Blog Archives

Unfortunately, we have had some difficulties with our GMI website and it will be some time before the site will be up and running again. We ask for your patience as we work to fix the problems and update the site.

In the meantime, if you would like to make an online donation to a missionary, you may go to gracem.org. Then use the missionary drop down to go to the missionary’s page. On that page there should be a link to donate to the missionary.

To give a gift to a project, you can click on the orange donate box on the home page and fill out the information it asks for in the box. Use the Comments Box to indicate what your gift is for and that should make it clear where the gift is to go.

Feel free to call 616-241-5666 if you have any questions!

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The deadline for applying for the 2019 EXITE Team is only five days away – Sunday, February 17!! If you would like to join the group, NOW is the time to get your application in to Grace Ministries International! This summer a select group of high school and college students will travel to Zambia to learn how to share the love of Christ with the children and youth in Kabwe and Livingstone, Zambia. Something exciting happens when we step out of our comfort zone with other students to be the “hands and feet of Jesus.” EXITE is about spiritual growth as we put our faith into action in practical ways serving our Zambian brothers and sisters in Christ.

For more information and to get an application, visit www.gracem.org/EXITE.

Join the EXITE team today!

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Many women in most parts of Malawi have had very little or no formal education. There is very little hope of one’s potential and what their hands are capable of doing. Some of the women who come to the sewing class are either victims of early marriages or unplanned pregnancies.  Our class, Chiyembekezo “Hope,” is a place for such women. We exist to bring both physical and spiritual hope to the community. When we receive the ladies into the class, we welcome them with the love of Christ. It doesn’t matter where they come from, but our desire is to share the message of God’s grace.

 We look back at when we first met with the ladies. Our first class on the first day had only five women. Our journey wasn’t smooth – we walked through the cold, heat, and rain – sacrificing each day to meet. There were times when we felt we had reached the end, but the Lord would continue to encourage us in different ways. Other times we had no classroom to use and gathered under a tree, but we still remained grateful. The Lord has blessed this ministry with a classroom and shop. The ladies don’t have to worry about a cold or rainy day under the tree anymore. The number of women continues to increase with each intake.  

We thank God for the 2nd and colorful graduation ceremony of the sewing class held in Lilongwe, Malawi, on the 19th of January. This year we graduated 17 women whereas last year, seven completed the training. Our hope is to see these ladies transform so as to see vibrant communities. We continue to see the impact of this training among those that graduated last intake. Most of these are now able to contribute to family financial needs. With each year’s intake, we have been able to give each of the ladies a sewing machine to start with. This year, we were only able to raise funds for 10 sewing machines out of the 17 that graduated.

To ensure that their businesses run smoothly and they manage their finances well, Mercy taught a seminar (January 21-23) on starting and growing small businesses. 

We look forward to another intake beginning this April. We hope to enroll 20 women in the training based on our capacity to run the program. Our goal for 2021 is to see this project bringing in income to help with the running costs of the program as well as raise funds for the National women’s ministry in Malawi. Through this program the Grace church in Lilongwe has been able to connect with the community. We trust the Lord will use this program to expand the work and ministry of the church in the community. Our desire is to continue building and strengthening these relationships through follow-up seminars.

On behalf of the Grace church in Malawi and all the ladies who have been part of the program, our gratitude goes out to you, our partners in ministry. Thank you for the prayers and financial support.

Mercy Mango

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The EXITE team will be serving in Zambia this summer. If you are 14-18 years old and interested in growing in your faith and serving Christ cross-culturally, please pray about this opportunity to experience missionary life and ministry June 26- July 13.

Your adventure begins with boot camp at Grace Christian University. In Zambia, you will be doing some work projects; sharing the gospel through your testimony, drama, and outreach programs; worshiping together with our Zambian brothers and sisters; and experiencing some incredible scenery like Victoria Falls. For more information see www.gracem.org/EXITE .

TRAVEL ITINERARY: 

Dates: June 26 – July 13, 2019

June 26-28 – Boot Camp at Grace Christian University

June 29 – Travel to Zambia

July 13 – Return to Grand Rapids

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In Bolivia, Dan and Mary Sue Reed have asked us to pray for Yenny who just had surgery for a tumor on her thyroid (Yenny and her family are pictured above). The tumor was cancerous so the surgeons had to remove her whole thyroid. She will also have six weeks of radiation. Yenny is one of the key leaders who Dan and Mary Sue worked with at the Km 14 church plant which became Casa de Misericordia (House of Mercy Church). She is also the one who shared a clear gospel message with the 120 or so kids who came to Carlos Laborde for the special Christmas program and gifts on December 30 (click HERE to read about the event). Pray for Yenny, her husband, and their three-year-old son.

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In today’s world many people are using the Internet to shop and Amazon.com is a very popular location to do that shopping. GMI has now signed up as a non-profit participant with AmazonSmile which means if you order through GMI’s link (http://smile.amazon.com/ch/38-1659080) GMI will get a .5% benefit from everyone’s orders. You are actually giving to the Lord by going about your regular day-to-day business! Isn’t that a wonderful bonus for shopping at Amazon.com!

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Ted with the District Commissioner and others

On January 16, there was a great service at the District Commissioner’s office where six handicapped bicycles were gifted to local individuals in the Rukwa Valley of Tanzania. The District Commissioner can be seen in the photo to the left wearing the flowered shirt.

Thank you to those who gave to this project in the Christmas Catalog. Six handicapped bicycles were purchased with the donated funds. The Rabenolds are so grateful for your generosity which has impacted struggling people in Tanzania! It has allowed them to develop good relationships with local authorities who are happy to see the handicapped helped.

Another photo on the day the handicapped bicycles were given out
Ted getting the bicycles off the top of the vehicle
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The following is from Mary Sue Reed, GMI missionary in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. She and her husband Dan write a monthly update on their ministries and this is an excerpt.

On December 30 we were in for a big surprise when we arrived at our kids club. We knew that a group of leaders from La Gracia Church had planned on bringing Christmas gifts to the kids the previous week when we were out of town. What we didn’t know was that those plans had been postponed because of heavy rains. What a day! A group of 35 leaders and youth from the church had arrived early and gone door to door in the neighborhood to invite all the kids to a special program and to receive a Christmas gift. When we arrived many of the leaders had taken all the neighborhood kids to the park to enjoy a time of games. Then when they came back to the Carlos Laborde property we couldn’t believe it….they just kept coming. About 120 kids and at least 30 moms and dads! A clear gospel message was presented to them using Child Evangelism materials. Then they all received a snack and a special Christmas gift. It was really incredible! Dan and I were able to meet some of the parents and neighbors. It was truly a delight!

Many of the children who came to Carlos Laborde in Bolivia on December 30

Exciting things are happening in the ministries in Bolivia. Please continue to pray for Dan and Mary Sue Reed and also for Frosty and Cathy Hanson, the two couples who make up our GMI missionary team in Bolivia.

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Grace Ministries International (GMI) began ministering in Malawi in 2000 when two Zambian Bible School graduates were sent as short-term missionaries to that country. In January 2005, Rev. and Mrs. Kennedy Simtowe, GMI missionaries to Zambia, moved to Malawi to strengthen the work by establishing a training center and expanding the evangelistic outreach and church planting ministries. In September 2009, Titus and Kristy Lloyd joined the team to work in leadership training and establishing a computer training center. Joseph and Emmanuela Asong came in June 2012 to work in theological training. Bill and Sue Vinton arrived from Congo in September 2013 and Eric and Mercy Mango joined the team in January 2014.

At the present time the training center in Lilongwe is running an English Bible school. The English program is in the process of being translated into Chichewa which will be offered in the different regions of Malawi. There are currently 30 Grace churches throughout the country.

Thank you to Stefanie Sherman of Mapped Media who spent the summer of 2018 traveling to several of GMI’s fields to capture our ministries on video so we can share them with you! The video of Malawi and our missionaries serving there can be seen right HERE.

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Pictured above: Prison Ministry Chaplain Jackson, Tom Sanchez, Michelle Sanchez, and Grace Church Elder Eddie Phiri

Tom has been working with leaders from several countries to develop an effective and practical approach to prepare leaders for local churches. It has been found that most who are leading local assemblies can’t get away from their families and livelihoods for any significant amount of time to be discipled and attend centralized schools for the theological education they need. Bible correspondence courses (BCC) have been used in the past as a distance learning tool to get around this obstacle and have been revived. The spread of cellphones, computers, and photocopying technology have made it far easier to tap into this resource. We requested and have been given permission to use Bible Correspondence Fellowship’s course materials, and in return, we are editing the lessons so that they fit the size of paper used here and require fewer pages to be photocopied. The courses can be downloaded anywhere in the world by anyone with a working knowledge of English who wants to increase their knowledge of the Word of God. While we’ve been getting these lessons ready for use in Africa, an amazing thing happened: they were introduced to the local prison and immediately over 150 lessons were distributed and returned within a week, completed by prisoners wanting to study the Bible. We are now trying to keep the prison chaplain supplied with lessons for inmates.

Even as we were getting the first couple of Bible correspondence course (BCC) lessons up and running, an unintended offshoot of ministry exploded! A Zambian friend involved in prison ministry described the BCC materials to Jackson, the local prison chaplain and we showed him a sample lesson. He was ecstatic because he had been praying for some idea or tool to jumpstart his stagnant ministry that had become more focused on guards than inmates. He tested for interest in BCC among a segment of the total prison population which numbers somewhere above 2,000. Immediately and without hesitation, 150+ inmates and some guards signed up for the first lesson which is a 10-pager that goes through the Scriptures showing God’s revelation of salvation by grace through faith. An Egyptian Christian who attends Grace Community Fellowship in Kabwe stepped up to cover the cost of getting those first 1500 pages of photocopying done. The chaplain distributed the lessons and within a week, ALL 144 budding scholars completed their first lesson and returned them to the chaplain for correction. The logistics for finding Bibles for inmates, registering them to track their progress, correcting their lessons, and giving them feedback suddenly pushed us to put together a much larger team to get involved in prison ministry as a part of BCC outreach. Our intended target audience was to use BCC as a tool to bring Bible training to pastors and lay leaders, not prisoners. Bible Correspondence Fellowship, in partnership with Prison Mission Association, had created the lessons for prison ministry. Now they’re going to do what they were designed for, and evidently, what God wants done.

Part of the Prison Ministry Team representing the US, Zambia, South Africa and Switzerland. 

We experienced a couple miracles getting over hurdles that we were told could potentially stop this work in its tracks for months or even indefinitely. We needed government permission to proceed with what we were already doing and to take it, personally, inside the prison walls. We spent several days carefully crafting a letter to the Commissioner General for Corrections for permission to minister in prisons, and a few more days getting another letter into just the right official’s hands in Lusaka to ask that foreigners (mostly missionaries) be allowed to help alongside our Zambian teammates. The SAME DAY that we deposited the letters, we received calls saying that letters of affirmation were ready to be picked up. A same-day response is something I was told NEVER happens in Zambia, let alone twice at two different levels of government. The Lord is showing us that He wants this done NOW! The Zambian Gideons have agreed to help by supplying some New Testaments and whole Bibles to the prison library. It’s all coming together and we took our first trip into the maximum security prison Saturday, Dec. 8. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 90+ men came forward to receive forgiveness and declare faith in the Lord Jesus. Then the following week we preached another message to 100 death row inmates in two shifts of 50 each and about a dozen came forward. Pray with us to bring the message of forgiveness and peace that comes with it to Zambia’s prisoners. In the time between face-to-face visits the BCC lessons will keep many minds focused on what they have believed and growing in their faith.

Prisioners in particular cannot afford to pay the cost of printing lessons, so we are receiving donations HERE to help with the cost of printing lessons, about 30 cents each. Just choose Project #1. 

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