Prayer Request

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.

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May Update

Click here for the pdf file May PDF 2

 

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Come into the Light

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 wscreen-shot-2017-02-18-at-10-02-25-amhen 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.

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Felipe, Reading his Bible

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!

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I’m a Liar

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.

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February News

2016-02-17 15.02.53Click here to view PDF

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End of Year Financial Report

Year End Financial Update

We believe in the sovereignty of God in our finances. But, what does that mean?  It means that we trust God for what we need. We admit that, ultimately, He knows better about what we need than we do. It means if we don’t have it, it is because God has not provided it. If we need it, it will come. James 1:17 tells us Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.
How does that work out?
For years April and I have struggled with being on the Mission field and wrestling with the sin of unbelief, not trusting fully in God for our provisions and for support of different ministries. We were working on our website with my cousin and she was helping us update a way for people to support us electronically. I cant remember how the conversation went completely, but it was said, “If God wants someone to get money to you, I mean if God puts the desire in them to do it, they will find a way.” That is so true. What came out of that conversation was the realization that if God didn’t put that desire there, if I manufactured a “false sense of obligation” that money would not be from God.  We want only the good and perfect gifts, the ones that come from above.  Those perfect gifts are what we desire to run our ministry.
Over the last few months, we have had some of those gifts. Ruby Brewer made an afghan and raffled it off without asking or telling us. She gave all $320 she made to us. I don’t even know Mrs. Brewer.  Her gift not only funded various evangelistic outreaches and discipleship, it encouraged me to the core. I am now even more sure of God’s faithfulness.
A couple of weeks ago a local pastor came and asked if I could help him buy some Christmas gifts for the local children.  I put the opportunity out on social media and the need was met quickly.
The all-knowing God we serve sees and knows about the sacrifices and difficulties people go through to make the ministry here in Nicaragua possible. Often, people give in secret and April and I never know.  We want to thank you.
I have enclosed a list of our current financial needs. We are fully confident that either God will provide for those needs or He will move us in a different direction. Knowing that God doesn’t need any of our giving, we come to Him in gratitude for even the chance to be used by Him. If you feel like God would use you to help spread His glorious news here in Nicaragua, please let us know.

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  1. Faculty & Staff  $1400 monthly

 Faculty total – $929  now
I desire to increase this to $1400 Monthly.

  1. Building rent $175
  2. Diapers, formula and medicine $ 228

I currently receive $80 monthly towards this.
4. Bible Institute, cost $1050 a month for 20 students meeting meals and material for conferences, and fuel for transportation, motorcycle upkeep, ect.. We currently don’t have 20 pastors enrolled.
Total -$2773.00 monthly.
Medical Mission Ministries of Ashe County (MMMA) have agreed to pay $600 a month for salaries until February. They have done this for quite a while. Recently, MMMA expressed that we should seek other avenues to support the Bible Institute, as they shift their support to helping us open a medical clinic.

Our goal is to look for 278 new partners who are willing to support this project at $10 a month.  We hope this amount ($10 a month) will allow many to participate and not burden already strained budgets.

To find these sponsors, we need your help. We need you to pray with us. Pray about whom you might ask to partner with us. Would you help us find 12 new partners @ $10 a month?

If you have any questions or want to see any figures more in detail, please let us know.

Personal Family support                                                 100% funded
Children’s Ministry and Leaders training Socorro            100% funded
Children’ Ministry and Feeding Center Trapiche              100% funded
Friday Bible Studies San Antonio                                     100% funded
Homeschool material for our children                              100% funded
Wednesday Night Young Men’s Bible Study                    100% funded
Carazo Bible Fellowship                                                   100% funded
These ministries are currently funded by churches and individual partners.

If you would like to support God’s work here in Nicaragua financially by setting up a monthly automatic payment or you can make a one time donation,  Click here

If you would like to support God’s work here in Nicaragua financially, you can make a tax deductible gift by mailing a check with the note: Joel Gass Family on a slip of paper to:

CENTRAL MISSIONARY CLEARINGHOUSE

PO BOX 219228    

HOUSTON TX 77218-9228

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Jubilee

7 Years

We are at the eve of 7 years in Nicaragua. We’ve soared and laughed and lived…as well as cried and groaned and died. We’ve soared with anticipations and expectations. We’ve laughed with friends and lived under the shadow of the Almighty. Cried with grief and frustration and joy. Groaned over making hard decisions. Died…dying, rather, to self-trust.

Many of you have supported us from the beginning of our time here. (##Shout Out to our moms and dads!!!) Others of you we’ve met along the way. Some have even passed away. Through these years, we’ve grown more amazed at God’s patience and forbearance with us…more aware of His sovereignty…more humbled by His great grace…and less capable of being quiet about it all!  The God we serve is worthy to be praised.

Through spaghetti plate sales, golf tournaments, magnet fundraisers, benefit concerts, and much simple sacrifice, we have seen the hand of God in you. We praise God for our supporters! You encourage and enable us to make disciples. We realize that what we do is not esteemed by the world’s standards. Nevertheless, because of the “surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus” (Phil 3:8), we press on to make Him known.

We want to take a little time to do a quick review of the past several years…NOT because the 7 year mark is of any significance in the big picture…but because sometimes it good to remember where we’ve been.

We spent the first two years working with CCA and learning how dumb we were, how poor our Spanish was, and how out of touch we were with this culture. In all honesty, not much has changed! When our time was up with CCA, the Lord brought a very special group of people from North Carolina into our lives. We didn’t know we had family in North Carolina until then. Sometimes you sense the great love of the Lord when He brings certain people into your life.

Through that friendship we began a family sponsorship in San Antonio in Dolores.

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It was the best of times…It was the worst of times.” Food bags, back packs, hugs, smiles, babies and baby formula, dog bites, rabbits, chickens, chicken plucker, maggot farming, black plastic, carpentry, the HollieLoo, funerals, brawls, rocks on a “hot tin roof”, preaching through the book of Romans, memory verses. Some of you know!

 

Patience and forbearance! We learned a lot, cried a lot more, and prayed for wisdom we didn’t have. Slowly?!, we realized that the spiritual needs were much more than we were equipped to handle. We needed godly Nicaraguan men that could fill the cultural and language gap. The Lord heard our prayers and sent us some faithful men. These men were quick learners, hard workers, faithful stewards, and humble servants.

Luis HernandezOver time, we had to rent a place outside of the village to conduct our efforts from. It was one of those “good” decisions we made! We were able to have more orderly distributions and Bible studies with the families.

Through this “learning curve”, we began to see some things that concerned us. In God’s providence, the sponsorship never grew large enough to include every family in the village. Unfortunately, in some instances, this created strife between families…instead of promoting community. Families migrate in and out frequently and sponsorship fluctuates from month to month. There were other issues that caused us to realize that we needed to pray more for wisdom.

There were lots of encouraging things too. We’ve had many one on one visits different families that have afforded us lots of opportunities. Some have gained skills and learned how to support themselves. Some get life-changing medicines monthly. Most importantly, we feel certain that the gospel has thoroughly been explained and proclaimed to the young and old in that community.

 

Discipleship Group

Discipleship Group

 

This next year (as in all the previous years) we will be making changes. We will continue to provide for physical needs, but not through such a mechanical approach. Dr. Reina Tiffer will help us with that! However, spiritual poverty is absolutely the greatest disease of all people. Our Lord fed the multitudes and healed the sick, but He gave His sinless life to make people spiritually whole. Because of this, we appreciate the need for discipleship more than ever before!

As many of you already know, we have all but outgrown our current place where we work, the place we call “the office.” Praise the LORD!

There are many men, women, and children hungry to know more about God here. We are constantly in need of more Bibles and workbooks and evangelistic materials. Praise the LORD!

The one thing we are sure about is that God hears our prayers. We ask you to continue to lift us up in your quiet time.

Our God is worthy of praise and adoration from all nations. The most important thing we can do is teach and instruct others on the importance of giving God our praise.

Deuteronomy 4:7-8 “For what great nation is there that has God so near to it, as the Lord our God is to us, for whatever reason we may call upon Him?  And what great nation is there that has such statutes and righteous judgments as are in all this law which I set before you this day?


If you would like to support God’s work here in Nicaragua financially by setting up a monthly automatic payment or you can make a one time donation,  Click here

If you would like to support God’s work here in Nicaragua financially, you can make a tax deductible gift by mailing a check with the note: Joel Gass Family on a slip of paper to:

CENTRAL MISSIONARY CLEARINGHOUSE

PO BOX 219228    

HOUSTON TX 77218-9228

 

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