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This post is written by Milo and Raquel Seravalli who serve in Nagarote, Nicaragua, with Grace Ministries International. They have started a Bible and Theology training school and a church plant, along with a vast array of other ministries with the goal of reaching into the lives of people in their community. We know you will be inspired and encouraged to pray and partner with Milo and Raquel as you read what they have to share about God’s faithfulness seen in the ministry in Nagarote. Read on!

In a few days Emiliano will turn 29. It is a bit scary to get close to 30 (and just in case you want to congratulate him, I remind you that his birthday is on September 8 – miloseravalli@yahoo.es). We have lived the dream together. By sharing this update, we want to make you a part of our joy by seeing the faithfulness of God. There is no other dream apart from fulfilling Acts 20:24: “However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.”

It seems to be a dream but we started Arraigados three months ago. Arraigados is the new church plant in Nagarote in which we have greatly seen the hand of God.

We define summertime by many people from the United States desiring to serve God — this year we had two large groups. The first group consisted of two churches from Texas: Eleventh Avenue Church of Mineral Wells and Arlington Community Church of Arlington. The second group was the Berean Bible Church of Spokane, Washington. They were part of the construction of a sports court that serves the children and youth of Nagarote where every week they learn more about Jesus. They also helped to make an irrigation system for the church and they painted some of the facilities. They were an injection of energy for the beginning of this church!

Thanks to contributions from Parkside Bible Church in Holland, MI, we have been able to work on the kitchen that we can now use and for which we have great dreams, especially for using when teams visit us from the United States and Costa Rica. It will be finished soon.

Eleventh Avenue Church contributed to be able to install a sign for the church which will draw the community’s attention to the church. Everything looks beautiful and is very useful.

After hours of work we were exhausted, so receiving Mark and Karen Edwards was very refreshing. They came to invest in our spiritual life and marriage. We thank God for bringing them.

We are praying about our desires for Arraigados. One important thing we desire to see in this church is that as the Body of Christ they are trained so that one day they can work and serve without missionaries. We also pray that they are a multiplying church; sending out new missionaries. That’s why we started the Bible Institute of Grace in Nagarote in which there are already 10 students enrolled and we are teaching four subjects.

We also had Jonathan and Brenda Tuttle who lovingly used their honeymoon to serve in the ministry. They painted the lines of the sports court and helped in each of the ministries.

Your prayers were really necessary during those busy summer days, so thank you! We have more teams coming, two later this year — one from the States and one from Costa Rica — and we already have teams interested in coming in 2018. Please pray for the details of these teams’ trips.

We will also be moving houses. It is sentimental to move from the first house where we started our ministry, but we found a house near the church that is more fitting for us and the ministry. Pray for the logistics of moving, despite our busy schedule.

Never forget, we are always in need of your prayers. Pray especially for wisdom, for our relationship with God, for our testimony in our community, for our marriage, and for missionaries to come full time to partner with us. Also pray for the multiplying of the gospel of Jesus Christ through what God is doing here in Nagarote.

Send us your prayer requests and praises. We also want to be part of the prayers and praises of what God is doing in your life.

   

   

 

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This was first posted on our News of Grace blog in February and was written by Kaylah Alicea who is a GMI missionary in Puerto Rico along with her husband, Harry. Their GMI webpage will give you more information on who they are and what ministries they are involved in.

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These past six months have been a testament to the faithfulness of God in my life and how there are times when He simply calls me to listen and rely on that faithfulness. Let me share a bit of a story with you and as you read my journey may you feel empowered to remain faithful to Christ in the season of life He has placed you.

Summer here in Puerto Rico is always bustling and busy with groups from the States visiting and doing different ministry projects in the barrio. We also have camp, Vacation Bible School, and themed club weeks. By the end of summer, I’m usually exhausted, but overflowing with gratefulness for all that God has done in and through His ministry here. Then everything comes to a grinding halt. All the teams go home, the interns return to college, the kids go back to school, and there seems to be a deafening silence through the barrio. I then have the privilege of getting back into our fall routine with club and adjusting back to life during the school year. However, something different happened this year. We opened club like normal for August and September and then suddenly monsoon-type rains took over our island for the months of October and November. After living on the island for over three years now, I have never seen so much rain EVERY SINGLE DAY! Because most of our kids walk to club, the rain immediately stopped them from coming and it simply wasn’t safe for them to be outside through the constant thunderstorms. We would eventually get a little break in the rain for the morning and I would prepare myself to put on club as usual and literally right at 3pm when I was about to open the gate the rains would begin to pour yet again. I began to get very disheartened. We had just finished an amazing summer and I was ready to carry those emotions into our school year. Yet, every day God was simply trying to tell me to wait on Him and trust His faithfulness.

alicea-november-2016-300x300It was during these eight weeks I found out I was pregnant with our second child and was still trying to adjust to life with an active six month old. I struggled with feeling as if I was failing because I wasn’t doing the thing I felt like God was calling me to do. Little did I realize I was doing exactly the thing God had called me to do and I simply needed to know that God was still faithful and He would prove that through the continuation of His ministry here in Puerto Rico in His perfect timing.

At the beginning of the year, we reopened club and to my joy and surprise there were 25 kids ready for me to open the gate again. It was in that moment God reminded me there are seasons in life and in ministry. I wasn’t failing because God was calling me to rest and trust Him with the outcome through the storm. A few weeks later, I was reading Matthew 14 where God used another passage of Scripture to speak His truths to my heart. In this passage, Jesus had just performed another amazing miracle and fed 5,000 people. People were following Him everywhere and His truth was spreading. Right after this miracle, He tells the disciples to get into a boat and cross the lake as He goes up to a mountain to pray. Jesus tells them this knowing there will be a storm that night. The disciples obey Jesus, and are quickly ushered into a storm of ‘perfection.’ It wasn’t a storm of ‘correction’ because they had obeyed what He told them to do – He simply was getting ready to test their faith again. This whole passage reminded me of how God had been working in my own life. I had just finished an amazing summer of ministry and God was simply reminding me to remain faithful to the calling He had placed on my life. I had obeyed by preparing and opening club, but God was more focused on where my heart was through it all. He wanted me to trust Him and know that sometimes we just have to sit back and rest as He performs more miracles in our hearts. And He once again gave me the strength to ride out the storm and see that His faithfulness would be displayed in the faces of those 25 club kids who reappeared on the other side.

Life is full of storms of correction and perfection. My prayer for us today is that we sit at the feet of Jesus and listen to what He is trying to tell us through them. May we remain faithful to His work and trust that His faithfulness will always be guiding us through the storm to the calm waters on the other side.

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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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