Area: Global - Director

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Andrew Leung

Sydney, Australia

Area: Global - Assistant to Dave Taylor

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Brendan Willis

Sydney, Australia

Area: Global - Theology

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Eric Turbedsky

Orange, California, USA

Area: Asia-Pacific

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Lynn Baird

Pasadena, California, USA

Area: Philippines

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Dave York

Roseburg, Oregon, USA

Area: Philippines

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Erik Rangel

Yuma, Arizona, USA

Area: India

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Todd Peterson

El Paso, Texas, USA

Area: India

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Doug Hayes

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

Area: Africa

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Ben Kreps

Middletown, Pennsylvania, USA

Area: Africa

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Brian Chesemore

Louisville, Kentucky, USA

Area: Africa

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Nathan Smith

Bristol, UK

Area: Europe

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Carlos Contreras

Juárez, Mexico

Area: Mexico & Central America

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Joselo Mercado

Gaithersburg, Maryland, USA

Area: Latin America

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Bert Turner

Copley, Ohio, USA

Area: Brazil

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Kalib Wilkinson

Dallas, Texas, USA

Area: Global - Region TBC

I thank God so much for each of these men!!

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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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.

Fabiano, Bert, Larry & Marco

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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& Elisa Canes

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Second Trip To Cuba

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From Carlos Contreras, Pastor of Iglesia Cristiana Gracia Soberana in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico:

During our second trip to Cuba I had the joy of being joined by Joselo Mercado to meet with Havana Pastors Eddy Cambria and Juan Viñeta who have requested Sovereign Grace adoption. Our desire this trip was to explain the essence of the foundational values on which Sovereign Grace churches are built.

It was humbling to see the desire of these men to see their churches be built similarly. They have been investigating SGC for the last 3 years and are eager to one day be a part of our family of churches. Joselo and I returned with a sense of being tied together to these men.

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We were also joined by my friend Ulises Vallin and his wife Raquel. Ulises was born in Cuba but left in his early 20’s and has lived in Spain for the last 15 years or so, where he became a Christian and met and married his wife. Ulises and Raquel have a vision to move to Havana to plant a church with Sovereign Grace. Ulises is a longtime friend with Eddie and Juan who are encouraging him to plant.

I would say that the highlight of the trip was being able to meet for a whole day with these men and their wives and two other interested pastors and their wives for a time of sharing about our understanding of Biblical Fellowship as a primary element for building the church. It was humbling to see how something so basic and significant in the lives of SG churches for decades can be such an eye-opener for them. As we talked there were tears, vulnerable transparency and laughs being shared. It was truly a Holy moment.

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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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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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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!