GBC and Copper Jewelry

Some missions’ organizations call it the “development of a micro-industry,” providing training and resources so that local believers can start their own business and help lift themselves out of poverty.  For GBC it means that three members of our church have used their God-given skills to help our friends in Haiti by teaching them how to make wire jewelry out of copper.

Two years ago, Carolyn Kinzer, Deborah Harms, and Susan Baker taught several Haitian ladies how to do just that.  Our GBC trainers used a simple method: they taught the ladies basic copper jewelry-making techniques and then told them to get creative.  Three ladies have continued on and made more than 100 pieces of jewelry that GBC has brought back and sold for them.  The women have even been selling the jewelry to their friends in Pignon.  

This opportunity has been life changing for these three women.  Since the average Haitian earns less than two dollars per day and women even less than that, the few hundred dollars they have earned from their jewelry has significantly changed their lives.   

Sona has a daughter with health issues, and she has been able to pay doctors and hospital bills with the money she has earned.  

Marie has been able to pay the tuition to keep her children in school. 

Renaud, a single mom of four, truly sees this opportunity as sent by God.  She has taken her money and gone to Hinche (a larger nearby city) and purchased items that she brings back to Pignon to sell and make even more money.   

The women are proud of their creations.  And, earning their own way has improved their self-esteem.  What a joy it is to watch God use three women in our congregation to dramatically improve the lives of three Haitian families. Praise Him!

 

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.

 

Natural Disasters

    On Tuesday, October 4th, Haiti was slammed by Hurricane Matthew--described by some as the worst storm to strike the country in 50 years.  Our partners in Haiti live and work mainly in the central and northern parts of the country and suffered minimal damage.  But, the ministry extends into the south and west, the area most heavily damaged. 

    Haiti’s natural disaster is complicated by an unstable political climate. Weak governance combined with an underdeveloped infrastructure bodes poorly on an effective emergency response to help in times of greatest need.

    All of that doesn’t really matter if you are in the disaster zone.  The trauma of surviving 145 mph winds and torrential rains is personal.  It is you and your family who are huddled in a ramshackle hut before it blows down and is washed away.  It is you who has to search for sparse medical care to treat horrendous wounds.  It is you who has to scavenge for food and quest for untainted water.  Natural disasters are best understood from the perspective of the people in them.  

    As believers, it can be overwhelming, even paralyzing, trying to figure out how to respond to human suffering.  Often we ignore it and attempt to push responsibility to someone else.  That’s what the religious leaders tried to do in the story of the compassionate Samaritan. 

    Maybe we should look to Jesus.  After seeing the pain of Mary and Martha over the death of Lazarus, we’re told in John 11 that Jesus was “deeply moved and greatly troubled” and He wept.  So, the question, “When is the last time I wept over the pain of others?”

    Let’s prayerfully ask the Lord to sensitize our eyes to see those in need, soften our hearts to risk compassion, and motivate our feet to “Go and do likewise.”  Let’s desire to be servants of the King. 

 

GBC Missions, Part Three

    GBC Missions encourages our congregation to see the world “through the eyes of Jesus.”   Using the model of evangelism spoken of in Acts 1:8, we promote hands-on experiences that support local, regional, national, and international outreach. 

    Locally, we can reflect the love of Jesus to those we see everyday--our family, neighbors, schoolmates, work colleagues, and church family.  Several GBC folk help with the Malta Ministries in their outreach to the homeless and disadvantaged people in our area. 

    Moving outward, GBC Missions sends a variety of “Vision Teams,” encouraging participants to “see” Jesus in a global context.  In the past year, we’ve commissioned seven teams.

    Two regional teams, middle and high school, joined with WorkcampNE in Vermont and New Hampshire.  They served families in need by doing free home repairs throughout a week filled with Bible study, challenging messages, uplifting music, and spiritual encouragement.

    Nationally, we’ve had two teams.  Builders for Christ, an adult team, helps local congregations build or renovate their churches.  In May, BFC helped construct a church in Greenfield, Wisconsin.  In July, a second team of senior high students worked in the Navajo Nation with the Good News Church of Houck, Arizona, doing construction work and leading a VBS program for local children. 

    Three international teams have gone to Haiti to support GBC’s partnership with the Jerusalem Baptist Ministries.  In the past year we have provided over 300 water filters to almost 100 churches, installed two 1000 gallon cisterns for water collection in drought-stricken Wangouman, provided a series of medical clinics and home visits in north central Haiti, helped open a medical clinic in Pignon, and provided a three-day conference for JBM pastors and leaders.

    Let’s be thankful that God has provided these opportunities for     us to “reflect” Jesus to others, and let’s be prayerful as we look toward “servant experiences” in the upcoming year. 

 

GBC Missions, Part One

    September 25th is Missions Sunday here at GBC.  During the entire adult service, we’ll have videos, pictures, interviews, and information, all directed at helping you experience what God has been doing at GBC in missions.

    Our missions work starts with GBC’s vision statement, “Reflecting the Lord Jesus Christ to a needy world.“  Reflecting is the task of mirroring.  It’s looking like Jesus.  As imperfect people we’ll never reflect Him exactly, but that’s our goal.  The world is a needy place.  Without Jesus, it’s a direction-less scramble.  

    Matthew 28:19 says, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations.”  Jesus wants us to tell others of Him in a way they can hear clearly.

    Acts 1:8 reminds us that, “you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”  We are called to reflect Jesus in all we do, with our family, friends, neighbors, community, and to the entire world.  

    The GBC Missions Committee encourages active engagement in Jesus’ command.  Our vision statement embraces that of the church. “The GBC Missions Committee strives to reflect the LORD Jesus Christ to a needy world by promoting missionary support, missions education, corporate missions involvement, and short-term missions experiences.”

This purpose is carried out by:

 --Supporting missionaries both physically and spiritually (prayer, financial giving, correspondence, etc.)
--Educating the Chapel family in the ways that God displays His glory in a needy world (interviews and highlights, bulletin boards, special presentations, etc.)
--Involving the Chapel family in a variety of support projects or experiences (relief projects)
--Sending teams of chapel people on short-term missions trips (Vision Teams)

Let’s pray that our hearts and our efforts will be reflective of our Savior in all that we do in “Jerusalem, Samaria, and the ends of the earth.” 

 

Rift Valley Academy

    GBC supports two families who are on the staff of Rift Valley Academy in Kijabe, Kenya -- Mark and Carolyn Kinser and Michael and Jillian Wills. 

    RVA is a Christian boarding school, serving about 500 missionary children, representing 30 nationalities and 80 mission organizations and churches.  The children live and learn at the school while their parents share the good news of Jesus throughout Africa.  It also accommodates some Kenyan national students and expatriates, and non-missions students.  During the academic year, the 20 dormitories bustle with nearly 400 boarding students.  It has its own 20-bed health facility and cafeteria, which serves 1200 student meals per day.  A dedicated missionary staff of 120 plus a national staff of 100 keep the school operating.

    The mission statement of the academy is:  Educating and discipling students toward their potential in Christ thus enabling families to serve.  As RVA students grow holistically, they learn how to apply biblical truth in the world around them, develop God-given abilities to impact the world for Christ, and lead healthy lives that contribute positively in their communities.  The school diligently works to support families already in the field as well as help to raise the next generation of dynamic believers.  It is a branch of Africa Inland Mission.

    The school starts its 111th year at the end of August.  Please pray for the mission families as they prepare to send their children for their next 13-week stay at school.  Pray for safety as the children travel, for comfort as they face the excitement of a new school year along with difficult parting from their parents, and for the staff as they embrace the children with the love of Jesus.  In the midst of challenging times, pray that God would be glorified in all that happens at the school, and that He would grant safety and protection for the entire RVA community.

Update From the Hawthornes - Potosi, Bolivia

     Steve and Mary Hawthorne serve in Potosi, a city in the Bolivian Andes mountains.  Steve serves as a medical doctor, providing medical care for silver miners and their families who face a multitude of medical issues from poor mining conditions and illnesses brought on by poor diet and living at higher than normal altitude (Potosi rises over 9000 ft above sea level). This past week Steve participated in a symposium focused on High Altitude Medicine which sought to understand and address these needs. 

    Additionally, they ask for prayers in seeking to provide help for the physically handicap.  Potosi is an old Incan/Spanish city that lies along the side of a mountain with narrow sidewalks and steep inclines… all of which challenge those in wheel chairs.  After repeated efforts to make city officials aware of this need, Steve asks prayer for God’s wisdom in helping the city make changes to care for the handicap.

    Steve, Mary and volunteers also provide both medical and spiritual care for hospice patients. In the last three weeks they have ministered at three deaths!  Pray for God’s comfort in this ministry.

    In the coming week would you pray with them for the following:

•    A young alcoholic miner who saw the church lights and walked in off the streets, seeking change.  He prayed, offering his life to God.  Pray as he seeks to grow in faith.

•    A young lawyer who helps Steve with the paperwork registering the medical clinic with different government agencies has opened his home for a 6 week Bible study with Steve using “Christianity Explained”.  Pray that he and his friends come to know Jesus personally.

•    Steve and Mary have just finished that same course with a group of Christian miners; pray God’s wisdom as they share their faith with their companions.

•    Steve and Mary are teaching the Intercultural Communication course to the teachers of the Highlands International school in LaPaz, the capital of Bolivia.

•    August 12-17 - Pray for their refreshment in the USA, especially visits with Mary’s mom and a weekend vacation with their children.

•    Pray for new missionaries, an oncology nurse and family physician, as they raise support to join the Potosi team in 2017. Another woman plans to join them in September this year, teaching ESL as an outreach ministry.  

 

A Way to Pray for Military Personnel and Their Families

    Praying specific prayer requests for our military personnel and their families is often difficult because of the unspecified nature of their assignments.   Psalm 91 has been suggested as a way to pray…calling on the Lord of Heaven’s Armies with these words from the Psalmist.  

    In particular, note the way the Psalmist talks about his Lord in verse 2 - “He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust Him.”  And note as well God’s promise in vv. 14-16…”I will rescue and honor…I will protect…I will answer…I will be with them in trouble…I will reward them with a long life and give them my salvation.”  

    Ask God for His glory to be seen around the world through our men and women who are sent on very difficult assignments, and for their family members who serve and wait at home.

Psalm 91 - Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him. For he will rescue you from every trap and protect you from deadly disease. He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection. Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night, nor the arrow that flies in the day. Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness, nor the disaster that strikes at midday. Though a thousand fall at your side, though ten thousand are dying around you, these evils will not touch you. Just open your eyes, and see how the wicked are punished. If you make the Lord your refuge, if you make the Most High your shelter, no evil will conquer you; no plague will come near your home. For he will order his angels to protect you wherever you go. They will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone. You will trample upon lions and cobras; you will crush fierce lions and serpents under your feet! The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me.  I will protect those who trust in my name. When they call on me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble.  I will rescue and honor them. I will reward them with a long life and give them my salvation.”

 

Syria Update - Light Amidst Darkness

    Someone once observed that “tradition is the way a culture gives it’s ancestors a vote.”  If there is any truth in this proverb, then the scale of destruction of both people and places by the Islamic State and the so-called moderate Muslim factions is “killing” both the present and previous inhabitants of that land.  Each day reveals the destruction of historical monuments, church buildings (e.g. in Aleppo), and the stealing of Christians’ homes and businesses as well as the killing and kidnapping of Christians.

    All this is happening in the region where Christianity began 2,000 years ago. It was on the road to Damascus that the Apostle Paul experienced his conversion to Christianity, and Syria remains one of the few places where the Aramaic language–the language of Jesus Christ–can still be heard.  But the Islamic State has changed the demography and the physical geography of Syria, destroying city after city, continuing their rampage of death and destruction. Villages gone, ancient artifacts destroyed, Christians humiliated and attempted to be exterminated, and forced to flee.   Under threat of execution, Christians are being forced either to convert to Islam, or pay an “infidel” tax.

    Where the darkness is great, so also the light shines even more brightly by contrast.  In this hard environment, many are coming to Christ and new Christian churches are emerging. Many churches are overwhelmed with newcomers, some as refugees needing assistance and others coming to faith transferring trust into Jesus Christ as Savior.

    Please pray for the Christians who remain in this dangerous part of the world.  Pray for an end to Islamic reign of terror in their lives.  Pray also about supporting outreach to Syrian Christians.  For more information see SyriaVision.org.

 

From Global Disasters to Devotion Before the LORD God

From Global Disasters to Devotion Before the LORD God

Recent world news has focused our attention on the deadly and destructive natural disasters in Japan and Ecuador, all this in addition to the daily horrors of civil and culture-driven bloodshed. What is God’s guide to prompt our prayers for the peoples in the throes of chaos and death from these earthquakes? Perhaps one “window” is Elijah’s experience with God in 1 Kings 19:10. Elijah flees to Sinai, fearing for his life. The LORD tells him to “Go out and stand before me on the mountain”. The LORD passes by with the display of a great windstorm, a rumbling earthquake, and a raging fire, but the Lord is not in those things. Instead He speaks to Elijah in the sound of a gentle whisper… a “still small voice”!