Heidi and Joan: Weekly Staff Meeting with GROW


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.

-Romans 12:4-8

A Banner Given, A Banner Received


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.

Warm Welcome: Bicycle with a Story


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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



Hand in Hand Orphan Schools

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

Missions Card CAR elizabeth copy  Missions Card CAR marc & samuel copy Missions Card CAR timothee copy

Urban Hope Street Carnival Trip: September 27 (THIS WEEKEND)!


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?!



on-mission1  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 dsr_dcr@windstream.net.

Heidi and Joan Headed to Thailand This Week!

grow kids poster

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.

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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.

Missions Card Thailand 2014 copy

Will YOU be Going to Haiti in January?

Applications for January Haiti trip are due MONDAY (September 22)! Will YOU be going?!

Engage Through Grace

I hope you will prayerfully consider an upcoming cross-cultural ministry experience with the “least of these” in Haiti! Grace Church is really excited about our new partnership with the Bode-de-Mer church near Cap Haitien, Haiti and we will be sending a team to initiate this church-to-church relationship from January 10-17, 2015. Our church’s desire is to partner with the pastor and congregation to meet their community for Jesus.

Pastor Doug and Pastor Cadet from the Bode-de-Mer Church, January, 2014 Pastor Doug and Pastor Cadet from the Bode-de-Mer Church, January, 2014

Children from the Bode-de-Mer Christian School, January, 2014 Children from the Bode-de-Mer Christian School, January, 2014

This budding friendship will be the primary focus for the team and will include worship and fellowship with the congregation at the Bode-de-Mer church and visiting with the school of 115 children in 6 classes (all in one room). The team will also do some work projects at the Bible Institute (where pastors and church-planters are trained and where short-term teams stay) and spend an afternoon…

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A Letter from Jess Lutz in Haiti

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Bonswa soti nan bél Ayiti! Hello from beautiful Haiti!

I cannot believe that I have already been here for two weeks. The time seems to be flying by, but God is good and I am learning a lot.

For the first week of my internship, we went through training to learn all of the background information and history of Mission of Hope and the vision that they have for this country. As interns, we received that training so that we can better represent Mission of Hope since we are basically the face of the organization. Also, during the first week, we got the chance to tour all 11 villages that MOH works with and sends teams to. It was very encouraging and exciting to see all that God is doing through MOH, and how the Haitian people are being equipped in order to lead their own country and generation. One of the unique things about MOH is that they believe in indigenous mobilization. Basically, that means that they want to have all of their projects here in Haiti fully run by Haitians. This prevents them from becoming dependent on the U.S. and North Americans. A form of indigenous mobilization is the Village Champions, which are members of each of the 11 villages that MOH works with. They are picked by the local pastors based on their relationship with Christ and their deisre to see their village and community changed for the better. Essentially, they are the liaison betwen the local village and Mission of Hope. This is the part where I come in!

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My role as an intern is to lead the American mission teams that come to Mission of Hope. I work with the Village Champions in each village to see out life transformation for every man, woman, and child in Haiti.

This past week, I had the chance to lead a medical team along with two North American staff members that live here in Haiti. I worked with a pharmacist for the week, and she taught me how to run the pharmacy at the clinic. It was a lot of fun learning about a completely new area of the medical field and I am excited to work with the mobile clinic again! We took the team out to two villages, Bercy and Leveque. We held mobile clinics in both of these villages. The mobile clinics  provide free consultations with a Haitian doctor and the opportunity to receive medication that has been donated to MOH through other medical partners. At the end of the clinic visit, the patients have the chance to visit and pray with Haitian pastors. This past week, we saw about 260 patients and 16 of them accepted Christ at the clinic! It was a very successful week, physically and spiritually.

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This week, I will be getting a team on Wednesday and I get to take them out into another local village called Minoterie. We will do village time and visit with the local people, building relationships with adults and the children there. We will also have two days to do a work project which will consist of painting and planting trees. I am so excited to interact with the local Haitians and to continue building relationships with them. I also have loved getting to speak and use so much of the Creole that I already know. It also helps that the translators and children are always making sure that they are teaching me new phrases 🙂 My favorites so far are: “pa fe sa”- don’t do that, and “mwen rele pa blan”- my name isn’t Blan (that is their nickname for us Americans, which means white!)

I definitely feel like I’m getting settled in here and Haiti just feels like home. I’m so thankful that I’m able to spend this season of my life in Haiti and I look forward to all that God is going to teach me through my time here.  Philippians 4:4-13 has been such an amazing passage to hold on to as I make this transition into my new, temporary home.

Bondye beni ou (God bless you),

Jess Lutz

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The LORD is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be make known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise,think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me–practice these things. And the God of peace will be with you.

I rejoiced in the LORD greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

Philippians 4:4-13

Lititz Warwick Community Chest Needs Your Help

And one of the scribes…asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?”

Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’

The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”


Part of our mission at Grace Church is serving and loving our neighbors. Lititz Warwick Community Chest is the local food bank that provides us the opportunity to fulfill this mission by helping feed those who are less fortunate. We have recently learned that they are in desperate need for donations! To encourage your participation, Grace Church has a grocery cart in the café to collect donations for LWCC. So, take a look in your pantry. The next time you are at the grocery store, please consider our neighbors here in Lititz.

Need some ideas? Check here.

The Compassion Experience: Coming to Manheim, September 19th-22nd

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Do you remember the first time you met with Poverty? For many, it is an awkward meeting, when you realize how good you’ve had it all this time but the present moment still demands a decision and an action. Like every bad first impression, the memory of it remains for years and decades to come.

I was in Peru. At nineteen, I was more than excited to be going on my first cross-cultural missions trip. I had seen the slums of Lima blur by from the window of our shiny rental  as we rode up into the Andes Mountains. But, God had arranged my first meeting with Poverty to be face-to-face, scheduled for early the following morning. Up until then, the dirt roads; the run-down look of the village; the hints of malnutrition in a dry, rosy complexion on a few of the kids; the scrawny dogs scavenging the garbage in the streets;  the smells, all folded neatly into my anticipation of what I had learned of poverty. I felt…prepared.


It was not the poverty, but the beauty of creation that tendered my heart the following morning as we mingled in the morning light that spilled over the mountain range behind us. Two young girls, shy but unable to hide their smiles, curiously climbed up onto the low wall to sit next to me before heading to school. I began to ask them questions with my classroom Spanish. They giggled, then snuck closer. Within moments, one was sitting on my lap, the other playing with my hair, both chatting up a storm. And I, I was overwhelmed. My heart was starting to fill up with  love for these people and this place. As I soaked in the simple beauty of the moment, my new little friends squealed with excitement and scrambled away.

It was a candy wrapper.

A corner of it poked up out of the dirt mound behind us. As I put my hand up and tried to form words to say “No! Don’t. It’s dirty! you could get sick…,” Poverty kicked me in the stomach and latched onto my throat. I choked back tears of horror and grief as they shared what was left over, tears of joy in their eyes and excited whispers. Then, a quick hug for me and a promise to come play after school. The dirt roads, the run-down look, the hints of that red rash on all of their faces, the dogs, the smells, all changed. They haunt me still, reminding me of my first meeting with Poverty, reminding me the need is great and urgent.

Many of us at Grace Church are well-acquainted with poverty and the need for relief, locally and abroad. Maybe you haven’t been introduced yet. Whichever it is, there is an incredible opportunity to be immersed in the life of one of those whom we are called to care for and love (Matthew 25:40). From September 19th-22nd, LCBC in Manheim is hosting The Compassion Experience: Change the Story.

“Change the Story will bring you as close to another country and culture as you can get without a passport. This interactive, immersive display allows you to step into the life of a child who has suffered under the crippling weight of poverty.

But the journey does not end there.

In the span of less than 30 minutes, you will travel with that child from hardship to hope. And in the midst of hope, you will see that child’s story transformed through the support of Compassion and the child’s life-giving relationship with a sponsor.”

This is a FREE event. We encourage you to go. Take the kids. Let them see; see for yourself. Reserve your spot here because space is limited.  I haven’t forgotten one detail from my first meeting with Poverty. And I pray I never will because God faithfully  continues to change me through it, reminding me there is still much to be done.

Written by: Alyssa Weaver