by Kathy Allison
The note was carefully printed by a child’s hand.
“Dear Mr. Grubb,” it read, “My name is Mike Terry. I am 8 years old. I go to the First Brethren Church in Sunnyside. I am sending you a check for $100. I want to loan it to the Seattle church. I am saving it for college and will not need it for 10 years. Mr. Painter said 3-1/2% interest will be alright. When I grow up I want to be a missionary or a preacher.”
The year was 1955. Mike Terry’s investment was one of the first received by the Grace Brethren Investment Foundation, which was established on June 23 of that year. That little boy would be amazed to learn that in just 50 years, the Foundation in which he invested his $100 would grow to a new total asset record of nearly $87 million, all of which is being used to further the ministries of the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches!
The Foundation grew out of the Fellowship’s home missions organization’s desire to assist Grace Brethren churches, schools, and associated organizations that had experienced difficulties in securing loans from commercial financial institutions to build facilities. The expressions of thanks from Grace Brethren pastors speak to how well GBIF is accomplishing that goal:
Pastor Jim Custer of the Worthington, OH, Grace Brethren Church, says, “To all the investors: Every individual whose life has been changed through the gospel ministry here is fruit to your account. Thank you for being our personal prayer and financial partners!”
Pastor Jim Brown of Crossroads Grace Brethren Church in Philadelphia, PA, says, “Because of you, men and women, boys and girls have come to know Jesus Christ as Savior and are growing in their relationship with Him. Thank you for managing God’s blessings wisely!”
Pastor Tom Hocking of the Bellflower, CA, Grace Brethren Church reflects, “We are so encouraged to be part of a Fellowship that has this organization within it!”
Nathan Bryant, executive director of Grace Brethren Canada, says, “GBIF is not only a great savings plan in terms of the interest it gives, but its eternal impact is greater still. It’s good to know that the monies going towards interest are assisting our Fellowship and church planting.”
Jesus Munoz, coordinator of Hispanic ministries with Grace Brethren North American Missions, says, “GBIF has been helping us a lot in training pastors. We have seen that they have a heart for Hispanics and we wanted to work together with them.”
Thousands of people across America and around the world have been reached with the gospel of Jesus Christ as a result of the ministry of GBIF. The investments of Grace Brethren people have made possible the loans to large and small Grace Brethren churches, enabling them to build and expand their facilities to increase their ministry in their communities.
Additionally, each year when the Foundation earns more money than is needed to cover its interest paid to investors and administrative overhead, GBIF makes significant contributions to the church-planting ministries of GBNAM, as well as the ministries of Grace College and Seminary, CE National, GBIM, BMH, and other Fellowship affiliates.
Larry N. Chamberlain is president and CEO of the Foundation, and Kenneth Seyfert is vice president, treasurer, and executive director of operations. GBIF’s mailing address is P.O. Box 587, Winona Lake, IN, 46590, and its phone number is (574) 267-5161.
As part of its golden anniversary celebration, GBIF is providing the evening meal for the Monday night business session at Equip05 national conference in Winona Lake, IN, this summer. A management release states, “As GBIF celebrates its golden anniversary, we want to thank all of our investors for your contribution to the work of the Great Commission. We know you’re rejoicing with us over the ministries your investments make possible. May God bless you richly for your faithful service to Him!”
Kathy Allison is director of communications for Grace Brethren North American Missions.