Zach & Rachel Update

Zach & Rachel Peters are in Europe working with a ministry connected to the St. James Way, or Camino de Santiago. (Read more about the Camino and their trip HERE)! The team departed from Philadelphia Monday evening. Tuesday’s big goal was to “stay awake”, which was easy to accomplish as it was a national holiday in Portugal. The team did some sightseeing in Lisbon and concluded their evening with dinner with Encompass missionaries there.

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Lisbon, Portugal

The team is doing some projects to support ministries in Portugal before they begin their trek on the Camino. Wednesday was spent doing a work project for a home that houses children with AIDS in Lisbon. After lunch, the team caught a train to Porto, where they will meet up with a Portuguese minister named Abel. Abel runs a hostel among the Portuguese route of the Camino, so the team will be exposed to his ministry and be “oriented” in preparation for their journey, where they will meet pilgrims from all over the world.

Today they were traveling to Spain to begin their 100-mile walk on the most popularly traveled route, the “French” way. Please continue to pray for Zach, Rachel, and the team as they prepare to walk and share their stories with those they meet. Check back as we will keep the blog updated on their progress!

Rachel & Zach on the train to Porto, Portugal.

Step Up and Serve this Summer

 

There’s a need right here at Grace Church this summer! While we’re reaching out to our community and around the world, please also consider meeting a need right here at “home”! Our booming children’s ministry needs volunteers – this could be the most rewarding thing you do all summer!

Contact Heidi at the church office today!

We Had Fun…God Had a Plan

You may remember the “Bowl for HOHC” event held last month. As you read in this post, we raised over $1200 for House of His Creation. Jeremiah, the Director of Student Ministries, was able to see that money bless HOHC in a big way.

The day before receiving the money from our event, HOHC had to spend $1100 (that they didn’t have) on a new mower. You can imagine the relief they felt when this financial burden was lifted just one day later. Though it may seem simple, it is just another example of how God works behind the scenes and cares for each of our needs.

In addition to meeting this need, one of our Meaningful Motherhood moms has been able to connect with a former GSM student who is living there with her child. We are so excited to see how Grace Church will continue to grow deeper in our relationship with House of His Creation and its residents.

Two weeks in France: Summary

Marlin Weaver wrote the following reflections on his recent trip to France. He and Justin returned to the U.S. late Thursday night!

 

Justin Gerhart and I shared two weeks of ministry time in France.  This was a great way for me to bring my home town of Lititz and my adopted town of St Albain together!  Pray that God will use this mission trip not only to encourage those we helped, but to grow us spiritually as well.

 

I am both joyful and burdened after spending two weeks in France, the country that was home to my family for twenty-four years.  The purpose for this trip was helping the Chateau de St Albain with manual labor  — and our 16 member team accomplished many jobs!  Our two largest projects were the replacement of a part of the Chateau roof including the rafters and roof timbers, and the displacement of the main driveway that leads to the back part of the property.  We also accomplished lots of other small projects.

Chateau de St. Albain, FRANCE
Chateau de St. Albain, FRANCE

 But my greatest joy was to reconnect with friends whom I haven’t seen for about two years.  Being able to pick up where we left off the last time was lots of fun.  We spent hours talking about times spent together and I was able on several occasions to talk with them about the Lord. I would so love to see these friends come to the place where they put their trust in the One who offers salvation, but they’re not there yet…please pray with me for them.

 

Spending time with the “new” Chateau team was beneficial as well.  I was able to encourage them as they spend some time in discouraging places.  I am beginning to see how I might be able to use my experience to give the new team some “on the ground” help.  Perhaps help them to balance the many responsibilities with the privilege of serving God in such a beautiful place.

 

Please pray for Christians in France.  Justin and I and the group from  Ohio were able to worship with the Believers at the small Grace Church in Macon a few days before we left.  I also had the privilege of a meal  with the Pastor and his wife, which gave us hours to talk, and later had a long conversation with one of the elders. There are very few Christians in France and the culture does not encourage them in their spiritual walk, so they greatly appreciate your prayers for them.

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Chateau Roof (Justin 2nd from left in back row; Marlin 3rd from left in back row)

What I Learned…Steve Weaver Reflects on the Philippines

Steve Weaver recently returned from the Philippines. Be sure to check out the previous posts about his trip with his Lancaster Bible College Journey Team. I asked him to summarize for me a few of the things he learned. Have you considered what God might want to teach YOU through a short-term missions experience? Thank you for investing in people like Steve!

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It has been almost a week since I have returned home from my trip with LBC to Boracay, Philippines and I have been processing my trip throughout this week. This trip has impacted me in a huge way and taught me a few things. I was able to meet some amazing people who are serving the Lord faithfully in the Philippines. I met children who were filled with so much joy despite having so little. I had the opportunity to help in construction and sports ministry while on my trip. I will enjoy sharing in the future joy and ministry that come from the places we worked and served at. God used the people I met and the things I had the opportunity to do to teach me some things about serving Him and living for Him:

  • God showed me how blessed I am living in America and how ungrateful I am for all of the things I have, big and small.
  • I do not feel called to missions but I believe God showed me the love and passion He has placed in my heart for people of the world.
  • The coolest thing that God showed me was that the gospel message is being spread all around the world. We were told that ministries in the Philippines were equipping Filipino missionaries to reach people in the Middle East. God is making His name known all over the world! Will you join in the mission?

Thank you to everyone who supported me financially and through prayer!

“Cheers”! A wrap-up of the LC Senior Trip to Scotland

If you’ve been visiting often, you were able to read a few updates regarding the Lititz Christian seniors’ missions trip to Scotland a few weeks ago. If you missed the updates, check them out HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE.

Here are some “final thoughts” about the trip from Mr. Eric Lewis, Spiritual Life Director at Lititz Christian. Please pray for our seniors as they process all they learned and begin the next chapter of their life journey beyond high school.

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Life has regained its normalcy as all of us have returned home to our families and friends and the chaperones are back to school.  As I reflect back over the last nine days, here are a few thoughts of things learned:

  1. “The effective prayer of a righteous person can accomplish much.” (James 5:16).  There is NO WAY that we could have scripted the week we had in Scotland.  All of the best planning in the world wouldn’t have topped the plan that God put together for us while in Scotland.  The people we met, the experiences we had all fit together to create a beautiful tapestry of ministry and work for Christ and His kingdom.  
  2. The people of Scotland are beautiful and welcoming and generous.  It is an extraordinary melting pot of different people groups (with a Scottish accent) who each hold a strong opinion about something (especially football and politics) that need Jesus.  Because of the strength of will of the Scottish people to stand alone when necessary, I personally believe that a revival in Scotland will have major ripple effects in many nations.
  3. I need to take more coffee and tea breaks.  We struggled, initially, to embrace the regular coffee and tea breaks afforded to us in Scotland.  We wanted to work, but what we learned was the importance of people and relationship through these tea breaks filled with good conversation.  It was refreshing to be reminded of the need to set aside our agenda and listen to the person across from you.
  4. All of the hard work, fundraising and planning was WORTH IT!
  5. After three senior trips, this class raised the bar of expectation for future classes regarding team unity, work ethic and commitment to serving others.  I will be using Scotland 2014 as a reference for future planning.  This is a testament to Mr. Hokenbrough and Mrs. Urquhart’s excellent leadership and the seniors’ class.  Well done!  You finished well!

Last Friday was graduation… unbelievable.  I pray that you will keep what you have learned on this trip and from your time here at Lititz Christian to move forward in your faith in Christ and help you live more fearlessly for Him.

Cheers!

Mr. Lewis

Buen Camino!

In the Northwest corner of Spain, there is an entire city, Santiago de Compostela, that has been built around the supposed resting place of the body of St. James. Many believe that after the death and resurrection of Christ, James traveled all the way to the Iberian Peninsula with the gospel message, eventually dying and being buried in this city. As with most holy places in the Middle East and Europe, they built a giant church on the spot!

Through the years, millions of pilgrims have re-traced his steps on a route that has become known as the “St. James Way” or “Camino de Santiago” which ends up at the cathedral. The pilgrimage became so popular that there are now multiple routes through France, Spain, and Portugal. If you’re interested, check out these helpful videos about the Camino HERE and HERE.

Camino Routes
Camino Routes

Most pilgrims come searching for something, and the hospitable atmosphere, casual café’s and resting points along the way allow for people from literally all over the world to connect and share their stories. This “Camino Culture” creates the opportunity for natural “relational bridges” (see previous blog HERE) and has caught the attention of our Grace Brethren Family in Europe. One of our Portuguese partners, who has gifts in evangelism and hospitality has spearheaded the preparation of an “Albergue” (or Hostel) in Porto, Portugal, where pilgrims stop at night to eat and rest. This has also become a ministry center for other outreach opportunities in the local community. A coalition of leaders from multiple cultures is forming to come alongside this ministry and help it to grow and thrive. Pastor Doug, who has visited this ministry and experienced the Camino, is serving on this coalition. Please pray for the ministry of this Albergue, as it strives to connect the Saint James Way to life with Christ.

Santiago de Compostela Cathedral
Santiago de Compostela Cathedral

Two young people from Grace Church, Rachel & Zach Peters, are heading to Portugal and Spain next week with a team who will both experience the Camino and help to serve with the Albergue ministry and our ministry partner there. This team (led by Hope Grace Brethren Church in Dillsburg, PA) is continuing to pave the way for continued ministry and investment in this vital region.

Here are some specific prayer requests for Zach & Rachel’s trip:

  1. Travel to/from Portugal and within Portugal & Spain
  2. Effective ministry to pilgrims
  3. Healthy bodies (especially feet)
  4. Clear leading for future ministry opportunities

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Stay tuned to the blog for updates on their experience.