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GMI missionary Ted Rabenold informs us that there has been a cholera outbreak in Tanzania in a village where he had some of his men working. Here is a quote from Ted:

“Due to a Rukwa valley Cholera outbreak in which hundreds have been infected the TZ government has set up an emergency Cholera treatment clinic in Lumbesa village, located in the mud flats not far from our Nsanga station.

“Lumbesa is the actual site of the first few cases and heart of the outbreak. They hope that it will subside through education (boil drinking water-wash hands etc) and eradication of garbage. I was there when it started and had to evacuate my builders. It will probably take at least 1-2 weeks to get my construction crew back on site again.

“Outbreaks like this occur every few years. Usually when there is a long rainy season during the rice harvest in May-early June. Tons of laborers pour into the valley to help the locals harvest their rice and due to poor planning they go out to harvest without taking drinking water. Under duress they drink standing rice paddy water which has all sorts of fun microbes in it. This and the Rukwa heat can be a breeding ground for these kinds of problems.

Thanks for praying!

I expect my guys back at it again in two weeks tops.”

Please pray for those who have been affected by the outbreak and also pray that the cholera will be contained and not spread.

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Mike and Lynn Caraway who have served as GMI missionaries in Tanzania for many years will be traveling to Belize next week to survey that country as a potential GMI mission field. They will be staying with Matt and Lindsey DeYoung, former GMI missionaries who had to leave the field of Tanzania when their daughter Lola was diagnosed with leukemia. Following is an article that appeared in the “One Good Thing” section of the online edition of WZZM13, one of our local news stations in Grand Rapids, Michigan, on April 17, 2018.

Grace Bible College professor Matt DeYoung teaches students in Belize, after moving his family there late last year.

We are going international with today’s One Good Thing. A professor at Grace Bible College moved his family to Central America, and he’s invited some students along.

Matt DeYoung wanted to move his family to Belize. He then approached Grace Bible College about bringing students down there to teach them firsthand about culture and cultural intelligence. While Matt is living there on their farm with his wife, six kids, and three foster children, he’s now also teaching.

In fact, he’s converting some of his property into dorms for students and visiting professors. He calls Belize the perfect place to teach culture. Ten minutes from his house, he says he has friends who are Creole, Garifuna, Mayan, Mennonite and more.

One student who has already been there and back says, “There has never been a college course that has changed my perspective and taught me so much,” for immersing students in new cultures in order to teach them about those cultures, Matt DeYoung, Grace Bible College, and the students willing to go to Belize get today’s One Good Thing.

If you want to know more about the class being taught in Belize, you can read the following press release:

Cultural Intelligence has been a Buzz-Word in academia for a few years and it is just starting to go mainstream with the epicenter of cultural intelligence training right here in Michigan. A local college professor from Grace Bible College is creating the most unique approach to teaching students cultural intelligence and it all started with him driving his family of six and a dog from their home in Grand Rapids to the Cayo district of Belize in a converted school bus to start building relationships with the local community to truly expose students to people that are invested in the teaching of culture who understand what professor DeYoung is trying to do.

“We are all in” laughs professor Deyoung. We bought a farm, we are fostering 3 children and we are committed to building the most unique experience for college students. We want the trip to be authentic, safe and available for all students. That means buying a large property, converting it into dorms for students and a nice place for visiting friends and professors to stay.

We love Belize and think this is a unique way to draw students into Grace Bible College and to teach something I am very passionate about. Professor DeYoung fell in love with the idea of teaching culture because it has played such a dramatic role in his own life. His story involves worldwide travel, international adoption, fostering children from several different countries, living in Africa and now living in Belize. He believes cultural intelligence is essential to anyone in leadership. Cultural Intelligence allows you to better understand your people and use their creative way of seeing the world to solve problems and generate ideas.

Professor DeYoung describes Belize as “the perfect place to teach culture; Belize is a country of only 350,000 people but it is rich in culture. Within 10 minutes of my house I have friends who are Creole, Garifuna, Mayan, Mestizo and Mennonite. The fact that I live here and am invested in the community allows me to provide students with a unique experience that no tourist could ever receive. The other amazing thing about Belize is that there is no language barrier. The people speak English in every village throughout the country.

Matthew DeYoung has been a college professor for the last six years. De Young explains: “I think this trip says a lot about how special Grace Bible College is; Very few colleges or universities would have allowed me the freedom to follow this dream and build something this unique. When he approached Grace Bible College about moving to Belize and developing a trip that helped students develop their cultural intelligence they were amazingly supportive of the idea. Dr. Scott Shaw of Grace Bible College explains that the college supports him. Dr. Shaw went on the first trip, He explained. It was really a unique experience that will allow students to have a really unique, life-changing experience.”

Emma Summerfield is looking forward to going on one of the trips next year. “I have had classes with professor DeYoung the last 3 years. He genuinely loves students and is so passionate about this trip. Everyone on campus is talking about this trip, and how jealous we are of the pictures of students learning culture in tropical paradise.”

Abigail Bickler a senior from Grace Bible College just returned from the trip and explained that “there has never been a college course that has changed my perspective and taught me so much.” Matt has been my professor for the last 4 years. He has been a my business professor in several classes. Before he came to Grace we did not even offer a degree. Today I know that God called me to business and after taking his courses I know that I am prepared to be an incredible employee for any organization I get a chance to work for.

Professor DeYoung is also fulfilling his passion of creating jobs in developing nations. “I was a missionary in Africa with Grace Ministries International. They are an incredible organization, they taught me everything I know about the way respectful mission work needs to be done.” When we lived in Africa my entire focus was about business as a mission and giving people jobs so there would be less orphans and more opportunity for people. For the last 6 years Matt has been working for as the president and CEO of a franchise organization called Shine. They built their entire business around the Bible verse Matthew 5:16. Matt explains, “I got to watch men and women change their lives by starting a business, I got a chance to coach people through the process. I became more confident that I could coach business people in any size business. When Matt left Shine for Belize it was because he needed to take care of his family. They are adjusting to a new life after God healed his daughter after a 6 year battle with cancer, and because he knew that God had put a leadership team in place at Shine that was so devoted and incredible it was time to use his talents elsewhere.

The DeYoung family is now ready to take reservations for students and guests in Belize. To find out more please contact Matt@bludotglobal.com

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Please pray for Nicaragua and our missionaries there. The country has been going through much civil unrest in recent days. Throughout the country there have been several demonstrations to which the government has responded using both the police and the military. News reports indicate at least 20 protesters and police have been killed during the last few days. The army has entered various cities and power and water are being cut off to different sectors of population centers. Please pray for peace and wisdom for the country. Also pray for our missionaries as they navigate the social upheaval while continuing to be lights in their communities.

Pictures: The army arrived in the city of Matagalpa over the weekend.

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Jerry and Sandi Bomers recently wrote this encouraging update praising the Lord for the growth of the church in Paraguay:

We have had some excellent moments in ministry over the past month as we just finished our first segment of the men’s Bible study and a women’s Bible study started up two weeks ago in our home. We can already see how God has been using these studies to develop relationships on a more personal level. We’ve had close to 100 people coming to the church at least one time per month now. We would love to see the consistency increase as these numbers are right around 35 adults, but this is a huge praise. In the last month we’ve had three new couples consistently attending. We will celebrate our one-year anniversary as a church in just two weeks.

Pray for God to open doors for a piece of property or larger building to rent as we move into the next year of ministry. We are finding that property and rental space are quite expensive within the city of Ciudad del Este.

Please pray for safety in travel on our two-hour drive to and from the city of Caaguazú. We will be changing the time of the Bible study to accommodate the work schedules of some of the Bible study members there. Please pray for the hearts of the people there to be open to the gospel and also to their call as a part of the Body of Christ.

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Ted and Kim Rabenold have been serving in Tanzania since 1991. All three of the Rabenolds’ adult children—Colton, Sierra and Savannah—grew up in Tanzania. They learned to speak Swahili and settled in the remote southwest Rukwa region where they began pioneering work.

The ministry is aimed at impacting the “whole man” physically and spiritually. The Rabenolds have developed two mission stations, the first one in Mumba village and then in Kapenta village, where they constructed a Bible college, a vo-tech school, a lay Bible training center, and a health center. With their excellent team of Tanzanian leaders they are developing water projects, sunflower oil presses (to help farmers diversify their income), fish farming, beekeeper training, livestock improvement projects, and horticultural work. They are also introducing new species of high-yield fruit trees, together with conservation agriculture training. Spiritual outreach work includes: teaching local women marketable skills and Bible, doing evangelism by boat to fishing villages along the lake, and encouraging and overseeing church planting of indigenous national churches.

As Ted and Kim Rabenold move to another part of the Rukwa Valley in Tanzania to begin a new outreach, they will need funds to construct an agriculture training center, build their home, and acquire the necessary equipment to get this new ministry started. The amount of $209,090 will enable them to build their home, buy a tractor with a five-ton tipper, build a training center workshop, install a water and irrigation system, construct a dorm facility with a kitchen and dining area, send a shipping container with tools and tractor implements, erect a wind turbine for the dorm, and install a solar system. If you are interested in donating to this project, click HERE.

To read the Rabenolds March Update, click HERE.

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The Women’s Day Exhibition is happening right now in Sumbawanga, Tanzania. Grace Community Development & Education (GCDE) is one of the participants encouraging women in small business through a regional trade fair designed to let women know about opportunities for training and development. GCDE is displaying various products like peanut butter, liquid soaps, batiks, and healthy porridge mix. All of these products and others are part of GCDE’s “hands on” training program.

GCDE staff, board members, and university interns are at the booth to discuss various training opportunities, including Farming God’s Way and Business As Mission.

Please pray for GCDE and the women and men they are in contact with at this time.

 

        

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The following is an email update from GMI missionaries Frosty and Cathy Hansen who serve in Bolivia. This is about two anniversaries they are celebrating, so enjoy reading their update.

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My, how quickly time passes! One year ago today, March 7, we arrived in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, eager to see what God had in store for us in our return to the ministry we had left in 2004. What a glorious ride it has been! We have seen the Lord confirm His plans for us to be here in so many ways, both in difficult challenges and joyful blessings.

A major purpose for our being here was to institute a plan for preparing a future generation of leaders for our Bolivian churches. It’s encouraging to see the construction of our facility near completion with painting this week, but what about a program for teaching? And how can we best facilitate Bolivian leadership in this ministry?

With the approval of the Bolivian national church, Frosty has been able to form a committee of young professionals to spearhead the plans for the Training Center (see picture above). These five young adults are deeply committed to Christ and desire to see this program produce godly men and women who are committed to teaching and living out all aspects of grace theology. Our weekly meetings have produced a new name, vision and mission statement, which we will share in due time.

We feel God was very instrumental in putting this committee together. They are highly motivated and their various areas of gifts have produced great insights and helped plot a good direction. Currently we are working at formulating a curriculum to effectively equip believers in their knowledge of God’s Word and to faithfully serve Christ in their churches and communities or as future pastors and missionaries.

Our greatest need at this time is for qualified teachers with the ability to effectively communicate in Spanish or a willingness to learn. We need men and women with a heart to effectively teach and model the truths of Scripture. How might God use YOU to meet this great need?

Last Sunday Cathy was able to visit another of our churches with the women’s committee. The people at the church in San José are dear to our hearts from the many opportunities we had to minister there years ago. Cathy spent a lot of time with these women when they were young mothers, and 20 years later was able to encourage these grandmothers (see picture left) and their daughters to make daily Bible reading a priority in their lives.

As you see from the picture on the right, we also celebrated another very special occasion of our 39th wedding anniversary on March 3. My, how time flies! Our love for one another continues to grow, and we are totally amazed at God’s faithfulness and goodness to us through the years. We never could have imagined all He had in store for us as a couple, including bringing us back here to live and serve Christ.

Thank you for your interest in our ministry. We appreciate your prayers for the items below.

Thank God with us for…
1. Peaceful times in Bolivia. God answered prayers when the president rescinded laws that were the source of conflict.
2. The Training Center committee. God has greatly encouraged us through their eagerness to serve and their fresh ideas.
3. Our faithful support team. We thank the Lord for all who pray and give sacrificially to make this ministry possible.

We ask for your prayers…
1. Frosty’s three major teaching times. Teaching doctrine to a church board on Wednesday; theology classes to pastors on Friday; classes with theology students on Sunday afternoons.
2. Cathy’s discipleship opportunities. She has been a source of encouragement and prayer partner to pastors’ wives and other young women.
3. Teachers for the Training Center. We are praying for people dedicated to a ministry of teaching God’s Word and mentoring.

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Grace Ministries International has three couples serving in Paraguay as part of the missionary team in Ciudad del Este – Jerry and Sandi Bomers; Alex and Deltha Gulart; and Talo and Patty Vergara. According to the 2002 census, 89.6% of all Paraguayans 10 years of age and older identified themselves as Catholics. Evangelical Christianity accounts for less than 10% of the population. GMI’s ministry began in Paraguay in 2015.

The Grace Ministries International missionary team in Paraguay is starting off 2018 wanting to expand its reach into new parts of the country. The initial church plant in Ciudad del Este is finding its stride with a solid core of attendees and new people visiting regularly. In fact, seven new people—two couples and three individuals—attended the church for the first time this past Sunday.  Even as the church continues to establish itself, the missionary team is looking to conduct Bible studies and ministry trips in the city of Caaguazú which is strategically located at the halfway point on the highway between Asunción and Ciudad del Este. Attendees of the church in Ciudad del Este had contacts in Caaguazú which the church and our missionary team are pursuing in order to test the possibility of planting a church there.

Here is a link to a video showing the city of Caaguazú so you can get a feel for what the city is like:

https://1drv.ms/v/s!As33BobO6RLlguNv5hbm0LyamG_RtQ

NOTE: The picture above is of one of the roads going into the city of Caaguazú.

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“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” (Acts 20;24).

It is with great joy that we share with you our move to the southern part of Malawi in Machinga district to reach the Yao people group with the good news of God’s grace.

In our three years of ministry in Malawi the Lord has on many occasions connected us to Muslims and over the past months the Lord has placed a burning desire in our hearts to reach the Yao (Muslims) with the gospel. The Yao people group is 99% Muslim. There are about two million Yaos in Malawi and they are one of the least reached people groups in Southern Africa. After much prayer, thoughts, and a few survey trips, our family is moving to Machinga (Yao Land) so we can share God’s love with them as we live among them.

This is a great opportunity the Lord has given us not only to encourage pastors and church leaders from the southern part of the country where most of our churches are, but also to work with them in reaching the Yaos with the gospel of God’s grace.

We will be living in a rural (village) setting, but there is a good house for us to live in and we will be using solar power for lights. You can see a picture of our neighborhood to the left. Near where we will be living there is a small trading center (market) where people from different villages come to sell foodstuffs from their gardens. There are some small shops where we can buy groceries and for major things we can access them in a nearby town called Lionde which is about a 45-minute drive. We also have access to good water.

As a family we are so excited to be part of what the Lord is doing in the Yao Land. Mercy and I are determined to follow the leading of the Lord in reaching the lost even if it means being out of our comfort zone. We have counted the cost and we still say “we will go.” Acts 20:24 has been more meaningful to us these days. Please pray for protection, wisdom, and guidance as we seek to make relationships with the Muslims. Pray that we will be quick in learning the Yao language, which is totally new to us.

Our prayer is that one day there will be Yaos around the throne of grace giving praise to the LAMB. We cannot thank you enough for your partnership in this. Because of your prayers and financial support we can go!

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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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