GBC Vision Teams (January - August 2017)

1.  Haiti
         March 4-11
    Medical Outreach, Construction
    Senior High and older
    Cost:  $1600
    Information Meeting—today, 11:30 p.m., Conference Room

2.  Haiti
    April 8-15 (school vacation week in CT)
    Medical Outreach, Construction
    Senior High and older
    Cost:  $1600

3.  Builders For Christ
    May 27-June 3
    Logan, Ohio
    Church Construction
    Over 18
    Cost:  Approx. $750.    

4.  Navajo Nation
    July 1-8    
    Construction, VBS
    Senior High
    Cost:  $1,100

5.  WorkcampNEMiddle School
    July 2-8
    Home Repair
    Middle School—Adult leaders needed
    Cost:  $425

6.  WorkcampNEHigh School
    July 16-22
    Home Repair
    High School—Adult leaders needed
    Cost:  $425

If you’d like more information on any of these teams, contact Andy Bonner, andy@grotonbiblechapel.org.

 

Wildfire Headed Our Way

For centuries American Indian peoples of the west & southwest protected their villages from wild fire by intentionally burning (or sacrificing!) the area around their homes and villages so the approaching flames would have no fuel and would “die” before reaching them. This life-saving strategy echoes an ancient practice known as “Skull Hill”, a garbage dump outside Jerusalem where people were nailed to a cross. In an analogous way Jesus’ sacrifice on Skull Hill (aka Golgotha) makes the cross the only safe place from “the fire of judgment” that is coming. The “fire of God’s wrath” come to where the fire has already been. Romans 5:8-10 - “God showed His great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinner…And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, He will certainly save us from God’s condemnation.”

Instead of choosing fear, choose to use current world events that seem to proclaim “Wildfire Headed Our Way” to praise and pray. Praise the God who Himself went through the fire so it could never reach us; praise Him that He gave His life for our. Praise Him for his love for us and also for those whom we see as our enemies. Then pray boldly for the cross of Jesus to be lifted high, that all the world would see the glory of the Lord through the current terror strikes and choose to put faith in Jesus. "Skull Hill is the game changer”. (cf. Ron Hutchcraft - http://www.hutchcraft.com/a-word-with-you/your-most-important-relationship/wildfire-headed-our-way-7522)

Haiti Vision Team

In less than two months the next Haiti Vision Team will be boarding jets at JFK and heading to Port-Au-Prince. Twenty people from GBC will be stepping out in service from March 7th through March 14th. The goal of this trip is fourfold: - First, our 20s group will be working, sharing, playing, laughing, and studying about the goodness of God with the 20s group from JBM, our partner ministry in Haiti. - Next, working with Haitian medical providers, our medical team will hold health clinics in the remote area of Wangouman. - Third, we’ll teach Haitian women some new crafts skills with the vision of helping them create a small micro-industry. - Finally, we’re venturing into the world of church building.

Last March we helped construct a new church foundation. This trip, together with our friends, we’re going to start erecting a church roof while living in tents alongside the construction site.

Please start praying now for this joint Haitian-American adventure. Pray that we’ll be humble servants and a great encouragement to folks of Wangouman. Pray for all the planning and preparation that will happen between now and the team’s arrival. Pray that God will provide all the resources needed to complete the trip.

Three Lenses into God’s Work in the World

According to Open Doors USA, there has been more persecutionin 2014 than any year in recent history. Islamic extremism is cited as the single source responsible for the persecution. However, as Islam tries to stop the Church, it is likened to killing weeds - “the more you try to eradicate them, the more they grow”. Persecution causes the gospel to flourish. On a percentage basis, the fastest growing Christian movements are found in Iran and Afghanistan. And persecuted Christians ask for prayer - which has moved mountains and changed the course of history.

On 12/14/14 the Washington Times posted an article titled “Militant Hindu groups (RSS) plan ‘conversions’ of Christians, Muslims on Christmas”. Their goal - 4000 Christian and 1000 Muslims. Past “conversion events” have used violence and deception to achieve their goal of an all-Hindu India. In 1999 Balrang Dal, an offshoot group of RSS, murdered Christian missionary, Dr. Graham Straines, and his sons. Their reason - Dr. Straines taught local Indians about Christianity. And Christians in India request our prayer for boldness, strength and grace. Haiti is also in crisis. Accusations of graft, ongoing poverty, and the slowness of disaster recovery caused a political standoff with the Prime Minister, who resigned. Protestors, often using violence, also demand President Martelly’s resignation. As a result new elections are scheduled for 1/12/15, the date that also marks the 5-year anniversary of the earthquake that devastated the country of Port Au Prince. Efforts to rebuild continue, but extreme poverty and instability are always the constants. Pray for God to set people in place who will end corruption. Pray that through this crisis, Haitians would turn their hearts to knowing God and trusting Him. Continue to pray for the witness of the church in Pignon and their outreach around the country. Pray for Jephthe and Mitou Lucien, their family and those as they serve.

“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10

A Christmas Carol to Sing /Pray Through For Our World

Many of the traditional Christmas carols are “global” or “missional”in their message. They speak of Jesus’ birth in strategic and salvation terms. Below are the words to one such carol. We encourage you to read, pray, and meditate through this carol and encourage your heart and mind to see Christmas from God’s point of view.

It came upon the midnight clear, that glorious song of old, From angels bending near the earth, to touch their harps of gold: “Peace on the earth, goodwill to men, from heaven’s all-gracious King.” The world in solemn stillness lay, to hear the angels sing. Still through the cloven skies they come, with peaceful wings unfurled, And still their heavenly music floats o’er all the weary world; Above its sad and lowly plains, they bend on hovering wing, And ever o’er its Babel sounds the blessed angels sing. Yet with the woes of sin and strife the world has suffered long; Beneath the angel-strain have rolled two thousand years of wrong; And man, at war with man, hears not the love-song which they bring; O hush the noise, ye men of strife, and hear the angels sing. And ye, beneath life’s crushing load, whose forms are bending low, Who toil along the climbing way with painful steps and slow, Look now! for glad and golden hours come swiftly on the wing. O rest beside the weary road, and hear the angels sing! For lo!, the days are hastening on, by prophet bards foretold, When with the ever-circling years comes round the age of gold When peace shall over all the earth its ancient splendors fling, And the whole world give back the song which now the angels sing

Advent and Missions

Advent literally means “coming to”…and we celebratethe “coming to” our world of Jesus as the Son of God. The parallels between God’s initial work in sending Jesus to our “work” of sending and being sent are too numerous to list here. But as this is the last Sunday of Advent, let’s be people who reflect Jesus’ sending and coming in the way we come to others…having been sent by Jesus Himself.

As Jesus did, let us come to our world humbly, without pretense, depending not on our own position or power but placing ourselves as servants (by being served) to those around us. As Jesus did, let us come morally pure and upright giving no one a reason to doubt our motives…even when persecuted. As Jesus did, let’s come to our world (family, friends, those we’ve not met yet) with a sense of expectancy…quick to listen, slow to speak. As Jesus did, let’s come to our world as part of God’s great plan…seeking to pray for and encourage those who are “doing missions” in “hard places”… specifically, those who bear witness to the incarnate Lord in places like India, Haiti, Michigan, New Hampshire, Southeastern Connecticut, and our own neighborhoods.

In Advent we expectantly wait for the One who has already come…and who will come again.

Haiti Team Report, November 2014

Last month (November 8th – 15th) GBC sent another teamto Pignon, Haiti (and elsewhere) to provide health screening, pastoral encouragement, and hope for the future to those living in one of the poorest countries in the western hemisphere. The team was supported by Haitian medical personnel and provided health and wellness screenings to over 350 conferees, including the distribution of reading glasses collected from the GBC family. Additionally, they encouraged pastoral leaders by means of an inductive study format using smaller groups for discussion and dialogue. The team also gave medical and children’s education training to those who attended the conference.

The leaders also surveyed a potential building project (Spring ’15) in one of the outlying areas and did an update on some of the wells that have been constructed by means of funds given from GBC. These wells have not only provided much needed potable water to needy people but in one case the well has become the focal point for the establishment of a new Christian church facility and community. In this season of Thanksgiving and Advent we ought to be thankful for this continued partnership…where the skills and gifts given to GBC teams are merging with God’s provision of similarly skilled and gifted Haitian Christian leaders to bring people to health and wholeness both physically and spiritually. All praise is due to His great grace in this endeavor.

From Ferguson to Following Jesus - Doing Missions Amid Racial Conflicts

The events of the past several months in Ferguson, MOonly serve to highlight the racial divide that permeates the entire world… Whether in Northern Ireland, Western Europe, Iraq, Sub-Saharan and South Africa, India (cf. caste system), Central America, etc.… racial and ethnic conflict has endured for generations. Such hatreds are nothing new. The racial and religious divide was part of the history of the early church, such that the early Christian leaders were “surprised” that “God [had] granted even the Gentiles repentance unto life.”[Acts 11:18] In other words, their “racial outlook” blinded even Jesus’ closest followers to the fact of God’s love for the entire world.

And it’s here that the solution to racial hatred can be found… When you hear the news of another racial or ethnic violent event, pray that Jesus would be made central to the discussion and the foundation to the next steps. For Paul wrote that “there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for [we] are all one in Christ Jesus.” [Gal. 2:28] Pray that Christians will be peacemakers amid the cries for violence and revenge. Pray that leaders will speak with both grace and truth. Pray that God grants us a vision to see Advent as God’s invasion to bring the “Prince of Peace” to our planet.

Praying for Our Missionaries - An Outline and a Guide

Below is a suggested guide for our daily prayer for GBC missions andmissionaries:

• Sunday - Spiritual Life: Daily discipline in Scripture reading and prayer. Encouragement, fellowship, integrity, reliability.

• Monday - Personal Life: Marriage & family relationships … Maintaining contact with family back home. Friendships with nationals in host country, including health, strength and protection.

• Tuesday - Communication: Progress in language study. Cultural adaptation with clarity in preaching and teaching.

• Wednesday - Relationships: Harmonious relationships with other Christians. Connections with supporters/sending churches.

• Thursday - Evangelism: For godly, sensitive, Spirit-led ministry. For hungry hearts leading to the establishing of the church and national missions.

• Friday - Discipleship: For patience and empathy. For the encouragement of new believers, where they are equipped and trained in wisdom and discernment.

• Saturday - Their country: For those in authority. Especially for the politics and cultural openness to the gospel…that God’s people might have favor with officials, grace and integrity with visa renewals and work permits.

Consider also praying for the GBC family in the same way as a missionary church here in Southeastern Connecticut.

Jesus prays for His disciples: “Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world… “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one - I tin home and you in me - so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me…’ [John 17]

Praying for Our Missionaries - An Outline and a Guide

Below is a suggested guide for our daily prayer for GBC missions andmissionaries: • Sunday - Spiritual Life: Daily discipline in Scripture reading and prayer. Encouragement, fellowship, integrity, reliability. • Monday - Personal Life: Marriage & family relationships … Maintaining contact with family back home. Friendships with nationals in host country, including health, strength and protection. • Tuesday - Communication: Progress in language study. Cultural adaptation with clarity in preaching and teaching. • Wednesday - Relationships: Harmonious relationships with other Christians. Connections with supporters/sending churches. • Thursday - Evangelism: For godly, sensitive, Spirit-led ministry. For hungry hearts leading to the establishing of the church and national missions. • Friday - Discipleship: For patience and empathy. For the encouragement of new believers, where they are equipped and trained in wisdom and discernment. • Saturday - Their country: For those in authority. Especially for the politics and cultural openness to the gospel…that God’s people might have favor with officials, grace and integrity with visa renewals and work permits.

Consider also praying for the GBC family in the same way as a missionary church here in Southeastern Connecticut.

Jesus prays for His disciples: “Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world… “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one - I in them and you in me - so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me…’ [John 17]

Praying for Haiti and Our Team This Week

“Rebuilding Walls” is the theme for GBC’s team to Haiti. Pray for Andy and Sherylann Bonner, Ken and Linda Fast, Rick Conrad, Dave Hummeston, Gregg and Jane Steenbergen, Sue Baker, John Deer, Kimiko Bessire, John Pearson, Kevin Kellner, and Ted Janacek this week as they work alongside Jephthe and Mitou Lucien. One of the team’s principle duties will be the teaching of leadership principles which will be taught in small group Bible studies from Nehemiah 1-5. They will also teach inductive Bible study principles through the parables in Mark’s gospel. Evenings sessions will feature Haitian pastoral leaders. There will also be health presentations by our team (the medical clinic will be co-led and co-staffed by Haitian medical professionals and our team), and trips to celebrate the planting of a new church where we dug a well. In addition, there will be an exploration trip to pray over the possibility of the building of a new church in the mountains. The last day will see an extended visit to the orphanage in Port-au-Prince.

Join the team in praying through Nehemiah - Praising the “God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and obey his commands,”asking God for success in rebuilding walls, in protecting His people, in recognizing that it is God who fights for us, in caring for those in great need with no resources of their own, for strength in facing opposition and working hard, for the reading of the Word of God and recognition of and confession of sin, and for celebration. “The joy of the Lord is your strength”. [Nehemiah 8:10]

Guide for Participation in the International Day of Prayer

November 9th is designated as International Day of Prayer (IDOP) 2014. The purpose of this day is to set time apart to remember thousands of our Christian brothers and sisters around the world who suffer persecution, simply because they confess Jesus Christ is Lord. Below are 10 “prayer pointers” with suggested New Testament statements to act as “words to pray back to God”: • That persecuted believers will sense God’s presence. Hebrews 13:5 • That they will feel connected to the worldwide body of Christ. 1 Corinthians 12:20,26 • That they will experience God’s comfort when family/friends are killed, injured, or imprisoned for their witness. 2 Cor.1:3-5 • That they will have increased opportunity to share the gospel. Colossians 4:3 • That they will experience boldness to make Christ known. Philippians 1:14 • That they will know God’s grace in forgiving their persecutors. Matthew 5:44 • That ministry activities will be undetected by authorities and those who would silence them. Acts 9:2 • That they will rejoice in suffering. Acts 5:41 • That they will be refreshed through God’s Word and grow in their faith. Ephesians 6:17 • That they will be strengthened through the prayers of fellow believers. Jude 20-25

“Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.” [Hebrews 13:3]

For further information please look at the IDOP website

Malta Ministries

For the next few weeks, there will be a colorful wooden crate labeled “Malta” in the Fellowship Hall. It is a collection box for the Malta Ministries and is sponsored by the GBC Youth. The box is looking to be filled with used adult winter clothing in good condition. Socks and underwear should be new. What is Malta? “Malta is a local faith-based, non-profit organization, which reaches out to the homeless in southeastern Connecticut. Our goal is to help men and women retain or regain a sense of dignity and hope in their current circumstances.”

Three times a week, Malta teams distribute meals to the homeless and needy on the streets of New London, Groton, and Norwich. In addition, these teams supply clothing, toiletry items, and basic shelter items. With the season’s change, there is a growing need for warm winter clothing—jackets, hats, gloves, thermal underwear, socks, underwear, etc—for both men and women.

Several adults from GBC are active participants in this worthwhile outreach. GBC teens have helped with the meal distribution and clothing needs for years. Let’s encourage them in their effort to support the underserved in our local community. So, dig through your closets and bring in your donations!

Missions Minded Prayer Requests

Elisabeth Elliott, missionary among the Auca/Waodoni Indians of Ecuador, once posted this prayer.“Gracious Father, we pray that you will fill us with all truth, in all truth and with all peace. Where we are corrupt, purify us; where we are in error, direct us; where in anything we are amiss, reform us. Where we are right, strengthen us; where we are in want, provide for us; where we are divided, reunite us; for the sake of Jesus Christ, your Son our Savior. Amen.”

Dr. Russ and Beth White - Medical Missions at Tenwek Hospital, Kenya

Since 1997, Dr. White has served as chief of surgery atTenwek Mission Hospital, a 300-bed referral hospital in Bomet, Kenya. Dr. White has led Tenwek’s development into the busiest center in Kenya for the treatment of esophageal cancer, the country’s most common malignancy. Dr. White’s impact in eastern Africa is vast… he collaborates on surgical and oncology training programs in Malawi, Zambia, and South Sudan, and he supervises medical students and residents as an associate professor of surgery at Brown University and on staff at Rhode Island Hospital. He spends the majority of his time teaching and discipling young Christian doctors who are studying surgery. He is also actively involved in the life of the local church.

Beth is also actively involved in the discipleship of some of the female doctors in training and hosts a number of Bible studies for the wives of doctors-in-training. She takes care of their family, home schooling their youngest child, Anna and teaching in a home schooling co-op.

The Whites have five children, Adam, Andrew, Peter, James and Anna… and would greatly value your support both in prayer and finances. For further information they can be reached via email at russ.white@WGM.org or via their sending missions organization – World Gospel Mission, P.O. Box 948, Marion, IN 46952-0948.

An Urgent Prayer Request from Iraq

From Iraq forwarded to family at GBC this week… It comes from friends serving in missions. “ISIS has taken over the town. They are systematically going house to house to all the Christians and asking the children to denounce Jesus…So far not one child has…All have consequently been killed. But not the parents. The UN has withdrawn and the missionaries are on their own. They are determined to stick it out for the sake for the families - even if it means their own deaths… And like the children, accept martyrdom if…called to do so.” We are asking to pray for courage to live out life according to Christ’s calling and for the “brave parents who instilled such a fervent faith in their children that they chose martyrdom.” Another message comes from Qaraqosh, a city where Christians are providing physical and spiritual care …”it fell to ISIS and they are beheading children systematically…ISIS...is within 10 minutes of where the team is working. The UN evacuated its staff. Our team is unmoved and will stay. Prayer cover is needed!”

Isaiah compares the glory of the Lord with the darkness of the earth. “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you.” [Isaiah 60:1,2] Take time this week to pray through John 17, praising God for the glory of the cross and what it means for the body of Christ -“I have given them the glory that you gave me , that they may be one as we are one…to let the whole world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me…”

Eyes On Haiti

For the next three weeks the missions committee will be holding ourannual Eyes On Haiti project to collect reading glasses for distribution during our November trip to Haiti.

Imagine you are a pastor in a remote rural Haitian church, and your eyes start to get a bit older. You might not be able to read from the Bible, the source of your encouragement to your congregation.

Or, imagine you have a small business making handicrafts, and the income from those crafts allows you to buy food for your family. What happens to your livelihood if your eyesight starts to fail?

Do you need reading glasses here in the US? Try an experiment. Go without the glasses for a few hours. You’ll understand!

Help us out. Details of the project are in the Fellowship Hall. Grab a couple of cards from the display table and follow the directions on the back.

By the way, we’re also collecting individually wrapped toothbrushes and small travel-sized toothpaste tubes to give as gifts during the conference. These small gifts are deeply appreciated by our Haitians friends.

An Update on Missions Gifts

At our most recent meeting, the missions committee decided to send several special financial gifts. 1. $150 gift to the Alpine Baptist Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Tim and Joanne Hoganson, long-time friends of GBC, run a Hispanic Bible School for area pastors as part of their inner-city outreach. Our donation will help buy texts for the pastors.

2. $500 gift to David Nagy, a member of the production team of The Jesus Project. The Jesus film and its offshoots have been instrumental in the conversion of millions of people around the globe. The Jesus Project made the film that the GBC team showed last year in a Hindu temple courtyard in India.

3. $500-$1000 gift of bibles for the Good News Church in Houck, Arizona, the place where our teen vision team served this summer. Good News Church uses both Navajo and English bibles. Currently, bi-lingual Navajo youth have only KJV texts, making the English difficult for them to understand. The new bibles will be NIV Student bibles with notes to help the emerging generation of Navajo believers.

4. $500 gift to the Logos Christian Center in Kiev, Ukraine. The Logos Center is a faith-based health and fitness (physical, mental, spiritual) facility. Currently, the Logos Center houses over 100 refugees, mostly from Eastern Ukraine, a region of the country in great turmoil.

Missions Update from Haiti

1. Praise for a special gift of $500 being sent to the orphanage in Port Au Prince. This donation will allow the children to buy school uniforms—mandatory to attend school. 2. Continued prayer as the November Haiti teams of 14 GBCers gets organized for the Pastor’s Leadership Conference in Pignon. Our team will help teach and provide health care for the participants.

3. Prayerfully consider supporting the November conference. We would like to raise $4500 to fully fund the food, lodging, and transportation costs of the 300+ participants. Donations can be marked “Haiti Conference” on a giving envelope.