February 16, 2020
Brief reports from our churches worldwide.
Tanzania Special Meetings Yield Many Blessings
Reverend Boniface Banda, the Eastern Africa District Superintendent, led a team of eleven from the headquarters in Lusaka, Zambia, to hold special meetings at the Tanzania headquarters church in Mbeya from September 29 to October 6.
Due to the local restrictions in that area, the church was not allowed to conduct services in the mornings. However, the two hours allowed in the afternoons by the local authorities proved to be a blessing to many as it increased the hunger to pray in the short time given. During the meetings, three received salvation, five were sanctified, three were baptized with the Holy Ghost, and fourteen were healed. One man testified that he had been backslidden for years, but the Lord restored him.
A second week of special meetings was held November 3-10 at the Kigoma church. In addition to Reverend Boniface attending, Reverend Bayo Adeniran, the Western and Central Africa District Superintendent, and Reverend Onias Gumbo, the Southern Africa District Superintendent, were present.
During the week, it was announced that the Eastern Africa churches would start the process of transitioning to the Sunday school curriculum of Primary Pals, Answer, and Search, which is currently used by the Portland headquarters.
The altar benches were full throughout the week, and God poured out His blessings. Eight received salvation, eight were sanctified, eleven were baptized with the Holy Ghost, and two were healed. In addition, a water baptismal service was held, and nine candidates were baptized in the nearby Tanganyika Lake.
Bulawayo Hosts Zimbabwe Camp Meeting
For the first time in fifteen years, the annual Zimbabwe camp meeting was held in Bulawayo on the campground that was once the headquarters location for our Southern Africa district. Ownership of the property had been in legal dispute since 2005, but a July 2018 ruling by the Zimbabwe Supreme Court resolved the matter.
As the campground previously had been the site of many blessings poured out, returning to hold the camp meeting there was a joyous occasion. It took place December 15-29 with representatives coming from branch churches in all of the neighboring countries: Angola, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, and Zambia. The host country of Zimbabwe was also well represented. In addition, all of the country leaders for our Southern Africa district were present, as well as the Superintendent General, Reverend Darrel Lee.
A workers’ meeting preceded the camp meeting, and the theme was “Unity”—something that was apparent among the brethren from the time they began to arrive.
The opening service was led by Reverend Onias Gumbo, the Southern Africa District Superintendent, and featured beautiful music and an inspiring message. The sanctuary was filled to capacity, and before the invitation song was over, the altars were filled also.
The Mantle of Leadership Passes in the Philippines
A new district superintendent of the Philippines was appointed on Sunday, January 5, during the morning devotional service at the Bagong Sikat headquarters church.
Reverend Bill McKibben, Director of Asia Work, announced that Reverend Zenaida Ruiz was retiring after twenty-five years as the district superintendent. She was honored with flowers and a plaque of appreciation for her service, including as pastor of the headquarters church. She was also surprised with a gift from the Philippine churches: a trip to the Portland headquarters for the March special meetings, while visiting her son and daughter-in-law who reside in Portland.
In the same meeting, a letter was read from the Superintendent General, Reverend Darrel Lee, thanking Reverend Ruiz for her service and outlining the model for appointing new leaders in our churches. The letter also stated that the Philippine Board of Directors were in unanimous agreement with the Portland headquarters that the mantle of leadership had fallen on Reverend Joseph Ruiz. As the name was read, the congregation of about four hundred erupted in spontaneous applause, showing their support for God’s choice. The board members then gathered around Reverend Joseph, laying hands on him and praying over him.
Reverend Joseph Ruiz is married with four children, and has been serving as pastor of the Bagong Sikat church since August. He received salvation in 1982, and began preaching in 2006. For many years he served as a circuit preacher, delivering seven sermons in five of our churches nearly every weekend. His full testimony can be read in the January 2019 edition of The Apostolic Faith magazine.
Superintendent Ordained and 26 Baptized at India Pastor Conference
Our churches in the Maharashtra Province of India held a three-day pastor and spouse conference in Aurangabad on February 12-14, with 125 in attendance.
Each day of the conference began with a song and then prayer. Morning and afternoon sessions were held with such topics as “A Brief History of the Apostolic Faith,” “Bible Doctrines and Our Mission Statement,” “The Importance of Youth Work and Sunday School,” and “How to Prepare and Deliver Effective Sermons.”
Following the afternoon session on Thursday, Reverend Surya Gajbhiv was ordained and formally installed as the Maharashtra district superintendent. According to the Scriptural example, several of the other ministers gathered around to lay hands on him and pray. As the prayer ended, everyone stood to their feet with lively applause in support of his leadership.
On the last day of the conference, a baptismal service was held at a nearby canal for twenty-six converts who had received salvation in the last few months.
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