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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
Hello all! Just wanted to drop a note and ask for prayer. Wednesday 28th 2017, I am going to talk to a lawyer about a property we have been praying about. I would like to ask you to Join me in prayer at this time. We have been needing a building in Diriamba to house the Carazo Bible Institute and the new medical clinic we have opened. We have also been wanting to move the Carazo Bible Fellowship meetings (our home church plant) to a location more easily accessible to our friends who live in town. Also, we are outgrowing our house. We believe we have found a good spot. This location is move in ready and would require us to raise some funds. Please pray as we move forward.
In Diriamba, the town we live in, there is a central park that has tons of people in it every day. We are starting to get in there and share what God has done for us through His Son, Jesus, with those lost kids. This property is 2 blocks from the park. Thanks for your prayers. I am working on a newsletter and will have it ready soon. Please share this with people who pray.
Come into the Light!
A while back, before we rented our building, we had the pastor training in our house. Every Saturday, a group of guys would come for a 3-4 hour session and April would prepare lunch. More and more men, more and more complications led to us moving to a building that we have now outgrown. This was in the beginning stages of Carazo Bible Institute. In those days, we would watch a video and read scripture, pray and fellowship. As our language abilities have improved, we have been able to get a little more in-depth with the studies. There is still plenty of room for improvement.
I have a friend that gave me a solar powered audio Bible from Renew Outreach. This little Bible is a pretty good resource. We have found that their Kulumi – Solar Powered LED Audio Lamp is cheaper and has the added feature of being a lamp. We now buy these when funds are available. Many of the people we minister to cannot read or write. Illiteracy is a big struggle here. So far, we have distributed about a dozen of the lights and a dozen more of the solar paneled audio Bibles. The lights are the best and use the Faith Comes By Hearing languages. We have even given them to the Indigenous tribes of Miskito Indians on the east coast. Their dialect is an available download.
In one of the beginning Bible Institute meetings, I discovered that one of the guys, Felipe, was somewhat illiterate. He is a night guard and works very hard. Kind of just on a whim and because I had one available, I tossed him one of the audio Bibles. “Here, this is for you,” I said. I showed him how to operate it, how to skip through the chapters and books using the buttons. His face lit up. He was delighted
We didn’t know it, but Felipe committed to memorizing the entire book of Acts. At night, while on guard duty, he would listen to chapter after chapter, hitting the reverse button, repeating the words. During the day, he would lay it in the window seal and let it charge. I am not sure how far he got.
In the meetings, we read scripture aloud, taking turns. This particular day, we happened to be reading the book of Acts. Felipe was in the circle, with his Bible open. It was coming up to his turn. Many of the men were fidgeting with nervousness, not wanting to embarrass Felipe. As it became Felipe’s turn, to everyone’s astonishment, he began to “read” from the book of Acts. Verse after verse, and then the amazing happened. The power went out. The room was dark. No one could see their hand in from of their face. Felipe continued to recite verse after verse. The inability to see didn’t inhibit his “reading.” Since that day, he has been learning to read. Pray for Felipe and the other men who strive to glorify God.
Please pray for us as we strive to help the Nicaraguan people know God better. Thanks for all you do to help us share the Gospel with the people of Nicaragua!
A while back, we had some ladies from a community help us prepare food for a feeding center. After the event it was raining and I gave them a ride home. I was sitting in the van as they got in. Listening to their chatter, I was excited to hear how happy they were to be included in the evangelism and feeding of the children.
In the van, there were a few of the Are You a Good Person tracts from Living Waters. Of course they were in Spanish. Living Waters, in my opinion, is the best place to get tracts and evangelism material. In the tract, it asks, “have you ever told a lie?” The kid answers, “Sure, who hasn’t?” Then it asks, “What do you call someone who lies?” and his answer is “a liar.”
Earlier that day, one of the ladies had asked us to sign a paper so she could get a loan. She wanted us to say that we were paying her more than we did, so she would qualify for a loan to buy a refrigerator. We knew she desperately needed the fridge but refused to sign the paper, knowing that this loan would only cause her trouble in the future. We explained how it was dishonest to even fudge the numbers a little bit. Even if the outcome is not profitable to us, we need to be truthful at all times. It was a difficult time and there was an awkward moment of silence. We prayed for God to help her with the difficulty.
On the trip back, she picked up the tract and began read it aloud. “Have you ever told a lie?” I heard her begin to sob and then confess, “Oh God, forgive me I am a liar.”
Please pray for us as we strive to glorify God in Nicaragua.