GraceConnect eNews, No. 99, Week of May 11, 2015


The eNewsletter for the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches
A Mexico scene, published with the story below in 1959.

God's Exceeding Abundantly in Mexico

At the time of this story by Amy Guerena, published in two installments in the last 1959 and first 1960 editions of the Brethren Missionary Herald, Phillip Guerena was a senior in Grace Seminary, looking forward to missionary service In Mexico. He and his wife, Amy, and their baby daughter spent the summer of 1958 in Mexico, where they engaged in secular work to earn their livelihood and make possible a spiritual ministry to the people.
So far it had been a very ordinary day.
"Are you ready?" called Phil as he loaded songbooks, accordion, lantern, and baby into the jeep for our evening service. Phil gave a short message from God's Word. Gradually the building emptied. "Buenos noches," we called as we reloaded our equipment, plus several boys and girls, into the jeep. In just another moment we would be home. 

Just then our ordinary day came to an abrupt end as the frightened voice of eleven-year old Jose exclaimed: "Felipe, my father is on the attack, and my baby brother is still in the house. He will kill him."
"I will go and get him out," said Phil immediately. He swung the jeep about and drove the short distance to their little cabin. The moment we stopped before their home, out rushed the father. In one hand he held a lighted lamp, and in the other he held a rifle which he was trying to cock and fire at whoever had just entered his yard. In the glow of the kerosene lamp, we saw his face distorted with rage, and his huge shoulders heaved as he looked about for us in the darkness.
Phil immediately turned off the car lights, backed up, and drove to the welcome refuge of our own little cabin. We locked both doors and gathered the children about us to pray. 

Just as we finished praying, Jose, his mother, and the other children came to the door. And yes, there was the smallest brother, asleep in the strong arms of one of our Christian men. Quickly and quietly we helped them get settled for the night in an empty cabin nearby. We went back to ours, but not to sleep. Phil had promised to visit a sick lady that evening.  
My heart sank as I watched him drive away. I seemed to be gently reminded by the Holy Spirit: "You must be willing, Amy, to let God have your husband even in this."
Suddenly three gunshots broke the quietness. Quickly I grabbed Lorita from the bed and tried to calculate my chances of escape should he force his way through the front door. It was evident that no lock could keep him out, for his strength was that of a madman. 
"There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling" (Ps. 91:10). The words comforted me now as I remembered the Lord's protection in the past. Although it seemed much longer, it was really only about an hour and a half from the time that he had left until Phil knocked. Eagerly I opened the door and plied him with questions about the gunshots which I had heard.
Yes; G had fired the shots as he talked with some of the men with whom he was drinking. But he had hit no one, and then he had run off into the forest. 

God had taken care of us. Phil, Lorita, and I, as well as the villagers, were all safe. Again we prayed that God would protect us, and then we went to bed. I did not waken until the bright sunlight came streaming in through the windows.
Phil soon had a roaring fire going in my barrel stove, and invited Jose's family to eat breakfast with us. It was then that we learned just how greatly God had undertaken in our behalf the night before: our interference had saved the life of a man. A friend of the family had come to the house drunk and flopped asleep on a bed. Later, when the husband had come in, under the influence of liquor himself, he had become infuriated at the sight of his friend sleeping on the bed. Intending to kill him, he had gone into the kitchen to search for shells. It was at that moment that we drove into the front yard, and when he ran out of the house he forgot all about the man inside. 
All things had worked together for good, even for the salvation of a soul, for later that same morning Phil had the privilege of leading G to know the Lord as his Savior. God had answered prayer exceeding abundantly above all we had asked or thought.

Phil Guerena now leads Grupo Amor Cristiano, a Spanish-speaking Grace Brethren church on the northwest side of Columbus, Ohio. Send him a note of encouragement at Read the unabridged story on the Brethren Missionary Herald Digital Archives, Part I and Part II.

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[Your Turn]

Phil Sparling, pastor of Grace Community Church, a Grace Brethren church in Auburn, Calif., blogs here. In his latest blog post, he encourages fellow believers to hold fast the truths of our spiritual resurrection through Christ's blood by responding with a lifestyle of love:

"God’s desire and design in bringing spiritual life from spiritual death is for us to respond to Him with love, devotion, and obedience. His plan is for us to dive deep into this new life. Since we now can love Him with our whole heart, which was once dead to him, let’s choose to love Him." Click here to read the entire post. 


On April 25 a 7.8 earthquake rocked Nepal, killing 8,000 people. Amazingly, within ten days this story of unimaginable loss and suffering has already vanished from the headlines.
In response to this crisis in Nepal,
Encompass World Partners is partnering with the Evangelical Free Church of America to provide relief. Barb Wooler, crisis response network director at Encompass, is joining a team of six is landing in Kathmandu, Nepal May 14. They will be working with equipping believers in 13 church plants so they can reach out and care for the hurting in their communities. In a country where 97.2 percent of the population do not know Jesus, God will greatly work through these believers, and we can pray expectantly for a spiritual harvest.
The team will be providing emotional, spiritual, and physical relief by initiating the building of 
shelters for 300 Nepalese families, as well as trauma counseling to Nepalese Christians and prayer for the country's affected. 

Find out more details at the Encompass Homes for Nepalese Families Project page, follow Barb Wooler's Facebook page for updates, and go here to give to the project. The video below, by the New York Times, depicts the crisis the villagers of one rural mountainside in Nepal are currently facing. 
[Leader's Corner:]

Leader2Leader, a podcast of Gateway Church, a multi-campus Grace Brethren church, is designed to awaken, equip, and connect the established and emerging leaders of Gateway Church. The 5-10 minute podcast is published bimonthly.

"We were looking for a way to equip and encourage our leaders while not 'adding another meeting' to their lives," said Gateway lead pastor Scott Feather. "We know that 'common language' is crucial for a community. The Leader2Leader podcast allows us to be on the same page at Gateway Church, but allows the information to be consumed whenever and wherever our leaders are."

Listen and subscribe to the free biweekly podcast on the
Leader2Leader podcast page

Events in the FGBC

June 15-July 27 – Operation Barnabas, Winona Lake, Ind. (CEN)
June 21-27, 2015  Great Canadian Adventure, Toronto, Ontario (GBC)
June 21-27, 2015 – Encounter Atlanta, Atlanta, Ga. (EWP)
June 23-July 7 City Life Tours East Coast & West Coast (CEN)
July 14-19, 2015 – Momentum Youth Conference, Marion, Ind. (CEN) 
July 23-26, 2015 – Flinch Conference (national conference), Newark, N.J. (FGBC) 

CEN – CE National
EWP – Encompass World Partners
FGBC – Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches
GBC – Grace Brethren Canada
WGUSA – Women of Grace USA

Send events for the calendar to
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