Branden Dyer was recently appointed pastor of The Little Chapel in Cordova, Alaska. Cordova is about 160 miles by air east southeast of Anchorage.
Branden, originally from Friend, Nebraska, grew up in Friend Christian Assembly. He attended Philadelphia School of Ministry in Seattle before going to Cordova a few years ago to assist the church there. Branden is married to Jacqui Gonzalez.
Not only does Branden have a shepherd’s heart for the people of Cordova, he also enjoys the fishing, hunting, and trapping of the Alaskan lifestyle.
The Philadelphia Church in Seattle plans to ordain Branden into the ministry January 27.
Pastor Ben Salmi has been appointed to serve as pastor at Full Gospel Church, in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. and was installed October 28. He follows Pastor David Reiten who served as pastor for 27 years.
Reiten participated in the installation service along with Fred Goldschmidt, associate pastor of Journey Christian Church, Cloquet, Minnesota, where Salmi had been serving as youth pastor. He and his family moved from there to Grand Rapids in September.
Salmi has been in vocational ministry since 2014, beginning at The Rock Worship Center in Cloquet, Minnesota. Prior to his call into ministry, he worked as residential remodeling contractor.
Pastor Ben has been married for 15 years to his wife, Crystal. Together, they have two daughters, Bella and Emmalyn, ages 10 and 5. He attended seminary at University of Northwestern, St. Paul. MN, where he earned a Master of Arts in Theological Studies.
“I am excited to see what God has in store for us in Grand Rapids,” says Salmi, “and how I get to participate in what God is doing at Full Gospel Church.” Salmi’s heart is to see people come to know and experience Jesus in a real way—in a life-changing way!
Last Saturday my mom and I got to go to the “Anchored in Love” annual conference where we got to meet a lot of cool people including pro surfer and shark attack survivor Bethany Hamilton.
It was amazing to see Bethany in person, but it was even cooler to see my mom (Jeannie Brattrud) sharing the love of God to hundreds of girls around my age. It was a moment I’ll never forget—thousands of eyes glistening, ears listening to the message she put together. You could see their hearts filled and their spirits fulfilled as they walked throughout their day.
The conference speakers were impactful, and when we worshipped, God moved. It was powerful to see all types of people come together when we worshiped. Some people were tall, some were missing limbs (like Bethany), but…when we worshipped God, none of that mattered. We were all beautiful. Even though we were different, we all had something in common. That thing was that we all loved Jesus.
It was inspiring to hear tons of different stories of how God moved in people’s lives. Our theme was the God made us all “radiant.” The definition of “radiant” is giving off light or shining bright. God has placed a light in all of us to shine through the darkness of this world. We also learned about sunflowers and how they follow the sun as it moves from east to west. We learned that we should be “sunflowers” and follow the light wherever we go.
I’m excited to attend next year and excited to be the light where ever I go.
Jael Brattrud is the 11-year-old daughter of Drew and Jeannie Brattrud, who pastor Riverside Christian Assembly in Riverside, California.
Pastor Steven W. Bell has been appointed to serve as Senior Pastor at All Nations Community Church at 18620 Kedzie Avenue, Homewood, Illinois. Pastor Steve’s installation service takes place at the 10 a.m. worship service on October 7, 2018.
Pastor Steve hails from Otter Creek Community Church, Little Rock, Arkansas where he served as Senior Pastor. He has also served as the Church Planting Strategist for Greater Little Rock Arkansas.
Pastor Steve graduated Central Baptist College with a Bachelor of Science degree in Leadership and Ministry. He matriculated to Memphis Theological Seminary, where he earned a Masters of Divinity degree.
Pastor Steve is married to the lovely Joycelyn Bell, his best friend since high school. They are the proud parents of two children, Olivia Abigail and Noah Webster.
Several years ago, while still in high school, Henry Damulira was on a ministry outreach from his home church, Seguku Worship Centre, about 10 miles south of central Kampala, Uganda. At the time Damulira was preaching the gospel and teaching English and math at the school in the Mukono district.
But then he noticed something unusual—fishermen in the village, having no access to banking services, hiding their meager daily earnings under large stones scattered all over their island. His observation, he says, “spurred me to develop a digital mobile saving platform which allows ordinary Ugandans to save money in banks through mobile money on their phones.”
Connecting fishermen to the banks was important, says Damulira, because their stone system not only left their money vulnerable to theft, but also made their cash too convenient to retrieve. They could access their money on a whim, and they often did, squandering it on frivolous purchases. “This left them in a cycle of poverty,” notes Damulira.
From his own experience, Damulira knew how easily savings goals could be hijacked by undisciplined habits. “As a teenager,” he says, “I had bought a piggy bank in which I saved my earnings from fetching water. At the time, my goal had been to save and buy a bicycle to ease my work and triple my daily income.” Instead of saving his money, however, he spent it on baseball caps.
When he saw what was happening at Rwajje Island and recalled his own experiences, Damulira realized that poor saving practices was a main reason why so many in Uganda remained poor. A study of 1,500 poor Ugandans showed that 99 percent failed to reach their savings goals through informal methods, either because the money was stolen or lost, or because they were too tempted to spend the money stored as cash. Estimates suggest that 3 out of 4 adults in developing and middle income countries do not have bank accounts.1
Damulira’s passion to support wealth creation among rural Ugandans led him to provide a secure digital platform that links up mobile phones to Airsave Saving and Credit Cooperative (Digital SACCO), in partnership with ECOBANK Uganda.
Damulira’s innovation was unique because it did not require the smart phone platforms upon which so many apps rely. His start-up company, Airsave, enables registered members to save and borrow money using a simple cell phone in small communities that have no physical bank.
Out of Uganda’s 40 million population, 90 percent are “unbanked” while 60 percent own mobile phones. Because the digital mobile saving platform can be accessed by 24 million with mobile phones, they can open up a digital account without having to step in a bank. Since its founding, over 3,000 people have signed up and lives have been changed through Damulira’s digital saving platform.
Thanks to Henry Damulira, Uganda’s unbanked can now access banks from their phones. For his digital innovation, AirSave won second place at the 2016 Africa StartUp Cup and came fourth in the World contest.
Seguku Worship Centre, Henry Damulira’s home church, is also where Steve Mayanja, well-known FCA minister with the World Outreach Ministry Foundation, is from. Damulira is son-in-law to Steven Kaweesa, a key leader in WOMF Uganda who was killed in a tragic car accident in 2016, which also took the lives of Ed Pohlreich and Scot Voltz.