On November 16, 2019 Grace Fellowship International had a thanksgiving banquet to celebrate 50 years of ministry. Over 90 attended the event which included a dramatic presentation by Ron Solomon (Hudson Taylor), testimonies, music and a devotional message by Dr. Phil Jones. To view video recordings of the banquet program, visit the 50th Anniversary landing page: https://gracefellowshipinternational.com/50th-anniversary/
The following article is featured in our current newsletter, Glimpses of Grace.
From Industry to Ministry: The Launch of GFI
In the summer of 1969 Chuck began to have a dis-ease about remaining in industry. Although several years earlier (before God dealt with his life) he would have panicked at the thought of making a living “on the outside,” he now had total peace about leaving and knew what it was what God would have him do; but he had to have God’s confirmation. He had just organized Grace Fellowship International in May of that year, with John Stevens and Dr. Buker as board members, so he thought he should have their counsel, something from the Word, and circumstances. If all of these lined up, he could be pretty certain he was following God’s direction rather than his own.
On approaching the GFI board members, they didn’t say “yes”; but they didn’t say “no” which left him to the Word and circumstances. As he read in the Word all he could come up with was the number 40, which he later found was the number of “experience.” He was coming up on age 40 which fit; but he could have been twisting this around to suit the occasion so he could not trust that either. This meant that he would have to analyze the circumstances to see if they would agree. As he summarized his position, he did not have funds to support his family unless he could find some reserve funds on which to operate as he made the break from industry and transitioned to ministry. If he quit his job, he would only receive vacation pay whereas if he were to receive a layoff, company policy dictated that he receive 11 weeks of pay plus his vacation. However, the company was not in a layoff mode and since it was not likely that management would be in favor of such an option he did not bother to inquire about it.
Chuck began to pray about the situation, then the company needed to lay off some employees. He could have offered to take a layoff to save the job of someone else, however, he told the Lord that he would like for his direct supervisor to come to him with the offer of a layoff. That December, his direct supervisor came to him and said, “Solomon, what would you think about a layoff?” He replied, “I think it’s about time!”
Chuck walked out a free man the next month with no salary and no promise of financial support by a church or any individual. God had called him; and God had set the time, so Chuck was confident that He would pay for that which He ordered! His wife, however, was not so certain; and she retreated to the bedroom to pray it out and search for a job for herself at the same time. After a week or so, Sue was given total peace from the Lord about it as well, and she has walked by his side from that day forward.
Incidentally, God did provide for all their needs as He promised to do in Phil.4:19: “But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” The layoff was in January; and Chuck started full-time ministry in the basement of their home in Lakewood, Colorado on February 1, 1970. At that time they had three teenagers, one of whom was starting college that Fall. When he left his job, Chuck cut his salary almost in half and drew it out of the account where he had placed his severance pay; once the severance pay was exhausted, he continued to draw out the same amount from the GFI account where all gifts were deposited and which the Lord was constantly replenishing.
From the beginning, God began to honor His calling with transformed lives and to provide opportunities to speak in area churches, which resulted in hurting people scheduling appointments. After about four months of operating from their basement, John Stevens, a GFI board member, made it possible for them to have a basement suite of offices within his Savings and Loan building. He, himself, paid the first and last month’s rent in advance — $200!
God’s faithfulness was demonstrated in that they never had a need from that point forward that was not met. In addition to meeting their own personal needs, millions of dollars were supplied to GFI, not only for the initial offices established that year, but for the many related and spin-off ministries that followed.
-from The Story of GFI–God’s Faithful Intervention
John Woodward is in Brazil September 10-21 to co-teach three Femata retreats in the northeast.
For over a decade, Grace Fellowship has partnered with Edmund Spieker (of TransWorld Radio and Churches in Mission) to provide three day retreats for pastors and their wives. See Edmund’s testimony about “helping leaders finish well” that he gave at a GFI banquet: Fermata Ministry
The Lord blessed the first Fermata in Juazeiro do Norte. Over 30 couples were in attendance for the fellowship, worship, teaching and equipping. A new web page was created for follow up in Portuguese: gracefellowshipinternational.com/brazil/ Fermata concludes with a testimony meeting. Many gave heart-felt thanks for the Exchanged Life teaching and resources. The next two events are also in the state of Ceará; they are planned for Guaraciaba do Norte and Fortaleza.
We give thanks for the recent Conference and Workshop in Tennessee. Participants came from Indiana, Texas, Arkansas, Minnesota, Georgia, Florida, New Jersey, Virginia and India.
John and Linda Woodward spoke at a marriage retreat on July 20. It was hosted by Peoples Church of Montreal. (John served there as Associate Pastor from 1982-1989 and Linda was Choir Director.) The theme was “Cultivating a Christ-Centered Marriage.” John preached on “Growing in Grace” on Sunday morning. Linda’s testimony and song are the current audio podcast at gfiworld.sermon.net.
Exchanged Life Family Training: July 14th – 20th 2019
The Training program started on 14th evening with the opening message by Bro. Sam C Samuel on the topic “Prayer Warriors are essential these days”, challenging the participants from Eph.6:18 to pray without ceasing.
- Practice the presence of God (Bro. Lawrence);
- Prayer is essential to fight against the heavenly forces of darkness;
- with all kinds of prayer (ACTS – Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving & Supplications);
- on all occasions (in Worship or in Workplace);
- praying in the Spirit (Rom.8:26, 27) and intellectually (the Newspapers will give us the fuel for prayer);
- Watch & Pray (perseverance in prayer) till we get the answer;
- for all saints (including me).
God sought for a man to makeup the hedge and stand in the gap before Him for the land, that He should not destroy them (Ez.22:30); but since He found none, God had to pour out His indignation upon them and consumed them with fire of His wrath; We are 9 here; let us pray in agony leading to fervent prayer.
Sam C Samuel, the pioneer in UESI, worked with Every Home Crusade, as Director of “School of Prayer”, now works with Agape Ministries at his 76 years. He was one of the first to attend the Exchanged Life Seminar in 1973, preaching the Exchanged Life and the Message of the Cross whenever he gets opportunity…
– Prayers and best wishes from P. P. Thomas, Cherian Zachariah and Capt. Cherian Thottathil.
Internet TV Programs
Weekly programs are being produced at the new IAM tv studio in Pigeon Forge, TN. The episodes are broadcast live on this internet (and Roku) TV station. There are now two GFI programs: Don Steve’s “Uncommon Recovery” (usually Thursday mornings at 9:45 and 10:30) and John Woodward’s “Glimpses of Grace” (usually Friday mornings at 9:45 and 10:30). See www.facebook.com/iamtv.us/ for these live and recorded videos.
We’re thankful for a good “Navigating the Recovery Journey” seminar at Annandale, Virginia on June 8th. Some of the leaders came from Iowa and Missouri who had benefited from Dr. Solomon’s training decades ago. And we also had some in their 20’s who were relatively new to the Galatians 2:20 Counseling approach. Thanks to Ray and team for their hosting and hospitality!