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In the city of Mwanza, Tanzania, Pastor Methodi Mwendapole shares that there are now six churches affiliated with the GMI work in that area. Three of these churches are in the city while the other three are located outside of town.  Methodi, who is pioneering the work in Mwanza, also reports that 11 students have been taking classes since September and will finish this first set of courses, totaling eight modules, by next July. Even as these students continue with their course work, they will go into the area in and around Mwanza as evangelists and church planters. In addition to praying for these students, please pray for the five-day Christmas conference which Pastor Methodi and the area churches will hold in December.

NOTE: The photo above is Bible school students along with Pastor Methodi and his wife, Omelina.

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Eric and Mercy Mango, GMI missionaries in Malawi, traveled to Mvera in the central part of Malawi October 20-22 to help strengthen the women’s and youth ministries in the church as well as reaching out to the nearby villages with the gospel. They were accompanied by Yamikani, the National Secretary; Ephraim, the National Youth Director; three young men; and three pastors’ wives.

They were warmly welcomed by the people who had gathered waiting for their arrival. Adults and children alike were excited to see them! Some came from the mountain top where the church is located to meet them partway down the mountain because their car failed to make it to the top due to the bad road. They left the car behind and everyone had to hike with their little ones on their backs and carrying their luggage. Even the youngest ones helped as you can see in the photo on the left. The children who always enjoy an adventure enjoyed the hike up the mountain. When they finally arrived at the mountain top a wonderful meal awaited them — Nsima served with small fish called Bonya.

On the first day Eric, Ephraim, Yamikani, and three other young men from Lilongwe, accompanied by the host, Pastor Dziwiseni and other leaders in the church, went to a nearby village to show the “Jesus Film” and share the gospel. Because everyone lives so far apart, they wondered where people would come from, but the turnout was amazing. After showing the first half of the film people still wanted to see the second half that night. On the second day they had even more people. Over 400 people made public commitments to follow Christ!

While the men and boys were out doing evangelism, Mercy, along with some pastors’ wives, taught the ladies Bible lessons and some basics of baking.

They had a wonderful weekend in Mvera! If you would like to hear more about Eric and Mercy’s ministries and receive their prayer letters, email us at gmi@gracem.org and we will put you on their mailing list.

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Puerto Rico’s newest GMI missionary is Matt Sykes who was approved by the board on October 20, 2017. The next day, he and April (Lorenz) Sykes were married. Congratulations to this couple as they continue to serve the Lord together in Puerto Rico. Pray for them as they begin their new life together in less than ideal conditions as they are still working to recover from the destruction caused by Hurricane Maria in September. Matt will continue to work as the Mission Adventure Team Director at Camp Caribe and he will also help April with her ministries in a nearby neighborhood with at-risk youth and as they both work alongside Juana Diaz Bible Church.

Matt had spent three summers in Puerto Rico working at Camp Caribe before taking a one-year internship position under Jon Marshall in 2015 working with the Mission Adventure Team. When Jon moved to the States to pastor a church, Matt was offered the position of the Mission Adventure Team Director. It was at Camp Caribe where Matt met April Lorenz who would become his wife.

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As many of you know the BREAKTHROUGH Taikwondo Team traveled to Paraguay August 2-14, 2017, to work with GMI missionaries Alex and Deltha Gulart as well as Jerry and Sandy Bomers. The team has been able to positively impact hundreds of lives through their powerful testimony of ministry. Below they share their personal testimony of what being on the BREAKTHROUGH Taikwondo Team has meant for them.

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Paraguay was an amazing experience. Being part of BreakThrough allows me to share the Gospel in a different way. We were able to reach people across the spectrum from the poorest of communities to the wealthiest. Seeing the diversity opened my eyes and allowed me to see that the ones who have less are willing to give more. I loved seeing the children’s faces light up when they saw the performances, and seeing their ears perk up when we shared the Gospel. I could tell they were listening and I hope they took away enough to have the idea in their minds to learn more about Jesus Christ. The number of people we reached was incredible: over 3,500 people heard the Gospel. This was more than I ever thought we would reach in the short time we were in Paraguay. I shared my testimony for the first time during church and I believe it was the right time in my life to share. Though I have gone on a mission trip in the past with BreakThrough, the Paraguay trip was great in its own way because we reached so many more people, and I was stronger in my faith during this time.

After most presentations the students would surround us asking for autographs on our broken boards. One day, we went to a school and after the demo the students gathered around us and one girl came up to me and we talked for a long time about her faith and experience and how she was thrilled what we as a team were doing. I was able to connect with her on a personal level with where we were in our walk with Christ. During a lot of the trip it was hard to communicate but I was able to grow in my Spanish language skills and have meaningful conversations with others.

~Morgan Ebright

 

It was the Christmas season of 2004.  I was home on Long Island visiting my family during my two weeks of leave from Operation Enduring Freedom in Ar Ramadi, Iraq as part of the Global War on Terrorism. That Sunday evening, Grammy Powell, a congregational matriarch and a personal prayer warrior, approached me and said in her gentle, sweet, and sincere voice, “Jon, it is my prayer that someday you won’t be at war against the Muslim people, but that you’ll be able to minister to them.”

After miraculously surviving the war and having the privilege of returning home alive I made a quick visit to Grace Bible College in the fall of 2005. While visiting previous classmates and professors in the cafeteria, Dr. Sam Vinton sat down at my table. He inquired of my guerilla Army experience and listened intently to my responses. At the end of the meal before standing up and leaving he made one statement as he put his hand on my shoulder, “Jon, I pray that someday you will fight the Muslims with a Bible in your hand instead of a rifle.”

This past summer I had the unique honor to travel with the Grace Ministries International affiliated martial arts team, BreakThrough, to Ciudad del Este, Paraguay. The team performed 13 forty-five minute demonstrations of intense martial art sequences during the 11 days of ministry. Over 3,500 individuals would hear the Gospel message during these presentations – many of whom had never heard this message before. In fact, Ciudad del Este is an international city on the borders of Brazil and Argentina and has significant populations of Hindu and Muslim believers.

As BreakThrough was warming up for one of the demonstrations, Alex Gulart, GMI Missionary to Paraguay, told me to look at the crowd of 800 students that was assembling. With a huge sparkle in his eye and a smile that was horizons wide he asked, “Jon, do you see all the Muslim individuals in the crowd?” (This was evidenced by their headgear.) “Today, they will hear the Gospel for the very first time!”

BreakThrough members performed spectacular martial arts skills which included forms, self defense, and acrobatic aerial kicks.  They also break wooden boards & ceramic roofing tiles with their hands, elbows, feet, and heads. Throughout the demonstration I would present the Gospel message in three to four minute segments. That day, as I held a Bible in my hand and spoke the bad news of sin and the Good News of Jesus, I could not help but think of Grammy Powell’s and Dr. Sam Vinton’s prayers for my life. Grammy Powell has since gone on to be with our Lord and Savior in Heaven – but her prayer has been answered. Twelve years after that conversation around the cafeteria table Dr. Sam’s prayer was lived out.

Yes, the BreakThrough team and I went to Paraguay to minister, serve, and bless the people and ministry there. However, I was ministered to, served, and blessed through the experience of seeing first hand God answering tangibly the prayers of people I know personally. Thank you to all who have supported the martial arts team, BreakThrough. It is such a joy and privilege to share the Gospel by utilizing the martial arts. Paraguay was an absolutely amazing place to experience the Hand of God at work.

~Jon Young

“But God has surely listened and has heard my prayer. Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me!” – Psalm 66:19-20.

 

Never in my life did I think I would be able to share the gospel with thousands, most of whom were Catholics, Buddhists, and Muslims. But thankfully, Taekwondo has given me that opportunity. During the week and a half I spent in Paraguay alongside the Breakthrough martial arts team I learned and experienced many new things.

Nearly every day during our trip we conducted at least two demonstrations at schools, parks, or other public places. We performed in front of anywhere between 30 to more than 1000 people each day. The gospel was clearly shared during each demonstration. After each presentation some adults and youth would come up to the Breakthrough team and thank us for presenting the message of Jesus Christ to them, their families, and friends. It was truly amazing to see so many people hear and be exposed to the gospel for the first time. It was also very encouraging for fellow Christians to attend our demonstrations and support our cause.

When we had no demonstrations planned for a time, we would usually go sightseeing. Three places we visited that really stood out to me were the Iguaçu Falls, a Buddhist Temple, and a Mosque. We were able to take some very neat team photos at the falls. As we were taking pictures several people would stop to see us in our taekwondo uniforms and ask us who we were and why we were dressed the way we were. We would gladly explain our purpose which would eventually open up a window for us to share the message of Christ. Even on our days off we did not stop spreading the name of Jesus.

The two other places the team visited were a Buddhist Temple and a Mosque. It was quite sad to see that people waist their time praying to Buddha or bowing down to Allah. It made me realize all the more why it was so important for people to hear the gospel. It made me see why more mission teams, such as Breakthrough, and individuals need to leave their comfort zone and share the good news with people who have never heard the name of Jesus Christ.

This year’s Breakthrough mission trip to Paraguay was truly amazing for me.  I learned and experienced so much in such a short amount of time. It was amazing to see so many Catholics, Buddhists, and Muslims hear the gospel for what might have been for some their first time.

~Berea Clark

 

During the first two weeks of August, I had the privilege of serving with BreakThrough Martial Arts to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ to over 3,000 people in Paraguay. Over the course of the two weeks, the team and I broke over 250 boards and 200 tejas using our hands, feet, elbows, and even our heads [see photo at the top]. The experience from this trip is something I will always remember. More importantly, this trip sparked a fire in my heart to serve Jesus Christ.

While on this trip, my favorite memory was when BreakThrough did a demonstration for children in one of the poorest areas of Ciudad del Este. While in the barrio of San Rafael, children and parents watched as BreakThrough presented the Gospel of Jesus Christ, with open ears. For me this was a surreal experience for two reasons. First, as a team, we showed ourselves what happens when we submit to God and allow Him to work through us. The entire time, the team put forth wonderful energy and enthusiasm for the Gospel and performance, both teaching and entertaining the spectators. Second, it made me realize how impactful this mission organization could be. Working with a local missionary, Christopher, we were able to preach to many who had never heard the Gospel before, as well as opening doors for Christopher’s mission.

This trip also taught me the value this organization holds when it comes to helping missionaries. Not only did BreakThrough reach 3,000 plus people, it opened the doors for the Gularts’ and Bomers’ mission field. Throughout our two weeks there, we performed at many local schools and other venues. These performances set a precedent for the Gularts’ and Bomers’ mission, furthering the reach of the Gospel, through their work.

By the end of the trip, I was excited for our next adventure. I hope and pray that next year’s Nicaragua trip will be more successful than Paraguay and that we may reach even more people with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

We thank all of you for your prayers and support and ask that you continue to pray both for the members of BreakThrough and for BreakThrough as an organization. God bless.

~Christian Mohrhardt

 

Image credit: Artie Bowman

 

 

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On October 2, 2017, GMI missionaries Steve and Barb Sherman wrote an email update – The Sherman Safari –  to their supporters, so all of the information I am sharing with you in this post comes from that update.

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We continue to ask for your support and prayers for Tanzania Grace Bible Institute (TGBI). Steve continues to be an advisor to TGBI’s various schools and helps them in many ways.

1. Pastoral College – (3-1/2 year program with ten 2-month modules)

TGBI’s Pastoral College continues to train future pastors and ministry leaders for the Grace Church of Tanzania. They currently have 18 students and have just finished their third module.

2. Bible Schools – (2-year program with eight 3-week modules). TGBI currently has 4 Bible Schools in progress.

3. Iringa Bible School – This Bible School is in their 2nd module. Due to a shortage of funds Pastor Evanie Simtowe is teaching by himself (we usually have 2 teachers at each school)..

4. Tatanda Bible School – This school is in its 5th module and is being taught by Pastor Jeriko Peter and Pastor Dasoni Ruben.

5. Makuzani Bible School – This school is located on the Pastoral College campus and is taught by the Pastoral College staff. They are in their 6th module.

6. Mwanza Bible School – (pictured above) This is our newest school, having finished the Bible School building earlier this year. They are just starting their first module with 11 students. Pastor Methodi Mwendapole (our co-missionary in Mwanza) and Pastor Emmanuel Nyami from the Rukwa region are both teaching. We have nine students from the Mwanza church plants and two students who have traveled a long way north from a recent church plant in the city of Mpanda.

As you have read, TGBI is active and students are ready to learn and be trained so they can train others. Please pray for the instructors and the students at TGBI. Pray especially for stamina for the students as many of them have families they need to support as well.

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Thanks for praying for the situation in Puerto Rico, our missionaries, and ministries there. We just received some very brief videos of Camp Caribe. Click HERE and HERE to see videos of one of the dorms and the chapel which lost its roof.

Yesterday we were in touch with GMI missionary Barbara Trumbower who was able to give us a report on the conditions in their area of the island. Power is still out, water service is sporadic, gas lines are long, and some stores have opened on a cash basis. The Trumbowers and our friends in Puerto Rico are all well, but they ask that we pray they can avoid injury and sicknesses given severely debilitated infrastructure. The Trumbowers are the only ones who have returned to camp although there is still no power or running water.

If you would like to give a gift to help our GMI missionaries and affiliated ministries in Puerto Rico with hurricane recovery, cleanup, and relief, please click HERE and choose “Puerto Rico Recovery” from the dropdown menu.

Thanks for praying.

The picture above is of the entrance to the Juana Diaz Church pastored by our friend Miguel Ortiz.

 

 

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Puerto Rico is on all of our minds and hearts as we pray for our missionaries, our Puerto Rican friends, the camp, the churches, and ministries affiliated with Grace Ministries International on the island. Because cell service, internet, and electricity have been completely knocked out, we have been receiving information at a frustratingly slow pace. We can tell you that our missionaries are well, but Camp Caribe has suffered extensive damage. Fourteen to sixteen inches of water, mud, and sand inundated most of the buildings on the property which means that much of the contents has been damaged or destroyed. Most of the buildings’ roofs suffered damage while the roof on the chapel was completely destroyed. All the power lines outside of the camp have been knocked down from the camp to Santa Isabel to the east. Cleanup and repair will be a long process.

Many of you are asking about sending teams and what you can do to help both at the camp and with our other affiliated ministries on the island. We are still in the process of assessing the needs, but there are a few things you can do now. Consider assembling a team so you can send the team sooner rather than later once we have more information as to when a team can go and what the teams will be able to do.

We also encourage you to give. Though our properties are insured, we do not know yet exactly what insurance will cover, and we also know there will be many expenses associated with the recovery from the hurricane in terms of repairing damage and replacing items that were destroyed. We also anticipate that our missionaries and affiliated ministries will have opportunities to help their neighbors devastated by the hurricane. As you can imagine there will be several unforeseen expenses.

If you would like to give a gift to help our GMI missionaries and affiliated ministries in Puerto Rico with hurricane recovery, cleanup, and relief, please click HERE and choose “Puerto Rico Recovery” from the dropdown menu. Our initial goal is to raise $20,000.

The situation in Puerto Rico is very difficult as communication is limited or non-existent on most of the island. There is practically no electricity and the food and water supply is running low in many areas. It is extremely frustrating that there is so little we can do at the moment. In times like these, God wants us to bring our burdens and our cares before Him.

“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you”  1 Peter 5:6-7.

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UPDATE ON OUR GMI MISSIONARIES IN PUERTO RICO:

Due to the complete power outage on the island of Puerto Rico and the lack of cell phone infrastructure, GMI has had no contact with our staff serving on the island.  We do know most of them had planned to evacuate to a location farther inland than the camp property prior to the hurricane hitting the island. Please continue to pray for our missionaries and our believers there. As soon as we have any information or an update available, we will communicate that information with you via another post or Facebook.

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Frosty Hansen, GMI Missionary in Bolivia, shares the following exciting news with us concerning the progress of building the Bolivia Training Center in Santa Cruz. They are 80% of the way towards raising the funds needed to complete this much-needed training center to prepare future generations of church leaders. If after reading this the Lord is working in your heart to join the team of financial donors, you may click HERE for more information. Please pray for this project as they move through the construction phase. Exciting things are happening in Santa Cruz, Bolivia! 

This picture above was taken on August 23 when Frosty and his wife, Cathy, presented a check for half the cost of the new Training Center construction project to the owner of the construction company. On the far right next to Cathy is Pepe Yucra, the president of the MEB (the national denomination), who officially signed the contract with the architect/builders. Future payments will be made and money is being set aside for the costs of equipping the building (seats/desks, teacher desks with lecterns, acrylic boards, video projectors, air conditioning, bookshelves, and office furniture).

In the picture, we are standing in the MEB office, which will continue to be on the first floor of the building with the Training Center occupying the second floor. The Training Center will contain three classrooms (one large and two medium), a library, a restroom, an office for a receptionist, and an office for the director. It will be accessible by an interior stairway and an exterior ramp.

The work will begin this week with the removal of the roof, which was originally designed to be raised for a second floor.

Today I will begin classes for our current pastors who are in the Santa Cruz area in preparation for ordination. Each Friday evening in September and October we will meet for two hours for an overview of the different areas of systematic theology, beginning with the Bible. The classes will include practical application of the truths we are studying. Early next year we will begin studying Dispensational Theology, and then a series on Pastoral Theology as they get ready for the ordination process.

Twice a month I am meeting with students who are currently studying at other theological institutions to answer questions, specifically regarding what they are receiving in their classes as it compares with the doctrine of the Misión Evangélica Bethesda (MEB). They have asked to begin by looking at when the Church, the Body of Christ, began. I started with two weeks (1½ hours each) investigating the difference between the Church and Israel. On September 10 we will discuss various possibilities of when the Church began and look for biblical reasons for/against these options.

We are hoping to begin a broader array of classes for everyone after the first of the year. The construction should be completed by mid-December.

So let’s keep praying for this ministry! Pray for safety for the construction workers, a clear presentation of the lessons, more students, understanding of what is presented, and faithfulness in attendance so much is learned!

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This post is written by Milo and Raquel Seravalli who serve in Nagarote, Nicaragua, with Grace Ministries International. They have started a Bible and Theology training school and a church plant, along with a vast array of other ministries with the goal of reaching into the lives of people in their community. We know you will be inspired and encouraged to pray and partner with Milo and Raquel as you read what they have to share about God’s faithfulness seen in the ministry in Nagarote. Read on!

In a few days Emiliano will turn 29. It is a bit scary to get close to 30 (and just in case you want to congratulate him, I remind you that his birthday is on September 8 – miloseravalli@yahoo.es). We have lived the dream together. By sharing this update, we want to make you a part of our joy by seeing the faithfulness of God. There is no other dream apart from fulfilling Acts 20:24: “However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.”

It seems to be a dream but we started Arraigados three months ago. Arraigados is the new church plant in Nagarote in which we have greatly seen the hand of God.

We define summertime by many people from the United States desiring to serve God — this year we had two large groups. The first group consisted of two churches from Texas: Eleventh Avenue Church of Mineral Wells and Arlington Community Church of Arlington. The second group was the Berean Bible Church of Spokane, Washington. They were part of the construction of a sports court that serves the children and youth of Nagarote where every week they learn more about Jesus. They also helped to make an irrigation system for the church and they painted some of the facilities. They were an injection of energy for the beginning of this church!

Thanks to contributions from Parkside Bible Church in Holland, MI, we have been able to work on the kitchen that we can now use and for which we have great dreams, especially for using when teams visit us from the United States and Costa Rica. It will be finished soon.

Eleventh Avenue Church contributed to be able to install a sign for the church which will draw the community’s attention to the church. Everything looks beautiful and is very useful.

After hours of work we were exhausted, so receiving Mark and Karen Edwards was very refreshing. They came to invest in our spiritual life and marriage. We thank God for bringing them.

We are praying about our desires for Arraigados. One important thing we desire to see in this church is that as the Body of Christ they are trained so that one day they can work and serve without missionaries. We also pray that they are a multiplying church; sending out new missionaries. That’s why we started the Bible Institute of Grace in Nagarote in which there are already 10 students enrolled and we are teaching four subjects.

We also had Jonathan and Brenda Tuttle who lovingly used their honeymoon to serve in the ministry. They painted the lines of the sports court and helped in each of the ministries.

Your prayers were really necessary during those busy summer days, so thank you! We have more teams coming, two later this year — one from the States and one from Costa Rica — and we already have teams interested in coming in 2018. Please pray for the details of these teams’ trips.

We will also be moving houses. It is sentimental to move from the first house where we started our ministry, but we found a house near the church that is more fitting for us and the ministry. Pray for the logistics of moving, despite our busy schedule.

Never forget, we are always in need of your prayers. Pray especially for wisdom, for our relationship with God, for our testimony in our community, for our marriage, and for missionaries to come full time to partner with us. Also pray for the multiplying of the gospel of Jesus Christ through what God is doing here in Nagarote.

Send us your prayer requests and praises. We also want to be part of the prayers and praises of what God is doing in your life.

   

   

 

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