Church Blog

Rancho 3M Baby Home Dedication

November 25 2013 at 3:30 pm 0 Comments

This past Sunday morning we shared a video about the dedication and official opening of the baby home at Rancho 3M Christian Orphanage and School, in Guadalupe, Mexico. The home was dedicated on May 20 of this year and recently received its first babies.

As Grant Layman conveyed on Sunday, many thanks to everyone who helped make the baby home possible by being part of one or more of the construction trips, by giving financially and by praying.

Also see our post from 2011 when construction was completed on the home.


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Vitamins for Asia

March 4 2013 at 7:30 pm 0 Comments

As Mark Mitchell announced yesterday morning during church, we will be collecting vitamins for an upcoming mission trip to Asia.

Vitamins can be delivered to the Info Center on Sundays March 10, 17 or 24 (generic brands are fine). They can also be dropped off at the church office (upstairs) on weekdays between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m.

We are collecting all kinds of vitamins, but important types include multi-vitamins, chewable multi-vitamins for children, prenatal vitamins and iron supplements. All donated vitamins must have an expiration date of November 2013 or later.

For more details, contact .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) at the church office. We are excited the Lord is opening doors for us to provide practical help to the needy in other nations and look forward to doing more to share the love of Christ abroad.


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Report on Zambia Trip

September 4 2012 at 10:38 am 1 Comments

Below is an approximate transcript of Ben Wikner’s brief report to the church this past Sunday. Note: You are invited to hear more about the Zambia trip and the potential for further gospel ministry there at a meeting on Sunday, September 16, at 7 p.m. in the Edwards Room.

Towards the end of July, fourteen of us set off for the nation of Zambia, which sits landlocked in the southern portion of Africa. We spent 12 days away and came back with a love for Africa and the people of Zambia. Zambians are a remarkably polite and gentle people. Their history includes being the place where the famous missionary, David Livingstone, died, being colonized by the British, and in 1996, becoming the only constitutionally Christian nation in the world.

But Zambia is also a nation with many challenges, including a monumental orphan crisis. A full tenth of the population in Zambia are orphaned children. When I first heard this, I did a double take and had to confirm that number. It’s true. HIV/AIDS and social and family breakdown have decimated a generation of Zambians and left over a million parentless children in need of care.

It was this that drew us to Zambia, along with a connection between [church member] Claude Allen and an orphan care ministry in Zambia called Villages of Hope. Claude, on behalf of the foundation that he works for, had identified this ministry as one that exemplifies key values of biblical stewardship, discipleship, mission, and orphan care.

So we set out to learn how this ministry operates, about the orphan crisis and what is being done, and to serve the children and housemothers of the orphan village. What’s cool is that we got to do this with some of our children. The Allens, Mitchells, and the Wikners, along with Dean and Denise Adamek of Rancho 3M all traveled together along with member Mulenga Katyoka, who is a Zambian national.

We had to raise money for the kids. We begged, borrowed and had two huge yard sales. Thank you to all who contributed to this; they were a huge success!

We were deeply enriched by our experience, not only in serving the children (a privilege!), but through learning and experiencing the grace of God in our interactions.

I came back full of gratefulness and eagerness to see the grace of God advance in the people and the church in Zambia. The need for sound doctrine and the equipping of the church was deeply impressed upon my heart.

I agree with David Platt, who writes in his book “Radical Together” that the key to short term mission is a commitment to long term discipleship. We saw a commitment to discipleship in the various ministries we visited. But we also saw great need and opportunity to further this work.

I am praying that we can have an on-going partnership with the gospel mission in Zambia. We don’t know what that will look like, and no concrete plans have been made, but please pray with us that God will direct us and provide for this work.

To find out more about our trip and about Zambia, we want to invite you to a special Zambia missions report meeting to be held on Sunday, September 16, at 7 p.m. in the Edwards Room. Hope you can make it.

Thank you Covenant Life Church for your heart for missions, for orphans, and for the nations. May the Lord help us to be faithful in the call to advance the gospel. May the Lord call and equip some of you to go and to serve in this work.


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The Nations Are Here: El Salvador

July 23 2012 at 6:00 pm 5 Comments

As Christians, our mission is to make disciples of all nations. We’re blessed to live in an area where approximately 30% of our residents were born in another country; so in a very real sense, the nations are right here on our doorstep. This is something we should celebrate and an opportunity we should seize in order to show Christ’s love, pursue relationships and share the gospel.

To that end, we will be highlighting a different cultural group in our county every few months, so we can learn more about them and pray for our interactions with them.

This past Sunday, we highlighted the Salvadorans in our culture, many of whom attend our own church. We asked a member in our church, Oscar Pinto, to share a little about his culture:

After the service we passed out cards with simple prayer points to remind us all to pray for Salvadorans (more are available at the Welcome Center if you missed them). We can pray that:

  • more would come to know Christ
  • Salvadorans would experience freedom from fear through the gospel
  • those seeking employment would find steady work to provide for their families
  • Salvadorans would experience unity and overcome differences rooted in El Salvador’s civil war

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A Call To Pray for Michael Oh’s Ministry

June 2 2011 at 1:48 pm 0 Comments

Michael Oh photo
Dr. Michael Oh is president and founder of Christ Bible Seminary in Nagoya, Japan.

Michael Oh was here at Covenant Life on January 9 to describe his missionary work in Japan through Christ Bible Institute and his church, All Nations Fellowship, both located in the city of Nagoya. That Sunday, he also led us in prayer for the nation’s 125 million people. We didn’t know then that in early March a massive earthquake and ensuing tsunami would devastate much of northern Japan.

Michael recently e-mailed to say that CBI is starting a prayer campaign related to some critical ministry needs between now and July 31. Over the past year, God provided the means to purchase a building in downtown Nagoya that will serve as CBI’s ministry campus and a center for the work in Japan. But in response to heightened concerns resulting from the Tohoku quake and the fact that Nagoya lies near the most dangerous fault line in Japan, engineers are calling for the first two floors of the building to be structurally reinforced at a cost of $130,000.

The next few months are a crucial time to begin repairs and renovations (hopefully to include earthquake reinforcement) and seek final governmental approval for religious
non-profit use of the building.

Building Purchased by CBI, Nagoya, Japan
Four-story building purchased by Christ Bible Institute

Michael has asked us to pray that they will be able to raise the needed funds, complete all the work, and go forward with an August move-in and building dedication in September.

He also requested that we post to Twitter and Facebook, encouraging people to pray. The URL to share is cbijapan.org/campus.wordpress.com. An easy way to point others to this blog post is by using the “Share this” links below.

Also, feel the freedom to download Michael’s letter (PDF) describing the earthquake reinforcement project and share it with others.


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Updates from Mexico Mission Team

March 26 2011 at 11:07 am 3 Comments

Above: a departure photo of the team that has served at Rancho 3M Christian Orphanage in Guadalupe, Mexico, over the past week. Pictured left to right: Luke Chamberlain, Devon Chamberlain, Eric Conroy, Dave Leo, Nate Somerville, Andy McPhillips, Grant Layman, Milt Hendrickson, Lou Stavely, John Luhman, Robert Johnson, Bob Merryman, Art Shenk, and Nick DeCarlo. Not pictured are team members Sherry and Van Van Orsdel, Sam Hoffman, Jack Anderson and Andy Tvardzik.  Below: a digest of several updates from Art Shenk on behalf of the team.

Day 3 Update
Another gorgeous work day, sunny, mid 80s, warm dry breeze.  We started the day with Sherry and Devon’s tasty egg breakfast burritos, made using four dozen eggs from Taylor Adamek’s (Dean’s and Denise 13 year old son) chicken farm at the Ranch.  Taylor charges 10 cents per egg, and the budding entrepreneur is now considering moving into the market for chicken meat, too.


Luke’s worship song selections of “Let your Kingdom Come” and “High Above All Things” led into Lou Stavely’s excellent devotional on propitiation (God’s wrath-removing sacrifice of sending his son Jesus to die for our sins), reminding us of the incredible blessing it is to live each day with the knowledge that our sins have been forgiven and that we no longer live in fear of God’s wrath.

All the teams were in full production today starting at 8:30 a.m. and worked thru until 6:30 p.m. when we enjoyed a meatball sub dinner and reflected on the day’s activities and the excellent progress made on all fronts.


Painting crew team leader John Emelio reported that the upstairs wall and ceiling painting was totally done, thanks to the steady endurance of John, Bob Merryman, Luke Chamberlain and Jack Anderson, all very quiet but extremely focused on the task at hand.  Meanwhile in one of the back rooms Jon Luhman and partner Sam Hoffman were knocking out door after door with prime and finish coats. Grant’s color selections are superb ... they’re beginning to create a warm and inviting haven for the newborn and toddlers that will soon be arriving.


The framing and trim team is rolling along with the daunting task of trimming over 60 windows and 19 doors. But Van Van Orsdel came up with a “jig” that has really reduced the time it takes to assemble the window trim.  The “shop” set up is quite impressive with some serious power tools ... There is no question in our minds that this team of Van, Lou, Milt Hendrickson and Eric Conroy will meet the challenge of completing the trim.

Grant Layman remarked that the tile team (led by Nick DeCarlo…with help from Grant, Robert Johnson, Nate Somerville and myself “made a comeback” from yesterday’s slow start in some of the small rooms in the front of the building by breaking out into the large room in the center of the first floor and making some serious progress.


The most fun to watch is our electrical team of Dave Leo and Andy McPhillips ... both seasoned tradesman who fly around the building (and all the other teams as a matter of fact), kneeling down, going up and down ladders—you name it they do it—to get in positions to install power outlets, lighting fixtures, ceiling fans, smoke detectors, etc.  If all goes well we could have power to the building as early as this Wednesday.


Last but not least we are grateful for, as Nick DeCarlo put it, Grant’s spiritual leadership and Andy Tvardzik’s construction leadership.  The entire team recognizes that Andy has planned and prepared for months for this trip—arriving the middle of last week to buy supplies, figure out team assignments, etc.  He find’s his name being called all the time for counsel on “what to do”—that is, unless he is off on another two or three hour trip across the border to get more supplies for his appreciative band of workers.  Andy is a gift from God … as nothing ever seems to upset him; you couldn’t pick a better project manager and exemplary leader to follow.


Finally, we are sooooooooooooooo grateful that after three days we have no sickness or accidents/injuries … and we are having a blast!


Day 2 Update
The day began with breakfast at 7a.m. Grant has each team member share why we signed up for the mission trip, followed by Luke Chamberlain leading us in worship using the smallest guitar ever made, and Nick DeCarlo sharing an inspiring reminder from Philippians 2 about our call as men to humble servanthood, being ready to do whatever it takes to see the baby home built … as this week we would not be “writing a check to a worthy cause” but putting our “boots to the ground,” working side by side to see this work of the Lord established as an act of “pure religion”—the kind spoken of in James 1:27, which includes visiting orphans in their affliction.

We put in a full day:

• painting of doors (Jon Luhman, Jack Anderson, and Sam Hoffman)
• painting of the upstairs level (John Emelio, Luke Chamberlin, and Bob Merryman),
• tile work in the front entrance (Nick DeCarlo, Grant Layman, Robert Johnson, Nate Somerville and Art Shenk)
• window framing (Andy Tvardzik, Lou Stavely, Eric Conroy and Van Vanorsdel) of the over 56 windows
• wiring electrical power outlets, installing lighting fixures and smoke detectors (Dave Leo and Andy McPhillips)
• Over dinner we recounted with gratefulness the joys of the first day of work.

Day 1 Update
Our team of 19 arrived at Rancho 3M to a grand welcome by the children … smiles and hugs for all as we got out of the vans … including special greetings by name to Señor Layman and others who have been to the ranch for many years.  The children went on to immediately lug our big suit cases to our bunk room, the cutest group of little porters you will ever see.

The baby house looks great!  Dean Adamek (Rancho 3M Director) shared his vision for the ministry and all that will be taking place soon in the new building (projected for occupancy as early as this fall). The house is spacious, inviting, and brightly/naturally lit …attractively designed and so functional.  Dean expressed his deep appreciation for the folks at Covenant Life and our continued partnership with him and his staff.

Andy Tvardzik shared an overview of the ambitious but doable goals for the week: completing the lion’s share of the interior finishes, including window and door trim, painting, tile/wood flooring installation and electrical work.  We enjoyed our first meal prepared by Sherry Van Orsdel and Devon Chamberlain serving in their all important role of keeping our little band fed—a band now known as “Grant’s Mighty Men” (a phrased coined by Nick DeCarlo as he recapped the privilege of being able to serve using our God-given skills and abilities for His glory).

By their displays of spontaneous joy, happiness and gratefulness, the kids of Rancho 3M continue to motivate us all the more to do our part to get the “walls built” of the baby home as soon as possible, so that Dean and his staff will be able to serve even more children—”rebuilding of the walls” in the hearts and minds of the children thru Gospel-centered care that points them to their need for a Savior, Jesus Christ, and to know and love their Heavenly Father who loves them with an everlasting love and who will never fail or forsake them for all of eternity.


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