Haiti: Teen Camp Update


Thank you to all who donated for the Teen Camp through GlobalFingerprints in Haiti. Because of your generous donation, 60 teens were able to attend camp as well as spend an amazing day at a resort. We wanted to share with you an update from one of the staff in Haiti.

“Camp this year was great. We had only seven kids who had previously attended camp, come again this year and they came as sort of “junior helpers” and did an awesome job leading the younger kids. Aside from those seven, the rest of the group were 15 and 16 who had never attended before. We went in with three goals:

  1. The teens would have one of the best weeks of their lives.
  2. They would truly feel “family”…from each other, our staff and God.
  3. They would hear a clear gospel presentation.

We believe each of those goals were accomplished! The theme this year was “We Are Family/Nou Se Fanmi,” and the Haitian leadership team did an amazing job of communicating that in practical-relational way, but also (more importantly) on a spiritual level. Many of the kids went out of their way to share with us how much they loved the theme and how loved they felt throughout camp.”
-Kelsey Charlemagne, GlobalFingerprints Haiti

Again, thank you for your generous support to reach here, near and far!

ORPHANetwork Update

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The country of Nicaragua has been in the news since April with its violent protests and political upheaval. Approximately 300 people have been killed and thousands of people fleeing to neighboring Costa Rica as civil war is looming.

In the middle of such deep unrest, there is still a light that shines. ORPHANetwork, a partner of The Compass Church, is seeing the Gospel radiate through to the most vulnerable. They serve around 360 children through six children’s homes across Nicaragua, supporting ministries that have rescued children who have been abandoned, abused, socially orphaned or truly orphaned.

I was encouraged by their recent update and hope you are too.

One of the children’s homes, Casa Bernebè, recently celebrated 18 of their children choosing to be baptized. In celebration of this, I loved what Bertha Solorzano, a staff member had to say.

“This has been a time when we have seen the love and faithfulness of God. The situation that we are living in has touched our hearts a lot and has been an opportunity for constant meetings to be united, praying for the Lord. Everyday there is one more reason to pray.
Although our hearts are sad, we get up every day remembering that God always has control and purpose over things. Our faith has been developed and strengthened through this new path that we did not know we should encounter. We are teaching the children to put their gaze on God, the author of everything created and our faith.”

Please pray for the staff and children of ORPHANetwork that they would continue to see God’s hope and protection during this difficult time in Nicaragua. For more information on ORPHANetwork and all they are doing, visit orphanetwork.org.


Hello! This is Micah Hill; to my mom and dad, don’t worry I didn’t die! Last night we went to temple square and it was an amazing time for the team and I. While I did not have any great conversations, God was totally at work in the team from the start of the night to the finish. There were countless stories and conversations held, and God seriously found a way to use all of us, not just in Temple Square, but in the last two days of the kids camp, many prayers were answered, and so many kids who once were silent and shy were dancing and praying and singing to God. It is an understatement to say that we were overjoyed and blessed.

Utah 5We have had a mostly safe (besides my toe) and incredibly blessed trip. God has shown each of us something new and amazing about ourselves, Himself, and the world we are called to preach the gospel to. As a third, and final trip, this was a perfect conclusion to my participation in the wonderful things God is doing through the Sandford’s. Thank you all for your prayers and support, we owe much of our success to your faithful prayer and financial support. God be with you, Micah.


Kids camp has been amazing so far. There are around 150 kids, out of those, around 30 of themUtah trip 3 are from the church. A lot of parents will send their kids to this camp because of the fun atmosphere regardless of their religion. On the first day, the message was “The Bible is our guide.” As Ritch was speaking about why the Bible is the only Holy Book, one of the kids yelled out and asked, “What about the Book of Mormon?” These kids are hearing truth and understanding it. God is doing big things here. Please pray that God will continue to work and that God’s truth will reach these kids’ hearts.



Hello my name is Caleb Frank and this is my first time going on a mission trip. To be completely honest, I was terrified of what God was asking me to do. Leading a group of about 50 kids that only want to slice you in half with pretend lightsabers is very daunting. I have relatively no experience handling children, making this camp something completely out of my comfort zone.

On the first day, I met a kid between age 5 and 7. We can call him “John.” So right away, it was apparent that John was special. He was evidently somewhere on the autism spectrum. To put it bluntly, I did not want to hang with this kid, but God had other ideas. John ended up sticking to me, which forced me to handle almost anytime he would lash out whether it was violently or verbally (hopefully I don’t make him seem worse than he was). Even though I was not qualified to handle him at all, I stuck with it because I knew God put him here for a reason. Monday, all he wanted to do was play computer games… which we clearly don’t have at camp. Then Tuesday morning, the first thing I heard him say was “I’m excited,” and my heart melted. That day his behavior was evidently worse and Pastor Ritch ended up moving him to be in a different group so he could be with his brother.

However, I wasn’t in his new group so Jake asked me if I should switch groups. I knew I was a part of some crazy plan God had so I said I would switch groups to stay with John. Honestly, I did not want to stay with him because I had already built connections in my group. Today, Wednesday, I went through the day with him by my side as usual, but everything changed during snack time. He sat in my lap and out of absolutely nowhere, began talking about God. This kid that I thought was going to be the worst part of the trip, ended up praying with me that he believed truly in God, and told me that he loves God a “billion trillion billion trillion billion trillion.” This conversation about God lasted for about 10 minutes, and I cried. I told him through tears how awesome it was that he believed this. GOD IS REAL. None of that was my own doing. I could feel God smiling on the two of us as we sat on that concrete floor.

For the record, I have rarely shown emotion publicly or privately. So much so that I cannot remember the last time I cried. And so far I have cried three times and I am so proud, once on Jake Tjard’s shoulder. God is transforming me and everyone can see it, including me. This team that I am with has been absolutely incredible, in supporting, praying, worshiping, talking, and even having fun. I can’t wait to see what God has in store for the next few days. Thanks for the prayers!

Student Missions Trip Update: UTAH

We have arrived safe and sound in South Jordan, Utah. All 17 of us are excited to be here, and ready for Vacation Bible School to start. This year, we will be focusing on Ephesians 2:8-10, laying out a different portion of this verse each day. To top it all off, we will be doing everything in a pirate theme. We are praying the theme and topic will really make the kids get “hooked” (sorry, bad pun).

The past two days have been a lot of prepping the space. The Mission Church has recently expanded their space, and have been in a mad dash to get everything ready for this VBS. We’ve cleaned, swept, mopped, swept, set up furniture, swept and even found time to assemble a 30-foot ship on the stage for the main theme. And did I mentioned we swept?

Please be praying for our team. That we would be willing to make the gospel come alive to these kids. That we would draw closer to one another. That our hearts and minds would be focused on the Lord.

But by far, the best part of my day today is hearing how God is at work everywhere, not just here. I received a video message tonight from my 5-year old daughter. She proudly told me that she accepted Jesus in to her heart tonight! That’s the best news I could have ever hoped to get. Our whole team celebrated when I let them know.

I pray that there will be children this week who get to go home and share the same story with their parents, because they met Jesus here.

Jake McNamara

Passing Along the Joy of Soccer

Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a language they understand. Sport can create hope where once there was only despair.”– Nelson MandelaPheneger Family

Matt and Laura Pheneger, missionary partners of The Compass Church, are reaching youth and their families through a unique way: soccer. Matt serves as the Director of  Ambassodors Football Latin America. They use soccer as a platform to communicate the Good News to the marginalized children of Latin and South America.

Recently, The Compass Church donated 125 soccer shoes for teams in Peru. “There is a girls’ soccer team from Lima that qualified to play in a tournament in Paraguay against teams from around South America,” Matt said. “Many of the players had shoes that were falling apart and didn’t have money to replace them. We gave the girl’s the donated shoes. Our daughter, Claire’s team, played against them and several of the parents thanked me. Please pray this will open doors for the Gospel to be shared with this team in the future.”


soccer pic

Over the weekends of May 26/27 and June 2/3, The Compass Church will be having a drive for used soccer shoes, balls and equipment for at-risk kids in Nicaragua. There will be white bins at Compass Central that donations can be dropped off. Join us in sharing the joy of soccer!

For questions, please email compassglobal@thecompass.net.
For more about Matt and Ambassodors Football, please visit https://latam.ambassadorsfootball.org/ and https://vimeo.com/aflatam.

Jen Blevins Visit

“Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.” (1 Jn. 3:18)

Jen Blevins, missionary to Haiti

Haiti is a country that has heard many promises of hope and love. But once those words have been spoken, how many follow through with actions? As you drive through Port-au-Prince, the desperate situation of the people tells the story of unanswered promises and well-meaning words spoken without action. People rushed to help after the earthquake eight years ago, but the pervading issues of lack of clean water, access to food, and poor infrastructure tells us that words were simply not enough.

And yet there are places in Haiti telling a different story. A story of deep, servant love coming alongside Haitians and showing them not only God’s great love for them but equipping them to make a change in their community. I had the privilege of spending the weekend with one of CompassGlobal’s supported missionaries who is helping Haitians write this very story.

Jen Blevins was following Jesus as a seventh-grade science teacher in the Twin Cities, when a short-term mission trip to New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina opened her ears to God saying, “you could do this.” Not long after this, Jen moved to Haiti with ReachGlobal to show Jesus through not only her words, but more importantly, through her actions.

Jen has been in Haiti for five years now. Living in the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere certainly has its challenges, but the one thing Jen consistently shared was how amazing the people are. Coming alongside them, teaching them, learning from them, and empowering them to be a part of the change has been the heart of her ministry and The Lord has blessed this with changed lives.

Jen shares with CompassKids at the Hobson campus

Jen’s main responsibility in Haiti is coordinating the GlobalFingerprints program. GlobalFingerprints is the child sponsorship ministry of ReachGlobal, which partners with the local churches to send children to school and help care for their physical, spiritual, and emotional needs. This program is a tangible way for not only Jen to show God’s love to each child, but also for those people who sponsor them. Jen also hosts short-term mission teams. She has an amazing ability to help team members take their words of love and turn them into actions of love.

If you are interested in being a part of a short-term team, please go to thecompass.net/connect/compassglobal.

If you would like to learn more about sponsoring a child through GlobalFingerprints, please go to efca.org/ministries/reachglobal/globalfingerprints.

With any questions, please email us at compassglobal@thecompass.net .

You Will Never Be the Same

I was 16 years old.  One among thousands sitting in the crowd at McCormick Place at the Greater Chicago Billy Graham Crusade in June 1971.  During that 10-day crusade, over 12,000 people went forward after Billy Graham’s message during the singing of “Just As I Am” by the Crusade Choir.

I was not one of them.

I was not one of them despite the warning by Billy Graham at the beginning of his message that it would be an “hour of decision”.  He went on to say, “You will never be the same today, even if you refuse Christ you will never be the same”.  He was right.

(I encourage you to watch the entirety of his message by clicking on the link; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U89zkUZPd5w&sns=em)

I wasn’t the same.  I was questioning what I believed as I attended that night.  I grew up as a Christian Scientist and among other things, had a growing confusion over the identity of the Person of Jesus Christ.  I had been invited to attend the Crusade by a high school friend, whose church rented a bus to make the trek from Peoria to Chicago.  To be honest, I accepted the invitation because I wanted to go to the “big city”.  It was an adventure to me.  I didn’t know who Billy Graham was at the time.

It just so happened that Billy Graham’s message was, “Who Is Jesus?”  He had my attention.  Little did I know that God was in the process of drawing me to Himself.  This was one of the steps.  The Crusade was over.  My questioning continued.

A few years later, during my senior year in high school, I had to stay home from school for a week due to an illness.  I picked up a family Bible and opened it to the New Testament reading through Matthew, Mark, Luke and John asking God to reveal Himself to me.  He did.  It was as though lights were turning on as I completed one gospel after another.  I finally understood who Jesus was and why He died on the cross.  I embraced Him as my Savior.

I’ve never been the same.

I used to joke that even Billy Graham couldn’t save me.  Well, of course he couldn’t.  But His Savior could and did…and used him in the process.  May we be so used.

— Pastor Rick Pierson

People over Projects: Houston Trip #2 Recap

Over the New Year, The Compass Church sent it’s second team to serve in Houston with the EFCA Crisis Response Team. In today’s post, Annie Fong, one of the members of that team shares about her experience. Another team is being assembled to serve in May. If you are interested in being a part of that team, please email compassglobal@thecompass.net.


A house in Houston after hurricane Harvey

“The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; He delivers them from all their troubles. The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:17-1. How true this is for the people in Friendswood, Texas, a town outside of Houston.

The Lord is faithful, the Lord is powerful, the Lord is present, and the Lord is working.  Our 14 member team definitely saw God working through the lives of The EFCA Crisis Response Staff members. They serve by the motto, “People over Projects.”  This means that there is more work, more damage and more hurt in the people than there is in their houses. So, our main role was to show and share the love of Christ, and invest in the lives of the homeowners and their families.  It meant postponing a project to listen, share and pray with someone through the work day.

We started each day with devotions and prayer. On the first day a staff member shared from Philippians 2:1-4, about living like Christ, getting in the mindset of putting others first and just loving on them. Personally, this is something I have been struggling with. I know that I often serve people to make myself feel better, not to simply help them. Or I serve without keeping in mind that I am serving my God in Heaven through serving others. This trip challenged me to take a step back, to humble myself and be obedient to God’s plans for the trip. I became more conscientious of my decisions. I prayed that God would soften my heart and open my eyes… and He did.

Over the course of the week, we had the opportunity to get to know our homeowners including their 10 year old son, “K”. Seeing God work with “K” and watching him change throughout the course of the week was one of the coolest experiences of the trip. When Harvey hit the area, it really impacted “K” a lot.  Afterwards did not want to do much besides lay around and play inside. However, during the week we were there, “K” was the biggest helper! He loved being able to repair his house with us and just spend time with us. His step mom, said that she had not seen him have that much fun or smile as much as he did in a long time!

My favorite memory with “K” was when he wanted to go on our daily prayer walk with us, even though it was freezing outside! He shared about people in the neighborhood we could pray for, and he became increasingly invested in what we were doing.  He couldn’t wait to go on the next prayer walk!

Houston Team 2

Some of the team!

This was one of the ways God worked and showed His presence through the week. God allowed us to give people hope, to give people a sign that there is a brighter future ahead, and most importantly, God let people know that they are not alone. My prayer for them is that they do not lose sight of this, that they never cease trusting the Lord, that they know that we are continuing to pray for them. Please pray for the families that we served! Please pray too for the EFCA Crisis Response Staff, who make sacrifices make every day for God.