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Stefanie Sherman, daughter of GMI missionaries Steve and Barb Sherman, started her travels for the summer making ministry videos for GMI missionaries by visiting all the missionaries in Ciudad del Este, Paraguay. She took lots of video footage of their ministries and family life–enough for five videos!

Then she was off to Africa, the place that is very special to Stefanie because she was raised in Tanzania. She was very excited to return to that continent and do something special there. She is spending a total of five weeks between Malawi, Zambia, and Tanzania with the missionaries who are like family to her. Here is her schedule:

Malawi: July 2-16

Zambia: July 17-23

Tanzania: July 24-August

Stefanie does have some prayer requests for what she calls her “crazy journey” so I would like to share those with you:

  1. Safe travels (luggage, connections)
  2. Good time management and scheduling
  3. Good work ethic for her
  4. Good health and adequate rest
  5. That God’s will and direction for these projects would be what she walks away with

One of the videos Stefanie did while she was in Paraguay can be seen below. As you enjoy this video created by Stefanie, consider being a part of the team to strengthen the church in Paraguay by giving to the Paraguay Land Project.

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GMI missionaries Ted and Kim Rabenold have been faithful, dedicated servants of God working in the field of Tanzania for many years despite struggles and challenges that have come their way. Of course, they have had great joy and victory along the way, too, and they want to share their lives with you in their current update.

Just click on the link below and they will take you on a pictorial journey over the last several months of their ministry in the Rukwa Valley of Tanzania!

2018 July – Ted Kim Tanzania update

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MIKE AND LYNN CARAWAY’S LETTER

Dear Family and Friends,

We are so grateful for the wonderful opportunities we have had to be part of GMI’s Tanzania missionary team over the past 15 years. Perhaps our lives have been impacted even more so than the lives of the people we’ve been privileged to minister to and with along the way. We are especially thankful for the support you have given us – prayerfully, financially, and emotionally.

Last year we came back from Tanzania not knowing if we would be returning full-time or not. During the past year in the States, we have had the privilege to be close to our parents and help them through many medical issues. We can see now that the Lord brought us home at this point to be helpful to our parents in this season of life.

After much prayer and many discussions we have come to the conclusion that it would be best for us to resign from full-time missionary service with Grace Ministries International (GMI). This was not an easy decision for our family to make, and we are grateful for opportunities to stay connected with GMI, the people and ministries we have been involved with.

Late last year we spent a couple of months in Tanzania working with Grace Community Development and Education (GCDE) which we were excited to see was continuing on well. It appears there will be many more opportunities to continue mentoring and encouraging GCDE, its staff, and board members as they minister to the people of Tanzania. This fall we will be making another trip to Tanzania in partnership with GMI, GCDE, and St. Martin’s Kids (a group committed to working with the orphanage in Sumbawanga).

Michael participated in a survey trip to the country of Ghana for GMI last fall, and in the next couple of weeks we will be in Belize investigating possibilities for future GMI ministries there. We are excited to continue in a volunteer capacity for Grace Ministries International as opportunities arise.

Thank you again for your greatly appreciated support over the past 15 years during our time in Tanzania. We appreciate your continuing prayers for our family.

With love from Michigan,

Mike, Lynn, and Luka Caraway

 

      

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR JEREMY CLARK’S LETTER

May 2018

Dear Friends and Family of the Caraways,

It is much easier to see missionaries leave full-time service with Grace Ministries International when we know they are still going to be around! Mike and Lynn Caraway have exemplified the self-sacrifice necessary to serve on the mission field as they have invested far more in GMI than we could have ever given to them. Likewise, you have blessed Mike and Lynn through your financial support, prayers, and encouragement over the years. Thank you for that. As you read their letter you get just a sense of the enormous impact they have made in Tanzania and elsewhere around the world bettering the lives of others for the sake of the gospel.

I don’t like to think about Mike and Lynn leaving GMI, but they will be doing ministry in a different way which will continue to bless the work the Lord has given us. This month Mike and Lynn will do survey work in Belize. As part of GMI’s Vision 2023, one goal is to open eight new fields by 2023. Taking survey trips to potential new fields, as Mike did when he traveled to Ghana last fall, are essential to this vision. He will remain connected to GCDE in Tanzania and will assist our fields, as opportunities arise, in developing Christ-centered business training, ministries, and outreaches.

Mike and Lynn’s last official day as GMI missionaries is May 31. That date is soon approaching and I would ask you to consider ways you can continue investing in their ministries and the work of GMI around the world. The following are some ways you could direct your support starting in June:

Caraway Ministry Fund – This will help Mike and Lynn with travel to Tanzania to continue work with GCDE, potential new fields, and GMI’s established fields to help develop business training/ministry models.

GCDE – You can help the ongoing ministries of GCDE which includes, among other ministries, literacy programs, cleft palate surgeries, agriculture training, and business training in Tanzania.

Mwanza Outreach – Methodi Mwendapole, a Tanzanian pastor respected by his peers and the GMI missionary community, is planting churches and directing a Bible school program in the strategic region of Mwanza. Because this work is both new and growing rapidly, monthly funds are necessary to keep pace with this vibrant ministry.

GMI missionaries Tom and Michelle Sanchez are serving in Zambia in the short term before relocating to Burundi to open that new field for GMI. In order for Tom and Michelle to continue serving in Africa without having to return to the States in the middle of their term, they will need to raise additional monthly support. Tom and Michelle are veteran missionaries, having served in Congo from 1987-2001 with GMI, and are doing a tremendous job working with church leaders and pastors in Zambia.

If you would like to support any of these ministries, please let us know by mailing back the enclosed return slip with your next gift. After May 31, any gifts we receive for Mike and Lynn’s personal support will be designated for one of these four ministries mentioned above.

Thank you again for investing in Mike and Lynn as they have invested in others. We are thankful for the work they have done and the firm foundation of ministry they have built which will bless the Lord for years to come!

Pressing towards the goal,

Jeremy Clark
Executive Director

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GMI missionary Ted Rabenold informs us that there has been a cholera outbreak in Tanzania in a village where he had some of his men working. Here is a quote from Ted:

“Due to a Rukwa valley Cholera outbreak in which hundreds have been infected the TZ government has set up an emergency Cholera treatment clinic in Lumbesa village, located in the mud flats not far from our Nsanga station.

“Lumbesa is the actual site of the first few cases and heart of the outbreak. They hope that it will subside through education (boil drinking water-wash hands etc) and eradication of garbage. I was there when it started and had to evacuate my builders. It will probably take at least 1-2 weeks to get my construction crew back on site again.

“Outbreaks like this occur every few years. Usually when there is a long rainy season during the rice harvest in May-early June. Tons of laborers pour into the valley to help the locals harvest their rice and due to poor planning they go out to harvest without taking drinking water. Under duress they drink standing rice paddy water which has all sorts of fun microbes in it. This and the Rukwa heat can be a breeding ground for these kinds of problems.

Thanks for praying!

I expect my guys back at it again in two weeks tops.”

Please pray for those who have been affected by the outbreak and also pray that the cholera will be contained and not spread.

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Ted and Kim Rabenold have been serving in Tanzania since 1991. All three of the Rabenolds’ adult children—Colton, Sierra and Savannah—grew up in Tanzania. They learned to speak Swahili and settled in the remote southwest Rukwa region where they began pioneering work.

The ministry is aimed at impacting the “whole man” physically and spiritually. The Rabenolds have developed two mission stations, the first one in Mumba village and then in Kapenta village, where they constructed a Bible college, a vo-tech school, a lay Bible training center, and a health center. With their excellent team of Tanzanian leaders they are developing water projects, sunflower oil presses (to help farmers diversify their income), fish farming, beekeeper training, livestock improvement projects, and horticultural work. They are also introducing new species of high-yield fruit trees, together with conservation agriculture training. Spiritual outreach work includes: teaching local women marketable skills and Bible, doing evangelism by boat to fishing villages along the lake, and encouraging and overseeing church planting of indigenous national churches.

As Ted and Kim Rabenold move to another part of the Rukwa Valley in Tanzania to begin a new outreach, they will need funds to construct an agriculture training center, build their home, and acquire the necessary equipment to get this new ministry started. The amount of $209,090 will enable them to build their home, buy a tractor with a five-ton tipper, build a training center workshop, install a water and irrigation system, construct a dorm facility with a kitchen and dining area, send a shipping container with tools and tractor implements, erect a wind turbine for the dorm, and install a solar system. If you are interested in donating to this project, click HERE.

To read the Rabenolds March Update, click HERE.

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Steve and Barb Sherman, GMI missionaries to Tanzania, did an email update this week about their Swahili Literature Ministry and I would like to share with you what they said about the progress that is being made. First and foremost is the title of this post – THREE MORE BOOKS DONE!

Steve shared, “‘Meaningless! Meaningless! all is Meaningless!’ assessed the writer of Ecclesiastes. Every day I sit at my desk and think the exact opposite. There is no question it is tedious work translating, editing, and formatting. But the voice in my head cries, ‘Value! Value! Such far-reaching, long-term value!'”

The first book completed is Foundational Teachings (Mafundisho ya Msingi) which includes 25 biblical topics that are important for the Christian to understand. Steve says he keeps plugging away on these books because he knows that God has uniquely positioned him to do the job. He has the training, experience, and personality needed to complete the task. Are you doing something for God that you know you are uniquely gifted to do?

The second book Steve listed is Give Yourself Completely (Ujitoe Kabisa) which is about teachings on giving to God as a Christian. It is a study on stewardship. When Steve and Barb were in Tanzania serving as missionaries and teachers, Steve struggled to find Swahili textbooks that would help the pastoral students grow and learn. This book will help fill a tremendous void.

The third book is written by Dr. Samuel Vinton who was a missionary in Congo, Executive Director of Grace Ministries International, and also president of Grace Bible College. The title of the book is The Grace of God (Neema Ya Mungu) and it is a study of the role that God’s grace plays in salvation, sanctification, and glorification.

Continue to pray for Steve and Barb Sherman as they are unable to return to Tanzania at this time. Pray for Steve as he continues his work on the Swahili Literature Ministry!

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In the city of Mwanza, Tanzania, Pastor Methodi Mwendapole shares that there are now six churches affiliated with the GMI work in that area. Three of these churches are in the city while the other three are located outside of town.  Methodi, who is pioneering the work in Mwanza, also reports that 11 students have been taking classes since September and will finish this first set of courses, totaling eight modules, by next July. Even as these students continue with their course work, they will go into the area in and around Mwanza as evangelists and church planters. In addition to praying for these students, please pray for the five-day Christmas conference which Pastor Methodi and the area churches will hold in December.

NOTE: The photo above is Bible school students along with Pastor Methodi and his wife, Omelina.

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On October 2, 2017, GMI missionaries Steve and Barb Sherman wrote an email update – The Sherman Safari –  to their supporters, so all of the information I am sharing with you in this post comes from that update.

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We continue to ask for your support and prayers for Tanzania Grace Bible Institute (TGBI). Steve continues to be an advisor to TGBI’s various schools and helps them in many ways.

1. Pastoral College – (3-1/2 year program with ten 2-month modules)

TGBI’s Pastoral College continues to train future pastors and ministry leaders for the Grace Church of Tanzania. They currently have 18 students and have just finished their third module.

2. Bible Schools – (2-year program with eight 3-week modules). TGBI currently has 4 Bible Schools in progress.

3. Iringa Bible School – This Bible School is in their 2nd module. Due to a shortage of funds Pastor Evanie Simtowe is teaching by himself (we usually have 2 teachers at each school)..

4. Tatanda Bible School – This school is in its 5th module and is being taught by Pastor Jeriko Peter and Pastor Dasoni Ruben.

5. Makuzani Bible School – This school is located on the Pastoral College campus and is taught by the Pastoral College staff. They are in their 6th module.

6. Mwanza Bible School – (pictured above) This is our newest school, having finished the Bible School building earlier this year. They are just starting their first module with 11 students. Pastor Methodi Mwendapole (our co-missionary in Mwanza) and Pastor Emmanuel Nyami from the Rukwa region are both teaching. We have nine students from the Mwanza church plants and two students who have traveled a long way north from a recent church plant in the city of Mpanda.

As you have read, TGBI is active and students are ready to learn and be trained so they can train others. Please pray for the instructors and the students at TGBI. Pray especially for stamina for the students as many of them have families they need to support as well.

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Steve and Barb Sherman, GMI missionaries in Mwanza, Tanzania, recently sent out an email update and it was so full of good information that we had to share it with all of you. While this isn’t in the same format, it includes the same information and photos.

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Greetings from Mwanza Tanzania. Thank you to all of you who have prayed for and supported us. Barb and I made the trek north (about 22 hours) back in October. We got straight into the ministry and still have not been able to get completely unpacked and moved into our new home.

Since arriving in Mwanza in October, Steve has preached almost every Sunday. We have 3 church plants and one established church. We lack trained leaders so Pastor Methodi Mwendapole and Steve take turns rotating in the four churches. Steve is pictured here at the Nyashimba church last Sunday.

Below the article is a picture of the Nyashimba congregation. They have some pretty lively choirs. Because of the dirt floor they kick up a lot of dust when their choirs start dancing.

Pictured below is the home of our host family where we ate lunch at the Nyashimba church.To the right are the ladies washing dishes after our meal and at the bottom is the beautiful setting we ate in. You would be surprised how comfortable it is eating outside under a mango tree with a light breeze even in the 90 degree weather.

The majority of our time is spent at the Nyangulugulu city church plant. Pictured below is Pastor Methodi, who is a Tanzanian missionary that we work with, teaching the Wednesday evening Bible Study this week. We are averaging about 60 men, women, and children on Sundays.

Barb and Methodi’s wife take turns teaching the kids Sunday School, Junior Church, and also the Women’s Bible Study on Tuesdays. Believe it or not we are in church 12-15 hours a week with each of our 5 meetings lasting 2-3 hours.

Steve had the privilege of leading a man and his wife to the Lord yesterday at the Nyangulugulu church. Their names are Benadi and Zainabu. They have three children—Peter, Margaret, and Leah. Please pray for this family as they have never attended any kind of church before and are the epitome of the phrase “babes in Christ.”

Leah took an immediate liking to Steve. She began to cry when Steve left the building. Later when he came back she came up to the front of the church where Steve was waiting to preach, sat on his lap, and promptly fell asleep.

A huge thank you to everyone who has contributed to help us build a ministry center here in the Nyangulugulu area of the city of Mwanza. The building is now complete with an office, a large classroom, and two smaller multi-purpose rooms. This is where we will run our Bible School, teach seminars, and operate our correspondence school from. It is also our head office for the Mwanza region.

For now the Nyangulugulu congregation meets in the ministry center. Later, after we have grown some, we hope to build a church to the left of the ministry center that uses the fence walls as two sides of the church.

This week we are continuing to work on the fence around our compound. With the current money we have we should be able to finish about 80% of the fence.

Keep praying! Pray for our new congregations that they continue to grow in Christ. Pray as we develop leaders to work in these churches. Pray for our missionary team in Mwanza (Mwendapoles, Shermans, and Capraris who are in the States for medical treatment). Pray as we plan for further development.

In Christ,
Steve and Barb Sherman

Nyashimba congregation

Barb teaching Sunday School

We ate lunch under the Mango tree

Pastor Methodi teaching the Wednesday evening Bible Study

 

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A walk into the village of Kapenta was a common occurrence growing up in the Rukwa Valley. Most of the time it was to visit our friends who lived there, and doing this happened more often as I entered my high school years. This was because my local friends started getting married around the age of 16 and they no longer had the freedom to come to our house to hang out and “play” like they did from the time we lived there until they got married. One of my dearest friends, Esther (now Mama Mishak), was someone I especially enjoyed visiting. We could sit and talk or walk to her garden outside the village until it was almost dark and then say goodnight before the sunset so I could safely make it back to my house.

On one particular walk to Esther’s house I saw a lady carrying a 5-gallon bucket of water on her head with a young child tied to her back with a cloth (the normal way to carry a baby). We greeted each other and then went our separate ways. I didn’t think anything of it, because that’s as normal a sight as seeing a mailbox at the end of a driveway in the USA. What I had missed was the witchdoctor who had passed just before I came to the path and whom this lady was following.

Upon arriving at Esther’s house and after some casual conversation, she asked if I had seen the lady being led up the mountain by the village witchdoctor. I said I had seen the lady and Esther went on to explain what was going on. This story is heartbreaking but as you read the following think of the bondage of fear these people live in. Satan has a stronghold in every culture that needs to be brought to light, and one of those in Tanzania is fear. Fear and the bondage of darkness causes so much heartache. The light of Christ is so beautiful in contrast to these things but when the darkness seems strong, the heartache runs deep.

You see, this woman was about to take part in a ritual led by the witchdoctor, in fear of disobeying him and in fear for her child’s life. Her young boy was very sick, running a high fever among other things. Normal “dawa” (medicine) wasn’t working, so she went and surrendered herself to the ways of the witchdoctor. They were now on their way to a special site on top of a local, worshipped mountain where, Esther explained to me, the mother would have to collect sticks and they would make a fire from those sticks. They would then boil “special” water and poor this hot water over the child to wash the sickness from the child’s body. When the deed was done, the mom would have to leave the mountain without looking back. If she looked back or ever returned to that spot, she was told and believed, the sickness would return to her child and possibly take his life. My heart ached and I wished there was some way I could have stopped what I knew was happening as it was being explained to me.

The sun began to set and I said my goodbyes to Esther for the day. At the same time that she walked me to the path from her house the mother was returning down the mountain with a screaming little baby re-tied to her back and her child in worse condition than before. Oh, my heart cried inside. Why does she believe these lies? Why does she do these things?

Lies and darkness and sin. That is why. In many places throughout that culture witchcraft is a real and serious issue that many live in bondage to and in fear of daily. It is just one area where the missionaries fight a spiritual battle in their daily work. I tell you this in order to raise the awareness of the need for prayer in these cultures and lands where our missionaries are serving. Pray for the spiritual battles that are fought every day. Pray for the people affected so intimately and painfully with this darkness, shame, pain, and fear. For in Christ there is light and freedom and joy and he came that we might have life and have it to the full.

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life’” John 8:12.

“For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery” Galatians 5:1.

Zach and Erin“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” Ephesians 6:12.

This post was written by Erin Kemper, GMI’s Director of Social Media, who spent many of her growing up years in Tanzania as part of a missionary family. She is married to Zach Kemper who was also raised in Tanzania.

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