Celebrating Missions: Part 2 of 3

Sunday night the Grace Church missions team hosted a missions celebration! Those who attended thoroughly enjoyed the variety of experiences throughout the night and walked away challenged to be more engaged in our responsibility to “reach the nations” with the good news of Jesus. This is the second blog in our series for this week highlighting different elements of the event in case you weren’t able to make it! (Click here if you missed part 1!)

Those who attended got their passports stamped on a journey around the world! Tables were set-up representing different short-term missions opportunities and ministries engaged by Grace Church people this summer. Tables included:

After visiting each table, “passports” were “stamped” and those with full passports entered a give-away to local “international” restaurants!

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One of the required stops was the Grace Meeting Room, where the team from Haiti provided a more extensive presentation of their trip. Our prayer has been that people would have at least one interaction that would lead them to be more engaged in missions through Grace Church.

How are you “living on mission”? We’ll give you some practical ideas tomorrow!

“Merci Mingi”: A Thank you from the Central African Republic

You may remember hearing about the crisis that is going on in the war-torn country of Central African Republic (CAR). Earlier in 2014, Grace Church joined forces with many churches and individuals around the world who came together to donate 1,000,000 pounds of food and supplies for relief efforts. Check out previous posts HERE and HERE.

We just received another great “thank you” video about the help we sent. Please use this as a reminder to pray for our brothers and sisters, and for our orphans, who continue to deal with the devastation that is occurring there.

 

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.

SO MANY TRIPS!

As you can tell, there is a lot going on through Grace Church! As of today, we have people from Grace on four different missions trips in Tennessee, France, Scotland, and the Philippines! We are so excited to keep you up to date on all the happenings around the world due to the work these teams are doing.

 22 students from Lititz Christian’s 8th grade class, along with 4 chaperones, are currently on their way to Wears Valley Ranch in Tennessee!

Please continue to pray for this team as they do ministry on the ranch. Continue to check back for more updates about their trip!

(Haven’t heard about this trip? Click HERE.)

110 Students Make Global Impact

Sherry McConaghay, the principal of the Elementary and Intermediate Schools at Lititz Christian, has a desire to see her students develop a servant’s heart. Each year, the students participate in a few service projects. This past fall about 110 students traveled to GAIN (Global Aid Network), an organization that desires to provide resources and means of sustainability to the world’s most poor. Their distribution center is in Mount Joy and serves as the main hub where materials are received, processed, packed, and shipped.

Lititz Christian students work that day as groups in assembly line formats packing boxes with school supplies for children around the world. These supplies are shipped and distributed to schools where there are children who may not have parents, or parents who cannot afford school supplies.  You can see students making salvation bracelets in pictures below. These bracelets are distributed to another assembly line where LC students placed a salvation bracelet around a small bear before packing the bears into boxes for shipment. The students enjoy this day each year knowing they are spreading the word of Christ to children around the world. They realize they may never meet these children, but their efforts and prayers can make the difference in the quality of the children’s lives when they receive these gifts. They know others care about them and Jesus loves them.

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We had the opportunity to go to GAIN. At GAIN you make or work on special things that will be sent to places in need all over the world. Sixth grade and fifth grade made a Christ bracelet. Each bead on the bracelet is a different color. One color represents Jesus Christ’s resurrection. One bead is in the shape of a heart which stands for Jesus’ love. If you go to GAIN it shows how you love those people in need, and God will be pleased. I felt light on my feet because of how good I felt.  -Sixth Grade Boy

GAIN 5 GAIN 4

My experience from GAIN was very eye opening. It was eye opening because I saw what children in different countries had compared to me. I got to help make care packages for children who weren’t able to go to school. The care packages allowed them to go to school, because those things were the supplies they needed.  -Fifth Grade Girl

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Students also had the opportunity to write letters to the children who receive the boxes of school supplies from GAIN. Though the students do not know who will be on the receiving end, they were excited to encourage other kids who live across the world. Here is a letter that will be sent with many others from LC students…

Dear Friend, I like to play football, soccer, baseball, basketball, and golf. I have many friends. At home I have two dogs named Mia and Charlie. Mia is 5 and Charlie is 3. They are both black and love to play outside. I am a Christian and I go to church on Sunday. I believe that Christ saved me from death when I accepted him. I will still die but I will go to Heaven and I believe that he can save you too. All you have to do is pray to him and ask him to come into your life and I will see you in Heaven someday. Heaven will always last forever and there is no sadness or hunger. Psalm 96:6,7 “Come let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our maker, for He is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care.” That is my favorite passage in the Bible. I love the Bible because it does not lie and is not only good advice, but it has many stories in one book. I pray to God a lot and ask him to help me with my problems and to thank him for all he gives. God is always with you if you accept him into your heart. Please – if you can – write back to me.

The students at Lititz Christian are being taught to serve in tangible ways. They have connected with the team from Grace Church that is going to Haiti this July. Check back soon to find out what they are doing to help kids in Haiti!

Steve Weaver in Boracay

Steve Weaver had an opportunity to go on a missions trip to France in the summer of 2010, and has been anxiously waiting for another chance to serve overseas. His desire was met when he got the opportunity to go to the Philippines with Lancaster Bible College through First Love International Ministries. Steve, along with a team of 22 people, will be serving in Boracay from May 20-June 3. They will be serving at a ministry clinic that works with a variety of areas including sports camp, feeding sites, first aid, and construction.

steve weaver

Here are some prayer requests from Steve in regards to his trip next week:

  • Please pray for the travel, that as we enter various countries and airports, we be presented with opportunities to tell others the Good News
  • Please pray for relationships to be built and strengthened in our group so that we can effectively minister as a team
  • Please pray for the people we will be in contact with while in the Philippines
  • Please pray for health, energy, and strength
  • Please pray that we will make an impact in each area of service
  • Please pray that each member would have the funds provided that they need in order to participate in this wonderful opportunity of service and cultural experience

Join us this Sunday during our 9am and 10:45am services for Steve’s send off!

If you are interested in supporting Steve, contact him by the end of THIS WEEK here.

Grace Church Kids Featured in GROW Newsletter

I recently received a Spring newsletter from GROW (Grace Refuge Outreach Worldwide) and was filled with joy to see a picture of some young ladies from Grace Church! You see, these girls met Faa last Fall and decided, out of compassion for the children Faa is helping, to sell homemade bracelets to raise money for GROW. They were able to come up with $200 to help the GROW children!

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What gifts has God given you? How can you creatively impact those who are less-fortunate in our world? Grace Church is committed to providing opportunities to show compassion locally and globally, but each of us has opportunities in our daily lives to tangibly love “the least of these”! Who will you serve today?

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To learn more about Faa, GROW, or to sign up for GROW newsletters, please visit http://grow-worldwide.com/