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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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Tom and Michelle Sanchez left the States in January 2018 for Zambia to help the leadership of that country hoping to be able to raise the remainder of their financial support while they were overseas before they moved on to Bujumbura, Burundi. What you have below is an update from Tom and Michelle about their ministries and what they have accomplished in the months since they arrived in Kabwe. The picture above is of Tom at an Operation Mobilization sports training camp serving as the camp doctor.

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Hi Team Burundi Partners,

Even as we write our greeting above, we are reminded that our time in Kabwe, Zambia, is short, and we are still looking forward to ministering in Bujumbura, Burundi. As we’re writing this, we’re headed to the airport to go back to the US to get ready for Samara and Phil’s wedding in the Portland, OR, area!  We’d like to share with you some of the work we’ve been involved in over the last few months.

We’ve been called on to help with pastoral ministry at Grace Church in downtown Kabwe where we’ve mentored and counseled Zambian church members and fellow missionaries, many of whom are in their first terms of mission experience. These young families are facing the challenges of raising their children while adapting to life and work in this part of Africa and they view us as veterans of mission life. We believe God has directed us in this opportunity to come alongside them to support and encourage these young families to serve Him in a foreign land.

Imagine a church where each week there is a different preacher, moderator, and one of five different worship teams who may be involved in leading the service. Now throw in the fact that you have about a dozen or so potential preachers and on the worship teams there are short-termers who help out for less than a year and like anywhere, people need to make trades and guest speakers show up that weren’t planned for. We also have the same problem we had in the US of hymns vs. modern choruses, and we can’t forget to add in a Bemba language song or two.

We prayed about where to start reorganizing the services and the Lord supplied a missionary who was an experienced worship leader and was prepared to tackle the job of combining several of the worship teams to reduce the groups from five to three. The larger worship team worked together for the first time during the Good Friday service. We may now have a team that can withstand the necessary comings and goings of its members. We believe the Lord is preparing the way for David and Hailey, the two GBC worship arts students, to have an impact while they are here in June and July.

The Good Friday service is something we put together and once a month we hold a “tea” at our home after the service so that members have a chance to fellowship before breaking up and heading for home. Some of the members are farmers who live relatively isolated lives during the week, so they need a time to get to know and stay in touch with other members. The tea is an important occasion for black Zambians to mingle with the mostly white African farmers and missionaries. We’ve been in dialogue with a potential new missionary family with pastoral experience who may be willing to take on overseeing this unique church after we leave.

Michelle has begun to work with Operation Mobilization and mentors Zambian elementary school teachers on the outskirts of Kabwe. The teachers are considered missionaries, and Michelle is assisting them to write their first-ever newsletters to their home churches. Seeking support and writing a newsletter is a new concept for the 17 teachers at the school. Michelle is hopeful that by coming alongside them she will help them get over the initial hump of sharing the ministry side of their work and giving examples of both struggles and successes.

We have obtained our work permits and driver’s licenses! It sometimes takes up to six months to procure both. We praise the Lord that this tedious, yet necessary step has been taken care of. Tom had to wait for his work visa/permit to come through in order to get placed at Kabwe General Hospital where he’ll volunteer part time in the outpatient department and nursing school. The nursing school’s academic year just ended and a new one should start in the next few months, so it is an opportune time to find where Tom can contribute to the education of Zambian nurses.

Please pray for unity during these times of transition. Bringing change is always difficult as people see the problems of where they are yet become fearful of what change might bring. May the Lord help us mobilize the early-adopters!

Thanks to all of you for your continued prayers and support! We are so grateful for each of you for holding us up in prayer!

Blessings and Love,

Tom & Michelle

P.S. Please see GMI’s Executive Director Jeremy Clark’s message below.

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Having arrived in Zambia in mid-January, Tom and Michelle hit the ground running meeting with and discipling church leaders, thoroughly assessing our ministries and ministry partners, and encouraging local believers.Though they have been there for only two months, it feels like they have been there for years providing invaluable leadership on this field.

Looking ahead, here is the plan.Towards the end of this year, GMI would like for Tom and Michelle to move to Burundi to open GMI’s fourth new field in the past five years without having to return to the States to raise additional monthly support. To date they have half of the $4,619 in monthly support they need. Based on their currently monthly funding, they have enough funds to continue serving in Zambia for the better part of this year. However, they do not have enough to transition to Burundi without having to come back to the U.S. to raise additional funds.

To keep this effective, veteran missionary couple on the field, would consider increasing your monthly support if you are already giving or starting now to support the Sanchezes? You can give online to support Tom and Michelle’s ministry through GMI by clicking HERE.

Pressing towards the goal,

Jeremy Clark

GMI Executive Director

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Tom and Michelle previously served with Grace Ministries International in the Democratic Republic of Congo from 1987 to 2000. With the graduation of their youngest daughter Rebecca from Rift Valley Academy in 2000, they returned to the States to create a home base for their three children. Throughout the past few years, they’ve realized God’s calling to return to the mission field and are now ready to take the next steps in serving Him.Tom and Michelle Sanchez.

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We’re back home in Allendale, MI after a long time away visiting churches out West. We made it home in time to reopen our house and spend Thanksgiving with our kids who live in New York City. We’ve been home for a few days, and today Tom is about to leave for Wisconsin to visit churches over the next ten days.

We’ve taken a step of faith and purchased tickets to Zambia and leave on January 16th!  Zambia is our first place of ministry for up to 12 months. We will work with the leaders at Grace Church Zambia in the city of Kabwe before opening a new work in Burundi. Tom is collecting study materials for the workshops and seminars he’ll conduct for church leaders. He will also preach and lead Sunday morning services at Grace Center Church. The nursing school attached to the general hospital is also interested in Tom working with them part-time.

 I will work with Operation Mobilization, which is an international organization that prepares Africans as missionaries. I’ll help future teachers in the schools by observing lessons, coaching them in the process of developing lesson plans, classroom management, biblical integration, and walking with God in the classroom.  We’ll also host two Grace Bible College Senior Worship Arts students, Hailey Petty and David Schrock, for two months. Hailey and David will minister with the main Grace Center Church in Kabwe.

The other big news is that our daughter Samara is engaged, and wedding plans are set for April 28th.  Needless to say we purchased round-trip tickets to Portland, OR where they will marry. It will be a quick trip home for us, but we’re excited for Samara and Phil (pictured left) as they begin a new life together.

We look forward to serving God once again in Africa! Please pray with us as we’re not quite fully supported. We’re stepping out in faith and leaving in January trusting that God will supply all our funds. Pray also that we’ll make a smooth transition to Zambia, for the Zambian leaders, and that God will keep doors open for our future ministry in Burundi.

Thank you all for partnering with us! We appreciate your faithful prayers for the work God has called us to in Africa.

With Love, Michelle & Tom

NOTE: Pictured above right is Tom with our granddaughter Sophia

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At the February 2013 board meeting, GMI adopted its 10-year ministry plan. Part of reaching the goals set is having more missionaries join the GMI family on the various mission fields. Below you can see the areas where there are specific opportunities to serve, but note under “General” there are areas we may not have thought of yet. Will you please pray with us for those individuals who God has for those areas of service? Could one of them be you?

General:
  • In addition to the specific needs we have listed below, we would ask you to pray that God would simply raise up missionaries to meet needs or expand works on existing and new fields which we have not even considered or thought of or we may not even know about yet.
Bolivia:
  • Bolivia is an established field with churches located in and around the cities of Santa Cruz, Cochabamba, and La Paz. In recent years, the Bolivian churches have recognized the need to have their own training center to equip men and women for ministry. We are looking for more teammates who will come alongside our current GMI missionaries and the Bolivian leadership to teach the Bible, theology, and ministry skills as we prepare godly pastors, leaders, and missionaries to expand the ministry to other regions of Bolivia and neighboring countries. 
Mozambique:
  • GMI missionaries Kennedy and Sofia Simtowe are returning to Mozambique in 2017 to continue to facilitate the process of church registration and to seek approval of their work permits. There are already a handful of churches in that country associated with the ministry of GMI organizing themselves into a national church structure. Kennedy’s emphasis will be church planting and evangelism. We need missionaries who can come alongside the churches and believers in Mozambique in order to better equip and provide further education for the pastors and church leaders. This would be similar to the ministry in Malawi, where GMI missionary Bill Vinton and GMI Partners Joseph Asong and Eric Mango are providing theological education for pastors and church leaders to edify the churches already established in this field.
Nicaragua:
  • Nicaragua became one of GMI’s fields early in 2014 when GMI missionaries, Jeff and Sally Roth, along with GMI Associate Missionaries, Emiliano and Raquel Seravalli, moved there to begin their ministries. Each week around 100 adults, youth, and children pass through Emiliano and Raquel’s home in the town of Nagarote for various Bible studies, worship services, clubs, and discipleship groups. Jeff and Sally took survey trips to the region in and around Matagalpa and have begun a new ministry in that area with the goal of planting churches. They have been joined by GMI missionaries Brett and Debby Chapman who host weekly Bible studies in their home.With two ministry sites, we need to increase our missionary force. We would like to see additional missionaries or missionary families with a desire to evangelize, disciple, and establish local churches work with our Nicaragua team in Nagarote or Matagalpa.
Paraguay:
  • Paraguay, located between GMI’S field of Bolivia and our affiliated field of Uruguay, is our newest field opened in June 2015, when GMI missionaries Alex and Deltha Gulart moved to Ciudad del Este to begin their evangelism and teaching ministry. We are looking for even more teammates to come alongside and complement them and GMI missionaries Jerry and Sandi Bomers as we strive to plant churches in Paraguay. We are looking for individuals with a heart to disciple new believers and help establish them into local churches. The goal of the ministry in Paraguay is to plant churches in Ciudad del Este, throughout the rest of the country, and even into neighboring Argentina and Brazil.
Puerto Rico:
  • GMI is committed to working with established churches and ministries in Puerto Rico which share our common beliefs and our desire to evangelize, plant churches, and disciple future leaders in the Body of Christ. Because of this commitment, GMI is actively looking for energetic and motivated missionaries to come alongside affiliated churches and ministries on the island to further facilitate ministry efforts in such areas as: evangelism, youth ministry and outreach, theological training, development of methods for effective church planting, and practical training of Puerto Rican workers in the Body of Christ who will serve both in Puerto Rico and in other parts of the world as fellow missionaries. Understanding that finding just one person to meet all of these needs would be difficult, we would enjoy talking to anyone who is interested in any one or more of these areas of ministry.
Zambia:
  • The GMI ministry in Zambia needs missionaries to mentor and encourage pastors both in their practical, day-to-day ministry responsibilities and to help further their understanding of God’s Word and His grace. To help meet this need, GMI’s goal is to implement a regional Bible school program (already under development) which will be run by the Grace Church of Zambia.
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