A GROWing Partnership

Grace Church is so excited to be partnering with GROW. Faa & Ning shared powerful stories of answers to prayer during our Sunday morning worship services last week, and expanded on what God has been doing in the past year at the Missions Celebration. We also wanted you to be able to see this great new video from GROW (which was shown last Sunday night).

We are sending Heidi Christner and Joan McCracken to visit GROW from September 26-October 13th. During their trip, they will be able to encourage Faa, build relationships with the children and staff at GROW, and explore the possibility of taking short-term trips in the future. There is a prayer card and support letter for them located at the missions table in the church lobby.

Take a moment to pray for this amazing ministry, and consider supporting it by partnering with Heidi and Joan as they travel there in a few weeks!

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/100609817″>GROW – Grace Refuge Outreach Worldwide</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/user7195014″>Jonathan H. Lee</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

Celebrating Missions: Part 1 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. We’ll post a few blogs this week highlighting different elements of the event in case you weren’t able to make it!

We’ll start at the end! We ended the evening by covering the entire world in prayer! Literally! We asked everyone who attended to pick 3 countries to pray for and had them circle the country name on a world map. It was awesome to see couples, families, and other individuals huddled together and praying for the work of the gospel across the entire globe! Many wrote the names of their countries down to continue to pray for them throughout the week as well. A changed heart is a work of God, so prayer is a powerful way to be involved in missions.

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Another prayer element came in the form of a packet of prayer cards for all of Grace Church’s missions partners! We encouraged everyone to take one home and to place it at a visible place in their home to remember to pray for our partnerships and investments all over the globe. We continue to make new cards for Grace Church folks who are serving on short-term trips as well, so your pile can continue to grow over time. A display gave people ideas of how to use the cards:

  • Place them in a box in the middle of the dinner table and pray for one partner each night before dinner
  • Place them all in a photo album and keep it in your purse or with your Bible to pray during down-time or quiet time
  • Hang them on a line across a play-room wall to keep them visible and in the front of your mind
  • Clip them to your fridge with a fridge-magnet and pray for one when you open your fridge

If you missed the event, stop by the missions table in the lobby to pick a packet up, or contact the church office to mail you one!

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A final prayer element that was quite moving was to have Faa, from our featured partnership, GROW, praying for us in Thai! Pastor Doug asked Faa to pray in either Aka (her native, tribal language) or in Thai. She chose to pray in Thai “because that’s the language she has memorized Scripture in”! In other words, she was praying Scripture! Though we couldn’t understand her prayer, our hearts were aligned and moved as we observed her passion while she spoke to God.

Urban Impact (Part 3 of 3)

As a part of Grace Church’s continued efforts to be salt and light in our surrounding communities, we are sending a group to Urban Hope to participate in a street carnival on September 27th! We have sent groups of volunteers to UHTC many times, and they always come back with incredible stories of how God is working through Urban Hope in Philadelphia. If you missed part one of this series, check it out here!

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This is the last group that went to Urban Hope!

The upcoming group will leave the parking lot here at Grace Church at 6:30am and return at 8:00pm. This is a great opportunity to spend a full day training and serving in a cross-cultural environment! For more information or to sign up, contact David (717-715-5779) and Del-Rae (717-715-5782) Rice by phone or by email here.

To hear about more opportunities like this one, come to our Missions Celebration this Sunday night at 6pm in the cafe! Coffee and dessert will be provided. To find out more information about this event, click HERE!

Return on YOUR Investment: Come Hear the Stories

Last week, 81 students from Grace Student Ministries traveled to Chicago for Momentum Youth Conference. This annual conference is a time when students get to drink from the fire hydrant of God’s Word through internationally known speakers and intense worship. ((PAUSE)) This trip was made possible by YOU and other people of Grace Church. How? Buying subs, eating at Isaac’s nights, personal donations, and the incredible $15,000 offering to off-set transportation costs! THANK YOU! ((RESUME)) The week concludes with a day-long service project where students get to immediately put their knowledge into action. (Check out more details and pictures about their send-off HERE and their service day HERE!)

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The transition home after conference is always a challenge; a spiritual “high” colliding and meshing with “real life” at home. It is a time when we can come along out students to encourage them in the lessons and commitments they made, and spur them into the upcoming school year (SCHOOL ALREADY?!…yup)!

This coming Sunday night, August 3rd, GSM is hosting Youth Led Communion from 6-7:30pm in the cafe. In addition to the Communion aspects, there will be worship, baptism, and a time for students to share the lessons they’ve learned this summer. It will be a time for you to encourage our students, as well as be encouraged yourself.

You won’t want to miss this event! Bring the family, bring a dessert to share, and prepare yourself for what God is doing through the students of Grace Church!

Transitioning Home: Reflections from OBI Leader, Jade Landis

Jade Landis spent a large portion of her summer leading the Operation Barnabas International team to the Philippines. Jade has been a student on OB (domestic) and OBI, and has now been a team leader in both areas as well. She also traveled to the Philippines with Lancaster Bible College. It is safe to say that these ministries have had long lasting, life changing effects on Jade, and that part of her heart stays on the island of Boracay. If you missed her last update from the trip, click here! Below are some concluding thoughts and pictures from Jade. Please continue to pray for her transition back to life in Lancaster.

OBI 2014 has officially come to a close and as I sit down to reflect on the trip there are so many things that God did in and through our team and my personal life as well. Though there are a million stories I could share, I just want to share a personal lesson that God taught me and I hope that it challenges you as well!

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With this being my third trip I was excited to see what God was going to teach me through the Filipino culture and it was definitely more than I could have expected or asked for. Many times when people return from missions trips their first thoughts are in regards to the MANY materialistic things we have compared to those they just ministered to. Though this is very true and a realization that we should come to, I have realized that often we let the impact of the trip stop there. Instead this trip to the Philippines reminded me of the importance of relationships. The Filipinos continually seek to serve others, be kind to others, and always put others before themselves! This type of relationships goes against everything that our culture today teaches us about relationships. The relationships that I have formed with the Filipinos have a greater depth to them in my two weeks there than a lot of my relationships at home do. God really used my relationships with them to challenge me in my relationships here at home. We are all a part of the body of Christ and because of that there needs to be a depth and intentionality to our relationships.

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Returning from the Philippines is always difficult because it is always a place that will feel like home to me. Yet I am so thankful to be able to return home to Grace because I know of the wonderful church family that awaits me. Thank you for supporting me and praying for me as I led OBI this summer! Though this is only one story of what God did in my life while being there, there are MANY other stories and I would love to be able to tell you about! Do not hesitate to stop and ask me what God did in and through the OBI team in our time there! Thank you again for the many prayers!

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Grace Church Students Serving in Chi-town

Take a look around you on a Sunday morning – 1 in 10 people – that’s how many are at Momentum Youth Conference from Grace Church this week. Our group joined more than 2,000 other teens and youth staff in Wheaton, IL, just outside of Chicago, for the #bestweekofsummer! 🙂

CE National, who sponsors Momentum has a long-standing philosophy, that if a group that size is going to gather to worship Jesus and grow in their faith, it ought to have a big impact on the community. So in addition to daily outreach opportunities, today, the entire conference headed into Chicago to serve in the name of Jesus. Our students loaded our two coach buses and are doing work projects.

Please pray for them as they work – that they will have a great experience putting their faith in action, and that God will mold their hearts to become Christians who serve others in their daily lives! Pray too, that there will be significant impact for the cause of Christ through the thousands who are serving throughout Chicago today!

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Friday’s Concert of Prayer for the Saturday Outreach
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Bus # 1 Headed to Chicago to Serve
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Bus #2 (including our awesome youth pastor – well, part of his head at least) Heading to Chicago
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GSM Girls Working Hard!
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You Go Girls!

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Working? Not sure, but either way, it’s more fun with matching Momentum T-shirts!

For more Momentum pictures and updates, be sure to “Like” GSM’s Facebook Page or visit www.buildmomentum.org! Also, be sure to pray for our group as they travel home tomorrow!

 

“Orevwa” for now!

Our Haiti team arrived safely back in the United States this past Saturday. They had an incredible week of ministry, and are already looking forward to planning another trip! If you missed their last update, click here. Otherwise, enjoy the last update from the Haiti team!

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Last day of ministry at House of Hope orphanage (sigh). Started the day off once again with singing and a fun lesson & skit about Jesus walking on water. The singing was loud and fast – the best of the week! The skit was a hit as Peter got all wet (thanks to Shelly!) when his faith wavered and he fell into the ocean. We have the children volunteer to be part of the skit each day and they love this. The children made up many of the disciples today!

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Today was also a big Haiti vs America “World Cup” match. Kegan, Tyler and some of the boys took on some of the older boys. It was 7-6 going into the last minute but Haiti scored at the buzzer and it ended in a tie (no PKs!). Our translator, Kelly Joseph, made himself useful 🙂 by spraying the boys with a hose during the game! Good thing, as it was so hot in this intense Haiti sun. It is so important to keep drinking here all day long!

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Boni, Allison and Alex sat down in the exclusive House of Hope hair salon 🙂 and after an hour each had corn rows to be proud of! The girls LOVE to play with long, American hair. It is just like having a doll to play with.

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At last, the moment we (the team & the children) all dread – time to say “orevwa” (Creole for “goodbye”). Many tears were shed and many hugs exchanged between all the team members and the children. Some of the children were sobbing which just makes it that much harder to leave… We love these kids as our own family. It is so rewarding to come down here and bless them for a week each year, but it is equally difficult to say goodbye when it comes to an end. Old and new team members alike held on to hugs for as long as they could and shed many tears at the thought of saying goodbye. But in the end, we had to get back on the truck and move out.

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A blessed week to be sure…the kids were challenged in their faith and encouraged to walk with Jesus 365 days per year. We had some good testimonies of how the kids (& the orphanage) are a witness to their community. This reminds me a a story I heard for the first time this week, and I must share it with you now…

Next to the orphanage there lived a voodoo priest. (If you do not know about voodoo in Haiti, just Google it. It is very popular in Haiti and is essentially the worship of evil spirits.) One day not too long ago, the voodoo priest approached Pastor Elysee (head of our ministry in Haiti) and asked him if he wanted to buy his land to add on to the orphanage property. Pastor Elysee said “no” we do not have the money but “thank you”. The voodoo priest persisted. He said “my house has been ruined by all this praying and singing that you do at the orphanage! Please take the property! You can give me the money some day whenever you have it – but just take it!” So, the orphanage has gained a nice little piece of land with a house that now serves as a home for some of the staff. Pretty cool, huh?

Please continue to pray for the Haiti team as they transition back into “normal” life. Also please pray that they would all stay healthy, as they were exposed to many different things last week!

Check back soon to hear some testimonies (and see more pictures) from the team members!