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This past Friday, Alex Gulart and Cory Hodgson conducted their first Bible study in the border city of Posadas, Argentina. After a four-hour drive south to the Paraguayan city of Encarnacion, across the Paraná River from Posadas, they were joined by Alex’s friend Natanael who is currently a university student interested in ministering to Muslims. Natanael has some contacts at a university in Posadas, and they agreed to meet for a Bible study.

We met with Arnold, an influential student leader, and Patricia, who works in a café. Alex discussed some important ideas from the book of Hebrews and there was some great interaction. About halfway through the lesson, a young man named Emanuel overheard what was going on and asked to join the study. He had some great questions and was grateful to hear what Alex was sharing. After the Bible study we visited with a Christian man who is part of the Laotian community in Posadas and from there we visited a local Buddhist temple.

We are thankful for the contacts Natanael has supplied in Argentina and for his dedication to sound doctrine and evangelism. Please pray for our team in Paraguay as we seek to broaden our contact base in Argentina and continue to reach university students with the good news of Jesus Christ.

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A Bible study in Caaguazú

GMI missionary Alex Gulart writes this: “A few months ago, we started taking trips to Caaguazú, a small city of 130,000 people, around 90 miles away from Ciudad del Este, when a friend of a sister from our church mentioned two things to her: 1) the difficulty of finding a church with sound doctrine, and 2) her desire to open her house to study the Word of God. These 2 comments made noise in our hearts and with prayer we started going there. The mother of Elvira (our contact there) had a stroke so we had to stop going for a few weeks while she focused on taking care of her mom. During that time Etienne was born and I had to go to Uruguay for my father´s health. Two weeks ago we started going again. We have had 2 Bible studies so far with 8-10 people attending. There are a lot of possibilities of ministry there (we can visit the prison, the hospital, the nationals, etc.), and we are making good contacts. We are so excited to see how God is blessing little by little our work there. Please pray for wisdom and God´s guidance so we can take the right steps.

“Encarnación is the third main city of Paraguay with almost 210,000 people. It is located around 185 miles from Ciudad del Este. This beautiful city was always in my heart since we came to Paraguay. Encarnación is a mix of cultures, surrounded by different colonies (Germans, Ukrainians, Japanese, Brazilians, etc.), and also a large, growing Muslim population (they have 2 mosques already). We know that there are a lot of people who are searching for a Bible church but they cannot find one – this is sad but true. But God is at work! He provided a young follower of Christ named Natanael (pictured right) from Posadas (pictured left), the neighbor city on the Argentinian side (just crossing a bridge to get there). He moved from Posadas, Argentina, to Encarnación, Paraguay, just following a desire to reach the foreigners in this city. He studies at the University of Posadas, so the possibilities in that city are real and we may start a Bible study inside of the University. Please pray for open doors, because if God opens a door for us, we want to enter and give Him the Glory that He deserves. Please pray that God give us passion for His name…if we are passionate for His Holy name, we will be passionate for making His name known among the nations, reaching the souls that don’t know him yet. Please pray for the hearts of the people we talk to… that they might come to a saving knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

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On Monday, September 10, GMI candidates to Panama Ronnie Mackensen and Jaque Neiverth were married in a lovely beachfront ceremony just north of Grand Haven, Michigan. They met when Jaque came to the States for three months earlier this year and stayed with Pastor and Mrs. John Lowder and their family in Byron Center, Michigan. Both Ronnie and Jaque have a heart for serving the Lord in missions. They will be traveling to the Pacific Northwest and visiting churches to raise support during the next three months, so if you live in that area, hopefully you will have an opportunity to meet them!

To learn more about Ronnie and Jaque, click HERE.

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BreakThrough visits Puerto Rico. This Caribbean island was the latest field visited by the GMI-affiliated martial arts team, BreakThrough. From August 1-10 the team performed evangelistic presentations in parks, two churches, a strip mall, and other public venues attracting crowds of all ages who heard the gospel. At Juana Diaz Bible Church, the team conducted a series of evening self-defense classes attended by both regular church goers and several people from the community visiting for the first time. Each class concluded with a message from God’s Word.

 

 

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Grace Bible Center in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, is now open. GMI missionary Frosty Hansen and GBC (Centro Bíblico de la Gracia) Board President Miguel Mendez cut the ribbon to officially open the training center on July 22. Those present at the ceremony toured the facility while the inaugural class took place the next day.

 

 

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Traveling to Zimbabwe at the end of July GMI board member Jim Moore, along with GMI missionary Tom Sanchez (Zambia), and the leader of the Grace Churches in Zambia, Chrispin Mundia, conducted a multiday seminar for around 30 church leaders in Zimbabwe hungry to learn more about the grace of God. This was an opportunity to continue developing a relationship with these churches and to further explore the possibility of working together with them in the future. The conferences were another catalyst encouraging both Zimbabwean and Zambian church leaders to seek ways to develop programs to teach God’s Word and to train and equip members of their local churches.

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In Nicaragua, after months of civil unrest, GMI missionaries Emiliano and Raquel Seravalli have resumed offering Bible institute courses. On a related note, twelve years after offering its first class, Grace Bible Institute in Costa Rica, from which Emiliano and Raquel graduated, continues to train another generation of leaders.

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On the island of Curacao over the past year, Pastor Michael Look has offered courses in theology and homiletics. Earlier this month in his church, Iglesia Bíblika, he recognized three students who received certificates for their achievements in these courses (see photo).

 

 

 

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While evangelism is important to growing and planting churches affiliated with GMI around the world, biblical training is imperative to their succession. Part of our mission is to equip local believers who will ultimately do the training. Pray for more missionaries to help us in this effort. We are looking for additional missionaries to serve in Bolivia, Nicaragua, Zambia, and elsewhere to come alongside local believers to facilitate biblical training to ensure that new generations learn God’s Word.

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PROJECT OF THE MONTH. Our Project of the Month is ATV Wheelchairs for Tanzania. These wheelchairs are made by a company called SIDO using bike parts! The wheelchairs last through 5-6 years of hard use in Tanzania in off road conditions and are easily repaired by simply buying bike parts locally and swapping out the broken parts for new ones. The cost to buy and transport a 3-wheel wheelchair 700 miles to the Rukwa Valley is $600. There are several people in the remote Rukwa Valley who could really benefit from using one of these wheelchairs. $1200 for two wheelchairs.

OUR GOAL THIS MONTH IS TO RAISE FUNDS FOR TWO WHEELCHAIRS. **To give online, go to: https://gracem.org/?ch_cause=small-projects/atv-wheelchairs-for-tanzania .

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A team of 20 students and leaders from 12 churches in seven states came together in July at Grace Christian University to prepare to serve cross-culturally in both Curacao and Bonaire as this year’s EXITE Team. After preparing lesson plans, special music, crafts, games, and testimonies in boot camp, we began our ministry about 40 miles north of Venezuela on the beautiful island of Curacao. It was great to serve together with our local leaders on work projects like building a storage shed, doing fence repairs, and helping to renovate the interior of the church. Sharing our testimonies, singing, and worshipping together with the believers in two churches affiliated with Grace Ministries International (GMI) was a blessing.

After a 25-minute flight, our next stop was the island of Bonaire where GMI missionaries, Carlos and Denise Brunk had a busy week lined up for us. In addition to lots of painting in the church’s meeting place, we were able to share the Gospel with kids in four Community Centers through the creation story. What a blessing to watch high school students stepping out of their comfort zone and sharing the Good News using the Evangecube! Another highlight was helping the church host a beach volleyball tournament as an outreach event. It was a fun night and many heard the Gospel as it was shared through the testimony of Pastor Marshall Look of the Netherlands. The local TV station and newspaper gave the event a lot of coverage. Neither of the two EXITE teams won the trophy but we had fun trying.

One can’t travel to Curacao and Bonaire without taking time to enjoy the beauty of God’s creation. The snorkeling, the flamingos, the iguanas, and the salt flats were all incredible.

A big thank you to Carlos and Denise Brunk and the leadership of the two Curacao Grace churches for making this trip possible!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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When someone has a loved one like a grandparent go home to be with the Lord it is a bittersweet time. Tears flow because there is a sense of loss and missing that loved one in the present, yet if that person was a believer there is rejoicing because you know they are with their Lord and Savior and you will see them again.

One of the hardest things for GMI missionaries on the field is to be away from family; not being able to spend the holidays, birthdays, or vacations with the relatives; being away for years at a time; and especially being overseas when grandparents and parents reach the end of their lives here on earth.

GMI missionary Joy Befus’s father, Frank Edwards, passed away just six weeks ago and this past weekend Joy’s mother, Joan Edwards, went home to be with the Lord. Then before they could have Joan’s service in the Chicago area, Chuck’s mother and longtime GMI missionary, Elnora Befus, also passed into the presence of the Lord.

One of Joan’s favorite sayings was, “I’m in the Lord’s hands, and there’s no better place to be.” Here are some things gleaned from the Facebook pages of children and grandchildren of Elnora and Joan:

“Today [Joan] went home to heaven, just 6 weeks after my father-in-law. She had told me earlier in the summer that it was just a question of which one of them would get there first….”

“I thank God for the legacy of love and service to the Lord that my Grandparents have passed on to me.”

“Their godly legacy lives on through their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.”

“As a child I spent hours making puzzles with [Elnora]. She taught me how to cross-stitch and play the flute.”

Please continue to pray for the Befus family. They have experienced a great amount of loss in the last six weeks.

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It has been quite some time since our GMI missionaries left the field of Tanzania. Some people wonder, “What are the Tanzania missionaries doing now?” So we thought it was time for another update to keep you informed of their whereabouts and their plans for the future.
John and Naomi Caprari (Jael): John is teaching in a Christian school called HOPAC in the city of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania. He tries to visit his students in their homes so he can meet their families as well. Another ministry he is involved in is planting a church in the city of Dar. Naomi enjoys working with the women of the church and being a mom to Jael.
Mike and Lynn Caraway (Luka): Mike and Lynn Caraway have retired from being full-time missionaries with GMI, but they continue to work with Grace Community Development & Education (GCDE) which helps individuals in Tanzania who need cleft palate surgeries, business training, literacy programs, or agricultural training. They will also be helping other GMI fields in the areas of business and community development. Not being full-time missionaries allows them to be available to help their parents with any needs as they get older.
Cory and Kim Hodgson (Naomi, Elijah, and Timothy): Cory and Kim are excited about starting a new ministry in a completely different area of the world. Cory left for Paraguay on July 23 to find a home and prepare the way for Kim and the children to follow in about a month. They have been learning Spanish while they have been in the States so they will be able to communicate a little bit when they get there.
Joanne Moyer: Joanne never left Tanzania and has been living with her son and her grandchildren. She continues her ministries of hospitality, working with the groups who come to visit the nearby college, and helping to homeschool her grandchildren.
Ted and Kim Rabenold (Savannah). Ted and Kim live in the Rukwa Valley of Tanzania but in a different location than previously. They have been busy building an agricultural training center and working in the area of evangelism. They are also currently building a home to live in. They have to burn each brick themselves for the buildings.
Brook Seekins: Brook has recently settled into her new ministries in Malawi alongside our other GMI missionaries in that country. The language of Chichewa is a hard language to learn so she has been working on that and meeting those in leadership positions while determining exactly where she will fit in the ministries in Malawi.

Steve and Barb Sherman (Trevor, Stefanie): Steve and Barb have been living in the States working in a literature ministry of translating books into Swahili that are badly needed in Tanzania. Their goal is to be able to go back to Tanzania in the near future but no time has been set yet. Stefanie is currently on a trip recording video in different countries to share the ministries with those of us back home so we can get a better picture of what the missionaries are doing on the field.
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Stefanie Sherman, daughter of GMI missionaries Steve and Barb Sherman, started her travels for the summer making ministry videos for GMI missionaries by visiting all the missionaries in Ciudad del Este, Paraguay. She took lots of video footage of their ministries and family life–enough for five videos!

Then she was off to Africa, the place that is very special to Stefanie because she was raised in Tanzania. She was very excited to return to that continent and do something special there. She is spending a total of five weeks between Malawi, Zambia, and Tanzania with the missionaries who are like family to her. Here is her schedule:

Malawi: July 2-16

Zambia: July 17-23

Tanzania: July 24-August

Stefanie does have some prayer requests for what she calls her “crazy journey” so I would like to share those with you:

  1. Safe travels (luggage, connections)
  2. Good time management and scheduling
  3. Good work ethic for her
  4. Good health and adequate rest
  5. That God’s will and direction for these projects would be what she walks away with

One of the videos Stefanie did while she was in Paraguay can be seen below. As you enjoy this video created by Stefanie, consider being a part of the team to strengthen the church in Paraguay by giving to the Paraguay Land Project.

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GMI missionaries Ted and Kim Rabenold have been faithful, dedicated servants of God working in the field of Tanzania for many years despite struggles and challenges that have come their way. Of course, they have had great joy and victory along the way, too, and they want to share their lives with you in their current update.

Just click on the link below and they will take you on a pictorial journey over the last several months of their ministry in the Rukwa Valley of Tanzania!

2018 July – Ted Kim Tanzania update

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This update comes from Dan and Mary Sue Reed, GMI missionaries serving in Santa Cruz, Bolivia.

A few months ago we mentioned our desire to work alongside a team of Bolivian leaders at a church plant called Carlos Laborde. Our whole family had really enjoyed our experience several years back working with the Km 14 church plant which later became the Casa de Misericordia Church. We talked with Pepe Yucra (our Bolivian mission president) and Pastor Santos Ortega (our Bolivian mission vice-president) to discuss this new possibility. We also shared with different leaders our desire to work with this church plant and we finally received official approval by the leadership committee. We believe we can work well together as a team with Bolivian leaders. This ministry falls right in line with our purpose in being here as GMI (Grace Ministries International) missionaries. We want to encourage and empower our leaders to do the work of the ministries that God has given them. It has really been a joy to be part of this ministry! On our first Sunday afternoon there, we had to park our 4-wheel drive Mitsubishi half a block away and walk in because of all of the water and mud in the road. Since then some work has been done but the church plant is still on a very lumpy, dirt road. For now it is an afternoon kids club similar to AWANA. We have slowly been learning the kids names and building relationships with them. We are finding out that not only are these kids coming from unchurched families, but some of them come from very rough backgrounds. I’m sure you can imagine that some of these kids can be challenging from time to time. It is interesting that they choose to come back week after week. We hope it is because they feel accepted and loved by the leaders. Our prayer is that they will see God’s love shining through us and that it will ultimately draw them one step closer to accepting the Lord as their personal savior. Another aspect that Dan and I have enjoyed at the church plant is the time that we have been able to spend with the family that takes care of the property. Often in Bolivia people arrive late to events, it is considered cultural. That has often been the case with our kids club at the church plant. Dan and I have taken these opportunities to sit and visit with Adolfo and his wife, Jimena, and their three kids as we wait for everyone to arrive. It has given us the chance to build a relationship with them. We pray that the Lord would use us in bringing them closer to accepting the Lord.

Last Sunday we had the privilege of attending one of our mission churches, Dios es Amor (God is Love) Church. Near the end of the service they had a time of recognizing and honoring all of their leaders who taught in some capacity within the church. They had all of the teachers come up to the front and then Pastor Herland asked Dan to share a few words with them and to pray for them. As Dan shared he emphasized that their work as teachers, sharing spiritual truths from the Bible has ETERNAL VALUE! Their teaching will help children and adults to make choices or decisions that will change their lives. It’s not easy but as they say here, “Es vale la pena!” It’s worth it! Then he prayed for all of the teachers. At the end of the service the pastor asked Dan once again to share some words of encouragement with the congregation. It was a good morning to worship the Lord together with our Bolivian brothers and sisters in Christ. After the service Pastor Herland and his wife, Veronica, invited us to be part of a special lunch that was being provided in honor of the teachers. We had a wonderful time of fellowship and good food around a table in one of the classrooms at the church. These people are precious and they love the Lord with all their heart. We left with smiles on our faces!

Dan has recently had several opportunities to preach on Sunday mornings in our different mission churches here in Santa Cruz. Tomorrow, Mary Sue will be heading to Vida Abundante (Abundant Life) Church along with the women’s committee to encourage the women in the church. They will be presenting a program for the women during Sunday School. We have several church anniversaries coming up that we will be attending. Next week we will be meeting with Yermi Castro, a lady who helps us with our paperwork. We will be finding out from her exactly what will be needed to renew our Bolivian ID cards and drivers licenses.

Thank you for your interest in our ministry in Bolivia. We appreciate your prayers and financial support. Thank you for partnering with us so we can work alongside our Bolivian leaders to encourage and train them, so they can move forward in their ministries. If you would like to donate online to our ministry through Grace Ministries International, please click here.

Please pray:
1. for patience and genuine love as we work with the kids at Carlos Laborde.
2. that our renewal process for our ID cards and drivers licenses will go smoothly.
3. for our Bolivian pastors and their families.
4. that we would have an opportunity to get to know the neighborhood and families around Carlos Laborde.
5. for our health and safety.

Praise:
1. for the growth in the lives of the young leaders at Casa de Misericordia (House of Mercy) Church.
2. for the example of our fathers in family life and ministry. (missions and pastorate)
3. for our faithful prayer warriors who cover us with prayer.
4. for the Church, the Body of Christ, here in Bolivia and around the world.

Serving through Christ,
Dan & Mary Sue Reed

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