Dear Pastor Friends,
I trust you have had an enjoyable and blessed summer. I know that we are entering into a very busy season for our churches. These are busy and exciting days around the district as well. We want to congratulate two of our churches that are welcoming new pastors this month. First, we congratulate Hurst Pursuit upon the election of their new pastor, Rev. Gobran George. He is pictured here with his wife, Gigi. Pastor George has been serving as a registered evangelist, connected with the Euless Arabic congregation. His regular YouTube evangelistic, Arabic language, videos have been viewed by over one million people in the Arabic-speaking world. In recent months, he has served as an interim preacher at Pursuit. His installation is scheduled for September 15. I also want to thank Rev. and Mrs. Gary and Betty Scarlett, who served as the primary interim pastoral couple at Pursuit.
Also, congratulations to Pastor Mabure Atak, and his wife, Amir. Mabure is the new pastor of our African Community Church in Amarillo. Pastor Atak has been the associate pastor of African Community Church, under Pastor Michael Gatkek, for several years. Many of you know Mabure as our church planter in South Sudan. In recent years, he has been instrumental in planting numerous Nazarene congregations in Awiel, his home province. What a blessing it is to have two such evangelist, outreach-oriented new pastors serving in these leadership roles!
The pastoral position at Amarillo African Community became vacant as Pastor Michael Gatkek, our African ministry coordinator, and his family moved to the Ft. Worth area in August to start a new work among the South Sudanese, and other east African refugees and immigrants in the Metroplex. I am delighted to report that our district is collaborating with the Arizona district in this effort. The Arizona district, under the direction of Dr. Doug Pierce, their DS, is providing much of the funding. Michael will spend about one week each month in Arizona this coming year. Already, Pastor Gatkek has developed a relationship with the South Sudanese immigrant communities in Fort Worth and in Phoenix.
I am also very pleased to announce that we are entering into a collaborative agreement with the South Texas district, along with our Big Spring First Church and Cedar Road PAC in Big Spring, to minister to men and women, and their families, who are working in the oilfield and energy sectors of the Permian basin oil field, which is centered in the panhandle around Odessa, Midland, and Big Spring. Pastor Josh Cisneros, who is the pastor of Cedar Road, will be sponsored by the two districts and the two congregations as he leads this new ministry. You might recall that I reported to the district assembly that I had a strong sense that the Lord was challenging us to reach out to the 235,000 people who work in the energy sector in that area. Many of them live in RV parks ("Man Camps") where they work long shifts, seven days weekly. They cannot come to church...so our churches are going to them. Pastor Cisneros will be leading this effort.
At our most recent District Advisory Board meeting, approval was given to Pastors Steve and Amanda Pettit to begin a new Compassionate Ministry Center (CMC) in the Arlington/Ft. Worth area. Their emphasis will be upon immigrant/refugee ministry and will include the planting of a new international congregation. Steve and Amanda also have a special calling to minister to individuals caught up in human trafficking. Please join us in prayer for the Pettits in this vital new ministry.
We are celebrating with two of our congregations, which held very positive pastoral reviews
recently. On August 18th I had the privilege of visiting our Abernathy Church for the review of Pastor Pedro Cruz, and then the following Sunday, I was in Dodson for the review of Pastor Al Mixon. As you would expect, each of these fine, veteran pastors, received outstanding reviews from their leadership teams. As I preached in their congregations and interacted with their people I was reminded what a blessing it is for me to have the opportunity to serve alongside such godly pastors, and their wonderfully supportive spouses.
Pastors, we are seven months into the "new" church year. It goes by so fast, it seems. Please
to view your Funding the Mission report. I can't thank you enough for your leadership in this regard.
Finally, I want to welcome our new general superintendent, Dr. Fili Chambo, who has rotated into jurisdiction over the SNU region's districts, replacing Dr. Carla Sunberg in this role. It has been a joy to serve with Dr. Sunberg and we are equally excited about serving with Dr. Chambo. We are delighted that he and his wife, Samantha will be with us at the Shepherds' Sabbath in January.
For you and with you,
Pastor David Downs