Emerging Nations: November Newsletter
You can quarantine the Pastor, you can quarantine the population, you can even quarantine the church, but you simply cannot quarantine the Lord. Our King has continued to be on the move throughout this global pandemic, in wonderful and incredible ways, and as we continue then to join with Him in this great adventure of mission, here are some ways you can be praying for us in the month ahead…
Please pray for the many Pastors & wives, from many different Nations, who will be attending our online Sovereign Grace Pastors & Wives event, on November 11th (US Time). Please pray that they will be encouraged, refreshed and envisioned from that event, and that God would be on the move in our midst, even in this online format.
Please pray for Michael Granger and Trinity Fellowship in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, asking God to bless their public services that they started just a few weeks ago, and that many unbelievers would be drawn to this church to hear the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ.
Please pray for Jeffrey Jo in Manila, Philippines; Cornelio Ebo in Cebu City, Philippines; and Dyonah Thomas in Liberia, asking God to give them grace and time, as they continue to work through the Sovereign Grace Churches ordination process.
Please pray for Joselo Mercado, Lead Pastor of Iglesia Gracia Soberana in Gaithersburg, as he travels to Costa Rica, right at the start of December, to meet with 25 plus pastors to equip and care for them.
Please pray for me (Dave Taylor), Mark Prater and the SG Leadership Team as we continue to pray, discuss, and plan for global expansion in Sovereign Grace Churches. There are so many opportunities, caveats, and realities to work through, and so please pray that wisdom and grace would abound to us in this process. What exciting, daunting, and inspiring times these are.
… Thank you so much. Your prayers mean more than you know!!
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An update from Riley Spring, Lead Pastor of Sovereign Grace Church of Parramatta, Sydney, Australia…
In September we had the joy of celebrating our 1st Birthday as Sovereign Grace Church Parramatta! We were able to gather live and in-person at a great local church who opened their doors for us so that we could all fit, we heard testimonies of how the Lord has used our church in people’s lives, and we baptised two members! It was an awesome service which allowed us to look back on it all and say, “This is the LORD’s doing; it is marvellous in our eyes” (Psalm 118:23).
After being sent out in September 2019 with 28 members from Sovereign Grace Church Sydney and with the support of SGC’s, we have seen 22 new members plus kids join our church, 4 babies born, we’ve had 2 weddings, 2 baptisms, 3 people taken through Christianity Explored, and a large number of non-churched people have visited us over this time! No one could have predicted that we’d spend 4 months of our first year gathering online on Zoom on Sundays and for Life Groups or that we’d be in 4 different venues, not the greatest start for a church plant! But through it all, God has truly strengthened us, made us dependent on Him, used us to reach the lost, encourage the saints, bind up the broken hearted, and renew the faith of the wandering, what a privilege! We couldn’t have done it without the continual support of our sending church! SG Sydney have poured into us by continuing to mentor me and support our marriage, they have filled the pulpit monthly, and we have partnered together in many cross-church discipleship opportunities!
One of the most remarkable aspects of our first year is the joyful and sacrificial service of our members who have given their lives to helping make it all happen. With every awesome event, walk-up outreach, church service and life group, our members have gone above and beyond to use their time, talents, and treasures in service to the King of Kings. It truly moves me as a pastor to see the saints serve with such eager willingness, creativity, perseverance and skill!
Let me share with you Jordan’s story as one small example of how God is using our church. Jordan arrived in Australia from the Philippines and she and her husband visited our church because they were staying with some of our members. Jordan grew up Roman Catholic and was always uncertain of her future destiny even though she went to mass, confession, and services regularly.
“I did all those things out of fear – fear from getting reprimanded by my parents, fear of getting judged by other members of the community, and most of all, fear of going to hell for not doing good. There was a time when I even went to confession on a weekly basis because I kept sinning and I was afraid to die and go to hell just because I missed to confess my sins to a priest. And even though I religiously confessed, I did not strongly believe that I was saved.”
During College she went searching for truth and found herself attending different churches but eventually sucked into new age religion and astrology. When she arrived in Australia she loved attending our church but it wasn’t until we preached through Ephesians 6 on spiritual warfare that she realised she needed to completely leave her new-age religion behind and follow Jesus.
“It was when we were going through Ephesians 6 when I felt a strong kick in my gut that I was doing everything wrong. Everything that I used to believe, everything that I held on to, everything that I thought would give me peace and salvation just dissolved. It was as if an ice-cold bucket of water was splashed to clean the dirt off my face that allowed me to open my eyes to see the only truth – that Jesus died on the cross for me and has saved me completely from eternal damnation. My salvation is not a result of my good works, but because of His grace through faith. From that moment, the word “sovereign” just started to make sense to me. I mean, I always knew the dictionary meaning of the word, but it was just that – flat. I have never felt so free and at peace and being able to surrender all my fears and anxieties. And those who know me well, would all agree that I am, or now used to be, a total control freak. On repentance, I have shared with the ladies in our life group that over my 34 years of living, I think it was only twice or thrice when I can honestly say that I felt the agonising remorse for my sins. So now, I’m declaring my choice to constantly repent and follow Jesus. Jesus is now and forevermore my Lord and Saviour.”
Isn’t that amazing!? We don’t know what our future holds as a Church, but He does, and we just hope that we get to meet more Jordan’s and see more people liberated from sin and death and brought into new life in Christ! And we want to do this in partnership with Sovereign Grace Churches, our family! Our mission is to be a church passionate about knowing, applying and proclaiming the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ in Parramatta, please pray for us as we seek to make this happen for God’s glory and the good of our city!
The following video was played at their one year anniversary celebration. Enjoy!
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An update from Michael Granger, Sovereign Grace Church Planter in Ethiopia…
On April 11th of this year, just one day before what was supposed-to-be the official launch of Trinity Fellowship in Addis Ababa, the government of Ethiopia put out a new policy restricting gatherings to no more than 4 individuals. What quickly came about was the temptation to dwell on and be depressed concerning what was "supposed to be” rather than to live in and respond to the reality of what actually was. Real-life was not what we had planned in our minds, put down on paper, nor was it what others had approved in the form of a prospectus for ministry. It was nothing we could have foreseen. As real-life was being stuck inside for months stacked on months. Months in which we had to drop to our knees and cry out to God for wisdom and direction, and months wherein we feel confident that he has abundantly given us more than we could’ve asked or imagined.
Our little church planting team spent many of the months between April and now working on a new project in the absence of our ability to hold Sunday gatherings. My energy has been spent writing a 140-page book specifically contextualized for Ethiopia about sin and the gospel. It is essentially an introduction to the doctrine of sin and how God deals with it. With our people in mind, its purpose is to confront two of the major enemies of the cross out here in Ethiopia: legalism and the prosperity gospel. We desire to answer the questions: "Why did the Father send the Son?” and "What is at the heart of the cross?" Jesus dying in the place of sinners who deserved judgment for their sin. Currently the book is in translation to Amharic.
As for Abenezer, my ministry partner, he is producing an album, the content of which correlates with the themes of the book: A Fallen World, My Sin, God’s Justice & Judgment, The Gospel, and Sanctification. Each song was written by our church planting team in Amharic with three criteria:1) Song themes matching those of the book; 2) Songs that are gospel-centered; & 3) Songs written for congregational church singing. Currently, it is under production and we’re nearing the end. And can I be candid with you? Full disclosure… The album is bangin!
But now the months of not doing what we specifically came here to do have ended. Recently there was a turn of events in our nation. At the end of September, the government reversed its prohibition of church services. So it is with abounding joy I report that on Sunday, October 4th Trinity Fellowship Church in Addis Ababa was finally established. We began with a call to worship from Isaiah 40:9-11 “Behold your God”. That was followed by Bob Kauflin and Jon Althoff’s song He is Our God. Our singing was followed by a pastoral prayer and then I preached from Hebrews 11:39-12:2 Looking Unto Jesus. It was the first of a 3 part series entitled Why We’re Gospel-Centered. We concluded our service by taking communion together. It was a sweet sweet sweet sweet sweet time with one another and with our dear Savior. The last words of the service were, “As my dear pastor and friend, CJ Mahaney always concludes, 'I wish tomorrow were Sunday!'”
I write to you from what is now the sweetest place on earth for us, Trinity Fellowship in Addis Ababa. Thank you for praying for us. And thank you for welcoming us into what the Lord is doing with and through Sovereign Grace Churches.
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A report from Carlos Contreras, Senior Pastor of Gracia Soberana de Ciudad Juarez and SGC Representative to Mexico & Latin America…
A week ago we traveled to the beautiful historic state of Guanajuato, in the central part of Mexico. The church Iglesia Bíblica Gracia Sublime meets in the city of Silao, where this past Saturday, September 12th, we had the privilege of ordaining Manolo Quintal as an elder in Sovereign Grace Churches in a special outdoor event. Manolo has been serving this church as a pastor for more than 10 years and is now the first SGC ordained elder from an adopted church in the Mexico region of SGC.
This is also a landmark ordination, since Manolo chose to fulfill all the requirements for ordination in SGC and is the first pastor prepared for ordination by following the Spanish Ordination Guide. During the ceremony I had the privilege to share a message on the weight and the blessing of the pastoral call, as well as the biblical requirements for eldership. Following, Abelardo Muñoz described the biblical and theological study and tests required of Manolo, praising him for his faithfulness and excellent results.
Testimonies were given to affirm God's calling of Manolo as a pastor, that also highlighted his humility, tenderness, teachability and love, all of which led him to seek adoption into SGC in order to lead God's church faithfully. SGC regional pastors attended from nearby churches in Arandas and Guadalajara and many of them were witnesses to the event through the live internet feed. Other local pastors from the cities of Guanajuato, León and Moroleón were also present.
After Manolo and the congregation responded forcefully to the charges presented to them, we prayed and laid hands on Manolo who was accompanied by his wife Betty. In all it was a moving and heartfelt occasion in the life of Manolo, his family, his team and this newly adopted church.
We are thankful and marvel at the kindness of God who is bringing every year more like-minded churches and pastors to SGC with the desire to join our family of churches. Please join us in praying that God will raise up many other faithful men in Mexico and Latin America to carry on the noble task of caring and leading His church.
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