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The following is from Mary Sue Reed, GMI missionary in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. She and her husband Dan write a monthly update on their ministries and this is an excerpt.

On December 30 we were in for a big surprise when we arrived at our kids club. We knew that a group of leaders from La Gracia Church had planned on bringing Christmas gifts to the kids the previous week when we were out of town. What we didn’t know was that those plans had been postponed because of heavy rains. What a day! A group of 35 leaders and youth from the church had arrived early and gone door to door in the neighborhood to invite all the kids to a special program and to receive a Christmas gift. When we arrived many of the leaders had taken all the neighborhood kids to the park to enjoy a time of games. Then when they came back to the Carlos Laborde property we couldn’t believe it….they just kept coming. About 120 kids and at least 30 moms and dads! A clear gospel message was presented to them using Child Evangelism materials. Then they all received a snack and a special Christmas gift. It was really incredible! Dan and I were able to meet some of the parents and neighbors. It was truly a delight!

Many of the children who came to Carlos Laborde in Bolivia on December 30

Exciting things are happening in the ministries in Bolivia. Please continue to pray for Dan and Mary Sue Reed and also for Frosty and Cathy Hanson, the two couples who make up our GMI missionary team in Bolivia.

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Grace Ministries International (GMI) began ministering in Malawi in 2000 when two Zambian Bible School graduates were sent as short-term missionaries to that country. In January 2005, Rev. and Mrs. Kennedy Simtowe, GMI missionaries to Zambia, moved to Malawi to strengthen the work by establishing a training center and expanding the evangelistic outreach and church planting ministries. In September 2009, Titus and Kristy Lloyd joined the team to work in leadership training and establishing a computer training center. Joseph and Emmanuela Asong came in June 2012 to work in theological training. Bill and Sue Vinton arrived from Congo in September 2013 and Eric and Mercy Mango joined the team in January 2014.

At the present time the training center in Lilongwe is running an English Bible school. The English program is in the process of being translated into Chichewa which will be offered in the different regions of Malawi. There are currently 30 Grace churches throughout the country.

Thank you to Stefanie Sherman of Mapped Media who spent the summer of 2018 traveling to several of GMI’s fields to capture our ministries on video so we can share them with you! The video of Malawi and our missionaries serving there can be seen right HERE.

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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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