Esteemed Brethren, Praise the Lord.

I am calling on all the bishops, elders, pastors, evangelists, missionaries, brothers, sisters and the people of God to a 3 day 24 hour general fasting and prayer on September 12th-14th.

Our beloved Apostolic Assembly has suffered attacks from the enemy like never before in its history. Everywhere, even our missionary fields have been spiritually assaulted by things that have tried to affect the progress and development of our church. At some moments we have felt as if a dark mantle has overshadowed us—not letting us see the light of the sun. Something like a rope tied to a foot not letting us move forward. We are definitely in a spiritual warfare. Even though it is people that produce these effects, we have to understand that our struggle is not against them, but rather against the “spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

Over the past years the struggle has intensified and we have seen how the brethren are suffering over injustices and lack of common sense in others. All of this has placed the Apostolic Assembly in the forefront as an example of which NOT to follow. Unfortunately, the Apostolic Assembly has been the object of mockery and disgrace of many.

The Apostolic Assembly is the legacy of the church that our pioneers left us. It is the message that was taken to the international and national missionary fields. I belong to the group of thousands of first generation apostolics. I was raised in the International missionary field and formed in the national missionary field. Although, the first generation cannot say we are fighting for the Heritage that out parents or grandparents left us, we can say that we are fighting because we love the Lord with the same intensity that they did. This is the time to unite, as one man, and enter the spiritual battle so that God gives us the victory.

As a Church, we need to put our differences aside and understand that we are in a spiritual battle. We must help one another. When one person wins, we all win. For me, Christ is not an alternative, He is everything. In spite of everything that has happened I still believe the “Best is yet to come,” and I still believe in a bright future for the generations that follow. But we must unite in order to achieve this.

Despite everything that I have gone through these past 15 months as president, I still believe in the Leaders, the Youth, Juniors, the Dorcas, the Men and even the Kids, who are the future of the Apostolic Assembly. I still believe that everything can change if we are sensible to the Holy Spirit and stop having private agendas. We need to think about the global church more than about ourselves.

I have been speaking about Unity in Mission for one year, but… It has been so difficult! How difficult it is to maintain the church and Leadership united! The enemy has found our weakness. He doesn’t have to do much, just promote disunity amongst us and the rest falls due to its own weight.

In various occasions God has surprised me with the biblical phrase in Genesis 4:10 “The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to Me from the ground.” In the midst of my morning prayers these words spoken by God to Cain, have resonated in my ears. When I heard them, I was perturbed. I feel that there are many brothers and sisters who have “disappeared” from the Apostolic scene, and are crying out to God as “souls beneath the altar” (as in the book of Revelation), for justice. They were victims of the circumstances. I believe that we should repent and ask God and them for forgiveness.

Dear brethren, nothing important ever happens without prayer and nothing significant happens without fasting. Even more so, nothing creative happens without fasting and prayer. We live in a time where we have to be creative. We need new ideas, new methods, and a new structure that drives us to achieve the mission statement that supposedly unites us all. Exalt Christ, Evangelize the World, and Equip the Church. It seems like we have forgotten this; is it not?

Today more than ever we need for God to give us: Wisdom, Guidance and Unity in Mission and Purpose. These have been the key words of my personal prayers and will be the basis for each of the three days of fasting and prayer. On the first day, we will ask God for Wisdom; on the second day, we will ask God for Guidance of His Spirit, and the third day, we will ask for Unity.

We need for God to raise a generation of creative men and women who will give their whole hearts to the cause of Christ. We need to be creative, and this is not an option, it’s a necessity that will only come if we consecrate ourselves to God. However, that this may not only be a consecration that comes out of being called to fasting and prayer, but that it may convert into a lifestyle for all Apostolic Leaders. That miracles and wonders not be strange in our churches, but rather that they be the norm. That growth may be genuine and lasting. That the unity amongst us be visible and palpable. We need to be creative so that the generation that comes after us may feel good about belonging to the Apostolic Assembly.

These past 15 months have been the most difficult of my entire life, but they have also been the most fruitful. During these months, I have drawn nearer to God for Him to help me lead His people; I have gotten to know God in another dimension. I have faced much opposition, but I have also had much support. Sara and I have received hundreds of emails, messages and calls that tell us they are praying for us and the Church and I believe with all my heart that these prayers have been the ones to give me peace and serenity in the midst of the storm.

The most important job of the President of the Apostolic Assembly is to watch over God’s sheep in the country and the missionary field. There is no job greater than this. God places us in these positions so that we may serve His people. Since converting to the Lord I have passed through all the positions that one may attain, all the way up until I became a bishop. Now, in this new calling, I understand that God never wanted me to stop serving. The only thing that changes when we escalate in the work of the Lord, is the “quantity” of people that we serve, that’s it. This work is His; we are only servants of his vine. The true leader never stops serving, the thing that changes is just the number of people.

In order to serve the people of God, we need wisdom to understand the will of God for His people. We need the Guidance of His Holy Spirit to discern between right and wrong and between good and better. Last, we need the Unity of Mission and Purpose in order to achieve great and wonderful things for his kingdom.

In conclusion, I would like to end citing the words of the Apostle Paul when he said in Romans 5:20 “The Law came in so that the transgression would increase; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more.”

People of God, the last book, chapter, or line have not been written yet. The last person has not been baptized yet; neither has the last sermon been preached. There is still hope, and as long as we practice fasting, prayer and repentance of our sins, the Apostolic Assembly has a future, and will continue to fight against the enemy.

A fellow Spiritual warrior,

Bishop J. Fortino
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