News for 2nd September

Church of God, a Worldwide Association – British Isles

PO Box 1542, High Wycombe, HP11 9JW

Landline: 01494 437 923, mobile 078 2508 2873

 

News for week ending 2nd September, 2017

Reports about floods due to hurricane Harvey:

From Ministerial Services [four days ago], recent update see Special In Accord.

We know many of you are wondering how our members are faring after Hurricane Harvey hit the coastline of Texas this past weekend. We are thankful to report that to our knowledge, right now all of our members are safe.

We’ve asked our pastors in the hard-hit areas to provide us with reports. To be clear, we don’t have all information yet—conditions can and probablywill change, given the nature of this storm—but these reports are fairly comprehensive in terms of the immediate safety of our brethren. However, we don’t know the full extent of any damage to members’ homes, as many left their homes a few days ago and have been unable to return.

Houston South

From Larry Salyer: The city of Houston is in a tragic situation. Remarkably, as of 11 a.m. today, it appears that virtually all of the Houston South congregation has escaped any serious damage thus far. I am happy to have little to report. A few have had water in parts of their houses or porches, and some are without power. Others were able to move in with friends or brethren and are safe at this time. My own house is surrounded by water, and we have stacked our furniture, but so far still dry. Our town of Katy has recorded 26 inches of rain in 48 hours.

 

While not every single member has been in contact, there have been no reports of major problems—but that is seen in the context of what you see on the news. Thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands, are in serious trouble with no place to go. We grieve for these people but are helpless except in prayer for God’s mercy. God has apparently protected the brethren through this unprecedented event. We all know there could be more to come. The prayers and concern of the brethren are deeply appreciated.

 

One personal story involves an elderly member, Alex McCrae, who lives in a first floor apartment in a vulnerable part of southwest Houston. He told me this morning that he has taken on no water. The power has been out for a couple of days, but he discovered the laundry building still had power. This morning he and a few friends were in the laundry building charging their phones and making coffee. Nothing like ingenuity in stressful times!

 

Houston North

 

From Jim Servidio: Most of the members in the North congregation do not reside in the terrible areas of flooding you see on the news. So there have been no emergency rescues or evacuations of brethren like thousands of other Houstonians.

 

Two families had water enter their home. One left to stay with other members, and the second family may do so shortly. A few have departed their neighborhood because of rising water, which may end up crossing the threshold in the hours and days ahead. There are so many lakes, creeks, bayous and rivers that are overcapacity.

 

As of Monday morning, there are scattered power outages, so I may not be able to hear from everyone, but there are no additional reports of Houston North members suffering major disruption. That could change, depending on rising water levels and additional rain, but as of Monday morning, we feel very blessed. All are safe. We continue to hope and pray the storm system moves out of the area.

 

 

From Arnold Mendez: I am happy to report that Hurricane Harvey has come and gone. It came ashore about 30 miles north of my home, near Rockport and Port Lavaca. At the time of landfall, Harvey was a category 4 hurricane. We experienced winds of 125 mph at the beginning, which later increased to 150+. We had boarded up the windows, and we could hear the plywood shutters rattling with the winds. That night we could hear large trees breaking and falling over.

 

Saturday morning the winds subsided as the storm moved slightly north east. It has now stationed itself near Houston where my two sons live and it is dumping torrential rain.

 

The effects of the storm are mainly damage to trees and fences. There has been some structural damage to some businesses, but we were spared major damage. We are still waiting for electricity, but other than that, we are thankful that we suffered no major problems.

 

I have checked with all my relatives and church friends, and all are safe and well. The only types of damage members in the area received were some shingles blowing off the roof, a tree that fell over, and an old fence that was destroyed. In talking to the members, it was obvious that God provided us with His gracious protection. We thank members for their prayers. God answered them!

 

As of Monday morning, tropical storm Harvey has circled back, and we are expecting rain until Friday or Saturday.

 

Corpus Christi, Victoria and San Antonio

 

From Steve Moody: I just finished getting the latest updates from the people most affected by Harvey. God has blessed the people here. There were no injuries and only minimal property damage. The worst affected were the people in Taft, Texas, about 15 miles west of Rockport, and Portland, which is about 8 miles east of Taft. The members there had shingle damage. But thankfully no major leaks into their homes. A widow in Portland had part of the ceiling in her garage fall due to water, but none in her home. The area is without power still. This includes those in Corpus Christi.

 

Currently there are no needs. The Mendezes had some shingle damage and a small leak, but that is all.

 

In the Victoria area, many are still without power and water. None in Victoria had any major property damage. Damage was primarily with trees. Most on the coast (Port O’Connor, Seadrift and Port Lavaca) also escaped major property damage. One family, however, lost about a third of their shingles and suffered leakage into their home with resulting ceiling and furniture damage. When I talked with the husband yesterday, he was in the process of working on getting his roof reroofed. Those on the coast are also without power.

 

Here in San Antonio we had less than one inch of rain.
 

Local Weekly News and Events

Venues for Sabbath services on 2nd September:

Combined service at 1.30pm: Memorial Hall at Soper Hall, Harestone Valley Road, Caterham, CR3 6HY [Gate code 1213] – Guest speaker, Mr Ken Treybig with YouTube webcast for outlying members.
 

Coming Sabbath meetings:

9th, 16th, 23rd, 30th, at 1.30pm: London, at the 6th Form Block, Hendon School, Tonbridge, The Day Centre, Commercial Road, Paddock Wood, TN12 6DP, and Tonbridge, The Day Centre, Commercial Road, Paddock Wood, TN12 6DP


Next holy day meetings:
Thursday, 21st September – Feast of Trumpets (services at 10 am and 2pm) at Soper Hall, Caterham
Saturday, 30th September – Day of Atonement (1.30pm) in Hendon and Paddock Wood.

 

News from HQ

Special In Accord: September 1, 2017 – Hurricane Harvey Update

In addition to our regular weekly In Accord posted yesterday, this is the latest information available on Hurricane Harvey and its effects on the members in Texas and Louisiana.

In Accord: August 31, 2017 Holy Days Microsite and Interview with Eduardo Hernandez

In this week’s In Accord Media operation manager Clyde Kilough introduces a new microsite for the upcoming festival season, then talks with Eduardo Hernandez, our pastor in Colombia, South America. Mr. Hernandez gives a very interesting historical background and current update on the congregations there; shares his personal story; and talks about the geopolitical landscape in Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela.

 

Announcements and Updates

from the Ministerial Newsletter, August 31, 2017

Ghana Youth Camp and FOI Project

From Tom Clark: One of the highlights for the teens in Ghana is the chance to attend the CYC – Ghana summer camp. The camp is held every other year and hosts 100 teens who regularly attend Sabbath services with their families around the country. This year we also had five teens and two young adults from Nigeria who traveled over for the camp as well, bringing our total numbers to nearly 125 campers and staff. The camp was held from Aug. 14 to 20 in Kumasi, Ghana.

The Ghana Youth Camp is one of the projects sponsored by Foundation Outreach International. This project provides a wonderful opportunity for young adults from developed countries, primarily the United States, to travel to West Africa and set a positive example while serving our Ghanaian teens.

In the native language of Twi, a white man (or woman) is called an obruni. And we were privileged to have seven obruni volunteers serving at the camp this year! There were five FOI volunteers: Cliff Demarest (an FOI board member), Derek Demarest, Daniel Clark, Gabriella Kroska and Alyssa Degagne. Additionally, we had Cody and Bobbi Kitts along. They have a long-standing relationship with the Nigerian brethren, so it was helpful for them to be there and serve on staff.

We arrived in Ghana a few days early, and the volunteers were able to tour several sites of cultural and historical significance in Ghana, including the Elmina Castle, a former slave holding and trading castle; Kakum National Park, which has suspended bridges that allow one to walk up into the canopy of the tropical rainforest; and the Manhyia Palace Museum, located in the former palace of the Ashanti king. Then we were off to the camp!

We started each day of camp with a 50-minute Christian Living class focused on the theme of camp. The camp in Ghana used the same theme that is used for COGWA’s U.S. camps, and this year it was “Vision: Seeing Clearly in a Clouded World.” Each of these classes helped focus the campers’ attention on the importance of seeing life and decisions from God’s perspective. When we strip away the false standards used by most people today, it makes the right answer to those decisions so much easier to see. Our vision is clearer!

Many of the activities will be familiar to those who have attended camps stateside: volleyball, team challenge, arts and crafts, soccer (known as football overseas), ultimate Frisbee and kickball (played like baseball, but with a rubber ball you kick). And we added a new activity this year—slingshots. It is something most had never done, and they enjoyed setting up plastic bottles and working to refine their technique so they could knock the bottles down from increasing distances.

We also had an education class, taught by Daniel Botha, who is a certified teacher employed by the school system in Kumasi. A good education is so important to a young person who wants to have a good job and improve his and his family’s lot in life. But it is not easy to obtain and is often not valued in the developing world. So Daniel explained not only the importance of focusing on getting the best education possible, but also gave tips and answered questions from the campers on how to take advantage of the educational opportunities they have.

A life skills class is not something we’ve had in the past, but we added it this year. For the boys, I covered lessons from the life of Joseph and drew important points they can apply to themselves if they wish to grow into godly young men. For the girls, I drew lessons from the life of Ruth. Once again, I gave a number of salient points they can begin to apply to themselves now if they wish to grow into godly young women.

We provide our own food for the camp, and the food service is headed by Esther Dima, wife of our Kumasi pastor Reuel Dima. She has very competently handled this responsibility for several years and this year demonstrated not only her competence but her creativity! Due to some unexpected changes with the facilities, we found ourselves without use of the camp’s kitchen when we arrived! Esther had an awning set up in the yard, and by making careful use of three large propane burners, she and her staff set about cooking three meals a day for the camp and carrying it all down to the dining hall! But throughout all of it, the kitchen staff never spoke a word of complaint to me! They knew what had to be done, and they simply found a way to make it happen!

The final day of camp was Sabbath, Aug. 19. We combined with most of the local Kumasi brethren, filling the hall nicely! Cliff Demarest and Cody Kitts each gave split sermons. It was a different experience for them, because they spoke both Sabbaths we were there, and many of the local brethren do not understand English well, or at all. They had to speak a phrase and then wait for it to be translated into Twi. The speaking style takes some getting used to before it becomes comfortable, but both did an admirable job!

This was our first time to use this facility, and we had to work through some difficulties. But as the staff observed our campers and activities, they were very favorably impressed and told the manager they need to have more people like us use their property!

On the last Sabbath, something else rather unexpected happened. Unbeknownst to any of us, the manager of the facility stood outside the room during most of services. As she listened, the messages made a large impact on her. So, following camp, she contacted Mr. Dima. In the process of the conversation, she asked for a subscription to Discern magazine as well as several of our booklets! It will be interesting to see where this may go, especially since this facility is owned and run by the Catholic Church in Ghana.

The young people in Ghana are grateful to the work and sacrifice of the volunteers as well as the contributions from FOI that make this camp possible.

Tracker Pixel for Entry