Adventures at Adventure Camp

This is a special week for many of our kids at Grace Point. There are 130 kids ages 8-11 having a great time at Adventure Camp at Camp Tel Hai. Cassandra DeWitt, our Children’s Director, Liz Coffman, our Nursery Coordinator, and 50 other leaders are leading the charge to “Walk this Way” – which is this year’s theme.

From archery to crafts, from riding horses to sitting ’round the campfire, Tel Hai is always a life-changing week for these kids. Below is a portion from earlier this week on the Adventure Camp blogCheck out the blog for a daily video!

One of our favorite meals today was tacos for TACO TUESDAY of course! To top that, as if you could, we had a treat of terrific apple crisp today too!

An even more fun treat, was our evening special where the kids got to rotate between an evening swim, hayride and mini-golf under the lights! This is a favorite night for many of the campers getting to swim under the lights, and also, having the hayride back was a special treat. You could [hear] the kids singing tunes from miles away I am sure!

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.

Beach Vacation With Our Toddler – What Were We Thinking?!

As I’m packing up our car for our family beach vacation, tucking items in every little corner, under each seat and in the roof cargo carrier, I ask myself the question most parents with small children ask: How much stuff does this kid need?!

Of course, the reality is that she doesn’t “need” most of it but rather it’s our attempt as parents to our almost two-year daughter to be prepared for any possible scenario…..and provide opportunities to create fun, meaningful, “perfect” memories that we will cherish forever.

Then hits the reality of the endless chasing, sand eating, can’t sit still, temper tantrum and downright tiring days. My wife and I will look at each other with those eyes that say, “What were we thinking?  This is exhausting!”  But we also know that there will be many laughs, hugs, pictures and all around sweet moments together.  The combination of these not-so-perfect moments with the unplanned amazing moments, will not only strengthen our bond as a family, but turn into some of the best memories of our trip together.

Too often we consume ourselves with planning the perfect occasion or vacation and get upset when things don’t go as planned.  We say things we don’t mean or act in anger when we know we are better. We forget that these imperfect moments are what may become some of our fondest memories of our time together as family or friends.  Some of my greatest childhood memories with my dad involve trips where the boat sank, the tent blew away and the raccoons stole our food at the campsite.  In the moment, we weren’t very happy about what was happening, but now they are the fun memories I still talk about today.

What are your plans for the rest of this summer?   Whether it’s a family vacation, BBQ with friends, or a day trip to a park, I hope that the greatest memories are made not just because everything was planned and went perfectly, but that you and your loved ones are able to stop and laugh at the not-so-perfect moments.

So when you are in that situation where you ask yourself, “What was I thinking?” shake it off and just roll with it.  Life can be messy.  Have fun with it!

Geocaching: Take Your Tech Fun Outdoors

Several years ago our family discovered geocaching. Geocaching is like a high-tech treasure hunt game using an app on your phone to locate hidden containers, called geocaches. We have found geocaches in coffee cans in the woods, buried under a fence in a local park, and wedged into an old stone bridge.

What makes it challenging is that your phone’s GPS will only get you within 10-15 feet, so you have some work to do from there. Often you need to patiently scour the area, and occasionally get help from a cleverly-worded hint.

Some geocaches contain a small treasure like a coin or small toy, which you may take with you, but then you must leave something of equal or greater value. Other geocaches hold nothing more than a paper log where you can write your personal geocache ID and the date you found it. The real treasure is the success of the find!

We have found this a great family activity that gets us out, active, and enjoying some fresh air any time of year. To top it off, the app is free! For more info, search “Geocaching” where you find your apps, or check out my favorite geocaching website.

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.

VBS – Act Two

Have you ever thought about VBS as a play or a theatrical production? I see the actual week of VBS like “Act One.”  Not in the sense of what we are doing is like putting on a show, but in the sense that VBS has multiple acts, scenes, or parts.

Act One introduces the characters and the plot. Act Two is where you find the important completion to the story.

Right now we are in the intermission portion of the production.  We have completed the week of VBS (Act One) having introduced the children to the Word of Truth and having created new relationships between children, youth, and adults all involved in VBS.  This is great! This is a huge praise and boy, are we thankful for everyone who was a part of this special week. So, what happens next?

Act Two is where we follow up.  It is equally as important as Act One.  Will you follow up with a child, youth, or adult with whom you connected at VBS?  It’s easy! Maybe you can do this on a Sunday morning?  Great!  Go for it.  Maybe you don’t know how to begin, that’s where I would love to offer help.  I have postcards that could be sent.  I have email addresses that you could send to.  Let me know how you would like to follow up, and I would be more than happy to help.  Remember, many hands make easy work.

So, will you help there be an Act Two and help us reach even more in the name of Jesus Christ?

Questions, contact: Cassandra at cdewitt@gracepointpa.org

VBS – A Great Week!

We had a great week at VBS! Thank you to the many volunteers and leaders who helped our 135 (average daily attendance) kids to have a great week!

Joseph helped us to learn that:

  • God gives us hope – even in our darkest, saddest, and scariest days.DSC_4335
  • God gives us special abilities – things that help make us special and we all have a spiritual gift from God.
  • God gives us wisdom – when we ask for it, God promises to give us wisdom to make good, wise decisions.
  • God gives us forgiveness – we don’t always get things right, and need God’s forgiveness when we mess up.
  • God gives us family – whether it’s our immediate family or a large family like a church family, God gives us special people to love and care for us.

DSC_4341What was your (or your kid’s) favorite part of VBS?

 

VBS – Midweek Update

We’ve had a great week at Vacation Bible School, as we’ve followed Joseph’s journey from prison to palace!

Joseph in Prison
Joseph in Prison

The kids have enjoyed making their own multi-colored “coats” – just like Joseph’s! Today we worked on shoebox dioramas depicting Joseph’s jail cell and the palace. Also, today was water day for games and from the looks of it, the kids had lots of fun! (I think the leader’s did, too!)


We love the music and lessons we’ve been learning. Parents, we’re anxious to show you what we’ve been learning. Join us Friday for our closing program at 11:00AM.

Each morning we’ve been hearing from Joseph, himself, as he tells his story and truths from the Bible, including: God gives us hope and wisdom. Tomorrow we learn about……I guess you’ll have to wait and see!

Summer Recipe: Spiedie Chicken

One of my favorite things about summer is grilling. (Of course, I’ll grill any time of the year. Snow-grilling for the win!) From burgers to smoked seafood, marinated steak to BBQ chicken, there’s nothing that beats grilling in the summer.

Spiedie Marinade
The Original Lupo’s Char-Pit Spiedie Marinade.

At our house, a favorite is Spiedies Chicken.

For the last several years our family has made a trip to My wife’s aunt and uncle’s house. They were the first to introduce us to Spiedies chicken, using the original Lupo’s Char-pit Spiedie marinade, from Lupo’s in Binghamton, New York.

Spiedies Sandwich
A perfect spiedies chicken sandwich!

I’m told the way to prepare it is, to start by cutting skin-less chicken breast into kabob-sized pieces and place in the marinade. Let it set for 24-36 hours in the fridge.

When done, grill on an open fire on kabob sticks. Serve with Italian bread (toasted if you want). You have to be sure to hold the bread in your hand, place the kabob-with-chicken in the rolls (like a hotdog) and grip firmly. Pull out the kabob-stick, leaving you with a chat-pit Spiedie chicken sandwich to enjoy!

What’s your favorite summer time recipe for the grill?