India Wedding Hall Project – Newsletter – May 2018

The Rays of Peace Network (the Hopewell Network in India) is developing income-producing projects to provide financial support for their network vision of equipping pastors, starting churches, and ministering to persons on the margins of society (children’s homes, a home for women, etc.).

The Rays of Peace Network has developed a wedding hall. The wedding hall, on the Chellikere church property, is being rented for birthday parties, as well. The wedding hall has begun to generate a good income stream for the network. They are also renting the facility to an English language church for an afternoon service which gives them regular income.

At the same time that the wedding hall is providing an income stream, it is also a great blessing to their community. The wedding hall is rented for wedding receptions and birthday parties at about half of the cost of other wedding halls. This provides a service for their community and creates favor for the ministry.

Mark Jayakumar, apostolic leader of the Rays of Peace network, is exploring other income-producing options. The next project is a retreat center across the street from their children’s home in Sasalu. The retreat center will provide a place for pastors’ meetings and network events like their extended fasting. The retreat center would be rented to other church groups for their retreats and events. There is a great need for such a facility and will be well used.

By Pastor Allan Yoder, Good Shepherd Community


Kearsley Ordination (Full Story Edition) – Newsletter – May 2018

It was the summer of 2007 when Cathie and I moved from Canada to Akron PA. I had recently transitioned out of a position as a Full-time worship pastor and was looking for a new ministry . . . that’s when the opportunity to work at Mennonite Disaster Service arose.  We loaded up the minivan and hauled the family to Lancaster County, where we found a new home.  We arrived on Friday and walked through the doors of Petra on Sunday morning.

Our first thoughts of the church were exciting, very friendly and kind people in an environment that we knew we would be able to flourish in. Cathie and I never visited another church after that day.  We were home.  With my visa restrictions (I was not allowed to be employed, while Cathie was on a work visa) I was able to use my gifts and talents again serving in the Jr. High program; teaching, helping with the worship team, and eventually helping with Local Evangelism.

In 2011, four years after we moved here, we had obtained green cards, bought a house and were settling down in our new roles. I had resolved that God had shut the door on me being a full-time pastor.  I remember making the statement at a Jr. High leadership retreat that, “I was finally comfortable being a trophy husband and lay leader.” That was when I had a “AND SUDDENLY” moment, like the ones that you find in scripture. A week later MDS was downsizing and Cathie found herself unemployed.

Our world was turned upside-down. I had just resolved to be happy where God had planted me and here He was uprooting us again.  I loved my church, although I always had a passion to be more than a lay leader.  The Lord had planted a heart for evangelism, for preaching, and reaching out to the marginalized people in our world.

That’s when I saw the Vision. I’m not a vision type of person.  I’m visionary, but not a person who has seen visions.  I was sitting on a bench in the park across from my house staring at Ephrata Mountain “Suddenly” I felt myself flying over the mountain like a bird.  The sky was black and the forest surrounding the summit of the mountain was even darker.  I saw myself and Cathie tending a large fire, throwing logs on it as it gave a bright light.  And then I heard them.  I heard the cries of many people, looking for help, seeking warmth, crying out in desperation.  I heard our voices shouting out into the darkness, “Come here to the Light!” We’re over here!”  And then it was gone . . . I was back on the bench.

I was terrified and excited all at the same time, so I ran home and shared my vision with Cathie. We prayed and agreed to talk Pastor Ken Reinford at Petra.  We sat down in a meeting a few days later and shared with him our vision.  He asked me what I thought it meant and to just say the first thing that comes to mind. Before I could stop myself, I blurted out, “God wants us to plant a church.”  I started to tear up because we had helped with two church plants in the past and I knew the sacrifices and work that would be in front of us.  Ken agreed and after a meeting with Pastor Lester we found ourselves sitting in the office of Keith Yoder answering questions, ad doing personality profiles.  I remember blubbering with my head in my hands, “I don’t know why God has laid this on my heart to plant a church, but I have to do it.”  Keith reassured us that if there ever was a couple to plant a church, it was us.

It was shortly after this we were able to meet Gerry Stoltzfoos, a pastor from Gettysburg, who has and continues to work with the Hopewell Network and Dove. He has planted over 107 churches and wrote a book 83 Lost Sheep: Reaching a Nation that has given up on Church.  I read his book and contacted him afterwards.  Soon we found ourselves partnering with Petra and Gerry in planting the next Petra church plant.

The vision that God had given me was planting a church for those who normally wouldn’t go to church. Cathie and I had held an Alpha program out of our home several years before leading several to Lord.  We had tried getting them connected with other churches, but they never landed in a place they fit.  I, too, understood their plight and started meeting with them in our home.  We started off with just a Bible Study that was starting church-wide at Petra and then grew and grew.  We soon began to grow out of our home.  We would have 30 people in our home Friday nights and Cathie led a children’s program in our basement.  Our neighbors would put up with loud and boisterous crowds that would invade our neighborhood bi-weekly.

At the same time, I was walking around Akron praying for our community and was able to connect with the mayor. He shared a need for people to serve hot food at a New Year’s Eve event and I volunteered myself, my wife, and the Bible Study (without them knowing it) to serve that New Year’s Eve.  That was five years ago.  We continue to do the food and since then more than half of the committee is from our church.  Many families have come to Freedom Path through that ministry and came to know the Lord.

Four years ago, we had an opportunity to move into the Mennonite Central Committee building in Akron. At our first service Johnny Stoltzfus shared a word that spoke to the core of my spirit.  He said, “God has made an investment in you! He has entrusted you with his lost sheep and you are called to shepherd them home.” Petra made an investment in us, God invested in us, and this January we were officially inducted as a Hopewell Network Church.  Cathie and I were both ordained and this investment is maturing in the lives and souls of our community. In the words of our video that opens our service every Sunday, which speak to the vision and mission of the church, “You have found yourself a safe place to sit down and hear a potentially very dangerous message.  Welcome to our church.”


By Pastor Jim Kearsley, Freedom Path

Book Release: Handprint of God – Newsletter – October 2017

Forty years ago, God moved upon Hopewell Mennonite Church in Elverson, Pennsylvania. This revival resulted in thousands of people putting their faith in Jesus, and became the foundation of what is now the Hopewell Network.

The Handprint of God: History of the Hopewell Network, written by Pastor Lester Zimmerman and Lisa Betz, traces the spiritual line which God drew through generations of his people. It is a map which connects our origins with the church today, weaving together the lives and stories of those God called to follow him.

Everyone who is a part of the Hopewell Network flows in the spiritual legacy God established. The prophetic promises planted in the past continue to produce fruit in the present. If you are unfamiliar with the history of Hopewell, this book will serve as a bucket with which you can draw from the well of faith God dug those many years ago.

The Handprint of God: History of the Hopewell Network is available through Amazon or by contacting the Hopewell Network Office at 717-354-5394.

By Pastor Bill Beck,

Spring City


Hopewell Network Summer Camps – Newsletter – October 2017

The Christian camp experience can be one of the most powerful, life-changing events in a kid’s life. For decades, kids have waved goodbye to their families and familiar surroundings to head out on this adventure called Summer Camp.

The Hopewell Summer Camps minister to kids at Tel Hai Camp and Retreat in Honey Brook, PA, and has been since 1986. Over the years, kids and staff have sprawled out on the 100 acres of woods and fields competing in large- group games, taking nature hunts, riding horses, playing in the pool, and fishing in the lake. Other activities include an indoor rock climbing wall, challenge course, zip line, various sports, ceramics class, and the dodge ball pit!

While the location and activities are superb, it’s not the activities that make camp great for kids. Hopewell Summer Camps is very intentional in leading kids between second and twelfth grades into the presence of the Lord.

The daily schedule includes a morning and evening chapel with worship and a speaker. God-encounters often happen as kids kneel in worship with eager hearts, inviting the Holy Spirit to minister. They also have cabin devotions with their counselors.

Throughout the week, campers and counselors grow in relationship as they dig into the Word and ask tough questions about how it applies to everyday life. This year’s theme was Ecclesiastes 12:1.

Remember . . . your creator in the days of your youth. Counselors are often challenged, also, as they escort kids into discovering God’s truth. The majority of campers testify that chapel is their favorite part of camp, and that their encounter with God was the highlight. Some leave camp in tears, not wanting the experience to end. This year, 278 campers and 70 staff lead by Michael Guertin participated.

May this camp experience equip and empower the next generation for God’s glory!

By Pastor Kim Williamson,

Hopewell Summer Camp Board


Thailand Youth Camp Ministry Trip – Newsletter – October 2017

On April 26, our Petra Church team of six headed to Thailand for ten days of serving and loving on the Thai people. We flew into Bangkok, but then headed up to Ubon Ratchathani, where Nacho and Merrilee Barrera and their family live.

Nacho and Merrilee were sent from Petra a little over three years ago to serve with Hopewell Asia Missions among an unreached people group called the Isaan. They have been planting a church called CityLights Church and have been raising up and discipling the younger generation of Thai/Isaan people to walk with the Lord.

While we were there we got to partner with their ministry and our team held a youth camp for the young leaders and young people in the church. We did a lot of worship and games with them. We spent a lot of time loving on the youth through playing soccer, volley ball and Frisbee, and having spontaneous times of worship and dancing. Although there was a strong language barrier and communication between us and the Thai people was very limited, I think our team as a whole would agree that we knew we had a bond with these youths through the love of God and love for each other.

We got to witness two salvations; it was such an amazing celebration and joy to see these hearts transformed. We were also able to witness three baptisms. The baptisms were very powerful because Nacho and Merrilee let a Thai/Isaan couple they have been discipling baptize the people. Nacho and Merrilee are allowing God to flow through them, and he is moving in mighty ways in Thailand. He is expanding his base of influence in the hearts of the people in Thailand and it will grow to reach far beyond what we got to see in our short time there.

By Emily Nolt,

Thailand Team Participant


Remembering Heidi Kolb – Newsletter – October 2017

On August 1, 2017, Heidi Kolb graduated to her eternal home with her beloved Savior Jesus. Heidi had been diagnosed with cancer in May 2016, but she pressed through fear and pain and kept life as normal as possible, attempting things that astounded everyone around her. Rather than allowing it to make her bitter, the sweetness of her life grew with every passing month. She learned to truly rest in God’s love.

Mission work was her passion, and she was committed to fulfilling God’s call. At Heidi’s insistence, she and her husband, Joel, were on their way to Thailand with their two youngest children to visit missionaries.  Her health was declining, but she believed that healing would come as she walked in obedience to God.  The first leg of the journey was already too much.  They decided to hold in Japan and get medical help.  “Trust Jesus” were the words she spoke over and over throughout the journey. Heidi passed away peacefully in a hospital in Tokyo, Japan.

Heidi taught us many things over the past year . . . to laugh and enjoy each day, even with a terminal illness. To trust that Jesus is good, even when our eyes do not see the evidence of what we think is good. To let our light shine to those around us, even when we ourselves are suffering. She taught us courage. She taught us the importance of relationships. She taught us not to be afraid of death. She taught us to “trust Jesus” to the very end.

By Pastor Anita Malizzi,

Hopewell Telford


Hope of the Nations Ministry Intern from Mexico – Newsletter – October 2017

We had the pleasure of meeting Shanti Avendano Zuniga in April while in Mexico City with Allan and Rebeca Yoder. It was a ministry trip that included preaching, teaching, and praying at a Pastor’s Conference at Agrupacion Familiar Cristiana, with Pastors Gerardo and Fernanda Bravo.

Shanti is 19 years old and the daughter of Oliver Avendano, the man who translated for Angelo while he was preaching and ministering at the altar. Oliver and Shanti have become part of and active at AFC, and this was Oliver’s first time translating. He did an amazing job and was also visibly moved by the messages he was translating. Shanti was a part of all of the services, sometimes as part of the worship team, and it was evident that she was also being extremely blessed by the ministry taking place at the conference and in the three churches we were at on Sunday morning.

As we connected with them, Shanti shared her desire to give her first year after graduating high school to the Lord’s service in some type of ministry school/training environment. Pastor Allan Yoder suggested coming to Pennsylvania for the DOVE Hopewell Ministry School. They decided that this was the Lord’s direction for Shanti, so she arrived in Pennsylvania on Labor Day and is attending the Reading satellite site of the Ministry School while living with the Sarnas in Reading and being involved in Worship, Youth, and Children’s Ministry at Hope of the Nations.

We are very excited about this development and this opportunity to help equip a young woman of God for life and ministry. If any of the other area churches have an interest in giving Shanti ministry experience, please let us know and we will do our best to facilitate that. Contact us at or 610-736-9255.

By Pastor Angelo and Teresa Sarna, Hope of the Nations


New Thailand Team Members – Newsletter – November 2017

Kristina Beiler of Petra recently completed a three-month mission internship, assisting with CityLights youth ministry and teaching music.

Another mission intern, Sarah Eby, also of Petra, is preparing to begin a one-year assignment this fall to assist the Barrera family with homeschooling.

We plan to send another Youth Camp Team from April 25–May 6, 2018.

If you have interest in serving in Thailand, short-term or long-term, contact Dwane at: 717-354-5394 or

By Dwane Reitz, Hopewell Asia Missions Director


Remembering Johnny Stoltzfus – Newsletter – October 2017

I have walked with Johnny and Lily for many years, and he was a dear friend, mentor, teacher, and all-around encourager. He was little in stature, but mighty in the Kingdom of God.

Johnny loved his wife, Lilly, and often called her his “Lily of the Valley.” His pride and love for the family was evident to all of us. But, oh his stories, no one who heard one will forget his adventures ranging from up north in Canada to their time in Europe. We were never bored when he would ask, “Can I share something?”

But above all, the one thing that always sticks out to me was his relationship with the Holy Spirit! I loved watching Johnny waiting on the Spirit in prayer, always trying to listen to what he wanted him to pray. Sometimes in the silence I would wonder what he was waiting for, and then I would get it; he was waiting for direction from the Holy Spirit.

Because of John’s relationship with and love for the Father, Jesus, and Holy Spirit, he was able to encourage many in the body of Christ. Not just within the Network, but throughout the world.

Johnny will be truly missed in my life and the lives of so many in the Network. He walked out his time on earth with such passion and love for people. Let it be an example to all of us, remembering the lessons he taught us about encouraging others!

By Becky Jones,

Hopewell Network Intercessor


India Update – Newsletter – May 2017

In February 2017, Pastors Allan and Rebeca Yoder and Doug Graybill of Good Shepherd Church, and Pastors Wes and Julie Myers of New Freedom Church travelled to Bangalore, India, to work with Pastor Mark Jayakumar, India Hopewell Network Overseer, and his team in strategic meetings in North Karnataka and Orissa. Both areas have a Hindu stronghold, and Orissa, in particular, has had a history of Christian hostility.

In years past, the focus has been to minister in pastors’ conferences in Bangalore and visit children’s homes. This year, Pastor Mark and his team took the conferences to some villages.

In North Karnataka, we met Pastor David, celebrated a new building dedication, and held a pastors’ conference at both of his churches. Pastors Allan and Wes preached, Doug prayed for favor, and Pastors Rebeca and Julie ministered to the pastors’ wives in breakout sessions.

Afterward, we returned to Bangalore, and flew to Andra Pradesh to meet Pastor Sushil. We drove to his home in Orissa, where the church meets. In 2008, he witnessed Christians being burned in their homes by Hindus. We met the boys who survived, and learned that Pastor Sushil wants to buy land to build a building for the children and the church. This will enable him to become a part of an association providing covering for churches in his community. The children are currently living with relatives and willing hosts.

The first meeting, in Orissa, was at Pastor Sushil’s house. The second was at the pastors’ conference held at another area church. The conference was shortened before tensions could rise in the community. Some pastors attended, and a few of their wives.

Back in Bangalore, we ministered at Pastor Mark’s church, and Victory Children’s Home where the children appear well. The playground is finished, and Pastor Mark hopes to use it for outreaches. Construction is underway for a dormitory for women rescued from temple prostitution.

Overall, pastors were encouraged. Pray for safety as the country is increasingly becoming more rigid in its laws concerning Christians, and strategies must be determined for future success.

By Wes and Julie Myers,

New Freedom Church