On Monday we were invited to share during the GROW staff’s weekly meeting. Joan shared some thoughts from our morning team time in Romans 12:4-8 on the spiritual gifts God gives us and the beauty of the body of Christ working together. She shared about how she and Heidi have different gifts and how we will need each other as we go through the next two weeks. And how blessed we are to be able to work alongside of each other. Joan also shared how great it is to see the body of Christ come together to help each other from Lititz to Wiang Pa Pao.
Heidi shared how God is working in her this week as she continues to deal with constant back pain. She is accepting God’s timing and answer in this as it is different than she would like. She has been learning to trust Him through this distraction.
We then spent the afternoon planning our next two weeks and are looking forward to our time together. Thank you for your continued prayers. Wednesday and Thursday we will be leading some training for the GROW staff on team unity and leading children.
For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
Before leaving Lititz we had our elementary children sign a banner to be given to the GROW kids. This banner was given to them on Monday. Heidi shared with the children that this banner was covered with prayers and was to remind them that they are loved by children on the other side of the world.
Then the children were asked to write on another banner that will come back to Lititz. It will be hung in our elementary room and will be a reminder to pray for GROW, the children and it’s continuing ministry. The children eagerly wrote their names and drew pictures. We concluded this time with prayer for the children.
We are excited to bring this banner back along with some pictures so that we can build a lasting relationship between GraceKids and GROW kids.
As you may have already heard, Joan and Heidi have made it safely to Thailand! We were so excited to receive this update from Heidi shortly following their arrival. Please remember to keep Heidi, Joan, and the GROW staff and children in your prayers. Enjoy!
We arrived at the GROW home on Sunday evening to a warm welcome. The children and staff stood on either side of the driveway waving flags and arms showing their excitement. We were blessed and look forward to our time together over the next two weeks.
We are off to a great start…earlier in the day we picked up a bicycle for one of the boys. Although it was an ordinary bike for a young boy it represented an extraordinary story of a life being changed.
This young boy came to the GROW home over three years ago at the age of seven. He and his father lived on the streets. In desperation and hopelessness the father tried to end his life and his son’s life two times. After the second attempt the boy was rescued by Faa and has been living at the GROW home since then. During the past few years the father has changed and is now able to hold a job. This father and son are able to talk on a weekly basis. Their relationship has improved and the trust is growing. His father recently saved some money and wanted to buy his son a gift, a bike. We were able to witness the joy and excitement this boy experienced at receiving this first gift from his father.
This boy continues to pray for his father and we are excited to see how God will work through his prayers.
– Heidi and Joan
We received an update this week regarding our friends in the C.A.R. Please pass this along and be in prayer. Be sure to check out Hand in Hand Orphan School’s Facebook Page as well as our prayer cards posted below.
Not much has changed with the ongoing war in the Central African Republic. There is still fighting and, almost daily, we hear of a new conflict resulting in innocent people losing their lives. Praise God for our Central African partners who continue to serve, sometimes risking their lives for the sake of the gospel!
2014-15 School Year
Even in the midst of the war, many of our Hand in Hand (HnH) Orphan Schools were able to meet for most of the 2013-14 school year. After a long discussion with HnH Coordinator Bouyette Emmanual and assistant Guidibe Jean, we have determined that all but 3 of the schools will begin the 2014-15 school year on the first day of October. Because last year was so chaotic, we have agreed to “redo” the 2013-14 curriculum. This will give our kids a chance to better absorb the reading, writing, and arithmetic as well as give our teachers another year to minister to our hurting, traumatized kids. In June, Emmanuel, Jean, and Marie Claire attended a two-week ‘Trauma Healing’ training. On September 23, they will gather all of our HnH teachers to share what they have learned in order to minister to our children who have suffered and experienced more than we even want to imaging. After the week-long training, teachers will return to their villages and school will begin the following Wednesday. Please pray for safety during meetings and for the teachers as they travel through some difficult areas in order to attend the training.
Boots on the ground in Bangui
Ginger Hock and Brenda Artrip will be traveling to Bangui in October to make sure all supplies are ready and are sent and things are rolling for our HnH Orphan Schools. WE hope to bring back lots of photos and stories to share with you.
Thankful for your prayers and partnership.
Ginger Hock & Brenda Artrip
Urban Hope’s mission is “to reach the urban family through children and youth and to train believers in cross-cultural ministry.” If you have never heard the beautiful story of how their ministry began, you can read about it here.
If you know David & Del-Rae Rice, you know that they have a heart for those who are struggling. They have been active in many ministries, including Water Street Rescue Mission in downtown Lancaster, and Urban Hope Training Center in Philadelphia. Just a few weeks ago, because of David’s vision, several men from Urban Hope joined him to share their testimonies of lives transformed by Jesus to people at Water Street! How cool is that?!
Grace Church is traveling to Urban Hope Training Center in Philadelphia on Saturday, September 27 to volunteer at a street carnival! The group will leave at 6:30 a.m. from the church parking lot and return at 8 p.m. If you would like to be part of this trip, please contact David or Del-Rae Rice at email@example.com.
The simplest message is oftentimes the most powerful message: one “we love you”, signed by the small hands of the ones who remind us what unconditional love looks like. This banner, shown above, signed by our own Grace Church kids will be making it’s way around the world this Friday to the kids of GROW in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Though Heidi and Joan will leave our banner in Thailand, they will be returning with a new banner signed by the children of GROW.
GROW’s mission is “to rescue at-risk children and youth by supporting, educating, and providing them with a safe place to live, grow, and learn about Christ.” Grace’s partnership with GROW involves short-term trips to build relationships as well as financial and prayer support. This Friday, Heidi Christner and Joan McCracken are leaving for a three-week trip to visit the children and staff at GROW. We ask that you join us in praying for their safety and health in addition to God’s blessing on the relationships that will be strengthened during their trip.
As you keep Heidi and Joan in your prayers, remember to keep praying for the ones whose little hands will be receiving the Grace kids banner. Pray that as they read and trace the names of our little ones with their hands that they would know they are loved; pray that this love would help guide them to the higher love of Jesus Christ.