GraceConnect eNews, No. 93, Week of March 30, 2015


The eNewsletter for the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches
Seminary students being sponsored by The Timothy Project have the rare opportunity to study the Bible to become pastors while working to support their families.

Training for Life

Occasionally we will be sharing Brethren mission stories from around the globe. Today we share a chat with Dave Martin, coordinator of The Timothy Project, about a powerful story he heard from "on the ground" in the mission field.
Over the past two years, the Central African Republic has been fraught with violence and unrest due to a government coup, civil war, and social strife.
It is also home to more Grace Brethren churches and church members than any other country in the world.
Because of this, there is a great need for pastoral and leadership training for the growing churches in the country -- most people in the villages there do not have access to anything beyond a basic education. And, though there are also great humanitarian needs in the country as well, both the Brethren church leaders there and leaders at Encompass World Partners have determined that along with humanitarian aid, education, and Bible training are vitally important.
“The Timothy Project is an effort by Encompass World Partners to help men and families study at the seminary or the Bible Institutes in the CAR,” explains Dave Martin, coordinator of The Timothy Project along with his wife Ruth Ann. (The pair spent 10 years in Argentina as missionaries with Encompass before taking on the role.)  
“[The Project] is an effort to provide sponsors to those families from this end both for prayer support, for financial support and occasionally for communication back and forth between the sponsors as well.”
In the fall of 2013, the director of the Bossangoa Bible Institute, a man named Sylvain, participated in trauma-healing workshops offered by Dr. Augustine Hibaile, a leader of the church in CAR. He did so in hopes that he would better be able to minister to students and church members who were facing severe loss. Little did he know that in a matter of months, tragedy was about to strike even closer to home.
Early one morning last September, Sylvain’s father’s village was raided by Séléka rebels. As he ran out of the house towards the safety of tall grass on the outskirts of the villages, Sylvain’s father was shot and killed along with 30 others from his village.
“Sylvain was devastated,” notes Martin, who heard the story from Janet Varner, who served as an 
Encompass missionary in Africa and the Central African Republic for over 30 years.

“Sylvain’s father had given him lots of encouragement and prayed for him as he took on the role of director, being a 1985 graduate of Bata Bible Institute himself.”
But God was also at work. The trauma training that Sylvain had undergone to help others played a key role in his own healing process.  
“Instead of just using what he learned to help others and teach others, Sylvain needed it very much in his own life,” explained Martin. “Through the process, he was learning what God wanted to teach him and understanding that he needed to continue to express forgiveness and allow the Holy Spirit to work in his own heart.”
The Timothy Project is touching lives and churches throughout the CAR as God works in the country despite the violence and unrest. Find out more about
The Timothy Project (and how you can sponsor a family or pray) by clicking here. Click here to send a note of encouragement to Dave Martin and here to send a note to Janet Varner. 


[Your Turn]


As you prepare for Easter weekend, take a moment to reflect on the sacrifice of Jesus with Good Friday blog posts by Dan Cosentino, youth pastor at Grace Community Church in Goshen, Ind. (Jim Brown, pastor), and Pastor John Smith of Grace Church at Willow Valley in Lancaster, Pa.

On Easter Sunday, the Embody (High School) students from Grace Long Beach will be heading to San Francisco for an immersive experience in the heart of the city. They'll spend the week serving the homeless in the Tenderloin District, learning what it looks like to love a city with the heart of Jesus. You can get a glimpse of what the trip is all about in an interview with Brandon Roa, a sponsored student who experienced Urban Dunk last year. Watch the video below.

Events in the FGBC

April 24-25 – WLS Class: Women and Scripture, Cedar Rapids, Iowa (WGUSA) 
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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