Blog Archives

The deadline for applying for the 2019 EXITE Team is only five days away – Sunday, February 17!! If you would like to join the group, NOW is the time to get your application in to Grace Ministries International! This summer a select group of high school and college students will travel to Zambia to learn how to share the love of Christ with the children and youth in Kabwe and Livingstone, Zambia. Something exciting happens when we step out of our comfort zone with other students to be the “hands and feet of Jesus.” EXITE is about spiritual growth as we put our faith into action in practical ways serving our Zambian brothers and sisters in Christ.

For more information and to get an application, visit www.gracem.org/EXITE.

Join the EXITE team today!

No Comments

The EXITE team will be serving in Zambia this summer. If you are 14-18 years old and interested in growing in your faith and serving Christ cross-culturally, please pray about this opportunity to experience missionary life and ministry June 26- July 13.

Your adventure begins with boot camp at Grace Christian University. In Zambia, you will be doing some work projects; sharing the gospel through your testimony, drama, and outreach programs; worshiping together with our Zambian brothers and sisters; and experiencing some incredible scenery like Victoria Falls. For more information see www.gracem.org/EXITE .

TRAVEL ITINERARY: 

Dates: June 26 – July 13, 2019

June 26-28 – Boot Camp at Grace Christian University

June 29 – Travel to Zambia

July 13 – Return to Grand Rapids

No Comments


Pictured above: Prison Ministry Chaplain Jackson, Tom Sanchez, Michelle Sanchez, and Grace Church Elder Eddie Phiri

Tom has been working with leaders from several countries to develop an effective and practical approach to prepare leaders for local churches. It has been found that most who are leading local assemblies can’t get away from their families and livelihoods for any significant amount of time to be discipled and attend centralized schools for the theological education they need. Bible correspondence courses (BCC) have been used in the past as a distance learning tool to get around this obstacle and have been revived. The spread of cellphones, computers, and photocopying technology have made it far easier to tap into this resource. We requested and have been given permission to use Bible Correspondence Fellowship’s course materials, and in return, we are editing the lessons so that they fit the size of paper used here and require fewer pages to be photocopied. The courses can be downloaded anywhere in the world by anyone with a working knowledge of English who wants to increase their knowledge of the Word of God. While we’ve been getting these lessons ready for use in Africa, an amazing thing happened: they were introduced to the local prison and immediately over 150 lessons were distributed and returned within a week, completed by prisoners wanting to study the Bible. We are now trying to keep the prison chaplain supplied with lessons for inmates.

Even as we were getting the first couple of Bible correspondence course (BCC) lessons up and running, an unintended offshoot of ministry exploded! A Zambian friend involved in prison ministry described the BCC materials to Jackson, the local prison chaplain and we showed him a sample lesson. He was ecstatic because he had been praying for some idea or tool to jumpstart his stagnant ministry that had become more focused on guards than inmates. He tested for interest in BCC among a segment of the total prison population which numbers somewhere above 2,000. Immediately and without hesitation, 150+ inmates and some guards signed up for the first lesson which is a 10-pager that goes through the Scriptures showing God’s revelation of salvation by grace through faith. An Egyptian Christian who attends Grace Community Fellowship in Kabwe stepped up to cover the cost of getting those first 1500 pages of photocopying done. The chaplain distributed the lessons and within a week, ALL 144 budding scholars completed their first lesson and returned them to the chaplain for correction. The logistics for finding Bibles for inmates, registering them to track their progress, correcting their lessons, and giving them feedback suddenly pushed us to put together a much larger team to get involved in prison ministry as a part of BCC outreach. Our intended target audience was to use BCC as a tool to bring Bible training to pastors and lay leaders, not prisoners. Bible Correspondence Fellowship, in partnership with Prison Mission Association, had created the lessons for prison ministry. Now they’re going to do what they were designed for, and evidently, what God wants done.

Part of the Prison Ministry Team representing the US, Zambia, South Africa and Switzerland. 

We experienced a couple miracles getting over hurdles that we were told could potentially stop this work in its tracks for months or even indefinitely. We needed government permission to proceed with what we were already doing and to take it, personally, inside the prison walls. We spent several days carefully crafting a letter to the Commissioner General for Corrections for permission to minister in prisons, and a few more days getting another letter into just the right official’s hands in Lusaka to ask that foreigners (mostly missionaries) be allowed to help alongside our Zambian teammates. The SAME DAY that we deposited the letters, we received calls saying that letters of affirmation were ready to be picked up. A same-day response is something I was told NEVER happens in Zambia, let alone twice at two different levels of government. The Lord is showing us that He wants this done NOW! The Zambian Gideons have agreed to help by supplying some New Testaments and whole Bibles to the prison library. It’s all coming together and we took our first trip into the maximum security prison Saturday, Dec. 8. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 90+ men came forward to receive forgiveness and declare faith in the Lord Jesus. Then the following week we preached another message to 100 death row inmates in two shifts of 50 each and about a dozen came forward. Pray with us to bring the message of forgiveness and peace that comes with it to Zambia’s prisoners. In the time between face-to-face visits the BCC lessons will keep many minds focused on what they have believed and growing in their faith.

Prisioners in particular cannot afford to pay the cost of printing lessons, so we are receiving donations HERE to help with the cost of printing lessons, about 30 cents each. Just choose Project #1. 

No Comments

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.

No Comments

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.

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

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.

__________________________________________________________________________

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

No Comments