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)"

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Pictures: Teachers' Appreciation & Strongsville Team

Three thousands words:

Our team served a meal to the Burbank Elementary School
Teacher Appreciation



Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Pray for China

photo by galaygobi

I saw on the CNN ticker while viewing the Saddleback Civil Discussion that people carrying bibles into China were detained and their bibles confiscated ( report here).

Bob Fu, the China Aid Association president is trying to spread the Gospel and to plant churches in China. He gives a short summary of his mission in this YouTube interview (here). He desires to advance the cause of Christ in China. This interview was conducted at the Voice of the Martyrs Persecution conference in June 2008.

In addition, VOM sent out this prayer news. The Pastor Zhang “Bike” Mingxuan, known for traveling across China on a bicycle to evangelize, was arrested by Chinese police just two days before the Olympics began. Pastor Bike was the inspiration for the recent partnership between The Voice of the Martyrs and China Aid Association to create the Olympic Prayer Band.

Pastor Bike, president of the Chinese House Church Alliance, rode his bike more than 10,000 miles, visiting 24 Chinese provinces to introduce nonbelievers to Jesus Christ. Armed with a Bible and his business card, which declared “Believe in Jesus, Earn Eternal Life,” Pastor Bike brought the gospel to thousands of people. He and other Chinese evangelists have been repeatedly harassed by Chinese officials during this Olympic year. Please pray for the release of Pastor Bike and his wife.

Keep praying for China!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Pray for the students

photo by foxtongue

As the school year begins this week and next week. Please remember to pray for those missionaries and ministries with outreach to campuses:

  • Annie Michaels: InterVarsity--COW

  • Ben & Sandy Dyke: Campus Crusade--NE Ohio (Wayne College, ATI, & others)

  • Roxanne Weaver: Student Venture--Tallawanda HS; Oxford, Ohio

  • Linda Kline: Bible Release Time Classes--North Central S.D.

  • Wooster Christian School

  • Jonathan Herron: Catalyst--Kent, OH

  • George & Cindy Swain: Prague, Czech Republic

  • Kevin & Jill Kane: Phnom Pehn, Cambodia

Ask God to give them strength to launch Fall ministries, wisdom on where to concentrate their energies, and courage to pace themselves for the long-haul.

Monday, August 18, 2008

We appreciate our teachers!

We just served lunch, encouraged Burbank Elementary School staff and teachers, and distributed appreciation gift bags. Our team did a great job serving them.

One teacher admitted that this kind of treatment was so different. She said, "We just don't know how to act."

Another teacher Mrs. Hershberger gave testimony that her colleagues eagerly anticipated this event. In her words, "Everyone was looking forward to this day!"

Mr. Froelich serves as principal. He shared in his remarks how great the food was, how wonderful the gifts were, and how encouraging the whole thing was for the start of the new year.

As they left and we packed up, we discovered that we forgot to take a picture of us. So we'll post a picture later.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

God answers prayer

Tim & Julie Hawkins provide this update on Gami, a Porto elder in the church who was gravely ill recently. God does answer prayer!

Yesterday I took Gami for a short walk. This was the same day that he was moved from intensive care to a regular room. And the first day the doctors told him that he was a miracle. Last week they never expected him to live. Only God could work and He did.

Continue to pray for Gami as he faces weeks of recovery. Pray for our church as we minister to his family and to the many that have been touched by his dramatic illness. Pray for Helena's family, that they will see God's hand in this and commit themselves completely to God

This was taken from the Hawkins' prayer update. Please email them at

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Why should you pray?

The Porto-Spain Missions Experience was a success!

This past Thursday, the team recapped and challenged us to consider how every believer must seek community. The Christ-follower community has two benefits: mutual ministry of encouragement and exhortation (one another) & communal outreach (they will know we are Christians by our love).

God helped each team member know more about Him and how God is working i nthe world through the relationships built within the team and within the whole group which included three missionary families (Hawkins, Plaster, Satterthwaite).

One team member described to me how we take for granted Christian friendships. He shared how Rob Plaster has great friends but now lacks a great friend who is a Christian. That could make life more challenging and foster loneliness or sadness. But our team came alongside our missionary partners and love them, ate with them, enjoyed this journey together.

Pastor Bob Doerr had a chance to hear the struggles of the missionary partners, to understand what they are going through, to pray with them, and now to pray for them. I forget that I can go about the "busyness" of ministry and forget those who we have partnered with in reaching the world for Christ.

Wooster Grace values people, especially those we partner with in reaching out to others. Stop. Say a pray for our missionary partners--or someone you know who is reaching out to others in another country. They need our prayers.

I loved the challenge Renee threw down. Why should I pray? Because our missionaries need us. They don't need our money--they need our prayers. They need to know that we are praying for them. She's right.

Don't know what to pray or how to pray--adapt this one from the Apostle Paul

When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Pray for China

photo by katherina

I did not watch the opening ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics, but I heard about it. On Saturday morning, the people in the restuarant were talking about it. In fact, one person said that it was the greatest she's ever seen--she has been watching since 1968.

I could not help but feel left out. But then I realized that I cannot be mesmerized by the stories of acrobats, moving type, giant firework footprints, the masse of humanity performing, or the pagentry. I need to pray.

Photo from Dr. Ray Pritchard

A sobering second look at China for prayer is needed. The underground church needs our prayers. One group has put together a 31-day prayer guide for your use. Wooster Grace has provided Olympic wristband prayer reminders for those who want to participate. You need to pray.

Pray for house church leaders as they seek to reach out within China. Ask God to give them significant impact in spite of government opposition and persecution when trying to help with the ongoing Sichuan earthquake relief efforts. Plead for God to provide protection from the Chinese government who is hostile towards Christ-followers disallowing any charity work by Christians.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Grace in the Neighborhood--Iraq

photo of those typically needing medical help by james gordon

Thanks to Dan Green who provided this news update from the Iraqi clinic ministry. Please continue to pray for protection and safety of the clinic staff and patients that come for help.

Recently two bombs exploded in the neighborhood close to the clinic but thankfully no one was injured (similar news reports here). Patients still look for help at the clinic with over 290 coming in July.

One woman has requested a picture of Jesus and declared that she loved Him. Pray that her love would be in understanding what Jesus has done for her in taking away her sin and that she would have a true relationship with Him.

  • Pray for continued safety for staff and patients.
  • Pray for the woman who wanted a picture of Jesus, that she would truly know Him.
  • Pray for proper documents to be granted for the clinic to register with the government.
  • Praise the Lord that no one was injured in recent bombings.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Thanks for making a difference!

photo by dplanet

Friends & Helpers Non-Profit Helping Others. Make a Difference Donate today!

I praise God for our church. Wooster Grace seeks to meet the needs of children in our area with a back-to-school backpack.

The above link is how one organization gains sponsors to donate back to school materials for a child or teen. Others around the country are seeking to make a difference in their communities.

Wooster Grace envisions a place where everyone hungers and is developed into mature Christians who are deployed for church-planting and compassion ministries around the world. This project is one of the many steps in developing all people into fully-devoted followers of Jesus.

Jesus had compassion. In Mark 14:3 Jesus is in the house of a well-known leper. He was reclining in Simon's house. Jesus went into the homes of anyone when invited.

Our backpack project interfaces our people with those who need someone to help out with school supplies and a backpack. I thank the Lord that we can share our surplus with those who have no surplus, thus honoring God in our acts of service in the community.

Please pray this week and next week as our people get to bless families, especially the children in those families with a gift of love and care--a backpack filled with school supplies to start a new year of education. May God truly be honored as we go into our neighborhoods and share His love.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Short-term missions makes a difference

Short-term missions is an important value at Wooster Grace. Wooster Grace is proud of those who go on short-term missions.

Kaille grew up in our church. Her parents Mike & Kim have nurtured her towards following God.

Recently, Kaillie served God by securing a short-term missions internship with Sowing Hope for the summer. She has had a great time.

In her own words:

I've gotten really attached to one 8 year old little girl. She doesn't speak Thai very well because she is from the Karen (Kuh-rin) Hilltribe. They speak their own language. She and her brother came to Asia's Hope back in April. Since she can't speak thai, she has a very hard time listening, and doesn't pay attention. She's in the kindergarten class at the christian school so she can learn both Thai and english. She'll just draw and not participate in much. She's getting much better, but she's very very frustrated that she can't read her bible! She's a very smiley, playful, tickle-ish girl!! She and I are buddies. I don't want to leave this little girl!!!! One of the teenagers asked her in her native tongue if she wanted me to be her mother. She just looked up at me, giggled, smiled, and hugged me so tight. That was the moment I knew God was doing somethingmuch much deeper in my heart here. My love for these kids keeps growing every second I'm over here!!

And By The Way:
Our Four14 missions team returned yesterday from their missions trip to Portugal & Spain. Watch for pictures and a report. You can come hear their testimonies live at Four14 on Thursday, August 7 at 7pm. Come and check it out!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Kern & Brazilians "represent" at 300th Anniversary

photo by will palmer

Wooster Grace is well represented at the 300th Anniversary of the Brethren movement. If you are intrigued about the deep roots of the Grace Brethren, then visit the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches blog this coming week to read about what is occurring in Schwarzenau, Germany (the birthplace of the Brethren Movement).

The FGBC selected our Pastor Steve Kern as a U.S. delegate for this historic gathering. Wooster Grace has helped partner with GBIM to assist two Brazilian delegates to attend the festivities in Germany. But please pray for all the 16 delegates to acquire visas to enter Germany. GBIM sees this as a educational experience where our international leaders get to visit the roots of the Grace Brethren movement.

Three good BMH books for your library regarding Grace Brethren history are:
  1. Finding our Focus by Dr. David Plaster (BMH Books, Winona Lake, IN: 2003).

  2. Our Heritage: Brethren Beliefs & Practices by Dr. Harold Etling (BMH Books, Winona Lake, IN: 1981).

  3. Restoring the Household of Faith by Dr. Todd Scoles (BMH Books, Winona Lake, IN: 2008) to be released soon!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Actions in the name of the Lord

Our puppet ministry team ministered to the Sowing Hope Kids this summer. Praise God for their perservance in stifling hot temperatures and gusty winds. Still, the children enjoyed the presentation anyways.

Pam Leonard said that this was the first time many on the team have performed for an audience. These older elementary and junior high students along with their student and adult leaders demonstrated God's love by sharing their gifts and talents through puppetry.

Wooster Grace values serving. We believe the Church consists of men, women and children serving for the glory of Christ. Therefore, we help people discover and employ their unique gifts to serve Him and others (Romans 12; 1 Corinthians 12&14; Philippians 2:1-11). Check out our values here.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Sharing a meal with our friends

Five thousands words to praise God for our people demonstrating that every person matters to us and to God

Our people sponsor every children for School BackPack Project

photo by bryankemp

Praise God for our people sponsoring all the children who need a back-to-school backpack. Every one of the seventy children sponsored will receive the following items, including, but not limited to: pencils, markers, binder, durable backpack. The Sowing Hope Kids are the ones we sponsor

Please pray for the Backpack Project.

  • Ask God to arrange the schedules of both families to deliver and to receive backpacks between August 11 and 16.

  • Pray for our Wooster Grace families as they verbalize why we do this: to demonstrate God's love to the family--"all people matter to God and each person matters to us."

  • Petition God to empower our Wooster Grace families to make a personal contact with each child, asking to read a brief Bible passage (like Matthew 19:13-15 where Jesus prays for and blesses the children) and to pray for the child and family.

  • Plead for God to open up opportunities to share the Gospel with the children and their families