Taking Action – Compassion in India

Dear Grace Point Prayer Partners and Compassion Sponsors,

As you may know, Grace Point has a partner church in Bolivia through Compassion International – a Christ-centered organization that seeks to release children from poverty in Jesus’ name. Recently, Compassion has been forced to withdrawal all operations from the country of India – affecting over 145,000 children and babies. Below is an update from Jimmy Mellado, President & CEO of Compassion. 

Would you please pray for Compassion and the many children affected by this decision? Would you take action and contact your senators and congressmen to ask for their help with this situation?


From Jimmy Mellado, President & CEO of Compassion International:

For nearly a year, we’ve been sharing updates with our sponsors of Indian children about the severe funding restrictions India’s government has placed on our programs there. Along the way, we have sought every possible remedy with the Indian government, and while we have received significant support from our U.S. government at the highest levels, India has still not lifted their restrictions. Now, despite all these efforts and worldwide prayers to prevent this outcome, our inability to fund our operations is forcing us to suspend our India operations fully starting March 15.

For the sake of the 145,000 babies and children who will suffer as a result, our government is willing to stand with us in voicing our significant concerns over this action, but they need to hear from you, our Compassion sponsors, to do so. That is why we are reaching out to each of our U.S. sponsors to make them aware that Compassion is being forced to close its sponsorship program in India and to request their assistance with a very important ask.

Today, in response to this terrible injustice, will you make a bold statement to your representatives in the U.S. government? Speak up for the children who have no voice. Make a statement about your heart’s desire that these children be loved and served. Let them know that the children in India who live on less than $2.00 per day really matter.

Please take just one minute to write your senators and representatives today. Let them know that people like you who want to help should continue to have the opportunity to support children living in extreme poverty in India. Ask them to show their support of these children by speaking with political representatives in India. We’ve pre-written the letter for you, but you can also add content if you want to share your personal thoughts and feelings about Compassion closing its work in India. It will only take a few clicks to make this very important statement.

While these letters may not prevent the close of our work in India at this time, your action will serve as a seed that God plants to make a significant difference in the future, for Compassion and many other faith-based as well as secular organizations working in India. And who knows how God may use this? This may just be the impetus He uses to soften the hearts of the India government regarding Compassion. Please stand with us and show your elected officials that you care for these children.

Despite this deeply troubling situation, we take to heart Jesus’ message in Matthew 25:40 that “whatever you have done for the least of these you have done for me.” We cannot imagine not being able to serve these vulnerable children in India, especially when the need is so great. Although Compassion’s existing service to more than 145,000 precious Indian babies and children may end, we will continue to work diligently to advocate for the more than 100 million children living in extreme poverty within India.

Thank you in advance for your willingness to partner with us in this important effort for these very vulnerable children in India.

In Christ,

Santiago “Jimmy” Mellado
President and CEO
Compassion International

P.S. Please make an important statement by taking just one minute to write your senators and representatives today to let them know that you want a future hope to support precious children living in extreme poverty in India.

Fall Ministry Update!

Dear Grace Point family,

It’s hard to believe, but summer is nearly gone, school starts in a few weeks, and fall is upon us! Though we often hate to bring the vacation season to a close, the good news is that there is a lot going on at Grace Point this fall to help you become a more fully committed follower of Jesus Christ. I am excited to share the following update to inform your prayers and scheduling.

Youth Director Search Team – As Nate Korpi concludes his tenure as Youth Director at the end of August and prepares to go to the mission field, a search team is beginning to seek God’s next leader for our Grace Point Youth Ministry. Scott Leuz will be heading the team of elder-confirmed members, who will be introduced on Sunday, August 28.

A celebration and send-off for Nate and Jendi Korpi is being planned for teens and parents in September – date and time TBA soon. We will also hold a church-wide celebration and send-off nearer the time when the Korpis leave for their missions assignment, likely in early 2017.

Youth Ministry: Our Youth Transition Team led by Bill Wright has a full fall schedule planned. Here are the highlights:

Sundays: September 11 – new Sunday morning format will kick off during second service at 10:30 am with a pancake breakfast. Beginning September 18, teens are encouraged to join adults in second service for the singing portion of worship, and then will be dismissed at sermon time to go to class, where they will discuss the same sermon topic.

Thursdays: On September 15, the GP Youth midweek program begins from 7-9 pm weekly, with a format similar to this past year: food, fun, and Bible lesson.

Retreats: four retreats are scheduled for the school year, beginning with the Fall Retreat October 28-30.

More details on youth events will follow soon, with direct communication to teens and their families.

Children’s Ministry: Cassandra DeWitt and her team are ready for a new year of ministry!

Sunday September 11 – Sunday morning fall kick off.

Wednesday September 14 – Wednesday Kids Club begins, weekly 6:30-8:00pm.

Wednesday September 28 – Block Party at 6:30 pm for all families with children through junior and senior high school. This is a great time for families who are new to Grace Point to learn more about what GP Kids Ministry is all about!

Young Adult Ministry: For high school graduates through age 29, a new weekly meeting time will be offered this fall:

Wednesdays, beginning September 21, at the home of Glenn and Lynn Ely (419 Woodhill Road, Newtown), with a light dinner at 6:30 pm, followed by Bible discussion from 7-8:30 pm. This will run for ten consecutive weeks.

Social events are also planned during the year.

8/28 – Lunch ‘n Learn: There is a place for YOU to serve and be part of what God is doing this fall at Grace Point! Sunday, August 28 following second service, join your GP staff for one hour as we enjoy lunch together and find out about volunteer serving opportunities in all ministry areas. 11:45 am in rooms A4-6.

9/4 – Bridesburg & Bolivia Missions Trip Highlights – Be encouraged as Missions and Communications Director Steve Weir calls our missions teams to share what they experienced this summer as they stepped out of their comfort zones and saw God at work. Highlights will be shared during the Sunday Service on September 4, followed by an in-depth look over lunch at 11:45 am in rooms A4-6.

9/11 – Marriage Ministry Kickoff – Learn more from Chuck Arnold, Pastor of Congregational Care, about Grace Point’s new initiative to strengthen marriages. Mark your calendars for a new marriage class that begins Sunday, October 23 at 9 am, and the Great Date Night event on Saturday, October 22 at 7 pm.

9/18 – Fall Groups Launch: Find a new group in your neighborhood. Many new groups will be “sermon-based,” that is, their discussion will follow the topics from our Sunday sermons and meet for ten consecutive weeks. The fall sermon series, also launching 9/18, will focus on foundational truths presented in Genesis 1-3.

So there you have it – something to help everyone become more fully committed followers of Jesus. Looking forward to what God has in store for us all this fall!

In Christ, Dave

Bolivia: Not What I Was Expecting

Let me be candid: my trip to Bolivia was not what I was expecting.

Don’t get me wrong – I was expecting to learn. But most of the things I learned were not what I had in mind ahead of time.

I did not expect to learn that joy really is possible in the midst of seemingly hopeless circumstances. We met friends who have so very little in the way of material possessions, yet their faces beam a joy that can only come from the Lord.

I was not looking for evidence to prove the old cliché, “If you can make a difference for only one, it still matters to that one.” Turns out that “cliché” is really a profound truth, and is happening over and over again, one child at a time.

I did not know I would witness a drive to spread the gospel that often gets lost in the busyness of our first world pursuits of “success.” That drive is alive and well in Bolivia and people are being rescued every day from a Christ-less eternity. (May it be so in Bucks County!)

I did not expect the clarity that ministry is about people and not programs. If at the heart of ministry we are not about loving and serving others, we have missed it completely.

I did not know my daughter could instantly have such love for a little boy from another continent who speaks a different language, yet who in three days came to call her “Tia” – aunt. I am thankful that we can stay connected through letters and pictures – they mean the world to sponsored children. Here are some great ideas to write a letter to your child right now.

I did not expect to become so attached to people I knew for only a week. But the truth is, I’ve left a piece of my heart behind on a dusty hill outside Cochabamba.

Our team had an amazing time and look forward to sharing more in the weeks to come.  Thanks to our great God and to all who made this trip possible.

Bolivia Team Update

Many of you have been praying for our team in Bolivia. Below is an abbreviated update that came in earlier today.

Hola from Bolivia!

The team is having a wonderful time in Cochabamba and have had so many great experiences. God is doing beautiful things through us.

Photo Credit: Joan Zeberlein

Saturday was our fun day and the team and our sponsor kids had a day full of sweets, rides, and play! The team definitely bonded with families. It is amazing how the relationships with the families were built in such a small amount of time. At the end of the day we debriefed and talked about how great God is and the things he is doing in Bolivia.

Praise God! During a home visit on Friday, it was discovered that the father of one of the sponsor kids had left 2 months prior and hadn’t been seen since. A member of our team prayed the salvation prayer with the mother and the mother accepted Christ. The team gathered at that home visit then prayed for restoration of the family. Sure enough, God provided! On Saturday morning when the children arrived for the fun day, the father was with the mother and the children! The power of prayer and trust in the Lord was certainly revealed from this experience. What a blessing to the family and our team!

Sunday we attended church at Unidos en Cristo. We were welcomed by a group of kids playing drums and trumpets. The service was very nice, Pastor Dave gave a message how we are all the same which was very moving.

Grace Point then stood up and received handmade bags and plates. We sang lots of songs throughout the service too. We have a worship pastor with our team from Minnesota and he led our team in the performance of two songs to the congregation. We planned for one but they asked for an encore. We laughed as we weren’t sure we even had a [good start] to begin with but God provided the words and the time was very special.

The team is all happy and working very well together. We appreciate your prayers. Please continue to pray for our health as a few on our team are battling upset stomachs. Nothing that is keeping us down but would enjoy being delivered from the feelings.

We start VBS today! Pray for the interaction with all of the children and these special moments that we have with them.

Through Him,

A.Z. on behalf of the team

Guten Tag!

Several months ago, I was asked by Cairn University to teach a course at their Germany campus – which is held at Black Forest Academy, in Kandern. Little did I know that my students would teach me far more than I could ever teach them.

Black Forest Academy
Black Forest Academy, Kandern, Germany
A technology class for teachers – that’s what I was sent to teach. Instead, I learned about life as a Christian and a follower of Jesus in another culture – particularly in a culture from the “___stan” countries. I met two incredible teachers, “Susan” and “Alice” (not their real names) each from a different “___stan” country learned about their stories. I met “Claire” (also not her real name) from Central Africa. “Peter” who is serving in Hungary. “Jason” who is serving in South America. And others.

DSC_4881They taught me about serving Christ in difficult times and places. Places where a misunderstood Facebook post could land you in jail for life. Places where the Koran is taught in public school. Places where the sound of mortars and bombs is commonplace. Places where God is working and bringing people to Himself. The gospel is spreading.

My trip to Germany comes to an end. In just less than 12 hours from now (the time of this post), I’ll be heading to the airport in Basel – beginning my journey home. From learning to shop in a German grocery store, to ordering gelato at local Eiscafe (run by an Italian and his wife from the DR), this week has been one of firsts. While there were challenges, the true blessing was hearing how God is at work around the world. His grace, His love, and His church, surpass borders and boundaries.

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” Matthew 28:19-20 (emphasis added)

10 Years in the Making

This is a monumental year for our Urban Mission Project.  Ten years ago this summer we took our first group down to the Bridesburg section of Philadelphia to partner with ReaLife/Soma Church.  This project consists of various work projects during the day and a Kids Club program in the evenings.

Throughout the years our teams have had a major impact on the kids and the community.  This partnership has also had a profound impact on one particular student who ten years ago attended his first missions project with Grace Point.  The impact has been so great that the student eventually completed his student teaching in the local elementary school and now currently lives next to the church in Bridesburg.  Mike Nichols fell in love with this community and its people during his first visit to the community.  Ten years later it is a privilege see Mike lead this Grace Point team in continuing efforts to impact the community on so many different levels.

Photo Jul 10, 10 02 23 PM (1)

Every year we spend a portion of our time serving the Recreation Center in Bridesburg.  This past Monday, as I and other students were weeding the sidewalks and playgrounds, a small car radically pulled up next to a section we were working on.  She rolled down her window and motioned me to come closer.  Very cautiously I approached the vehicle and smiled hoping that what was about to happen would be positive.  To my delight the woman in the car talked about how much she and her family appreciated what our group did every year.  She proceeded to tell us how much better the Recreation Center and community is because of our work.  She said that her daughter went to Kids Club as a teenager and now brings her child to the program every night.  She bragged on how the community Facebook page had various people anticipating our teams’ arrival and the Kids Club program.

Photo Jul 10, 7 06 02 PM

In the moments of pulling weeds, singing songs, and playing games the work we do seems so minute and unimportant.  But it is moments like the interaction with the woman in the car that give us hope and restore confidence in that no small act of service goes unappreciated by someone, somewhere.

I have been on this project for six of the ten years and it has been a privilege to see this partnership grow to the tremendous impact that it has on the community.  Not only are the people of Bridesburg impacted but our students come away personally challenged and stretched as well.

What small acts of service are you engaged in this summer?  Who are you personally impacting? How have you been challenged to invest into someone else’s life?

Things to pray for as the team comes home Saturday:

  • Many team members are sick. Pray for their health and rest so that the team finishes strong.
  • Pray for more moments of encouragement as our team serves the community.
  • Our goal is to help Bridesburg families connect with ReaLife Ministries through Kids Club. Pray that many connections will be established and that others will be strengthened.

Missions Luncheon

Today, after church, we held a luncheon to host some of our missionary partners and to allow many of you opportunity to get to know them. Unfortunately, I, as Director of Missions, was unable to attend. (I’m currently in Germany for Cairn University.)

I asked, Tim Yoder to share a brief recap of the afternoon. See below what Tim had to say about today’s luncheon.

We had a great turnout. Approximately 75 people enjoyed hoagies, pizza, fruit salads as well as some great fellowship with the missionaries.

Present were Tim and Jacki Faulkner from Naples, Italy, plus Greg and Betsy Aikins (who serve in Iceland), Debbie MacCullough (training teacher in Africa and Asia), the Triestmans (Jewish evangelism), Ellen Livingood (Catalyst Services) and Brian Weber (Compassion). Also present were some of our newest missionaries, Josh and Ann Ridder, who work with at-risk youth in Levittown, through Restoration Church.

It was a great event, and nice to see so many folks attend. We hope to see you at the next event! Remember these folks in prayer for the exciting and important work that they do.

Tim’s right! We need to be praying for all of our global partners – some who serve in sensitive areas around the world.

Clothing Tags – Praying for the Nations

When I was in college, each year there would be a special missions-emphasis week. It was always an interesting week hearing from missionaries, missions pastors, and others sharing what God was doing around the world.

On one particular day, one of the speakers challenged us to start praying for the nations. Even if you weren’t planning to become a missionary, you could still pray. The question then became, “Where do I start?”

The speaker gave us a really helpful hint, that I’ll never forget. If you want to pray for the nations, but can’t think of where to start, do this:

  • As you get ready for the day, look at the labels on each item of clothing that you are about to put on. It will say which country it was made in.shirt tag
  • Whether it was made in the USA, Thailand, China, Indonesia, Pakistan, or some other country, you can pray for that county.
  • Pray for the leadership. Pray for the people. Pray for any missionaries that might be serving in that country.

Doesn’t take long, and before you’re dressed, you might have prayed for two, three, four, or even up to seven countries – depending on how extensive your outfit is for the day!

50 Letter Writing Prompts

Teacher helping small boy
Photo Courtesy Compassion International

At Grace Point, many of us sponsor children through Compassion International. Some of us just started sponsoring a child and some of us have been sponsoring children for much longer. While sending in our $38/month is nice, it is the relationships we build with these children that matters most. These relationships are built on the regular writing and receiving of letters to/from our sponsored children and prayer.

Whether you handwrite your letters, use the Compassion mobile app, or send them online, writing a letter can be difficult when you don’t know much about the other person. Below are 50 letter-writing prompts to get you started!

Letter-Writing Prompts About Your Childhood

  1. What activities did you enjoy as a child?
  2. Who was your favorite teacher? What was the teacher like?
  3. Whom did you admire as you were growing up? Why?
  4. How did you get your name? What does it mean?
  5. Did you grow up in church? How did you come to know Jesus?
  6. What was a challenge you had to overcome as a child or teenager?
  7. What was your favorite part of school?
  8. What was your least favorite part of school?
  9. What happened during a typical school day?
  10. What was your first job like?
A Lifetime Treasure
Photo Courtesy of Compassion International

Letter-Writing Prompts About Your Life Today

  1. What is your typical day like now?
  2. What do you do at church/work/school?
  3. What do you like most about your hometown?
  4. What are some interesting facts about your state/province/region?
  5. How do you relax?
  6. What’s your favorite holiday? How would you describe the sights, sounds, smells, tastes of that holiday?
  7. What’s your biggest challenge at the moment?
  8. What other human understands you better than anyone else? How did you come to know this person?
  9. What are you learning right now?
  10. What’s one of your favorite Bible stories or passages? Why?

Letter-Writing Prompts About Your Family

  1. What are your closest family members like?
  2. What happens when your extended family gets together?
  3. What do you believe is God’s purpose for your family?
  4. What is your biggest challenge as a family?
  5. How has God been faithful to your family?
  6. What prayers has God answered in your family?
  7. Who else in your family knows Jesus? How did they come to know Him
  8. What’s your favorite thing about your family?
  9. In what way does your family work together best?
  10. What role has your family played in your faith journey?

Letter-Writing Prompts About Your Spiritual Life

  1. How has God recently answered your prayer?
  2. How have you sensed God’s leading at different points of your life?
  3. Who is your spiritual role model?
  4. When have you needed to repent?
  5. How has God comforted you in trouble?
  6. Why do you love God?
  7. How did you become involved in your local church?
  8. What do you believe are some of God’s purposes for your life?
  9. What was the latest sermon you heard or class study about? How has it impacted you?
  10. What is a challenge in your relationship with God?

Letter-Writing Prompts About Your Local Church

  1. How would you describe your pastor?
  2. What do you like about your local church?
  3. What role do you play in your local church?
  4. How do you use your gifts, skills and passions in your church?
  5. Who is your best friend at church and how did you become friends?
  6. Why is your local church important to you?
  7. How is your church active in the community and world?
  8. How does being a part of the church challenge you?
  9. How do you know God wants you to be part of this church?
  10. How did God lead you into ministry within your local church?

From Compassion’s website: http://www.compassion.com/letter-writing/letter-writing-prompts.htm

The Compassion Experience

DSC_3357Grace Point had the unique opportunity to host the Compassion Experience from May 20-24, 2016. It was awesome! With over 2,500 tours complete, guests heard the life-changing stories of Jonathan and Kiwani (Kiwi). On Monday, some kids got to meet Jonathan via Skype! The Compassion Experience travels all over the country sharing the stories of children who have been impacted by the love of Christ through the work of Compassion.

Ryan and the kids talking to Jonathan via Skype!
Ryan and the kids talking to Jonathan via Skype!

Between the packets inside the church and those in the Compassion tent, 115 children were sponsored! That’s great! Thank you for sponsoring a child!

A big shoutout to the Compassion Experience crew (Kellen, Jen, David, Kyle, Jeff & Sandra) and the folks from Compassion (Eric and Ryan)! You guys were awesome!

DSC_3391Did you make it to the Compassion Experience? How did it impact you? What was your favorite story?