Update 553


Christ in the Old Testament

On August 11, 2012, Norbert Link will give the sermon, titled, “Christ in the Old Testament.”
The services can be heard at www.cognetservices.org (12:30 pm Pacific Time; 1:30 pm Mountain Time; 2:30 pm Central Time; 3:30 pm Eastern Time). Just click on Connect to Live Stream.

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Give Up

by Eric Rank

Occasionally, we hit rough patches, don’t we? Sometimes our difficulties swarm around us, triggering a wide array of reactions, many of them not-so-good. I relate, and much more than I would like to admit. The feelings of being overwhelmed, frustrated, upset, angry, helpless, among many other negative emotions trap me most when I let my guard down, lose sight of my values, and become weak. I don’t think I’m alone in having a positive attitude that sometimes fails.

The hardest part is having the conscious awareness that I should know better. It is helpful to know that the situations causing me to stumble are insignificant when placed in the right perspective, but it is not always helpful. Even with the truth of the matter staring me in the face, emotions persist and the hardness of reality refuses to bend. The question then emerges, “what is one to do when struggling against one’s self?” The answer? Quite simply, give up.

Give up fighting alone. Our weakness becomes strengthened immeasurably when we use the resources made available to us by God. Ephesians 6:11 reminds us to “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” Without Godly truth, righteousness, the gospel of peace, faith, salvation, prayer, and the Holy Spirit, we are defenseless against the force of frustration that we may face. When we make use of what God has freely provided to us, we have an immense and powerful hope that can lead us to bravely overcome our struggles.

Give up relying on our own strength. Submitting ourselves to God and admitting to that we are not strong enough to solve our problems alone is extremely humbling. But, we are reminded that even Jesus Christ proclaimed without shame that He could do nothing without God. We are in the same position. Jesus Himself tells us about how He is behind everything that we do. When His word was recorded in John 15:5, He said, “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me and I in him bears much fruit. For without me you can do nothing.” There is strength in knowing that when we allow Jesus Christ to live in us, He supports us in doing everything. How encouraging it is to know that we have such an Advocate!

Give up on relying on our own view of an immovable reality, and instead prove our faith. Having the faith of Christ, that God will fulfill His plan – no matter what – is the hope that we must have. This same hope gives us the power to see through sticky and nasty situations presented to us. Our faith must not be empty, but proven by action. James 2:22 tells us that faith is made perfect by action. We do this by acting consistently with our beliefs. By contrast, a discouraged spirit causes us to act contrary to our faith. There is no way to perfect our faith with a hopeless attitude. Reminding ourselves of the substance of our faith is vital to overcoming difficult situations.

However, there is one thing we must not give up on – trying. When we give up trying, we give in to the snares of Satan, allowing him to govern the course of our behavior. By continuing to try to overcome the difficulties of life, we make our faith manifest and prove our trust in God. Psalm 55:22 gives us some good advice, “Cast your burden on the LORD, And He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.” We cannot forget that we have the hope and strength of God to support us as long as we don’t give up on Him.

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We begin with an ominous report quoting Iran’s Khamenei call to prepare for war. Citing other developments, we see the merging of Islamist interests in Egypt and Iran and the preparations for war defense by the Israelis.

Greece begins to deport migrants and we report on the growing acceptance of euthanasia as a business in Germany; German lawmakers support gay relationships as holding “consersative values”; Mitt Romney is revealed as flip-flopping on the issue of gay relationships, and we report on the spread of African swine flu into Europe.

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Khamenei: WAR IN WEEKS!

DEBKAfile published on August 1, 2012:

“On July 27, just before Friday prayers, Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei summoned top Iranian military chiefs for what he called ‘their last war council.’

“’We’ll be at war within weeks,’ he told the gathering, DEBKAfile’s exclusive Iranian and intelligence sources disclose.

“Present were Defense Minister General Ahmad Vahidi, Khamenei’s military adviser General Yahya Rahim-Safavi, Armed Forces Chief Major General Seyed Hassan Firuzabadi, Revolutionary Guards Corps commander General Mohammad Ali Jafari and Al Qods Brigades chief General Qassem Soleimani. The commanders of the air force, the navy and ground forces were also there.
“Each of the participants was tapped to report on the readiness of his branch or sector for shouldering its contingency mission.

“While retaliation had been exhaustively drilled in regular military exercises in the past year, Khamenei ordered the biggest fortification project in Iran’s history to save its nuclear program from even the mightiest of America’s super-weapons. Rocks are being gathered from afar, piled on key nuclear installations, covered with many tons of poured concrete and finally plated with steel.

“That same Friday, the US Air force unveiled its new Massive Ordnance Penetrators. Each bunker buster weighs 30,000 pounds and is able to penetrate 60 feet of reinforced concrete.

“Turning to retaliation, the war council endorsed a battery of paybacks for potential US and/or Israeli pre-emptive strikes against its nuclear program. They would start by announcing enhanced uranium enrichment up to 60 percent – that is close to weapons grade.

“Oft-tested ballistic missiles, Shehab-3, would be loosed against Israel, Saudi Arabia and American Middle East and Gulf military installations.

“Hizballah in Lebanon and Hamas and Jihad Islami in Gaza stand ready to pitch in against Israel with attacks from the north and the southwest.
“Saudi oil export terminals would be blown up and mines sown in the Strait of Hormuz to impede the export of one-fifth of the world’s oil.

“Khamenei put before his war council a timeline of weeks for the coming conflict – September or October.”

War is coming again in the Middle East! Up to this point, rumors of impending conflict–especially between Israel and Iran–have been a constant item in the news. What we are witnessing following the “Arab Spring” is leading to the realignment of nations of the area to form an even stronger Islamist power-bloc–all potential enemies in a war against the State of Israel. However, the Bible does not support many of the ideas which are being circulated pertaining to future events in the Middle East. For more information, please view our new StandingWatch program, “War With Iran Coming Soon?”

Egypt Talks to Iran

The Los Angeles Times wrote on August 8, 2012:

“Signaling a new era in Egypt’s diplomacy, President Mohamed Morsi met with Iran’s vice president Wednesday in the highest-level official contact between the two strategic nations in decades.

“Morsi’s visit with Hamid Baghaei gave Iran a diplomatic coup amid sharpening international pressure over its nuclear program and links to Syria. It came as Egypt’s new Islamist president looks to gradually reshape the pro-American policies of toppled leader Hosni Mubarak to reflect political shifts brought by the ‘Arab Spring’ revolts.

“The brief meeting in the Egyptian capital did not produce any breakthroughs, but it was symbolic. Formal relations between the two countries were broken after the Iranian Revolution and Egypt’s 1979 peace treaty with Israel. Mubarak had rebuffed Iran’s efforts in recent years to restore full diplomatic ties, although lower-level talks between officials were occurring.

“Baghaei’s stopover came at a pivotal time for both nations regarding Israel. Israel has suggested it might attack Iran’s nuclear program, which it believes is aimed at developing a bomb and which Tehran says is purely for civilian purposes. Cairo is under pressure from Israel and the United States to improve security in the Sinai peninsula after recent attempts by militants to infiltrate Israel…

“Iran has hailed Morsi’s presidency as Egypt’s ‘Islamic awakening.’ It has turned to Cairo as Iran’s regional stature is under duress from economic sanctions and political upheavals that have reconfigured the Arab world.

“Syrian President Bashar Assad, Iran’s reliable proxy, has been weakened by months of protests and bloody insurgency. If Assad is overthrown or relinquishes power, Tehran could lose an ally in its maneuverings in Lebanon and the Gaza Strip, which is governed by the militant group Hamas.

“The Muslim Brotherhood, which inspired the founding of Hamas, has been urging closer relations with Iran. But many Egyptian clerics have been opposed to strengthening ties given the historical animosity between Sunnis and Shiites.”

Israel in a Defense Race

Reuters reported on August 5, 2012:

“Israel is upgrading its Arrow II ballistic missile shield in a U.S.-backed ‘race’ against Iran, Syria and other regional enemies, a senior Israeli defense official said on Sunday.

“The new ‘Block 4’ generation of guided interceptor rockets, radars and technologies for synchronizing Arrow with U.S. systems was being installed in deployed Israeli batteries, a process that would take several weeks, the official said.

“‘The accuracy and the reach will be greater,’ the official said of Arrow, which has been operational since 2000 and is designed to blow up incoming missiles at altitudes high enough for non-conventional warheads to disintegrate safely.

“‘It is part of the technological race in the region,’ the official, who declined to be named, told Reuters.

“Long jittery about Iran’s disputed nuclear program, the Israelis have more recently worried the Syrian insurgency could loosen Damascus’s hold on its chemical weapons and missiles.

“Israel has threatened to attack preemptively in both countries, a prospect that could trigger wider war and clash with Washington’s efforts to resolve the crises diplomatically.”

Greece Rounds Up Migrants

The New York Times reported on August 6, 2012:

“A vast police operation here aimed at identifying illegal immigrants found that, of 6,000 people detained over the weekend, 1,400 did not have proper documentation, leading the minister of public order to say that Greece was suffering an ‘unprecedented invasion’ that was threatening the stability of the debt-racked nation.

“The minister, Nikos Dendias, defended the mass detentions, saying that a failure to curb a relentless flow of immigrants into Greece would lead the country, which is surviving on foreign loans, to collapse. ‘Our social fabric is at risk of unraveling,’ Mr. Dendias told a private television channel, Skai. ‘The immigration problem is perhaps even greater than the financial one’…

“About 4,500 officers conducted raids on streets and in run-down apartment blocks in central Athens, a police spokesman said, calling the sweep one of the largest ever by the force. Eighty-eight Pakistanis were flown back home on a chartered flight on Sunday, said the spokesman, who spoke on the standard ground rules of anonymity. He said more deportations were expected in the coming days.

“With its position on the southeastern flank of the European Union, Greece has long been the most common transit country for impoverished migrants from Africa, Asia and the Middle East. But the global economic malaise and the revolutions of the Arab Spring have sharply increased the flow of migrants, and the government has been calling for more help from the European Union.”

As has been talked about for quite a while, the United States of Europe are becoming a European fortress.

Euthanasia Business Finds German Approval!

The Local published the following on August 6, 2012:

“Nearly half of Germans are in favour of legalising euthanasia businesses, a recent survey revealed. The German parliament is still divided over proposed changes to assisted suicide laws.

“The survey, carried out by pollsters Emnid, found that 49 percent of Germans would be in favour of lifting the ban on privately-run euthanasia services. Just 41 percent said they would be against, Sunday’s Bild am Sonntag newspaper reported.

“Last week, Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger said that she was going to present a redrafted version of the country’s assisted suicide laws in parliament.

“The new laws would see doctors, carers and close family being able to help someone end their life without facing punishment. Oddly, Emnid found that only 47 percent of the 501 people they asked, approved of this, as opposed to the 49 percent who approved lifting the ban on commercial euthanasia.

“But if the law is altered, providing a commercial euthanasia service would still be illegal, punishable by a two-year prison sentence. Euthanasia businesses were outlawed in Germany in 2009, and Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger said the ban was not up for negotiation.

“But the suggested changes have provoked outcry from critics and sparked a debate within Germany’s ruling coalition.

“Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger is a member of the Free Democratic Party, the junior partner of the coalition, and members of the main governing party – the Christian Democratic Union – have said the distinction between commercial and non-commercial euthanasia is false and misleading.
“Social Democratic Party legal expert Edgar Franke told regional newspaper Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung that assisted suicide was an ethical issue that party-politics had no business with.”

The business of assisted suicide is, first and foremost, the breaking of God’s inviolable law against MURDER! Not only in Germany, but nations around the world trample on human life with ghastly decisions that “legalize” such atrocities as abortion. Life is now a commodity–something never intended or allowed by God, and it will take His direct intervention to now save us from our own twisted and misguided actions!

Gay Relationships Claim “Conservative Values”!

The Local, August 7, 2012, wrote:

“German Family Minister Kristina Schröder of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) has said gay partnerships represent ‘conservative values’ because of their ‘long-term commitment’ – so they should get the same tax breaks as marriages.

“Schröder came out in support of a proposal by 13 CDU MPs calling for tax equality between marriage and homosexual partnerships, the Süddeutsche Zeitung reported on Tuesday.
“In a joint statement, the conservative parliamentarians said, ‘It is not acceptable that politicians are constantly … being asked to abolish the current inequality by the Constitutional Court.’
“The proposal comes in reaction to a Constitutional Court verdict from last week, which decided that public officials, judges, and soldiers in registered partnerships – whether gay or heterosexual – should have the same custody rights as married couples, and so should also be entitled to family allowance.
“The 13 MPs therefore called on their own party to ‘finally’ make tax equality ‘its own political decision.’
“‘We want to recognize that life partners with a registered partnership have set up a framework for a long-term relationship based on mutual trust and affection,’ the statement said. They said registered partners had the same ‘mutual income obligations and duties to each other’ as married couples, so they should have the same tax status.”

Germany’s opposition party, the SPD, is also in favor of providing the tax breaks mentioned in the article. Of course, Germany is by no means the only Western country which is trying to establish such new rules. In fact, most Western countries are doing this or have already done so. However, the so-called “conservative values” offered in this article are a total rejection of the true biblical values established by God. To whitewash sin by calling “evil good and good evil” does not change the timeless LAWS of God. In fact, here is what God says of this kind of approach in Isaiah 5:20: “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!”

Romney Campaign Avoids Stance But Takes a Stance

Newsmax wrote on August 6, 2012:

“The Romney campaign’s decision to duck the Chick-fil-A controversy over gay-marriage appears to have reopened old wounds with social conservatives, who were never fully sold that the former Massachusetts governor would represent their concerns in the marbled halls of Washington.

“’This is the most disheartened that certainly I’ve felt looking at this entire race,’ said Catholic League president Bill Donohue. He told Newsmax in an exclusive interview that social conservatives will now have to decide whether to sit out the race.

“On Friday, Romney told reporters he does not intend to address the controversy that was touched off when big city mayors threatened to punish the Chick-fil-A restaurant chain after its president, Dan Cathy, voiced support for the traditional definition of marriage as between a man and a woman.

“’Those are not things that are part of my campaign,’ said Romney.

“Romney’s aides have explained that while the presumptive GOP presidential nominee favors the traditional definition of marriage, he is trying to structure his remarks to keep the focus solely on the economy in order to have the best possible chance of defeating President Barack Obama in November.”

Spiegel Online (August 6, 2012) adds:

“Critics have called Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney a weakling, and polls show him far behind President Barack Obama. With new suspicions emerging that he has been less than honest about his taxes, even fellow Republicans are having their doubts about him.”

And from the Washingtion Times, August 7, 2012:

“There is one social issue on which Mitt Romney is more liberal than President Obama — that of urging the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) to accept gay scouts.

“Mr. Romney said in 1994 that while it was up to BSA to set its own policy, he thought the scouts should allow gay boys in, and this week his campaign reaffirmed that stance to the Associated Press. The 1994 comments came as he was running to unseat then-Sen. Edward M. Kennedy in Massachusetts.

“‘I support the right of the Boy Scouts of America to decide what it wants to do on that issue. I feel that all people should be able to participate in the Boy Scouts regardless of their sexual orientation,’ Mr. Romney said during a debate at the time.

“Now Scouts for Equality, a group pushing for the national scouting group to allow gay boys to join, said it’s time for Mr. Obama — who as president is the honorary president of the scouts — to take the same stand.”

Mr. Romney’s approach is typical–rather than boldy standing up for the fundamental values long established as basic in American life, he has chosen to let opportunity pass him by, or to support wrong concepts. On the other hand, President Obama is not behaving any better. Our nation is not producing leadership which is rooted in biblical truth, and the sad consequences of that tradegy are already tearing us apart! The world is not ruled by God or His standards—it is ruled by Satan the devil who has deceived the whole world—including the American people and their leaders. Thanks be to God that He will send His Son Jesus Christ very soon to establish the Kingdom of God and righteous rule on this earth.

African Swine Fever Spreads

Reported in The Local, August 8, 2012:

“German pig keeping experts warned on Wednesday that if the African swine fever spreading across Russia and Ukraine hits Germany, damages could cost billions of euros and spark mass culls.

“’We don’t want to start spreading panic, but the situation is serious,’ head of the German pig keepers association (ISN) Torsten Staack told the Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung (NOZ) on Wednesday.

“He said that the virus was highly contagious between animals and if a pig contracts it, they generally die very quickly. If it hit Germany, the consequences would cost ‘into the billions’ and could see around 31,000 of the country’s pig keepers affected by trading restrictions.

“A mass cull could be, he warned, necessary to keep the virus under control as affected animals have to be put down immediately, the NOZ said.

“The Agriculture Ministry issued an official warning on Tuesday about the outbreak in Russia and Ukraine – and has advised people travelling from those countries in particular not to bring pork products back into Germany.

“The virus manifests itself primarily with a high fever, other symptoms differ between animals and there is no vaccination against it. It is not dangerous to humans…

“A kind of ‘fire brigade for plague control’ could be beneficial in situations like these, he said.”

Try as we might, plagues will remain unstoppable as long as humanity rejects the health laws of God–and that includes not eating swine!

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What is the main purpose of God’s Church?

When we think of the word “church,” we need to understand that it is not a reference to a building, but rather to a group of people—the “called-out-ones”–who were given a specific purpose or commission to accomplish. This task can only be achieved with the help of God, who opens doors and provides opportunities to the church as a group of zealous and dedicated people.

Rightly understood, there is not only one purpose or even one main purpose of the church, but there are quite a few reasons for the existence of the church of God.

One main purpose can be derived from Matthew 24:14, which explains that the gospel of the Kingdom of God is to be and will be preached and published to the world as a witness.

When this has been accomplished, the end of this present evil age and civilisation will come. Christ commissioned His disciples to preach the gospel or good news until He returns. It is the church’s responsibility and duty today to fulfill this command. This is mainly accomplished by the church collectively through tithes and offerings from members and co-workers whom God has moved to support His Work, and also by our individual example of letting our lights shine.

The tools, which are utilized by the church to accomplish this task include radio, Internet programs, sermon CDs and DVDs, as well as written publications in the form of booklets, letters and updates.

The core of the gospel includes the fact that the Kingdom of God will be established and rule on and over the earth; that it is our potential to enter the Kingdom or Family of God as born-again immortal God beings; that Jesus Christ will return to rule the world with the resurrected saints (spirit-born members of the Kingdom of God) during the Millennium and the Great White Throne Judgment period to help others to achieve the same potential, which has been offered to us today; and that we will ultimately rule under God and Christ for all eternity.

The gospel message includes the fact that God, in the Person of Jesus Christ, became man so that man could become God.

The gospel is not only about Christ and His life here on earth, but includes also the message that He brought from God the Father. Christ came to reveal God the Father and to demonstrate through the Bible that God is ONE Family–not just one Being. This fact was clearly revealed in the Old Testament, and the righteous saints such as Abraham, Moses or David knew about it, but in general, neither the Jews nor the Gentiles understood this marvellous truth.

The gospel entails what is required by man to achieve his ultimate goal of becoming God through obedience to God’s immutable laws and statutes. Even though God grants us His gift of eternal life in His very Family by grace, He will not force this gift upon us when we show Him through our disobedience that we do not really want and appreciate it. God knows that a life in disobedience to Him brings only misery and pain, and He does not want to give us eternal life in unhappiness. God can and does only give us good gifts.

Another purpose of the church’s ministry is to baptize those whom God is calling into the body of Christ, which is the Church, so that God can give them the gift of the Holy Spirit. We read in Matthew 28:19-20: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in[to] the name [or possession] of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age…”

Notice also the responsibility of the church to teach those who are baptized. This describes another purpose of the church– to tend and feed the lambs and the sheep; that is, the flock of the church members who through the gift of the Holy Spirit within them are now better equipped to understand the deep things and mysteries of the gospel. We read more about this purpose in John 21:15-17:

“So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?’ He said to Him, ‘Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.’ He said to him, ‘Feed My lambs.’ He said to him again a second time, ‘Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?’ He said to Him, ‘Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.’ He said to him, ‘Tend My sheep.’ He said to him the third time, ‘Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?’ Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, ‘Do you love Me?’ And he said to Him, ‘Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed My sheep.’”

This purpose is primarily accomplished through the inspired speaking and counselling of the ministry and others assigned by the ministry to that task.

As individual members, we have the responsibility to grow in Jesus Christ’s grace and knowledge. This can be accomplished by using the tools God has given us, including prayer, Bible study, meditation and fasting, with the goal to develop a close and firm relationship with God who gives us His grace abundantly. Christ’s knowledge is also increased in us through the acceptance of inspired oral and written messages. In fulfilling our individual mission and commission in this way, we fulfill also our responsibilities by being able to give an answer for the hope that lies within us—but we will only do so regarding those who really want to know the truth, and not regarding those who merely ask to so that they can argue with us.

There are certainly additional purposes for the existence of the church, but in this Q&A, we have concentrated on some of the major reasons. To recall, the church is to preach the gospel of the Kingdom of God in all the world, to baptize those God is calling, and to teach and spiritually feed those whom God has called.

Individually, church members are to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ and to support the great effort of the collective body of Christ to proclaim the good news to the world in these end times.

If we remain true to this task and responsibility, we shall be given eternal life in the Kingdom of God. As God beings, we will be in a unique position to do so much good for all of mankind, serving them as kings and priests under Christ’s merciful rule.

Lead writers: Rene Messier and Norbert Link

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Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock

Norbert and Johanna Link have arrived back to Ramona, California, following a very encouraging visit to Colorado. They, along with Margaret Adair, will travel to Oregon later this month for a visit with the brethren. Mr. Link will conduct Sabbath services on August 25, 2012, in Woodburn, Oregon.

A new StandingWatch program, titled, “War With Iran Coming Soon?” was recorded this week. It will also be broadcast on radio, beginning Sunday, August 19. In the program, we ask: Is the US prepared to attack Iran militarily? Will Israel launch a preemptive strike? Would Iran and its allies be in a position to retaliate? Does the Bible tell us anything about a future war in the Middle East? [Beginning August 12, 2012, our StandingWatch program, titled, “What God Says about Marriage,” will be broadcast on radio.]

A new German sermon, titled, “Christus im Alten Testament” (“Christ in the Old Testament”) was recorded this week.

A reminder for those wishing to attend the Feast of Tabernacles with us for 2012–please review details posted on our website under the “FEASTS” heading. Our locations for this year are Pismo Beach, California, and Deganwy, North Wales.

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How This Work is Financed

This Update is an official publication by the ministry of the Church of the Eternal God in the United States of America; the Church of God, a Christian Fellowship in Canada; and the Global Church of God in the United Kingdom.

Editorial Team: Norbert Link, Dave Harris, Rene Messier, Brian Gale, Margaret Adair, Johanna Link, Eric Rank, Michael Link, Anna Link, Kalon Mitchell, Manuela Mitchell, Dawn Thompson

Technical Team: Eric Rank, Shana Rank

Our activities and literature, including booklets, weekly updates, sermons on CD, and video and audio broadcasts, are provided free of charge. They are made possible by the tithes, offerings and contributions of Church members and others who have elected to support this Work.

While we do not solicit the general public for funds, contributions are gratefully welcomed and are tax-deductible in the U.S. and Canada.

Donations should be sent to the following addresses:

United States: Church of the Eternal God, P.O. Box 270519, San Diego, CA 92198

Canada: Church of God, ACF, Box 1480, Summerland, B.C. V0H 1Z0

United Kingdom: Global Church of God, PO Box 44, MABLETHORPE, LN12 9AN, United Kingdom

©2024 Church of the Eternal God