Ralph Cunnington is the newest member of the Spanish River Church Planting family. Ralph is planting New City Church in Manchester.
Alfredo Forhans, pastor of the Holguín church in Cuba writes:
“Families in Cuba are much like they were before the revolution – hurting. Young people get married in their teens. The island’s severe housing shortage forces most to live with their in-laws and other relatives straining even the best of marriages. When stress comes, divorce is easy; stroll down to a notary public’s office, plunk down $4 and get divorced in twenty minutes. 70% of all marriages end in divorce because of these liberal divorce laws. The other issue influencing Cuban families is legalized, free abortion – the abortion rate in Cuba is 62% of all pregnancies. And yet something interesting is going on. For the last three years the symphony orchestra of the city (the director is our friend and a devoted Christian leader) is giving concerts every year at Christmas. This year the orchestra played in the main theater of the city, sang many Christmas carols, and at the end the song by Chris Tomlin’s Jesus the Messiah. This song, with a very clear message of the gospel, was sung by the choir of the town accompanied by the symphony orchestra. You know, this is something amazing, the people began to sing this song with the choir. For years this was remotely impossible, now we were here, worshiping God and proclaiming him through this glorious gospel song!”
Please pray with us for the youth of Cuba. The gospel has power to change lives, develop new patterns of living and provide models of Christian families. Also pray that we can train and provide helpful information to the married couples of Cuba. This year we will be printing 5,000 copies of Paul Tripp’s book, What did you expect?. Pray that the couples will be able to apply the truths that they learn to their lives and then teach others in their community.
Matt Jensen writes about what has been happening at the Image Church in Jacksonville, Florida.
The Image Church is wrapping up it’s first year and is off to an amazing start! We have seen many people become Christians and baptized, community groups started, and solid partnerships formed to serve the poor in our city. Every week we gather as a very diverse community and preach the gospel, literally on the corner of Liberty St. and Confederate St. I often walk around in disbelief that this is actually happening! Trust me, we are privileged to experience this HUGE miracle. I hope this is just the beginning, and we want more than ever to KEEP GOING with the gospel of Jesus! In 2014, we plan to proclaim the gospel of Jesus, continue building a diverse leadership team, hire a second staff member, add our first local elders, and plant several more community groups to make disciples of Jesus across our city.
Here is just one of our recent salvation stories. Skinny, had all kinds of religious understanding but didn’t know the purpose of God for us in the gospel. He struggled from a “me syndrome” in his words. Thinking he could do life on his own. Listen to his story.
Joanne and I have been doing really well! We’ve worked hard to find a rhythm that works for our family in this busy season of planting a church and having our third child. We now have three children: Braylon (5 years), Kyler (3 years), and Sayla (7 months). Each of them brings so much joy to Joanne and I as we watch them grow and make new discoveries. Please pray that God would protect our family from the enemy and that God would continue to provide for us in 2014.
Our church plant recently celebrated one year in September! 2013 has been our first full year in church planting, and we’ve seen God protect us and provide for us in special ways. We’re rejoicing in the people whose lives are being changed by the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Please continue to pray for us to have a spiritual and tangible impact on the people in our city. We want to see more people coming to faith in Jesus and worshipping him.
Thank you so much for your support of my family and our church. Spanish River Church will forever be part of any legacy our church leaves behind in this city. We are grateful to God for the leadership and committed members of Spanish River Church and pray the same prayers of protection and provision for you.
Love, Kris Hassanpour
Brant Bosserman, lead pastor and church planter of Trinitas Church is advancing the Gospel in Everett, Washington. Brant and his wife, Heather, joined the Spanish River Church Planting family in May 2013.
For the first six months of our meeting as a core group (prior to our formal launch) we did an in-depth study of the character of Biblical worship. This study left our core group members feeling like they rediscovered the purpose of the sacraments, prayer, observing the Lord’s Day, preaching, song, responsive readings, confessing our faith together, catechizing children, corporate confession of sin, etc. With this rediscovery that there is a way to indulge the Gospel in the Christian Life as worshipers together, there has been a tremendous zeal among our members to see the church grow, and to share its message with others. Literally every member of our core group has invited friends, family, nominal Christians, and unbelievers to hear the Gospel preached, and see believers worship together.
We have been tremendously blessed by special events in church (our launch service; several infant baptisms; visits from missionary preachers; etc.), and special gatherings outside of Sunday worship (Summer BBQ’s; Monthly Lady’s and Men’s Outings; Play-dates for mom’s and children; and Discipleship Groups). At this point, none of our events have failed in their intended purposes or in their ability to draw attendants. I can accredit the eventfulness of all such gatherings to God the Holy Spirit as he has worked within our core group members to bring about a joy and excitement to be present, and to invite others. There would seem to be no substitute for genuine joyfulness to gather on the part of church/core group members. In the next six months we are especially excited for (a) the opening service in our new meeting space; (b) our member reception service; and (c) the continuation of our weekly discipleship groups.
We would appreciate prayer regarding regarding our facilities. As our plant grows, we are in need of facilities that can facilitate that growth with sufficient nursery space for our children, and sanctuary seating for adults and visitors.