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Pastors Mathews Selengu (Grace Churches of Malawi National Council Chairperson and Lilongwe Bible School final year student), Davies Balala (pastor at Chisiyo branch and Lilongwe Bible School second year student), and Joseph Asong went to Mauni, which is about two hours northeast of Lilongwe, on Thursday, June 15. They opened a new Chichewa Bible School Centre and taught the first 15-hour course: Methods of Bible Study. Eight students started the course and all eight sat through to the end. Given the brevity of the trip, we did not engage in evangelistic activities because the students needed all the time to catch up with homework and prepare for exams.

Please pray for the beginnings of this Bible school: pray for more students to attend and complete the courses; pray for wisdom and the ability to communicate well for those who teach the courses, pray for spiritual growth for all who are involved in this Bible school project.

* (The picture above is of the first class of students at Chichewa Bible School Centre.)

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The following was written by Frosty Hansen and first appeared in the Hansens’ recent email update. Frosty and Cathy are missionaries serving in Bolivia under Grace Ministries International.

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Three months ago we arrived in Bolivia fully aware of some challenges which lay before us. Some of these were personal – adjusting once again to life in Santa Cruz, getting up to speed with our Spanish, making needed repairs to the house, fulfilling residency requirements and purchasing a vehicle. Though Spanish is always a work in progress and the paperwork was more cumbersome than we anticipated, the final obstacles were overcome the last Friday of May when Frosty completed his three-week wait for a driver’s license and took possession of a 1999 Mitsubishi Montero. Thanks for your prayers!


But we did not come to Bolivia just to establish residency and become part of the organized mayhem which is Santa Cruz traffic. Grace Ministries International’s Bolivian partners, the Misión Evangélica Bethesda (MEB), requested assistance in establishing a theological training center which will equip men and women to serve both here in Bolivia and as missionaries to other Latin American countries. Though ministry training has long been a focus of GMI’s work in Bolivia, the formal training facility had ceased operation a number of years ago.


Since our arrival Frosty has met with the MEB leadership on countless occasions, discussing how to move forward. Since adequate facilities are a major need, a lot of time was spent examining and praying about potential plans for a new facility. In May the MEB tentatively approved a plan to add a second story to their existing building (picture and architect drawing above) to house the classrooms, library and office space of the Centro Teológico Bethesda (CENTEB). Demonstrating their commitment to the project and a willingness to make a sacrifice for the future generations, the MEB pledged to raise $15,000 toward the project.


Our recent bi-annual newsletter from GMI mentions GMI’s willingness to partner with the MEB in the construction project. If you did not receive our letter in the mail, you can read it HERE.

  

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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 under the church in Costa Rica and Grace Ministries International (GMI). 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.

While in Ciudad de David, the Barrantes had three objectives to accomplish: 1) search homes for rent for future missionaries; 2) search schools for missionary children; and 3) see buildings to rent to start a church and check out the cost of land where they could build in the future.

HOMES FOR RENT:

When searching for homes to rent, there are a couple of things to take into account–the cost of rent, the area where it is located, and whether there is adequate drinking water because the city has been going through a supply problem. Another thing to consider is the climate of the city and whether you will need air conditioning and how much this will drive up the cost of electricity.

AVAILABLE SCHOOLS:

Alvaro and Mauren visited two schools while on their trip. One was The Oxford School where everything is in English. Another school is bilingual and the cost of tuition is lower. There is also a third school called the Adventist College of David that could be considered. Generally speaking, the quality of education is lower in Panama than in Costa Rica.

LAND OR CHURCH BUILDING:

Because they had limited time on their trip, Alvaro and Mauren only saw one piece of land.

Several other important points were observed on the trip, such as the cost of vehicles and what it costs for gas. Food costs were approximately the same as Costa Rica but fast food costs were considerably lower in Panama. The Barrantes family was also able to make contact with a man (seen on the left) whose parents are members of the church in Alajuela. He is a musician and is a potential leader of the praise ministry in Panama.

Please pray for IBG Alajuela in Costa Rica and GMI as Panama is evaluated as a possible new field. Important decisions are being made as we pursue our goal of eight new fields by 2023.

 

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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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