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A Bible study in Caaguazú

GMI missionary Alex Gulart writes this: “A few months ago, we started taking trips to Caaguazú, a small city of 130,000 people, around 90 miles away from Ciudad del Este, when a friend of a sister from our church mentioned two things to her: 1) the difficulty of finding a church with sound doctrine, and 2) her desire to open her house to study the Word of God. These 2 comments made noise in our hearts and with prayer we started going there. The mother of Elvira (our contact there) had a stroke so we had to stop going for a few weeks while she focused on taking care of her mom. During that time Etienne was born and I had to go to Uruguay for my father´s health. Two weeks ago we started going again. We have had 2 Bible studies so far with 8-10 people attending. There are a lot of possibilities of ministry there (we can visit the prison, the hospital, the nationals, etc.), and we are making good contacts. We are so excited to see how God is blessing little by little our work there. Please pray for wisdom and God´s guidance so we can take the right steps.

“Encarnación is the third main city of Paraguay with almost 210,000 people. It is located around 185 miles from Ciudad del Este. This beautiful city was always in my heart since we came to Paraguay. Encarnación is a mix of cultures, surrounded by different colonies (Germans, Ukrainians, Japanese, Brazilians, etc.), and also a large, growing Muslim population (they have 2 mosques already). We know that there are a lot of people who are searching for a Bible church but they cannot find one – this is sad but true. But God is at work! He provided a young follower of Christ named Natanael (pictured right) from Posadas (pictured left), the neighbor city on the Argentinian side (just crossing a bridge to get there). He moved from Posadas, Argentina, to Encarnación, Paraguay, just following a desire to reach the foreigners in this city. He studies at the University of Posadas, so the possibilities in that city are real and we may start a Bible study inside of the University. Please pray for open doors, because if God opens a door for us, we want to enter and give Him the Glory that He deserves. Please pray that God give us passion for His name…if we are passionate for His Holy name, we will be passionate for making His name known among the nations, reaching the souls that don’t know him yet. Please pray for the hearts of the people we talk to… that they might come to a saving knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

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On Monday, September 10, GMI candidates to Panama Ronnie Mackensen and Jaque Neiverth were married in a lovely beachfront ceremony just north of Grand Haven, Michigan. They met when Jaque came to the States for three months earlier this year and stayed with Pastor and Mrs. John Lowder and their family in Byron Center, Michigan. Both Ronnie and Jaque have a heart for serving the Lord in missions. They will be traveling to the Pacific Northwest and visiting churches to raise support during the next three months, so if you live in that area, hopefully you will have an opportunity to meet them!

To learn more about Ronnie and Jaque, click HERE.

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BreakThrough visits Puerto Rico. This Caribbean island was the latest field visited by the GMI-affiliated martial arts team, BreakThrough. From August 1-10 the team performed evangelistic presentations in parks, two churches, a strip mall, and other public venues attracting crowds of all ages who heard the gospel. At Juana Diaz Bible Church, the team conducted a series of evening self-defense classes attended by both regular church goers and several people from the community visiting for the first time. Each class concluded with a message from God’s Word.

 

 

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Grace Bible Center in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, is now open. GMI missionary Frosty Hansen and GBC (Centro Bíblico de la Gracia) Board President Miguel Mendez cut the ribbon to officially open the training center on July 22. Those present at the ceremony toured the facility while the inaugural class took place the next day.

 

 

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Traveling to Zimbabwe at the end of July GMI board member Jim Moore, along with GMI missionary Tom Sanchez (Zambia), and the leader of the Grace Churches in Zambia, Chrispin Mundia, conducted a multiday seminar for around 30 church leaders in Zimbabwe hungry to learn more about the grace of God. This was an opportunity to continue developing a relationship with these churches and to further explore the possibility of working together with them in the future. The conferences were another catalyst encouraging both Zimbabwean and Zambian church leaders to seek ways to develop programs to teach God’s Word and to train and equip members of their local churches.

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In Nicaragua, after months of civil unrest, GMI missionaries Emiliano and Raquel Seravalli have resumed offering Bible institute courses. On a related note, twelve years after offering its first class, Grace Bible Institute in Costa Rica, from which Emiliano and Raquel graduated, continues to train another generation of leaders.

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On the island of Curacao over the past year, Pastor Michael Look has offered courses in theology and homiletics. Earlier this month in his church, Iglesia Bíblika, he recognized three students who received certificates for their achievements in these courses (see photo).

 

 

 

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While evangelism is important to growing and planting churches affiliated with GMI around the world, biblical training is imperative to their succession. Part of our mission is to equip local believers who will ultimately do the training. Pray for more missionaries to help us in this effort. We are looking for additional missionaries to serve in Bolivia, Nicaragua, Zambia, and elsewhere to come alongside local believers to facilitate biblical training to ensure that new generations learn God’s Word.

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PROJECT OF THE MONTH. Our Project of the Month is ATV Wheelchairs for Tanzania. These wheelchairs are made by a company called SIDO using bike parts! The wheelchairs last through 5-6 years of hard use in Tanzania in off road conditions and are easily repaired by simply buying bike parts locally and swapping out the broken parts for new ones. The cost to buy and transport a 3-wheel wheelchair 700 miles to the Rukwa Valley is $600. There are several people in the remote Rukwa Valley who could really benefit from using one of these wheelchairs. $1200 for two wheelchairs.

OUR GOAL THIS MONTH IS TO RAISE FUNDS FOR TWO WHEELCHAIRS. **To give online, go to: https://gracem.org/?ch_cause=small-projects/atv-wheelchairs-for-tanzania .

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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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When someone has a loved one like a grandparent go home to be with the Lord it is a bittersweet time. Tears flow because there is a sense of loss and missing that loved one in the present, yet if that person was a believer there is rejoicing because you know they are with their Lord and Savior and you will see them again.

One of the hardest things for GMI missionaries on the field is to be away from family; not being able to spend the holidays, birthdays, or vacations with the relatives; being away for years at a time; and especially being overseas when grandparents and parents reach the end of their lives here on earth.

GMI missionary Joy Befus’s father, Frank Edwards, passed away just six weeks ago and this past weekend Joy’s mother, Joan Edwards, went home to be with the Lord. Then before they could have Joan’s service in the Chicago area, Chuck’s mother and longtime GMI missionary, Elnora Befus, also passed into the presence of the Lord.

One of Joan’s favorite sayings was, “I’m in the Lord’s hands, and there’s no better place to be.” Here are some things gleaned from the Facebook pages of children and grandchildren of Elnora and Joan:

“Today [Joan] went home to heaven, just 6 weeks after my father-in-law. She had told me earlier in the summer that it was just a question of which one of them would get there first….”

“I thank God for the legacy of love and service to the Lord that my Grandparents have passed on to me.”

“Their godly legacy lives on through their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.”

“As a child I spent hours making puzzles with [Elnora]. She taught me how to cross-stitch and play the flute.”

Please continue to pray for the Befus family. They have experienced a great amount of loss in the last six weeks.

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