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Short-term Missions Blog

Calvary Church has a strong tradition of short-term missions work. Our goal with these trips is to be a blessing to our partner missionaries, to the national church, and to the lost. And the perspective that team members bring back to our church helps us all better understand the needs of the world and the joy of being part of God’s global family. Each of our teams raises their own financial support from generous friends like you. Please prayerfully consider their request and respond as God prompts you to do so.

Note: A MyCalvary login is helpful, but not required when giving to mission trips.

Hawaii 2024: Update

The HSM Hawaii mission team has been hard at working preparing for their service trip to Hawaii.  The team has meet to do some team building exercises, learn more about the organization we will be serving with, Praying Pelican, learning more about the fires that created the need for our team to serve in Hawaii and working together to help fundraise for the trip. Team building: The group of students and leaders have been meeting regularly in order to build relationship prior to leaving on the mission trip.  The meeting consist of games and activities plus praying with our prayer partners. Praying Pelican Ministries: To learn more about the organization we are partnering with for this mission trip, visit their website, https://www.ppm.org/. Hawaii Fires:  As a group we watched the documentary below.  This was a very devastating view of all that was lost in the fires that ripped thru Lahaina.  It helped…

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Saturday & Sunday – How Much Further?

Saturday:  We woke up to a cool overcast day, drove 1.5 hours to Paphos, saw ruins from the days of the Apostle Paul, ate good pitas at a non-touristy taverna, visited the home of a beautiful couple & their baby boy serving in Paphos, and drove 1.5 hours back to Larnaca.  Now we are packing and attempting (multiple tries) to get checked in online for our early morning flight. The reality is setting in, our serving here is finished.  The lives of everyone we met will continue on, and we will try to remember them and pray for them until the urgency of their stories fades away, no matter how much we want to keep the experiences front and center. We hope we are changed.  We hope we come back to Grand Rapids and share the stories.  We hope we will have more opportunities to walk alongside the “foreigners in…

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Friday – Wrap It Up

Our last day at the Center, yet we were each wondering when we could come back… Today was the first day we made it to and from the Center with zero “detours” (ie wrong turns).  It only took until the last day to perfect the navigating! Bob and Jim finished painting the new classroom.   Logan the director was thrilled with the new sign. Lynnell worked on organizing the attic and filling the bins we purchased yesterday.  (Before and after pics below.)                 Sherry worked with a few volunteers to keep sorting the donations. Krystal helped with the clothing distribution, popped in on an English class, and ended up entertaining kids so parents could learn. We had a pizza party for all the volunteers after the day was finished.  Bob told the Bible story of the Widow and her two mites in the…

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Thursday – Projects & Precious People

Today was another hot but less sunshiny day.  A haze, due to dust storms from the Sahara, covered the city and activated allergies.  But we worked hard and saw more progress: Bob and Jim finished patching a future classroom and then began painting. Lynnell and Sherry re-sorted multiple boxes of donations into new bins and also set up displays for tomorrow’s distribution.  The new shelves built by Bob, Jim, and a volunteer from London/Jamaica made a big difference. Krystal went along with (2) staff members and a volunteer to teach English to Syrian teenage boys.  The boys are living in an abandoned hotel and are under the supervision of the Cypriot government.  About (10) boys gathered for a competitive game of Uno with the volunteers before the English lesson started.  The director had asked us to teach the boys how to say “please may I have…” and then food items….

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Wednesday – Double Work Day

  We had a full day: We started with a brief volunteer meeting and prayer time.  It was beautiful to pray with volunteers from all over the world.  The heart of the ministry was evident to everyone present. Lynnell sorted baby clothes then helped make a plan for squeezing more space out of the “attic” where the clothes were stored.  And made a couple new friends!  It’s  encouraging to see the Lord use people from all over the world to serve together in unity. Sherry attended the mommy and baby play time hosted at the church across the street.  They played, had snack, played balls, blew bubbles then sang songs.  This weekly event is meant to help moms learn how to bond with their children and parent in a healthy way. Jim and Bob, along with an amazing volunteer from London/Jamaica, finished the garage shelving! It was a full day…

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Tuesday – Work!

It has been a good day, thank you Lord.  We saw progress in our projects at the Center and had sprinkles of relationship building throughout the day. Jim and Bob worked on shelving for the garage.  The inside storage areas are being converted to classrooms, thus the revamping of the garage.  They worked hard all day, even after most staff went home. Lynnell, Sherry, and Krystal sat in on a WOW (Women of Worth) meeting in the morning.  A staff member taught on trauma and gave opportunities to share.  We met beautiful, strong ladies from Kurdistan (Iraq), Palestine, Afghanistan and Cameroon.  We asked how we can continue to pray for them after we return to the USA.  Here are some of the responses: Pray for peace across all countries experiencing war and strife. Pray for continued safety of Cyprus, currently a safe place but geographically close to many  conflicts. Pray…

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Monday – Intro to the Center

What we learned: The Center’s volunteer guidelines were reiterated but it was good to interact with the directors and ask questions and hear everything one more time. Relationship is important.  We set aside our western inclination to produce amazing results task-wise and focused on the precious people in front of us. The men (and one amazing Cypriot lady from All4Aid) went to the lumber yard in the afternoon.  They measured and picked out lumber to build new shelving in the clothing pantry.  A highlight for Jim was bringing along one of the teenage volunteers for the adventure. The organization has been using this building for over 14 years, and they desire to expand.  Renovations are in progress for converting rooms to computer training, sewing, and English classrooms.  Spaces are also being revamped for food, clothing and baby care item distribution. Lynnell, Sherry and Krystal worked on unpacking clothing donations and…

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Saturday & Sunday – What’s Jet lag?

We are safely in Cyprus and learning the lay of the land, thank you for praying!  Our Airbnb is in a touristy area but we aren’t complaining!  We can see the Mediterranean from our kitchen/living room window.  It is close to the airport, so we are able to see planes flying low over the water as they prepare to land. This morning we attended LCC-Larnaca Community Church.  It was fun to experience multi-national, multi-cultural worship with familiar songs.  After service we had fellowship over coffee with the attendees.  We met so many inspiring believers: “tent maker” missionaries from San Francisco,  a young man from Congo with a fascinating story, sweet twins from Cyprus attending university.  After church we had a delicious dinner with Marv and Dawn and All4Aid leader Elena. We are working hard to stay awake today so the rest of the week will be less jet-lag-y. Stray cat…

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On The Way

Wow are we thankful for the wise counsel of the short term missions committee.  We were 3.5 hours early for the flight – maybe, we thought, a bit excessive for a Grand Rapids flight??  But exactly enough time for every problem that arose (lost team credit card, lost cell phone, TSA pre-check issues, “thorough” security experiences, luggage issues. And in Chicago, more problems: a technology issue in our terminal, reissuing of boarding passes, more luggage issues.  We can’t help but laugh.  We aren’t even out of the States yet. Lynnell distributed team snacks in gift bags (elevating this team experience above all others) to help our attitudes and appetites in our marathon of flights. Thank you for praying, we have already seen answers and anticipate needing more! Send off at the GRR airport, thank you Lana, Larry, Clarence & Nora, Hennie, and Suzanna for praying over us.

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Cyprus 2024: Pre-Boarding Prep

This is our last team meeting before takeoff. We’ve been meeting the first Sunday of each month for 5 months now, learning about one another, praying for the people we will serve alongside and getting all details squared away. We know there are always twists and turns that will shape the story of our time in Cyprus.  This morning was a special time of Elder prayer.  Tonight we are packing suitcases with baby items from Widows Ministry and T-shirts donated from a supporter of the team. Here’s a brief intro to key players: All4Aid – The organization working with displaced people in various locations.  We will be serving at their location in Larnaca, Cyprus. (Marv & Dawn – already on the ground in Cyprus, ready to help us adjust to the tasks ahead.) Sherry – Team leader, excellent organizer, positive and enthusiastic, veteran of Calvary teams. Jim – husband to…

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1/26/2024 – The Faithfulness Of God Was Seen This Week

Today marks the final day of our mission trip to Mwanza, Tanzania, serving the Mwanza Bible Institute and Hope Royal School.  During our time of ministry, God was so powerfully present in ways that kept us in awe as He carried our team through a week filled with extensive teaching, training and discipleship.  Ed Kaleefey, Don Marrell and Neil Kassuba provided instructional support through preaching, teaching and discipleship in a variety of ways to local churches in and around Mwanza, the MBI class, and with the primary students at Hope Royal.  Cindy Marrell, Nancy Roelfsema and Ann Bagley were very busy engaged in teaching, care and support to both the women’s conference which included MBI student spouses, as well as the children’s activities going on each day at Hope Royal.  It was an amazing effort to see each member of the team with their unique spiritual gifts come together and…

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1/25/2024 – The Sanctification Of Believers Continues

Our team’s steadfastness with robust Biblical teaching at MBI and Hope Royal School continues as we are in the final days of the mission in Tanzania.  The inductive Bible study curriculum has transitioned to a practical lesson in expository preaching and effectively preparing a message for sermons as the students are poised to engage with the local churches they serve in.  The women’s conference was rich with a time of worship as well as constructing quilted handbags and beautiful leather coin purses.  The men and their spouses also had a joint lesson on building a healthy marriage within the context of ministry life.  The response was very positive because these issues are common within the culture where most local church pastors are not supported financially by the church they serve at, creating unique challenges both in maintaining a sustainable income which can directly affect the pastor families.  It is encouraging…

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1/24/2024 – Jesus Is Building His Church

The mission team is continually reminded of how blessed we are to be called to serve the bride of Christ, His church, in such a beautiful setting of Tanzania. The people of this country are so incredibly beautiful. Their hospitality and kindness through humility reflect the love of Christ.  Tanzanian culture is very vibrant and those we are encountering are hungry to know the Lord more deeply, to grow in faith and multiply His kingdom work through their ministry.  I’d be remiss to overlook how wonderful the children of Tanzania are.  They are so smart, very curious to explore and have a way of capturing your heart through day to day interactions.  In hearing their worship songs or the roaring laughter and screams that emanate throughout the campus during play time, our hearts well up with joy in praise to the Lord for how He looks down with loving kindness…

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1/23/2024 – Encouragement For The Body of Christ

Today’s activity for this mission was incredibly vibrant and constructive.  As the day unfolded, it has become clear that those we are serving are experiencing growth and being transformed by an abundance of blessings that came from our Lord above.  Besides their regular schoolwork, the children of Hope Royal had a full day of programming provided through the mission itinerary which included a lesson on “What does the Lord require of you?  Love God and love others.” This was accompanied by a heart craft which included scripture and prayers to encourage the student’s walk of faith.  Across campus, the women’s conference was in full swing where they continued their inductive Bible study lesson while also transitioning to a marriage building discussion focused on love and respect.  Today’s conference ended with the women making sewing kits which they loved and they also sang a powerful worship song to the Lord which…

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1/22/2024 – God Is Moving In This Place

Today was a very special day as our team began the core ministry work which we have been called to by the Lord. This has been the culmination of months of planning.  The morning started off at MBI with team member and teacher Ed Kaleefey beginning his week-long curriculum on systematic theology and inductive Bible study.  The goal is to teach the Mwanza Bible Institute students how to draw conclusions from scripture through observation, interpretation and application so they are more thoroughly equipped to pastor, teach, counsel and lead their local church congregations.  The session was rich with extremely valuable material as the students were challenged to grow in their ability to skillfully divide The Word while discipling others and changing lives all for God’s glory.  Simultaneously, the Bible class student spouses were engaging in a women’s conference that included an inductive Bible study as well as a session on…

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1/21/2024 – The Gospel Is Being Preached

Today was a very special day as the three men from our team were asked to provide the teaching sermons at local churches around Mwanza.  The men partnered up with the women from the team and we spread out to three separate churches in Mwanza; one urban location as well as two others on the outskirts of town. What a blessing it was to engage not only with brothers and sisters in Christ that we have grown to know through partnering with MBI, but also with other believers who we met for the very first time.  We were welcomed with such wonderful hospitality and the Good News of the Gospel of salvation was shared with those we encountered.  We also were able to engage with our Tanzanian friends by seeing the beautiful way that they praise and petition the Lord in their native tongue, all the while having the blessing…

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1/20/2024 – The Mission Work Begins

Today was the day our team was finally able to begin to engage in the mission work that the Lord has set before us.  After a short car ride just outside of the Mwanza city center traversing rutted neighborhood dirt roads, we arrived at the MBI/Hope Royal School campus.  Our team was met with a very warm greeting from school founder/director Joseph Marwa, his staff of teachers, facility workers and caretakers as well as approximately 40 of the most amazing, beautiful children of God.  After brief introductions, we quickly got to work facilitating a vacation Bible school where Ann Bagley taught the children a Bible lesson about trusting in the Lord, as we become new creations in Christ.  This was followed by an abundance of crafts, games and activities where we experienced such a joy from the Lord as we saw endless smiles from the students, 4 hours of roaring…

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1/19/2024 – We Have Arrived In Tanzania!

After two and a half days, our mission team has finally landed in Mwanza, Tanzania!  This journey was not without many challenges which included severe lack of sleep, logistical barriers and the sheer weight of supplies we traveled with, as our group brought with us 20 pieces of extremely heavy luggage.  We did this as our goal was to bless MBI and Hope Royal School with additional resources such as Bibles, theology curriculum books, arts and crafts, as well as all the materials we will need during our stay to engage with students, both young and old.  Our travels have included a 7-hour flight to Amsterdam, followed by a 10-hour flight to Kilimanjaro.  We had an overnight layover and then a final shorter flight took us to Mwanza where we have boots on the ground and ready to serve the Lord for the next week.  Today was spent getting settled…

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Tanzania Mission Trip 2024 Is Ready For Departure

After months of careful planning and preparation, the Calvary Church Tanzania Mission Team consisting of Cindy Marrell, Anny Bagley, Nancy Roelfsema, Don Marrell, Ed Kaleefey and Neil Kassuba is ready to depart on January 17th 2024 at 9am for a Transatlantic journey to Mwanza, Tanzania.  We are embarking on a mission to support our friends at the Mwanza Bible Institute and Hope Royal School.  Our goal is to make disciples with those we encounter, as well as being vessels of the Holy Spirit to aid in the salvation and edification of our friends in Southeast Africa.  We continue to ask our supporters to come to the heavenly throne room of God with prayerful petitions for traveling mercies during our long flights and layovers, but also for strength and wisdom as we engage in Biblical teaching, discipling and fellowship with our guests and those that we meet.  Please pray for our…

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Anticipating The Tanzania 2024 Mission Team Departure

Our Tanzania mission team of (6) individuals is just 30 days away from our departure to Mwanza, Tanzania.  This will be a twelve day journey traversing thousands of miles as we partner with our friends at the Mwanza Bible Institute (MBI).  The trip itinerary is full of engaging Bible teaching, plans to share in fellowship while discipling those we come in contact with and building the foundational truth of faith in Christ for the younger students attending the Hope Royal School as well as local children in the area.  While we finalize the last few remaining details of our trip, we humbly request your prayers for the petitions of our team. That our team fundraising goals are met by the end of December ’23. For biblical guidance and the Holy Spirit’s leading in preparation for teaching, discipling & fellowship. (Gal. 5) For the salvation and/or edification of those we come…

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Tanzania 2024 – Missions Team Preparations

The Calvary Church missions team of (6) people has been hard at work the last few months preparing for their trip to Mwanza, Tanzania which runs from 1/17/24 to 1/28/24. The goal of this trip is to provide support to the Mwanza Bible Institute where we will be teaching systematic Bible theology to the adult students. We will also be ministering to the student spouses, facilitating Bible teaching to children who attend the Hope Royal School and also putting on a vacation Bible school for children who live in the area. As we near our time of departure, we humbly request prayers for safe travels and also wisdom from the Lord as we embark on this journey. Should you be convicted to help sponsor financially, we are still welcoming donors to be a part of this very important work. Just login to your mycalvarygr.org account, click “Missions” in the top…

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Day Five: Wrapping Up Our Week

Today is bittersweet as we close out an incredible week of serving at All4Aid. Each of us had the opportunity to choose our area of service today, and it was amazing to see how God opened opportunities to share with women who came to the center today. Today, we offer just a snapshot of our week. Jobs included handing out towels and helping women access the showers, assisting women who visited the shop for clothing, playing with kids (we made homemade play dough in our hotel rooms last night!), and providing foot rubs in the spa. We each have so many stories to share, too many for one blog post! We each feel honored to have been able to represent Calvary Church this week, being the hands and feet of Jesus. Tomorrow, we plan to debrief in Athens before flying home on Sunday. Thank you all for your continued support…

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Lesvos 2023 – Day three: Pinwheels and Poverty

Today marked our third day working in the center. Energy levels are a little lower today, and we are are examining different emotions as we experience helping those who endure so much suffering. Feelings have ranged from compassion to confirming to even recognizing the contrasts of life’s circumstances. We grapple with guilt when we are distracted by lost luggage while those we serve have lost seemingly everything. We feel compassion when we spend a few moments braiding a young girl’s hair and pray a silent prayer over her as we do so. We feel conflicted when we offer a foot massage to a woman who’s trekked cross-country to escape persecution and certain death. We also recognize the contrasts of providing respite in a world so torn with war and oppression. It is hard to say no to people when there are limited resources. It is difficult to want to heal…

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Lesvos 2023 – Day One: Do Not Worry

While we are actually four days into our trip, today was our first full day working at the All4Aid Center. We spent the first two days traveling to Lesvos, arriving on the island in time for dinner Saturday night. On Sunday, we went to church, worshipping with people from all over the world, including a group of people living in the camp who come from Ethiopia. Then, we spent the afternoon touring a bit of the island, getting to know our host, and preparing for our first day at the center. Today, we received a brief training before dividing up to do various jobs including hospitality, operating the shower room, and spending time with the women and children who come to the center to receive services. A few members of our team helped sort clothes and prepared to open the store tomorrow. We are rejoicing that the center will open…

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Lesvos 2023 – Preparing to Go

Our Lesvos team is feeling so blessed by the support from our church family as we prepare to go to Greece today. Thank you to everyone who is participating through prayer, financial support and in-kind donations. Your kindness will be a blessing to the people in Lesvos. As of this writing, we are making final preparations before traveling to Greece. We are excited, nervous (but mostly excited!) and eager to begin serving at the All4Aid Center. We know that God is leading, and we ask for your prayers over the details as we go – for on-time flights, smooth sailing through customs, luggage to arrive at the right place at the right time, and as we adjust to the time change. Speaking of luggage, we have been overwhelmed by the generosity of our church family and are bringing extra suitcases filled with 1,000 sewing kits, 600+ beauty product samples, hairbrushes... Continue Reading

Lesvos 2023 – Calvary Church Team Prepares for Lesvos, Greece

On October 6 through 15, a group of six women from Calvary Church are traveling to Lesvos, Greece, to serve with All4Aid, a faith-based organization from Germany that serves refugees. This will be Calvary’s first short-term missions trip back to Lesvos since 2019, when five different teams went to serve with this organization. All4Aid hosts The All4Women Centre on the island of Lesvos, where refugee women and children can access clean showers, wash laundry, utilize the foodbank, and enjoy a moment of respite from life inside the refugee camp. During this 10-day trip, the team will serve refugee women and children who are among thousands to have fled their countries due to war and persecution and are living in Lesvos as they seek asylum to other parts of the world. The team will be there to serve them, spend time with them, and share the love of Jesus with them….

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Cyprus 2023: We’re Baaaackkk…

The separation anxiety has begun. Even before our plane touched the ground in Grand Rapids, the conversations of how to get back to Cyprus had begun. As we picked up our luggage from baggage claim and hugged our families who came to great us, the group lingered. Many of the youth had been waking up at 5:30am every morning to watch the sun rise and do devotions together. What does that look like tomorrow? And the day after? There was already a group text sent out before many of us even arrived home from the airport. During our debrief time, we threw out words that immediately came to mind about this week, and the word “family” was mentioned. Because each member of the trip had already accepted Christ as our Lord and Savior, we were already brothers and sisters in Christ before the trip started. But we became family in…

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7&8 Cleveland – Cedar Point

Hey everybody! My name is Sam Wolowski and I’m the intern for Calvary’s 7th-8th ministry this summer. I’ve had the privilege and opportunity to serve and walk alongside these wonderful students this week. It’s been a week of hard work, sweat, perseverance, and dependence on the Lord. We’ve seen God working through our students and through the many challenging and exciting experiences the Lord has presented to us this week. This morning we spent time reflecting on this week and the commitments we made and prayed over last night to the Lord (to pray and read the Bible, spend time in God’s presence, witness to a friend, etc). God showed up big this week and we are all so grateful! To celebrate how the Lord worked this week through our team, we took a trip to Sandusky, Ohio to ride some rollercoasters at Cedar Point! I truly believe that we…

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Cyprus 2023: Day 7(ish)

It’s amazing how refreshed we look on the seventh day! Truthfully…we didn’t look this fresh. We don’t smell so fresh either. This photo was taken on Sunday, and I think everyone would tell you that Sunday seems like a lifetime ago, but in the very best way possible. Thank you for your faithful prayers this week! We anticipated that God would be present during Holiday Club/VBS. Many of us have served or attended VBS before and thought we knew what to expect, but we would agree that this experience has surpassed our expectations. There’s always an element of connecting with the children in attendance, but it was harder saying goodbye to them than normal. Over 80% of the children in attendance do not attend Larnaca Community Church, who hosted this week. Yes, we wanted to pass out from the exhaustion of this week, but we still felt the urgency for…

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7&8 Cleveland: Day 5 – Site Wrap Up Day

Today we wrapped our work week and job sites and said goodbye to the home-owners and those we have grown attached to over the past few days. Thank you Jesus for holding the rain off for all the work we wanted to accomplish today!   Ceiling Crew The ceiling crew put in an extra long day making sure to leave things well for the group that will come in next week and finish up. They finished hanging the drywall on the ceiling and about a foot down from the ceiling around the perimeter of the room that needed replacement from some rotting. The group got a card for the homeowners and it was a heart-felt goodbye. Mr. Robin and Miss Judy were such great hosts, feeding them each day and showing much gratitude for all the crew was able to accomplish. Big shoutout to Frank who was our adult leader…

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Cyprus 2023: Day 6

Have you wondered what the gospel would look like spelled out in vegetables? I know…we have, too, but we no longer have to wonder! This week, we have been leading up to the gospel and good news of Jesus Christ, and we were praying for the Josh and other leaders as they shared the most important story these kids would hear in their entire lives. But it was delightful to see the snack team carry the theme of the gospel in their presentation. It has not gone unnoticed by the kids. One little girl thanked the snack team for the time they took making the snacks not only taste good, but look good, and she let us know she looks forward to seeing how the day’s theme will be incorporated into the food! It is precious to know that they feel loved even through this simple gesture.  The volunteers have…

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7&8 Cleveland: Day 4

This is getting later and later each night and for that I am sorry. We are having a blast and the kids are doing awesome. I am so proud of our group for the way they are leaders among their peers (I’ll speak into this a bit more late in this post) the way they love and support each other and the ways that they are serving the Lord here in Cleveland.   Ceiling Project Today was full of ups and downs. One up was when we arrived at the house the owners lovingly greeted us and offered their garage for our services. One down was when Connor was trying to help someone else on the team and he accidentally dinged his hand (Don’t worry, he is totally fine!). However we bounced back from this minor inconvenience and finished the drywall ceiling and spackled it. Another up was when Evan…

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Cyprus 2023: Day 5

“You look sad. Did you lose something? And this little boy looked up at me with as though he were carrying the weight of the world and answered, “I know how to shine Jesus’ light, but there are so many people that don’t know Jesus. And they’re going to hell. And I want them to be with Jesus in heaven. How do I shine the light of Jesus big enough for all of them? This conversation occurred during the first 30 minutes of VBS if it gives you an idea of how God was going to reveal himself today. Wednesday is is usually the most challenging day in terms of exhaustion, and Josh had asked that we all engage as though it were the first day. There were so many moments when our team demonstrated the love of Christ to these kids and other volunteers that were tangibly felt: -Drew…

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7&8 Cleveland: Day 3

We are having a wonderful time in Cleveland. The staff here at Next Step has been great. There are five college students who all have their own job here and they have been awesome! Corrine leads worship and has an amazing voice and is also leading one of the work crews (porch project). Djiraj is studying engineering and is leading a work crew (ceiling and flooring job) while also helping to run games. Kassioni has been preparing our food (which has been pretty good!) and also running a work crew (community garden). Dylon helps to lead worship and run games as well as lead a work crew (roofing). While Elizabeth is the site lead and the construction lead overseeing all projects and supplying them their needs throughout the day. Community Garden: Today the group at the community orchard weeded flower beds, spread gravel and painted pickets. We also learned about…

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Cyprus 2023: Day 4

“Where’s Dan?” Haha…like any other family trips, there are a series of quotable quotes and inside jokes, and “Where’s Dan?” has been a rallying cry for our youth this week. As we do buddy checks to ensure no one has been left behind, group leader Dan has often been the last to join. But as many of us have learned this week, it is often because Dan is praying or engaging in discussion with someone. It seems fitting that he shared the story of Mary and Martha with the group this week in team devotion. Dan has modeled what it means to sit at the feet of Christ and keep our focus on our relationship with Him. Today started with a celebration of Ethan’s 17th birthday. Cake supplies are not easy to secure in Cyprus, but how many of us get to celebrate with a leaning tower of French toast??…

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7&8 Cleveland 2023: Day 2 – First Day On The Job

We got a good night sleep and boy did we need it. We were up before 7 with breakfast being at 7:15am followed by AM chores, breakfast devotions, group stretching and then off to the worksite by 8:45am. Jodi’s Team had a great day at the Community Garden, here is what she had to say… “Today we had the blessing to work with a wonderful lady named Ms. Mitty. She is working to rejuvenate her neighborhood by developing a community orchard where the hopes are to use the fruits of the orchard to produce jam and sell while she teaches the trades to the neighborhood. Today we helped by cleaning out the beds around the fruit trees and weeding some other areas.” Frank’s group hit the ground running on their ceiling and flooring project, here is what he had to say about that… “We got to the house and met…

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Cyprus 2023: Day 3

Sometimes, plans don’t work out as expected. And sometimes…they work out better than you imagine them in your head. That’s what happened with Holiday Club/VBS today. This was the first year Larnaca Community Church has been able to host Holiday Club for the community since Covid. They no longer have their own church building, and had to sell many of their children’s ministry supplies. How would it go? The director shared that we should be tremendously proud of our youth and that they were a wonderful testament to Calvary and Christ. We may be biased, but as group leaders, we had the opportunity to stand back and watch each of out youth use the gifts the Lord has given them, and we were so pleased by their enthusiasm for Christ and their joy in serving with their Cypriot counterparts and these kids. After a busy morning, we turned around and…

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7&8 Cleveland 2023: Arrival

Night 1 – Arrived safe and sound Thanks to everyone who came and helped to pray us off to Cleveland! We had a super safe and easy ride of just over 4 hours with the only hiccup being that with Chick-Fil-A closed on Sundays we had to settle for Culver’s. Upon arrival we had a little time to settle in and even meet some of the other students and leaders from the two other churches that are here (one from Philadelphia, PA and one from Charlotte, NC). We had Pizza for dinner and then met in the sanctuary for worship and some rules for the week and were then split into our working teams. Jodi will be taking Allie, Ellie, Eva and Julie to the community Garden where they will help to care for it and do a bunch of gardening. Frank will be taking the boys (Connor, James, Isaiah…

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Cyprus 2023: Day 2

“Shine your light for the world to see…shine, shine Jesus’ light…” Our youth are singing and practicing their VBS dance moves for tomorrow as I write this, and it’s humbling to see them prioritize time at the end of a very long day to go through it one more time when they could be relaxing. It’s been a full day from the rooster crowing nearby at 3:30 am to worshipping in community with Larnaca Community Church to visiting the VBS venue and praying for the children who will arrive tomorrow. We’ve been told that most of the children are unknown to the church, which provides us all with an incredible opportunity to show them what it means to shine the light of Christ. During our devotion time tonight, we prayed for a little boy in one of our groups that has special needs and we’re praying that he is able…

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Cyprus 2023: Day 1

“Are you Mormons?” This was the question asked by someone on the plane when we shared that our team was on missions to Cyprus. Isn’t that interesting? Travel days can be often be seen as the “throw-away” days where the goal is just reaching the destination. But our goal and destination is to embody Christ and glorify Him through our actions and words.  Our prayer is that we  demonstrated this today-from our group prayer during check-in at the Grand Rapids airport to our conversations with a missionary couple from MS heading back to Macedonia in Germany to this individual asking if we were Mormons. Not such a bad travel day. The Lord certainly cleared the path for smooth travels from airport to airport. You would never guess from the photos that we were bleary-eyed, sleep-deprived, and a little nauseated at times.  But we made it to Cyprus and were welcomed…

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Cyprus 2023: “Wherever you are, be all there”

As we prepare to set out for Cyprus tomorrow… (Even writing that is awe-inspiring when we think about others God sent out to Cyprus before us to proclaim the gospel!) As the feelings and emotions are pouring out from the team today: “I’m feeling excited!!” “I’m so nervous…” “…equally freaking out.” God Almighty has prepared the way for each and every youth and leader He has chosen for this trip. He knows our innermost thoughts. He has placed it in the hearts and minds of many to pray for us and support us from around the world. From a ministry leader in Seoul, South Korea…to a missionary family in Kampala, Uganda…to a body of Christ in Diamondhead, MS. One sister in Christ, Val Shepherd, feels so honored to be praying for this Cyprus group, and says, “I know the Lord will bless them as they serve. God is greater and stronger…

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HSM 2023 Wisconsin: Day 6

Hi Friends, Today we all got to sleep in, which was the perfect start to our free day. Thursday was a late night, so we figured we let the students sleep. On Thursday our cookout was moved inside, due to the air quality. We were joined by other mission organizations and members of the community so around 150 people ended up coming. Since the cookout was moved in doors the decided to gather students to lead worship. Kate, Cece, Ethan and Samuel all volunteered and helped to lead. It was so cool to see them stepping out of their comfort zone. We headed back to the church for an extended time of worship where we concluded this time by praying over each student and leader. We ended up praying over each other for over an hour. For lack of better words, this time was SUCH a blessing and so special…

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HSM 2023 Wisconsin: Day 5

Happy Thursday Everyone! Today was our final work day and both teams closed out their worksites on a high notes! The crew at God Touch was able to finish their final project before we left. We power washed, sanded and painted a couple shelves for the ministry to use at the food pantry. We treated ourselves to Dairy Queen in celebration of making it through our work week. The crew that was at Bridge Builders finally completed the fence we had been working on! It was our smoothest  day yet and we had no major hiccups. To cap off our time working on the fence the leaders of Bridge Builders made cupcakes as a thank you for the team. Tonight we are going to a cookout at a community center to eat dinner and hang out with other mission trip teams as well as some of the locals Milwaukeeans that…

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HSM 2023 Wisconsin: Day 4

Hi Friends, Day 4 was another good day of serving! The teams split up again today. Abby and her team went back to God Touch while Quinn and Mike went back to the Bridge Builders. Bridge Builders – Many hands make quick work was not a true statement today, our team spent 4 hours trying to remove one fence post, and after many different techniques and approaches we failed to remove it. We even managed to bend a crowbar attempting to remove the posts. So, after lunch we shifted our plan and cut down the metal polls and began digging new holes for the new wooden fence. Although our team was exhausted, we rallied together to install 3 of 4 posts. That will hopefully set us up well to finish the fence tomorrow! Overall it was a great day digging holes, listening to country music, and capping the work day…

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HSM 2023 Wisconsin: Day 3

Hi Friends, Today our squad split into two teams and went to two different worksites. Abby went with a group to the sight we were at yesterday – God Touch. Quinn and Mike took another group to work with Bridge Builders. God Touch – We had a FANTASTIC day at God touch. We were able to complete our really big project for the week today, so that was a huge blessing to them. We were able to work today to cut and remove all the unused piping in their basement. They are excited to continue to transform the space for a potential kids area, hang out space and gym. We spent our additional time doing various projects that helped to update and beautify the church. In the afternoon we met up with all the churches we are working with and spent an hour worshipping and praying. We had some extra…

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HSM 2023 Wisconsin: Days 1 and 2

What a wonderful few days we have had! We made it to Milwaukee safely, without issue, despite the storms we hit on the way over. PRAISE! We spent sometime getting to know the Next Step’s Team and the other churches we are serving with. We were also split into our work teams last night. Fortunately, both of our work teams ended up serving at the same place today – God Touch Milwaukee. We were able to start on  some renovations to their basement for a children’s area. Later in the morning we got to serve at their community food pantry. Even in the rain people were lined down the street! The ministry has a lasting impact on the community and it was awesome to have the students be a part of that and see them getting more and more comfortable with the people at the food pantry. After lunch, we…

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2023 Greece: Day 5 Update

How is it already our last day with these kids?! We started the day by asking the kids to reflect on what they have learned with us and what they may want to learn from us before we leave. We heard an awesome teaching on Jonah by Nathan, and played water games outside! We ended the day with VeggieTales Jonah and worship songs together! We had an awesome final day of kids camp, but are so sad to say goodbye to the sweet children of Glyfada that we have come to love and cherish over the past week. We had a chance to debrief with Pastor George before heading to our debrief location in beautiful Mati! We are looking forward to a day of rest and reflection of our own before heading back home.

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2023 Greece: Day 4 Update

Quiet ball was the first game of the day- our teams favorite game so far 😌Then we flowed into yoga taught by our fellow yogi Ally Ray.Our team did an English lesson on fruits/foods and we practiced with a fruit salad game. Bingo was a hit for the kids! Again, they are very competitive 😊Alexander Schmidt did a fun teaching in fruits of the spirit and in the community. The kids finished the day with creating crayons with several broken crayons colors. This is a great example of how different parts of the community look different but make one body- the body of Christ. The team finished our day going into Athens to meet up with Pastor George. He had a wonderful message about Acts 17 at the Acropolis – where Paul was when he spoke to the people of Athens. The team is so clearly seeing Gods hand and…

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HSM 2023 Wisconsin: Pray with us

Hi friends, As we prepare and ready our hearts to go to Milwaukee, Wisconsin to serve with Next Steps Ministries, your prayers are the greatest gift you could give our team. Below are what our team is specifically praying for, so please pray with us over these requests! Growing more comfortable talking to people I don’t know Bonding as a group, working well as a team, connecting well with other teams, and just having fun Growing in my spiritual walk with God Understanding how even the small things we do have a big impact for the kingdom Achieve what we came to do and reach the people in Milwaukee Experience God in a way we haven’t before That intentional conversations would be had with students AND the people we are serving That we all would see this trip as important and weighty even though it is a state over and…

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Greece 2023: Day 3 Update

Wow this week is just flying by!!! Today we started the morning with Red Light, Green Light and Heads Up Seven Up. Red Light Green light got pretty competitive…in general the kids this week are all competitive in most of the games! Next we did an English Lesson in Words of Encouragement by Ally Ray. The kids were able to use this lesson for the next round of carnival games! Danielle Balanda led an amazing lesson on the importance in encouraging others and how together we can lift up our community together. Then we all ended the day building marshmallow-toothpick bridges together in their teams – we got some solid foundations! (…before they started to melt in the Greece heat) The Team got caught up in playing games at the church after the kids went home…we were at the church for an hour and a half playing signs with Liz…

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2023 Greece: Day 2 of Kids Camp

We finished up our second day at Kids Camp in Glyfada. Today we started our morning with Hot Seat, Simon says and Freeze Tag, where the kids got to know each other more in small groups. Our English lesson today was about community members and places they work including a scavenger hunt throughout the church.Next, we moved into the common thread game while each team created their group flag for the week.Builders and destroyers was the favorite and most competitive of the day!Micah Bagley led an ecology lesson on how the crow, grass, tortoise and red fox are apart of a food chain. When one part is removed then the entire chain struggles- reminding us how important each one of us are in God’s community. Then we finished the day painting rocks and playing more games (the kids had particular favorites that involved running ☺️😮‍💨)The whole team is having a…

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First Day of Kids Camp

First day of camp went great 😊We started with the hula hoop game, human knot, and no hands cup stacking. Abby led a great teaching on 1 Corinthians 12 about being one body with many serving parts. We ended the day with making friendship bracelets and splashing around in the pool. (Along with our team getting splashed by the kids 🙂)

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2023 Greece: Days 1 and 2

Day 1:WE ARE FINALLY HERE 💙🤍💙Praise for seamless flights and smooth travels to Athens!Today we arrived in Athens at 3 , then went to JUMBO to shop for the VBS camp and then visited the church to review our schedule for the upcoming week. We tried cappuccino Freddo and are all very excited to get some sleep after being awake for 30+ hours 😅 Day 2:-Gods overfunding helped us take care of the rental van issue- thank you all for the donations! – This morning we went to the 11am service at Glyfada church. The message today was about Gifts from the Holy Spirit and the Church as a community. Our theme for VBS is one body, one church – we were so encouraged by Gods hand in aligning those two messages. – We began setting up for VBS! – We got to explore more of Athens but are excited…

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2023 Greece: Chicago Airport

The team is now settling in, getting food, and playing some games. The flight leaves in 1.5 hours!   ~ Glyfada Team

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2023 Greece: 5,305 Miles

It is 5,305 miles to Athens Greece from Grand Rapids. This number is incredible to think about. This team finds its self 10 hours from flying out. There has been months of prep and prayer. Its time to set forth and be the servants for Gods plan’s. Pray for sleep, rest, and gentle reminder that God gives peace & comfort, and that he is in control.   ~Glyfada Team

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2023 Greece: Glyfada Greece 5/22/23

Hello to those who have been tracking our mission trip. To those who have supported, followed, and prayed for this trip, God has used the money, prayers, and support to completely fund our trip for June 2023! In the last week of funding, over $10,000 was raised. From last-minute $2,000 checks to random interactions that led to more than $5,000 being donated at once, it was incredible to see it happen. The way God showed up to financially support us like that created a new understanding of what it means to trust God as this trip moves forward. The VBS planning has taken full swing as the team is now preparing the materials needed to be brought or bought for the planning. The itinerary has been set, and members are working on the teachings they will deliver. The excitement for this trip has been buzzing. Through God’s showing up and…

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Cleveland, OH 2023: Preparations have begun!

Preparations have begun! On July 9, our team of 12 students and 4 adult leaders will head to Cleveland, Ohio where we will be partnering with Next Step Ministries, and The Nehemiah Mission of Cleveland, in doing different service projects for people and organizations in the Cleveland community. Our students are excited and have had two meetings now to begin preparing for however God wants to use them on this trip. Support letters have gone out, and our students took time this past week to learn more about Next Step Ministries and The Nehemiah Mission. Each of the students has a “prayer buddy” on the team to offer support and prayer throughout this journey. Please join us in praying over each of these students; that God prepares their hearts, provides the finances needed for this trip, and uses each of them in unique ways to bless others in July.

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2023 Greece: Glyfada Greece – June 2023

Dear Calvary, We are so blessed as a team of eight, to be able to go to Glyfada Greece in the month of June. We are will be partnering with the  Evangelical Church of Glyfada. In addition to the partnership, we are hosting a camp in the area for the youth. The team assembled is led by Ally, and accompanied by Alexander, Abby, Nathan, Jessica, Alex, Danielle, and Micah. Some prayer requests include good preparation, safety for the trip, and funding. As we prepare for this trip please also pray for God’s love and grace to flow through our team’s words and actions. Thank you!

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Guyana 1/29/23 Home safe!

Prasing God we are home! We arrived in at about midnight. Good byes were hard but praising God for new friends made. We want to thank everyone for praying. We are praising God for all HIS yes answers. No one got sick, travel was good, luggage’s all made it there and back, we saw no snakes on the property , team bonded very well and work was completed. God blessed us beyond what we asked for. We debriefed over dinner in Miami airport. Sharing how we each saw God and how great He is. Please continue to pray for all the abc Guyana churches. Especially pastor Stephine who is still in the hostipal. All praise and Honor to God , our one true KING! With love, from a team of strangers who are now close friends Matt, Lisa, Joe, Bill, Pat, Dan, Tom and Laurie and our new friend John…

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Guyana 2023 1/26/23 last day on site

House is finished! Crazy how much work got done in 2 weeks. Praise God. Tonight we had dinner together and went around praising God for  all His blessings. One more sleep here and we leave at 9am to start our trip back. Please join us in praising God for this house. Also safe travels for all us as we travel home.Thank you for following along with us and all your prayers. From the team of strangers that our amazing friends now! PRAISE GOD!!!! Beyond blessed!

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Guyana 2023: 1/25/23

 WOW! Roof on, kitchen wrapping up,fence done,gate painted,gates made, snake wall done, doors up,closet made, expanded bedroom, new washroom made, bathroom re done, tile, tile ,tile DONE! Car port being made, windows in, holes filled in….NO MORE SNAKES coming this way. We are wrapping up today, Last work day. Tonight we will have dinner and fellowship with everyone. Prayer request: That we can wrap up everything today and leave the house nice Pray for strength today For pastor Stephen and the Drs to find out what’s wrong with him Great fellowship tonight and our team can be good witnesses for the Lord Thank you so much! Looking forward to seeing and sharing back at home with our friends and family.

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Guyana 2023: 1/24/23 Tuesday

Coming to a close soon, so lots of work to be completed. Yesterday fence was completed!!! Matt is welding gates now. Pat, Joey and Billy are finishing the kitchen. Tom and John have finished the closet and working on a new bathroom.  Dan is now a plumber! Laurie and Lisa are tiling, tiling, tiling. Our new friends here, Doug and Lydia, are putting up doors and painting. The Guyanese men are working circles around all of us. Such hard working men. The kitchen ladies are feeding us very well. Please pray for strength and endurance to finish well. Thank you from our team

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Guyana 2023: 1/23/23 Monday

The start of our second week, New roof almost done. The kitchen is wrapping up. Fence is going up today. Bathroom tile is almost all done. Tom and John are building a closet and another bathroom. Praying we can get plumbing started today. The heat got to some of us yesterday. Laurie shared last night from Ephesians.  The neighbor James shared his testimony last night of God’s grace on his life.  We are ready for another day of work after great food and rest. Prayer request: Protection from the heat The team can continue to have strength to finish projects That we keep our eyes focused on God’s ways and not our ways For the unsaved people here Pastor Stephen who is in the hospital and Strength for this wife Joy Thank you so much!

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Guyana 2023: 1/22/23

Wow a day of rest! Yesterday we enjoyed worshiping at the local church, Pastor Andy preached about our creator and be prepared when HE comes. Pastor Prim included some of the men in the service. We came back to another wonderful meal made by the sweet kitchen ladies. A bit of rest and fellowship. Then off to swim in beautiful water. An hour bus ride there with our new Guyanese friends, much laughter and good times as we swam in a stream. On the way home the bus broke down. So we sat on the bus laughing and having more fellowship with our new friends while Andy and Prim went to get new vehicles. Dan and John choose the top seat on the roof of the Land Rover. More crazy fun memories being made. Pastor Andy invited people to accept Christ. We believe a guy we have been praying for…

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Guyana 2023: 1/21/23

 DAY OF REST,……Happy Sunday! Praying for Calvary church this morning as we head out to hear pastor Andy preach. Yesterday was another productive day here in Guyana. More building projects. The highlight of yesterday was our alligator hunt. We all got in boats at night and off we went with one gun. They were hard to hunt but we got a couple. The exciting thing was watching a local man jump in after it was shot to find it!!!! Many laughs and memories being made. We continue to use flexibility in our language and do what God is asking us to do for his kingdom. For those of you who know Kathleen and her kitchen this next news will shock you……She allowed Dan to come in the kitchen and cook this morning!!! { teachers pet}. Prayers request:  Health and energy We can use today to rest and enjoy the day…

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Guyana 2023: 1/20/23 Day 5

Good Saturday morning from Kwankwani! Rain, rain, rain yesterday. We worked on what we could inside. House is moving along. Some of us are getting tired and sore. Please pray for energy and grace to each other. Another couple came in last night so we have extra help. Last night we found out what we get done here is how the house will be. It’s hard to get work teams in here. Pray we accomplish all the jobs. We really want Prim and Anita to be able to live in a nice snake free home. Dan shared from 1 Peter and encouraged us to continue to live for Jesus. We were able to pray over Andy and Kathleen and praise God for the work they do here. We pray we are an encouragement and witness to the people here. Tonight is alligator hunt. PRAY! PRAY! PRAY! “In his heart a…

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Guyana 2023: Day 4 1/19/23

Today was HOT HOT HOT! But so much was accomplished. Prim and Anita’s house is looking so good. They are both so happy and thankful. Matt and Joe are working on fence around the property. Pat and Bill are designing a whole new kitchen. Dan, Laurie and Lisa are tiling bathroom and shower. Tom and John are replacing all the windows. It’s been a great team God provided with many different skills. Not only do we have our team but the Guyanese team works circles around us. Pat shared last night about Ephesians 2 with us and his longing for heaven. We prayed together for the unsaved people in Guyana and in our lives. Our heart was longing for these people to open their hearts to Jesus. As I type this we are heading out for another days work. Bonus training Lisa is getting cooking lessons from the kitchen ladies….

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Guyana 2023: 1/18/23 Day 3

Good morning from Guyana. The internet is very spotty so forgive us for not sending more pictures, or answering text quickly. We have full days of work, 6am-6pm. They make us take many breaks and feed us very very good. Yesterday we got a lot done, new windows being put in, wall being prepared for paint, more welding on the fence and railing. Matt even got to teach a Guyanese how to weld. We are loving the people and working along side of them, We are praising God for Andy and Kathleen and heard about how they got here. God is so great! Please join us in prayer for family back home, energy, Gods protection, health for our bodies. Prayers for the people here who are taking care of us. Our word for this trip was flexibility and it has come in to play a lot this trip. Joey shared…

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Guyana 2023: Day 2 1/17/23

God is great – the snake wall is finished!! We all started our day at 5:30am and we were working by 6am. We have loved working with the Guyanese men. Our team has bonded very well, and the kitchen has been started. Last night we were able to spend time with Kathleen and Andy in prayer and much laughter, We are all holding up well and kitchen team has fed us very well. Many of us have tried many good things. God has showed us all many blessings of why we are here. All praise goes to Him. Please continue to pray for protection from snakes, the heat doesn’t get to us, and continued stamina to get the work done. Thank you so much!

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Guyana 2023: Pictures from Travel Day and Day One

Here are some picture of travel day and day one that I could upload! Picture are limited, due to service.    

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Guyana 2023 Wheels up in 5 days!

We are only 5 days away from the beginning of our missions trip to Kwakwani, Guyana! Please continue to pray for the team as we are facing some sickness and spiritual warfare. Our word for the trip is flexibility. We are keeping our hands open for God to do His perfect will! We are so excited to have this opportunity to serve Pastor Prem and his wife Anita in doing some much needed improvements to their hope. To God be the glory! We will keep this blog updated to as we have availability. Pray for traveling mercies as it is going to be a long trip followed by a long van ride through the night into the jungle’s of Guyana. Guyana Team 2023

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78 Madison Mission Final Post

We made it across Lake MI and are making our final leg home. We said goodbye to Chloe at the docks!

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78 Madison Missions Friday AM

Some of us got up early to catch first light and are squeezing every last drop out of being together during waking hours. More later. . .  

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78 Madison Missions Thursday Night

Today was another great day! We talked about servant leadership and then immediately got to see those virtues displayed in our young men and women in our serving project. One team removed water tanks (yes 3) from the basement, along with a dryer that died over 3 years ago! More teams did yard work, trimmed bushes, cleared brush, and piled wood!  Many hands made light work, which was rewarded with a quick trip to a local pool (similar to an outdoor MVP). For our evening closing session, there were many emotions and a deep desire to take the next step, whatever that may be God calling us to do. Is he calling to rebuild ruins? Raise up foundations? Repair broken walls? Restore streets and homes? Our students are quick learners and have been eager to live out what was taught – and although most are super sad to be heading…

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78 Madison Missions Wednesday Evening Post

Today is Wednesday. Middle of the week. This team is doing amazing things. Satan wants nothing more than to break into friendships, distract us from our mission, and to lay waste to the fire God is flaming in these teens hearts. We’ve prayed against Satan’s tactics and ask that our supporters do the same! Today we discussed role models. You guessed it. A role model is someone who models a role in our life that we look up to. What kind of virtues do they display? Can you relate to them and be like them? Josh, our teacher of the day, had us look up scriptures which pointed out things we can relate to with Jesus. Pretty serious discussion. He ends with Luke 2:52 and we point out that Jesus grew – he once was a baby and grew into a man, just like we are growing up. Relatable –…

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78 Madison Missions Wednesday am post

We are 1/2 way through our week! The kids are sleeping pretty well! Please pray against general fatigue and that we would all have the energy needed to play with kids this afternoon and to participate in a physical labor project tomorrow! The students have a variety of things to tell you about witnessing on the streets in Madison. We encountered college kids, those struggling with securing housing, people waiting for the busses, those with mental illness. YWAM has a great presence downtown as they do this every Tuesday. It was great to see the students give their time to the less fortunate, listen to their stories and then be able to share their faith and pray with people. At the end, we shared stories and debriefed in front of the capitol bldg. Each group experienced this: The Holy Spirit will give you words to say. It’s important to know…

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78 Madison Mission 7/26 Day

it’s 3:15 WI time and we are preparing meals to hand out in downtown Madison. Assembly line style~ hot dogs, chips, apples, water and more! Please pray that the students will be obedient to the call they have received to spread the good news of Jesus with others!  

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78 Madison Mission Trip 7/25

First of all, thank you for sharing your students with us this week; we are grateful for the opportunity to see them be challenged in their faith journey and are excited to see friendships blossom sans the presence of technology! We had class time in the morning, our theme this week is discerning truth. Then we went through an exercise of writing out our journey with God and where we are at today. This prepped our team to then go and share our stories with other people on the streets of Madison! To aid in the process, we started with a scavenger hunt – but to earn team points for the crazy photos we took (see many below) we were challenged to have conversations about our faith with strangers! From cheese heads to chocolate ice cream, the kids had so much fun and we were so impressed by their willingness…

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78 Madison Mission Trip 7/24 post#1

I will post again at the end of the night but wanted to let you all know that we’ve arrived! Once we arrived in Milwaukee, we ate lunch and headed to Discovery World. A huge surprise to us was that while we were there, we were able to take in a Blue Angels show! Before Bed Additions: We are having a great time! We played a name game to get to know the awesome and very hospitable YWAM staff and for them to know our names.  Fun was had by all.  We are moving into free time; lights out for our group is 11 pm (12 am) Grand Rapids time! Breakfast will come early (7:30 am) so pray everyone will get a good nights rest to meet with he Lord and his people in downtown Madison tomorrow! Notes for the kids to tell their parents when we return: Lauren is…

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HSM Knoxville: Pictures!

Anyone who would like to view pictures from our trip may find a folder here. Enjoy! – Josh Karhan on behalf of the Knoxville Team

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HSM Knoxville: Friday & Saturday

After four days of serving together, worshipping together, and growing closer together as a team, we were blessed to enjoy a free day of hangout together on Friday. We began the morning with a crepe breakfast picnic in a park in downtown Knoxville. After the delicious breakfast the team broke up and did some shopping downtown. In the afternoon, we embarked on an hour drive  to Gatlinburg to do some sight seeing and walk on the skybridge. The view of the mountains was breathtaking! The team also celebrated our time together with one last dinner in Gatlinburg. Once the team got back to the church they enjoyed a fun night of hanging out and singing karaoke. We packed up and hit the road on Saturday morning, traveling for 11.5 hours before pulling into the parking lot at Calvary Church. The trip is over, but as the Next Step staff reminded…

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HSM Knoxville: Thursday

Our last service day in Knoxville!  Crew 1 Crew one went back to KARM today. Some of the team members did some work outside in the garden planting strawberries and also pressure washed the cement in the courtyard. The rest of the team painted the bathrooms at KARM.  Crew 5 Since the boys finished the deck yesterday, they moved to a new site today and started a ramp on another home. Because this is our last day of work, they were not able to complete the entire project. The local ministry who is the partner of Next Step will  gather a team from a local church to finish the ramp on this house next week. Despite starting a project they would not finish this week, our crew dug in and worked hard to finish our service out well.  Crew 7 As our crew of ladies had finished all of their…

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HSM Knoxville: Wednesday

June 29 (Day 4) The first two days have been off to a great start as the Knoxville team has grown significantly in their relationships with each other and with God. The team started the morning with a southwestern stable of biscuits and gravy. After a quick morning devotion all three teams headed out.   Crew 1 Crew one spent the day at the Knoxville Area Rescue Mission, and had the great opportunity to serve KARM’s guest’s face-to-face for the first time and experiencing the heart behind the thrift stores we had been in the first two days.  We spent the morning handing out water and granola bars in the courtyard then had the privilege of serving lunch from 11am-1pm. Several of us were able to sit down and hear the stories of God at work in the lives of those we met and pray with them for God’s continued presence. …

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HSM Knoxville: Tuesday

Tuesday, June 28 Our second full day of serving! Crew 1 Crew 1 went back to another KARM thrift store for some more volunteering. In the morning the team sorted books and organized toys. The team had a great time hanging out and getting to know one another better as we served. We saw Jesus show up through our discussions on the team, and were encouraged to hear that our volunteer hours and purchases all went towards providing a significant number of meals for those who are hungry.  Crew 7 It was a very messy & productive day today at the house as the girls finally got to paint after yesterday’s humidity kept them from that part of their service project. The girls painted a side of the house and a fair amount of paint also found its way onto them!  Crew 5 The boys continued to work on the…

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HSM Knoxville: Monday

June 27.  Our team was treated to a good ole pancakes breakfast and then a nice morning devotional. All three teams headed out to different work sites. Crew 1 Today the KARM team went to one of the many KARM thrift stores in the Knoxville Area. All of the proceeds from each store go to help support their mission to provide meals and care for those in need. The team helped with a variety of tasks including sorting clothing, moving furniture, and helping to stock employee resources for assisting patrons. After a long day’s work, the team cooled off with frosties from Wendy’s. Tomorrow the team will head to another one of KARM’s stores. Crew 5The building team headed over to a nearby house in Knoxville. The team started the day by painting an ADA ramp at the house. While the painting was going on the other half of the team…

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HSM Knoxville: The Adventure Begins!

Day 1 (June 26) It was an early morning for the Knoxville team yesterday as a 7 AM departure came quick for most of us! Each van enjoyed very valuable time to bond with each other on the long drive. The team also enjoyed some hangout time over lunch. God has blessed us in many ways so far including clearing some accidents and traffic on I-75 in response to prayer. We drove through some heavy rain just over the Kentucky Tennessee border that lasted until we arrived at Hope Fellowship, but even the rain increased the beauty of our view of the mountains. We arrived to a nice warm dinner and an enthusiastic welcome from the Next Step team. Today, our teams are hard at work at KARM and two other work sites. Check back tonight for details on our day!” – Dakota Tomac & Josh Karhan on behalf of…

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78 Missions: Our First Team Meeting!

To say that Rodney and I (Lydia) were very excited for our first team meeting was an understatement. Seeing all the members of the Madison WI team come together for the first time definitely made this trip more of a reality! There were a few new faces to Calvary as well as students who had been attending the 7/8  grade programming all year ranging from 13 years old to almost 15 (not including Rodney or me. Ha!) While we were eating our pizza lunch, we got to spend a lot of time playing get to know you games. It can be challenging and awkward at times to force yourself out of your friend group to meet others. We challenged them to do just this and play the game two truths and a lie. Our team had to work together to figure out what each student was lying about. It was…

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Mission Trip Opportunities for All Ages

Do you want to experience new areas, new people, and new ways to be like Christ to His people?  Calvary’s 2020 Short-Term Mission Teams are now forming. There are opportunities for nearly all of us! For Students: 5th-6th Grade Camp Serve: Learn about the ministries of Calvary Church and how you can be a part.   7th-8th Grade Madison, WI: You will do service projects & have opportunities to share your faith. High School Poland: Help with a local summer camp and VBS as you serve together in Poland. For Families:  The Spring Break Family Trip is for families with kids in fifth grade and up! Come to Kentucky and serve together. For College Students, Young Adults, and everyone else: Mozambique is for anyone who has a heart to encourage our missionaries Lucky and Sonnet, spread the word of Jesus, and help both adults and children dig deeper into God’s…

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Join a 2020 Short-Term Missions Team

Short-Term Mission Teams are now forming. Applications are available in the Connection Point or online at calvarygr.org/trips. Trips include: May 14 to May 26 – Mozambique. We work alongside missionaries Lucky and Sonnet to provide encouragement, spread the word of Jesus, and help both adults and children dig deeper into God’s word through oral Bible storytelling. Chuck Ely, a seasoned team leader, will help anyone new to short-term missions hit the ground running. You will learn Simply the Story a life-changing and fun method of telling Bible stories. Co-ed team. May 1 to May 10 – Guyana. Calvary men, this is your opportunity to help build a structure and build the community of Christ. Caleb Marcus is the leader of this trip. We will be partnering with missionaries Andy and Kathleen Girwarnauth. Come prepared to sweat, build stuff, and labor for God. Both skilled and unskilled workers needed. Men only…

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2020 Short-Term Mission Trips

I used to think short-term mission trips were only for the “super-spiritual, bilingual, uber Christian” who had the entire Bible memorized. Then I was challenged to go to Kiev. With some skepticism, I asked God for everything to fall into place logistically before I would commit, and sure enough God orchestrated some amazing details! Despite this, I told God “I am not qualified,” God broke down that barrier and not only did I go to Kiev, but God awakened my heart to His love for the nations. That trip created a new awareness in me so now when I read, “People will come from east and west and north and south, and will take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God” (Luke 13:29) I find myself almost in tears rejoicing at what a great God we have who loves all His children.  In spite of your own…

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Lesvos November 2019: Day 5

Our last day at the Center.  We were a bit run down, five of six team members battling sickness. But we pushed through knowing this was our last chance to serve the precious women, kids and All4Aid workers.  An electrician was finally able to come today.  It had been scheduled at the beginning of the week, but due to strikes and other delays the service upgrade didn’t happen until today.  This meant canceling some of the day’s previously scheduled laundry appointments and offering fewer showers in order to close the Center early.  (School went on as usual, without electricity, the students don’t even flinch when the lights go out.)  It was hard to face the disappointment of the women and very difficult to explain that the temporary inconvenience would mean better service in the future – more washing machines, consistently hot showers, fewer daily outages. Fridays are “deep cleaning” days…

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Lesvos November 2019: Day 4

Happy Thanksgiving! Today our team is thankful that we were able to assist the Center in providing 85 showers, 36 loads of laundry, and 40 children with schooling! We also provided many women with mediocre manicures and enjoyed creating sunshine craft projects with the kiddos. For Thanksgiving dinner, our team shared a huge family-style Greek meal at a local restaurant. Tonight, we are especially grateful for the refugee volunteers who assist us in making all of the above activities possible. The Center has roughly 10 young girls and women from Moria camp who volunteer everyday to help the Center run smoothly and to provide translation for those of us who lack the ability to speak Farsi. These women work tirelessly to assure women are cared for at the Center, and then return home to the Camp to cook for and care for their own families. We just think the world…

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Lesvos November 2019: Day 3

We had another full, interesting day. The Center seemed more crowded and intense. We were told later this was due to many people receiving transfers to Athens; they were under pressure to get everything in order before their boats left in the afternoon. We’re not sure the conditions will be better in Athens, but it is seen as a step forward in their journey. In the evenings we eat dinner as a team and discuss moments from the day and questions we have about our experiences. Tonight we shared our evening meal with eight of the workers from All4Aid. We learned the stories of how each person ended up serving on Lesvos. Each story was unique, with a common thread of the Lord’s call and divinely orchestrated opportunities. On bad days, they look back to that call and know this is where they are supposed to be. Thanksgiving is an…

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Lesvos November 2019: Day 2

Today at the Center, we served in many of the same ways as Monday: lice checks, showers, laundry, school, and craft activities. We also deep cleaned parts of the Center and organized items for their new store (we might share more about the store later in the week). We finished at the Center a bit early due to a scheduled power outage and used the opportunity to visit the “Life Jacket Graveyard.” This space is a dump for the remnants of a refugee’s journey to Lesvos, such as their life jackets and boats. Let me tell you, it was piled high. The space felt heavy, and left us with more questions than answers: Should we celebrate, as each life jacket represents someone safe at shore? Should we be angry, as people were forced to flee from their homes? Should we be unsettled, as this could just as easily be us?…

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Lesvos November 2019: Day 1

Last week when I checked the weather forecast for our time in Greece, I was disappointed.  I was hoping for a warm week of Greek sunshine after “suffering” through our early Michigan winter.  Instead the forecast showed several days of rain.  When we arrived at the island last night, our Greek hotel owner was fretting about what the rain would do to the people in the camp.  I felt incredibly selfish for wanting sunshine for the sake of my own experience. The people we met and served today walked down the hill from the Camp to the Center and arrived soaked.  They take a shower or do laundry.  We assist however we can (entertain the kids, help with laundry/shower schedules, serve tea, check for and treat lice, find clothes for the families being treated for scabies).  Then they haul their laundry back up the hill, through rain and rivers of…

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Lesvos November 2019: Journey to the Island

Hello from Athens. After an unexpected delay in Newark, we have finally arrived in Greece! We are a day behind, but  maintaining good attitudes and taking the opportunity to get to know each other. When asked to describe our journey, these words quickly came to our mind: long, flexible, team building, unexpected, and fluid. We missed the opportunity to attend church and spend some time shaking off jet lag, but are thankful to arrive to Lesvos on Sunday evening in time to start the week off at the center. In our team devotion on Saturday, we were reminded to be thankful for all the ways God reveals His love to us (Romans 8:28-29). We’re excited to get on the ground in Lesvos and continue to be reminded of God’s love.

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October 27, 2019

Well it’s been a few days now and please accept m apologies for the silence! First, our last two days on the island were overwhelming! The highs of the Woman’s Centre work of our ladies, connecting with the women and children POC’s (Persons of Concern. The work of new classrooms and children’s amazing resilience in the joy of learning and activity time , smiling, laughing, having fun together causes our hearts to smile. The All4Aid Centre is definitely a ray of light in this very dark place both spiritually and humanitarian based. As the women shared the love of Jesus at the Centre, the guys walked through the heartbreak of the camp, to say overcrowded, is a vast understatement! We sorted tents, packed clothing, winterized tents, counted people, mapped tent placement in the overflowing olive groves and walked/talked with people from many countries and cultures! Lots of interaction with refugees…

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October 23,2019

Today was a hard day! Today was an up close and  personal look into the reality of the life of a refugee family. Moria camp has burst its borders and spills out into the olive groves on the accompanying hillsides. What was built to house 2500 now overflows with 15,000 people. Families of 4-6 making due in a 4 person tent! We took census today and mapped out sections of the hillside to provide some level of mapping for where people are! We met several families, husbands and wives, children all with smiling faces, eager to welcome you into their tent and share some tea or roasted bread, the little they had, with you! Would I do the same if the shoe were on the other foot? These people have nothing, they left it all behind in exchange for safety and freedom. We serve an awesome God and we serve…

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October 22, 2019

Day 2 has come to a close as I write this! It was another full day. The boys, Bill, Bob & Marv, reported to camp Moria and volunteered to help in the EuroRelief warehouse. There, we prepared clothing packs for new arrivals to the camp. These packs are put up by size, age, & gender. It was a privilege to pray over each pack and ask God to touch the life that would be receiving the clothes and draw them to himself as they journey the refugee path! We also helped reorganize and inspect a large amount of used tents to see if they could be handed out in the future! Dawn and Phyllis enjoyed another day in the center ministering to the ladies and their children. The school was in operation for its second day and everyone came back and was extremely excited. In the morning the class is for…

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October 21, 2019

Day 1, how does one even grasp the concept of refugee life? Seeing it, touching it, walking in it’s midst, is only a glimpse of the complete and utter despair of those caught in this ongoing crises! Today we touched it with the hands of Jesus and we walked it in his sandals. We offered a hand and loved in his name both in the Center and in the incredibly overpopulated camp they call Moria. The women came to the center after being closed for a week (to prepare the classrooms). Many came, so very happy to have it open again. The children came to the first day of school. Three hours in the morning for the younger ones and four hours in the afternoon for the older ones. The children came happy! Us guys worked in the camp and interacted with many, each smiling and happy to shake our…

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October 20, 2019

What a grand day we had today! After breakfast together we headed off to a real multi-cultural worship experience shared with volunteers from all over the world and many refugees from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, and Northern Africa! We sang together, heard a compelling presentation of the gospel in three languages, and had opportunity to pray for several refugee seekers/worshipers. After enjoying lunch as a team, we pitched in, helping to clean up the All4Aid Center with the All4Aid team getting it ready to reopen after being closed for a week to complete the addition of the class room with teaching beginning tomorrow. Adding the teaching is a longtime answer to prayer and will be a solid foundational point in spreading the good news of the gospel. Tomorrow it all starts. Bob, Bill and I will be working in the camp while Dawn and Phyllis will help kickoff the education…

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Lesvos STM, October 17-28, 2019

Our team arrived safely and on time with all of our luggage yesterday (Friday). We made our way to our “home away from home” and after a quick dinner, settled in for some horizontal sleep after roughly 31 hours of travel since leaving our homes in GR. God answered our prayers and yours by bringing us safely here to reach out for Him! Today, Saturday, we were able to visit the All4Aid Centre and see the almost completed addition of the classrooms as they began a long awaited and prayed for ability to teach the refugee children of the camp! We also had the privilege of touring the island for the afternoon. We are looking forward to our time here of being a living testimony to the Greeks, the staff of the Center, the other volunteers, and especially all of the refugees we come in contact with. Thank you for…

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Lesvos September 2019 | Thursday

Hi brothers and sisters in Christ. Thank you for your patience in waiting for this post. Thursday morning began with breakfast at Laura and Marta’s new apartment. Baked goods were provided by a dear friend of Laura’s. At the center we helped the women and children make friendship bracelets. It was a joy to work alongside refugee volunteers. After the workday we were able to go up to see the Olive Grove which is a camp right outside of Moria. This was extremely difficult to see. Please see this video. https://youtu.be/sv_1eU889Po Friday morning at the center began with praise and worship time as well as scripture reading and prayer led by Pastor Chris. Many women and children came to the center for showers and laundry. The Calvary team facilitated and helped with various activities including completing puzzles and playing Uno with children, dancing with both women and children to “Hokey…

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Wednesday Oct 2

Our team started the day with breakfast at the hotel, then drove to the women and children center, after a short-worship song and a beautiful devotion, a prayer and job assignments for the day we were ready to start. Many refugee ladies and their young kids were waiting patiently outside the center with their bags of dirty laundry, and a hope of a safe place to sit, rest ,shower and have someone who can love on them.. We started with few planned activities- a home made colored play dough which the kids enjoyed a lot, it was such a joy to watch these little kiddos molding and cutting the play dough into multiple shapes and showing it off with a big smiles on their faces. The ladies were super excited to use the facial masks, many ladies sat down to crochet or drink tea with their face masks on, what... Continue Reading

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

We walk to another day of wonderful weather! We had an 8:15am start at the center with staff devotions and then assignments. Angela and two staff personnel manned the showers; Calling out the number for the next in line, handing a small cup of shampoo to each person, and pushing the button for 7 minutes of hot water. (Several pauses in this process needed to wait for water to heat.) Approximately 100 showers take today! Lana started out in the laundry room. If you came to the center today you would have opportunity to do 3 loads on Oct 21. Yup, appointments are 3 weeks out at this point for use of their 8 washing machines. Julie, Amy, and Laurie interacted with the women and children in a variety of ways. We made puzzles, colored, polished nails, cooed at babies, batted beach balls around and did crafts – Julie was…

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Lesvos September 2019 – Monday

Today was our first day serving at the All4Aid center, located near Camp Moria. The staff said that it wasn’t as busy as usual due to two fires that broke out the day before inside the camp, where nearly 13,000 refugees are currently living. The fires, which killed at least one person and triggered rioting, has created more tension and fear, causing the women to stay home. Those who came took showers, washed their laundry, sewed, mended clothing and just rested. Our team spent time painting their nails, coloring with the kids, playing games and whatever else we could do to make them feel comfortable and cared for. Due to overcrowding and growing tensions, we are not allowed to enter the camp, so our day ended a bit early (prior Calvary Church teams have helped serve meals inside the camp), giving us more time to spend together as a team…

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Lesvos September 2019 | Day One

Our awesome team leaving Gerald R Ford Airport at 11:30 am Friday. We are so blessed. From Grand Rapids to Newark to Athens to Lesvos ,all of the flights were on schedule without a hitch. Arrived at Hotel Glazio Asterio at 4 pm local time (9:00am our body time). This will be our home for the next week.   Local restaurant on the Aegean Sea drying octopus. Can you see Turkey in the distance?             Sunday morning worship at I58. So touching to worship with this international community! Scripture displayed in English, Farsi, Arabic and French!       Lunch with sisters from All4aid. Such Delightful Mediterranean weather and delightful company ! Here’s a bit of Greek culture… as we drove through narrow streets we followed this truck filled with live chicken. A couple flew out 😭 It’s 9:30 pm and our team sorting/ packing…

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Lesvos August 2019 | Athens

We got to the airport at 5:30am after loading our tiny European cars with 8 suitcases plus carry-ons. When we first arrived in Lesvos at the beginning of the week we had an All4Aid worker meet us at the airport and she was able to take the majority of our luggage. This morning, we prayed right before packing them that God would give us the space we didn’t know we had, and He sure delivered. During our layover in Athens we had the chance to go to the Acropolis and visit the Parthenon. It was an amazing experience. Right before walking up to Mars Hill we read Acts 17:22-31, the passage of the Areopagus sermon from the Apostle Paul. In the afternoon we visited a couple shops and headed back to the room to rest up for our 3am pickup to the airport. Please pray for smooth travel (especially since…

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Lesvos August 2019 | Last Day at Center

The day was bittersweet as we are all worn out from both the physical and emotional toll of working at the center, but we wish we could stay and work more! We will miss all of the women and children, as well as all of the All4Aid workers who mentored us and worked alongside us throughout the week. Today was busy as there were refugees from other nations besides the Middle East— we had a few women and children from the Congo. Today we made paper plate fans (as it was very hot, once again), made more sock puppets as the kids absolutely love them, and did some yoga as the morning workout. There many children today, so we were kept busy with coloring, and ended up taking some of their energy outside to do a lot of jumping rope. The shop was kept very busy as appointments had accidentally…

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Lesvos, August 2019– Princess Day

Today was the day!— princess day! Both the mothers and daughters loved all of the activities. We had stations around the center for makeup, massages, sharing affirmations, hair dressing, crown making, nail painting, and a banquet style snack. It was…

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Lesvos, August 2019– Wednesday at the center

This morning we had a quick and simple breakfast before heading over to the Centre for Women and Children. We sang a new song and prayed before the center opened— one of the workers led us in worship as her husband played the guitar. We got our…

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WEST VIRGINIA 2019- MISSIONS RECAP VIDEO

Here is a video recap of our entire week in west Virginia.
 
Thanks again for all of your support.
 
-Austin

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Lesvos, August 2019– Tuesday at the center

Today was our first full day at the center. It was complete with more laundry, the shop, coloring, and a new craft. Today, we made sock puppets with the women and children, complete with yarn hair, google-y eyes, and felt tongues. Once the puppets…

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Lesvos, August 2019– First day at the center

This morning we met with Martha, a All4Aid worker in Moriah and at the center. She gave us some more background knowledge on the refugee crisis in Lesvos as well general knowledge about the work they are doing on the island. From there we went to the…

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Lesvos, August 2019–Tour of Lesvos

During the tour of Lesvos we made a few stops. After church, we headed to Olive Wood, a shop that sells handmade olive wood goods. We were happy to visit and support a local business—  even though most of the team members had never met the owners of…

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Lesvos, August 2019– Travel & arrival

We woke up early Friday morning and hopped on our first flight from GR to Detroit. From there, we had a 5 hour layover and then a flight to NYC. From NYC, we began the longest stretch of trip as we boarded a 9 hour flight to Athens. That flight was a…

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Camp Serve 2019: Highlight Videos

As part of Camp Serve, our Tech Team kids created two highlight reel videos of their experience. They had great fun taking photos and videos and then selecting which shots best told the story of their experience.
Enjoy!

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Camp Serve 2019: Day Two

Mr. Mark showing the tech group how to use the camera
 
Camp Serve is amazing! The first day, I got to see what Calvary’s Financing Department (pretty sure that’s what it’s called) was like, and even got to experience it. Afterwards, I got a…

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Camp Serve 2019: Day One

Offering Counting Simulation
 
Hi, our names are Abigail, Onaka,
 
Today we had our first day of Camp Serve. Soon after we were dropped off, we were separated into four groups. Our group went to Pastor Jim’s office with the Worship Team. We also…

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West Virginia 2019- Final words from students experiences

The best part of this trip is quiet time which is a time when you spend time praying and reading the Bible. During that time God told me that he would use me in powerful ways and I felt so much more closer to God then I’ve ever been. God said he sees…

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West Virginia 2019- Thank You Jesus

Today we spent the morning serving a local pregnancy resource center by painting one of their homes they use as a half way house.  The kids eagerly jumped into scraping and painting.  We ended our time with the leaders surprising the kids with water…

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West Virginia 2019- Thursday

Thursday started out with breakfast but then instead of a session we split into two groups. 
One group stayed back and painted the outside of the YWAM building. The other group went and assisted a summer program for kids. They got to play games with…

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West Virginia 2019 – From the Students’ Perspective

I have been so very encouraged by these students willingness to not only serve but to ask the Lord to do something in and through them this week.  Here’s a few more student experiences so far. 
Today during Quiet Time, Carson played songs on his…

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West Virginia 2019 – A Team Member’s Perspective

I thrived all week!  My time in West Virginia has been a blast, while I was here I started talking to more people and it was so much fun.  On Wednesday we got to paint the community park, I felt like we helped the community out a lot and I feel we…

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West Virginia 2019 – Through the Students’ Eyes

So far this trip it has been an adventure from doing awesome worship to watching an elderly man smile for the first time in a long time just for doing a simple little thing. The YWAM group has been so kind and accepting to everyone which is just…

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West Virginia 2019 – Wednesday

Wednesday has been conquered! After speaking with many students, the general consensus was that today has been the favorite day so far! Despite the heat, everyone remained so positive and happy throughout the entire day. 
 
I can’t speak for the…

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Lesvos – June trip Short Term Missions Recap

Our trip to Lesvos in June was another amazing trip. As you have heard before, the refugee crisis has had very negative effects on the tourism industry on the island. The Greek people are so kind, generous and grateful for the volunteers that come to…

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West Virginia 2019 Notes From Students

Here’s a few notes from students experiences so far!
The drive here was longer but I think that it made the group closer together. On the way down we stayed at a hotel and we got to watch The Lion King at the theater. Once we got here we got to meet…

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West Virginia 2019 Day 2

We are all still alive and well! Some have had one too many cookies but the important thing is we are still happy, hydrated and protected with plenty of sunscreen (don’t worry I’ve made sure!)
 
The kiddos were a little more tired this morning…

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West Virginia 2019: Day One We Made It!

Yesterday, as my GPS clicked under 20 minutes to our destination I began to found myself praying for this new experience we were entering into with a little bit of anxiety. Our travels had been problem-free and I knew the Lord had led us here, but I…

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Glyfada: Pictures

Jim and Sean at Church on Sunday
Lunch with Pastor George and family on Sunday
Boys at the Acropolis
Whole Group at the Acropolis
View From Mars Hill 
Bluprint Office
Matt and Sean Working on a Sign for Bluprint
Hearing about wisdom in…

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Glyfada- Friday Update

Today was our last day in Glyfada, and boy was it hard to leave the people that have so warmly embraced us!
At VBS the kids heard from Katie about how God has given her the gift of hospitality, and then heard the story of Lydia and how she was…

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Glyfada- Thursday Update

Every day here we can feel ourselves digging deeper into what God has for this place and seeing how He is moving in Glyfada! 
Today was slow at Bluprint, but there were still awesome conversations happening! Most of the team spent the day with staff…

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Glyfada- Wednesday Update

God is moving in amazing ways here! 
Half of our group invested time in the people at Bluprint today. Through that, Beka had a wonderful spiritual conversation with an entrepreneur there who says that she is very close to accepting the gospel, but is…

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Glyfada- Getting Started

Our group had a wonderfully encouraging day! We had many big unknowns this morning as our team took on a hefty to-do list, but we were met with so many answered prayers. 
Vacation Bible School started today, and we had 21 beautiful children join us…

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Glyfada- Settling In

What a day it has been!
We were able to start the day working at Glyfada Church. We helped clean out a storage space, and began setting up for Vacation Bible School. Our time there was very encouraging because we were able to see so many plans for…

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Glyfada- We Made It!

YASSAS from Greece!! 
First full day under our belts! (Apologies for not posting sooner, internet is a bit spotty!) Our team had an amazing time today with unexpected schedules and visits along with the planned events like helping at church. The day…

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We’re Off

We are setting out for Glyfada this afternoon! We are thrilled that the day has come, and continue to see God’s provision and affirmation time and time again.
 
We have seen God answer prayers about the logistics of the trip regarding Sunday…

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Tanzania Team – A Blog with Many Pictures

Greetings and salutations,
Our weeklong program at the Mwanza Bible Institute has officially come to an end. We’re readying ourselves for a long trip back to America, but are also thanking God for the week that he gave us here. The team members who…

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Tanzania Team – Work at MBI Continues

Jambo from Mwanza,
Today we completed our fourth day at the Mwanza Bible Institute. Joseph (head of MBI) had car trouble in the morning, which prevented him from arriving at the institute in time for the morning sessions. This created some challenges…

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Tanzania Team – Day 2 at MBI

Greetings and salutations, dear readers! We want to tell you about our team’s second day at the Mwanza Bible Institute, which was this Tuesday. The two Eds (Kaleefey and Wiers) continued in teaching the class on the doctrine of God, and Cindy Marrell…

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Tanzania Team – Work Has Begun

Hello everyone! We wanted to give another update from Mwanza to say that we began our week-long program at the Mwanza Bible Institute today. Despite some initial scheduling snafus, the leaders agreed that it was a good first day overall. Here are a…

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Checking In: God’s Provision

Our team has seen God show up and provide for us in many ways already as we are preparing for the trip through details on projects coming together and financial support coming in, and we will surely see more as time goes on.
As our team continues to…

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Tanzania Team Update

We are happy to report that our team made it to Mwanza in only 43-44 hours (50 turned out to be a bit of an overestimate, much to our collective relief). We didn’t experience any missed flights or lost luggage—praise God! Thank you so much for your…

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Tanzania Team Checking In

Greetings and salutations from the road! We have begun our journey towards Tanzania and the Mwanza Bible Institute (MBI). The first leg of our journey consists of a drive to the Chicago airport from Grand Rapids, which will be followed by several…

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Just the Beginning!

Calvary Church has partnered with the Greek Evangelical Church in Glyfada, a suburb of Athens, to encourage and support the congregants and staff there. In our time in Greece, our team will be focused on several projects, including:

Participation…

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Wrapping up

Saturday was a day to debrief and Sunday we traveled home. The end of the week picked up pace and in some ways it felt like we were just starting the work we came to do as we got into more of a rhythm. There are many more stories of people to tell and…

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Thursday and Friday

Thursday and Friday were the last days at the All4Aid center and Moria camp. The shower curtain painting inspired creating a wall painting and some women and children helped paint. How sweet it was to work on making the center more beautiful together!…

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Two very different dinners and other stories

Monday night tomatoes were served in Moria. Tuesday night it was hot dogs. There have been riots on tomato nights because it is a staple in the diet of the refugees, and they just do not get them often. Monday night they ran out of food, whether it is…

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Monday

Being Easter Monday in the Greek Orthodox church, All4Aid women and children’s center was closed to the women and children. We were instead able to see the space which has a laundry room, shower facilities, toddler play area, baby bathing station, and…

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Lesvos April 2019: A day on Lesvos island

Our travels from the moment we set foot in Detroit airport to the time we landed in Mytelini, the capital of Lesvos, couldn’t have been any smoother. Detroit security lines were short, and our short cushion of time to board ended up being no…

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Lesvos April 2019: Travel Day

We have our checklists complete (or what was unfinished will be left so), our bags are packed and underweight, and we are driving to fly out of Detroit to start this first round of many short term trips to Greece. But more than the necessary physical…

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Lesvos November 2018: I Spy

I Spy Chris…

Giving a big hug to a mom whose kid was really acting up
Giving a big hug to one of the Gateways2Life Greek employees who was very overwhelmed in a particular moment 
Sharing looks of care

I Spy Madison…

Chasing little kids…

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Lesvos November 2018: Days 1-3 at Gateways2Life

Wrapping up day three of working in the center, currently cuddling the cute puppies at our hotel and cutting fleece for a craft tomorrow.
The first three days of working in the center…
Day One: We decided to take the first day to get acquainted…

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Lesvos November 2018: Lord, may You shine through us broken vessels

Oh where do we begin with sharing this adventure? 
It all started in Grand Rapids where family and Calvary staff sent us off by praying for our trip. I was reminded of what Priscilla Shirer teaches, that prayer activates the armor of God. We were…

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Grand Rapids 2018: Day One

Day one of the Fifth and Sixth Grade Mission Trip in Downtown Grand Rapids is in the books. Below are two student perspectives on the adventures of their first day.
By Onaka Lobbezoo
The first thing everybody did today at church, obviously, was set…

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Final Chapter

We arrived safely home last Sunday morning. It has been a challenging transition to “normal” life this year. We are grateful that there was a holiday last week to help us recover from the trip and the traveling, but the combination of change of pace…

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Hamtramck: Sowing/Sifting 2018

“Last week was the best week of engagement I’ve had in the US. This Calvary Church team was a joy to work with. Over the course of 5 days, they shared the gospel for the first time with 120 least reached Muslim people! They prayed with even…

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Hamtramck: Sowing/Sifting Day 5

On our final day of engagement, a very hot & humid day, we drove to Dearborn ate a Lebanese lunch, engaged in a shop, & visited the largest mosque in the US. I’ve been to many mosques, but this was my first Shiite mosque & the saddest…

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Hamtramck: Sowing/Sifting Day 4

Day 4 for Detroit Team:
  Jon writes, “Today we entered mosques, not only to observe, but to engage. The ladies entered the large Yemeni mosque through the ladies entrance, a small door on the backside of the building. They said it felt like…

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Camping a mile above Sea Level

The internet access was, as expected – unavailable, unless we had access through a cell phone – which we didn’t. So, we have a rather long post today. But if it is any consolation, it will probably be our last post until we return.
Barb, Lilly and I…

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Hamtramck: Sowing/Sifting Day 3

Calvary, I’ve been told that this city is too hard, that people aren’t receptive to hearing the gospel, that we’d be arrested for sharing in this Mslm majority city. Maybe there’s another Hamtramck? I love this place! There’s…

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Hamtramck Day 3 Mosque Engagement

After 8 hours of engagement on Day 3, Zach & Jon Nuenke were still begging for more. Jon had never been to a mosque, and Zach is a real EV “tiger”, so we drove to this little slice of Yemen in Detroit. It was honestly the best mosque…

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Hamtramck, Detroit Day 2

We had another great day here in Hamtramck.  So often today we could see how God was creating divine appointments with people in need of the gospel for us.  He had clearly gone before us and prepared hearts for the words and message we would share. …

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Hamtramck, Detroit Day 1

Our first day engaging least reached Yemenis & Bengalis couldn’t have gone  much better! God prepared many opportunities for us! As one Calvary team member said, “It’s only 2 hours away, yet when we entered Hamtramck it was a whole…

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Ready for Camping

We had a very pleasant day today. Starting with our first solo venture on the transit system, getting from our borrowed apartment to the church. The service was an amazing time of worship – even though we did not have an interpreter to understand the…

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Midway Point

We just returned from the Leader’s Retreat. As we had thought, there was no WiFi without a phone (the Phone signal was very strong), which is why we haven’t had a post in a few days.
The retreat was a great deal of activity. Each of the…

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Bay City 2018 – Friday!

Day two of our Bay City trip is in the books! Our blog post this evening comes to you via Kathryn Thompson. See below for her recap and reflections on the day. 

God is in control. We know that but do we live by it? I know God was in control, but…

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Bay City – Thursday!

Good evening! 
The first day of our Bay City trip is drawing to a close. We appreciate all of your prayers for us thus far, and ask that you keep praying all the more as we head into our first day of relational and service oriented ministry…

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Kalamazoo 2018: Day Four Update

Today we worked at the Kalamazoo Gospel Mission again. We cleaned out another room filled with kitchen storage. This is helping them prep an area of the building that’s being torn down “sooner rather than later.” We also sorted items at…

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Kalamazoo 2018: High Ropes

Here’s a fun little movie of the kids on the high ropes course yesterday.

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set to go

PLT. We are just a couple of hours from leaving for the Leaders Retreat.
Yesterdays was a day of planning and preparation. The Retreat schedule was reviewed and our part of the detail was rather quickly confirmed. More effort was required for the…

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Kalamazoo 2018: Day Three Update

We are more than halfway through the week and these kids continue to go hard! Today we served at the Kalamazoo Gospel Mission. Our groups were divided up between three different projects. The largest of our groups helped clear a room that had been…

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Kalamazoo 2018: Day Two Update

Today we worked in the Vine Neighborhood in the morning. Before we started at our park, we had a chance to meet with the director of the neighborhood association. Steve is incredibly passionate about helping residents make things happen in the…

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Central Asia 2018: Fine Tuning the Plans

What a wonderful day! What a wonderful place! What a wonderful people!
Today we had some time before the planning meeting so we scheduled a visit with one of the B4T operations and met several others that were meeting for the same purpose. We had a…

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Bay City 2018 – Posts Forthcoming!

Hello! If you are looking for the Bay City team blog, you’ve come to the right place! Please watch for updates beginning Thursday, June 21. 
In Christ,
Josh Karhan

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Kalamazoo 2018: Monday’s Evening Activities

One of the parts of this trip that’s so unique is the kids get to enjoy the activities at Miracle Camp in the evenings. We had waterfront time before dinner where they could enjoy the blob, swimming and small boats.


Then after dinner they…

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Central Asia 2018: Safe & Happy arrival

Praise the Lord, for a safe and uneventful journey to Central Asia. Our flight arrived at 6:20 this morning. It is so strange to think that as we are experiencing the breaking of dawn, the folks back in GR haven’t even seen the previous…

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Kalamazoo 2018: Day One Update

Our first day of work projects is in the books! We spent the morning serving at Ministry With Community. They operate a day shelter in downtown Kalamazoo that provides social services, free laundry, breakfast and lunch. The kids picked up trash around…

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Kalamazoo 2018: We Have Arrived

We made it safely to Kalamazoo! After settling into our rooms, we took a tour of the camp. This was followed by our first session of worship and teaching. Our group had a chance to break down the teaching afterwards, as well as share ways we have been…

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MADISON 2018: THURSDAY AND FRIDAY UPDATE

Good morning! Our Madison team returns home today! Please be in prayer for safe travels, good conversations along the way, and most importantly, for the Spirit to give our students continued eagerness to build upon the lessons and experiences of this…

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MADISON 2018: WEDNESDAY UPDATE

The latest from Matt Horling…
Today we had the honor of doing some dirty work! In the morning both crew 1 and 2 went to separate local gardens to help weed and prepare the soil. We joined in the afternoon at a third local garden and continued to…

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MADISON 2018: TUESDAY UPDATE

The latest from Matt Horling…
Today we had the opportunity to assist a library in preparing crafts for their summer outreach programs. One of the great challenges in Madison, Wisconsin is keeping the youth out of trouble during the summer. The…

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Madison 2018: Sunday & Monday Update

Hello! Josh Karhan here posting on behalf of our Madison team for 2018. I am supporting our leaders and students who are “in the trenches” from here in Grand Rapids. I have been hearing great things from our leaders about their first couple…

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Monday: A Refreshing Day

Today was a refreshing time. We enjoyed a prayer walk and photo scavenger hunt. The kids and adults looked for things that made God happy, made him sad, and reminded us of scripture. The kids had good insight into God’s compassion for lonely…

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Sunday Festival Update

Thank you for praying–God met every need and gave another joyful festival day. We were thankful as a team to be here. Many hands were needed to serve the families who attended. God gave us the privilege of sharing much fun, hospitality, and laughter…

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Joy Felt at First Day of the Festival

Bonjour! We started our day with worship and prayer at the park with our team and other friends who arrived to help with the festival. Many hands made light work as we set up tents and equipment, and prepared games and activities for kids. We were…

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France Team: Arrived and Already at Work!

We’ve had our first update from the France Team:
God was faithful to answer prayers for smooth travels and a healthy team. We also prayed for dry weather and this weekend is sunny, warm, and gorgeous outdoors.
The Gaylords have given us a warm…

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France 2018: Family Mission Trip Introduction

(top left to right): Aaron Lamport, Rob Teigen, Joanna Teigen, Leah Teigen , Anna Teigen 
(bottom, left to right): Gwen Lamport & Mason Teigen (Not pictured but a member of the team—Gary Humphrey) 
Our first family trip to France is gearing up…

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A Day in the Life — Greece 2018

Hello from Athens!!!
We left Lesvos early this morning and just landed in Athens. Today, we will be going into Athens for a debrief/tourist day. We are hoping to do some shopping, some eating, and some resting before our return home. 
We’ve…

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Feeling Centered — Greece 2018

Hi everyone!
This blog comes to you from a sea-side cafe with some wonderful Wi-Fi!!! 
We’ve just finished our third day at the women and children’s center. Our time there so far has been filled with giggles, bracelets, and Uno! The…

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Beauty and Brokenness — Greece 2018

Hi again!
It’s been a while since I’ve written! Last night, I put together a post about our day, but the entire thing somehow got deleted! Oh well, not a big deal.
We have now spent two whole days on Lesvos and have seen much of the…

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Time Flies! Travel Updates – Greece 2018

Hey everybody!
I am beginning this post in the airport in Frankfurt, Germany, but will likely finish somewhere else! It is currently 8:37 in the morning, but at home, it is 3:37… Needless to say, we’re all feeling a little strange and sleep…

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Packing Our Bags for Home

On our last day, Saturday, we packed up our bags and reflected back on what God did on the trip and also looked forward to how we would apply all that we learned. John Shepherd shared with us that some of the biggest evangelistic movements have…

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Houston 2018 – Change of Plans

This whole trip we have had to be flexible with our plans, but not as drastically as today. Instead of doing training with John in the morning, we helped train high schoolers in sharing the gospel! We went door to door with them, shared the gospel…

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Houston 2018 – A Day for Relationships

Today was a unique day. It was very relational for most of us. We spent a lot of time with a few people. We got invited into a few houses and were served food and drink. 
In the morning we did a training session with the missionaries on another…

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Houston 2018 – An Encouraging Day!

Yesterday was another incredible day.
We spent most of our time in the same apartment complex as the day before. We were able to get a lot of practice sharing the gospel. 
Highlights:
– We were able to share the gospel with a little help from…

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Houston 2018 – Invited and Encouraged

Day 3 in Houston: Monday we started the day with worship in song then went on to worship with our words through sharing the gospel. John Shepherd brought us to an apartment complex where we talked to many people who were recpetive to the gospel and…

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Casting Out Fear

We have all had fears at one time or another. For many years I lived crushed beneath the weight of my fears, but over the past two years, God has been giving me a whole new perspective. There are many fears that could take root as we enter…

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Houston 2018 – First Day Sharing

It’s nice to have this first day under our belts. God has shown himself so powerfully already.
Today was packed full. We enjoyed getting to know the Shepard’s better. Together, with the Shepard’s, we went to church. Then we headed to a…

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Greece 2018 – Before We Go

“Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.” Isaiah 1:17
Hi, my name is Taylor, you’ll be reading a lot from me over the next couple of weeks. I am in charge…

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Houston 2018

“For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, love, and of self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7 
This Saturday, March 3 our team will be leaving for Houston, Texas. The goal of the trip is to share the gospel with Muslims in their…

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Short-Term Mission Trip Meetings

If you have a heart for people who are struggling in our area, come to the meeting for our Grand Rapids mission trip. You will have a chance to learn about organizations in our area that are helping individuals in need, as well as gain an…

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Fall Mozambique 2017: A Quick Update From Team Leader Mark

I wanted to give you the quick update I received from Team Leader Mark Kotlarczyk. He wrote, “Orientation to the village today went very well. We prayed for area churches and walked with the children. Unboxed our suitcases and such. All is well…

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Fall Mozambique Team – On The Ground

Fall Mozambique Team Supporters,
Mark called and our team successfully made it to Johannesburg.  He said they were on their way to get their luggage and get some sleep!
 Everyone is well although I was told turbulence was definitely a factor in the…

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Introducing your Fall Mozambique Team

Hello Calvary,
    Mark Kotlarczyk wanted all of you to meet his team.  Mark is the team leader of our Fall 2017 Mozambique missions trip and below you will see their team picture.  They are asking for your prayers and donations…

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Grand Rapids 2017: Day Three

Our last day went differently than planned. Because of the rain, we were not able to spend the morning downtown. Instead, we helped move the Calvary Kids things into their new space.
 
Once the rain stopped, we went downtown. While there we handed…

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Madison 2017: Wednesday

Following a powerful evening discussion about suffering and God’s presence, power, and grace with us in the midst of our suffering, the students were set to sleep till noon…. if we had let them. Their wake-up call yesterday morning was David…

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Grand Rapids 2017: Day Two

Today was spent mainly at Bridge Street House of Prayer (BSHOP). Along with hearing teaching from the director, the students participated in some activities before lunch. After lunch, we split into groups to serve BSHOP. Our projects included…

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Madison 2017: First Days Recap

The Madison team has had some technical issues, but wanted to share that God is at work! Thank you for praying. Here is a short summary of the trip thus far. They will share a full recap on the blog when they return.
On Sunday they had beautiful…

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Grand Rapids 2017: Day One

Today was a busy day! We worked pulling weeds, sorting clothing, playing with kids, painting, serving food, cleaning and passing out water. 
During the debrief time tonight we discussed Matthew 20: 26- 28 (our team memory verse) and what it means to…

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Madison 2017: Monday – Serving Day 1

Students were woken from their (deep) slumber Monday morning at 7am sharp by our worship leader for the week playing on his guitar before the Lord with all his might.
 
Thus began our first day of serving in Madison. I feel that the best way to…

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Madison 2017: Sunday – Arrival at Next Step Ministries

We had a beautiful day of traveling on Sunday; plenty of sunshine, catchy music from multiple genres and eras, and good bonding time. Around 7 hours after we departed Calvary Church, we reached our destination: Sugar River Church in Verona, Wisconsin…

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Guyana 2017: Day 9 & 10

What an awesome past few days we have all had. We have been busy here but God is so faithful. 
Thursday we had another great day of VBS and enjoyed continuing to love in these kids for Jesus and share skits and music with them. 
We also had our…

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Guyana 2017: Day 7 & 8

Sorry this update is delayed, we have been having trouble with the blog/ iPad lately.
 
TUESDAY. . .
VBS went really well. We were able to smooth out some minor issues and the kids (and our team) are loving it. Are numbers jumped to about 120 kids…

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Spain 2017: Day 12, the last day

Today Jaime took us to a large National park called Centro Btt Valles del Oso. We had devotions,  then went for a 30 km bike ride in the mountains. Again, the scenery was beautiful. The terrain was rocky at times, but we had nice mountain bikes. Most…

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Spain 2017: Day 11

Today were all very excited to explore Spain! We worked hard while we were here and have been looking forward to a bit of  sightseeing. We headed to Leon, which is about ninety minutes away. The drive was beautiful but somewhat treacherous through the…

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Spain 2017: Pictures from Day 10 and more

Pictures! I have a ton of pictures from Amy to share with everyone.  So, here you go…
ESL camp graduates.

Our Missionary Jaime and Team Leader Evelyn with a very excited young ESL Camp graduate.

Jaime with another precious…

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Guyana 2017: Day 6 – Blessings and Prayers

Today our team began our first day of VBS. It was a great morning and things went very well. We had around 90 kids that came out for the first day. This was a great turn out. We expect this number to double and possibly triple over the next few days…

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Guyana Day 5

Hello everyone. Today our team had the privilege of joining the “Crabwood Creek Bible Church” which is Pastor Vishal’s church. We are staying at Pastor Vishal and his families house which is right behind the church. We had the…

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Guyana day 4 Prayer requests

Hello from Guyana.
We have had a few slower paced days adjusting and preparing for our ministry here. Last night we began our ministry here with our first crusade. What a powerful night our first crusade was.
We joined our Guyanese brothers and…

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Spain 2017: Day 9

This morning we headed to Oviedo, a large city not far from Lugones. We headed up Maronco mountain, hairpin turns and all, and the view was fabulous. We had devotions at the top. There is a statue at the peak of Jesus with His hands outstretched. It…

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Spain 2017: Day 8

Today is graduation day from our ESL camp! We are all very excited as we make preparations. Our skit today was The Prodigal Son. It is a story of love, forgiveness and the restoration of a relationship with the Father. The students really seemed to…

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Spain 2017: Day 7

Romans 10:1 ” Brothers and sisters, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved”. We studied some verses about salvation this morning. We are praying daily that while we are here some of our students…

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Guyana 2017: We Made it!

“I will make them and the places surrounding my hill a blessing. I will send down showers in season; there will be showers of blessing.” 
Ezekiel 34:26 
 
We made it! We landed in Georgetown Guyana about 10:00 pm last night. We all made…

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Spain 2017: Day 6 Pictures

Hi everyone, these pictures correspond to Amy’s day 6 Blog Post.
Pray for the families whom our Spain Team have left behind- it is hard to have someone gone so long but praises to them for supporting this…

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Guyana 2017: Pastor Vishal’s note to Calvary

Pastor Vishal sent Calvary and his prayer team this note and so I wanted to share it with everyone:
   “Hello everyone, we do hope you all are doing well. I praise God for His continual strength and renewed grace. The team from Calvary in Grand…

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Spain 2017: Day Six

This morning we started our day with a prayer walk.We went out and prayed for whatever was on our hearts. Some of us walked around the town of Lugunes while others sat quietly on a bench and prayed. This was a unique way to start our day. 
Our…

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The Journey has Begun!

We’ve arrived safely in Miami! Everything has gone miraculously smooth and quick. After grabbing some lunch we are now waiting in the terminal for our flight to Trinidad; from there we will fly to Georgetown, Guyana. 
Please pray . . . 
1.)…

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Spain 2017: Day 5 pictures

Calvary, here are the Day 5 pictures from Amy.  She and Kate are doing an amazing job blogging!  
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Going back over yesterday’s vocabulary with the kids in order to introduce the new words from the parable of the…

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Guyana 2017 Prayer Calender

It’s finally here. In just a few short hours our team will be flying out of Grand Rapids to depart for Guyana. All of the preparations, planning and packing has lead up to this. Please join us in praying for safe travels and good health these…

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Spain 2017: Day Five

We start each day with devotions and prayers as a team. Today Lenski shared with us the importance of praying not only at scheduled times but throughout the day. Deuteronomy 6:4-9. Then we headed out to the church. Today it is a bit cooler here in…

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Spain Team: More Pictures for our Prayer Warriors

Photos from the Spain Team – take a look and pray for the people you see in these photos, pray for the buildings and streets and everyone who lives there and works there… this is a great way to visualize where our team is and the people they are…

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Spain 2017: Day Four

This morning we had our first children’s class. Ten children came and eagerly watched the parable of the Good Samaritan. It was a good reminder for all of us that when we see someone who is hurt, lost or in need, we must stop what we are doing…

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Spain 2017: Day Three

Today is Sunday and we are very eager to attend Jaime’s church. He is giving the message today since recently the Pastor of the church retired. We were introduced to the congregation along with some other missionaries from Spain that are in…

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Spain 2017: Day Two

Today we went to Jaime’s church which is called Betel to bring our supplies for the ESL classes we will be teaching. We will be teaching children in the mornings and adults in the evenings. The church has been advertising the classes prior to our…

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Spain 2017: Day One

Hola! Our team arrived safely in Spain. We were met by our missionary Jaime Clore. We are thankful for a safe journey and appreciate your continued prayers for our work here in Lugones.

Here is a photo of our team: Greg and Evelyn Hamlin, Kaylee…

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Spain 2017: In the Air and On Their Way!

Our Spain 2017 mission team to Lugones is in the air and on their way!  We couldn’t be sending this team without your generous prayer and financial support so thank you. Please continue to support the team by committing to praying for them as…

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Maine 2017: Traveling Home

Thursday’s travels were long and delayed, but even in this, the Lord was present to bless the 2017 Maine team.
Now that we are home – and catching up on some much needed rest – how can you be praying for the team?
Pray that God continues to…

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Maine 2017: Influence, Service & Lobster

Tom led our team through one last morning devotion on Wednesday, asking students to consider who was in each of their spheres of influence. Who had God brought into their life that they could influence for Christ on a daily basis? How did Jesus want…

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Maine 2017: Strawberries

Tuesday saw the Calvary students returning for a second year to the Maxwell’s strawberry farm. Last year’s students worked to pick strawberries from this farm so that we could go door to door and handout baskets of fresh fruit to the Phillip’s…

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Maine 2017: Wildernesses and Cemeteries

This blog post covers the events from Monday. A blog post covering Tuesday and today (Wednesday) will be posted later this week.
We began yesterday morning with breakfast and a devotional teaching from Tom. The subject of Tom’s talk was the…

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Maine 2017: Travel Days / Pauper’s Chapel

As I write this first blog post for the 2017 Maine Team, two days of travel lay behind us while several exciting days of service and ministry await us. Here is the girl’s van (plus me, Josh) smiling and ready to take off from Calvary church on…

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Spain Team: thank you for sending a Calvary team in 2017!

There was a gentle and kind man whom we met in Spain.  To protect him from his family we will call him Peter.  Peter told our team how he came to know Jesus.  He was passing through channels on his radio and started listening to an international…

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Guyana 2017: Fundraiser and funding!

Turn up the Loud Speakers!  Get ready for our Calvary Team to teach and sing throughout the neighborhoods in Crabwood Creek, Guyana spreading the name of Jesus through an open air crusade!
Imagine you are a Guyanese non believer standing there…

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Ohio 2017: Wednesday Recap

Wednesday’s morning rhythms looked a lot like Tuesdays. After breakfast, students go to Encounter while leaders meet. Then we re-gather for our justice training. In Wednesday’s training we got the chance to feel injustice. We were divided…

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Ohio 2017: Tuesday Update

We are wrapping up our first full day here at CIY in Cincinnati. Our day began with a meeting for leaders and encounter time for students. We are walking through the book of Nehemiah this week as we learn about bringing restoration to the contexts God…

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Ohio 2017: We Have Arrived

After navigating delightful Midwest back roads and enduring many scattered showers, we have made it to Cincinnati! We have eaten a pizza dinner and unrolled our air mattresses. Now we wait for our first chapel session to begin. Pray for us as we learn…

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Central Asia Team Leader Kim sends us a note:

Dear Calvary Prayer Partners and Central Asia Team Families,
 I wanted to share a note I received from Kim Velting as he has taken a little time out of their busy schedule to give us an update:
“It feels like we have been here for a week already…

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Central Asia Team is preparing to leave!

Our Central Asia team is preparing to leave!
Take a moment to imagine leaving Grand Rapids to arrive in an entirely different country where you only know your teammates and your missionary. Then think about walking off that plane prepared to do…

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France 2017: Mon Redempteur Vit!

My Redeemer Lives!
Today, we sang this in a way we never have before! We sang, “Mon Redempteur Vit, Mon Redempteur Vit!” along with our French brothers and sisters in Christ! What a little taste of Heaven that was as I looked around…

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France 2017: In the Trenches

By: Jan Ritsema
What a blessing to wake up to another day of beautiful weather here in Grenoble!  God is certainly answering prayers as rain had again been predicted.
Today we began our day together in prayer and worship after which we familiarized…

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France 2017: The Difficulty of Change

By Gary Humphrey
During a free afternoon a couple of days ago, the brave, adventurous members of our team rented equipment to scale the side of a cliff known as the Via Ferrata that makes it was up La Bastille. On the summit is the remains of an old…

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France 2017: Respite Day

Today was a scheduled respite day. 
We started out early and drove to Geneva Switzerland. The traffic was heavy early and it took about two hours. Interesting crossing the boarder without having to clear customs. (Thank you European Union.) Our local…

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France 2017: Thank You for Praying

Hello friends and family!
Thank you so much for your prayers and encouragement, there has been much evidence that God is hearing and answering! So please keep them coming! I am excited to share the events of our day. Today was the first day we got to…

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France 2017: Learning About the Culture

By: Nicole Bedell
In preparation for this trip we had been learning about the Muslim culture and communities we are going to be spending time in this week, but this afternoon we were actually able to experience it.  We were able to prayer walk…

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France 2017: Camp of the Peaks

Written By: Peter Wiersma
Most times I start my prayers with “Dear Jesus, thank you for this day”. I do this because it reminds me that each day is a gift. With that being said, today felt like Christmas!
The day started with a very scenic…

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France 2017: Home Church

By Wanda Taylor
How Great Thou Art! Four powerful words to describe Team France’s day! After arriving in Grenoble yesterday receiving the hospitality of Roy and Jen and seeing the sights of Grenoble, we woke refreshed and ready to experience God in a…

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France 2017: France Mission Trip Prayer Calendar

We would be humbled to have you remember our team in your prayers over the next week and a half during our time in Grenoble, France.
Please find specific requests for each day along with a verse to pray for our team in our prayer calendar.

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India 2017: Last Day

What an amazing time we have had! Our hearts are overflowing as we have watched God work in India. The last day of VBS was attended by 94 children, the medical clinic went smoothly, a large amount of painting the walls in the buildings was done, and…

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India 2017: Trip update

Things are going well in India! We are in day two of VBS, medical camp and painting. Please continue to pray for our safety in the heat.

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India 2017: Warm Welcome

Today we were welcomed with such warmth and enthusiasm. We attended the children’s camp in the morning and church in the evening. What a blessing it is to worship with God’s people.

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India 2017: Day 1 – Meenakshi Temple Tour

Day 1: 
Johnathan took us to tour the Meenakshi Temple and gave us a brief overview of the Hindu religion. It was an eye opening experience to see idol worship in person. 
 
Pray that our work here will help the Victors bring light to this dark area.

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India 2017: Arrival

We have arrived safe in Madurai, India. We were blessed with a smooth trip experiencing no trouble in customs or with luggage.

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Pray for India & Mozambique Teams

Our India Short-Term Mission Team leaves on April 27  and returns May 7. Please remember them in your prayers for safety, health, and that the Lord would work through them and in them. They will be doing a Kids Camp, medical clinic and painting…

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Houston 2017: The team is back! Team Leader Jim Stortz shares with us.

We’re back! And exhausted! Our team spent a packed in just over 8 days in Houston, including one very early morning on our way out of Texas. The team worked diligently 8-12 hours a day going door to door, interacting with Muslims at shopping malls and…

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Houston 2017: Pray for the Team’s Health

Our Praying Family,
  Seth is still not feeling well.  Please pray for his health to return and for Jim and the rest of the team to stay healthy.  Pray for Jim and Seth as they go to the Urgent Care to get some answers and hopefully some medicine to…

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Houston 2017: Keep Praying them Through

The Houston team is asking for more prayers!  Today they had breakfast at Jon and Kris Shepherd’s church and then delved into some great Evangelism teaching from Jon.
Satan would like nothing more than to discourage this group as they reach out…

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Houston 2017: Team Prayer Request

Please pray for Seth – he is sick and not feeling well. Another new Christian is added to our family.  Yesterday Zach lead a 16-year-old to Christ. Continue to pray against spiritual warfare.
The team thanks each and every one of you for your prayers…

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Houston 2017: People are Being Led to Christ

Houston trip – so far the trip has been both emotionally taxing and yet super exciting! 
Calvary Church – We have three new believers in Christ.  Please take a minute to pray for these three new believers who were lead to Christ in Houston. Pray for…

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Houston 2017: Team on their way!

Houston we have lift-off,
  The Calvary Houston Missions trip has officially begun – there were many smiling faces at the airport.  To their family, friends, sponsors and prayer partners we want you to know how deeply blessed they feel to be able to…

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2017 Short-Term Missions Brochure

View our 2017 Short-Term Missions Brochure for more on this year’s trips for adults and students.

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