Giddy-up! LC Students Reach Out Ranch Style

Students who attend Lititz Christian School have many opportunities to be the hands and feet of Christ. Two of these opportunities come from missions trips taken by classes during their years at LCS. The senior missions trip, featured on Monday’s blog, provides an international cultural experience. However, missions do not only happen outside of the borders of the U.S. The 8th grade class also takes a trip to Wears Valley Ranch in Sevierville, Tennessee each year.

8th grade wears ranch logo

Wears Valley Ranch is a group home for children in crisis situations that they did not cause (i.e. parents are impoverished, drugs, abuse, etc.). The ranch is 120 acres in the middle of rural Tennessee. The children there do not have much interaction with other kids outside the ranch. Ross McCracken, the Middle School Bible teacher at LCS, was involved at the ranch while he was in college. Grove City takes annual missions trips to the ranch and one of his friends visited. Ross flew down to interview for a position at the ranch after hearing about how great it was; he did not want to leave. He lived there for over two years as a mentor. For more information about Wears Valley Ranch, click HERE.

8th grade wears ranch

This trip started three years when Ross began teaching at LCS. This year 24 students, as well as 4 staff members, are taking the trip to Tennessee from May 21-25. Students from Lititz Christian are going down to spend time with the children, encourage them, as well as make the Ranch a better place to live for them by doing manual labor projects such as building fences, horse trails, painting, etc. The children at the ranch are so encouraged by quality time with other students who love and care about Jesus. However, the students that go on the trip come home encouraged as well. Here are some portions of a letter written to students going on the Tennessee missions trip this year from Janie, a student who has previously gone on the trip:

The trip to Tennessee was the highlight of my eighth grade year. The experience was incredible and so much fun! Most of the kids would come right up to us and start a conversation. I really enjoyed sitting with different people every day at lunch. We went there hoping that we would impact the kids spiritually, when really they impacted us. My class matured a ton throughout the trip. We came back almost completely different. It’s funny because sometimes you think you know your class, but living with them for five days can bring out the best and worst in yourself and your friends. I hope this trip will change your class for the better, like it did to ours. You are going to have so much fun and I’m really jealous that I can’t go again. Take this opportunity to grow closer to your classmates and to God.

8th grade wears ranch 2 8th grade wears ranch 3

Please pray for this year’s eight graders and their leaders as they prepare for their upcoming trip! Pray for safety traveling, for hearts that are prepared to serve, and for God to do amazing work in and through them. Also, be sure to attend one of our worship services at Grace Church this weekend as we will have a prayer send-off for the team!

Reaching the Nations

Have you ever done a study of the word “nations” in the Bible? It would be a worthy investment of your time, because Scripture is clear that God’s purpose on earth, through the Church (that’s us), is to reach the nations! For the past few centuries, the Church has really focused on reaching the nations (or people groups) by sending missionaries to foreign soil. But with the advancement of technology and transportation, the nations are moving! On top of that, we live in America, a place where the “nations” are welcomed and celebrated! We live in a country where practically every country on earth is represented. The nations are coming to us – and the nations are in our neighborhoods! We have the opportunity to reach the nations every day.

Recently, several Grace Church families took advantage of a short-term opportunity to bless and reach the nations. A group of French high school students as well as their teachers were in our area for 10 days over the Easter holiday. 4 of these individuals celebrated the most important Christian holiday with us at Grace Church this past Sunday as part of their American cultural experience! Imagine what God might do in their hearts, their families, their neighborhoods, their schools, their countries because of their exposure to Truth on a short visit to the U.S. Imagine how the Christian hospitality of a Grace Church family could impact these people for eternity!

French host Tina&teacher  French host Dorene&ClaraFrench host Stork family

You see, we have something that many of the “nations” want – our language. Many come to the United States for a year – a place where they are welcome – for the opportunity to learn English. So, what are you doing to reach the nations? Do you have some extra space in your home and in your heart? If so, consider the opportunity below. Or, skip down to the fun facts and photos below to be inspired! Take a moment to pray that the Church will be effective at reaching the nations for Christ!

Doug, Clara, and Jeremiah
Doug, Clara, and Jeremiah

OPPORTUNITY – Short-Term Hosting Opportunity

American Homelife is seeking host families for Spanish High School boys and girls from June 27-July 25. Students will be placed individually and do not need their own bedroom. They will attend daily ESL classes as well as field trips to historical sites. Host families are provided with reimbursement for expenses, a LIFETIME of memories, and the opportunity to impact the world through these guests. For more information, please contact Christi HERE. Commitments are needed by May 10, so please don’t hesitate!

FUN FACT 1: I’m aware of a Japanese exchange student, a Japanese adult visiting the U.S., an Italian exchange student, and several Brazilian families who were visiting Grace Church on Easter Sunday!

FUN FACT 2: 10 years ago, a Japanese exchange student attended Lititz Christian School, came to know Jesus personally, went home and became a teacher in a Christian school in Japan. Less than 1% of Japanese people are Christians!

FUN FACT 3: Lititz Christian School has a partnership with schools in Asia and welcomes foreign exchange students every year! 4 new students arrived just a few weeks ago!

Seniors Serving in Scotland

With the class of 2012, LCS made the shift from a recreational senior trip to a ministry-based senior trip overseas. It was a major change and the past two years have allowed us to make some adjustments in being more effective as Christ’s hands and feet outside of our borders… These trips are significant in the lives of these students as they are introduced to different cultures and religious views – some for the very first time. The lessons learned will last a lifetime.

Eric Lewis, Secondary Spiritual Life Director at Lititz Christian School

This year’s senior class is travelling to Scotland from May 16th to the 25th. During their nine days abroad, they will serve a local church in Alness through music ministry, work projects, and relationship building through community events. They will also be able to experience sight-seeing in Inverness and Glasgow over a span of two days.

Please take a moment and pray for:

  • Safety – we have to rent vans and drive 3 hours to the Highlands on the “wrong” side of the road
  • Team unity – our team needs to work together and stay focused on the work God has for us
  • Ministry – we will have a number of opportunities to interact with many locals in Alness who have many different beliefs spiritually

The trip costs approximately $1500 per person, and though the class has been working hard with fundraising and personal sponsorship, some needs have yet to be met.

Follow up with the trip through updates HERE! Live updates begin May 16th.

Next Step: If you are willing to commit this trip to prayer, contact Eric Lewis. If you would like to support financially, you can make checks payable to Lititz Christian School, Attn: Class of 2014, 501 West Lincoln Avenue, Lititz, PA 17543.

 

Senior Missions Trip 2012
Senior Missions Trip 2012 – Eleuthera Island, Bahamas
Senior Missions Trip 2013
Senior Missions Trip 2013 – Costa Rica

WE DID IT!

Grace Church, as well as many individuals and families, partnered with other churches all over the world to provide 1,000,000 POUNDS OF FOOD for our friends in the Central African Republic! As you have read in previous posts, there has been an ongoing political crisis in the CAR, which has led to devastating shortages of resources and disruption of distribution. But in the name of Jesus, we banded together, got to work, and food is being distributed right now!

CAR food relief 3 CAR food relief 4

 Grace Church’s gift went to people in the PH-C network – orphans and their extended families. A woman named Marie-Claire and a team of widows distributed peanuts, beans, rice, sardines, and cooking oil to 1275 families! There are also several other distribution sites, mostly at churches throughout the suffering nation.

CAR food relief CAR food relief 2

 Take a moment to celebrate God’s goodness, and to pray for continued relief for our friends in the CAR!

If you’d like to receive email updates (including great photos) of the food distribution projects, or continue giving toward this relief project, please click HERE.

Easy Service Opportunity – Fill a Need!

Eagle Run and Carnival Logo 2014

Grace Church SALT is hosting the art tent at the Lititz Christian Carnival on Saturday May 3rd! This is a great opportunity to touch the lives of members of our community in a fun way! Crafts include spin art, sand art, temporary tattoos, face painting, scratch art, and coloring. We are still in need of more volunteers for this event. Volunteers will need to arrive at 8:30am (before the road closes down at 8:50 for the run). We will clean up following the conclusion of the event at 2:00pm.

An all-volunteer meeting will take place on Monday, April 28th at 7pm in the Fellowship Hall.

Next step: Email Rachel for more information on volunteering for the art tent.

SALT in the City: Don’t Miss this Opportunity

Grace Church S.A.L.T. (Salt and Light Team) is looking for volunteers to help at Urban Hope’s annual street carnival in Kensington, Philadelphia on Saturday, April 26. The carnival draws thousands from the surrounding neighborhood and is a great opportunity to share the love of Jesus in a cross-cultural setting. It’s an all-day commitment (leaving Grace Church at 7 a.m.) but will be a day you’ll never forget! Are you ready for the challenge? Step out and serve in this amazing opportunity.

Also, if you’re unable to attend but would like to donate to the effort, consider dropping off any of the following at the Grace Church office before Friday the 25th: candy (small, individually wrapped), small/tiny prizes, face painting supplies, water bottles, hot dogs, hot dog buns, ketchup, mustard, small paper bags for popcorn, snow cone flavors, ice, snow cone cups, temporary hair dye, basketballs, air pumps, bean bags, nail polish and other nail supplies, and/or money to help rent or buy a sound system.

urban hope carnival

Check out Urban Hope HERE

If you’re interested in participating or donating, your next step is to contact Peter Siegrist here or Rachel here.

Here’s a story of one of our Lititz Christian School teacher’s experience at Urban Hope this winter when a group from Grace Church helped at Kingdom Kids (a Sunday afternoon children’s church program):

We decided to go to Urban Hope in December 2013 because we were looking for a way to get connected with Grace church’s service ministries. The opportunity to go to Philadelphia had been in the bulletin for a number of weeks before the trip. Each week we read about it and finally we decided to email for more information. We were informed that there was still room to go, so we signed up!

One thing that stuck out to both of us was the sincere enthusiasm of the kids that were involved in the Kids Kingdom program. We both thought it was amazing to see that circumstances and environment did not change the fact that these kids were excited to learn more about Jesus (and sing a few crazy songs in the process!)  Before the actual program started we split into teams and were assigned a street to help pick up the kids.  It was exciting to watch the kid’s faces light up knowing that they would get to spend their evening at Urban Hope.

Everyone with a passion for serving should consider spending a day at Urban Hope.  The ministry is in the heart of the local community, and provides hope that comes from knowing Jesus to families in the area.  It is a special opportunity to share the love of Christ and be a part of a ministry leading people toward a relationship with Christ.

urban hope

LOCAL Adoption Summit NEXT WEEKEND

Bethany-Christian-Services-

Do you have a heart for compassion? Specifically related to orphan care and adoption? Are you an adoptive family? Or are you prayerfully considering becoming one? There is an amazing LOCAL opportunity to get educated about all the ins and outs of the process, sponsored by Bethany Christian Services on April 25-26. Check out all the information HERE. In addition to excellent speakers, including Johnny Carr (author of Orphan Justice), there are many excellent breakout sessions dealing with very specific topics. It’s not often that an opportunity this big comes to our back door! If you’re considering going, please let Pastor Doug know HERE. Also, if you’re looking for a simple “next step” in developing a heart of compassion in the area of orphan care, consider contacting Pastor Doug for a copy of Johnny Carr’s Orphan Justice.