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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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Emiliano and Raquel sharing about their ministries in Nicaragua

Iglesia Bíblica de la Gracia (Grace Bible Church), Juana Diaz, Puerto Rico, held its first missions conference March 26-April 2 to promote worldwide missions within its congregation and to encourage its members to support missions, pray for missionaries, and to strongly consider serving the Lord on the mission field. Grace Ministries International (GMI) missionaries Emiliano and Raquel Seravalli are serving in Nicaragua sent both by their home church in Costa Rica (Comunidad Bíblica de la Gracia—Grace Bible Community) and by GMI to serve in Nicaragua. They were a perfect fit for this conference having been sent out by a sister Latin American church to a foreign field. Emiliano preached the first Sunday of the conference and they each shared during the week with both adults and youth about serving the Lord, our relationship with him, and the perspective of Latin Americans being prepared and sent by their church in Costa Rica. GMI missionaries Harry and Kaylah Alicea and Lawrence and Barbara Trumbower also shared during the conference about how they got involved in missions and their perspective on the missionary life.

Barbara Trumbower sharing about her ministries in Puerto Rico

GMI Executive Director Jeremy Clark taught on the importance of planting churches, shared with the youth the process of becoming a GMI missionary, and encouraged the congregation on the last Sunday of the conference to evangelize the lost. Iglesia Bíblica de la Gracia counted this event a tremendous success because of the turnout, excellent response, and impact it made on the lives of those who attended.  Pastor Miguel Ortiz, the church’s leadership, and GMI missionaries in Puerto Rico planned and ran an excellent conference.

The cover photo is of Emiliano and Raquel on the air with Miguel at Radio WCGB in Puerto Rico.

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The Bomers, Jerry and Sandi, and the Gularts, Alex and Deltha, GMI missionaries serving in Ciudad del Este, Paraguay, have just announced they have signed a lease on a building where they can hold church services and other church-related activities. Prior to this they were meeting in the home of Alex and Deltha.

The building is located near two high schools, a university, a business district, and a neighborhood of homes. There is also a park with a lake nearby so it is easily accessible to everybody. To see a movie of Jerry Bomers and Alex Gulart walking through the neighborhood in Ciudad del Este showing where the new church building is located, click HERE.

Having this new building will allow for growth of the church and increases the ability to have children’s ministries separate from the main church services.

Please pray for the Bomers and Gularts as they continue in the ministries in Ciudad del Este and as they meet new people everyday when they are out in the neighborhood sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ.

 

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This was first posted on our News of Grace blog in February and was written by Kaylah Alicea who is a GMI missionary in Puerto Rico along with her husband, Harry. Their GMI webpage will give you more information on who they are and what ministries they are involved in.

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These past six months have been a testament to the faithfulness of God in my life and how there are times when He simply calls me to listen and rely on that faithfulness. Let me share a bit of a story with you and as you read my journey may you feel empowered to remain faithful to Christ in the season of life He has placed you.

Summer here in Puerto Rico is always bustling and busy with groups from the States visiting and doing different ministry projects in the barrio. We also have camp, Vacation Bible School, and themed club weeks. By the end of summer, I’m usually exhausted, but overflowing with gratefulness for all that God has done in and through His ministry here. Then everything comes to a grinding halt. All the teams go home, the interns return to college, the kids go back to school, and there seems to be a deafening silence through the barrio. I then have the privilege of getting back into our fall routine with club and adjusting back to life during the school year. However, something different happened this year. We opened club like normal for August and September and then suddenly monsoon-type rains took over our island for the months of October and November. After living on the island for over three years now, I have never seen so much rain EVERY SINGLE DAY! Because most of our kids walk to club, the rain immediately stopped them from coming and it simply wasn’t safe for them to be outside through the constant thunderstorms. We would eventually get a little break in the rain for the morning and I would prepare myself to put on club as usual and literally right at 3pm when I was about to open the gate the rains would begin to pour yet again. I began to get very disheartened. We had just finished an amazing summer and I was ready to carry those emotions into our school year. Yet, every day God was simply trying to tell me to wait on Him and trust His faithfulness.

alicea-november-2016-300x300It was during these eight weeks I found out I was pregnant with our second child and was still trying to adjust to life with an active six month old. I struggled with feeling as if I was failing because I wasn’t doing the thing I felt like God was calling me to do. Little did I realize I was doing exactly the thing God had called me to do and I simply needed to know that God was still faithful and He would prove that through the continuation of His ministry here in Puerto Rico in His perfect timing.

At the beginning of the year, we reopened club and to my joy and surprise there were 25 kids ready for me to open the gate again. It was in that moment God reminded me there are seasons in life and in ministry. I wasn’t failing because God was calling me to rest and trust Him with the outcome through the storm. A few weeks later, I was reading Matthew 14 where God used another passage of Scripture to speak His truths to my heart. In this passage, Jesus had just performed another amazing miracle and fed 5,000 people. People were following Him everywhere and His truth was spreading. Right after this miracle, He tells the disciples to get into a boat and cross the lake as He goes up to a mountain to pray. Jesus tells them this knowing there will be a storm that night. The disciples obey Jesus, and are quickly ushered into a storm of ‘perfection.’ It wasn’t a storm of ‘correction’ because they had obeyed what He told them to do – He simply was getting ready to test their faith again. This whole passage reminded me of how God had been working in my own life. I had just finished an amazing summer of ministry and God was simply reminding me to remain faithful to the calling He had placed on my life. I had obeyed by preparing and opening club, but God was more focused on where my heart was through it all. He wanted me to trust Him and know that sometimes we just have to sit back and rest as He performs more miracles in our hearts. And He once again gave me the strength to ride out the storm and see that His faithfulness would be displayed in the faces of those 25 club kids who reappeared on the other side.

Life is full of storms of correction and perfection. My prayer for us today is that we sit at the feet of Jesus and listen to what He is trying to tell us through them. May we remain faithful to His work and trust that His faithfulness will always be guiding us through the storm to the calm waters on the other side.

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