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Ashland Grace 60-Somethings Bless Ministries in 3 Countries

If you think that international ministry trips are only for people in their twenties, guess again! In early 2024, Ashland Grace church sent about a dozen people to encourage their ministry partners throughout southeast Asia—and the youngest person on the team was in their fifties. Pastor Dan Jackson says, “We wanted to see what God has been doing through our ministry partners and celebrate that. That’s one of the best ways to encourage them: to actually invest the time and money to show up and see their lives and their ministries.”

On their trip, the team traveled to three different countries in southeast Asia, and their first stop was to a developing country where their church partners with a coffee shop to empower those with special needs. Dan’s wife, Rachel, works with children in the States who have special needs, and whenever she meets these families overseas, she always tells them “You know, we have beautiful children just like this in the United States, and they’re such wonderful gifts from God.” After hearing that, moms will tear up as they feel overcome with encouragement. 

The second stop on the trip was the Philippines, where Ashland Grace partners with a Christian school. The school was founded for the indigenous Ati people who were being marginalized in the classroom for being ethnically different from the Filipinos. And the school is doing such a great job! Dan says, “Muslims are sending their kids to the school because it’s the best school in town, and they’re saying, ‘We don’t care what you’re teaching them with the Bible and Jesus—we just want them to get the advantage of your education.”

The team’s final stop was to a Buddhist country, where their church partners with Grace Center to provide safe, affordable housing for university students. This is such a valuable service, because human trafficking is a prevalent threat, and universities don’t offer dorms. After experiencing Jesus’s love at the Center, many students form a relationship with God by the time they leave.

The team wasn’t sure if their age would hinder their usefulness on the field, but they found that their presence actually made a huge difference! Throughout the trip, they were able to teach English, act as grandparents for missionary kids, and use their past business experience to ask valuable questions. She adds, “Many people our age just want to go play shuffleboard or pickleball in Florida, but I don’t think any of us should ever feel like we’re done. There’s always room for anyone who’s willing to let God use them!”