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Bayshore Christian Ministries Response to Coronavirus

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea. Psalm 46:1-2

Alongside many of you, we are living in a reality where schools are closed and we are sheltering in place inside our homes. By order of San Mateo and Santa Clara counties, schools in our area will remain closed and we will continue to shelter in place through May 1. We hope to resume normal program activity on May 4. In the meantime, we have been finding new ways to reach out and serve our youth and families. 

As we continue to minister in our community, we have defined some goals for this time of upheaval. First, we want to provide as much of our regular programming as we can through online means. In addition, we want to increase the frequency of contact with students, and especially parents. We hope to keep our volunteers engaged as fully as possible. Everyone has been impacted heavily by the shutdowns and we want to do our best to help the families we work with, who have been hit particularly hard. Finally, we are asking families for their input – about their needs, how we can best serve, and how we can pray for them.

We are grateful for the opportunity to be a light to our students and families during this difficult time. We are very thankful for the many partners in the work of BCM and would love your help during this challenging season.

  • Our prayer team is expanding, and we are providing more frequent requests to the members. If you would like to pray for the needs of the ministry, please email

  • We have need of strong financial support for our ongoing operations and for the creative ways we seek to meet needs arising from the current crisis. 

  • Even though the timing is odd, we’d love to talk to anyone interested in volunteering with programs this summer or beyond. For more information, contact

COVID-19 Family Assistance Fund for BCM Students and Families


Bible Clubs

Elementary Spiritual

  • Putting together kits of materials for Bible Club activities

  • Staff and volunteers hosting weekly Bible Club meetings online


Elementary Academic

  • Checking with all parents about student progress, adapting to new online formats

  • Providing books and fun items to help students through quarantine time

CREATE Studios

STEAM + Workshops

  • Two workshops on temporary hold. High school robotics team continues meetings on schedule through Zoom.

  • Eleven students and ten coaches remain active

  • Teams working on programming, robot design, and business development


Middle School Spiritual

  • Conducting weekly meetings by Zoom plus contact from two adult leaders and one peer

  • Providing relational and spiritual grounding amidst upheaval

  • Students are participating in weekly quarantine activities to help them stay healthy, creative, active and connected

Leaders in Training

High School Spiritual and Leadership

  • Frequent check-ins from staff and volunteer adult leaders

  • Holding regular weekly meetings, tutoring sessions and academic direction workshops

  • Students are participating in a weekly self care challenge including taking walks, creating art and cooking healthy meals

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” Matthew 28:19- 20

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“At Hope College, Campus Ministries offers immersion trips for students to go and serve God in a whole new way. I signed up to go to East Palo Alto, California, with a group of other college students and we met together over the past few months. We excitedly prepared to help with a retreat at Bayshore Christian Ministries, and we were absolutely crushed when we heard that our trip got cancelled because of the coronavirus, and even more so when we heard that the retreat got cancelled altogether for the students. My heart went out to them; I understood the disappointment they must have been facing. So I wanted to reach out to them, and writing letters came to mind, to let them know I was thinking and praying for them.” Student, Hope College Immersion Trip 2020 

Hope students at StreetWorkz Retreat 2019

Here’s one of the letters received by a BCM middle school student from a member of the 2020 Hope Spring Break Immersion team:

Hi —,

I’m a Hope College student from Holland, Michigan, and I was going to come help with the retreat this past weekend, and we were all so devasted when we heard that our trip was cancelled, and then that you guys had to cancel the retreat as well. We know how you feel, and you are all in our thoughts. So I just wanted to write a letter to you, to let you know I’m thinking and praying for you, and to tell you a little bit about me!

I’m currently a sophomore at Hope College, and I’m majoring in elementary education, with a focus in English. I have four younger brothers, and one younger sister. Technically, one of my brothers is my twin, but I’m still two minutes older than him! So I think it counts I also like to read a lot, and just hang out with my friends and family. My family is quite the wacky bunch, so it’s never a dull moment in our house! Along with the seven of us, we also have a dog named Gus, a cat named Salem, and a new addition- a bunny! Who never really got a name, so his name is now Bunny, thanks to my brother.

I hope you and your family are staying safe and healthy, and that you are able to still enjoy the little things in life. Something that always helps me is to think of three things that I’m grateful for. Today, I’m grateful for listening to Hannah Montana with my little sister, snuggling up with my cat and reading a book, and listening to my insane brothers argue about who’s better at hockey (as I said, never a dull moment…). Hopefully this letter made you smile, or even just to laugh at me, but I’m wishing you well and praying for you. Keep going strong and look for the little things in life that make you happy Sending lots of good thoughts, A Hope College Student!

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My mom used to say there are no such things as coincidences, only divine appointments. Such was my brief association with a young woman I met shortly after my husband and I relocated to the Bay Area and had not yet found a home church. Through a-friend-of-a-friend, this young woman knew of Bayshore Christian Ministries, and she recommended I “check it out”.

After many years of teaching and writing bible lessons for children in my state of Colorado, I was looking for a way to share the gospel with kids in this new place God has established as our home. 

I’m a teacher and a helper for Bible Club on Wednesdays. My time at Bible Club is intriguing, challenging, and incredibly fulfilling as I get to know BCM’s children. Each interaction, big or small, is one more step toward equipping them to become tomorrow’s leaders.During the offsite education session, I was particularly enlightened by learning of the social and financial challenges children confront when they live with multiple families in small apartments and with parents who work multiple jobs to meet their financial responsibilities. Many of BCM’s kiddos go home to living spaces that are largely void of privacy or a quiet space for homework. Living with other families that may seem like – or may actually be – strangers, can also lead to emotional complications.

Mary Jo with students at Wednesday bible club

The offsite session helped me understand how many parents in East Palo Alto are challenged with English as a second language and bound by the time commitments of multiple jobs. They embrace BCM as a refuge of love, play, and instruction for their children.

I have been blessed to teach experiential lessons that engage BCM children in the bible, principles of Christian character, and the good news of the gospel. As the children warm up to me a little more each week, it’s a privilege to learn about their likes and dislikes, their wit, and their inquisitive minds.  I see them think creatively and critically when challenged with open-ended questions that require more than a “yes” or a “no”. I am humbled by the children’s incredibly thoughtful responses and by the evidence of the Holy Spirit at work. I also cherish the little hands that hold mine when we pray to Jesus at the end of each lesson. Offsite educational sessions help me understand the social, economic, and educational challenges that the children in East Palo Alto wake up to every day. The sessions impart a sensitivity that helps me tailor my lessons and interactions in a way that is most meaningful to the children in the community.

Students at Wednesday Bible club

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Matthew 19:14. 

May we all have the open heart of a child and use our perspective as adults to serve BCM’s children.

~Mary Jo Gensemer

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