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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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MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR from the Home Office Staff, the Board of Directors, and the Missionaries serving under Grace Ministries International! We pray the Lord blesses you and yours abundantly in 2019 as you seek to follow Him in all you do. We pray the year 2019 is your best year yet! As you pray about the coming year and what the Lord has for your future…

Have you considered becoming a missionary? HELP WANTED! We need missionaries both to expand the ministries in our current fields and to plant churches and start ministries in new fields. We are looking for people with a strong commitment to sharing God’s grace and who are dedicated to dreaming with, planning with, and releasing ministries to believers around the world so that new works will be indigenous, self-sustaining, and self-propagating.

Where are the opportunities for you to serve? We need people to be a part of a pioneering team in Nicaragua, Paraguay, Burundi, and Mozambique to evangelize, plant churches, disciple, and train believers to advance the ministry in these countries. We also need people to work in many of our established fields to disciple; evangelize; work with youth, children, and women; come alongside the national churches and believers in these countries to help develop new ministries and outreaches; and to otherwise share God’s grace! Would you consider being a missionary with Grace Ministries International?

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Grace Ministries International (GMI) missionaries endeavor to make sense in the community where Sylvia Nyakambiri has ministries with the women of Zimbabwe and Malawi. In the picture below, Sylvia is sharing groceries with Zimbabwean ladies. This ministry has now grown to also include Malawian women and helps the ladies to build small businesses to assist in the finances for their families.

The ladies with their newly purchased groceries on December 15, 2018

The ladies contribute a few dollars each month for a period of six months or more, and then groceries are purchased at wholesale price. Their money ends up buying a lot more than what individuals would have bought at retail price. The picture above shows the results of the shopping trip on Saturday, December 15, 2018.

Each lady goes home with a large amount of groceries which includes necessities such as sugar, wash soap, bath soap, toiletries, and cooking oil to list a few.  

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Emmanuela Asong and her husband Joseph are part of our GMI team in Malawi. Joseph and Emmanuela arrived in Malawi in June 2012 and worked with others to establish the first Bible School with the Grace Churches in Malawi. Theological education and leadership training have been their primary focus, but they are involved in other ministries, such as preaching and teaching in Lilongwe and in other Grace Churches scattered all over Malawi, and Emmanuela’s business training and cooking,

Just to let you get to know Emmanuela’s background, she was born in the city of Bamenda in the northwest region of Cameroon. Her family was a strong Christian family and her father, a customs officer, also served as a church planter and elder in their family’s church. After obtaining her advanced level certificate in 2002, she proceeded to the Higher Teacher’s Training College (ENS) in Bambili and graduated with a Higher Diploma in teaching (Economics) after three years. With a firm determination to continue upwards on the educational ladder, she enrolled at the University of Dschang in 2006 where she obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in Political Economics after two years.

Here is the update Emmanuela recently wrote about her ministries:

I am teaching almost 30 women at Area 44 in business training and cooking every other Wednesday. This venture is evangelistic in nature as most of the women in the class are not members of the Grace Churches of Malawi. So whenever we meet, Pastor Malongo Evans, pastor of the Area 44 Grace Church and one of our Bible school students, shares the Word with these ladies for 30 minutes. I also teach an average of 12 women in Area 38 every other Tuesday. We are receiving numerous testimonies of how the business training is transforming the businesses of the ladies. We also received positive reports of how the cooking training is strengthening families because of the appreciation of the recipes taught.

The building of the kitchen is progressing very well. We have about two months to finish and equip it if all the funds needed become available. Thanks.

In His Grace,

Emmanuela

If you are interested in donating to this project you can go HERE and scroll down the page to Malawi Ministry Kitchen. Also please pray for these women that through this ministry those who do not have a personal relationship with Christ may come to know Him as their personal Lord and Savior.

 

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Land is needed in Paraguay and Panama. The church plant in Ciudad del Este, Paraguay, rents a facility that does not have enough room for the current congregation let alone for growth. There are 35-40 consistent attendees while several more participate in different weekly events, and even more visit during the month. They need to purchase land or a building which they can develop in order to grow their church through evangelism and train new leaders to help with the church planting efforts locally and throughout the country. Below is a video made by our missionaries in Paraguay in which they share their need for another place for their people to meet.

To get a jump start on the ministry in Panama, GMI is encouraging the missionary team to purchase land where they can plant a church, conduct outreach, and train Panamanians for ministry. Economic conditions are now favorable to buy property in a strategic and developing area just north of the city of David in the western part of the country. Visit the project page at gracem.org to help with these projects.

 

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GMI missionaries Carlos and Denise Brunk were invited to share Bible stories, play games, and do crafts with kids for a cultural event organized on October 6. Most of the kids know about Denise from the Brunks’ radio program during which she tells stories from the Bible.

They shared the gospel with both the kids and their parents who also know Carlos and Denise from their daily radio program. This includes visitors from Aruba who listen to the radio program over the internet. The event was a success and they were able to meet many listeners of their radio program.

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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 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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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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