Things to Pray for in October

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Jesus said in Matt 28:28 “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” The Sovereign Grace Emerging Nations team strives to follow this command through the establishment of healthy gospel centred churches throughout the world. And what joy and privilege to know that Jesus, the One with all authority in heaven and on earth, is with us as we embark on this task. There is then no more effective means than to humbly ask our glorious Saviour and Shepherd to sustain and empower us in this task as the team embarks on the various initiatives around the world in the month of October. We invite you to pray along with us!

  1. Please pray for a team of 10 gathered from the three SG churches in Texas who will be going to Nepal to conduct two pastors conference in remote areas of Nepal. The team will be split into two sub-teams, one headed by Billy Raies (Senior Pastor of Sovereign Grace Church Midlands Texas) and Leroy Kim (Grace Church Frisco Texas), and the other to be headed by Allen Dicharry (Executive Pastor of Sovereign Grace Church Midlands Texas) and Aaron Mayfield (Redemption Hill - Round Rock Texas). They are expecting between 80-100 pastors who will be travelling down the mountains to attend these conferences. Please pray for protection whilst travelling, the unreached people groups the local pastors are reaching out to, for Billy, Leroy, Allen and Aaron to teach and preach with clarity and passion, and for the others in the team not formally teaching to share their lives with the pastors so they can see the seven shared values lived out. Pray that the team’s love, witness and outreach would leave a lasting impact on the pastors and all they come in contact with.

  2. Please pray for Joselo Mercado, Lead Pastor of Iglesia Gracia Soberana in Gaithersburg, as he heads to both Quito, Ecuador and Bogota, Columbia to speak at the conventions of CLC, as well as different churches in both countries whilst he is there. CLC is a christian literature distribution in South America and the biggest partner of Lifeway Publishing in the region. They have invited Joselo to talk about his book on marriage. Please pray that the gospel will be clearly presented and that people can see how the Gospel is a need for the believer everyday life.

  3. Please pray for Joselo (as above) and Jared Mellinger, Senior Pastor of Covenant Fellowship Church in Pennsylvania as they head to Puerto Rico to speak at a Sovereign Grace sponsored workshop about preaching with passion. The influence of reform doctrine has developed deep preaching, but often lacking in passion. The workshop hopes to encourage preachers to continue pursuing deep preaching, but to allow the depth of the knowledge of the Gospel to affect their hearts as they preach. They are expecting over 125 pastors and leaders.

  4. Please pray for Joselo (as above) as he and his son Joey heads to Quertaro Mexico early November for a Lifeway sponsored conference on discipleship.  They are expecting over 2,500 people. Joselo will be preaching along side Miguel Nuñez, and a few other very well respected pastors in Latin America. Joselo will preach on marriage, discipleship and evangelism.  After that, Josleo will visit a fellow SGC church in Silao Mexico where he will teach a marriage conference, as well as preach in their Sunday service. Pray for much fruit at the conference and for Pastor Manolo Quintal of Silao to be encouraged by his visit.  

SG Parramatta Launches!

An update from Riley Spring, Lead Pastor of Sovereign Grace Church Parramatta in Australia;

On September 15 after seven months of preparing, planning, and praying, our new church plant, Sovereign Grace Church Parramatta, officially launched! It was a beautiful morning as we gathered in our new location, a local primary school, to begin our new gospel work. We were grateful to God to see so many new faces come along and join with us for our first meeting. There were unbelievers, people from different faith backgrounds, those searching for a new church, and those who are de-churched!

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There was a sense of joy and excitement amongst our team, and even from all our visitors, as we served coffee and signed kids into their program. At 10am we officially began by calling our new congregation to worship from 1 Petet 2:9-10, “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” We invited two pastors to pray for us, a local pastor who I am friends with, and Patrick Chavez one of the pastors at Sovereign Grace Church Sydney, our sending church. It was a joy to demonstrate the beautiful unity of the gospel in that moment. I preached from 1 Corinthians 1:18-25 focusing on Paul’s declaration, “we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.” After the service, that atmosphere of joy remained, so much so that we had to kick people out to make our pack up deadline! We finished our time by inviting everyone to our house for lunch afterwards.

I couldn’t be more grateful to God for his grace in helping us to plant the gospel here, and I cannot wait to see the fruit of His work! We love Sovereign Grace Churches and are thankful for all your prayer, support, and love!

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Muestra a Cristo Conference, Colombia

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

On September 8 I arrived in Medellin, Colombia to participate in the Muestra a Cristo (Show Christ) Conference. On its second year this conference is becoming one the the largest in the hispanic world. At the University of Medellin Theater, over 1,500 attendees spent 3 days listening to teaching from Bryan Chapel, Miguel Nuñez, Juan Sanchez and myself on the book of Daniel. I was assigned to preach from Daniel 4 and Daniel 7 and I believe the Spirit helped me to show christ in these passages to reflect the theme of the conference.

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The conference is organized by TGC and Poiema a Spanish christian publisher. It was clear that the presence of God was among us. Some of the greatest moments came during worship as many times we were singing SGC songs. It was very powerful to listen to songs that we have cherished for so many years in English, being loudly sung in Spanish.

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The conference also gave the opportunity to connect with some pastors that I’m relating to in Colombia and have interest in SGC. God has given me favor in Colombia and there are opportunities to serve. In the next year I already have 4 trips planned to this beautiful country.

Please pray for God to give much fruit out of this conference and that the church in Colombia will more and more turn to the true Gospel.

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Equipping the churches in Belarus

An update from Kyle Huber, Lead Pastor of Greentree Church in New Jersey USA;

Kyle spent two weeks in Belarus working with leaders of a dozen churches to bring encouragement, and training in discipleship and biblical leadership. Prominent themes included “A Biblical Understanding of Weakness and Strength”, “Unity in Mission”, and “Leading in the Home”. The desire these church leaders had for instruction was an encouraging sign for continuing fruitfulness.

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A significant issue discussed with leaders throughout the trip was how to best disciple and train future church leaders. The lack of young leaders is a critical problem for the Belarusian Church. This is true for a variety of reasons:

            -  Culturally, leadership has been left for those who are older

            -  The hardship of life for church planters and pastors has made pastoral ministry unappealing for the younger generation.

            -  Economic pressures have made residential studies unattractive for young people, and virtually impossible for those with families.

In the coming year, SEE Global (an organisation based in Belarus started by Greentree Church, with the object of developing healthy churches in Belarus) will continue to explore ways of strengthening discipleship and leadership training in churches through two primary initiatives:

            (1)  A two year program for training students who will gather monthly. The goal is to strengthen present and potential church leaders in subjects essential to church leadership and mission.

            (2)  Visiting teachers spending 5-6 days with an individual church, involving teaching and discussions with church members each night, and seminars and preaching on the weekend. Ample time will also be set aside for individual meeting time with pastors.

Our prayer is that as churches are strengthened and their influence is felt in communities, the restrictions the government has historically placed on public church activity will soften, and ultimately, that many more in Belarus will come to experience our Glorious Risen Saviour through the work of healthy local churches.

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Things To Pray For In September

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Sovereign Grace is a family of churches who partner together to advance the gospel of Jesus Christ by planting and strengthening churches throughout the world for the glory of God. As we advance the gospel together, we see its reconciling power as sinners are reconciled first to God, and then to one-another. Reconciling us from different races, backgrounds, cultures and ethnicities. Because of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, the dividing wall of hostility is broken down, and people from different races are made one in Christ (Eph 2.14-16).

In headline, that’s what the work of Emerging Nations is all about and so here’s how you can be praying for us in the month ahead…

  1. Please pray for Pastor Riley Spring and the Sovereign Grace Church Parramatta Planting Team. They were sent out from Sovereign Grace Church, Sydney on 1st September and will be launching public services on Sunday 15th September. Please pray for courage, faith and power from on High so that they can do all that God has called them to do with joy. Please also pray that many would be added to this Church in the days and weeks to come, and that they would together passionately proclaim the glories of the gospel in all that they do.

  2. Please pray for Joselo Mercado, Lead Pastor of Iglesia Gracia Soberana in Gaithersburg, as he heads to Medellin, Colombia, 5-9th September, to participate in the Muestra a Cristo (Show Christ) Conference. They are expecting over 1500 people to attend from all over Latin America. Joselo is one of the main speakers with Miguel Nunez, Bryan Chapel and Juan Sanchez. He is also teaching some breakout sessions on 'preaching with passion' to over 400 delegates. Please pray that he preaches with passion and clarity himself, and continues the good work of building relationally with a number of churches in Colombia who are interested in becoming a part of Sovereign Grace Churches.

  3. Please pray for Carlos Contreras, Senior Pastor of Gracia Soberana de Ciudad Juarez and Regional Leader for Mexico, as he leads a Preaching Workshop for over 70 pastors in Monterrey, Mexico. Monterrey is the third largest city in Mexico and the closest to the border with the USA. Carlos has been considering for many years the possibility of planting a church there and so please pray that this opportunity would provide him with the chance to establish new relationships with folk there, in the hope of seeing if God will open a way for them to plant into that huge city.

  4. Please pray for Kyle Huber, Senior Pastor of Greentree Church, New Jersey as he heads to Belarus, 19th Sept - 1st October, to serve alongside Rob Chisholm from Grace City Church, Philadelphia to teach Biblical Theology at the SEE Global’s Leadership Academy. They will be spending extensive time with several churches there, including weekends on training leaders, preaching and bringing encouragement in gospel faithfulness. Their goal in it all is to help churches become healthier by bringing a clearer understanding of biblical leadership, the Church, and gospel ministry.

… May God truly establish the work of our hands. Soli Deo Gloria!

Mission Trips - Summer 2019

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June-August in North America means summertime, which means mission trips! Here are some highlights from those trips…

KidsGames in Italy: June 22-30, 2019

This summer, a team of 21 people from MidAtlantic Sovereign Grace Churches went to Chiavari, Italy, to partner with Verita di Grazia Church and Grazia e Verita Church, to reach children aged 7-12 through sports, games, crafts and gospel-centered teaching and devotions. Kidsgames has grown each of the last 5 years and now serves over 200 kids.

One team member said of the trip, “Our hearts are so full of thanksgiving for the ways God moved. This year we had more opportunities for clear gospel presentation than we could have imagined. Throughout the week, with the children, we were able to continually point to the grace of Jesus and what a relationship with Him means. Additionally, this year we had far more interaction with the parents of the town. Several offered to pay for the camp or for food (etc.) and when we replied that the entire camp was a free gift of grace because the gift of forgiveness is totally free for us, they were deeply affected. I had 5 parents tell me at the final day’s picnic that they were astounded and had never seen anything like this from Christians!”

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Children’s Music Camp, Nassau, Bahamas: July 13-21, 2019

This summer a team of musicians, educators and children’s volunteers from the Mid-Atlantic Region, in partnership with Crossway Church Lancaster, went to partner with Kingdom Life Church to run a gospel outreach music camp for approximately 130 kids aged 5-12. 

Doug Plank, a Pastor in Crossway Church Lancaster, said this of how the camp went, “Fantastic! This year’s camp had so many opportunities to proclaim salvation in Jesus to the children, and the team (24 people) came with energy, joy and gospel-focus. We also featured ukuleles for the first time at camp, and the children loved them.”

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Casa de Esperanza Orphanage in Caranavi, Bolivia: June 24-July 8, 2019

This summer a team from Kingsway Community Church, VA, and Grace Covenant Church, Jacksonville, FL, went to Casa de Esperanza (House of Hope) Orphanage, Bolivia (near La Paz) to serve the children and staff there.

Anna Rogers, a long-standing member of Kingsway and team leader for this trip said “We are so thrilled to be a part of this endeavour to support the precious children at the orphanage. We continue to see God’s hand move and provide for special needs these kids have. He has built a long-term relationship between us that fosters faith, hope and love.”

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Children’s Camp and Adult Seminars in South Korea: June 3-11, 2019

This summer a team from Clarksburg, Knoxville & Orange County went over to Seoul, South Korea, to partner with Lord’s Grace Church led by Songhwan Kang, and serve at their annual camp for children and adults. 

The trip went really well! You can read more about it in a previous blog post (click here). 

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Rancho 3M Christian Orphanage & School In Guadalupe, Mexico: May – July, 2019

This summer, three different teams headed to Mexico to serve at the Rancho 3M Christian Orphanage & School: Sovereign Grace Church in Aurora & Grace Community Church in Westminster (May 26-June 1), Sovereign Grace Southeast Churches including Lakeview Christian Center in New Orleans & Grace Church in Orlando (June 8-14), and Crossway & Risen Hope Churches from North Carolina (July 22-29).

Sovereign Grace Churches have been sending teams to Rancho 3M for many years with two main goals: to minister to orphans and staff, and to do any labour the 18-acre facility needs to have done. 

Pete Schefferstein from Lakeview Christian Centre said, “This year we rebuilt a large Pavilion at the Ranch that gets used a lot for the kids to play under during the hot summer days. We also went out into the community and gave our invitations to an Alpha style dinner and Gospel presentation from one of our Pastors who speaks Spanish. It was awesome as almost 200 showed up and many responded that night!”

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… How kind of the Lord. It is all His doing and so may it always be marvellous in our eyes.

Worship God 19, Through Filipino Eyes

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A report put together by Emmanuel Iluzada, a Pastor in Cross Of Christ Salvation Gospel Ministries (CCSGM) Kawit, Cavite, one of our wonderful partner churches in the Philippines...

"It is a deep scuba dive into the vast ocean, where there are both terror and beauty, an admirable conjunction of diverse excellencies”. That’s how one of the speakers described and proclaimed Christ at the recently concluded “Glorious Christ 2019 Worship God Conference" in Louisville, Kentucky. A conference that we were thrilled to attend.

We knew about the conference through the invitation of Pastor Dave Taylor. We’ve known him for the past two years through our Senior Pastor, Jeffrey Jo. Dave informed us about the Worship God Conference and so we prayed about it, prepared our documents, and the LORD made it possible for us to go in His perfect timing and provision.

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My wife and I had a lot of first time experiences because of the conference. It was our first time in the US, first time to drive in a foreign land and first time to attend a major Sovereign Grace Conference. We were welcomed by Brittany Kauflin, whom we met for the first time in Sydney last year. We were invited to be part of the recording of SG’s latest album and we became part of the singing audience. We were so thrilled because we have often watched SG Music online and so to now become part of it! How cool is that!

The conference itself was set in a way that the general sessions were designed to teach the gloriousness of Christ: His supremacy, sacrifice, and diverse excellencies. The breakout sessions were then more technical in nature and made up of specific topics like songwriting, singing, instrument playing and sound engineering to name a few. We acquired a lot of learning in the technical sessions, which was then balanced or re-focussed onto Christ when we went back into the general sessions.

I particularly appreciated the songwriting sessions led by Steve and Vikki Cook. I had a deeper admiration of studying the structure, tone, and messages of different gospel songs. I developed a deeper passion to not just appreciate the current songs I know, but to also write gospel songs in our own language (Filipino). I was also greatly encouraged by Jordan Kauflin’s advice to write songs in our own tongue since this is the direction of the Word to us - That one day, every tongue will sing praises to the King of kings!

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We made many new friends at the conference who each had an amazing story to tell. We met Ron, who blessed us with a recording workstation when he learned about my story of recording locally written songs for the congregation. We met JP and Abbi, a fellow Filipino couple from San Francisco, who were regular participants of the conference and part of the Shiloh Church Choir, who sang so heavenly during the conference. We made a lot of friends who encouraged us and who have now become partners with us for the gospel. We brought home a wealth of learning and unforgettable experiences!

We especially want to thank Bekah Scrufari, Joel Amunrud, Paul Medler and Dave Taylor. Thank you for your abundant generosity! Thank you also to Bob Kauflin and his entire family for the unsung labors that you have exerted for this conference.

Truly, in our moments of weakness, we can cringe in despair or we can look at the unfailing beauty of Christ, which makes the things of the world grow strangely dim. Beholding the glorious Christ is what our eyes should constantly exercise. That’s our hope. All the glory and thanksgiving be unto Jesus alone!

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Sovereign Grace Sydney - Annual Retreat

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Our annual Church Retreat is always one of the highlights of the year for our Church and without doubt, this year was no exception. In fact, the whole weekend was totally life-changing for our Church!

This year we had the privilege of having Mark Prater (Executive Director of Sovereign Grace Churches) as our keynote speaker. He was also joined by 12 folk from the Covenant Fellowship Church, PA, Prophecy Team and together, God used them in mighty ways to serve our Church.

The timing was wonderful, being just a month before we waved off the Church Planting team of Sovereign Grace Church of Parramatta. But it was the content that impacted us so much.

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The theme for the weekend was ‘Delighting in the Spirit’, a theme that was at least ‘experientially new’ for so many folk in attendance. Whilst everyone in our Church has had the conviction that the gifts of the spirit are for today, so many have never really seen them operate in terms of gifts like prophecy, words of wisdom & knowledge, healing and the like. For some time then there has been a hunger in our Church, but being new to it all there’s also been many understandable questions like how do they work? And when? What is appropriate? And what does all this actually look like?

After a weekend of teaching, discussion and practice, all those questions were answered and many, many lives were changed. It has lit a fire in our Church that has been truly life-changing for us, with so many folk now eagerly pursuing gifts of the Spirit and finding themselves even more amazed with Jesus and hungry for Him than they were before. 

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A BIG thank you then to Mark Prater, Bill & Ramona Doyle, Martin Keeney, Jocelyn Whitpan, Everett & Laurie Petit, Doug Gardner, Rick Orlando, Jeannie, Lia & Dan Welch. God has done a wonderful work through each of you and so thank you so much for making the trip!!

If you’re keen to see more and would like to see some highlights of our Retreat then please check out the video below.

Preparing For Mission In Madrid, Spain

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An update from Gabriel Reyes-Ordeix, former member at Sovereign Grace Church of Louisville and pastoral apprentice at Gracia Soberana Juarez…

Spain is a country with a vast Roman Catholic tradition, a growing non religious population, and a deep need for Christ-centered churches. Unlike most of Europe, Spain was mostly unaffected by the Reformation, as the inquisition lasted until the mid-nineteenth century—longer than in any other country in the old continent. Currently, Protestants are less than 1% of the population, and healthy, gospel-preaching churches are scarce.

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In 2013 my wife Ivana and I moved to Louisville, Kentucky from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic to attend Southern Seminary. A couple of years later, God placed a burden in our hearts for the city of Madrid, Spain, and we started praying about the possibility of partnering with SGC to plant a church there; we had been attending Sovereign Grace Church of Louisville since 2014 and were impacted by the loving community and the strong accountability among the SGC family of churches.

Last July, after almost five years at Sovereign Grace Church of Louisville, in view of our call to Spain, we transitioned along with our two daughters to Ciudad Juárez, Mexico to serve at Iglesia Gracia Soberana de Juárez (Sovereign Grace Church of Juarez) as a pastoral apprentice for a year. During this year I will be serving the church in many capacities with the purpose of developing in preaching, teaching and discipling.

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If God allows and the counsel of our leaders is in favor, we plan to relocate to Madrid, Spain in the Summer / Fall of 2020. Upon arrival, our desire is to dive into the culture, plug into one of the existing protestant churches, and become part of the city as we make friendships and build relationships with purpose. By God's grace, he has already provided a job for me, as I will be able to continue with my job as a graphic designer remotely. Bi-vocational ministry is essential to the long term vision we have to make disciples and make Jesus’ name known through church planting. Our hope is that God may bless our efforts and allow us to start meeting in our home towards the end of our first year there.

Please pray that God may continue to confirm His plans for us and bless our efforts abundantly. 

We’re certain our God has not forgotten about Spaniards. Our deepest desire is that in the many years to come, God will call us to faithfully preach and witness to the city of Madrid about the great salvation and redemption we have in God through Christ, so that many Spaniards may join us with the great multitude in crying out: “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.” (Rev. 7:10).

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FAQ's - "So Where Is This All Going?"

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One of the questions that I often get asked, is “So where is this all going? This whole Emerging Nations thing, where is it all going?” And for mine, it’s a really good question! I mean if we’re going to be a truly global family of Churches, rather than a group of US Churches with international friends, then what exactly is this going to look like 5, 10, 20 years from now? Where is this all going in the long-term?

Well, during the last 18 months I’ve had a lot of time to think about this as the Director of Emerging Nations, and from all that I can see, albeit that there’s still a lot of things to work through and figure out, I believe that we’re headed somewhere like this...

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  1. If we’re going to be a truly global family of churches then I don’t think our polity will look like “all roads leading to the USA”. With so many different nations, cultures and languages that would be an impossible task. But instead I believe it will look like each country (or in some cases groups of countries) replicating what already exists in the USA, with each country having their own council of elders, leadership teams, regional assemblies of elders and so forth. Noted, when a country is young the council of elders and regional assemblies may be exactly the same thing, simply limited by the number of churches they have, but in time, multiple regions in all countries and contexts may well be possible. What started then in the USA, is replicated in other countries.

  2. In addition, I believe countries may well look different to each other in terms of the intricacies of their Book of Church Order and their corresponding partnership agreements. Not all cultures are the same, not all cultures speak English, and not all cultures are even Western in their thinking. As we head into varying cultures and third world countries in particular I am more and more convinced that our BCO’s will look different, not by deliberate design, but simply because of the realities of differing cultures.

  3. There’s a danger in this however that we could begin to lose our “togetherness”, something we hold so dear in Sovereign Grace, and so that’s where the ‘Council of Nations’ comes in. An elected council from the nations who will work for the peace, prosperity and health of our global family of churches. If we’re going to be a truly global family of churches, then we’re going to need to be in genuine gospel partnership with each other and accountable to one-another globally. I believe then some type of council and leadership, interconnecting us all, will be needed to make this a reality. Something like the ‘Council of Nations’.

I have no doubt then that there’s plenty of points and details to work through here. This is a very complex task that we’ll need to work through together. But in headline, this is where I believe God is taking us, and my prayer in it all is simply this, may it be for His glory alone.

Things To Pray For In August

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The Lord is busy building His choir from every tribe, language and nation, and what a privilege we have to play our parts in that. What a privilege we have as a family of churches to be able to help handout the invitations both at home and abroad, all for His glorious grace!

Here then are some specifics of how you can be praying for things that are going on around the world in the next month…

  1. Please pray for Riley Spring (Australian Church Planter) and the Sovereign Grace Church of Parramatta ‘Planting Team’ as they run a ‘Public Information Night’ at Tara Anglican School on Thursday 8th August, ahead of the launch of Sovereign Grace Church of Parramatta next month. Please pray that there may be some in the area who are interested in joining the church plant or hearing more about it and that they would come on the night!

  2. Please pray for Joselo Mercado, Lead Pastor of Iglesia Gracia Soberana in Gaithersburg, as he heads to Puerto Rico to run a Homiletic Workshop there on Saturday 17th August, in partnership with the Simeon Trust.

  3. Please pray for Songhwan Kang, Senior Pastor of Lord’s Grace Church in Seoul, South Korea, as he continues to train 14 Church Planters on a monthly basis. Please pray for wisdom for Songhwan in this process, both in the training of these dear brothers, and also in the potential adoption of some of these churches. This is the answer to many years of prayer for Songhwan and so please pray for grace to abound to this work.

  4. Please pray for our three key leaders in the Philippines - Jeffrey Jo (Cavite), Nilo Ebo (Cebu) and Pete Valdez (Bohol) - as they continue to work through the Sovereign Grace ordination process. In the midst of already very full lives, please pray that God would give them much grace to complete their studies as they begin to prepare to take the ordination exams.

  5. Please pray for our key leader in Nepal (name withheld for safety reasons). The scene in Nepal is making it increasingly more dangerous to openly share the Gospel and yet incredibly, and wonderfully, the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ is boldly going forward more than ever. My friend told me that they have baptised 99 people in the last 12 months. He was ecstatic and thrilled as he told me all about this. Please continue to pray for our dear brothers and sisters in Nepal. That God’s hand may be close to them in all that they do.

Let us pray with confidence my friends. It’s true… The Lord really does hold the whole world in His hands!

Church Planting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

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I first met Michael Granger about a year ago and I quickly discovered, to my joy, that all of the encouraging things that I had heard about him were so wonderfully true. Michael has a B.S. from Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana and an M.Div. from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. He is an ordained Sovereign Grace Pastor and as part of his theological training he attended the Sovereign Grace Pastors’ College. God willing Michael will be planting a Sovereign Grace Church in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in 2020, and so for your encouragement, here’s some of his story...

‘My initial exposure to Ethiopia was back in 2004 when, at the age of 19, I first ventured into the country. Effected by the impact of the HIV/Aids epidemic, I shortly thereafter co-established an NGO to work with street-children alongside some local partners. Over the course of many flights into Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa, I also met and fell in love with my future bride, a local girl named Kenean. We were married in 2011 and have had four beautiful children - Moses, Eden, Elijah, and Jerusalem. Though Elijah passed away one week after his birth day in July of 2017 and is buried in Louisville, Kentucky.

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In January of 2018, our family then relocated from the USA to the mountain on which Kenean grew up in the Southwest corner of Addis Ababa. Since then I have been a full-time student studying the culture and also the language of Amharic while Kenean has been home-schooling the kids.

As a family we have a deep affection for the Ethiopian people and for the future of the nation. The purpose of our mission then can be summed up in three categories: 1) Disciple-making that results in new Christ-centered churches being established; 2) Theological training for the next generation of Ethiopian leadership; 3) Business as missions.

God willing then, in the summer of 2020 we will be starting a new church in Ethiopia’s capital - Addis Ababa. While Ethiopia is arguably the 7th poorest country in the world and therefore often effectually overlooked, Addis Ababa is one of East Africa’s largest cities with population estimates ranging from 5 – 11 million. It is a mega center of international activity including over 110 embassies, the United Nation’s African headquarters, an European Union’s representative office, and also Africa’s largest international policy issuing entity - the African Union.  With Ethiopia’s history as the only country on the continent to have successfully fought off European colonization, it stands as the torch-bearer and example to many other nations in a post-colonial era. And, because it was never colonized, the racial tensions that exist in much of sub-Saharan Africa are virtually obsolete.  

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For these and many other reasons, we see Ethiopia as perhaps one of the most strategic gospel advancing countries in all the world and pray, hope, and dream of a God-breathed revival that spills over into the failed and spiritually suppressed states of Somalia, Sudan, and Eritrea. 

So in 2020, years of affection, praying, and training will culminate in the endeavor to plant a missional gospel-centered church that trains up a local plurality of elders so as to equip the saints of Addis Ababa to reach their city, the unreached tribes in the countryside – and if God answer’s our prayers – the surrounding nations in East Africa. It is a futile vision if left to the ingenuity, training, and cunning of man. But, with confidence that we are in God’s will according to Matthew 28, we advance on our knees with the words of William Carey in mind, “Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God.”   

Please partner with the us on mission by praying for East Africa, that the Lamb who was slain would be glorified in all that we do!’

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Church Planting In Santa Cruz, Bolivia

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An update from Jorge Del Castillo, Bolivian Pastor & soon to be Sovereign Grace Church Planter…

In 1972, our God, through a young preacher named Julio Cesar Ruibal, promoted a spiritual movement that reached our entire nation - Bolivia - and even neighboring nations. As a fruit of this, in the following years, Churches and Christian institutions were established. Our Christian Congregation in La Paz Bolivia where we have served for more than 39 years was a result of this movement.

In 1992 our Church contacted Sovereign Grace through the Deloglos family and during all these years pastors have visited us and various E-teams have come to work with our Church. We have also attended the annual Pastors Conferences and seven Bolivians have had the opportunity and privilege to be trained at the Sovereign Grace Pastors College: Johnny and Pablo Dueri, José Troche, Jorge, Marcelo and David Del Castillo and Oscar Vargas. All of our families have been blessed and profoundly transformed by the teaching, principles and values learned at the Pastors College.

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Reflecting on the years in which we lived away from God and how the Lord saved us, rescued us from a vain way of life, brought us to the communion of his Church, placed us in his purpose, and gave us a passion in our hearts to reach others who are lost in the world as we were. We now long to bring others into the communion of the Church and preach to them so they will become disciples of Jesus Christ, as Jesus has commanded us.

That is why we want to plant a Sovereign Grace Church in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. A reformed and continuationist church that God willing will begin church gatherings in January 2020, built on the values and principles of Sovereign Grace that have so blessed us.  A church that will belong to the family of Sovereign Grace Churches.

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Santa Cruz de La Sierra, the city that we have chosen for this plant, is a department (State) of Bolivia that has a territorial extension of 370,621 km2 and an estimated population of 2,862,811 inhabitants. It is the department (State) that has the highest population, population migration and territorial extension in Bolivia. It also has a very important role in the economic development of our country. Very soon my family and I, along with my son David and his family, will be relocating to make this city our home.

It is our hope that our church will be impacted and shaped with the Gospel, and the importance of planting churches. By strengthening our members, it is our prayer that we will be able to affect the city, the rural areas, the country and even beyond our borders, all for His glory.

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A Growing Mexican Region

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An update from Carlos Contreras, Senior Pastor of Gracia Soberana de Ciudad Juarez and Regional Leader for Mexico…

Sovereign Grace Churches adopted its first International Church a little over 30 years ago, when it embraced our church Gracia Soberana de Ciudad Juarez in the Mexican state of Chihuahua. In 1999 God then allowed us to send out my friend Hellman Avila to plant Misión de Gracia, a Mexican Church in the city of El Paso Texas. And since then, the Mexican region has grown to officially include 7 churches.

However, in addition to this, we are currently in the midst of adopting a church plant in the city of Orizaba in the state of Veracruz and also working towards the adoption of 3 other churches (Cordova, Veracruz; Torreón, Coahuila; and Moroleón, Guanajuato). That means that hopefully by the grace of God there could be 11 or 12 SG Churches in the next couple of years in 6 different Mexican states and 3 different countries (México, USA and Costa Rica). We never imagined 30 years ago what God in His mercy had planned for us, but He has granted us the privilege of witnessing our prayers being answered. 

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All of this has required that we work to develop different contexts that will help equip and encourage our pastors, most of which are young. With this in view we started our first Pastors Conference in 2013. Our desire was to provide a Latin American context in which our pastors could benefit from the same equipping, vision and encouragement received through the SG Pastors Conference in the US.

Our Pastors Conference is called Fieles a Su Llamado (Faithful to His Calling) and it has proven to be a wonderful context to celebrate our union, equip and encourage leaders and their wives, and also demonstrate our values through the generosity and service of dozens of volunteers from our church that hosts the conference. Our next Conference will be this coming October and special guest speakers will be CJ Mahaney, Jon Payne and Bob Kauflin. 

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Another equipping context we are very excited about is our continuing partnership with The Charles Simeon Trust.  With their help we were able to start our very first Expository Preaching Workshop in Juárez in May 2014. Since then we have conducted 11 of these workshops in 4 different cities and are planning on doing 3 more next year. Abelardo Muñoz, one of our pastors has led this initiative and serves as one of several SG instructors.  Most of the pastors from our region have been to 2 or more of these workshops as we are committed as a region to seek excellence in the study and preaching of God’s Word.

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And in this past month of July, we were so encouraged to host our very first Pastoral Training Week with the intention of having a yearly intensive time of Theological teaching and discussion in a format similar to the SG Pastors College. We enjoyed an attendance of 19 pastors, including Hellman Avila, Joselo Mercado and myself as instructors. It was a wonderful time of intense study, panel discussions on practical application and Spirit inspired worship and prayer times. But the highlight for many was the sweet times of biblical fellowship and fun among brothers.

Manolo Quintal, pastor of Sublime Gracia Church in Silao, Guanajuato put it this way: “God surpasses our desires! For years we had a desire to meet brothers with a sincere faith in Christ with whom we could enjoy a partnership. Now He has granted us not just that, but He is building ever stronger ties of deep fellowship among all of us… I am very excited to see what God is going to bring to our churches and cities as a result of what happened this week, and to see what He will do in our family of churches”. God has truly been so good to us.

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Things To Pray For In July

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Psalm 121.1-2 says, ‘I lift my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.'

As we pray, that’s whose listening and that’s who we get to come to! The LORD, the maker of heaven and earth. The One who will not let our foot be moved, who is our shade at our right hand, and who neither slumbers nor sleeps. The LORD is the One who will help us and so as we pray, oh my, what a privilege and what an opportunity!!

With that in mind then, here are some ways that you can be praying for all things Emerging Nations in the month ahead…

  1. Please pray for Mark Prater and the Prophecy Team from Covenant Fellowship Church, PA, as they head to Sydney, Australia, 25th-31st July, to serve at the Sovereign Grace Churches, Australia Retreat (think Celebration's of old). During their five days on the ground in Australia they’ll be serving the dear members of Sovereign Grace Church, Sydney, Sovereign Grace Church, Parramatta, and their respective Pastoral/Leadership Teams. Please pray that God would really bless this time and that hearts and lives would be changed and encouraged as a result.

  2. Please pray for David Del Castillo (and his family) & Jorge Del Castillo (and his family) as they seek to make their move from La Paz, Bolivia to Santa Cruz, Bolivia in preparation to plant our very first Sovereign Grace Church on Bolivian soil in the fall. God willing Jorge will be making the move this month / early August, with David to follow in early September. Please pray that all goes to plan with the selling of the two houses and that their transition to this new city goes well for all involved. Please also pray for Chris Deloglos (Emerging Nations Delegate to Bolivia) as he heads over to Bolivia this month to serve and encourage these men in this great endeavour.

  3. Please pray for the country of Liberia and our Key Leader there, Dyonah Thomas. Liberia is well acquainted with civil crisis and protests, aswell as major health challenges like Ebola, so many of which just serve to keep the country on a journey of poverty, corruption and infrastructural challenges. Please pray that the ‘Grace Life Community’ would continue to thrive in the midst of all that is taking place in Liberia and that the wonderful Audience of One would continue to keep them safe and sound there.

  4. Likewise the country of Ethiopia and our Key Leader there, Michael Granger. There has recently been an attempted coup in Ethiopia and so the government, as a result, have been regularly turning off the internet nationwide, aswell as rationing out electricity nationwide. In addition, Michael has been struggling with a Tropical Viral Infection like Dengue Fever, a sickness that recently had him in the hospital for over 7 days. Please therefore pray for Michael, his dear Family and Country. God willing the Sovereign Grace Ethiopian Church Plant is looking to go ahead in early 2020 and so please pray that God would continue to sustain and enthuse Michael and provide all that is needed to make this a reality, as is Michael’s heart.

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

Por Su Causa Conference, DR

“If we want our marriages to prosper, we need to look at Jesus and his transforming grace.”

“If we want our marriages to prosper, we need to look at Jesus and his transforming grace.”

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

We arrived in Santo Domingo on June 18 after some cancelled flights and interesting connections. There has been much on the news about an American mysteriously dying in the DR, but the 4 of us went with much faith to serve. On Wednesday the 19th I was able to meet as part of the editorial committee of the first Study Bible done by Spanish speakers that should be published sometime in 2022. this is a huge privilege to be able to contribute in this project with such a group of wise and godly man.

The Por Su Causa Conference was held in Santo Domingo from June 20-22 and has been taking place since 2011 and in previous years, John Piper, CJ Mahaney, John Macarthur, Mark Dever, Al Mohler, among others have been the speakers. This year was on the sexual revolution taking place and how we need to be equipped to face it as believers. There were 7 main sessions and I preached two of them, the Friday night session on marriage and Saturday morning session on the hope we have in the gospel on the midst of the sexual revolution.

During the conference my book on marriage was introduced and I was able to also take part on a panel on the role of the church during this time. There were around 3,000 people in attendance and thousands watch over the internet. I think I was able to bring the hope of the gospel and to help to apply this hope onto our marriages and parenting.

On Sunday I preached at Miguel Nuñez church on Psalm 73. Miguel is a friend of SGC for many years and it was a joy to preach at their two services. We take so much from this time, my family was able to see how it looks to serve when I travel, and we were so encouraged to see the hunger for sound doctrine there, as well as deepen friendships and gospel partnerships.

“The best way we can protect our children is by preaching the gospel to them.”

“The best way we can protect our children is by preaching the gospel to them.”

Gospel Partnerships In India

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An update from Erik Rangel, Lead Pastor of Legacy Church in Yuma, AZ…

This month’s visit to India was yet another glimpse of God’s unshakable kingdom and abounding kindness. Since God allowed us to participate in the founding of Allahabad Bible Institute (ABI) in 2013, we have been overwhelmed with what the Lord has done.  I regularly look forward to ABI’s graduation ceremony, welcoming the incoming class, and spending time with regional pastors for a couple of days in the word.  This year, as always, was better than anticipated.

It was a delight to see the growing number of ABI students, and how excited the graduates are to plant gospel-centered churches in unreached areas. Adding to the joy was the visit of Ravuri “JP” Jayaprakash, the Indian pastor that many of us met at the Sovereign Grace Pastors Conference last year. He gladly travelled several days for fellowship with likeminded believers. He expressed his joy for yet another visit from SG friends, Todd Peterson (El Paso) having visited recently. Having made a fast friend in Pastor Mike (anonymity preserved), JP returned home safely and assured that SG would continue to befriend him and pray for his labors in Andhra Pradesh. 

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The regional pastors conference concluded, we took the 23-hour train ride to the Himalayan foothills for a retreat with ABI directors and families.  It was a rich time of fellowship in the word as we sought God for next steps for their growing ministry. The graduates of ABI have thus far planted 56 churches in 5 years.  Despite increasing threats against Christians in India, the church marches on.

Our hopes for this trip were that God would allow us to celebrate with the ABI graduates, share with the regional pastors, and somehow connect JP with our biblically faithful friends.  As always, God did exceedingly, abundantly more.  Soli Deo Gloria!

With You for HIM,

Erik Rangel, Legacy Church

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Preparing For Mission In Turkey

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An update from Mark Waite, 2019 Sovereign Grace Pastors College graduate…

We are Mark and Becca from Sovereign Grace Church Dayton, Ohio. We have been married for five years, with our first baby arriving in December! Last year, our church sent us to the Sovereign Grace Pastor’s College as a step towards transitioning to full-time missions in Turkey.

Turkey is a beautiful country, full of warm and kind people. Family ties are strong as well as hospitality to friends and complete strangers. However, beneath the veneer of a beautiful place and people lies a dark and destitute country.

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Nearly 80,000,000 Muslims live their lives here under a hellish blend of secularism and Islam with little access to the Gospel. It’s estimated that there is 1 gospel-preaching church for about every 1,000,000 people. Pastors have limited access to resources and training. Turkey is a strategic ministry location as it serves as a gateway to the Muslim world. It is also a destination for refugees and travelers from across the Middle East. 

We have had the privilege to visit Turkey on multiple occasions over the last 6 years. We love the place, the culture, and the people. Over the years, the Lord has given us significant relationships with a handful of Turkish Christians. We eagerly desire to be a part of what God is doing and feel that the Lord has been directing our lives here. 

We plan to move to Turkey in the Spring of 2020. Initially we will give ourselves to full-time Turkish language study. While studying, we plan to join arms with a small, Turkish church. Our prayer is that we learn from this church and be of encouragement to them. 

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Long-term, we desire to help strengthen existing churches and to help see more gospel-centered churches planted in Turkey. And in addition, I pray for the opportunity to take the training from the Pastors College and contextualize it to benefit pastors here. We desire to make our home a hospitable ministry-ground both to Christians and lost Muslims in need of Jesus. We pray that they would see the outworking of the gospel in our lives and family in this place that has very few Christians.  

Please pray that the Lord would bless our efforts as we prepare and plan with our church and continue to fundraise over the next few months. Please pray for us to have humble dependence on the Lord for all we need in this new season of becoming parents and moving overseas. Please pray that the Lord would go before us in Turkey, providing gospel friendships for us in a new context. 

If you would like to keep updated with our journey then feel free to subscribe to our newsletter: https://www.thesilkroadpost.org/email-subscribe

(Please do not repost any of this online for the security of our work in Turkey)

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Seoul, South Korea - June 2019

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An update from Larry Malament, Senior Pastor of Grace Church of Clarksburg, MD…

Most of our 12 strong team from Clarksburg, Knoxville & Orange County, arrived in Seoul late in the afternoon of June 4th, with just a few of our team arriving a day earlier. We spent Wednesday at the DMZ learning some history of the two Koreas.

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Early Thursday morning we then traveled an hour and half outside of Seoul to a Christian retreat center where the family retreat for Lord’s Grace Church was being held. All told there were about 40 families that attended. Our team worked hard as they led the children’s camp all day Thursday, all day Friday, and half a day on Saturday. They did a remarkable job and all the children were thrilled to participate.

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During the camp I shared three messages on “The gospel and community” with the adults. We returned to Seoul Saturday afternoon and then Sunday morning the entire team attended Songhwan’s church.

What a gift to worship side by side with members of the church as we sang in both Korean and English. After sharing lunch together each member of our team went home with a member of the church simply to get to know one another and build a friendship.

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On Sunday afternoon and all day Monday I then met with a group of church planters to teach them and then answer questions about SG and church planting. It was a very encouraging time. Next year another team will return and repeat what we did this year.

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.