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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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Misión Evangélica Bethesda (the organization of churches affiliated with GMI in Bolivia-the MEB) celebrated their 60th anniversary Sunday evening, December 2. Pastors and members of churches from Santa Cruz, Cochabamba, and La Paz attended the event which also served to recognize the newly-elected leadership of the MEB. The board of the newly-formed Bible training center also took advantage of the evening to distribute promotional material announcing its course offerings for the 2019 academic year. Missionaries Dan and Mary Sue Reed and Frosty and Cathy Hansen, along with GMI Executive Director Jeremy Clark and board member Cliff Tulsie, represented Grace Ministries International at the event. The GMI team also visited local churches undergoing construction projects to meet the needs of their growing congregations while also meeting with pastors and leaders, some of whose churches are in the process of beginning or developing strategies for new church plants.

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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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This update comes from Dan and Mary Sue Reed, GMI missionaries serving in Santa Cruz, Bolivia.

A few months ago we mentioned our desire to work alongside a team of Bolivian leaders at a church plant called Carlos Laborde. Our whole family had really enjoyed our experience several years back working with the Km 14 church plant which later became the Casa de Misericordia Church. We talked with Pepe Yucra (our Bolivian mission president) and Pastor Santos Ortega (our Bolivian mission vice-president) to discuss this new possibility. We also shared with different leaders our desire to work with this church plant and we finally received official approval by the leadership committee. We believe we can work well together as a team with Bolivian leaders. This ministry falls right in line with our purpose in being here as GMI (Grace Ministries International) missionaries. We want to encourage and empower our leaders to do the work of the ministries that God has given them. It has really been a joy to be part of this ministry! On our first Sunday afternoon there, we had to park our 4-wheel drive Mitsubishi half a block away and walk in because of all of the water and mud in the road. Since then some work has been done but the church plant is still on a very lumpy, dirt road. For now it is an afternoon kids club similar to AWANA. We have slowly been learning the kids names and building relationships with them. We are finding out that not only are these kids coming from unchurched families, but some of them come from very rough backgrounds. I’m sure you can imagine that some of these kids can be challenging from time to time. It is interesting that they choose to come back week after week. We hope it is because they feel accepted and loved by the leaders. Our prayer is that they will see God’s love shining through us and that it will ultimately draw them one step closer to accepting the Lord as their personal savior. Another aspect that Dan and I have enjoyed at the church plant is the time that we have been able to spend with the family that takes care of the property. Often in Bolivia people arrive late to events, it is considered cultural. That has often been the case with our kids club at the church plant. Dan and I have taken these opportunities to sit and visit with Adolfo and his wife, Jimena, and their three kids as we wait for everyone to arrive. It has given us the chance to build a relationship with them. We pray that the Lord would use us in bringing them closer to accepting the Lord.

Last Sunday we had the privilege of attending one of our mission churches, Dios es Amor (God is Love) Church. Near the end of the service they had a time of recognizing and honoring all of their leaders who taught in some capacity within the church. They had all of the teachers come up to the front and then Pastor Herland asked Dan to share a few words with them and to pray for them. As Dan shared he emphasized that their work as teachers, sharing spiritual truths from the Bible has ETERNAL VALUE! Their teaching will help children and adults to make choices or decisions that will change their lives. It’s not easy but as they say here, “Es vale la pena!” It’s worth it! Then he prayed for all of the teachers. At the end of the service the pastor asked Dan once again to share some words of encouragement with the congregation. It was a good morning to worship the Lord together with our Bolivian brothers and sisters in Christ. After the service Pastor Herland and his wife, Veronica, invited us to be part of a special lunch that was being provided in honor of the teachers. We had a wonderful time of fellowship and good food around a table in one of the classrooms at the church. These people are precious and they love the Lord with all their heart. We left with smiles on our faces!

Dan has recently had several opportunities to preach on Sunday mornings in our different mission churches here in Santa Cruz. Tomorrow, Mary Sue will be heading to Vida Abundante (Abundant Life) Church along with the women’s committee to encourage the women in the church. They will be presenting a program for the women during Sunday School. We have several church anniversaries coming up that we will be attending. Next week we will be meeting with Yermi Castro, a lady who helps us with our paperwork. We will be finding out from her exactly what will be needed to renew our Bolivian ID cards and drivers licenses.

Thank you for your interest in our ministry in Bolivia. We appreciate your prayers and financial support. Thank you for partnering with us so we can work alongside our Bolivian leaders to encourage and train them, so they can move forward in their ministries. If you would like to donate online to our ministry through Grace Ministries International, please click here.

Please pray:
1. for patience and genuine love as we work with the kids at Carlos Laborde.
2. that our renewal process for our ID cards and drivers licenses will go smoothly.
3. for our Bolivian pastors and their families.
4. that we would have an opportunity to get to know the neighborhood and families around Carlos Laborde.
5. for our health and safety.

Praise:
1. for the growth in the lives of the young leaders at Casa de Misericordia (House of Mercy) Church.
2. for the example of our fathers in family life and ministry. (missions and pastorate)
3. for our faithful prayer warriors who cover us with prayer.
4. for the Church, the Body of Christ, here in Bolivia and around the world.

Serving through Christ,
Dan & Mary Sue Reed

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