Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Reflections of what God did through us

photo by swamibu

~Each peron who is fully devoted to God is a diamond jewel~

At our recent staff meeting, we shared what we most appreciate about doing ministry at Wooster Grace. We desire to stay true to our mission: developing all people into fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ!
We launched our comments from the life of Hezekiah who was a fully devoted follower of Jesus. Hezekiah stated that he wanted to do what is right, good, and faithful (II Chronicles 31:20).

Therefore, the staff rehearsed many things God did in His church. I will share just a sample as we step into a new year.

One highlight for the year is creating consistent opportunities to reach out into the community. Second Saturdays was mentioned and its outreach through Sowing Hope. One person, Susan, is now attending the church regularly and desires to follow God. Praise to God's glorious grace!

photo by never cool in school
Another highlight is our volunteers. Without faithful people who give their time and sacrifice it for the sake of God's Kingdom, our church would be ineffective. Two guys were mentioned. One who dedicated his time off during his vacation to offer his expertise as an electrician to work on the parking lot lights is worthy of note. In addition, another man spent five hours acquiring a trailer to tow a car, using a blow torch, and helping another man in his time of need to move a vehicle. Both men did so willingly and offered to help some more if their services were needed in the future. Our God is an awesome God! His people are awesome in service.

That's what being fully devoted means. Act in service for others, not for yourself. Acts of service is one of the core values at Wooster Grace. What a great and mighty God we serve who moves in peoples' lives to bless others. Let's keep reaching out to others into 2009!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

It's Never Too Late

Pastor Ivanildo shared this Christmas Eve story with me just a few minutes ago (10:00pm on 12.24.08). One family in our church called our senior pastor Bob Fetterhoff to inquire if he could help a family or two with needs. He was compelled to do something.

Although we have already completed many of our outreach ministries for the Christmas season, he insisted on doing something to help. Pastor Ivanildo and his assistant, Juana made a few calls and discovered two families who could use some encouragement and some help with food.

One family (we will call them the Jonas family) is facing a broken family situation. The father Jonas was taken away from the family today and put in jail. He will be gone for awhile. The mother Jonas came to our 8pm Christmas Eve service with her eight children. She did not sign up for our Give-A-Christmas Outreach. But her name was kept by our staff as someone to reach out to if help were discovered.

Help came in the form of one Wooster Grace family. This Wooster Grace family came with two gift cards. When presented with a gift card, the mother Jonas couldn't believe how she was blessed in this incredible way. Glory to God in the highest!

It's never too late to help someone out. So, if God prompts you to do something in His name. Go do it! A blessing awaits someone out there. You could be the messenger of hope and love.

May God prompt you to do great things for His fame!

Christmas in Cleveland Slavic style

Rich & Reida Barltey serve the Lord faithfully in the Slavic Village of Cleveland. Wooster Grace partners with them every Christmas to collect Christmas Boxes for distribution in the schools around Village Grace Mission Center.

Recently the city of Cleveland issued a Resolution of Appreciation for Village Grace. The resolution was certified and authorized on November 11, 2008 by the Cleveland City Council.

An exceprt from the certified copy of the resolution states, "BE IT RESOLVED, that Cleveland City Council proudly acknowledges the commitment that the Village Grace Mission Center has demonstrated in making a difference in the lives of the families in the Broadway-Slavic Village neighborhood. This Council applauds the ministry's ourstanding efforts in fostering solutions for children, youth and families in our communities throughout the City of Cleveland, and further extends best wishes to everyone involved for much continues success in the future."

Way to go, God's fully devoted followers!

One great story from the Slavic Village Christmas Box Distribution, Rich tells involves two boys who received their boxes. Inside each one there is a five dollar bill. A small monetary gift for each child to spend in whatever way they'd like. But these boys chose a different way than normal.

Each boy put their monen into an envelope and gave it back to Rich. They said that they were blessed to have a Christmas box and they knew that others were less fortunate than themselves. So they decided to give their five dollars, ten dollars total so that more kids could receive a gift at Christmas.

That is the true essence of Christmas! Giving, not just receiving. As Christmas Day comes again, please seek to give as much or more than you receive. Anyone can do it!

Take God as your heavenly example, "For God so loved the world, that He GAVE His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life (John 3:16)."

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Heavy Metal for the Lord

My friend Matthias is a metallurgist. He trains men to learn the metal trade and to support their families in Moundou, Chad. Yes, I'm talking the middle of Africa.

Matthias returned to Moundou after a couple year hiatus. He wondered if the men he had trained were practicing their craft and improving their skills. He was not disappointed.

In his own words, "What a joy it has been to see their personal, spiritual and professional development. Most have had opportunities to do internships and various jobs to practice and expand their skills (Love In Action Newsletter Vol. 8 Issue 2 [Nov-Dec 2008], pg. 1)."

Praise God for faithful men who are able to train others also (II Timothy 2:2)!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Asia's Hope Cambodia

Asia's Hope: Cambodia from Clay Productions on Vimeo.

Please check out this video from my friend, Josh Fronduti. He is an awesome videographer and unleashes his talent for the glory of God.

He took this video in Cambodia. Our church is also partnering with an orphanage in Battambang just like the one portrayed in the video above.

I can't wait to see how "our" kids grow and mature in their country as fully devoted followers of Jesus. Wooster Grace seeks to develop all people into fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ in all the nations of the world.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Sharing Christ's love with a decorated tree

photo by superturtle

One couple delivered a Christmas tree to an international family. The Japanese couple was totally surprised and delighted to get a completely decorated tree; American style.

They invited the couple into their home for tea and snacks. Shoes were taken off at the door and placed with the toe of the shoes facing out the door. They sat on the floor around a rug and enjoyed sipping tea and sharing about what Christmas means.

Extended time to be with new friends in our community. Way to go Wooster Grace! You are grace in the neighborhood.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Second Saturdays at Wooster Grace

Our church pursues our people to be IN the community as lights of Jesus' love. We constructed a monthly outreach on Second Saturdays to get our people out into the community.

We mobilized 112 people yesterday to do acts of service and kindness: nursing home visitation where teams sang Christmas carols, presented a free Christmas ornament, and offered to pray with residents; delivered gifts and decorated trees to families of single-moms and their children as well as the physically challenged and elderly; conducted home repairs for those who could not afford repair work or who need "helping hands" to fix things for them; and moved a family into a new home on short notice.

Many stories were shared about how our people were grace in the neighborhood. I can share a couple of stories now and one later this week.

At the nursing home one lady began crying as a family entered the room where she stays. The family noticed only a couple of Christmas cards on the window sill and no notes or pictures drawn by grandkids on the walls of her room like the other residents. The lady shared how her family has forgotten her.

The family spent time with her. Talked about her life and presented her with a Christmas ornament. She immediately released tears down her face. Tissues were provided and she kept crying.

Then the caroling team entered to share a few Christmas carols with her. She kept tearing up. She soooo appreciated the visit and the caroling. She commented, "This is the best day in my life in a long time."

Way to go Wooster Grace! You are grace in the neighborhood.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Christmas Sowing Hope-Style

photo by futureshape

Sowing Hope celebrated Christmas in the downtown Wooster Recreation Center. Festive tables covered in green, holly decorated plates, cookies in yuletide tins, and a Christmas dinner with scalloped potatoes, green beans, and ham, together greeted our friends at the Towers.
With the help of the Wooster Grace choir and many volunteers, our church invited the residents around the towers with caroling. The night was frosted with icy roads and slippery walkways. Still our friends made their way across the street to the rec center.
Our program shared fun seasonal songs and reflective carols. Everyone sang with Pastor Randy and Allen Hodgdon. The choir and an ensemble sang for our friends to raucus applause. We even gave away gifts to those who were present: bibles, coloring stencils, stuffed animals, fragrant candles, an iron, and a mixer.
We had 84 people in attendance. Our senior pastor joined in our festivities. We served 81 people and provided another 43 meals, so we served 124 meals.
I got to meet Billy and Jessica, Eddie and Sabrina his daughter, Lisa and Kim. We ate together at the table.
One highlight occurred as we were preparing to close our program. A lady named Sandy from the Towers interrupted the closing with an impromptu thank you to our church, the volunteers, and the pastoral staff. She thanked the Sowing Hope team fr coming faithfully every Thursday this year to do crafts and to talk. She named those in attendance that she knew--Celeste Kern, Michelle Sorg, Mary Misner, and Connie Benchoff. We have many more who help out on this team.
It is one thing to serve faithfully and its another to receive a word of thanks. Praise God that we heard a word of gratitude in our faithful service. We direct these words of thanks to God, because He is the One who gave us hope so that we can sow hope in other people's lives. May the Lord continue to gain fame from our acts of kindness and friendship.

Friday, December 12, 2008

On Mission to West Virginia

photo by tukanuk

This evening a team of fully devoted followers are traveling to Rosedale, WV. The Wooster Grace puppet team is reaching out to the Appalachian people.

The median income for the surrounding communities ranges from $24,000 to $26,000. About 20% of the families in the region are below the poverty line.

Our puppet team leaves tonight around 6pm to arrive at about midnight. Please pray for their safety; driving in the mountains. They will make Gospel presentations and return to Wooster on Saturday around 7pm.

The leaders are Pam Leonard, Jenise Woodward, Helena Falk, and Allison Steiner. The team shares the following:

Thanks for your willingness to give up a weekend at Christmas for those who are less fortunate. Be in prayer for safety traveling there and back and for the gospel to be heard.

One of their contacts in Rosedale, Patty McCumber and her family lost their home to a fire last Friday. The entire contents were lost. Nothing was salvaged. Yet the puppet team is gathering things to help the family in any way the team can.

Wow! How awesome for a multi-generational team to minister for God together and to truly seek to be God's source of help for a hurting family and an avenue for hope to everyone who hears the Gospel presentations.

Way to go! Puppet Team~you are Grace in the Neighborhood!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Encouraging our Missionary Partners

As this Christmas season proceeds, please consider sending an encouraging note to those fully devoted followers who serve the Lord as missionaries in our communities here and abroad. You may send an email, a Christmas card, a postcard with a prayer of encouragement, or you may even give them a brief one-minute call by saying something like, "Hi, this is Larry from your home church. Our church wants you to know that we are glad that you are part of our missionary partnership which chooses to develop all people into fully devoted followers of Christ. I thank God that you are developing all people into fully devoted followers of Jesus in all the nations of the world. May you be encouraged with this brief call."

Please consider taking the time to encourage those who sacrifice time away from their families this Christmas by seeking to reach the world for Christ. Let them know that you care and think of them.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Catalyst Church reaching Kent, OH

photo of Catalyst 125 newly renovated kids space

Wooster Grace seeks to develop fully devoted followers of Jesus everywhere. We partner with local and global ministries. One of our local partners is Jonathan Herron of Catalyst Church in Kent, OH.

Jonathan shared a link regarding what God is doing at Catalyst. Diane Smith from the Record-Courier of Portage County highlights the church's new office renovation, its education emphasis, the gallery space, and the new worship leader.

Jonathan is grateful for our prayers and encouragement. Please pray for Jonathan's recovery from back surgery. May God bring complete healing and determination for Jonathan to complete his rehab regimen.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

REACHing NE Ohio College Campuses

Ben & Sandie Dyke write:

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving break! It was very relaxing and good
to reconnect with extended family. We also went to our annual Great Lakes
staff conference in Indianapolis. We enjoyed this as well as it was a
refreshing time in God’s word. We hope you continue to enjoy reading
about the happenings in our ministry to college students here in NE Ohio.

Please pray for them as they minister to college students amid the chaos of midterms, projects and papers due, flu season, and developing fully devoted followers of Jesus in all the campuses of NE Ohio. Pray specifically for the annual Christmas conference on Dec 27‐Jan 1, 2009! "Pray that our students would attend and that the Lord would speak to them and challenge them to live authentic lives for Christ."

If you'd like to receive their newsletter, then please contact them:
Ben & Sandie Dyke
Cleveland MetroCampus Crusade for Christ

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Sowing Hope Christmas Celebration

photo by krisdecurtis

On Friday, December 12 at 6pm we are ministering to the families on the southside of Wooster. We are inviting them to a meal and a Christmas concert at the Wooster Community Center.

Please pray for God to speak through the lives of those who help serve food and who offer their voices and talents in music to direct people to consider the birth of Jesus, their Savior. May God bring all the logistics together to bring people to Himself.

Battambang Orphanage Moves Forward

photo by fletchy182

Wooster Grace is moving ahead on launching our orphanage in Battambang, Cambodia. We are going to use a rented house as the initial site for housing the orphans. Then when our orphanage is completed, the orphans can move. We want to save as many of these orphan children as we can. May God bless our efforts as a church to develop fully devoted followers of Christ in all the nations of the world.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Pray for Thailand

photo by mvi
Our friends in SE Asia ask you to pray for the ongoing protests in Bangkok, Thailand. The anti- government group has successfully blockaded and shut down the airports in Bangkok, and the police seem unwilling to help resolve the situation. Also, a pro-government group is amassing and mounting their own counter-protests. The situation is becoming very serious and sometimes violent, with no solution forthcoming. Especially pray for our friends who live in Thailand.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

51 protesters wounded in Thailand explosions - Yahoo! News

51 protesters wounded in Thailand explosions - Yahoo! News

As violence grows, please pray for our friends in Thailand. Keep in your prayers our fully devoted friends: Dave, Tutu, Christian and Bonnie who all serve the Lord in this volatile area.

May God protect and advance His kingdom amid hostile environments.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving for the nations

by Mike Licht,

I returned from Wooster Grace where we served 65 people at the Internationals Thanksgiving Dinner. Most internationals in the Wooster area are unfamiliar with preparing Thanksgiving type food. So Celeste Hodgdon mobilized people from our church to provide an American Thanksgiving meal with all the fixin's.

Many were invited. Sixty-five joined us in the South Fellowship Hall. We ate a meal together. We had various nations represented: Brazil, Germany, Japan, China, Ecuador, Chile, Mexico, United States, and Navajo.

We even had international prepare and share typical dishes from their country of birth. I tasted marinated chicken in a soy sauce/ginger/pepper soak. I wolfed down fried rice. I savored German pastries and cookies. Everything was great!

I thank God that we could provide a meal for internationals to taste the foods of the season with new friends for this season in their lives. Most are involved with graduate school or work in town. Two families benefited from a immigration lottery so that they could be in the United States. I tried learning how to say thanks for coming in the various languages. I mimicked, got corrected, receive more laughs than compliments but I know that everyone was personally thanked. What a great team effort!

I saw the Hodgdon's with a digital camera. So if I can get their pictures, I will post some later. Overall, God is helping our church to develop all people from all the nations of the world into fully devoted followers of Jesus.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Reach out to the nations here in the US

Which Direction Is New York? MTV

If you ever want to know how challenging it is to come to the United States, then check this MTV True Life Series episode. You will have a better understanding how difficult it is for the nations to come to our country.

"All over the world people dream of moving to the United States. Some come for freedom, some come for work; but all immigrants must face the harsh realities of a place that can feel very strange to them. In this episode of True Life, you'll meet two young people from different corners of the globe looking for a better life in America against difficult odds (Taken from MTV episode summaries)."

Each student decides to come to America; Bara from the Czech Republic and Timonthy from Burma. It intringues me that we have missionary partners who serve God in the Czech Republic (The Swains) and we have missionary partners serving in SE Asia (Kevin & Jill Kane; Steve & Deb Wise--Cambodia). I wonder what their take on this journey for these students would be.

Anyways, if you come to a place during Thanksgiving when you feel bored or need a change from festivities, then check out the segments on the link above.

Developing all people into fully devoted followers of Jesus in all the nations of the world! The nations even come to America. Who is near you that you may be able to reach out to for Christmas? Maybe God has placed an international family in your neighborhood, workplace, a place where you frequent regularly to shop or to visit, all may present opportunities to reach out to the nations.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thanksgiving in Cambodia

Steve and Deb Wise, our missionary partners in Cambodia share from their newsletter what they are thankful for:

Happy Thanksgiving week! Since Thanksgiving isn't a Khmer holiday we will work most of the week as usual. However, we do have plans to get together with some CAMA missionary friends on Thursday evening and have a meal, complete with turkey and everything! We hope you have plans to be with friends and family. It's hard to be so far away from our families this time of year; that's what we will be missing the most come Thursday. The thing we'll miss second-most is all the football on TV. Ah, the sacrifices. :-) In spite of that, we have a lot to be thankful for, and we'd like you to praise the Father with us: (taken from Wise Weekly Newsletter--to subscribe email them at

Being so far from home is a challenge for our fully devoted followers who seek to develop more fully devoted followers in all the nations of the world. So I've taken only one of several requests the Wise's shared for your consideration. Take a moment to offer thanks to God and to offer a prayer to God on behalf of the Steve and Deb.

Praise God for a year of relatively good health. We are grateful for the strength He gives us to do our work every day. That being said, pray for Steve who feels like he's coming down with a cold. Also please keep Steve's Aunt Betty in mind, as she has one more week of radiation therapy to go, and is feeling quite sick from it.

As you stay up late the eve of Thanksgiving, remember those in SE Asia who will greet the sunrise at midnight. Say a prayer for them! They are truly fully devoted followers of Christ.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Sowing Hope Gives Thanks

photo by bucklava

One of the ministries that we conduct regularly is the Sowing Hope ministry. We get to reach out to those families who are the hard-working poor on the southside of Wooster.

We invited many to attend a Thanksgiving Dinner at 5pm on Sun Nov 23. We seated 65 people (families with children, couples, and single adults). We sent five dinners home with those who stopped by and could not find a seat. Then the team decided to take dinners door-to-door so that we can share God's bounty with others. Thus, we delivered another 30 meals to the apartments at the South Towers. All together we served 100 meals.

My favorite story is little Macyn. She is a girl who wanted to help other children and their families out. Macyn brought her mom. Together they brought a dish to share and they served the plates to all the families.

A little girl wanted to help out by reaching out with God's love to those who may not have anything for Thanksgiving. That's the heart of outreach!

May the young be the examples to the older ones. As the Bible says in I Timothy 4:12a, "Let no one look down on your youthfulness..." or to put it another way, "And don't let anyone put you down because you're young. Teach believers with your life: by word, by demeaner, by love , by faith, by intergrity."

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Plasters of Paris

photo by

One thing I am learning to enjoy is a friend's sense of humor. Rob has a passion for people. People matter to the Rob & Nichole.

Rob & Nichole serve as our missionary partners in Paris, France. Though labeled a romantic city, Paris is spiritually dead.

Still, they have many contacts you can pray for; those who will join them for an American Thanksgiving Celebration. As they shared on their e-newsletter:

Thanksgiving Dinner in our Home in France! This Saturday (November) 23 people will be sharing with us a Thanksgiving celebration! We will share about being thankful for what God has done for us. Pray as we share to this audience of French who live in a culture where the concept of being thankful does not exist. We ordered our turkey from the butcher last week since normally turkeys are not ready until Christmas. We look forward to a great time as we share a holiday that is dear to us.

Rob states the challenging of sharing Christ with Parisians and how things are going in Paris on his blog. You can learn how to best join them in this mission by praying for them and sending them an occasional email encouragement note.

Grace Brethren International Missions offers a daily email update called PrayNow! which sends you prayer requests from the missionaries partnering with the Grace Brethren. You can email Ron Guiles to add your address to the daily email updates at

Friday, November 21, 2008

Reach out, reach out, reach out

One of my heroes of reaching out is George Swain. Both he and Cindy faithfully offer opportunities for people to come hear the Gospel.

In his latest Top Ten E-newsletter, George shared the following prayer request: Pray for the salvation of the people who received the 1,200 pieces of literature that George distributed last week.

If you don't receive George & Cindy Swain's Top Ten e-newsletter, then send an email to them.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

For Christ at the University

Annie Michaels is a fully devoted follower of Jesus! She faithfully follows God despite distractions. She is focused and does what God sets before her.

Please pray for her and her ministry to the college students at the College of Wooster. Thanksgiving and Christmas are opportunities to share your encouragement with Annie. May God provide encouragement to her in the near future.

Annie helped mobilize students to address slave trade issues on campus with The Price of Life campaign (Nov 10-14). The fellowship of Christians on campus raised awareness and sought to raise funds to adopt the many orphans and widows who constantly fight against the slave trade and who often are victims of the slave traders and slave system. May God continue to empower Christian studenst to bring up the Gospel even after the week of emphasis has concluded.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Touching Tomorrow

by beru8ra

At Wooster Grace we have utilized missions funds designated from Touching Tomorrow to initiate church planting here in the U.S. One of the beneficiaries we partner with is Ron & Chery Boehm. Please pray for Ron & Chery as they facilitate church planting here in Ohio.

Wooster Grace partners with Ron & Chery Boehm as well as the Kent, Ohio church plant, CATALYST Church. Jonathan Herron leads this new church plant in Kent, Ohio. Please pray for Jon as he recovers from back surgery.

Ron is secunded to VisionOhio from the Grace Brethren Church of Columbus (Ohio). Currently he is assisting the development of 12 new churches in the following cities of Ohio:

  • Apple Creek

  • Ashland

  • Cleveland

  • Columbus

  • Englewood

  • Jerome

  • Kent

  • Mt. Sterling

  • New Albany

  • Plain City

  • Springboro

  • Springfield

To see how VisionOhio is contributing to each of these church planters, please visit VisionOhio's webpage here.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Fully Devoted followers to Africa

If you haven't checked out the team sent to the Central African Republic, then please visit here. It is our passion to develop fully devoted followers in all nations of the world.

We have established a partnership with villages in Central Africa to address spiritual and physical needs. Wooster Grace reaches out to all people groups because people matter to God. Regardless of the ethnic makeup, each person matters to God.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

More Campus Outreach

Ben & Sandie Dyke serve as Campus Crusade for Christ in the Cleveland Metro area and in Northeast Ohio. We partner with them from Wooster Grace.

Pray for them as they share Christ with students. One encounter resulted in a new Christ-follower.

After an initial survey and follow-up, a staff member shared with a student how to know God personally. The student replied with this email (details removed for anonymity):

“I was thinking and pondering and I came up with something that you can pray for. I would like it if you would pray for me and my faith so that I can be 100% sure that heaven is my destination and that I can live my life the way God wants me too, because I have no clue what I am suppose to be doing or where he wants me. I am totally lost in my relationship and what little of one I have since I have started college. And that seems to be the least of my worries and it should not be that way. So where do I go from here? If you could let me know what you think, I would really appreciate it. I really appreciate all that you do for us and thanks for caring. Thanks once again for meeting with me.”

May God continue His work bringing one person at a time into a clear understanding of the commitment to follow Jesus. Way to go, Ben & Sandie!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Reaching the Campus

My good friend Annie is my spiritual heroine. She has a passion for Christ and her friends. She dedicates her life to shine for Jesus. Please stop and pray for her as she seeks to disciple students on the college campus with Intervarsity.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

African Christians Strategize to Fulfill the Great Commission

African Christians Strategize to Fulfill the Great Commission

Today we had the honor and the privilege to host Dr. Ngoumape from the Central African Republic. He is the Director of Leadership Training in the Central African Republic. He is responsible for the oversight of the Grace Brethren Seminary and four Bible Institutes, as well as various discipleship ministries. Currently visiting pastors and churches in the US, he shared opportunities for partnership in the task of training a new generation of leaders.

Dr. Ngoumape has a passion for the Church in the C.A.R. He wants strong, godly leadership. He knows there is a daunting task. With 2400 churches and only 900 trained pastors, the challenge is equipping new leaders right now.

I praise God for our church. We have been partnering with the Grace Brethren movement in the C.A.R. for over forty years. Now we get to be involved with the foundations for a new work of God among the emerging churches in the 21st century.

Please pray that we will use God's wisdom to discern how we can get involved. May God lead us to the best place where we can offer the greatest help for success and for the glory of God.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Cambodia: Thai troops retreat from disputed border -

Cambodia: Thai troops retreat from disputed border -

Please pray for Kevin and Jill as well as Dave, Savorn, and Tutu as tensions rise along the Cambodian and Thailand border. May God keep the peace and keep our friends safe.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Illuminated World | A Contemporary Bible Publication

Illuminated World A Contemporary Bible Publication

Pastor Nick in the contemporary service preached a message about how the Church must reach the next generation.

I wonder if we may need to get people started reading "The Book." Then guide them to study the Bible as a textbook for discovering themselves and their need for God.

I made comments on my personal blog at regarding my thoughts on this unique, modern New Testament called, "The Book."

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Six Thousands Words from Second Saturday

Rain or Shine. Love your neighbor as yourself! Even when it means soaked shoes, wet hair, and drenched lower pant legs. Notice the smiles despite the rain. It really poured--you can see ripples on the driveway in one picture. May God get the glory for our efforts in reaching people with God's love every Second Saturday.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Demonstrate real faith in the real world

Pastor Bob Fetterhoff challenged us to see reality in our world. The plight of children in our world is appalling. Our church shared this video to give you a raw look at the injustice in our world where we can make a difference.

1st video revised from Glenn Sewell on Vimeo.

Make your faith genuine. Make your faith real. Pastor Bob outlined what real faith is:

  1. Real faith rests on the right foundation.

  2. Real faith responds to the right example.

  3. Real faith reacts with the right response.

I want to be building my faith on the right foundation where I understand the mercy of God; that I did not deserve God's grace. I desire to love by acting selflessly for the benefit of someone else. I long to be on-mission for God.

Psalm 140:12 says, "I know that the Lord qwill maintain the cause of the afflicted and justice for the poor." God is a father to the fatherless (orphans) and a defender of widows (Psalm 68:5).

I was convicted by the self-indulgent life I sometimes discover in my own life. I intend to be fully devoted to God. I must follow Jesus' example. Jesus served others. In fact, Jesus was humble, not proud; well-fed not overfed; and compassionate not unconcerned. So I need to venture into being more like Jesus.

Lastly, my faith needs to respond. Real faith is compassionate and pure (James 1:27). I need to show compassion and seek purity in my life. I must take care of the life of others as well as take care of my own life.

I praise God for our church's desire to partner with Asia's Hope. If you did not hear the interview with Pastor Dave Atkins, then you can listen to it here.

Dave Atkins Interview with Music from Glenn Sewell on Vimeo.

Overall, you can join us in reaching out to the least, the lost, and the last. Today the giving towards building the orphanage is growing. The total we are praying for to build the orphanage is $36,000. The goal of at least twenty orphans to sponsor means that over 60 people must commit to giving $35 a month to cover all of their needs.

You can keep praying. We are over $30,000 now. We have surpassed 60 sponsors too. So the Lord is moving among His people. May we wisely steward the gifts that come from over-and-above what each person already gives to our church in making fully devoted followers of Christ.

You can fulfill the purposes of God in your life. Make a difference today!

He Gets it! Love your neighbor.

He Gets it!: Love your neighbor

The Bible says, "Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another, for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. For this, "You shall not commit adultery, you shall not murder, you shall not steal, you shall not covet,"and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law (Romans 8:8-10)."

To obey what God is saying means that you need to get it--love your neighbor as yourself. One man in our Northeast Ohio District of Grace Brethren Churches gets this. I found his testimony on my friend's blog, Jim Brown, who is the lead pastor at the Grace Community Church in Goshen, IN. Pastor Jim posted a video where JeRod Cherrie is selling his superbowl ring to sponsor building one orphanage with Asia's Hope just like Wooster Grace is intending to do.

JeRod is one person who seeks to love others as himself. He wants to make a difference in a big way within his arena of influence. I am one person who strives to love my neighbors as myself. I want to make a difference in a small way within my area of influence.

In our neighborhood, the power is still out from Sunday's high winds. We are in the middle of Wooster, but the neighbors shared how historically the power is returned later than other grids in Wooster.

So there we all stood. In the cul-de-sac listening to the wind howl and bend the trees in our neighborhood. We met one another and got more acquainted.

Now last night, my wife called me to go home and invite a neighbor to supper whose wife is out of state. He is alone. And we wanted to invite him to my in-laws (they have power in their house ten minutes away). So I drive over to extend an invitation.

But you know what, at first I hesitated. You would think that a minister would not only know the verses above and its principle; but that he would immediately embrace and engage in reaching out to a neighbor. Yet honestly, I hesitated.

Praise God that I quickly denied the temptation to leave my neighbor, Richard alone. I felt that he probably would not come with me to supper. He is a loner and self-sufficient. But I prayed for God's help to go beyond my inconvenience and find Dick and invite him to join us for supper. When I located him, I invited him. He declined, but he was so appreciative. He was glad that I invited him.
As I drove away, I thanked God for moving in my life to honor Him. At first I hesitated, but with God's help in prayer. I stopped offering rational excuses for not extending an invitation and I practiced what the Bible says, "Love your neighbor as yourself." God is working in me. He can work in you.

So owe no man anything, except love. Love your neighbor as yourself. You are one person who can intentionally love your neighbors as yourself. You can make a difference in a small way within your area of influence. Even if you hesitate, God can still use you. Take the initiative and reach out to your neighbors. Everyone is seeking to do reach out. You can too.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Soggy Feet are those who bring good news

photo by dmbfreak41

Second Saturday launched with a deluge. I just wanted to spotlight comments from our people who became grace in the neighborhood during the morning of outreach.

"We had all positive responses with those that we talked to. It was fun to see their face light up when they realized it was a free gift"

"They were surprised we came in the rain."

"Most people answered the door. And were very appreciative!"

"One gentleman was surprised. He said, 'How much are the cookies?' When we said, "It is a gift." He called us, "Angels." He even wanted to give us the container back. He was so grateful."

These few reflections on the Second Saturday outreach show how people matter to us because every person matters to God. We want to offer opportunities for every person in our church to serve those in our community. The close neighbors to our church are Scottish Highlands and the Deer Creek Subdivision. Both received a free dozen home-made cookies from Wooster Grace.

May God be praised as we seek to bless those in our neighborhood. You can make a couple dozen cookies so that you can give a dozen and eat a dozen. Take the time to be grace-full in your community.

History of the125project on Vimeo

History of the125project on Vimeo

It was my privilege to visit with Jon Herron and to meet and to pray at the 125. The Northeast Ohio District Missions of the Grace Brethren Churches help fund the transformation of the space into a useable and ministry advancing place for Catalyst.

Jon gave me a tour sharing how great God is. He fashioned a slideshow of the metamorphosis of the 125. You can view the presentation by clicking the link above.

I find it so encouraging to venture to Kent, OH and to actually walk into and to experience what God is doing in this Grace Brethren church. I could see the vibrant kid-friendly spaces and child-inviting colors, I could touch the countertops, rub my hand across the newly painted walls, and I could smell the new carpet as well as feel the "squishy," "spongy," knapped carpet throughout the 125 office areas. I praise God for His work in the lives of the family of believers at Catalyst who readily use the facility for discipling children and their families in this newly renovated space.

God is at work in Kent! He is building His church! Join in praying for Jon and the Catalyst church who are seeking to make God famous with the advancing of God's Kingdom in downtown Kent, OH. May God move forward His agenda in reaching new people for Christ and establishing all believers in this church to obey all that God has commanded (Matthew 28:20).

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Triplehorns: Our Missionary Partners to Brazil

This weekend our missionary partners from Brazil, the Triplehorns, will be here to reconnect with our church family and to introduce others who are new to our church to their work in Brazil. Bruce and Lisa began their journey to Brazil as missionaries here at Wooster Grace.

It is our passion that people we partner with reach out to others. Bruce and Lisa have dedicated their lives to make this happen in the country of Brazil.
We will be featuring Bruce & Lisa Triplehorn in our Adult Bible Fellowships (ABF). Each of the three hours we conduct our services Wooster Grace offers ways to connect with people who are on the journey of following God better. The ABF focuses everyone to seriously consider how the Bible practically impacts their daily life.

We have asked the Triplehorns to share in three ABFs this coming Sunday. They will also be back in our church in November (Nov 2 & 9). The times, ABF name, and Room number are as follows:

  • 8:30 Faith & Fellowship Room 421

  • 9:45 Common Ground Room 335

  • 11:00 Internationals Fellowship Room 425

So, you are invited to join us for one of these hours to learn more about how we intend to disciple all people into fully devoted followers of Jesus on a worldwide basis. Come join us!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Pray for Catalyst Grace Brethren (Kent, OH)

Pastor Jon Herron shared with me that the Catalyst Church Offices where many gatherings can take place like Sunday morning Children's Ministries programming and childcare as well as team meetings is going to have its final city inspection, tomorrow, Wednesday, September 10 at 10am.

Please pray for the inspection to go well and for Catalyst Church to obtain the permission for occupancy. May God reach out to many families--both currently attending Catalyst and going to attend Catalyst in the future.

Fully-devoted to go to Africa

Our church is preparing to send a small team of 4-5 people to work and to live in primitive conditions in the Central African Republic in November 2008. We are partnering with Integrated Community Development International for this trip. This missions team to the C.A.R. will consist of a team doing hard labor in a primitive camping situation, so you must be in good health.

Who can go:

Any adult who has a heart for God and desires to help their neighbors in the world

When you will go: November 4-21

Where you’ll go: Bangui, Central African Republic (CAR)

Why you should go:

  • To share God’s love with others around the world

  • To gain a greater vision for the lost around the world

  • To experience a cross-cultural ministry in a different part of the world

  • To work hard in a primitive camping environment


  • Be in good health

  • Receive the required medical shots and boosters prior to your trip

  • Submit a short-term missions application (subject to approval)

  • Obtain a passport and/or a visa

  • Commitment to attend meetings

  • Raise your support

  • Share your story within the church network

Cost: approximately $4000. Wooster Grace does provide some scholarships to defer part of the cost of our missions trips. Please submit your application right away! Applications can be found at the Outreach Ministry Table in our church.

First-time at the Fair

I attended the Wayne County Fair for the first time this weekend. The many sights, sounds, and smells still fill my membranes and memories.

I came to make contact with those in my larger community. I greeted hundreds of people, invited them to visit our church booth, thanked them for stopping by, or cordially exit-greeted them as they walked on by our booth. Overall, I got a flood of data about the county where I now live.

One thing that encouraged me was the process of getting in people's way to get them to hear what I wanted to say--"you are invited to get a free picture of you and your friends/family here at the fair." I was practicing contact-making.

Contact-making is being personable, approachable, polite, and friendly. I am compelled to find people who need what we offer at Wooster Grace, who can offer their skills at Wooster Grace after connecting with us, and may be able to refer people to us because they know what we offer, or possibly collaborate on things within our community.

What we offer initially is a fun way to remember this year's fair. It is a FREE photo. Though most people will be perplexed that it is really free, we offer this FREE, no strings attached!

I am so proud to serve with a team of fully-devoted followers who will reach out to everyone in our community to invite them to get their picture taken at no charge. We have so much more to offer than most people realize. May God use how we make contact with others in our community so that God woos them to Himself through all our efforts.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Prayer for housing

The Plasters are looking for an apartment in Paris. They have been searching the past six weeks and walked through five. Yesterday (Tue Sep 2)they scheduled to sign a lease. God answered their prayers, God answered my prayers for them.

Rob and Nichole want to live in a community to impact their community for Christ. Our emphasis for the year is Grace in the Neighborhood. Just like us, the Plasters want to show God's grace in the neighborhood in an apartment complex in Paris.

In their search for housing, I can relate. It is a unique journey searching and waiting for God's hand to provide.

My firsthand experience is to merely mouth the words of prayer and hope God answers. But recently I am discovering how great God is. His hand moves with prayer.

God wants me to share what is on my heart. He desires that I talk with Him. He longs to hear my heart's desires. He is a great God.

I was reading in the Gospel of Luke where Jesus shares how we need to be persistent and share with God what we really need (Luke 11:5-8). God will answer. He may not give you what you asked for, but He will answer. He will take care of your true needs. So don't be afraid to ask Him.

Listen and read what Jesus said, "So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, it will be opened (Luke 11:9-10).

God is good, all the time. So begin asking Him for things and situations to go favorably. Beg for relationships to be restored. Plead for finances to work out. Cry out to Him when health issues are overwhelming. Request for a new job to emerge with a little more pay and a lot more time with family. Pray. Ask. Seek. Knock. God can answer prayer. Just start praying.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The Fair

This will be my first experience at the Wayne County Fair. I do not know what to expect.

But Pastor Bob Doerr shared how everyone can make a difference in people lives. Wooster Grace will be present at the Fair offering free pictures to anyone who would like to pose. The background is the Ohio State Horseshoe. The picture is set up as a monthly magazine layout where individuals or groups can create a keepsake from the fair or share it as a gift to family and friends.

There is no catch! We want to give this as a free gift to everyone. The main thing is to meet and to greet people. It's about the people.

One wise saying that I heard states: "There are only two things eternal on earth; God's Word and people." Love the Word and love people! Be consumed with the Bible and be involved with people.

The Bible says, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength and your neighbor as yourself." Jesus said, "Do this and you will live (Luke 10:28)."

I can't wait to serve at the Fair. I intend to try to stay focused on the people rather than on my friends or on those I haven't seen in a long time. May God help us sacrifice time with and conversations with friends to meet and to greet potential new brothers and sisters in Christ.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Resourcing the under-resourced

Connie Benchoff conducts ministry to our neighbors. One ministry she serves in is the Hand to Hand ministry where tangible donations can be given to help the under-resourced in our community.

Connie takes donations from our congregation and from around the county to give to the under-resourced. in the pictures below, she was able to bless D. Thanks to Jim Hawkins for his donation of a TV and my friend Paula who donated a bed for D.!

In Connie's words, "Praise HIM for continuing to use Sowing Hope & Hand to Hand to minister to under resourced people at the Towers. :-)"

May God use our resources to serve our neighbors, amen!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Who says we don't have fun?

As I pray for every family to reach each neighborhood for Christ, I need a theme song to keep me going. In fact, "I need to take grace to the da neighborhood." I praise God for creative ministers who have fun and who seek to exhort and to encourage everyone to move forward in reaching out to our neighbors. You can reach out. Take to heart what the song is saying--you can take God's grace to your neighbors. Just go out your door and go over and say hello. Start with being friendly.

For those who want a hymn to ignite their motivation, listen to "We've a story to tell to the nations." Since 1896 this anthem has catalyze many Christ-followers to reach out to their neighbors. The lyrics of the third verse and refrain are provided below the video for you to sing with the tune. Henry Ernest Nichols wrote this hymn at a time when Sunday School was the weekly habit of most people in England and the United States. It is ironic that this song emerges at the same time that the modern Olympic games began in Greece.

GRACE In The Neighborhood (2008)

We've a Story To Tell to the Nations (1896)

Lyrics (from
We've a message to give to the nations, that the Lord who reigneth above hath sent us his Son to save us, and show us that God is love, and show us that God is love.


For the darkness shall turn to dawning, and the dawning to noonday bright; and Christ's great kingdom shall come on earth, the kingdom of love and light.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Grace in the Neighborhood

photo by anyalogic

Wooster Grace is about mission--reaching out to the hurting, reaching out to our neighbors, reaching out even with our feelings of inadequacy. With God's help, we can reach out because people matter to God. People matter to us!

One great moment this summer is our high school ministry team serving the children of Sowing Hope. Check out this great short video

You can make a difference one moment and one person at a time. Ask God to use your everyday routines and pathways to discover how you can share God's love in a real way with someone else. You can step out of your comfort zone and maybe begin a new friendship or initiate a new relationship with someone on your life pathways. One song that exemplifies this truth is Everyman by Casting Crowns.
There is hope for everyman! You can bring hope to everyperson on your path today and everyday.
As the opening lyrics state that God's hope and love can be shared with so many people around you and I. I trust you can begin asking God which one to speak to this week so that you may begin to show God's care in a real way.
photo by mitchgroff

"I'm the man with all I've ever wanted All the toys and playing games; I am the one who pours your coffee, corner booth each Saturday; I am your daughter's favorite teacher, I am the leader of the band; I sit behind you in the bleachers, I am every man; I'm the coach of every winning team and still a loser in my mind, I am the soldier in the Airborne facing giants one more time; I am the woman shamed and haunted by the cry of unborn life, I'm every broken man, nervous child, lonely wife (full lyrics here)"