Whether it is a divine service for children, for ministers, or for the whole congregation, serving God together is always a celebration. All over the world, people come together for divine service and sometimes there is a special reason to celebrate.
First divine service in a church building
The congregation of Sounsouri in Togo dedicated their new church building with a special service on 1 July. In the 1990s, brothers and sisters from the towns of Dapaong and Djapak kept coming to Sounsouri and spoke about their faith. This is how a congregation was established and grew quickly. Apostle Anika Kodjo soon sealed the first believers. Since then, the congregation has come together for worship under a large tree in the village, where they were at the mercy of the weather. The New Apostolic Church International provided funds for the building material so that a church could be built. The members did a lot of the work themselves and completed the building in only ten weeks.
In the middle of war
Since February 2022, when Russia attacked Ukraine, it is not unusual that divine services cannot take place in Kiev, the Ukrainian capital. The joy was all the greater therefore when little Sophia was able to receive the sacrament of Holy Baptism in Kiev on 1 July. The divine service was based on Psalm 126: 3: “The Lord has done great things for us, and we are glad.” Not many attended the divine service because of the volatile situation in the country.
District Apostle Minio travels through Chile
As he travelled through Chile, District Apostle Enrique Minio conducted three divine services in three days. On Friday evening, 1 September, he was in Marín for a divine service for the ministers and teachers. The Bible text was taken from Luke 17: 10: “So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.’” The District Apostle recommended that serving God should mean that we give Him the best from our heart. “When we do that it becomes an act of thanksgiving,” he said.
The District Apostle conducted the next divine service in Concepción, 500 kilometres away. He based his sermon on Psalm 119: 19: “I am a stranger in the earth; do not hide Your commandments from me.” The District Apostle emphasised that it is not only important that we understand and accept the message we receive from the altar, but that we also put it into practice.
From there it was one-and-a-half-hour drive to Huamachuco, where District Apostle Minio conducted the third divine service on Sunday morning. He based his sermon on Romans 5: 19: “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one man’s obedience many will be made righteous.” The District Apostle explored the subject of righteousness before God. “The heavenly Father gave us the capacity for rational thought, certainty, and faith. These three tools help us to grow,” was one of the points the District Apostle made to encourage the members.
Acts of blessing in the Philippines
District Apostle Edy Isnugroho has also been travelling a lot in recent months. He and Apostle Samuel Tansahtikno travelled to the Philippines at the end of August to visit some of the congregations there. He conducted eight divine services there: in Samal Bataan, Calapandayan, Lapaz, Moreno, Manambong Sur, Banca-banca, Trece-Cavite, and Tagaytay. Six children and four adults were sealed, two Evangelists were retired, and two Priests and three Deacons were ordained.
Explaining the annual motto to the children and young people
Over the last weekend in August, the young people from Spain spent three days together in Guardamar del Segura. District Apostle Jürg Zbinden from Switzerland, who is responsible for Spain, welcomed the young people with the words: “United we stand.” In the divine service on Sunday morning and elsewhere during the weekend, he used the opportunity to talk to the young people about our annual motto “Serving and reigning with Christ”. One of the things he told the young sisters and brothers was that serving means helping. “To reign means that one has control over one’s time and thoughts. Am I the one who is in control or am I being controlled? This also applies in social media when you give a like or post a comment. All those who open their hearts to the Lord today and let Him do the talking will serve and reign with Christ in peace.”
Children from some of the New Apostolic congregations in Spain gathered near San Ildefonso de la Granja on 31 August for the weekend. Besides ice-breaker activities, swimming, pottery, and lots of games, the children also talked about their faith. Everyone looked forward to the divine service on Sunday morning, which was based on 1 John 4: 19: “We love Him because He first loved us.” The officiant interpreted the Bible text in a child-friendly way. When you come to divine service, he told the children, you hear the word of God and you are strengthened. “And when we feel good, we can do good for our neighbour,” the officiant said. “This is what Christ wants and this is what it means to serve Christ.”