This morning we delivered checks to several local organizations who are benefitting from our Birthday Gift for Jesus, including the Lititz/Warwick Community Chest (LWCC), which serves the hungry right here in Lititz. Check our our previous post about the LWCC here.
AND, as a special bonus, here’s a fun fact for you: Throughout the last year, the shopping cart in the lobby of Grace Church received a total of 3,340 pounds of food and dry goods which were given to LWCC!
WAY TO GO GRACE! Check this out…and make sure you watch through the very end… 🙂
Throughout the month of December, you gave over $30,000 towards our Birthday Gift for Jesus! In addition to every cent of this year’s contributions, the missions team has released thousands of additional dollars. This week, these gifts will be distributed to 10 different projects, organizations, and relationships that are making a HUGE impact from our backyard to the far corners of the earth!
THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! We look forward to sharing the joy of distributing these gifts right here at the EngageThroughGrace blog! You are appreciated.
Thank you #1 comes from Cambodian National Ministry Partners in Battambang, Cambodia. These men have been long-supported by Grace Church, and carrying the good news of the gospel throughout villages in Cambodia. They have led many to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, planted many churches, and continue to disciple many in their faith. This year, because of your generosity, we were able to meet our regular annual commitment AND help toward an additional need that came up this year.
To read more about this partnership, check out our previous post here. These men recorded this video last week to say THANK YOU to you!
Today, in honor of Grace Church’s salute to LIFE, we began a new partnership with Jubilee Ministries, and Susquehanna Valley Pregnancy Services. This box has a new home on our campus – and you are encouraged to fill it with lightly used clothing and shoes, which will be sold by Jubilee Thrift Stores. Proceeds are then given to SVPS! THANK YOU for helping us to kick things off right! (And don’t worry…everything was picked up later in the day)!
Many have been asking how they can help, practically, in the CAR crisis. Encompass World Partners, with whom our church partners for many global projects, is coordinating food relief with a goal of providing 1,000,000 lbs. of food for those in need. (By the way, 50% of the population is in need of some type of assistance, and at least 25% are in food crisis).
Please help! $50 buys, transports, and delivers a 100-lb sack of rice, beans, millet, corn, and manioc. You can give directly, here.
Grace Church has committed to giving $5000 to this effort. Our gift will be specifically channeled to help orphans who are hungry.
You’ve seen and heard a lot about the Central African Republic (CAR) in recent months at Grace Church. In preparation for tomorrow’s “International Day of Solidarity”, I urge you to take the time to familiarize yourself with the situation. Here are some helpful steps:
For general information, please check out a previous post about the CAR, here And here.
What is going on?
If you’re looking for some clarification on the complexities of this situation – “what are they fighting over, anyway?” – read this.
Close to Home…Our Hearts are Broken:
To demonstrate how “close to home” this situation is hitting, please read this email we received Friday:
A GREAT LOSS
We received confirmation yesterday that Teacher Valery of the Ladoumie Hand in Hand (HnH) orphan school was shot and killed on Saturday, January 11, 2014.
This is a great loss to the LaDoumie church, to their HnH school, and to the many students past and present that he has blessed. Teacher Valery was a model teacher in skills and in heart, and a man of integrity. He served with excellence the Lord, his family, his church, his students and his community.
Pray for his young widow and their five children, as well as others who depended on him including four other children and his mother.
La Doumie is the church/school that partners with Lititz Christian School. Our partnership is with another “class/teacher” there (this particular teacher and classroom is sponsored by another church), but we have visited this class and met this teacher.
What You Can Do:
Please plan to be a part of tomorrow’s “International Day of Solidarity” to pray for this situation. Grace Church ministry leaders will be leading three prayer times tomorrow, in the Grace Meeting Room (off the main lobby) at 6:30 a.m., 12 p.m., and 6 p.m.
Also, find a list of prayer requests for the day here.
Thanks for your continued prayers and interest in our trip. This has definitely been a successful week, learning about Haiti, our current relationships here, the needs and opportunities throughout the country, and what some other organizations are doing to meet those needs. As mentioned, there is no shortage of needs here – so we are really seeking God’s clear leading in how He wants “us” to be involved here in the future. Please continue to pray for our missions team as we work through these things.
Today we spent the morning with CPR-3, learning about Moringa (google it! or check out cpr-3.com), and visiting a few of the Haitian churches that are currently partnered with North American churches. We also learned about their structure for short-term teams who are visiting Haiti. We had a wonderful Haitian meal for lunch before heading to our final destination, Mission of Hope.
Mission of Hope is a large-scale organization doing many projects in Haiti, particularly focusing on developing churches and their surrounding communities, mobilizing North American churches to help, etc. They have an orphanage, a medical clinic, a church, guest houses (for 300+ short-term team members at a time), a school, etc. Because of their size, they have mastered the management of large-scale projects, including the distribution of 85,000 meals EVERY WEEK DAY in Haiti. I’m only scratching the surface – but if there’s a particular aspect of ministry you’re interested in, there’s a chance they do it! They also offer internships throughout the year for people wanting to serve for a few months at a time.
Our time has come to a close here. After a final night under the mosquito net, we will eat breakfast and head to the airport for our trip home. Again, thank you for your prayers for us. It’s been an amazing week and we have so much to process. We want to see the gospel of Jesus Christ transform Haiti. Journey with us!
This morning, before heading to the airport to return to Port-au-Prince, we visited another “friend” – the church at Petit Anse. This church has been known as the “green slime” church to many who have visited from Grace Church, as there was a large pool of the stuff preventing children from getting to the bathroom building at the back of the property. Our church has been involved in solutions to that problem, as well as helping to secure a more reasonable roof situation.
I’m again impressed by the commitment of this church to its mission. They hold services 5 days a week and Pastor November is utilizing young men to help teach and lead services. There are 7 classes of children being taught in their one-room building each day, and as is typical, several teacher working for no pay. When asked what their biggest challenge is, they said it’s the children often don’t come to school because they are too hungry. They desire to care for all the needs of the children in their community – both physical and spiritual. It has become our practice to pray with all these leaders – we pray in English, then they pray in French or Creole. What a great picture of our partnership in the shared mission we have to reach people with the life-altering, eternity-transforming story of who Jesus is.
We took our adventure flight (“this ain’t your mamma’s commercial airplane”) back to Port-au-Prince and were greeted by Pastor Poyis, who is a Haitian leader with CONNECT 2 ministries. CONNECT 2 is involved in a number of different things in Haiti, including partnering with Caribbean Vision Ministries (CVM) to run the House of Hope Orphanage that we visited in Cap Haitian yesterday. In Port-au-Prince, they are currently helping to re-build churches that were destroyed by the earthquake. Today we spent several hours winding through the rocky hills of the capital to visit a few of these churches. They are beacons of Light in the midst of tent-cities. Yes, tent-cities that are still packed with people since the earthquake. Poverty is visible all around us.
Another project that CONNECT 2 is involved in is an orphanage for disabled children. Picture a child being born with a disability, and simply discarded. That’s what would have happened to the 21 children we saw today. But instead, the hospital calls a woman with gumption, Marie, who lovingly welcomes them to her home, to show them love, to care for them, and to give them the dignity they deserve, as God’s beloved children. Oh, my heart! This is a thankless ministry. It is a hard ministry. And I believe it is so, SO significant to the heart of Jesus! Please pray for this home! CONNECT 2 does several other things – but this post is getting long.
This evening we drove 40 minutes North of Port-au-Prince to the Haiti base for CPR-3. Google them! We spent the evening hearing about their ministry from their staff here, and will visit several communities being impacted by their U.S.-Haiti church partnerships tomorrow morning.