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As many of you know, several of GMI’s Tanzania missionaries have been on the move recently and it is hard to keep track of exactly where they are. Of course, you can always reach them by email which is the most reliable mode of communication at this time or you can send a card or letter c/o Grace Ministries International, PO Box 9405, Grand Rapids, MI 49509. We will make sure it gets to them in their monthly mail packet.

TED AND KIM RABENOLD: Ted and Kim are hard at work in the Rukwa Valley of Tanzania. We received an exciting email update of their work this morning which you can read HERE.

BROOK SEEKINS: Brook is currently in Ohio spending time with her parents and getting some rest. She would love to hear from you!

JOHN AND NAOMI CAPRARI: John and Naomi can be found in Grand Rapids, MI, where they are awaiting the birth of their baby in a couple of months. It was advised that they be near a doctor and hospital when they were having some complications and South Africa was not an option for them due to visa issues.

STEVE AND BARB SHERMAN: Steve and Barb continue their ministries in Mwanza, Tanzania. They would love to hear from you via email. It is always an encouragement to hear from people back in the States.

CORY AND KIM HODGSON: Cory and Kim and their three children are currently in Portland, OR, where they are spending time with family and just adjusting to life in the U.S. That back and forth transition always takes a bit of time.

MIKE AND LYNN CARAWAY: After spending time with their daughter and son-in-law in Dubai, Mike and Lynn, along with Luka, just recently arrived in the States. They continue to work with Grace Community Development & Education (GCDE) from a distance.

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Photo credit: welllebanon.org

Since the beginning of 2016 there has been a lot of activity and many changes in the GMI missionary family. People marry, babies are born, children move away, and life keeps moving forward. Have you ever been in one of those conversations with someone and you assume they are as up to date as you are and things go into a downward spiral of confusion? Been there, done that?

Well, we are going to update you on some of the happenings in the last 13 plus months of some of our missionaries’ lives:

HARRY AND KAYLAH ALICEA: Harry and Kaylah are expecting their 2nd child in just a couple of months. Their family is growing!

CHUCK AND JOY BEFUS: Chuck and Joy’s big family is getting bigger. Last month Erin married Arturo in Costa Rica and they are also expecting the addition of two grandbabies this year! Autumn is also planning a wedding for July which will add another son-in-law.

JERRY AND SANDI BOMERS: Jerry, Sandi, and their two children raised their support and arrived in Paraguay where they are excited to be serving the Lord alongside the Gularts.

JOHN AND NAOMI CAPRARI: John and Naomi went to Tanzania, had some difficulty with the pregnancy and went to South Africa for medical care. While in South Africa they ran into visa problems which wouldn’t allow them to stay until the birth of the baby, so they are now back in Grand Rapids, MI where there are excellent doctors for Naomi and excellent neonatologists should the baby decided to come early.

BRETT AND DEBBY CHAPMAN: Brett and Debby had twin boys, Ethan and Asher, on 1/26/16 and I don’t think life has slowed down for them since! They have battled some illness in their family during this last year.

FROSTY AND CATHY HANSEN: They have raised their support and are headed for Bolivia on March 6. I believe that is the quickest I have ever seen anyone raise their support!

APRIL LORENZ: April is raising her support and ideally would like to have her support in by June so she can leave for Puerto Rico early this summer. She is also engaged to be married

ERIC AND MERCY MANGO: They are anxiously awaiting the birth of baby #3 who is due in just a few months.

DAN AND MARY SUE REED: They have been working hard down in Bolivia but in the last year and a half both have lost their fathers.

TOM AND MICHELLE SANCHEZ: Tom and Michelle will be spending several months working with the national leaders in Zambia before opening the new field of Burundi, but they have to raise their financial support first.

STEVE AND BARB SHERMAN: Steve and Barb have moved to Mwanza, Tanzania, to begin new ministry there. They must settle in a new home and get used to working with a new group of people and get settled in a new church.

KENNEDY AND SOFIA SIMTOWE: Kennedy and Sofia are expanding their ministries into Mozambique in 2017.

TALO AND PATTY VERGARA: Talo married Patty in July 2016. She was a newscaster on a local Christian radio station but had wanted to be a missionary. He is finishing his commitment to CIMA International and waiting on the Lord to show them where He would have them go for future ministry.

BILL AND SUE VINTON: Bill and Sue are in the U.S. and will be in the Boston area on February 15, one day before their daughter Rachel and her husband Andrew are due to have their first baby. This will be Bill and Sue’s first grandbaby so they are pretty excited!

 

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How can we help our missionaries who are serving so far away on foreign fields? Or how about when they are in the States on home assignment? How can we show our missionaries that we really care about HOW they are doing and WHAT they are doing? There is so much information available on this topic, especially on the internet. We have whittled it down and taken some information from TEAM and used it with their permission. Now we would like to share it with you.

NINE WAYS TO HELP YOUR MISSIONARY ON THE FIELD

  1. Regular, intelligent, heartfelt prayer is your missionary’s number one need. Nothing else is as important; perhaps nothing else is harder to give on a consistent basis.
  2. Communicate regularly with your missionary. A five-minute telephone conversation may not be as expensive as you think. But check the time difference — don’t call at 3 a.m.! Send emails without an obligation to respond to every one.
  3. Send your missionary something to help celebrate the holidays: for instance, Thanksgiving napkins or Christmas placemats.
  4. Birthday cards are very important, especially for children. Mark your calendar to send cards far enough in advance to get there on time (but late is better than never!).
  5. Visit your first-termer, or send your pastor or missions chairperson. Always give advance notice and don’t stay too long. Remember that your missionary is busy and can’t always drop everything and act as your tour guide. And do leave a monetary gift to cover the cost of your stay.
  6. Read your missionary’s e-mails and prayer letters thoughtfully. Is he lonely? Is she discouraged? Then send an encouraging note and refer to items mentioned in previous letters.
  7. Send money at Christmas for something “extra” or for your missionary’s vacation. A few days away at a quiet spot will do wonders for his outlook and ministry!
  8. Send gifts that can’t be obtained on that field. Favorite foods, videos of football games, or the latest books in English you can gift through Kindle can be a treat. How about a magazine subscription they would really appreciate that they could get online? If you choose to send something, please check with the missionary first about duty charges and whether it is wise to send them packages. Sometimes you may know someone going to visit them who would be willing to take something small.
  9. Music is appreciated. Remember the ages of your MKs and select music they would enjoy. Recordings of familiar hymns and contemporary worship songs will help your missionary teach his children the basics of North American worship.

 

EIGHT WAYS TO HELP YOUR MISSIONARY AT HOME

  1. During home assignment, give your missionary your friendship. Share what God has done in your life and what you are doing in service for Him. Make a consistent effort to encourage and nurture your missionary’s personal spiritual growth.
  2. Help with the transition back into North American life. Assist with signing up children for school. Offer your name as the “secondary emergency contact” person for school or events. Suggest good places to shop or explain optional activities for children such as library reading hours and the Little League.
  3. Plan a shopping trip. After several years away, your missionary may need to update his wardrobe. Why not treat her to a new outfit? It is particularly important that MKs have clothes to fit in with their peers.
  4. Provide some R & R. Do you have a “get away” spot (cabin, cottage, trailer, in-law apartment) that you could make available for a few days for your missionary? Traveling from place to place while on home assignment can be stressful.
  5. Provide a list of area resources such as reputable doctors, good places to shop, fun places to take the kids, babysitters, beauticians, and barbers. It has probably taken you years to build up a list of places where you do business. Why not share that resource with your missionary?
  6. Can you make your car available for your missionary? A reliable car that will take your missionary over miles of home assignment travel is a gift of peace of mind.
  7. Reorient your missionary to your local church. Lots of faces have changed since your missionary was last there. Make sure you and others connect with your missionary not only in church but also in informal gatherings outside of church. Having a party? Invite your missionary!
  8. Most of all, pray. Wasn’t that already mentioned? For a missionary in the heat of spiritual battle, nothing is more encouraging than to be told, “I pray for you every day.”

 

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Yesterday Bruce Kemper went home to be with the Lord at the age of 79. He left quite a legacy here on earth and was loved by a long list of family members and many, many friends. He will be missed.

During his adult years Bruce served as a youth pastor at Seattle Berean Bible Church. He then went on to pastor three churches – Berean Bible Church in Spokane, WA; Grace Bible Church in Anaheim, CA; and Grace Bible Church in Port Orchard, WA – before becoming President of Grace Bible College in Wyoming, MI.

While serving in all of these ministries he also gave of his time and talents to sit on the Board of Directors of Bethesda Mission which then merged with Grace Ministries International (GMI) – a total of approximately 46 years serving GMI!

Bruce had a heart for missions! He faithfully attended the board meetings 3-4 times a year, always corresponded with our missionaries, and kept up to date with our missionaries and their ministries so he could pray for them very specifically. That is 46 years he dedicated to the missionaries of GMI!

His son Ken B. Kemper wrote on Facebook yesterday, “Lost my hero today to God’s presence. What an incredible moment that must have been when Dad got to see Jesus and those who beat him there. He probably said, ‘What a great day for the race!’ – the human race! He saw his dad who died when he was 8 and his mom and others.”

Bruce left a legacy with the missionaries of Grace Ministries International. He impacted the lives of many of those serving on various fields around the world. He was loved by many of GMI’s missionaries, board members, and home office staff. Thank you, Bruce, for your MANY years of service and the lives that were changed because of YOU!

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At the end of 2016 we published our Christmas catalog with projects listed, one being John and Naomi Caprari’s project for Kiswahili and Kisukuma Treasures in Tanzania. The Treasure is a field-tested solid-state digital audio Bible. The unit, which fits in the palm of your hand, has a built in solar panel with rechargeable batteries. It is very portable and lightweight and each unit can hold more than 400 hours of audio material. More than 200 languages have an entire New Testament available! The Treasure brings the gospel to life for millions of unreached oral learners!

You God Speaks My Language from Soapbox Pictures on Vimeo.
World Vision states: “According to field studies, 70% of the world prefers a non-literate form of learning. The utter tragedy of this statistic means that more than half of the world does not have an adequate way in which to fully engage with the life transforming Word of God! Thousands are hearing the gospel for the first time, and many are coming to Christ. Each experience is unique but in most instances an oral learner will listen to The Treasure within a group of 8-12 people. Each Treasure is used more than 2,000 hours over the duration of its lifetime. Therefore, it is safe to say that anywhere from 100 to as many as 2,000 people will hear about Christ through each Treasure!

If you would like to be a part of getting God’s Word out to those who are oral learners or those who cannot read the Bible, click HERE to join those who are using Treasures to spread the Word of God. John and Naomi’s project is #8 in the catalog.

Photo credit: deviantart.net

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