- Joel and Jen MartinDiscipleMakersJoel and Jen MartinDiscipleMakers
Hi, everyone! We are Joel and Jen Martin, campus missionaries with DiscipleMakers at Lebanon Valley College and Thaddeus Stevens College. Our heartbeat and passion are to make the gospel known among the next generation of local students and students from around the world. We long to see students eager to know Christ and to make Christ known; students who are able to disciple others who disciple others. In short, we long to reach the world with the gospel by reaching the campus with the gospel.
Joel was born in the Lancaster area but mostly raised in the Hershey area. For a time, my family attended Hershey Evangelical Free Church where I distinctly remember being led in worship by Pastor Bob. I attended Lower Dauphin High School and Bucknell University. It was at Bucknell that I gained a passion for campus ministry. I led Bible studies as a student and saw people come to faith in Christ. I discipled men and I saw them lead others to Christ. Personally, I concluded that there is no more rich environment for the gospel in the US than at the college campus. Students are eager to explore their beliefs and open to hearing from God as they prepare for their life ahead.
Jen is from western Berks and went to Tulpehocken High School and Gettysburg College. Trained there as a teacher, she saw the need for students to not only know academics but to know Jesus. After graduating from Gettysburg, she joined DiscipleMakers and worked at Penn State Main Campus. That is where we met. After getting married in 2010, we moved to Easton, PA and did campus ministry at Lafayette College. As DiscipleMakers continued to grow and as more and more college students decided to join the mission, we were looking for new campuses to expand to.
In 2013, we arrived in Lancaster eager to see what doors God might open. The week we arrived an email was in my inbox inviting me to Lebanon Valley College to help lead a small Bible study. Since then, God has done amazing things. We have a weekly meeting with biblical teaching, worship, and community. About 40 students attend each week. We host Bible studies and training Bible studies throughout the week. We meet individually or in small groups with many of the students to disciple them in what it means to be a follower of Jesus and also one who disciples others. The fellowship at LVC continues to grow. God’s kingdom is on the move in Annville.
We want to say special thanks to you all at GracePoint. Thank you for your partnership in the gospel. As a church, you’ve been our most involved and eager support team. The missions committee has done a wonderful job and our students are encouraged by your support. Thanks for helping them come to conferences to hear the gospel. Thanks for supporting us so that weekly the wonderful grace of God is clearly preached at LVC! Thanks for cherishing Christ. You are welcome to join us on any Thursday. Come to Miller Chapel at 7PM. Keep in mind, when the college is on semester breaks we do not meet at the chapel. We’d love to see you there!
- Mike and Loralee HillEFCA Reach GlobalMike and Loralee HillEFCA Reach Global
Greetings from Kandern, Germany! We are Mike and Loralee Hill and serve at the Black Forest Academy here in the southwest corner of Germany. If you’re new to BFA, you can find out more on the BFA website: www.bfacademy.com
I (Mike) was raised in central PA and began attending the Hershey Free Church in the early ‘80s. I quickly became involved in youth ministry there under Bob Sproul and later Mike Wagner. I also became involved in worship ministry under Bob, as well. To this day, I consider Bob to be my mentor as a worship leader. I can still remember watching him closely as he prepared and led worship in various settings. (That is, watched him in a totally non-stalking kind of way!) Little did I know that almost 15 years of volunteer ministry at HFC would lead to a move overseas to work and teach BFA, a school primarily for MKs. (I initially came with Mike Wagner for 10 days to lead worship at the school retreat. That was over twenty one years ago!)
Loralee, on the other hand, headed overseas as a mature three-year-old when her parents answered the call to missions in Bavaria, Germany. (About 4.5 hours from BFA.) They ended up serving as church planters for thirty four years not far from Munich. Loralee attended German school through the ninth grade, when it became apparent she was going to need some education in English geared more to North Americans in order to help her transition to the States for college. It was off to boarding school at – you guessed it – BFA.
She had such a great experience at BFA that she wanted to give back to the system that helped her so much. After seven years in the States for college and teaching experience, God led her back to BFA itself. Twenty nine years later she’s still here, teaching and mentoring students as well as reaching out into the German community.
If you’re doing the math, you already know that we met here. We’ve been so blessed to do these past 18.5 years of life and ministry together. 🙂 (And still honeymooning!)
We’ve not had a lot of change this past year concerning our job responsibilities here. Loralee continued in the language department, teaching German levels 3 and 4, as well as developing her role as senior class advisor.
She also continued developing relationships with Inge, Daniel and Mario, BFA’s cooks, as well as with Daniel’s girlfriend and Mario’s wife. A German guy on our maintenance team has also become a part of this “gang,” and we’ve gotten to know them better over the past year. Pray that they would come to know and love Christ.
I continued, as well, teaching AP Music Theory and private piano lessons in the context of the Performing Arts Department. I wasn’t able to continue teaching at the Schallwerkstadt, a local German theology and music school, simply because of scheduling conflicts with BFA. But I did enjoy starting up a one-semester introduction to music theory class.
Leading worship at Black Forest Christian Fellowship also helps to keep me busy. I enjoy leading solo or working together with students and adults on worship teams. I also picked up a “job” working as BFCF’s administrator about 12 hours a week. It comes with a small stipend, but is enough to help our support a bit.
We’ve enjoyed spending time with our first “grandchild” over the past year. Grant is now a little over a year old. He is the first child of neighbors and coworkers. Although we won’t have biological grandkids – mainly because we have no biological kids of our own! – we are totally taken with Grant and are try to get in as much Grant-time as we can.
BFA continues caring for MKs year after year. We celebrated our 60 birthday in November. The school threw a great party with, of course, Loralee working on the team of planners. A great time was truly had by all. The evening included nostalgia, contests, music, fellowship, and the mother of all cakes. (Made by our own BFA cooks mentioned, above!)
We’ve wrestled with health issues over the past couple of years. Loralee’s had shoulder, back, knee, and feet issues, mostly connected with her diabetes. Neuropathy in her feet and lower legs have stolen much sleep from her. Bone spurs in her shoulder resulted in surgery on her shoulder this past summer. Healing is slow in coming, but it IS coming. She’s a trooper, though, and most people wouldn’t know she’s had such health issues. I’ve been dealing with a frozen should for some time now, but think I’m on the downward side of that. A bad foot sprain last week was a good distraction from the frozen shoulder.
In addition to these, the cold and flu germs seem to be working overtime this year. That’s not only been a battle in our house, but in the dorms and BFA community, as well.
Loralee had mentioned to BFA’s director that it would be nice to attend an ACSI conference sometime, since BFA often hosts the Europe conference. Which means we’re always working the conference. Which means we don’t get to attend anything. This conversation took place at the beginning of November. Two weeks later we were on a plane to Hong Kong, as the school decided to send the two of us. It was a great conference and we thoroughly enjoyed the speakers and the teaching. We were only there long enough for the conference, itself. Maybe we’ll go again in another 25 years and schedule in a little sightseeing!
We don’t know where the years have gone, but we’ve seen God’s faithfulness over all those years. We are grateful to so many who have been used by God to keep us here. (Either for missional reasons or just to keep us out of the US.) Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. If society tells us anything, or even family life in the world of missions, you know that we have total job security and that our jobs – or “jobs” – will never be over.
That’s just about it for the past year. Thank you, again, for your prayers and support and your partnership with us as we work for the Kingdom here at BFA.
Much love from us here in Germany…
Mike & Loralee
23 Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.
1 Thessalonians 1:23-24 ESV
Mike & Loralee Hill
Tel: +49 7626 97 05 51
- Conrad Tolosa, Sr.The Philippine Ministry
- Travis ZimmermanSpeak My Word MinistryTravis ZimmermanSpeak My Word Ministry
I’m Pastor Travis Zimmerman. I graduated from Chambersburg (PA) High School, earned a Penn State University Aerospace Engineering B.S. degree, a Webster University MBA, and a Liberty University MA in Theological Studies. I also served as a US Air Force officer as well as the national sales manager for Sight & Sound Theatres, and, by God’s grace, I’m a licensed pastor through the Evangelical Free Church of America. With God’s help, I’ve overcome unemployment three times, conquered a 16-year addiction, and taken care of my bride, Suzanne, after a horrible accident.
In obedience to God’s repeated call to speak His Word, Suzanne and I co-founded A Faithful Dad back in 2009. We love raising and homeschooling our five kids: Elizabeth (Messiah College); Koen (11thgrade); Trey (9th grade); Grant (7th grade); and Braden (3rd grade). After six years of serving a broad range of Christian demographics, God gently directed our board in June 2015 to focus on dads and hone our message to them. Over the past year and a half, the Spirit guided our ministry board to focus our brand and our message to faithful dads: to be a faithful dad we need to follow the faithful Father! Thus, Speak My Word Ministries is now A Faithful Dad. We serve faithful dads locally in various men’s small groups, one-on-one meetups, and even prisons, and we serve faithful dads nationally at men’s retreats, camps and conference centers, and targeted church events.
A Faithful Dad’s key verse of 1 Corinthians 11:1 is rooted in the Apostle Paul’s wisdom to his followers, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” Our vision is clear: Follow Jesus. Lead your family. Leave a legacy. Our mission is straightforward: We equip fathers to become faithful dads. And our tagline reminds of the crucial importance of being a faithful dad: Your biggest job. Our greatest passion. Accordingly, we’ve…
- Written a new book entitled A Faithful Dad’s Guide to Legacy (available on Amazon.com); you can read the most critical, gut-wrenching chapter of the book available for a free download by clicking HERE. You’ve been warned!
- Produced A Faithful Dad’s Guide to Legacy small group DVD (also available on Amazon.com), and
- Created, in support of the book’s legacy focus, A Faithful Dad’s Legacy Challenge app (available free on Apple App Store or Google Play).
We rejoice in God’s direction for our ministry, but, as you can imagine, there’s quite a bit of retooling to do! So, while our demographic focus has shifted to faithful dads, our focus on Christ remains our goal and passion!
So, we’d really appreciate your prayers to Jesus:
- Please pray for us that we continue to obediently follow Him.
- Secondly, as several of my mentors have taught me in the past year, it’s vital for the livelihood of our ministry and my family for me to focus on raising up our local support team. Since May, in God’s good pleasure, I’ve enjoyed sharing God’s vision for our ministry with between 3 to 10 appointments each week. If you sense the Spirit stirring in your heart, I’d love to catch breakfast, lunch, or dinner with you! Simply call me at 717.443.5000 or drop me an email at Travis@AFaithfulDad.org.
Lastly, it’s been five years since my bride’s horrific slip-and-fall, and we are still seeing specialists at Johns Hopkins, Penn State Hershey Med, and Philly orthopedic surgeons. Suzanne continues to struggle with daily pain. We covet your prayers for her complete healing and for our family as we care for her.
- Dr. Jon and Melissa EagerAIM (Africa Inland Mission)Dr. Jon and Melissa EagerAIM (Africa Inland Mission)
Jon and Melissa, Josh, Drew and Rachel Eager. Who are we? We are servants of the LORD Jesus Christ, and we are missionaries serving under Africa Inland Mission in Tanzania, East Africa. We are so thankful to be able to join with you in reaching the lost for the Kingdom. It’s a joy to serve together.
We started attending the Evangelical Free Church of Hershey in the late 1990’s before we were married…actually that is where we met. Some of you at GracePoint have known us since way back then! We were married in 1999 and committed to serving the LORD in Africa. As Jon was still in medical school at the time, it took us awhile to get here. In the meantime, our two sons were born in Pennsylvania. We began working in Tanzania in 2006. Our daughter was born in Nairobi, Kenya in 2007.
We live in a rural village in central Tanzania where we partner with the local churches in our work. Jon is a Family Medicine physician. He supervises our health center among the Sandawe people as well as a second center about 3 hours away among the Rangi people. He is the only doctor in about a 30 mile radius. It’s a much needed service in a country where there is one doctor per every 33,300 people compared to 1 doctor per every 408 people in the U.S. He does everything from deliver babies to pulling teeth to treating snake bites, malaria and other tropical diseases. He also sees the usual colds and flu patients. He often has opportunities to share the gospel with patients.
Another area of service in which Jon is involved is in training health care workers. He and other medical staff run seminars a couple of times a year in which they train lay people in basic medical care. Jon has also been involved in various side projects over the years, specifically helping run famine relief in the years of poor harvest.
Melissa manages the home and in the past years has homeschooled our three children. She ministers to people who work in our home and to those who come to the door for a variety of reasons. We host teams and individuals throughout the year so Melissa also practices a lot of hospitality. She is praying about other areas of ministry in which to get involved since she is no longer home schooling.
Josh is 15 and started high school this year. Drew is 12 and is in 7th grade. Rachel is 9 years old and is in 4th grade. All of the kids are currently attending Rift Valley Academy, a boarding school in Kenya. We travel up to Kenya every 3 weeks or so to see them. While the sacrifice of separation is painful, the LORD is meeting all of our needs. We are thankful that they are able to be at this wonderful school where they have so many opportunities that they do not have here in the village.
If you would like to know about this work in which you are partners for the gospel, you can follow our blog at http://jmeager.aimsites.org/.
In addition to supporting the Eagers on a monthly basis, as a part of the tithe from the money GracePoint received in 2016 we are helping a young man named Otto further his education so that he can better help Jon in his work in Tanzania. Jon shared the following information with us about Otto.
Otto and his wife Rose have been married since 2013. They have a son, Johnson, who is 2 years old. Otto grew up in Arusha for part of his childhood, but his family is originally from Ovada, the next village over from Magambua. He grew up in the Catholic church but professes faith in Christ. He attended 2 years of laboratory technician school from 2010 to 2012 and then started working at the AICT Magambua Dispensary the Fall of 2012 as a laboratory technician. His parents still live in Ovada. His family runs a stationary shop and his wife Rose helps to run that in Ovada. They live here in Magambua in staff housing, but are planning to build their own place between Ovada and Magambua.
Ever since finishing high school, he thought about becoming a doctor, but when the opportunity to study as a lab technician presented itself, he gladly took that and has distinguished himself as a hard worker and team player. Now that he has a chance to go on for further studies as a Clinical Officer, he feels like his dream is coming true. He’s expressed a desire to stay in the rural village area so that he can serve the Sandawe people of his home area.
Otto started a three year course in October 2016 to become a Clinical Officer with future plans to assist in the overall health care needs of the Magamabua area villages. This three year course is being supported by GracePoint Church. Pray for him as he attends school during the week and likely comes home to Magambua on weekends.
- Sarah LeonardChristar.orgSarah LeonardChristar.org
My name is Sarah Leonard and I grew up in the Hershey area. I went to a Christian school K-12 and then received my Early Childhood Education degree at Messiah College. During college, after completing my junior year in 2011, I went on a cross-cultural trip to Albania and Greece. It was an amazing trip, but my fondest memories came from Albania. We met and stayed with missionary families, explored the land that most people know nothing to little about, and I just fell in love with it all. I never had any intentions on teaching overseas, but after visiting this country, I felt God leading me back to live and teach there.
I pursued teaching at GDQ International Christian School in Albania during my senior year, went back to visit Albania a second time, and met with people at the school. Here I am, 4 years later, ready to go back for year #5. I taught 4th grade for three years and am starting my second year this August teaching Physical Education to Kindergarten – 8th grade. It’s definitely a challenge, but I love it!
Other than teaching PE, I also am involved with leading a middle school grade homeroom, planning and leading activity days, leading after school sports for grades 4-8, coaching HS girls sports, and leading a HS girls Bible study small group. Outside of school activities, I am involved in my team’s Bible study and a small group from church, I love to run and go to the gym before school most days and on the weekends, am a member of an Albanian church, and love to hang out with my teammates and have coffee with friends!
During my first year of teaching 4th grade, I had the pleasure of helping to lead one of my students to Christ! Her classmates were so excited for her. I love that the three classes I taught in 4th grade, I now have the pleasure of teaching them again in PE! It’s so neat to see them continue to grow academically and spiritually. I’ve also loved being able to lead the homeroom (last year and this coming year) for one of my previous year’s 4th grade classes, who are now going into 7th grade! It really helps that we know each other very well and the students are comfortable asking questions, sharing their views and beliefs, and talking about hard topics. Leading homeroom has been an area of spiritual growth even for myself, as the students challenge me in my own faith.
God has definitely challenged me over these last four years, which has only made me more mature and complete. However, despite the challenges, there have been PLENTY of joys. James 1:2-4 comes to mind: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
I would appreciate your prayer in the following areas:
- Pray that I would trust and rely on God at all times and continue to grow in my relationship with Him.
- Finances – I need to raise an additional $500 per month because of health insurance costs
- Upcoming school year– Pray that God would provide teachers for the few positions we have open: MS math and K-8 computers, along with an elementary principal and school director for the following school year.
- That God would continue to work through myself and the other teachers in the lives of the students, parents, and the community.
- Scott WeidnerTransport for Christ
Welcome to the Missions and Outreach page for GracePoint Church. We invite you to become acquainted with the ministries and missionaries GracePoint Church supports monthly. There are also highlights of how the church impacts the community locally and afar, including misison trips to other parts of the United States. For additional information, please contact us at the GracePoint Church Office.