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Below is what Milo and Raquel Seravalli, GMI Missionaries serving in Nicaragua, reported about the day the first service took place on the property:

Today was our first formal meeting on the property that God has provided for the ministry– and what we now call “Rooted” church (Arraigados).

At 3 PM we started the Children’s Club called “Come and See” (Ven y Ve). Our biggest fear was that the children who lived near our house would stop going to the group. The surprise was that all the children attended and they were joined by the children of the neighborhood San Julián where the church is located. We had a total of 60 children. There weren’t enough chairs or crafts for the children, but the leaders were able to minister to the kids. There weren’t enough cookies, but there was plenty of desire to learn about God.

At 6:30 PM we had the service for adults. Because we didn’t have enough chairs for the children, we rented 12 more; however, with 80 people, we needed about 30 more chairs. The good thing was that all those who were standing are people who ALREADY GO TO THE CHURCH – the people we have invested in for more than three years, those who already have a relationship with Jesus. They were ready to serve, some ministered to the guests, others served food, some gave their testimony in the service. There was praying, singing, caring, and giving a Bible lesson to the children – everybody loving each other.

At the end of the afternoon we saw the big list of things we need: classrooms for children, an auditorium, chairs, speakers, and microphones. But those things are the least important compared to what we already have — disciples — people ready to share their faith with others. Prayers. The Holy Spirit. The Word of God. What else do we need? The One who started the work will improve it until the final day.

The Name:

During those days we were praying for an identity for the church, and we both had in our hearts the desire to bear fruit, we found the verse Colossians 2:6-7 which says, “Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, live in him now, rooted and built up in him, confirmed in the faith as taught, and full of gratitude. “With this they understood the importance of roots to bear fruit.” That’s why we chose the name, Rooted, for our church.

A seed sown to bear fruit:

As part of the program, we made a “time capsule.” This is a container that we filled with prayers, desires, photos, and stories of how this church started in Nagarote. We buried it and will open it again on May 20 of the year 2037 — in 20 years. A great road lies ahead.

How beautiful it is to know that God allows us to dream about the future of this church. So to see fruit we put “fertilizer” to those roots sown. We wrote a Mission, Vision, and Values, which give us a True North, an address.

The Mission: the mission of Rooted is to know, imitate, and share Jesus.

The Vision: the vision of Rooted is to evangelize the lost, edify new believers, equip disciples, and send leaders.

Our Values: we are Christocentric, bibliocentric, we pray, we disciple, we are united, we have grace, and we move in faith.

Maybe you couldn’t be here, but you are part of this church. Every prayer unites us. Every time we share what is happening in Nagarote, you do something that we cannot do from here. Thank you for being a part of the sowing of God, and if you have time, just pray and praise the Lord because of what He is doing in Nagarote.

Please enjoy the photos below!

                    

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What can I do now to prepare for life as a missionary?

This is one of those questions I am frequently asked by college students, recent grads, and families or individuals thinking about joining our missionary team. Recently, Grace Ministries International put together a brochure which gives practical tips advising how a person who has decided to become a missionary or is seriously considering it can start preparing now for this adventure of a lifetime. Click HERE to read that document and feel free to contact me if you have any questions (616-241-5666 or gmi@gracem.org). You can also fill out this Getting Acquainted Form so we can get to know you and be in touch soon.

For some of you, having read that last paragraph, the wheels are turning and you want to know what the opportunities to serve with GMI are and what it looks like to become a GMI missionary. As you check out those links please know that we need your help as we continue to open new fields and expand the work on established fields.

One of the joys of serving as a missionary is being a part of the Lord’s work as you get something new started. In Ciudad del Este, Paraguay, around 30 people attended the first service on May 7 in the new facility the GMI missionary team is renting. Click HERE to see a video of that first service. Likewise, Emiliano and Raquel Seravalli had their first service on May 20 attended by 80 under the new pavilion on the property in Nagarote, Nicaragua.

GMI missionaries Brett and Debby Chapman, serving with Jeff and Sally Roth, are busy in the city of Matagalpa, Nicaragua, where they are leading Bible studies, running kids clubs, teaching English, and much more. All of this they do with the goal of evangelizing and planting churches that teach God’s grace to their Nicaraguan neighbors. They would love to host ministries teams to help them reach out to more of their community as they build relationships in Matagalpa. Again, please contact us if you would like more information about sending a team to work with the Chapmans.

Last weekend a family from Grace Bible Church in Alajuela, Costa Rica, (Alvaro and Mauren Barrantes and their children) took another survey trip to David, Panama, to get a better understanding of what it would look like for a missionary family to live and serve there. Panama is a country GMI is actively investigating as a potential new field and we would like your prayers as we continue to evaluate this option.

In my last email update, I told you about a new GMI missionary family, Givemore and Sylvia Nyakambiri, who will serve with our missionary team in Malawi for a time before moving to neighboring Mozambique to evangelize, disciple, and plant churches there. Since they are originally from Zimbabwe they do not have a support base or home church here in the U.S. from which they can raise funds. I would encourage you to consider investing in this family as they ultimately will help GMI open Mozambique as a new field. Monthly support is key for any missionary since this lets them know how much support they can consistently depend upon to carry out their ministry. They are just starting out and need both monthly support and also special gifts. If you would like to give towards the Nyakambiris’ ministry through GMI, click HERE.

Thanks for your faithful prayers for and interest in Grace Ministries International. All that we do is a team effort and you are part of that team!

Pressing towards the goal,

Jeremy Clark
GMI Executive Director

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This brief article was written by Erin Kemper, our Social Media Specialist at GMI. She was raised in Tanzania as an MK (missionary kid) along with her two sisters and a brother. 

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Ruby opened the door with a big smile and outstretched arms with hugs for all of us. She had a blanket laying over one arm, and when all six of us made it inside, her husband Herb took Dad to watch football and sat him in a nice comfy chair. Ruby handed my mom the blanket and showed her to a room for a nap and then took us four kids to the table for some fun and games. We were eventually led outside to the lawn where we could see Mt. Saint Helens. Somehow in all that time Ruby also prepared an amazing meal which I obviously remember.

This couple refreshed my family by putting themselves in each of our shoes. They gave rest and allowed their home to be used for a place to restore and renew. They encouraged us and listened. They embraced us and let us relax and be ourselves. They served us and found unique ways to minister to my family…because sometimes those in ministry need to be served too. I know my parents, my family, needed it that day, and because Herb and Ruby were sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s leading, my family got the boost they needed that day to continue the job that was before them.

I tell you about this sweet couple because I want you to realize that it doesn’t take much to make a big impact in someone’s life, specifically today talking about our missionaries’ lives. They are normal people just like you and me. They are excited about what God has called them to and they eagerly want to share about what all that entails with those who have a listening ear. But they also need rest, encouragement, and someone to be sensitive to what their particular needs might be at that time.

So, from things I remember people doing for my family, I decided to make you a list. That way, at your next church missions conference or the next time your missionary friend is on home assignment, you have a few more ideas for ways to bless them.

10 Things to Do to Encourage a Missionary on Home Assignment:

1. Give the missionary or missionary family a gift card to go out to a restaurant. If they have kids, offer to babysit while they go out.
2. Have the missionary or missionary family over for dinner (into your home) and let them rest and play games with no agenda.
3. Take a missionary out to coffee and ask the deep, hard, exciting questions with genuine care and interest.
4. Give them a little spending money to do something fun on the road. (They will spend hours driving while on home assignment.)
5. Make sure they are suited with warm coats and boots for winters or swimwear for the summer.
6. Some MKs get warn thin. During a Sunday School hour offer to take them aside and let them hang out with you instead of going to their 10th new Sunday School class.
7. If they have kids, take them to a park and just let them run, play, laugh, and “let their hair down” while the parents do whatever they want and/or need to do.
8. Take them to the movies.
9. Prepare your church family beforehand with information about the visiting missionaries and encourage people to invite them into their homes for meals, take an interest in their lives, and build relationships with them that could remain after they are gone.
10. Keep in touch after they leave with notes of encouragement, phone calls, and a plan to reconnect on their next home assignment.

NOTE: One response to an update letter from the missionary can be a huge encouragement.

Do you have ideas you would like to share with ways you have been able to bless and encourage a missionary or missionary family? We would love to hear from you at GMI! Email us at gmisocialmedia@gmail.com

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Having a church is much more than renting a place, hanging up a sign, and inviting people. It takes many people praying, supporting, and offering. We thank you all very much! – Alex Gulart

What Alex is describing here is a beautiful thing–the Body of Christ working together to bring the gospel to the world. Looking back over the past few years I am amazed to think that the inaugural services of Iglesia Bíblica Gracia (Grace Bible Church), Ciudad del Este, all began with presenting a new ministry opportunity to our brothers and sisters in Christ across North America. In 1 Corinthians 16:8,9 the Apostle Paul refers to Ephesus as a “great door of effective work” that was opened to him. We had a similar perspective of the opportunities in Paraguay, thus making it our joy to present the potential of the field to you. Since then you have partnered with us in prayer, guidance, encouragement, and financial support, all of which have been pleasing to God and a blessing to His ministry here. May 7, 2017 was a special day as a weekly Bible study became an officially established church within the inner city of Ciudad del Este. Alex delivered a Dr. Sam Vinton inspired message, breaking down the church title into its three parts as the foundation of the ministry in the community Grace (salvation in Christ alone), Bible (His Truth), and Church (the Body of Christ). We had a group of three dozen worshiping together, with people from Paraguay, India, Germany, Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela, Mexico, the United States, Uruguay, and Bolivia, as well as those with a Lebanese/Paraguayan background. Praise be to God for this incredible evening!

Click HERE to see a video of the service.

Thank you so much to everyone who has joined with us in our endeavors for Christ in Ciudad del Este, Paraguay! This is a moment to be celebrated by all.

With much love,

Team Paraguay

 

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Frosty and Cathy Hansen, GMI missionaries in Bolivia, recently obtained their 3-year residency in Bolivia and they are praising the Lord! In their recent email update which was sent to their supporters and those interested in their ministry they wrote:

“A tremendous feeling swept over us as we walked out of the immigration office in Santa Cruz on May 3 with our passports in hand. Inside was the page seen above, indicating our papers had been accepted in La Paz and we are now official residents for a three-year period. Praise the Lord! The initial three-year residency is fairly new and a cost saver. Over the past number of years other missionaries have started with a one-year residency, meaning they would soon need to go through additional paperwork and expense to have it renewed, so the three-year residency is a true blessing!

“This now opens the door for us to get our Identification cards, a requirement for everyone in Bolivia whether a natural citizen or a foreign guest. We will present those papers on Friday morning May 5. Once that card is emitted, Frosty can pursue a Bolivian driver’s license after which we will purchase a vehicle, enabling us to get to our churches and accomplish our ministry with greater ease.”

Frosty and Cathy Hansen recently returned to Bolivia, where they previously served with Grace Ministries International from 1993-2004. Frosty’s ministry for the past 12 years has been as president of the Grace Gospel Fellowship (GGF), the association of pastors, churches, and organizations of which GMI is affiliated. They are getting involved in theological education, ministry training, mentoring, and women’s ministries. Please pray for them as they get settled into their life and ministries in Bolivia.

        

Above left: A great group of Santa Cruz pastors who were challenged to personal growth and the development of future leaders for the MEB (the Bolivian church, Misión Evangélica Bethesda)

Above right: Emanuel Church anniversary with Elisa Ortega and daughters, Silvana and Lilibeth.

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John and Naomi Caprari are overjoyed by the little miracle God has given them! Her name is Jael Lynn (pronounced Jayelle) and she arrived Saturday night, May 6, at 9:45pm. She is a tiny little one weighing in at 6lbs,1 oz and 19 inches long. She is healthy and mom is doing well. We here at Grace Ministries International say congratulations, John and Naomi! We praise the Lord for Jael’s safe arrival!

          

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A BIG CONGRATULATIONS to Harry and Kaylah Alicea, GMI missionaries in Puerto Rico, on the birth of a baby boy on April 29!! Jairus John Alicea was born in the afternoon at 3:58pm! He is a healthy baby weighing in at 8lbs 4oz and 20in long. Harry and Kaylah are so thankful he is finally here and everyone is doing well! Welcome to the GMI Family baby Jairus!

        

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A litte girl walks over…

She holds one finger in the air.

“Dame uno.”

She says it a bit forcefully. Perhaps the years of practice had pushed away any shyness. I look at her face, her eyes are lively. She is a fighter.

In a culture where a neat appearance is everything, her hair is matted and her clothes have been well worn. Her job is to beg in the park and this is her uniform.

Another day we see her again. This time barefoot, she asks for money to buy shoes. When she walks away I see her flip- flops tucked into the back of her skirt. That’s just the way things are, her family needs money to survive.

Over the summer we spend a little time with her almost every weekend. We get to know her, ask about her family, her school. We get to talk to her a little about God. She holds the babies from time to time and walks with us. She is a sweet girl with a big heart.

The Lord brings her to mind often. Little Milagro. Her name means miracle.

We ask for prayer for these kids we see at the park, and you pray for her by name.

A friend begins a Bible club for kids in her neighborhood. In Milagro’s neighborhood. Two weeks ago she lets me know that they asked her if she understood the gospel and she said yes! She knows Jesus as her Savior and is trusting in Him alone for salvation. She is now involved in church with other believers, excited to learn.

“So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything but only God who makes things grow” 1 Cor. 3:7.

And so we are all a little bit a part of her story, and many others will be too.Those who pray, those who share the good news, those who teach her the Word and encourage her in a life of faith. And it is God who gets the glory because He is bringing all these parts together, He is causing the growth.

Please pray for Milagro today. Last week she was making coffee for a neighbor over a fire and the scalding liquid spilled down her leg. She is healing from very painful 3rd degree burns and her family does not have finances for extensive medical care. Praise the Lord that basic hospital care here is free and she was able to get some treatment. Pray that she will continue to grow in her walk with the Lord and be a light for Him in her neighborhood. Pray for the Bible study at Maria’s house reaching these children and their families.

Today’s post was written by Debby Chapman. Debby, along with her husband and four children, are missionaries in Nicaragua. We have so loved seeing them follow Christ to Nicaragua, adjust to their lives there and serve Him so faithfully, despite ever challenging times in the health of their family. Thank you for reading, sharing, and interacting with all of us here at Grace Ministries International, through social media and for your prayers and support for our missionaries all over the world.

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Pictured in the cover photo: GMI missionary Dan Reed and Frosty, along with MEB president José Yucra and vice-president, Santos Ortega.

Frosty and Cathy Hansen recently returned to Santa Cruz, Bolivia, a place they had served from 1993 to 2004 and they loved the people and ministry there. We want to share with you a recent email update they sent to their interested support team because it carries such an important message for all of us.

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For this we have Christ!
Ants, ants and more ants! No, ants are not uncommon in Bolivia, but it is a bit disconcerting when they invade your bathroom, the white outlet now totally black with the little creatures and their friends exploring the walls, sink, and floor. Cathy called out and went to work trying to wipe them up (and out), while Frosty went outside to find their homebase and do what is possible to eliminate the potential of a return visit. With frustration levels reaching uncertain heights, Cathy glanced at her mirror and saw her handwritten reminder from a retreat she attended: “For this I have Jesus!”

This is the perspective we strive to keep each day. When we remind ourselves of Christ’s abiding presence in our lives through trials or blessings, it radically changes our attitudes and approach to life. Cathy’s glance at those simple but powerful words made a difference. Frustration gave way to surrender, which turned to praise for our God’s faithful presence, strength, and calling in our lives.

Our “Inca wall”

For this we have Christ! We are slowly but steadily advancing as we settle into our new home. Ciro, a very competent handyman, has undertaken a series of projects, including the needed repair of the bathroom outlet (the ants apparently had their own technician who unhooked the wires), fixing the oven and stove, and patching cracks in the outside wall. Ciro also began the job of repairing a number of cracks in the inside walls (pardon his dust from plaster and bricks), thus creating some interesting designs until it is time to paint. The picture to the left has been dubbed by Cathy our “Inca wall.” Furniture is being added and the ongoing projects both inside and outside will continue for a bit longer…once the current rains stop. We thank God for those who have given to help these projects move forward.

For this we have Christ: Cathy was greatly blessed during the four-day retreat sponsored by “Azmera.” A group of 11 women came from the States to pamper and minister to the 20 missionary women who attended. It was a refreshing time of sharing with other women, hearing from God’s Word, getting pedicures and massages, and worshiping the Lord together. Also attending the retreat were two other GMI missionaries, our co-worker in Bolivia Mary Sue Reed and Joy Befus from Costa Rica.

For this we have Christ: Establishing our residency in Bolivia has been our chief goal during these initial weeks. What we had hoped would be a quick process has turned into a waiting game with just a little bit of progress until now. A trip to Interpol (the international police organization), the Bolivian justice department, and the police and anti-drug task force has shown we have no records, which didn’t surprise us and hopefully doesn’t surprise you! But two important trips to immigration have sent us scurrying for additional documentation, and a third attempt found their offices closed as they were relocating. We will try once more on Thursday, April 6, confident that the timing rests in the Lord’s hands and at peace with whatever happens. When the residency is finally approved in La Paz, a month after approval here, we can move forward toward getting our ID cards, then a driver’s licence and a vehicle.

For this we have Christ: Even though the residency process is slowing some things down, we are seeing a great interest among the leadership and churches we are here to serve. Frosty and Dan Reed have had productive meetings with the leaders of the Misión Evangélica Bethesda (MEB) (pictured in cover photo) regarding the future training center, and a number of individuals have excitedly indicated their desire for further study. Frosty is meeting weekly with a young man who is interested in missions and wants to be more securely grounded in the Word and in his knowledge of Grace theology. A number of churches are beginning to use a booklet on the basic theological beliefs of the MEB which Frosty prepared several years ago, and one church board has asked him to help them work through it. We are excited to see the growing interest in this ministry. The future of the work in Bolivia is quite promising!

For this we have Christ: Cathy currently is recovering from a severe intestinal infection. Frosty received some scrapes and a sore shoulder when he tripped on an uneven sidewalk during a morning walk. Otherwise, we are quite young and healthy! We thank God for His faithfulness and the joy of serving Him here in Bolivia!

Cathy was blessed by her small group at the Azmera Retreat.

Praise the Lord with us for:
A good working relationship with the MEB leadership.
The high level of anticipation for our Training Center.
Blessings received by Cathy at the Azmera retreat.
Opportunities to share Christ with taxi drivers.

Pray for us:
The residency process.
Cathy’s recovery from her infection; consistent good health.
Opportunities to teach, mentor, and share the gospel.
Wisdom as we counsel and encourage young people.

For this we have Christ!
Years ago at youth camp, Frosty learned a song entitled, “For This I Have Christ” by Pastor Wayne A. Webb. We were unable to find the lyrics, but it went something like this:

For this I have Christ! For this I have Christ!
In trouble and trial and tragedy,
When fears and frustrations are plaguing me,
I meet the attack with this strategy –
For this, for this I have Christ!

For this I have Christ! For this I have Christ!
The darts of the wicked one hurled at me,
And Satanic pressures oppressing me,
I know that in Christ I have victory!
For this, for this I have Christ!

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Take a look at THIS VIDEO about “Breakthrough”—the GMI-affiliated taekwondo ministry team heading to our newest field, Paraguay, this summer. Through their ministry, they are hoping to reach hundreds of Paraguayans with the gospel of the grace of God. To date they have raised nearly half of the $12,000 this six-person team needs to serve in Paraguay this August. The timing for this trip could not be better as GMI missionaries Alex and Deltha Gulart and Jerry and Sandi Bomers will begin having church meetings soon in the building on which they have just recently signed a lease. Click on the link www.gracem.org in order to give your tax-deductible gift through GMI. Also, for more information about this team you can read their team letter. http://gracem.us/…/Paraguay-2017-Fundraising-letter-email.pdf

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