Jim Franks, Ministerial Services operation manager, and David Baker, senior pastor for Asia, traveled to India and the Philippines in June. Mr. Franks left June 12 and returned June 22.
They visited a group of over 200 people in a remote part of northeastern India who have asked to become part of the United Church of God. The name of the group is Church of God (Israel).
"The people we visited in the remote state of Mizoram were excited to see us, and we felt very much at home with them," said Mr. Franks. "Their doctrinal positions are virtually identical to ours, but in some cases their practices are different. We spent many hours discussing doctrinal concerns, format for Sabbath services and how the Passover and Holy Days are observed in UCG. We will now wait and see how they react to our suggestions. One interesting fact about this group is that it is the first such group that I have visited that actually paid our travel expenses for the visit, with the exception of our airline tickets. I believe this speaks well of their sincerity."
Mr. Franks and Mr. Baker also conducted a leadership conference in the Philippines. "We continue to experience outstanding growth in the Philippines, almost 10 percent per year for the past several years," said Mr. Franks. "Last month, the office staff from Davao set up a Good News booth at a local mall, and within a week they already had close to 800 new subscribers. With a current subscriber base of just over 8,000, this was a 10 percent increase in total subscribers in only one week! The plans are to take this booth to various malls around the country and set it up for a week at a time."