FGBC World on
By Liane Schmersahl
Luke Wright working at his potter's wheel
Luke Wright could have been a pharmacist if it hadn’t been for two monumental turning points. First, he remembered he was an artist. Second, he felt God calling him to something entirely unexpected.
These days, Wright, 25, doesn’t wear a white lab coat to work, and unlike most recent college graduates, he doesn’t struggle to meet his boss’ demands. He simply rides his bike to his own little pottery studio in Winona Lake, Ind., and gets to work running his own business. At 804-G Park Ave., home of Mudlove Pottery, Wright not only makes and sells his own artwork, but also he works to provide clean drinking water for villages in the Central African Republic. For every $5 a customer spends at Mudlove, the young entrepreneur donates $1 to the clean water effort.
By Tom Hocking
Dimond Grace is found at the top of the escalator in an Anchorage, Alaska, mall.
Do you like malls? Enjoy window-shopping or people watching? When the weather is bad, do you walk for exercise in the enclosed shopping area? Personally, I do my best to avoid malls—which I call the quintessential temples of capitalism. Around the Christmas holidays, of course many more of you join me in my MDS—“Mall Dread Syndrome.”
But then . . . there’s Pastor Chris Ball. I got to visit Chris’s home in Alaska for the very first time in November. Within hours of my plane touching down in Anchorage, guess where my boyhood friend took me? Here is a hint—it wasn’t Denali National Park (home of North America’s tallest mountain, Mount McKinley) and it didn’t involve a moose, a glacier, or even Sarah Palin. No, Chris took me to 800 East Dimond Boulevard—the address for the Dimond Center Mall (whoopee).
Now, despite my chronic MDS, I have been in quite a few malls in my life—the married portion of it at any rate. But until November 4, I had never been to a mall with a Grace Brethren church. But sure enough, just down from the Studio FX Styling Salon, Rainbow Earth Jewelry, and Dimond Burger Express, there it was: the very inviting, modern, high-tech Dimond Grace Fellowship.
Pastor Chris and Marsha Ball
I have to tell you that I was astonished by what I saw. Dimond Grace is literally in “the marketplace” of its community and has created a space that is both visually attractive and contemporary—it fits well into its mall setting. On the other hand, it is unabashedly counter-cultural in its message—both spoken and demonstrated.
Most mall tenants are retailers—selling things at a profit. The pastor and people of Dimond Grace, on the other hand, are redistributors. What they have freely received, they freely give. They view the ministries of kindness and mercy as their call, duty, joy, and privilege. For the past couple years, the church has given away thousands of cups of coffee, hand-warmers, socks, “cup-of-soup” bowls, candles, soap, shampoo, toothpaste, Bibles, and hours of conversation and prayer. The church also invites nearly a dozen other area churches to co-sponsor its annual Free Garage Sale, that provides tangible help and relational support to people in need.
This spiritual family sold their facility in 2002 and moved into the mall in order to follow the mandate of Matthew 28:19-20. It is their passion is to “daily connect people with Jesus and His Great Commission.”
The result? Pastor Chris notes that they now have as many visitors in a single week as they used to have in an entire year. Every day the church provides a quiet haven for all kinds of people: frazzled shoppers, drug pushers, curious seekers, hit men, social outcasts, prostitutes, and people of all sorts of ethnicities. Presently, this unique spiritual family is composed of Native Alaskans, Russians, Filipinos, Indonesians, Mexicans, Malaysians, Canadians, African Americans, and a minority of folk with a white European background. Vive la difference!
So, if you are suffering from MDS, may I suggest a treatment plan? Fly to Anchorage and allow Pastor Chris to show you how a trip to the mall can shape eternity. (He’ll also offer free housing, a meal of reindeer sausage, and a moose-sighting or two!) Dimond Grace is a mission outpost that relies on the prayers and financial support of God’s people to continue.
The 2009-2011 moderator of the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches, Tom Hocking is challenging Grace Brethren congregations in North America to unite in a commitment to make disciples through training leaders, planting churches, and adopting holistic ministries. He is the pastor of the Bellflower Brethren Church in Bellflower, Calif.
For more information about Dimond Grace Fellowship, Anchorage, Alaska, to guide your prayers and giving, call Chris Ball at 907-333-2484 or see the church website at dimondgrace.org. (If you’d like to join the church online for worship, there are instructions on the site to access the service live. Just click in any Sunday at 11 a.m. Alaska Standard Time.)
Celebrating with the Grace Brethren
Roger Peugh, left, was presented the Excellence in Ministry Award by Ken Bickel.
Roger D. Peugh has been presented the Excellence in Ministry Award by the Association of Grace Brethren Ministers. He served 20 years as a church-planting missionary in Germany, and upon his return to the U.S., began 21 years of service at Grace College and Seminary in various teaching and administrative roles.
Eric Marsh, pastor of Hope for Long Beach at Grace Brethren Church, Long Beach, Calif., received the Community Leader Award at the 28th Annual Greater Long Beach Leadership Prayer Breakfast on October 7, 2010.
Frank Figueroa, Jr., has been ordained to the Christian ministry by the Waipio Grace Brethren Church in Mililani, Hawaii. He has pastored the church since 2007.
Jeremy Norton of Peninsula Grace Brethren Church, Soldotna, Alaska, and Brad Blackstone of Eagle River, Alaska, Grace Brethren Church have been examined by the Arctic District Ministerial Examining Board and recommended to their churches for licensure as Grace Brethren elders.
On the Move
Tom Gale is the pastor at Southwest Grace Brethren Church, Grove City, Ohio.
Bill Harris, a member of the Grace Brethren Church, Ashland, Ohio, has retired as president of the Ohio Senate, a position he has held since 2005. He held the Ohio 19th District Senate seat from 2000 to 2010 and previously served as a state representative from 1995 to 2000.
Margaret Louise Frost, 90, Findlay, Ohio, November 10, 2010. She and her husband, Chuck, supported Grace Brethren International Missions (GBIM) and Integrated Community Development International (ICDI) for many years by packing shipping containers to be sent to Africa.
Galen Lingenfelter, 89, Pasadena, Calif., October 5, 2010, former Grace Brethren pastor.
S. Maxine Peters, 85, West Milton, Ohio, October 20, 2010, wife of longtime Grace Brethren pastor Jack Peters and mother of Pastor Steve Peters.
James R. Renick, 72, Salunga, Pa., October 3, 2010, former Grace College and Seminary faculty member and missionary to France.
Marilyn G. Salazar, 75, Bedford, Pa., April 28, 2010, wife of former Grace Brethren pastor Robert G. Salazar.
Robert H. Schumacher, 84, Elkhart, Ind., November 9, 2010.
Todd Scoles, 48, Marysville, Ohio, October 10, 2010, Grace Brethren pastor, historian, and BMH board president and author. (See related story here.)
Earl J. Thurston, 88, Fort Wayne, Ind., October 27, 2010, former director of food services at Grace College, Winona Lake, Ind.
Marguerite Tresise, 99, Hawaii, October 20, 2010, wife of the late Rev. Foster Tresise, founder of the first Grace Brethren church in Hawaii.
Wanda M. Welling, 77, Goshen, Ind., October 8, 2010, mother of Brenda Welling, who serves in Mexico City with Grace Brethren International Missions (GBIM).
Frances Mae Weber, 86, Lititz, Pa., October 1, 2010, wife of Grace College and Seminary board member, Henry Weber, and a member of the Grace Brethren Church, Lititz.
Why would a young college graduate, struggling to succeed in a new business, contribute 20 percent of his income to a project far removed from him both geographically and culturally? In the article “Making Clean Water from Mud," you will discover the reason. Luke Wright, a gifted ceramics artist, sees his talent as a gift from God to be used for the benefit of others.
Many tribes and clans in the bush in the Central African Republic have only contaminated creeks or mud holes as sources for water, so Wright is contributing to an organization that exists to provide essential resources, including pure water, to thousands of Africans.
Wright understands, of course, that clean water is needed for physical health, but there is an even greater need for what the Bible calls “the water of life.” Jesus said that He is that water. You can gain spiritual health by accepting His offer of life eternal. It isn’t gained by giving away 20 percent—or even 100 percent—of your earnings. All you have to do is drink of that water of life, accepting by faith the offer of salvation made possible by the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.
For help in accepting the free gift of this water of life, contact the church where you received this magazine or contact
Illingworth's book retails for $14.95.
J. Davis Illingworth Jr. has a successful automotive career behind him, a big vision for reaching the world for Christ, and an ambitious product-plan ahead of him that is beginning to unfold. The first two products in Illingworth’s “God of Hope” project, a 153-page paperback book and its accompanying study/discussion guide, have just been released by BMH Books of Winona Lake, Ind.
Through the first-person testimonies of the disciple Thomas, the prophet Moses, the apostle Paul and the disciple John, God of Hope brings to life the energy, passion, and brilliance of God’s mysterious plan for the universe and humanity as it is unfolding in history.
God’s story has a beginning, a middle, and an end. In the book Moses tells the beginning, Thomas and Paul tell the middle, and John tells how the story will end. It is a story of hope versus despair, good versus evil, truth versus lies, love versus hate, life versus death.
These stirring accounts will inspire Christians to greater courage and trust in God, and can also lead nonbelievers to faith by introducing them to the hope available from the one true God. This overview of God’s plan, as well as the author’s compelling presentation of his own story, invite readers to consider the story of their own lives and to reflect on how that fits into God’s plan for humanity.
About the book, Grace College and Seminary president Ronald Manahan said, “God’s story is the big story in this book and the reason for hope. With gripping transparency the author tells his own story of struggling with and trusting in the God of hope. Dave Illingworth’s story invites the reader to turn from despair and loss of hope to God’s story of hope through His Son.”
Darrell Waltrip, NASCAR champion, Hall of Fame nominee and Fox broadcaster, said, “This project is so Dave—it covers all the bases and pays close attention to detail. I love the way it connects my story, His story, and your story. God of Hope will reach many souls and make a huge difference in believers’ and non-believers’ lives.”
The author, J. Davis (Dave) Illingworth, Jr., was formerly Senior Vice President and Chief Planning and Administrative Officer of Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. In this position he was responsible for Finance, Corporate Services, Business Planning, Human Resources, Information Systems, Strategic and Product Planning, Advanced Product Strategy, Telematics, Legal, University of Toyota, and Motorsports.
Illingworth joined Toyota in 1980. He was with Lexus from the division's inception in January 1987 through 1992, and he was instrumental in making Lexus an industry leader in customer satisfaction, sales, and quality. Most recently, Illingworth was senior vice president and general manager for the Toyota Division from 1992 to 1997, overseeing sales and marketing.
In recognition of his work, Illingworth was named Automotive News All-Star for 1997; Automobile Magazine's 1992 "Man of the Year" for his leadership of the new Lexus Division; and one of the auto industry's "Top 10 Newsmakers" by Automotive News. One of the vehicles he oversaw, the Camry, earned the title of America's best-selling car in 1997.
A graduate of Ohio University in Athens, Illingworth earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology and is a former member of the Ohio University Foundation Board of Trustees. At age 65, Dave retired from Toyota and now lives in Winona Lake, Indiana, with his wife, Cynthia, and is the Toyota dealer in the nearby town of Warsaw. The Illingworths have raised five children.
The God of Hope Study Guide retails for $4.95.
The discussion study guide that accompanies the book, designed for use by small groups, Adult Bible Fellowships, and individual study, includes stimulating discussion questions and was created by Jesse Deloe, who worked with BMH Books as senior editor for a number of years.
The book retails for $14.95 and its ISBN number is 978-0-88469-271-3. The study guide, ISBN number 978-0-88469-275-1, retails for $4.95 and both publications are available at bmhbooks.com, by calling 1-800-348-2756, or from local or online booksellers. An e-book edition of God of Hope is available on Amazon.com for $9.99.
The book and study guide, along with the e-book edition, are the first of a series of products which will eventually include an audio book, a music CD, and a full video DVD version, featuring top-flight professional actors and singers. More on the God of Hope project and access to future products may be obtained at godofhope.net.