Chico Grace Brethren Mission Statement
We desire to see the glory of Jesus Christ increase in all nations through evangelism and discipleship, so that those Christ purchased with His blood would be brought into the Church and be firmly established in Christ. We commit to do this in our local church and by joining Christ-centered partners locally and globally, all to the praise of God’s glorious grace!
The Growing Place: striving to cultivate a healthy community by fostering the growth of healthy people and encouraging healthy choices! www.tgplace.com
Ripe for the Harvest, a Jail and Prison Ministry: Carrying the Gospel to the uttermost parts of the earth, even to those locked in a cell. Eileen Taylor, Missionary and Chaplain www.ripeforharvest.org
California Capitol Commission: Frank Erb and the Capitol Commission take the Word of God to our state leaders through personal visits and weekly in-depth Bible studies for Legislators, State Leaders, Staff, and Lobbyists. Through this ministry, the Good News of Jesus Christ is presented to every state leader, regardless of party affiliation, and all who are willing are given the opportunity to grow in their faith. Though they are not focused on politics or legislation, we can rest assured that moral lawmakers will make more ethical laws, and so we expect our entire state and nation to benefit as this ministry grows. http://www.capitolcom.org/california
International House, San Francisco, CA: The International House offers affordable housing for internationals and fosters an international community based on the dignity of all people from diverse cultural and religious backgrounds. Residents encounter the Gospel message in a friendly and non-threatening environment. Many have embraced the Christian faith and returned to their home countries as ambassadors for Christ.
Urban Impact, Pittsburgh, PA: They enlist God’s help in building positive relationships with youth on Pittsburgh’s North Side. They ask for His guidance in mending the wounds of needy children. From there they work to change Pittsburgh one person, one family, and one block at a time. www.urbanimpactpittsburgh.org
Seeds of Hope Children’s Ministry: Committed to serving Jesus Christ by helping orphans and the less fortunate around the world, with a particular call in the area of caring for children affected by HIV/AIDS www.seedsofhopecm.com
Pioneers: Establishing international schools and church plants, and continuously seeking ways to advance His kingdom by cultivating caring relationships in multinational cities. We currently support two families who are doing gospel work in Malaysia. www.pioneers.org
The “B” Family – Middle East, serving with Grace Ministries International: The “B” family has the great privilege of serving the Lord in the Middle East. Their team of seminary graduates and their families have been invited by several local pastors to develop a training center that will equip Arabic-speaking men to be effective pastors, church leaders and church planters through discipleship and instruction in expository preaching, biblical counseling and theology. Once the center is established, their prayer is that believers from throughout the Middle East and North Africa will be able to come and receive training that would be difficult or impossible to obtain in their own countries. www.gracechurch.org/outreach
Care, love, and compassion
The day was great
Music and singers
It’s hard this time of year
But people care and want me to succeed
Running up and down the halls
First good Christmas in 3 or 4 years
I will use everything
And for myself the moment was priceless
Grown men act like little children laughing, smiling
Asking one another, what did you get?
And saying, look what I got
Like I said: priceless
Come home from church
And know that someone was thinking of us
I know God smiles on you
Beanies and gloves
Now I will have a fresh shave
I am going to stay warm on these cold days
Warm and loved by friends that I have just met
My hands were freezing
People are out there that care about us
New socks and Bible crossword
You make me feel loved
Prayers and the wonderful gift bag
I have been praying for some gloves
Love and compassion
I am wearing the gloves as we speak
I was also glad to receive nail clippers
I have a bad habit biting my nails
My feet get cold
Gloves and beanies
And the socks were awesome
Like somehow you read my mind
I haven’t received anything for Christmas in years
I really needed socks
My feet were cold
And you provided me with warm socks
I’ve been on the streets for a long time with nothing
But how did you know?
Me and my brothers, we feel truly blessed
Some of us didn’t get gifts from our families
I really needed some socks bad
I had holes in my socks
I got some really nice ones and for that I am thankful
November 7th, was a snapshot of the vision for CGB that Pastor Matt is preaching about. This one Saturday saw a growing involvement of a broader range of people, and a ministry focus that looked outside of our building and into the community.
For the first time, eight men made a work day away from our own building. We went to the homes of four of our widows and shut-ins to sweep off roofs and clean gutters.
I teamed up with Brad Smith and went to Barbara’s home where I learned the most important thing we did was not the work. It was the time the three of us spent getting to know one another over coffee.
There were other surprises. Sean and Scott, who worked on Jeanne’s mobile home, ended up helping her neighbor as well. Brad and I and Heath Jarrett and Jacob, all joined up to help them. At one point the six of us were spread out over both homes, chatting, trouble-shooting, and checking in with Jeanne and her neighbor.
The work was overshadowed in my mind by the strength of the fellowship between us.
Saturday was just beginning for our youth group. The kids met at the church and headed out to glean walnuts at Chris and Candace’s orchard in Durham. The gleaning helped the growers get the most out of their crop and doubled as a fundraiser for our youth.
I helped shuttle the kids out to Durham, but left the gleaning to Heath and Bob Gillette and five of our teens. They certainly didn’t need my help gleaning 640 pounds of walnuts between 11:00 am and 1:30 pm. When I returned to pick them up, I noticed the same result among the kids that I had noticed during the work day: talking, laughing, joking around, a comradery that they took with them into the van and back to Chico.
The one activity I was not involved in Saturday was the baby shower for Megan Jarrett and her and Heath’s baby girl. Even the broad scope of “Director of Operations” has its limits, but I’m told about 25 ladies attended, including both new faces and old ones.
The shower was organized by Bridget Raley and Julie Miller. Julie made cupcakes and table decorations with a Peter Rabbit theme. She also led a game in which participants had to come up with baby names for every letter of the alphabet. The catch was each of those names also had to be a noun. Bridget said there was “lots of laughter.” Laurie Mathers added that the loudest laughter was in response to Bridget’s “names”.
Unlike most baby showers, the baby was present. After a short devotion, a lot of women prayed heart felt prayers, some who don’t normally speak up and some who don’t even know Megan very well. The desire to support and encourage Megan in the Lord was a common bond.
Upon entry we were given folders designed like old fashioned suitcases and asked to “travel” to different tables to learn about different aspects of The Growing Place’s ministry.
We traveled at our leisure bumping (sometimes literally) into people from church. Whether it was Heather Doris or Bert Thompson who were each manning a table, or Genora and Dave and Irene, who were wandering around, “suitcases” in hand, it was wonderful to see so many familiar faces. I also had the chance to meet some new ones, like Tommy, who is helping Tamsen Herrick with TGP’s new program called OASIS, which aims to help at-risk teens before they make choices that lead substance addiction or suicide.
Saturday gave me so many new glimpses into the lives and personalities of people I see every Sunday that when I came to worship I carried with me a deeper sense of community.
I realized that although I was interested in all I could hear and read about the Bible, in 10 years of following Christ I hadn’t even read one of the 66 books that I professed to completely believe to be truth. 1999 found me reading the entire Bible. While growing within my own church, my heart grew in respect to the larger body of Christ.
Through Gideon’s I became friends with many pastors and believers in many different churches, and a more eager witness to the unsaved. I helped organize a multi-church 6 day, 72 hour public Bible reading during Easter week. Over the years, doors have opened in ways I never would have guessed: becoming a church speaker, being involved in prison ministry, and praying for the lost as we place Bibles in hotel rooms.
I’ve placed New Testaments in the hands of Jr High, High School, and college students, people of different faiths at fairs, even in the workplace when sensitive to crisis events. I’ve had the privilege of baptizing, of sharing Christ at the bedside of some near death, and of preaching. I have had divine one-on-one appointments where God showed up on time. In short, Gideon’s has made it easy to be used by the Lord.
Never personally taking the ministry to another land, Gideon’s has introduced me to believers from around the world. This is a ministry I can serve that truly impacts thousands across the globe. It brings the lost to Christ, saves hundreds from the brink of eternal death, heals families, communities, and nations. To be sure, with turmoil everywhere, it is an exciting time to serve and stand for Jesus Christ.
On July 21st through 26th, my wife, Viki, and I were in San Jose for the five day Gideons International conference. The theme was “Declare His Glory to the Nations”. With many languages and peoples from all corners of the globe gathering to worship the Lord and report on the many works being done in His name, the conference was truly a small slice of what we will see in heaven.
We were encouraged by the work in Papua New Guinea, which consists of 600 islands and over 800 languages, and which used to be steeped in idol worship. When missionaries introduced Jesus to these lands, it became a mix of Christianity and animism. In recent years idols were removed from the Parliament and a three story totem pole was removed. Today, according to Gideons International, PNG can be called a Christian nation where there is evidence of national unity. The Gideons distributed over 84,000 bibles there this year, 75,000 of which were personally placed in individual hands, and only two recorded people declined to accept a testament.
We were challenged in the consequences of our inaction. Our tendency is to win our friends to Christ, but ignore those we may imagine to be our enemies. What if the immigrant parents of current jihadists had been reached? Might that have made a difference in today’s world? Recently Gideons asked a Muslim owner of a resort in Malaysia if we could place bibles in the rooms. He responded, “What took you guys so long? I’ve seen hotel Bibles all over the world whenever I travel, but this is the first time in 16 years anyone asked me.”
At the pastors’ banquet to honor local pastors and wives, a final Gideon offering was taken for the Faith Fund, culminating world camp collections with the goal of $2,900,000 to provide 2,320,000 bibles. The next day is was announced that $ 2,917,000 had been donated. Because the need is so great, we were asked to give more. The final total was $3.17 million.
In a time when we see western churches fading, fewer young people going into missionary work, and a growing threat of violence against Christians in many places, we see a greater demand for the Word of God, even as there are fewer Gideons in Europe and USA. It was made plain to us all, we are here “for a time such as this”.