GraceConnect eNews, No. 198, Week of April 3, 2017


The eNewsletter for the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches
When the Church Comes to You

When people hear the word “church,” their mind jumps to the building where people gather on Sunday mornings. But what if the definition of a church isn’t what most people assume? To Laura Bisping and her husband, Joe, the church isn’t a place, but people.

After their daughter, Belle, was born with a very rare condition, the young couple (pictured at right*) had to put their normal lives on pause to give their daughter the care she needs. The treatment needed for Belle costs about $1,000 a day, and her condition requires around-the-clock care, leaving hardly any time for cooking meals and self-care. However, family, friends, coworkers, and church members at their home church of Grace Brethren Church of West Kittanning, Pa., (Larry Edwards, pastor), have rallied around the family to provide them with meals, additional coverage for medical expenses, and support. 

For instance, a local school hosts “Bills for Belle” day every Friday, where students can bring a dollar to earn the ability to wear jeans for the day instead of their usual required uniform. All money goes directly to the family to cover medical expenses. This deluge of support given “the church” a much richer meaning – one that puts flesh on the framework of the word. Laura noted in a recent
blog post.

"[The Church] showed up as chicken casseroles left on our door step and home made soups filling our freezer. The church came as hospital visits, and people cleaning our home and mowing our grass. The church sat on our floor, playing trains and building blocks with Jonah in the evenings as Joey and I struggled upstairs teaching ourselves to hook up TPN. Our 'church' (which consists of many different people from many different home churches) used their personal days to sit at home with me, and they even wrapped our Christmas presents this year! It wasn’t something that just happened on Sunday morning at 10:30.”

Pastor  Edwards
 has been very close to this family during this difficult time, and said the couple is strong in their faith. The best help, Edward notes, is prayers and thoughts for the family during this difficult time for them. While Belle will live with her condition the rest of her life, there is hope that it will become more manageable with the right care and vigilance. While this situation is difficult and painful, it has shown the Bispings an element of God’s provision – through his people – that they are compelled to share. You can read more about the Bispings story and find out how you can pray on Laura’s blog. --by Destiny Blake

Destiny Blake is a senior at Grace College from Onekama, Mich. She is an intern at GraceConnect during Spring semester.

*Photo  courtesy of Ashley Costanzo Photography

[Your Turn]


When we meditate on His character, we begin to realize how utterly hopeless we are apart from Him. A.W. Tozer said, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.”  

In the form of affirmations to God ("God, you are..."), Pastor Mike Silliman, Care and Connections Pastor at
Grace Community Church in Goshen, Ind. (Jim Brown, lead pastor), reflects on how "What You Need is Who God Is." Click here to read the rest of the post. 

[Get Hungry:]

Not sure yet about attending this year's conference, Access2017? Whet your appetite by checking out the meal plan for the trip, which includes joining other individuals and organizations each meal for fellowship, and learning. Click here to read more about what (and who!) is on the menu. Then, sign up!


We're nearing on our 200th eNewsletter! Do you know a story about a person or group in your fellowship who is serving God in small, faithful ways that impacts God's kingdom in big ways?
Email us to let us know! Thanks for helping us build bridges communication across the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches!

Events in the FGBC

April 7-8, 2017   WLS: Spiritual Formation, Frederick, Md. (WGUSA)
April 28, 2017  Heritage Event, East Earl, Pa. (CE)
April 28-29, 2017   WLS: Soul Care, Ripon, Calif. (WGUSA)  
April 28-30, 2017   Hispanic Summit, Atlanta, Ga. (WGUSA) 
May 5-6, 2017   WLS Soul Care, Marysville, Ohio  (WGUSA)
May 11-17, 2017   National Institute Cross Cultural Youth Min.Module, Philadelphia, Pa. (CE)
May 22-24, 2017   Northwest Focus Retreat, White Pass, Wash. (FGBC)
June 14, 2017   Pastorpedia Live, Winona Lake, Ind. (CE)
June 18 – July 11, 2017   Operation Barnabas (CE)
June 26-30, 2017   Encounter Atlanta (EWP)
July 5-9, 2017   StreetWise, Philadelphia, Pa. (CE)
July 18-23, 2017   Momentum Youth Conference, Marion, Ind. (CE)
July 25-27, 2017 – ​ Access2017, Fremont, Ohio (FGBC)
September 20, 2017   Pastorpedia Live, Winona Lake, Ind. (CE)
November 8, 2017   Pastorpedia Live, Winona Lake, Ind. (CE)
CE – CE National
EWP – Encompass World Partners
FGBC – Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches
WGUSA – Women of Grace USA

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