Letter from Dr. Joseph Tkach - Nov. 2015


November 1, 2015

Dear Brothers and Sisters, I want to tell you the story of the Fisk Jubilee Singers. They were a remarkable group of individuals who used their God-given talents to overcome tremendous adversity to build a legacy that has burned bright for more than a hundred and fifty years.

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November 2015    

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

It’s hard to believe that the end of the year is almost here! For our fellowship, 2015 has truly been a time of many blessings. It all started in January, as we prayed for wisdom and looked ahead to see what God would do. We wanted to focus our attention on continuing to develop ministries by being good stewards of the resources given to us. But we still couldn’t have anticipated the many blessings we have experienced. I would love to share some of these wonderful new developments with you.

Converge hosted Paul Young, author of
The Shack, as its keynote speaker.

In March we held our largest Converge conference ever. The gathering provided a great opportunity for our young people to connect and network with some of our more senior members. Camp leaders, ministry interns, pastors and many more shared their passion for participating in the work of Christ around the globe. In addition to planning the upcoming summer enrichment camps, attendees discussed their individual camp needs – and joined together to find a number of creative solutions. For example, when SEP Montana knew it would have to turn campers away because of a lack of tents, Converge participants raised enough money to purchase the extra equipment. But they didn’t stop there.

Attendees gave above and beyond what was asked! And together, the group decided to donate the additional funds to support one of our international missions in Mozambique – a region where clean water is extremely difficult to find. But that’s something that GCI pastor Tim Maguire’s ministry is trying to change. By actively bringing the life-giving gift of clean water to those in need, he’s participating in what God is already doing. Because of the abundant giving at Converge, Tim was able to purchase a well-digging truck. This essential piece of equipment has reduced the drilling time dramatically, making the mission more effective while at the same time providing training and mentorship opportunities for local partners.

I know that blessings don’t always take the form of a monetary donation. This year, we’ve been especially blessed with volunteers, men and women young and old who have selflessly donated their time, talents and vision to keep us moving forward on mission with God. And I’m delighted to report that we have seen these gifts multiplied many times over, broadening the reach of youth ministry into new venues and communities. I saw this type of forward movement happening this past July with our Crossing Borders ministry.

Crossing Borders mission trip
congregational outreach

For more than 10 years, Pastor Lee Berger and a handful of members of our GCI churches have been putting a new spin on international missions: the day trip! Each day during the weeklong ministry they cross the border and work with local Mexican congregations in the area. This includes playing with the children at an orphanage, helping complete building projects, and coming together to worship God in multiple languages. And every night, they return back to their base camp on the Texas side of the border. This innovation allows the group to partner with a variety of age-ranges and backgrounds, creating what I call a true “body of Christ” outreach team.

We here at GCI know how important it is to acknowledge the many, many helping hands that make these ministries a reality. I want to invite you to celebrate this growth with me – growth that would not have been possible without the crucial help you have provided along the way. It truly brings me joy to share this video link with you – http://www.gci.org/donor/2015wrapup

While it only begins to scratch the surface of what’s happening in the field, it’s also a way for me to say “Thank You” to everyone who joined us on this journey.

As 2015 comes to a close, along with celebrating a year of growth and of harvest, I also look forward eagerly to 2016. What will this next year hold? What wonderful new stories of God’s grace will we see in the coming year? What children will get a chance to attend summer camp for the first time? What communities will receive the life-saving gift of clean water and the gospel thanks to Tim’s well-digging ministry? Only God knows. But I feel confident because we are participating in his good plan for the world, and I know that you – those who give to and participate in GCI – will continue to amaze me with the many ways in which you are faithful to the Lord’s call. Thank you!

Looking back in gratitude, and forward with joy,

Joseph Tkach
President – Grace Communion International

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