Tomorrow is November! Do you know what that means?

November is Adoption Awareness Month, and tomorrow is National Orphan Sunday. Throughout the month of November, in addition to posts about missions and outreach at Grace Church, we’ll be highlighting some stories, thoughts, and challenges related to an area of ministry that is precious to God and that is precious to Grace Church: Caring for orphans! We hope you’ll bookmark the blog and check back often.

To kick off the series of blogs, we encourage you to check out this video from one organization who is helping to deal with the orphan crisis in our world. While you watch, please prayerfully consider what YOU can do to help.

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/62652366″>ONE Video</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/lifelinechild”>Lifeline Children’s Services</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

The statistics can be overwhelming. This Sunday, stop by the missions table to pick up a FREE copy of Orphan Justice by Johnny Carr.  Using his own personal experience and a close look at what the Bible has to say about the Church’s role in meeting the needs of orphans, Carr shares how we can move from just a discussion of the issue to action. Check back in on the blog on Wednesdays this month as we hear from families who have been tangibly involved through foster care and adoption.

On Thailand: A Reflection from Heidi

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I want to start by thanking you for your prayers, encouragement and support as Joan and I traveled to Thailand to visit GROW. Many of you prayed very specifically for my back pain, and those prayers are so greatly appreciated and were such a sustaining source of encouragement to me. In addition to your prayers, Faa, the staff, and the children at GROW added their own prayers for my back to be healed and the pain to be taken away. I believe that the combined prayers are what gave me relief for the second week we were there as well as on the flight home. Thank you! Prayer is powerful, even when the answer may not be what we were hoping for.

grow staff

For me, one of the biggest impacts to my heart was just being able to build relationships with Faa, the staff, and the children. Language was at times a barrier, but laughter can be shared no matter one’s language and there are some universal hand motions that translate. It was great to spend devoted time with the staff and to get to know them and know how to pray for them as they serve. And it was fun to play games and teach new games to the children. One of my favorite moments was when one of the boys very shyly approached me and asked me to play football (soccer) with the boys. “Pii Heidi, football?” Of course, I said yes and it was fun to run, laugh and play a game that we all understood.

Another highlight was getting to meet the children and hear their stories. And while many of their stories are filled with pain and heartbreak, it is amazing to hear about the transformation that is also taking place. These changes are not only evident in the children themselves, but are also evident in their families. The journey these children are experiencing is filled with God’s grace, redemption, and restoration. It is a powerful thing to see these stories being written.

As I reflect on the time that we spent in Thailand, I love that God and His Word transcends cultures, languages and experiences. He is constant. And I was once again reminded that He desires to write powerful stories with all of our lives because He is brought glory through transformed hearts.

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Want to hear more? Come for a time of fellowship and sharing with Heidi and Joan on November 19th in the Grace Cafe from 7-8:30 pm.

News from Cambodia

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Kent and Becky Good, who have been serving as missionaries overseas since 1979, living in Cambodia since 2004, sent us an update today with a beautiful glimpse of what God is doing among believers in Cambodia and CMP (Cambodian Ministry Partners).

Living in a country where more than 95% of the population practices Buddhism, a small group of Christians living outside the city of Battambang has been meeting together for worship services for many years led by CMP Symean and his family, whom Grace Church supports.  Becky wrote, “yesterday (Oct. 26) was quite a momentous occasion in the history of this work: baptisms” Following a message on the meaning of baptism in the life of a follower of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit moved in the hearts of this small group of believers.

A five kilometer drive out into the rice fields brought them all to their destination: a new irrigation ditch. There, 25 believers were baptized as their brothers and sisters in Christ joyously looked on as they made this public declaration to live for Jesus.

Praise God for the growing number of believers and increasing passion for Christ in Cambodia!

Here are some upcoming events, Kent and Becky have asked us to pray for:

November 2-7: CMP Family Retreat-Dave and Sue Guiles will be their specials guests. Please pray for God’s blessing on them during this time together.

November 10-12: National Ministry Partners from Japan, Philippines, & Cambodia will be meeting with Dave Guiles & Wayne Hannah

November 11-24: A 10-member team will be joining Kent and Becky to minister to CMP wives & ESL students…and Kent and Becky!

On Thailand: A Reflection from Joan

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Thank you for your prayer support for our recent trip to the G.R.O.W. ministry in Thailand. Heidi and I spent 18 days living and working with Faa and her staff. Our friendship and trust has grown with both the staff and children, and they know that Grace Church Lititz cares and values them! Most of the children in this home are from the hill tribes. They come to the home broken by physical, sexual, and emotional abuse. They are considered a people without value in their society. It was exciting to see the love of Christ being poured into the children by the staff and healing taking place. They are loved and cared for; they are family! One young girl came to the home severely broken by sexual abuse and did not talk for two years. Faa shared with Heidi and I, that earlier this year, this precious girl had started to talk again.

During our time, Heidi and I participated in a variety of activities. We provided some staff training, we played games and did special activities with the children; we had opportunity to teach and share scripture, we shoveled and spread out sand, painted logs, shopped and ordered kitchen cabinets and organized a future medical room. We are glad to hear that their newly completed boys’ home will enable them to add and help four more abused or at-risk boys by spring next year. We also had many long drives into town that gave us extended time for great conversations with Faa. Each activity provided opportunity to connect and build our relationship but it was our visit to an Akha hill tribe village and church that brought a renewed perspective to me.

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At our Sunday morning church service in the Akha village it was heartwarming to see each of the G.R.O.W. children give a gift (one of their toys) to an Akha child. It was also encouraging to hear the Akha church attenders wanting to learn more, asking questions about what was shared. It was evident the Holy Spirit was with us during that 3 hour church service, helping us work through the communication challenges we faced between Thai, Akha and English languages to renew and open hearts and minds. The Akha people asked us to pray for a pastor, someone to commit to sharing the Word of God with this small group each week. As I pray for their need and desire to know more about the God of the Bible, I reflect on the overwhelming resources I have available to me in the U.S. I have multiple version of the bible available to read, and I can because I’ve been taught to read.  I come from a country with a rich Christian heritage, far more than 1%. I have the support and care from a loving and large church family (more than ten), I don’t feel alone and isolated from people who are like-minded. I have an overabundance of resources to read and listen to that can help me grow in my spiritual journey.  I am very thankful. I only hope that my thankfulness is evident through my actions to access these resources by reading, growing, sharing and leading others to a better understanding of the hope I found in Christ in the U.S. and abroad.

Serving Him together,

Joan McCracken

Want to hear more? Come for a time of fellowship and sharing with Heidi and Joan on November 19th in the Grace Cafe from 7-8:30 pm.

Operation Barnabas

obbusno6For 41 years, God has been using CE National’s Operation Barnabas to provide students with an opportunity to mature in their faith, develop their spiritual gifts, and learn to live on mission for Christ. OB is a seven-week ministry for high school students that equips “students to share their faith, perform in music, dance, drama, share their testimonies, be actively engaged in a discipleship group, and serve alongside local churches.”

Perhaps one of the most powerful aspects of OB is the bond forged among team members and leaders. Let’s be honest; it can be difficult at any age to feel surrounded by others who are “running the race” alongside of us. So, for a high school student, spending one summer on mission for Christ and living in community with others dedicated to the same cause can have a life-long impact on their perspective of what it looks like to “take up your cross daily and follow [Jesus].”

If you are (or know of) a student in high school (10th-12th grade) who loves Jesus and is passionate about learning what it means to live on mission for the Kingdom of Christ, check out the video below and visit the Operation Barnabas website to learn more. Maybe OB is for you.

So, who was Barnabas?

The Church in Antioch: Acts 11:19-26

Now those who were scattered because of the persecution that arose over Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia and Cyprus and Anitoch, speaking the word to no one except Jews. But there were some of them, men of Cyprus and Cyrene, who on coming to Antioch spoke to the Hellenists also, preaching the Lord Jesus. And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number who believed turned to the Lord. The report of this came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch.

When he came and saw the grace of God, he was glad, and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose, for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were added to the Lord.

So  Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. For a whole year they met with the church and taught a great many people. And in Antioch the disciples were first called Christians.

*Photo belongs to graceconnect.us

Moringa

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If you could dream up a solution to solve world-wide malnutrition, what would it be? Would it be something like the water from the rock miracle in Exodus? Or perhaps, a tree of life?

Yes, a tree. One that springs up quickly and grows in barren land. And from the roots to the leaves, it offers an abundance of nutrition, healing, and can even be used to purify water. You need not imagine. Such a “miracle” tree exists; it is called the Moringa Tree.

Let us introduce you to CPR-3, a ministry based out of Coatesville, PA that is striving to create a healthier world, physically and spiritually. Providing and planting Moringa trees to the people of Haiti is just part of how CPR-3 aims to breathe life into places that have been struck by crisis and poverty.

Below are some interesting facts about Moringa. Learn more about Moringa and CPR-3 here.

More About the Moringa Tree:

  1. Once established it sends a tap root down to the water table making it drought tolerant.
  2. It is a nitrogen fixer and can be used as a fertilizer.
  3. It is a livestock feed
  4. It grows tall and lacy if left unchecked so it is good for forest gardening
  5. The seed is used to clarify water
  6. The seed oil never goes rancid and is used in fine machinery
  7. The seed oil burns clean and is a good source for heat and light
  8. It is a sustainable food source for third world countries where malnutrition is prevalent.

oranges

7 times more

Vitamin C than in an orange

Carrot

4 times more

Vitamin A than in a carrot

milk

4 times more

calcium than in milk

banana

3 times more

Potassium than in a banana

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3 times more

Iron than in spinach

almond

3 times more

Vitamin E than in almonds

Update in the C.A.R.

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We received a great video this week, highlighting how God is using our gifts and our prayers to help our suffering brothers and sisters in the Central African Republic:

We also heard a report that 0 of the 2,000 children in Hand-in-Hand schools (including the 4 schools supported by Grace Church and Lititz Christian School) have been killed during the ongoing civil war! Additionally, many of the schools’ supplies have been left alone during the looting and burning of many villages. Praise God!

While this all represents good news, the daily struggles continue. Please continue to PRAY FOR PEACE in the C.A.R.