I was so thrilled to come home and find 40 people hidden in our bedroom. Our whole church came over to celebrate my birthday. It was a great night with lots of fun. There was a Piñata and pin the tail on the donkey. We had cake and quesadillas made by the ladies from church.
3 of our teachers have received scholarships to further their education. Luis and Wilfredo are working on their MA in Theology through SBTS. These scholarships are provided by Sunrise Baptist Church in Petal, MS and Glen Baptist Church in Fl. Bald Mt. Baptist Church has provided another scholarship starting in June. Nestor is working on getting his BA in Biblical Theology. With your help, we are changing impotent churches into bold, healthy churches, that are equipping Christians to be effective witnesses for Christ. It is the Gospel alone that can redeem people form eternal death. Having these men formally trained is such a blessing and I thank God for allowing us to learn more as we invest in local pastors. Glory to God.
Absolutely wonderful news to report with regards to the Bible Institute. We have a 3 year plan to invest in the teachers of the Bible Institute. We are pouring into them and every day it is paying off. Partnering with The Gospel Coalition and receiving their literature is a great help. One reports, “By strategically training pastors and students in scriptural theology, giving them practical knowledge to plant and sustain churches, we hope to see the church strengthened. We want to see indigenous Christians live out the Great Commission among their own people.” We hope to see our supported pastors grow in their theological depth and preaching precision. We also hope resources provided by TGC will equip Nicaraguan pastors for the work of discipleship that goes beyond seeking professions of faith. We hope the books will help them give more attention to Christian discipleship.”
Throughout the last year, our church plant has blossomed into a beautiful family. We now have formal membership and appointed elders.We are seeing the power of the Word of God. Lives are being changed. People are being set free from the bondage of sin. The transformation that is brought about in the lives of people as they submit to the word of God is a wonderful sight to see. I am so thankful that God has allowed us to be a part of it.
The medical portion of the ministry here in Nicaragua has suffered some severe blows. We have been notified that, in July, we will loose funding for the doctor on staff. Not only will one of our loved staff members loose her job in a critical time in the Nicaraguan economy, but our ministry will also take a hit.
Some of the problem.
Part of the problem is our reliance on large donors to fund this program. When we loose a large donor, we loose most of the support to fund the ministry. Over the next year, I hope to work to retain the support we have and to add some smaller monthly supporters. If we could find several Churches, Sunday school classes or individual families to become monthly supporters, at $10, $20, or $30 a month, when one or two had to quit it would not be such a large blow. It would also eliminate the need to be constantly asking for donations. It is such a conflict to see a need and have to ask for help. In the past, when a special need came up I would turn to social media and most of the time the need would be quickly met. We have been experiencing some problems with locals seeing our facebook posts and asking for funds because they saw we just had a donation made. We raised $500 to purchase Bibles through social media. Praise God for this. We are taking advantage of the closing of the LifeWay stores and making some purchases at substantial discounts. I know you’re as eager as I am to put God’s Word into the hands of as many people as possible. Your gifts make it possible for us to carry out these ministries here with the people of Nicaragua.
Your donations help support continuing efforts to reach Nicaragua with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Would you consider asking your Sunday school class to become a monthly supporter? As we stand together to assist the Nicaraguan people during this crisis, we’re making disciples and being used by God to reach them with he Gospel. Your prayers and monthly support change people’s lives forever. Your support matters, it keeps this work moving forward. April and I are so thankful for all you do for the Kingdom through our small medical clinic, the Bible institute and Carazo Bible church.
Be a partner
To support God’s work here in Nicaragua financially by setting up a monthly automatic payment or make a one time donation just Click here You can also make a tax deductible gift by mailing a check to:
CENTRAL MISSIONARY CLEARINGHOUSE
C/O Gass Family
PO BOX 219228 Houston, TX 77218-9228
You can also PayPal it to:
Your Servants in Christ, Joel & April Gass Family.
We’ve been back in Nicaragua now only a week. It’s like the wild west here. Many have been asking various questions about the current crisis, why we left, why we returned, etc. As a family of 5, we all have our own answers to those questions and there’s not a simple answer to any question. Having gone through the aftermath of Katrina, we were well aware how quickly any society can breakdown in a crisis. The food shortages and violence that are currently going on here is what we feared would happen. As foreigners, as a family with children, we made the best decision that we could at the time. We had the opportunity to get out with some other friends so we could reassure our families in the States and evaluate things from there. Of course, our hope had been that the situation in Nicaragua would improve and stabilize within a few weeks. Our time in the States was a blessing as we got to grieve together with our loved ones at the passing of a beloved family member. God orchestrates things we can never plan. We praise Him for this gift.
As the weeks went by, it became obvious that the crisis in Nicaragua was growing, not improving. Our hearts ached to be with our church family and loved ones here, if for no other reason than to just offer our support. We had many serious discussions as a family. As parents, we couldn’t promise our children anything….not even the ability to get to our home because we knew traveling had become precarious. They could have stayed in the States with our family. We explained that our lives would be difficult and maybe even frightening at times. They each expressed their independent desires to “go home.”
Regardless of what happens sociopolitically here, it remains our number one desire for the Lord to be glorified in this nation. Over the last 8 1/2 years, the Lord has abundantly blessed us with an incredible network of brothers and sisters in Christ. We are taking things day by day, sometimes moment by moment. We hear gunfire and mortars day and night. Gasoline and food are in short supply where we live. Traveling is dangerous and difficult. Every trip away from home is only for necessary reasons. We are trying to supply medicines and food to those we can. We are trying to keep up the discipleship training with the various groups. At this point, everything is day by day. We are praying for God’s guidance on every decision we make and appreciate your prayers more than you can imagine.
For those that have been following, we did not raise the funds to buy the ministry center. However, we do have the funds to continue renting and cover maintenance expenses. This is a blessing. We have a young couple living there now…about to have their first child. This is also a blessing! The husband recently lost his job due to the crisis here. So we are thankful to help them during this difficult time.
People have been asking what they can do. For our regular supporters, thank you for your faithful contributions. For those that can, your financial support will help us care for some of those that are struggling so much right now. We encourage you to research what is going on here in Nicaragua. It continues to evade mainstream news sources. However, you can find articles in English that explain what’s going on. As always, we appreciate your prayers. We need our heavenly Father. We need wisdom and grace. May the Lord work His grace into our lives and help us to honor Him. He is worthy!
We are excited to announce that we need to tear down a wall in the Carazo Ministry Center as we are now averaging 45 to 50 every Sunday. Things are going really well and it has been a great encouragement to see people hungry to know the Lord more deeply. There are several young couples attending faithfully, two of which are expecting babies. Luis Hernandez has been doing a great job teaching on Wednesday nights on The Marks of a Healthy Church. We do hope to start formal membership within the next few weeks. However, not everything has been easy or problem free as we have had people talking negatively about us. In this small thing, I can gain an appreciation for what the Apostle Paul expressed in Philippians when he said, “I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel.”
It has been quite an encouragement to have the younger couples interested in the things of the Lord. Some of these families have asked us to do teaching about marital roles from a biblical perspective. Currently, April and I are doing this class at 4 pm on Sunday afternoons with 6-8 attending. Please keep these times in your prayers.
Carazo Bible Institute
In March, we had our 1st group of 2-year graduates. Three men completed the 2-year study course. A group from River of Life Church in Florida came and helped with the graduation celebration. They provided a great meal and brought gifts for the students. David Smoot from Wings of Faith Ministries, gave an encouraging address to the whole group of students and graduates. There were over 50 in attendance. Each of the graduates addressed the audience and explained how the 2 years of study had helped them grow in their understanding of God and His word. The Gospel Coalition states that , “75% of the world’s Christians live in the Global South. 85% of the world’s evangelical churches are led by pastors with insufficient training.” I am thankful CBI has a small part in battling this theological famine. The hope is that as these men and leaders are fed theologically sound “solid food,” they will be better equipped to disciple others.
Carazo Medical Clinic
Dr. Reyna has been away in the States, but we have been busy with the medical clinic. With the team from Florida, we visited the community of San Antonio, checking on patients, praying and encouraging them. We were also able to provide a food bag of basic needs thanks to the generosity of River of Life Church in Starke, Fl. Recently, with donations from Tree of Life, the clinic has been able to purchase more medical supplies/equipment. It has been such a blessing and many have expressed appreciation for the free medical care/support. We have been known to convert into a temporary hospital at our house in certain instances!
Carazo Mission Center
We continue to hope and pray to purchase the building where all of these ministries are based. The money we need to raise to buy the ministry center is due July 5, 2018. Please pray with us. Below is an outline of what we have already raised and the final costs. Please pray for this need.
Read your Bible, support your local church, glorify God in all you do.
Go or send!
Thank you all for your continued prayer and support.
Joel, April & the kids.
Gass Family Mission Financial Clarity Report
April and I want you to know that we are extremely thankful for all you do. The ministry here in Nicaragua would not function as it does without your help. I want to give you a little update that explains how the funds you invest in the ministry are being used.
Bible Institute $600
Currently, the ministry receives $600 from MMMA (Medical Missions Ministry of Ashe) that we use for the Bible Institute. I use this for payroll for the teachers.
We currently have 4 staff members and a $1120 Bible Institute Payroll. Nicaraguan law requires a 13th month payment. This payment is due on December 1. The work done by these guys is the core work of the Institute. Due to budget restraints we have had to cut back the number of students we allow to enroll in CBI (Carazo Bible Institute). We had a a target number of 24 a year, we have reduced that to 15-18 yearly. It costs about $635 per student per year for books and material. Each student gets a packet each month. Almost every Saturday, we meet with a different group. Between those meetings, one of the guys visits their home each week. During this visit, students are evaluated on progress, and comprehension.
All 4 of these men are actively involved in the church in a leadership role. Two of the men have a motorcycle provided by the ministry. The bike is available for personal use as well. We are working to get another motorcycle ($1000-1500) for Jr. William doesn’t need one.
These guys are now my best friends and family. I consider them my closest brothers in Christ. I trust them with my life and believe they have the same trust for me.
Medical Clinic $400/ $200
Our staff Doctor is receiving $400 a month (plus 13th month)
She visits many patients a week at their home. She is extremely compassionate. She does work each month providing medical care in a small village outside of Jinotepe. She does in home care for 2 children with feeding tubes.
The first Monday of each month, we have an open clinic at the new building. January, it was from 9-12. It was the first one and there were about 6 patients. She is available for calls, and our whole church knows that she will help them. Also, she has extended her services to other missionaries who have emergencies. She often immediately visits them in their house if she receives a call from us.
$200 a month (Provided by MMMA) goes to medicines and med exams. We give that money to Reyna each month and she is responsible for turning in receipts. Some months she uses more, some less. She keeps up with it in a cash box. Because of the monthly purchases, there is never usually a surplus of $100. If the Med money is ever short (more cost than expected), April and I usually just make up the difference from personal funds.
We have moved from under our porch and started having church in Diriamba, in the new building that we will call the Carazo Ministry Center. We desire to purchase this building and lack $46000. The church is the core to all the different ministries we do. We believe strongly in the local church and it is important to model that in front of Nicaraguans. All ministries, CBI, Med Clinic, ect. fall under the leadership of the local church. They are an arm of and not a replacement for the local church. We incorporate church members to help in the various ministries and promote national ownership. We have several adoptive families attending and cannot at this time post pictures during church activities. Currently the building rent is paid by Tree of Life Ministries (1 year pledge).
This next year is going to be a giant struggle. We lost about $1000 a month in support from an individual donor. We have cut out quite a bit of our personal expenses to make up for it. We want you to know that we fully trust that God will provide for us in every way He sees fit. As of today, our personal monthly support is as follows:
$1250 coming from 5 different Churches
$750 individual donors & Family Contributions (fluctuates)
We get quarterly support from 2 individuals that totals $750
$250 of that is designated to go to CBI. We do, from time to time, receive one time offerings that we have no way to predict. Again, we want you to know how thankful we are for the sacrifices you make to be a generous contributor to the kingdom work here in Nicaragua. You are a vital part of this work. We are encouraged by your generosity. If there are any questions about our finances please feel free to email us. firstname.lastname@example.org read our blog
If you would like to contribute financially to the ministry here in Nicaragua, you can find out how on our blog.
Soli Deo Gloria, Gass family.
As I sit writing this letter, I find myself in the comforts of the United States of America. We made it in on the 10th of July and are planning an active agenda of visiting and sharing what is going on in Nicaragua.
We are very excited to announce, that after a year of praying and searching, we have now found and started the process to purchase a building for our ministry needs. The building we found in Diriamba is large enough to house all of our ministry needs (Church, Bible Institute, and Medical Clinic). It is also on a big enough piece of land that, in the future, we can expand.
We signed a contract to rent for 1 year, with the option to purchase the property at the end of that year. We were required to make a $2000 deposit and rent is $300 a month. The total property cost is $52,000. Almost immediately, a ministry-partner, Tree of Life contacted us and informed us that they wanted to cover our first year costs and some remodel costs. We praise God for their generosity.
Now, we are focusing on only $46,400 to complete the purchase. We have set the goal to raise the funds by April. That will allow us some time to prepare and regroup if we are short of the total amount at that time.
The Apostle Paul faced some of the same dilemmas.
Ministry is not free. But, we don’t want to burden the poorest of the poor as we minister to them. In 1 Corinthians 9:18 Paul shares his desire to keep the Gospel “free of charge. “What then is my reward? That in my preaching I may present the gospel free of charge, so as not to make full use of my right in the gospel.” One way Paul did this was tent-making, We see in 1 Thessalonians 2:9 “For you remember, brothers, our labor and toil: we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, while we proclaimed to you the gospel of God.” We share the desire to not burden the people of Nicaragua, as we proclaim the majesty of Christ crucified and resurrected to them.
This is the reason for this letter, to allow you to share the burden of the ministry in Nicaragua with us. Or, to put it as Paul did, “To rob you, in order to serve them.”
2 Corinthians 11:7-8 (ESV) Or did I commit a sin in humbling myself so that you might be exalted, because I preached God’s gospel to you free of charge? 8 I robbed other churches by accepting support from them in order to serve you.
Those churches, “robbed” by Paul, were happy to do so. I hope you will also count it a privilege as well, to bear one another’s burdens.
Many of you frequently check our posts and have been joyfully generous in the past. You have allowed us to “rob you” for the sake of preaching the Gospel without charge to the Nicaraguan people. We are so humbled by your generosity.
I want to ask you to help us as we move forward. We ask that you do it cheerfully, as Paul stated to the Corinthians. 2 Corinthians 9:7-8 Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.
Would you consider cheerfully making a one-time donation toward our building purchase?
· Would you consider setting up monthly giving to help us keep the payroll going and allow us to furnish the medical clinic.
· Another way to help us is to share this and our ministry on your social media outlets.
Please do not neglect your local church in any way. But, if you have excess for our work in Nicaragua, thanks for considering this possibility. Please keep us in your prayers as we strive to know Christ and make Him known.
April and I want to say thank you in advance to all who will give and help us work to this goal. Also, we are extremely grateful to those who have supported our Christ –exalting work in Nicaragua.
Soli Deo Gloria,
Joel and April Gass Family