Bolivia Team Closing Thoughts

Over the course of eight days our team experienced something truly miraculous. Twenty-six of us boarded a bus in the wee hours in Newtown, PA to travel to one of the poorest communities in Cochabamba, Bolivia. We left with a singular purpose – to bless the children and families of two Child Development Centers (Unidos en Cristo and Iglesia Cristiana Evangelica Marquina).

You can find summaries of our trip in our two-part series here and here.

Little did we know that it would be us who would be blessed beyond measure. Words cannot describe the feelings and love that we have for the Bolivian people. They possess a joy and a contentment that is not based on material possessions, luxuries, Starbucks, or everyday stuff. The joy these people have is based in the Lord and His divine provision for their needs.

Over the course of the week we saw God “show up” more times than we could count. From little unplanned encounters to a few encouraging words that were perfectly timed by God, our team has been forever changed by this trip.

My heart is forever changed

Each evening we would have a “debrief meeting” at which time I would ask each of our team members to reflect on something that God taught them that day or something they experienced. But, they had to do it in 3-5 words. Some words that were shared included, “My heart is forever changed”, “God bless the translators”, “You guys get it”, “Miraculous divine appointments.”

Early Tuesday morning we caught a fight from our beloved city of Cochabamba to the busy city life of Santa Cruz. The two cities are like night and day, but both still lovely. Once we arrived to our hotel, we enjoyed lunch with some special guests. One of our teammates, Stacey, had an opportunity to meet her 4 year-old sponsor child in addition to his 17 year-old mother. They joined us for lunch and a sight-seeing tour in Santa Cruz. Having had a full schedule all week of work at the Centers, church, VBS, home visits, and all the emotions with it, it was nice to have a bit of a “slow day” – even if it would end up being the longest day with travel.

It was clear that despite having a good night’s rest into Tuesday, our team was tired. Tired from ministry. Tired from the emotional rollercoasters of meeting new beloved friends and then saying goodbye. Tired from the wear and tear of a full schedule. But, it was good tired. The opportunity to see firsthand the impact that our love and sponsorship has for these children was incredible.

The journey home was to be a long one. Our 2:30 AM flight from Santa Cruz to Panama City was smooth, or at least it seemed that way – most of us were able to get some sleep, even if it wasn’t restful. With a three-hour layover in Panama, we were reminded of God’s work in our lives and our team. Many of us, again, shared stories and pictures from our phones about our experiences and the various “God sightings.”

What seemed like the longest day ever, Tuesday/Wednesday (whatever day it was) was a day of reflection and contemplation. What will we do differently once we return home?

Will we continue with life “as is?” Or will we see our worlds differently? Some have already said that we “live with too much in Pennsylvania.” Some have shared that they will get more involved in missions or global endeavors, whether at church or elsewhere. Some have shared that they will start now to train and educate their own children about life in another culture, how blessed we are, and how much we take for granted.

What will we do differently once we return home?

Some have already made an impact as a result of our trip. At least four additional children have been sponsored by our team alone. I can tell you that this team is passionate about what they experienced. Informal recruitment for future trips has already begun. Regardless of whether or not you sponsor a child through Compassion, this trip and trips like this one are life-changing and God can/will use these trips to open your eyes to what life outside of our bubbles is really like.

We’ve all seen that sponsoring a child is one simple step, though an important one. It is the building and nurturing of a relationship with your child and their family that can last a lifetime.

Silly Faces!

My experience this week, and I’ve been to Bolivia before, was such that I came away with a bigger heart for God’s work and what He’s doing. Bolivia has become like my home away from home.

One of our fantastic translators, Jacob, made an endearing observation on Saturday when spending time with me and my sponsored kiddos. He said, “You have two boys in America, and you now have two daughters in Bolivia.” While I hadn’t made that realization myself, I knew instantly that it was true. Our Dayana is so special to us, she has become like a daughter to me and our family. Visiting her home, having fun together on Saturday, seeing her at church on Sunday, then VBS on Sunday, this guy’s heart is full.

Me and the Girls

Then to meet Deysi, a young teenager who is sponsored by the Grace Point staff. Joan, Chuck and I got to meet Deysi at her home, spend fun day with her on Saturday, worship with her on Sunday, and then party at VBS. I quickly learned that there was more genuine love to go around. Being the Missions Pastor, and most likely the guy who will write most of the letters to her, I found that Deysi, just as Jacob observed, quickly became like a daughter to me. I don’t know that I’ll be able to easily share the letter writing responsibility with the other staff. Deysi is a dear young lady who I’m certain will grow to be a strong woman of God.

At that evening’s debrief meeting, my 3-5 words were simply, “two sons and two daughters” – a phrase that even now causes my eyes to tear up.

Is there more to share? Absolutely. Is there more work to be done in Cochabamba? Absolutely. Do we have an opportunity to make a difference in the life of a child, in a church, in the surrounding community, and in the country of Bolivia? Absolutely. And it is humbling.

It is our turn to step forward and answer the call of Jesus. To minister and love the poor, to step out of our comfort zones and make an impact in the life of a child. How will you respond and what will be your 3-5 words?

Bolivia Team Update – Part 2

This is Part Two of our Bolivia Team Blog update. To catch up, read Part One.

Day 4 – Saturday

Today was our fun day and it lived up to its name. We woke up (a little later than the past few days!) to rain and a forecast that did not permit us to go to the amusement park we had planned, but in God’s grace, Plan B was even better!

Fun Day!

Through connections of one of our Compassion Staff, we were able to go to a retreat center that was much more intimate and because of this we could all see and even interact with each other throughout the day. It was very cool here today but the rains stayed away (Praise God) and we could be outdoors playing volleyball, parachute games, soccer, frisbee, and just hanging out.

Parachute Games!

Each of us who had a sponsor child were able to spend the day together with the total purpose of having fun and building bonds. The children’s tutors were with them and many of our children brought along members of their family as well. It was really special!

We received a bagged lunch from Chicken Kingdom with french fries and yummy sauces. All of this is such a treat to many of these families and the atmosphere was very relaxed.

Later this afternoon we had a few hours before dinner to rest or shop and then we walked to a local steak restaurant called Paprika where we were served an awesome dinner and dessert. It was a nice treat to be outside of the hotel and experience some local flavor.

One of our teammates description of the day was very appropriate and resonated with each of us: “church picnic/family reunion!”

Day 5 – Sunday

Another amazing day in Bolivia!  We boarded two separate buses—going to two different churches—for worship this morning. Grace Point headed to Unidos en Cristo while Restoration Church headed to Iglesia Cristiana Evangelica Marquina.

The GP Crew at Unidos en Cristo

We were warmly welcomed by the congregation at Unidos en Cristo and as the worship music began to play, the church started to fill.  With a God-inspired message, Steve Weir shared from the heart to trust God in and with ALL things. There were special musical performances by the dear women of the church and the youth.  And yet another special, impromptu musical performance by our team when asked/told, “Grace Point, don’t you want to sing us a song or something?” Sure we do!  And we did. To end the service, all 16 of us were asked to stand in front of the church to receive a heartfelt prayer from Pastor Angel and a beautiful, colorful vest as a gift, as well as kisses, hugs and handshakes from the entire congregation.

The RC Folks at Iglesia Cristiana Evangelica Marquina

Restoration folks had a similar experience today as we visited the Marquina church.  This is the first time that a team has ever visited this center and church.  The smiles, hugs and kisses, tears of joy, and overwhelming warmth of welcome was something that I will truly never forget.  We had the opportunity to listen to Pastor Jhonny [different from the Pastor Jhonny at Unidos en Cristo] preach from God’s Word as well as play the guitar during worship (remind you of anyone we know at RC?!).  Our entire team was greeted by every member of the congregation – from the smallest babies to the kindest little old ladies you have ever seen.  Our entire team was so blessed to be a part of this church this morning.

We enjoyed a delicious and filling lunch with the pastors and leaders of both churches before we headed off to visit the Cristo de la Concordia statue.  The views of this beautiful city were absolutely stunning and it is certainly a scene that will never leave our memories.

The Team at Cristo!

This evening our team continued to prepare for the two sessions of VBS tomorrow.  We are so excited to share God’s love with the children – sharing the message that “When you worry… Jesus rescues!”

Day 6 – Monday

What an amazing last day in Bolivia!  We showed God’s love through a day of VBS at Unidos en Cristo. We broke into four stations – Music, Bible, Crafts and Games – in a morning and an afternoon session.  There were about 40-45 children in the morning, ages 6-9, and the afternoon session had about 80-90 children ages 6-12.

Music Team Having Fun!

The Music Team taught a Bible verse in Spanish, Psalm 34:19, which says in the kid-friendly version: “The Lord comes to the rescue each time.”  They also taught two songs with motions.  The theme for today was: When We Worry, Jesus Rescues.

The Bible Team taught a lesson about Mary and Martha.  Katie Beth was able to deliver the story in Spanish. The Craft Team made a toucan out of foam and feathers.  This was the Bible Buddy for the day. The Games Team was able to use the beautiful turf field a block away from the Project.  The kids enjoyed playing dodge ball with multiple beach balls.

Games Team on the Turf

We gathered back as a large group to perform the songs together and create a rainstorm using only our hands.  And then it was time to say goodbye to sponsored children and new friends.

The team traveled back to the hotel in our two trusty buses and some tears were shed as we said goodbye to some of our beloved translators:  Jacob, Evelin, and Peter.

Thirty minutes later, we headed to the hotel restaurant and enjoyed our final dinner in Cochabamba with Pastor Angel, Pastor Jhonny and their families.  One of the Compassion translators, José, created a highlight reel of our time here in Cochabamba.  It included almost everything we did, everywhere we went, and every cheek kiss we received!  This video reminded us of all the ways that God is at work here.  Yes, there were a few tears as we relived our experiences in a place that we will hold forever close to our hearts.

The evening also included comments and prayers by Pastor Jhonny, Pastor Angel, Pastor Angel’s wife Dina, and Steve Weir.  Each one expressed their gratitude and appreciation for our mutual love for the children and service to the Lord.

Day 7 – Tuesday

Tuesday morning we headed to the airport to begin the first leg of our journey home. After a short flight from Cochabamba to Santa Cruz, we ate lunch at our hotel and headed out for some sight-seeing and souvenir shopping. It was quite the experience to learn about the rich history and architecture of Santa Cruz, and to get to try on some traditional Bolivian attire. After a fun-filled dinner out, we headed back to the hotel for the last remaining hours in our beloved Bolivia.

Cathedral in Santa Cruz

Twenty-four hours before our final bus delivered our team to the Grace Point entrance, two Bolivian buses left with our team members heading for the Santa Cruz airport.  Every connection on this trip was smooth, every passport and visa in order, all of the means of transportation on time (or very close—our bus was delayed at the beginning on July 17) until the very end.  We had some delays in customs upon our return to the U.S. (it seemed that most of the airplane-riding world converged on Dulles at the moment that our plane landed) and then the “monsoon” weather in the DC area led to flooded roads and accident-related delays.

Flooding on I-495 Getting Home

So, ultimately, we arrived at Grace Point at 11:00 pm, which was a few hours later than we had hoped for.  Having traveled over 4,000 miles in the past 24 hours, we were all ready to be climb into our own beds and get some much-needed rest.

You could say that the trip is over and that our arrival home is the last of this tribe of very close sisters and brothers.  But that would be wrong.  We are already planning get-togethers and reports to our sending churches, Restoration Church and Grace Point.  And I can tell you from being a part of this Spirit-unified, cohesive team that we are going to be looking for fruit of transformation that will come from the seeds that have been planted in two relatively small churches perched on the sides of the hills surrounding Cochabamba, Bolivia…and in the hearts of each of our team members in the process of serving Jesus faithfully.

Thank you for supporting and praying for us!

Bolivia Team Update – Part 1

In the wee hours of Tuesday, July 17 a team of 26 people (a mix from Grace Point and Restoration Church) headed to Bolivia for 8 days; and it was amazing. It is difficult to share all that our team experienced while in Bolivia – including the many God-sightings and the emotional roller-coaster ride of visiting our sponsored children and their families, our friends at Unidos en Cristo, and making new friends at another Child Development Center. Our trip with Compassion International was incredible beyond words. Our schedule was full and hectic at times, but we had a great team that was flexible and willing to adapt.

The Team is Ready to Go!

Compassion’s mission statement is to release children from poverty in Jesus’ name, and we saw that firsthand. Below are small snippets from our daily prayer updates, in case you weren’t on our list, or you simply want to relive our trip with us. 🙂

Day 1 – Wednesday

Lots of Letters to be Translated and Processed!

Today was nothing short of amazing, encouraging, emotional, and inspiring. Cochabamba is a fantastic city and sits at the feet Cristo. After arriving at the hotel and grabbing some lunch, we had some time to refresh before we made our way to the national Compassion office for all of Bolivia.

Our team split into three groups and heard all about the ministry, philosophy, and process that Compassion employs in Bolivia. Each of these wonderful Compassion employees view their work as a much-needed ministry to not just change the lives of these children, but to ultimately to bring about life change to their entire country. Next was dinner at which we were joined by Pastor Angel and a few members of the governing board at Unidos en Cristo. After dinner, Pastor Angel shared his vision for ministry and church planting. He closed by providing an update on his and his son’s recovery from an automobile accident several weeks ago.

It was long day, but worth it.

Day 2 – Thursday

Today we visited Unidos en Cristo,  the first of what will be many gatherings planned for this week. Here we received a warm welcome complete with waving flags and handmade welcome signs! We had a service together in which we sang and prayed. A young lady at the age of 13 spoke to us of her favorite verse (Rev 2:10) and how we must be faithful to God in all circumstances. Then, the pastor’s wife prayed for us, their visitors, asking that God bless us and protect us. She gave thanks to God for our love of her community and home country of Bolivia. She prayed all of this through tears of love and appreciation. It was truly humbling. We came here in hopes of being a blessing to the community and these people beseech the Lord to bless us!

A Warm Welcome at Unidos en Cristo!

There were two teaching opportunities this day. The first was for the women of Unidos en Cristo in which Barb Brown spoke about the importance of living in community as Christian women and developing relationships that provide support and spur one another on to growth in Christ.  Then Sherri Wolf spoke candidly about the kinds of things women and mothers struggle with and how we can seek forgiveness and ask the Lord to help us sow good seed into our children and families.

Pastor Chuck Teaching the Adolescents

The second teaching opportunity was led by Chuck Arnold who spoke to the teenagers about what it means to be an adolescent and how to succeed even while they face many pressures growing up.

The Ever-Enthusiastic GAP Students in Concert!

Dinner tonight was pizza spent with fifteen of the 48 students enrolled in the GAP program.  GAP is a selective program in which students, age 18-22, apply to develop leadership skills.  These young people were so excited to meet with us.  They greeted us with music, provided a concert for us during which they implored us to dance.  We later met in small groups and learned about the various experiences of these sponsored children.  GAP provides small group connections and support. It was awesome!

Day 3 – Friday

The Kids at BO-707 Welcoming the RC Crew!

Today was the first day we split teams; Grace Point went back to 703 (Unidos en Cristo) for a service day, and those of us from RC had the amazing opportunity to visit a center that has never received a visit before. As they pulled up to the gates of Iglesia Cristiana Evangelica Marquina, we could see the children and staff had made a beautiful welcome banner they strung along a second floor balcony. The children all ducked behind it when they saw us approaching and when we got off the bus they all popped out to shout “BIENVENIDOS! (Welcome!)” As they walked down the stairs, each child holding a brightly colored balloon, they sang a song for us. They let the balloons go as they reached out to embrace us each, one at a time. It was a beautiful, heart-warming welcome!

The RC folks had a day filled with home visits, a special opportunity to tag along with the Compassion staff for a home-based program visit for mothers and infants. Then, they had a chance to meet with the staff at BO-707 and enjoy games and activities with the children.

The GP Crew Hard at Work
The Newly Installed Computer Lab

The GP folks helped to sand and repaint the furniture for the classrooms at Unidos en Cristo. We also installed a new computer lab for the students, with 12 desktop computers. Additionally, we brought seven laptops with us for the students to use for homework and other computer training. The staff and students who were there on Friday were extremely grateful and excited about these new resources!

 

Be sure to read more about our trip in “Part Two.”

Recap of an Exciting Weekend!

Hello Grace Point family! In case you missed Sunday’s exciting worship service, or were there and need a recap, here you go:

Congratulations to Steve Weir, whose ordination to the Gospel ministry was formally recognized through the presentation of his ordination certificate and the prayers of our elders. Please congratulate Pastor Steve Weir on his obedience to God’s call on his life!

Steve
Photo by Emerson Copetti

brianweberfamilyCongratulations as well to Brian Weber, who grew up at Grace Point, served on pastoral staff, and has now taken a position as Converge MidAtlantic Executive Minister serving over 100 churches in 10 states! Grace Point is part of the Converge association of churches and we look forward to continuing our relationship with Brian in his new role!

andersSupport for GP family battling cancer: One of our GP elders, Phil Anders, has been battling esophageal cancer for nearly two years. Because of Phil’s leadership as an elder, the IRS restricts the church from providing financial assistance via our church Fellowship Fund, yet there are significant financial needs for the family due to treatment expenses and loss of work time. If you are moved to assist this special family with their needs, you may donate at www.gofundme.com/philndonnaanders.

Thanks to all of your generous donations for meatball sandwiches Sunday – our Bolivia Mission Trip raised over $2000!

Watch for the rollout of RightNow Media, our new video library, this Sunday. All regular attenders of Grace Point with an email address on file will receive an invitation for free access to what has been called the “Netflix of Christian Bible Studies.” This is a great resource for Life Groups, families, and anyone with an interest in growing in Christ!

rightnow

Grace Point’s New Vision Statement

When I was a kid, building with LEGOs was a big part of how I spent my time. My

Source: https://flic.kr/p/CRF2M

brother and I would begin to create an elaborate community with all sorts of intersections, activities, buildings, and little mini-figure people. More often than not, we’d begin with a not-so-well-crafted idea and just see what happened. We’d often have to make changes on-the-go, modify our structures, or deconstruct what we had just spent hours working on.

Why? Because we lacked a clear vision.

A lack of vision didn’t stop us from working. It did, however, prevent us from building something that was long-lasting, effective, and meaningful.

The same is true in ministry.

A lack of vision didn’t stop us from working.

For the last six months, we’ve been praying and working to craft a vision statement that will inspire and lead us into the next three to five years. Our prayer has been to ask the Lord, “What is Your vision for Grace Point?”

Many of you have been praying with us through this process. Thank you!

After conducting a church-wide survey (a summary of results found here), reviewing data regarding our surrounding community, sorting through research on external factors and current trends, and meeting with a number of incredible consultants, our staff and elders have crafted the following vision statement.

Building bridges for life change through Christ
Building bridges for life change through Christ

We want to build and strengthen connections within our church and to our community that move us all towards life change – which can only happen through the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ. If we want to reach our community and make an impact, we need to build a bridge to get there. You may remember a quote from a few months ago, “Love is a bridge over which truth can pass.” If we’re going to share the gospel, we must first build a bridge of love.

As believers of Jesus Christ and as the church, we’re called to participate in the Great Commission. But, that’s not always easy. In fact, we will face many difficulties trying to reach certain people and even certain places – whether that’s because of geographical limitations, pre-conceived perceptions about God and faith, or because of past hurts and wrongs people have experienced. There are some people and places we just cannot reach without a bridge.

At Grace Point, we need to be building bridges for life change through Christ to make an impact in our community.

There are some people and places we just cannot reach without a bridge.

In a few weeks, we will unpack our vision statement on a Sunday morning where a few members of our ministry staff will share how this vision statement has already begun to inspire them in their areas of ministry.

When I consider my LEGO creations as a kid versus what I see “professional LEGO builders” create, I’m left in awe. A clear vision, dedication, and teamwork certainly payoff in the end!

Source: http://www.timeoutshanghai.com/features/Around_Town-Inside_Job/38048/Inside-Job-LEGO-Master-Model-Builder.html

It is our prayer that with this new vision statement, a dedication and commitment to prayer, and teamwork as a staff, leadership team, and together as the entire church of Grace Point, we can accomplish great things for the kingdom and love our community.

And in the end, when we’ve seen what God has done, we will be left in awe!

–Steve Weir for the ReVision Team & The GP Leadership Team

ReVision Survey Results!

Since September 2017, our elders and staff have been working on a major project: updating our church vision statement. Vision statements have been very powerful in the journey Grace Point, as evidenced by our most recent vision which led to the establishment of a partnership with Unidos en Cristo Church in Bolivia and the planting of Restoration Church in Levittown.

On January 14, we conducted a survey at the end of our worship service, collecting demographic data and seeking the input of our church family regarding what you perceive to be our strengths, areas for improvement, and ideas for the future. Our response rate was over 75%, which is fantastic – thanks to all who participated!

Below you will find some of the most significant findings from the survey. This data, as well as much more, has been reviewed by our ReVision Team and is being considered as we begin the formation of our new vision statement.

Next steps:

  • Elders and staff will review and refine the draft statement at our retreat April 6/7.
  • We will seek feedback on the statement from focus groups in the weeks to come.
  • We anticipate a finalized vision statement and resulting staff goals/objectives to be formulated by July 1.

Integral to this process has been the work of three Grace Point attendees who are skilled in data collection and tabulation: Paul Benchener, Dan Hughes, and Tom Nolte. We also wish to thank two individuals who are “on loan” from Crossing Community Church who have also volunteered their expertise: Larry and Cindy Newman – thank you for your heart to build the Kingdom!

And a reminder of who comprises the ReVision Team – feel free to talk with them at any time if you have comments or questions: Glenn Ely, Scott Leuz, Rich Speeney (elders), Steve Weir, Joan Zeberlein, and Dave Wolf (staff).

Your prayers for this ReVision process continue to be appreciated and impactful!

And now, some key findings:

Grace Point Survey ResultsGrace Point Survey Results2Grace Point Survey Results3Grace Point Survey Results4Grace Point Survey Results5Grace Point Survey Results6Grace Point Survey Results7Grace Point Survey Results8Grace Point Survey Results9

 

Strengths

  1. Preaching/Sermons
  2. Church Culture
  3. Worship/Music
  4. Leadership
  5. Christ-centered
Opportunities

  1. Millennials
  2. Unaffiliated
  3. Surrounding townships
  4. Families
  5. Religious Identity
Weaknesses (Areas to Improve)

  1. Assimilation/Getting to know one another
  2. Greater outreach
  3. Music ministry
  4. Preaching
  5. Parenting
Threats

  1. Millennials hard to serve
  2. Church membership dropping rapidly
  3. “Competition”
  4. Doubt

January Business Meeting Recap

Below is a summary and recap of the Semi-Annual Business Meeting, held on Sunday, January 14 after the 10:30am service. The summary is written by Scott Leuz, Elder Vice-Chair.
————————
Hello church family,

We wanted to provide a brief summary of the business meeting held on January 14th for those who were not able to attend. We tried a new more efficient format for the meeting that was held immediately following the second service. We were happy to see strong attendance as about 100 members came.

During the meeting, Dave Wolf was able to provide an update to the ReVision process. A survey was taken during the morning services and the ReVision team will be working with a volunteer consulting group to evaluate the data and continue to seek God’s leading for the future.

If you were not able to participate in the survey on Sunday morning, you may take it online by going to http://gpsurvey.com. Please complete the survey by January 18, 2018.

Holly Ames, Jay Button, Cassandra DeWitt, and Joan Zeberlein were recognized for their years of service on staff.

Greg Shelton provided an update on the Youth Ministry with good attendance and upcoming winter retreats.

Bill Wright reported that the finances are healthy after a strong giving month of December.

We had one item for congregational vote. With an overwhelming majority vote, the congregation approved to ordain Steve Weir pending the approval of an Ordination Council – who will determine/confirm his calling and fitness for Pastoral ministry.

God bless,

Scott Leuz
Elder Vice Chair

A Great Reminder in the Midst of Seeming Chaos

Unless you live under a rock (not judging you if you do), you’ll know that the news and media outlets are chock-full of headlines regarding growing tensions between North Korea, the United States, and the United Nations.

Regardless of whether or not we believe they should be met with “fire and fury,” I feel we have a responsibility as followers of Jesus. Pray. Do not fear. Trust God.

As you may know, Grace Point is part of Converge, a network of churches working to start and strengthen churches together. Converge’s president, Scott Ridout, recently published a great reminder for us all regarding the current global political scene.

It’s worth the read. Find it here.

Staying Connected During the Summer

Summer is here and vacations are in full swing!

While we and our families are heading to the beach, the boardwalk, and other great destinations, there’s a lot happening at Grace Point this summer. With VBS quickly approaching and Greg Shelton (our new Youth Pastor) and his family soon to arrive, you won’t want to miss a thing!

Here are a few ways that you can stay connected:

  1. Subscribe to our GP News List – This is the primary way that we send out announcements and other key news items. You can sign-up for GP News or any of our other email lists using this form.
  2. Listen Online – Each week (typically on Mondays) we post the messages
    Watching Jesus in His every day life helps us find Him in ours.

    from our Sunday morning services on our website. You can stay current with our current series, Every Day Jesus, and listen while your cycling down the boardwalk, sunbathing, or watching the kiddos in the pool!

  3. Follow us on Facebook – On our Facebook page, we’ll often post updates, events, pictures, and other encouraging posts to help you along the way in becoming more following Jesus.
  4. Follow our Blog – You’re here already! Great!
  5. We’re also on InstagramFollow us on Instagram for updates and pictures of encouragement and events.

Know that our staff are praying for you and your families this summer! Have a great week!

High School Winter Retreat Recap

Today’s blog post is written by one of our volunteer Youth Leaders, Jamie Kuhner, who recently joined me and several others on our High School Winter Retreat. We had a great weekend!


One of the first questions I want to ask God when I get to heaven is, “Why do children have more energy than adults?” This past weekend a group of 15 students and four adults made their way to Rock Mountain Bible College for the High School Winter Retreat. As one of those adults, I can safely say that our students do not value sleep nearly as much as I do, yet they moved through the weekend as if they were Energizer bunnies. Despite the lack of sleep, it was a wonderful weekend. Our students were joined by youth groups from the surrounding area who belong to the Allies Youth Network. Activities for the weekend included organized games, sledding, and most importantly, worshiping together and hearing from Gods’ Word.

Tre Ford, the speaker for the weekend, shared the importance of being different through the story of Nehemiah building the wall. As Christians, if we are following God’s commands, we will not blend in with the general population. Students were encouraged to be in the world and not of it, share their faith boldly with others, and be a light in the dark. Following each lesson, the churches broke up into small groups to further examine the topics.

Students felt that school is the main area where they can be salt and light (showing God’s love and enhancing those around them). This idea is easier said than done. As Tre said, we have to remember that our value is not determined by peers, but by God. When we cling to this fact, we will not be afraid to act boldly for His kingdom.

After chewing on these concepts, one student shared that they could be more open with their friends about their weekend. Instead of just saying that they were on a retreat, they could go into detail about what they learned about their faith. Other ideas included standing up for those who need it, attending FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes) and bringing friends to youth group.

Growing up, my youth group called our weekends away an “advance” instead of a “retreat” because you want to move forward. I firmly believe that there was life change this past weekend and our students will make moves that can further the kingdom of God.

Please continue to pray for our youth. They are not just the future of the church; they are the church right now.