Clothing Corral and Mike G Golf Tournament

Sunday, June 17th - Clothing Corral

Sunday, June 17th, is the last day of our Clothing Corral drive.  As a reminder, here’s what we need:

Clothing-- “Every day” and “dress up” clothes for Sunday. Items like shorts, t-shirts, underwear, and socks are good for boys. Older boys tend to wear long pants. Girls wear t-shirts, blouses, skirts, shorts, dresses, underwear and socks. Vary sizes from infant to teen. 

    Used clothes--Please make sure they are in good condition. They will be gifts. 

    New clothing--Big dollar clothing is not needed. Shop the sales and clearance racks.
Don’t worry about the latest fashion items.
Watch the styles and design logos--We’re working in a conservative environment.  

Footwear--gently used and new. From infant to teen. Popular types are sneakers, sandals, and “crocs.” 

Shipping—It costs $2 per pound to ship from GBC to the orphanage--$140 for a 70 lbs box.

Contributions have been great.  Let’s end strong!

Monday, July 16th--Mike G Living Water Golf Tournament

Monday, July 16th, is the Mike G Living Water Golf Tournament.  Held in memory of Mike Giannattasio, a former elder at GBC, this grand event raises funds for GBC’s water projects in Haiti.  It’s held at the Cedar Ridge Golf Course in East Lyme and it starts at 9am--come at 8:15am for coffee and munchies.  The $80 fee includes greens fees and lunch at Flanders Fish Market.  Golfing is “best ball.”  It’s a blast, even for those with burgeoning golf skills.

Not a golfer?  Join us for lunch at Flanders Fish Market at 11:45, $30.

The golfing awards are abundant.  The food is amazing.  The basket raffle items are prolific, and, last year the tournament raised $6000.  Let’s have a giant contingent from GBC this year.

For registration, call East Lyme Parks and Recreation, 860-739-5828.

 

WhatsApp

A handy way to communicate outside the United States is to use an app called “WhatsApp.”   Recently, Andy Bonner has been using that method with Pastor Mckency, the Haitian pastor who is helping GBC with our work at the Lacaste orphanage. The following conversations are direct copies from his messages.  The English grammar isn’t great, but you’ll get the idea.

Tue, May 15 
Pastor McKency--Hi Pastor.  We had service this afternoon with the children  24 of them accepted Jesus.
Mckency--Ask the group (folks from GBC) to praying for them.
    Andy--Wow.  That’s wonderful!

Thur, May 17
Mckency--Hi!  How are you My Pastor?  We have service three times of the week.  This is a part of service today.  (Followed by three videos of the kids singing)

Wed, May 30
Mckency--How is your wife?
    Andy--She is fine, thank you.  How is your family?
Mckency--Very well with Jesus
Mckency--Excuse me Pastor.  When we talk with the children about what they like, (our interviews of the children for a prayer card) they don’t talked about clothes.  But they havn’t good clothes to come in service (go to church).  they come but I don’t send you photos.  What do you think?
Mckency--Shoes, sandales
    Andy--We are currently collecting clothes to send to the orphanage.  I will send you more information soon.
    Andy--Yes, we have shoes and sandals, too.
Mckency--I go to Lacaste five days by the week
    Andy--Awesome!
Mckency--Thanks.

Unknown to Pastor Mckency, we had started the “Clothes Corral” before he made the request for clothing and shoes.  Go figure!  Don’t forget the clothing, shoe, and sandal drive continues until June 17th.  And, don’t forget to pray for those new believers in Christ.

 

Small Steps, Big Smiles

Sometimes the smallest things bring us the biggest smiles.  Often, it’s like that in Haiti.  Some small event or completed project yields great joy.

For example, two weeks ago, we had a team visit the orphanage in Lacaste.  Our March team had worked on the water catchment system there.  When we returned this time and checked the underground cistern, there was water in it.  And, the kids were using the water to wash their clothes.  A small step--but life-changing for the kids.

Also, the March team put siding on the outside of a large dormitory. This trip, we found all the kids living in the dorm.  And the rooms were clean.  Beds made.  Clothes hung.  Floors swept.  It was an amazing improvement from their living conditions only eight weeks ago.  

The biggest smile came after the oldest boys and girls were gifted with a new The Jesus Storybook in Haitian Creole, a book of Bible stories with lots of pictures.  These gifts were given with one caveat--by accepting the gift, the recipient agreed to read stories from the book to the younger children.  When our team returned several hours later, we met the book owners proudly strutting about the orphanage with their new book tucked under their arms--and then came the performance. All the kids gathered in the church.  On older boy read part of a story to the kids.  Another older boy and then the oldest girl had their counterparts stand and recite in unison a Bible verse from their books.  It was a pretty small event in the world, but it brought great joy to us, the watching audience.  

Please continue to be in prayer for our work in Haiti, and remember to be in prayer for the Builders for Christ team this week.

 

Builders For Christ

This morning, we will be commissioning our Builders for Christ Vision Team. Next week, they leave for Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin and the Jacob’s Well Church to help with Phase 3 of their ongoing expansion.  This thriving church has benefitted from the help of BFC and GBC during the first two phases of their church building projects. 

The team will “hang trusses” and roof their south venue addition, joining local volunteers and building groups from several states.  New this year -- GBC will send an advance team. Clint Babcock Jr. and four others will leave on Wednesday, May 23rd, preparing to lead the construction project during the week our team is there.

The team’s schedule will help you pray for them. 

Wednesday-Friday, May 23th-25th--The advance team travels and prepares for the upcoming week.

Saturday, May 26th--The main body of the team leaves from Providence airport at 6:30 a.m., flies to Minneapolis/St.Paul, and drives to Chippewa Falls.

Sunday, May 27th--The team worships with the Jacob’s Well fellowship and spends the afternoon in team building. 

Monday-Friday, May 28th-June 1st--The team rises early and works late.  Devotions, fellowship, and meal breaks are part of the daily routine.  One highlight is the combined praise service with the local fellowship and the construction team at the building site.

Saturday, June 2nd--The team returns to Providence, arriving at about 9:00 p.m.

Please be in prayer for our team during the entire week.  Pray for safety and great fellowship.  Pray that our team will be a blessing to the ongoing ministry of Jacob’s Well Church. 

 

Elijah and Selfies

Last week, Dr. Russ White spoke about Elijah in 1 Kings 18 and 19.  He asked the question, “What Am I Here For?”  As you remember, Elijah, through the power of the Lord, had a victory over the forces of evil on Mount Carmel in 1 Kings 18. After his emboldened act for God, however, Elijah wavered and weakened.  He experienced the power of God working through him, yet he lost focus and had himself a bit of a pity party.  Then the Lord brought him to a cave on Mount Horeb for some “straight talking” and asked Elijah, “What are you doing here?”  Dr. White challenged us to ask the same question of ourselves.   

Why are you here?  What is your life’s purpose?

What does that have to do with “Selfies?”  Think about it for a minute.  A selfie is a picture where you are the center focus of the shot.  Sure, they’re fun to take and a great reminder of places you’ve been, things you’ve done, and friends you have.  They’re not bad--until it’s the only type of picture you take--until it’s the only way you view life--with you in the center. 

Elijah needed to be reminded that his life was about the Lord.  We need to be reminded of the same thing.  

How does that play out?  When is the last time you reached out to help a friend?  Or even a stranger?  When is the last time you stepped into a difficult task, just because it was the right thing to do?  When have you shared Jesus with someone who needed His love?  When have you risked?

Elijah goofed when he lost focus.  Let’s prayerfully ask the Lord to help us keep Him in the center of all we do. 

 

Clothes Corral for Haiti

It’s time for a clothing and shoe drive for the Fils et Fille de Sion Orphanage kids and the children of Wangouman, Haiti! These children live under challenging conditions and have very few clothes, especially ones that fit.  Often, their entire wardrobe is hung on three or four nails.   Most of the time they walk around without proper foot gear, putting themselves at risk of disease and infection.  Let’s help!

From now through June 17th, we will have a “Clothes Corral” placed in the Fellowship Hall by the Missions wall.  Please “lasso” a few items to contribute.  

Here’s what we’re looking to gather:

Clothing-- “Every day” and “dress up” clothes for Sunday are needed. Items like shorts, t-shirts, underwear, and socks are good for boys.  Older boys tend to wear long pants.  Girls wear t-shirts, blouses, skirts, shorts, dresses, underwear and socks, varying sizes from infant to teen.

    Used clothes--Please make sure they are in good condition.  They will be gifts.  A stained, torn item is not a gift.

    New clothing--Big dollar clothing is not needed.  Shop the sales and clearance racks.  Don’t worry about the latest fashion items.

Watch the styles and design logos--We’re working in a conservative Christian environment.  

Footwear--gently used and new.  From infant to teen.  Popular types are sneakers, sandals, and “crocs.”

The items will be shipped from GBC to some church friends in Florida who send clothing to Haiti regularly.  Then, they will be put on a freighter to Cap Haitian and delivered to the kids.

The “all in” price for shipment and customs is $2.00 per pound. We’ll have a scale at the Clothes Corral to help you weigh your donation--and maybe help fund the shipping cost.

Prayerfully, let’s make this a great success!

 

Dr. Russ and Betty White

Next Sunday, May 6th, Dr. Russ White will be our guest, speaking from the life of Elijah, “What Are You Here For?”  Dr. White is a Christian medical missionary with World Gospel Mission and is chief of surgery and surgery residency at Tenwek Hospital in Bomet, Kenya.

GBC has helped support the Whites for a number of years.  Currently, he and Beth are on “home leave” in the Providence area. Beth is an active mom, homeschool/co-op teacher, and part of the Tenwek community. They have five children.

Dr. White received his medical training from the University of Michigan Medical School, Harvard Medical School, School of Public Health, Brown University, and the Frenchay Hospital in Bristol, England.  Beyond his excellent medical training, both Beth and Russ are ardent followers of Jesus.  Their spiritual “credentials” include a host of people they have treated medically, taught, or discipled for Jesus.   

Dr. White was awarded the L’Chaim Prize for Outstanding Christian Medical Missionary Service in 2017.  This prestigious award will be used to train new Kenyan surgeons in a variety of life-saving techniques.  Most recently he has been working with Samaritans Purse in the anticipation of an expansion program at Tenwek.

Please be in prayer for Dr. White this week.  He will be attending a meeting San Francisco and traveling to Ethiopia for a three-day surgical curriculum meeting.  He returns to Providence on Friday night.  Pray for God’s strength. 

Immediately following the 3rd service on May 6th, we will have a “meet and greet” for the Whites along with a complimentary light lunch.  During that time Dr. White will speak about the work at Tenwek Hospital, their recent catastrophic fire, and answer your questions.  You are invited to attend.  We’ll be finished by 2:00 p.m.

 

Missions Finances

How can you support GBC Missions?  Start with prayer rather than your pocketbook.  Prayer is the “gold” of God’s economy.  But, we need your financial support.   

Missions funding is separate from the GBC budget and is dependent on generous, sacrificial giving.  There are several ways you can make contributions.

First, the Missions Fund.  We send about $50,000 each year to our missionaries, and we occasionally partner with other ministries that need special help. For example, this month, we’ve sent a contribution to Anuol Deng for his work with South Sudanese children. We also fund the leaders of our Vision Teams.

Second, our Vision Teams.  We encourage team members to pay their own way, but we want to make sure that finances don’t stop a person from going.  To help, a trip’s cost can be partially reduced by making a contribution to a specific team.  Further, we encourage you to help friends who need some support with a designated gift request to them. 

Third, the Missions Special Projects Fund (MSP). This fund is mainly used in Haiti to sponsor our projects there.  Water, the Lacaste orphanage, Wangouman, construction, and other projects are funded through the MSP.

Support can be given by check written to Groton Bible Chapel.  Make sure to write the purpose on the memo line and on the envelope.  Online giving is also available.  Once logged in, you can choose where to designate your contribution.  The “additional comments” section should be used like the memo line on a check.

GBC Missions covets your fervent prayer and continued financial support for our friends serving around the world, our upcoming Vision Teams, and the unfinished opportunity of serving Him in places like Haiti.   May it be our passion to constantly strive to reflect Jesus to the needy world.

GBC Supported Missionaries and Ministries

--Rick and Chelsea Conrad, Wycliffe Bible Translators, Cameroon, Africa.  Rick is a database programmer and language software developer.

--Michael and Jillian Wills, Africa Inland Mission, Rift Valley Academy, Kijabe, Kenya.  Michael is a science teacher and Jillian is an active ministry partner.

--Mark and Carolyn Kinzer, AIM, Rift Valley Academy.  Carolyn teaches; Mark is the superintendent of RVA.

--Steve and Mary Hawthorne, Serving In Missions, Potosi, Bolivia.  Medical missionaries, teachers, and evangelists.

--James and Lindsay Taber, Serge.  The Tabers are on special assignment in the US.

--Ken and Marcia Therrien, WorkcampNE, Litchfield, NH.  Ministering to GBC’s summer teen Vision Team and reaching the underserved in the Northeast.

--Russ and Betty White, World Gospel Mission, Tenwek Hospital, Bomet, Kenya.  Russ is a surgeon, program director, and teacher.

--Growing Christian Ministries, Bradford, RI.  GBC’s Ron Reid and Margie Reid oversee the world-wide teaching ministry founded by Dr. David Reid.

--Eric and Deb Riedy, Family Life, Little Rock, Arkansas.  FamilyLife works to develop godly marriages and families.

--Dave and Diane Hultgren, His Mansion, Hillsborough, NH.  A Christ-centered healing community in Hillsborough, NH.

--Eugene Chee, Good News Church, Houck, Arizona. Pastor of a Navajo church and host of our summer teen Vision Team.  

--Jephthe and Mitou Lucien, Jerusalem Baptist Missions, Pignon, Haiti.  Jephthe and Mitou guide the ministry of over 120 churches in Haiti. 

--JBM Clinic, JBM, Pignon, Haiti.  Supporting the doctor and nurse at JBM’s Pignon Medical Clinic.

--Fils and Filles de Sion Orphanage, JBM, Lacaste, Haiti.  The ministry site for orphans and under-supported children connected to all the JBM churches. 

--Ephraim Lucien, Hinche, Haiti.  Guide, interpreter, and logistics expert during our trips to Haiti. 

Please uplift all of these friends in prayer.

 

Water and Golf

For most of us, water is an easy find.  We simply walk to the nearest faucet and pour clear potable water into our cup.  When we want to wash our clothes, shower our bodies, or cook our food, we just push a button or twist a handle--and water pours freely.

But, access to water is not universal.  Various organizations like the World Health Organization and UNICEF tell the story in statistics.  844 million people live without access to safe water.  2.3 billion people live without access to improved sanitation.  266 million hours are spent by women and children daily finding a place to get water.  Every 90 seconds a child dies from a water-related disease.  1 million people are killed by water, sanitation, and hygiene-related disease each year. The 3rd leading cause of child death is diarrhea.  (Taken from Water.org.)  

That “big” picture is played out in individuals.  It’s the child lugging the huge bucket for miles to get water.  It’s the mother holding her sick and crying child. And, the problem is not just temporal.  Thirst, sickness, and hunger are gnawing, making it a challenge for anyone to focus on God.  It’s hard to see God’s mercy when your body--or your child’s body-- is being ravaged by malaria or typhoid. 

GBC has been working in Haiti for the past six years to help with this need.  Our “water fund” honors Mike Giannattasio, a former elder and passionate advocate for the underserved, particularly in the area of potable water.  From the fund, we have dug wells, distributed water filters, placed pumps, and provided sanitation training for hundreds of people. The Mike G Living Water golf tournament raised $6,000 for the fund last year.  It’s on July 16th this year.  Mark your calendar.

 

Non Men Se Wesly

“My name is Wesly”--with that began a friendship at the Lacaste orphanage.  Wesly is a diminutive 15-year-old boy we first saw caring for the younger children.  We snuck him the last half of a bottle lemonade soda and the friendship grew--he started to hang around the construction site.  He carried boards, held nails, and soon had a tool belt strapped around his waist, drill in hand, joining the team.  He was eager to learn and just as eager for the attention of our guys. 

Late in the week, we needed to move sheets of plywood back to Jephthe’s house. We loaded an SUV and used Wesly as ballast to hold the sheets inside the vehicle during the transit.  After, we took time for a treat, four of us in a rustic restaurant drank cold sodas--and we learned about Wesly.

With moistened eyes, he told us that his mom and dad were killed in a transport van accident in 2014 along with a dozen other people; he moved from son to orphan in a few seconds.  His brother and sister live in other places and he only sees them occasionally.  The tragedy has stilted his schooling; he is currently in the 5th grade. His total material possessions are on the bed he shares with another boy and the five nails where he hangs all of his clothes. He goes to church but we really haven’t talked to him about Jesus--yet.     

There is no way we can reconstruct the trauma of Wesly’s childhood. But, maybe we can provide support that helps Wesly and the other forty children in Lacaste to understand God’s love in tangible ways.  All of Haiti won’t be changed for Jesus, but maybe a few kids in need will be.  

 

The Island Adventure

 The Haiti Team is home and smiling! 

--We conducted five medical clinics, seeing 500 people. Dr. Peronvil, the physician at the Pignon Clinic, was joined by Dr. Issac, an orthopedic doctor. We treated several cases of malaria and syphilis and had one positive HIV test. 31 people were treated for typhoid, and we dispensed 1500 prescriptions.  

--Pastor Mckensy, an interpreter, prayed with the people at the clinics.  10 people became followers of Jesus.

--During our visit to Wangouman, we officiated a child dedication--after listening to 2.5 hours of singing at their harvest festival.

--After church in Wangouman, we repaired faucets on two 1000 gallon cisterns, installing “user friendly” spigots and locks to help control and conserve water use.

--The women from the jewelry-making micro industry received the profits from their last endeavors and gave us more items to sell. 

--At the Lacaste orphanage, our team stripped rotting wood off the 60ft x 16ft building. They installed four jalousie windows in each of the three rooms, moved and added studs, and re-sheathed the entire building with treated T1-11.

--We constructed a water collection system on two other buildings, allowing the underground cistern to fill during the rainy season and help ease water needs. 

--Several local folks, some in their teens, helped us throughout the week.  It was a joy teaching carpentry and clinic procedures to these younger guys.

--On Saturday morning, we visited the orphanage one last time, just over twelve hours after finishing construction.  By then, the boys had carried their bunks into the new building--we’re not sure if they got permission, but they were very excited.

Thank you to our GBC family for all for the support and prayers before and throughout our trip.

 

Shoes That Don't Fit

We were in Pignon, Haiti.  A teen evangelism conference had just finished. I was asked to bring “a few” of the participants back home.  I ended up with 12 people stacked into a mid-sized SUV.  The final push, literally, was to stuff a leftover skinny guy in the front seat with me.  

Bumping along the road, Ephraim Lucien translated as I asked, “What did you learn at the conference?” I got a variety of non-answers, so I probed a bit deeper.  “What story would you use to tell someone about Jesus?”

My squished front-seat buddy, Odlins, a 12th grader, was silent for a while, and then said, “I’d say my life before Jesus was like wearing two different-sized shoes that didn’t fit.  My dad was devout in one religion and my mom was devout in another.  I had to find shoes of my own that fit.”  He continued telling me how a friend shared with him about Jesus and invited him to church.  After a while he committed his life to Christ and was baptized.  His new “Jesus” shoes fit.

Unfortunately, his joy was lessened when his father became upset over his new-found faith and refused to pay for his schooling.  So, he missed a year of school--all because he found the Savior.  He’s back in school now, but sees his desire to become a school teacher as a far reach.  “Parents in my country usually can’t afford paying for college education.  So, I’m not sure what to do.”

Odlins, like many of his peers, is a teen of great promise--and he loves Jesus.  His faith has been tested, and he’s persevered. I struggled because I couldn’t fix his problem, so humbly I had to turn him over to the One who can.  

 

Wangouman Update

Most of you know that GBC has been working in the remote Haitian village of Wangouman for the past five years. Most of you are also aware that we’ve helped build a church and improved their access to potable water.  But, has it made a difference?  Has it been worth it?

Despite continuing challenges, the answer is “yes.”  It’s pretty obvious in three ways.

First, the community now has access to potable water.  The 75ft deep, hand-dug well continues to yield water.  Each morning and afternoon villagers line up to fill their water jugs.  One big step forward is the community’s efforts to fund future pump repairs.  The church secretary is now collecting 25 HTG (about $.50) each quarter to keep the well going.  This is a giant step toward self-sufficiency and a source of pride for the community.

Second, Christ is proclaimed, the church has seen dramatic growth, particularly since the construction of the benches in November.  In addition to internal growth, there is now a community about 2.5 hours away that is sending 70 people to worship weekly.  The walk is up over a mountain. And, people from Wangouman hike to this community to conduct mid-week services.  A “church plant” there is in the works.

Third, and probably the most important, the community has been encouraged by our presence and continued care. We’re still there, and we are appreciated.  In fact, their church community prays for GBC each week.  

Our mission is not finished.  The church needs repair on the gable ends.  And, it still needs to be painted.  Finally, one of the greatest needs is formal education.  For many kids, it just doesn’t exist and limits their future.

Thanks, GBC for your support and prayer.  It is making a difference.  

 

Haiti Vision Team, March 11-18, 2018

This coming Saturday our next Haiti Vision Team will be heading off.  The team of ten will be starting at 2:30am for a morning flight from JFK to Port-au-Prince.

After getting into Port-au-Prince (PAP), the team will travel for about five hours to Pignon where they will start their week’s stay at the Zion Guest House on the Lucien compound.  

On Sunday morning, the team drives another 2.5 hours to the church in Wangouman for their harvest festival.  Celebrations like this one are always a high-spirited time at local churches.  People visit from all over the area to worship together, bringing their choirs for a time of singing, which often lasts for hours, and is followed by a harvest meal.  

Daily, from Monday through Friday, our group will split into two teams.  The medical team will conduct several mobile medical clinics in the surrounding villages.  The construction team will start on two projects at the Lacaste orphanage, Fils et Fille de Sion, Sons and Daughters of Zion.  

The first project at Lacaste will be to re-sheath a 64ft x 16ft building with treated T1-11 and install four jalousie windows in each of the three rooms.  From the original design, one window per room, the added windows will help with light and ventilation.

The second project tackles the creation of a water collection system to feed an empty 10,000 gallon underground cistern. A filled cistern will help the orphanage with daily hygiene needs and, during times of drought, can be a source for filtering water.

After the team drives to PAP on Saturday, their return flight is on Sunday afternoon.  Please remember that all Vision Teams deeply desire the fervent prayers of those who aren’t traveling.  Prayer warriors are needed.   

 

Out of Africa

GBCer Dennis Hoover has returned from Liberia, Africa after helping Revive Liberia Missions provide support to seventeen churches in the Alive Liberia Missions network. One of this ministry’s programs supplies Liberians with sawmills and the expertise to use them.  Through the sawmill project, men are trained and employed in the lumber industry which also provides support to their churches.   

Dennis and Jim Brown (JB) of the Wood-Mizer sawmill company, traveled to Buchanan, Liberia to provide refresher training and sawmill maintenance.  Except for Sunday morning at church, their time was spent at the sawmill/logging yard repairing equipment, problem solving, observing work practices, and helping where needed. Along with two missionaries “out of the bush”, their work continued on Sunday afternoon at Pastor Claudius’ sawmill located behind his house.  Claudius adopted and raised twelve boys during the civil war, each of whom has become an African pastor.  

Evenings were spent phoning the U.S., inventorying parts, watching sawing videos with the young sawyers, and learning practical math.  They also watched JB’s Christian movies with their African hosts and friends, including a former witch doctor whose conversion has turned whole villages to Jesus.

Enormous cottonwood trees dot the landscape in the upland “bush” areas of Liberia.  Many were planted, along with a curse, where a young woman was buried alive as part of a native sacrifice ritual. Bill, one of the American missionaries who came from the bush, wants every one of these cottonwoods cut down and their logs sawn into boards to build churches, showing this curse has no power alongside the Lord’s.  

Please pray that his desire is fulfilled and that the upcoming visit of another group in March will be a further blessing to our fellow believers in Christ, in Buchanan, Liberia. 

 

Always On

Our missions word this week comes from an edited devotional written by Ron Hutchcraft of Ron Hutchcraft Ministries, #8111.

Now He had to go through Samaria. . . . Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as He was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about noon.  When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” John 4:4-7

“Now, this encounter starts a chain reaction that, in turn, ends up with a massive revival in this Samaritan village, and much of the village comes to Christ as Savior. It started at a time when Jesus was feeling tired and thirsty, and ready for some rest. 

But along comes a woman who needs Him, and He opens up her life to His claims. Now here’s Jesus, worn out. . .In fact, it is, humanly speaking, Jesus’ thirst that puts Him at the right place at the right time. And that’s the same way God is directing your steps. He wants to use the everyday events of your life to position you to affect someone else’s life. 

You never know how God will get you to be at the right place for someone who needs you - for someone who needs Him. . . If you’re going to be like your Lord, you can’t put your service into little compartments. . .Today, in the middle of your journey, there is someone who needs Jesus. 

Life really becomes an adventure actually when you consciously open up your day to God’s sovereignly bringing you together with other people for His glory and for their good. In fact, it’s exciting to begin each day, praying something like this, “Lord, use my everyday activities today to put me in the path of someone who needs me, who needs you.”

 

Conrads and Cameroon

GBC-supported missionaries Rick and Chelsea Conrad and their children live in Yaounde Cameroon.  Rick is a database programmer with Wycliffe Bible Translators. 

From their recent newsletter:

“Rick has been working passionately on software that ultimately aims to connect God’s Word to people who need to hear it. Here’s some of the projects he’s worked on:

    Dulu - a web app designed to help SIL Cameroon branch organize and track all of the translation and language development work going on in Cameroon. . . It’s gone from not existing at all, to being used by the branch. . . 

    CMB Payroll - replaces an old, broken Access program, making it possible for a small finance team to continue managing our many employees’ pay, benefits and taxes.

    Bloom Reader - the Android app for reading books created with Bloom. Bloom is an award-winning software that simplifies the process of publishing books in minority languages. . . 

    Hear This - a Windows program that makes recording mother-tongue scripture as simple as possible. . . 

    LibArchives - an online database of the branch library’s archives of linguistic research.

    AlphaChart Creator - creates alphabet chart packs for the soon-to-be-created AlphaChart Android app, which will give people interactive alphabet charts, helping them learn to read their mother tongue.”

“We’ve been attending a French-speaking church that’s about a five-minute walk from our house, and we try to make it to the small group meeting after the service. It has been a challenge for the kids to feel at home there, and we’re praying about how to make it better for them.”

Although life in Yaounde is relatively stable, the northern part of the country has seen violence from Boko Haram.  Let’s pray for their safety, the challenges of daily living, and their upcoming visit to the US this summer. 

 

Resonance

“Resonance” means “the quality in a sound of being deep, full, and reverberating.”  The Latin origin literally means to “re-sound” or “echo.”  Today we often use the term in a non-scientific way-”resonance” carries with it the idea that we’ve seen, heard, or learned something and now we’re thinking about it--allowing it to reverberate in our minds.  The thought echoes.

Last week we read from Exodus 17:11-13.  “As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset.  So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword.” 

Joshua was the warrior.  Moses, the Israelite leader--with weakening arms--held up the staff of God--the symbol of His presence and power, and Aaron and Hur came to the rescue by helping support Moses in his time of need.  They helped raise the hands of God’s servant, and by so doing, help defeat the Amalekite enemy.

During the reflection on the passage, we considered how GBC Missions helps “raise the hands” of those who are doing the “front line” work for the Lord.

But, have you allowed that idea to resonate, reverberate, echo in your own life?  Have you considered that God might be encouraging you to greater obedience by holding up someone’s tired arms?  Who, in your circle of family, friends, co-workers, and so on, needs support? Where have tired arms allowed a foothold for the enemy? Like Aaron and Hur, you might not be a front-line warrior, but you are important to the victory.  

 

What is the Church? Missions

At GBC, our missions work starts with GBC’s vision statement, “Reflecting the Lord Jesus Christ to a needy world.“  Reflecting is the task of mirroring.  Our world is a needy place, and absent the Prince of Peace, it’s merely disharmony.  As imperfect people, we’ll never reflect Him exactly, but that’s the goal. 

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 the entire world.   

Further, 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--sometimes by directly telling the Gospel story--sometimes by helping those who do.

The GBC missions program encourages active engagement in Jesus’ command.  Our vision embraces that of the church. “GBC Missions strives to reflect the LORD Jesus Christ to a needy world by promoting missionary support, missions education, 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 and speakers, etc.)

--Involving the Chapel family in a variety of support projects or experiences (relief projects, our partnership in Haiti, our upcoming support of the Lacaste orphanage)

--Sending teams of chapel people on short-term missions’ trips (Vision Teams)

In this new year, let’s pray afresh 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.