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Photo credit: www.revelationtv.com

Everyone knows there is power in prayer. It is easy to say when things are going well and life is gumdrops and roses. But do we REALLY believe it deep down when the going gets tough…I mean REALLY TOUGH…like when you are a missionary on a foreign field with a medical emergency and the nearest medical facility is three hours away. Does your belief that there is power in prayer sustain you?

In the past couple of weeks Brett and Debby Chapman, GMI missionaries in Nicaragua, have had to deal with two very sick and dehydrated toddler boys – Asher and Ethan –  due to a virus. After being sick for several days, Brett and Debby made the three-hour drive to the hospital in Managua so the boys could get IV fluids. They remained in the hospital about five days before they were well enough to be released. This is Brett and Debby’s response to the ordeal: “Praising God! Our God is so good and He hears our cries! Feeling so thankful for each one who took the time to lift our boys up in prayer this week. God answered!…Praising God for this huge answer to prayer.”

John and Naomi Caprari, GMI missionaries in Tanzania, also had a health crisis concerning Naomi’s pregnancy which was alarming enough for them to fly to Johannesburg, South Africa. They did need to see the doctor there and be treated for the health of Naomi and the baby so we are thankful they made the decision they did. Here is some of their latest update from yesterday (Tuesday, January 3):

“Today, like many other days—since 6 days ago—I cried, but this time it was tears of joy. We had a doctor’s appointment today and got great news. The doctor found the reason for our pregnancy scare. She said I (Naomi) have an infection. This is something that went unnoticed in the biggest city in Tanzania during our last visit. Naomi doesn’t have any of the symptoms that normally come with an infection and that is why it went unnoticed before. We are thankful that we were able to get a good doctor because a continued untreated infection could have led to worse symptoms leading to an early delivery/preterm labor… We will be in South Africa for a little while longer as we have some more testing to do in a week’s time…In the meantime, also pray for our paperwork in immigration to come in quickly. Tanzania recently got a new President that has been changing a lot of the rules in immigration. Therefore, this makes it confusing for many immigration officers and for us as well as we work and wait for our paperwork to be processed. There is a letter we need to get from immigration before re-entering Tanzania. Waiting on immigration can be a slow process, especially with the changing of rules and confusion among different offices. Pray that things go quickly and we are able to return when we get the OK from the doctor here.

“In the meantime, we are excited to see what God’s plan was in sending us here for this time. We are excited to work on making lessons in Swahili—since we are still new at the language it takes us a lot longer to make lessons in Swahili. We are excited to partner and learn from the Things to Come missionaries here in South Africa as they have been doing church planting as well.

“Thank you all for coming on this journey with us and covering us with prayer. We are so thankful that it was not more serious but also thankful to have come here to get treated before it became dangerous for our precious baby. Thank you all for your encouragement and especially for your POWERFUL and EFFECTIVE prayers. What a God we serve.”

So what do you think based on the responses of these two missionary couples? Does their belief that there is power in prayer sustain them when the going gets tough? I think so! I would suggest in both cases prayer was a lifeline, a source to truly pour out their hearts and to have a conversation with their Lord and Savior who knew everything that was happening. He is the One who can give you peace in all situations.

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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 2017 as you seek to follow Him in all you do. We pray the year 2017 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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GMI missionaries Dan and Mary Sue Reed are faithful in writing a monthly email update to their team of interested supporters of their ministries in Bolivia. On December 9, 2016, they had something very special to report concerning the mission (called the MEB) in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, as well as other activities on the field:

“Last Sunday evening, Mary Sue and I attended the 58th Anniversary of our mission here in Santa Cruz. It was such a blessing to see a new generation of our young leaders participating in this evening of thanks and praise! Julian Chambi, the president of our mission challenged all in attendance by saying, ‘we have churches, schools, a camp and ministries but of most importance is that we grow spiritually!’

“We’re looking forward to Frosty and Cathy Hansen returning to Bolivia to work together with us in the ministry. Their desire is to reach full support to enable them to arrive in Bolivia the first week of March. They know the mission, language and Bolivian culture. This is the ideal time for them to return to Bolivia. They bring experience and passion in the desire to work alongside the Bolivian leadership to help prepare the next generation of pastors and Bolivian missionaries to reach other areas of South America.

“Tomorrow morning, we’ll be making a trip to Viru Viru airport to pick up 4 grandchildren of former missionaries, Art and Gretchen Matychuk. The following Wed., the John Mattias family will be arriving. John’s father and mother, Eduardo and Dorothy Mattias, were also missionaries for many years here in Bolivia. This will be a special time for these family members to again visit the country where their relatives are so loved.

“Tonight is a fund-raising concert for a new ministry in Cochabamba. The son of one of our pastors is working towards creating a ministry to children living on the city streets. The goal of tonight’s concert is to provide food for 1,000 street children.”

Exciting things are happening in Bolivia!

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Written by Erin Kemper, GMI Social Media Specialist, and also an MK who has experienced what it’s like to be uprooted from life in the States and go with her family to a foreign field. Her parents, Mike and Terese Benton served under GMI in the Rukwa Valley of Tanzania for 13 years working especially with a children’s ministry in that area.

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It feels like just yesterday, the day my parents sat us down on their bed to talk with us about the opportunity the Lord had led them to, to consider full-time missions in Tanzania with Grace Ministries International. At the time I was no more than 9 years old, though the vividness of that memory makes it seem like it could not have been 16 years ago. But it was.

As I think about that memory, GMI’s Vision 2023 comes to mind as I consider the families around this country who could be in the same position my family and I were in those 16 years ago. That is, if they should step out obediently in faith into whatever and wherever it is God is calling them. For me, God has called me to Stephens City, Virginia, to serve in the local church alongside my husband. For others, you are called to leave this country and go to a new country. My parents, for example, have served faithfully for the last 13 years as missionaries and would be the first to tell you that God can use anyone, any gifts, and any experiences He has provided to you if only you are willing. Because of God’s faithfulness through my parents, they have impacted so many lives for Christ. Another couple who has answered the call to cross-cultural, full-time missions is my sister-in-law and brother-in-law, John and Naomi Caprari. Since their acceptance as missionaries by the GMI board, they have become part of the progress being made under Vision 2023. Exciting things are happening with GMI!

Tanzania changed my life. I saw it change many lives as team after mission team would come through our doors. People would come to the country I called home one person, and leave another, molded a little more by God through their experience. Experiencing missions has a way of transforming hearts, opening minds, and changing perspectives in wonderful ways and in ways that I have never ever heard one person claim to regret…not one.

When missions first became something on my parents’ radar they had invited missionaries to stay with us during our church’s mission conferences each year. If missions is even slightly something you have thought about, I want to encourage you to invite missionaries into your homes. There will most likely be a missions conference at your church this year, this is a great opportunity you do not want to let slip by.

The next step my parents took was a short-term mission trip to the country of Tanzania. At first just my Dad was going to go but they realized that if God was truly calling them, then it was important they both go in order to see and experience what God may be calling them to and how they might be used. God was calling them as a couple, not just one of them. They left an 8, 6, 4, and 2 year old with relatives for two and a half weeks while they explored God’s calling in their lives. This trip changed them. Though the process looked different for each of them, in God’s perfect way, He led them to a decision together.

Whether God uses a short-term trip to call you to missions full time or to give you a burden for missionaries and become a stronger support system for them stateside…or if He even opens up your perspectives to the world around you and the work God is accomplishing all over the world, a short-term mission trip is something that I would highly recommend and ask you to consider. It was very difficult for my parents to leave 4 small children in America while they went to Africa, but it ended up being one of the biggest life-changing events for our family. What might be holding you back from going on a short-term trip?

People may say, “Can’t the money be used for something better?” or “I can’t leave my family or job for that long.” However, though at the time those things seem like a major issue, the Lord can use your presence in a new country and ministry in ways that He never would have been able to if you had not been willing to go. On a previous short-term trip that my husband, Zach, took to Tanzania they were doing door-to-door evangelism in the village of Ilemba and the pastor escorting Zach would introduce him and say, “This man came all the way from America because he has an important message about Jesus to share with you. Will you invite him in?”  They always invited him in saying they were honored and yet bewildered that someone from America would leave all they have there to come be with them. You can’t put a price tag on the impact you can have on people’s lives in another country.  Moreover, you can’t put a price tag on the impact God will have on your own life. The molding, bettering, serving, and cross-cultural experiences are all well worth the price paid, the vacation days lost, and the personal effort spent raising support for the trip. If God is calling you to this He will provide. I have no doubts of this.

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Of course, they do! Missionaries are regular people like you and me. Do you sometimes need encouragement?

Erin Kemper, our GMI Social Media Specialist, contacted our missionaries on the field and asked them what friends and supporters back here in the States could do to encourage them while they are away from home, and here are some of their responses:

  • Let us know they are praying. Send a simple care package. (So much fun to get a little package from someone who was not known to be an interested person.)”  ~ Barbara Trumbower
  • I’m not sure about others missionaries, but I love to receive letters. It means people took the time to write. I love to hear (or read) affirmative words! Many people think that missionaries are tired of hearing nice things, but this is not always true, nor will our ego explode… it is good to hear affirmative words.” ~ Alex Gulart
  • Pray and let us know you are praying. Respond to updates even if it is a simple word or two. Ask intelligent questions when we communicate.” ~ Brook Seekins
  • Pray. And then write them every once in a while to tell them you are praying or thinking of them.” ~ John Caprari
  • I am so encouraged by people who look out for and love on my daughters when I am not there to do so! I am also very encouraged by notes, fb messages, and personal emails. I love it when people pray for us!” ~ Sally Roth
  • Remember them even though they are far away. It’s easy to forget to call or send a note, but those things are so encouraging. Ask how things are going and be genuinely interested in what is going on in their lives.” ~ Sandi Bomers
  • Pray for us and let us know you are praying. There have been so many times when we have been going through a rough time, and yet we can feel the prayers of God’s people. What an encouragement!” ~ Mary Sue Reed

The most common thing the missionaries say is to pray for them and let them know you are praying for them. Drop them a quick email (their emails are available on this website) and encourage our missionaries today!

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