Volume 6| Issue 12 | December, 2020
Instead of our usual 6 page printed & mailed Glimpses of Grace newsletter, this email edition gives our year-end report. Printer-friendly document: Glimpses_Dec_2020
Dr. Charles Solomon 1930-2020
Our beloved Founder and President Emeritus, Charles Solomon, ended his earthly pilgrimage on November 22nd. At 90 years of age, with diminishing strength and abilities due to Parkinson’s, Chuck went to sleep in his chair that night and woke up in glory. Prayers are appreciated for his children–Ron, Cathy and Susan–and the extended Solomon and Grace Fellowship International families. “…We are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. For we walk by faith, not by sight. We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord” (2 Cor. 5:6-8).
A public Celebration of Life service is planned for Sunday, January 17, 2021 at 2:00PM. It will be hosted by First Baptist Church in Pigeon Forge (3290 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863). The service will be live-streamed on the internet and/or video recorded for friends across the country and around the world. Your prayers and sympathy are appreciated.
Celebration of the Incarnation
In the nativity narrative we learn of the miracle of Christ’s conception by the Holy Spirit in the Virgin Mary (Luke 1:26-35). This was prophesied in Isaiah 7.14: “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.” About nine months later was the incarnation–our Savior was born in Bethlehem, in a humble stable and laid in a manger. Micah prophesied,
“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
Though you are little among the thousands of Judah,
Yet out of you shall come forth to Me
The One to be Ruler in Israel,
Whose goings forth are from of old,
From everlasting.” (Micah 5:2)
The birth of the Lord Jesus was the occasion of great celebration. The shepherds rejoiced when they witnessed the majestic birth announcement from the Herald angels (Luke 2:8-20), and Mary rejoiced as she sought to grasp the privilege of being the mother of the Messiah (Luke 1:47-49).
This special time of the year reminds us to give thanks again for the supernatural birth of the Lord Jesus. Like Mary and the shepherds, we are to celebrate by worshiping God in spirit and in truth. The Christian life is also designed to be an incarnation, since Christ lives in us by the Holy Spirit. The apostle Paul testified of “Christ in you the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27). As Christ lives His life in us and through us, we become vessels of His saving Life in this needy world (Gal. 2:20).
We give thanks for Christ’s conception in Mary and His incarnation in the world. As when the magi saw the star of Bethlehem, may there be celebration: rejoice with exceeding great joy!
One of the highlights of the year for Dr. Solomon was the printing of 16,000 Arabic “Wheel and Line” booklets. This project was sponsored by the translator, Jenny Hovsepian (author of Two Great Men) at the request of Voice of Preaching the Gospel (an Arabic language international ministry). This booklet would be included in each copy of their magazine sent to the middle east and elsewhere.
Counseling and Training
2020 has brought GFI a record number of requests for counseling and resources. The need has been great, but God’s resources in Christ are adequate for believers to live as “more than conquerors through Him who loved us.”
GFI conducted conferences and Spirituotherapy Workshops in Pigeon Forge,Tennessee in March, August and November. We welcome Luther Rice Seminary students when they select these events as part of the required practicum for the Masters degree in Biblical Counseling.
A Workshop scheduled for April at Bayside Chapel in New Jersey transitioned into our first online Workshop. Over a 5 week period 30 conference alumni did weekly reading, viewed video instruction and met on Sunday afternoons for internet zoom meetings. These afternoons included breakout sessions for students to practice skills with their designated partner(s).
An online edition of John’s Christ is Life Conference was conducted in June. Now that conference content is available, not only in the audio CD album format, but via the 8 recorded videos.
We congratulate those who have completed Exchanged Life Counselor certification this year: Lisa Hummel (N.C.), pastor Ron Horst (Alberta, Canada), Beth Kressin (GA), and Beth Gates (GA). Read their testimonies at ELCmatters.org
Deeper Life Discipleship Study
With the pandemic came a need for increased use of internet video meetings for small group ministry. In the spring John started a Monday night Bible study assisted by Dan Hawkins, Aaron Kim and Ray Kruse. The initial series was based on the classic book The Law of Liberty in the Spiritual Life, by Evan Hopkins. The video recordings were then imported as one of the courses freely available at www.GraceStudyHall.org Information about meeting access, topics, and recordings is on the GFI web site under “Counseling Institute.”
In July, Dr. Solomon’s daughter, Administrative Manager Cathy, had a severe fall that required hospitalization, two surgeries and months of rehab and convalescence. She needs continued prayer as she slowly resumes some of her administrative work part time. Thankfully, the long time friend of the Solomons and GFI, John Norman, has stepped into the role of doing the office administration, so you will hear the voice of “2nd John” when you call GFI.
by Don Steve
We are indeed living in challenging times. A Global pandemic, political strife, hatred, and deception all add to the potential that our earthly coping strategies will be overwhelmed. The truth is that even sophisticated coping strategies are never a viable substitute for the life that Jesus gives. At Grace Fellowship International, we want to be responsive to God’s Spirit in the face of any advance of the kingdom of darkness. God is always ahead of the enemy, and He invites us to join Him in manifesting Himself to a darkened world.
One way that darkness is increasing is through an increase of addiction and the destruction that always accompanies it. A recent article in the American Journal of Managed Care noted the impact of the ongoing pandemic on addiction: “The addiction community is raising alarms that the current epidemiological climate alone is a risk factor in substance abuse relapse.” An article in the New York Times labeled the coronavirus “a national relapse trigger.” G.F.I. is responding to God’s Spirit and the increased need.
We now have recovery webinars available in multiple formats ranging from an hour-long introduction to exchanged life-based recovery ministry to full-day and multi-week formats. In-person conferences are available contingent upon Covid precautions and restrictions.
The darkness of addiction is indeed a national and global tragedy. Last year alone (2019), there were just under 71,000 overdose deaths in the United States.
For more information on webinars, conferences, or how you may partner with G.F.I. to bring the healing light of the cross to the brokenness of addiction, contact Don Steve at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-865-214-7747. UncommonRecovery.org
by Rob Clogg, Director of GFI Canada
A 20/20 on 2020 and Galatians 2:20
“At Home in the Lord”
My review for this past year in not bleak. In an election year with so much turmoil and a pandemic that has impacted every single person; it begs the question for every single person to review what drives their life. I am learning what it means to be “at home in the Lord”.
This has been quite the year. Unless you have been hiding in a closet you know what I mean. Canada is big and our area has been impacted in a different way that eastern Canada. The health and travel measures for Covid in Canada are similar to that of the U.S. Our borders are closed unless you qualify for travel outside the country. A 14 -day quarantine is required. We expect these measures to stay in place into the new year. We have stayed healthy. I serve in various roles including ‘power of attorney’ for my cousin who had a stroke. Seven people died at his facility and many others hospitalized. The lockdown meant many weeks without a personal visit. Churches have been locked down and this has changed the way people meet.
So, what’s my ‘20/20’ on this? The best thing about the 2020 turmoil is the 20/20 perspective we can bring. Since my primary role is counseling and mentoring, every person I mentor has had more available time to meet, especially those who have lost jobs. They have appreciated personal or phone fellowship. Phone mentoring is immune to Covid and small group leadership is exactly what I do. Relationships and fellowship help the message we share to be heard.
Amidst the election turmoil, it is such a blessing to live in Christ (In His Kingdom) and to live in ‘the fullness of life’ regardless which political party succeeds. And amidst the Covid, when we are required daily to redefine every activity and relationship; we have the same ‘Life’ we had yesterday, and it is the One we have today and the One we will have tomorrow (Galatians 2:20). This is freedom, peace and joy in Christ.
This is the first year we have not seen our family in Texas for a whole year. We would prefer being able to see them. In 2 Corinthians 5:6-9, the apostle Paul wrestled with being present in the body but away from the Lord. We are always confident and know that because we are at ‘Home in the Lord’ we can live today as God intended. We prefer to be present with our family and friends, but we can still be at home. In Christ we are always “Home in the Lord.”
[Editor’s note: Rob wrote this article prior to Chuck Solomon’s home-going.]
Dr. Hendrik and Nehlsie DeBruto
Our ministry has changed dramatically during lockdown time. In this we also realize that our God knows all. He prepared us for this new kind of ministry when we moved to Nelspruit.
Both Hendrik and myself started whatsapp disciple groups and during lock down we just carried on with our ministry. People also phone us for guidance and counselling more than ever. We have thus also learned to do counselling effectively on the phone.
Since the Covid-19 outbreak in South Africa in March 2020, we had to cancel all our seminars for the rest of 2020. We are in the risk age group (69) that need to take extra precautions to avoid the exposure to big groups of people.
We are busy with the following:
1. One on one counselling sessions for depression, unemployment, coaching young men, marriage and family counselling, etc.
2. Home visits – call outs to terminal sick people requiring death support and certainty of faith.
3. Giving support to the lonely elderly living around us.
4. As grandparents helping out to look after grandchildren.
5. Sending short WhatsApp voice and video messages on the message of the Cross.
6. Small Intersession prayer group meetings, early on Thursday mornings.
We trust our Heavenly Father to continue His work through us, He is always faithful and trustworthy.
Charles Ambaka is now back in Kenya to provide counseling, training and coaching. He writes:
…My wife Judy and I have been busy reaching out and ministering to young couples and individuals. Many are going through untold crisis and are reaching out to us for counselling. It is very evident that the Exchanged Life Message remains the key and foundation–living our daily lives depending on the indwelling Christ life in us. Many are coming to the end of themselves as we counsel and share with them. There is no better time than the times we are living in where everything that people the world over had made their hope and foundation has crumpled–whether in their personal lives or careers. Many here are crying for help and solutions. As we share the Christ Centred message, many are finding victory and rest in Him…
We appreciate the spiritual, logistical and financial support given by GFI. In spite of pandemic we still organize trainings in Romania. In Brasov (center part of Romania) we have a counselling training school of two years. On the last period we visited Suceava, Timisoara and we still have the counselling center in Oradea. This year we succeeded to arrange the land in order to build the therapeutic village. Because the resources were over, we will wait until Lord will provide some supply. Once again, we thank you for what you did for us.
Grace Fellowship has partnered with Churches in Mission and TransWorld Radio in the Fermata pastors’ retreat ministry for about 15 years. Their Director, Luciano Pauls, attended the GFI training week in March and they are now using a video recording of John Woodward (translated into Portuguese) in an online version of the retreat. Our book by Lee Turner, Understanding Grace, is being translated to be published in Brazil to help equip pastors. Fermata founder, Edmund Spieker, gave a testimony about this ministry; the video recording is here: https://vimeo.com/58926602
Love Them to Life – Joe and Cherri Freeman
Covid-19 has increased illness, stress, unemployment, isolation, anger, fear, and death, all of which people use drugs and alcohol to numb and forget. Although this is an unprecedented time in our country, it is comforting to know that our God never changes, nor does the answer to the problem of addiction, which is a personal, intimate relationship with Jesus Christ….
The ministry of Love Them To Life has continued, despite the restrictions of the past months regarding travel and churches having to meet virtually. Speaking at churches and teaching our Set Free seminar are the public portions of our ministry. However, we continue to counsel individuals as well as providing a phone resource for families who have no idea what to do or how to help their loved one.
As the churches open up and begin to have services in person, we are available to speak, including Joe’s testimony and a time for questions/answers. We are also available to teach our Set Free Seminar.
The seminar is also available online and could be shown remotely to groups or individuals who need to see it but may not have access in person. Please contact us at email@example.com for more information.
GFI Prison Ministry
I have begun to develop a one-to-one mentoring ministry to inmates (been slowed by Covid19). I was asked by one of the men I mentor to see if we could get more men to work one-on one with others inside the prison walls. These volunteers would visit on a monthly basis to develop a relationship with the inmate and guide him in his walk with Jesus. I have one man who wants to participate as a mentor in our ministry. This will be a strong focus for me and I am very excited to see what God has in store.
Promise Keepers is looking to make some new impact under the leadership of Ken Harrison. We are looking to partner with them and develop ways to get the “Exchanged Life” message out to the men to which they minister. John Woodward and I had a phone meeting with the PK Team that develops relationships with other ministries.
We now have a website with the name Men Under Construction: menunderconstruction.me We also have visibility on social media as we are looking to take the “Exchanged Life “ to men via zoom meetings and video resources. We are looking to grow this discipleship effort as the Holy Spirit directs and effects. As it grows we look to have men join us in taking our message to other men.
YouTube Ministry: Testimony & Counseling of Aaron Kim
It has been 2 years since the Lord started to use the youtube ministry to comfort and set free the severely afflicted. It has not slowed down for 2020. The Holy Spirit continues to somehow bring these youtube videos to the right people at the right time. There have been many viewers who have testified they came to the end of themselves, and not knowing what to do they desperately cried out to God for help. Then shortly after, they somehow found the videos and were ultimately delivered from their afflictions; many of whom were led to receive counseling from Grace Fellowship International.
For example, a Christian, college student living in India was severely suffering from mental afflictions and was planning to end her life by jumping off a bridge into a river (she cannot swim). Before doing so, she researched on youtube to try and figure out whether a Christian would go to heaven or hell after committing suicide. Instead, the Lord led her to the videos. Over a few weeks, she not only abandoned her plans to end her life, but she was on fire for the Lord and full of hope and joy. She shared with me about 8 months later that she led her mom and dad to a genuine, saving relationship with Jesus. The devil tried to destroy her, but God had a deliverance plan. LivingHopeMinistry.net
When we received Christ as our personal Savior heaven opened up and God lavished His grace upon us. He has “blessed us in heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3) Yet, Why are many Christians emaciated spiritually and lacking power and purity in their lives? God’s “very great and precious promises” must be claimed. We must learn how to possess our spiritual possessions! New edition in paperback! (10 chapters)
10 courses are featured in Grace Fellowship International’s online course portal. These can be used for personal growth and discipling others. Sign up for a free account and proceed at your own pace at www.GraceStudyHall.org
As you consider year-end giving to the Lord’s work, we invite you to partner with GFI in providing Christ-centered counseling, equipping and resources internationally. You may donate securely online through the web site, by phone, or mailed check. “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift” (2 Cor. 10:15).
Grace Fellowship International is a faith ministry, supported by those with a burden to advance the Gospel of Christ through Discipleship Counseling, training, and equipping internationally. We invite you to join our prayer and support team.
Grace Fellowship International Staff
Dr. Charles Solomon – Founder & President Emeritus
Dr. John Woodward – Director of Counseling & Training
Rev. Don Steve – Directory of Recovery Ministries
Rev. Rob Clogg – Director of Canadian Ministries
Cathy Solomon – Administrative Manager