Grace Community Christian School
Grace Community Christian School (GCCS) is a Christian School in the Philippines that was founded in 1994. While it started out as an elementary school it has grown and now has students from Kindergarten through Ninth Grade with plans to add a grade until high school completion.
The relationship between Zeeland Christian School and Grace Community Christian School began in 1999 when then-principal Bill Van Dyk was urged to visit by Gordon Ellens who had been spending time helping to plant new schools and churches in Philippines. A small team of adults and middle school students from ZCS then traveled to the Philippines. The team discovered a shared a passion for providing Christian Education to as many children as possible regardless of their families financial status. Over the years the relationship has evolved and grown into a partnership in Christ and in education.
John and Barb Buteyn with Pastor Leo (GCCS Chaplain) and Elma Ordiales (GCCS Principal) and their daughter and Granddaughter during a recent visit to GCCS.
It seems as though the physical distance between our 2 communities should hamper our abilities to work together for the good of the kingdom. However, through the efforts of Pastor Leo and Elma Ordiales and the leadership team at ZCS, this is not the case. There are a variety of ways that we work together:
- Each of the teachers at Grace Christian School has a prayer partner in Zeeland.
- The schools regularly send representatives from one school to the other.
- Each ZCS class connects with and sponsors a student from Grace Christian School. They exchange letters and send Christmas gifts with their student as well.
- Individual ZCS families have that opportunity to sponsor students as well! Click here to pay for a student sponsorship online. If you have questions about sponsoring a student please contact Tom Joustra.
Every 2 years a group of ZCS students and teachers take a trip to the Philippines to continue growing in community together. During this time our students work with and get to know the students from GCCS and have formed lifelong relationships.
"The sponsorship lunch was an amazing experience. We were representing a whole school and community who supports these kids and families. We were the few who actually got to come and meet these people." Journal Entry of a ZCS student.
"It is crazy that I am here now, that after years of seeing pictures of kids and teachers and of the school itself I am meeting them and experiencing their culture and building relationships with them" Journal entry of a ZCS student
I think at first I did it as, "just another thing." But God had planned for me to go on this trip, with these people and experience these things. Some might wonder, how much could two weeks affect you? It affected me in ways I can not begin to explain." Journal entry of a ZCS student.
"This is the most valuable thing I have done in my 14 years. I am so thankful" Journal entry of a ZCS student.
"It was easy to say hello. The hard part was saying goodbye." Journal entry of a ZCS student.
Education with a purpose
There are several times a year when students combine their educational experience with a project to bless GCCS.
Jingle Jog: The Jingle Jog was started by our Phys Ed teacher Susan Miller. Not only did she make the mile run a super fun way for the students to celebrate their physical gifts and accomplishments, but she also had the idea that if the kids collected pledges they could use the money to bless GCCS. The Jingle Jog is a favorite for many students and families.
7th-grade Carwash: In the spring our 7th graders bless both communities in Zeeland and GCCS by taking pledges and holding a Totally Free Car Wash downtown Zeeland.