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?


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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

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HOUSTON TX 77218-9228

 

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We Give Up!

Click bait!. With new technology, I can see who reads our letter, when they open it, how many times, what they click on and much more. The truth is, only 36% of the people who receive an email in the religious category even open it. So, if you are reading this, we thank you.

I have something to say and I want you to read it!

Sovereignty of God

We know God is in charge. We know that He, ultimately, will take care of us. We know  God has called us to Nicaragua. Knowing these things gives us assurance of provision and assurance of protection. We don’t believe that because we are doing what God has called us to do,  he will not lead us into difficult situations. That is not a biblical view of God. Often times we will face difficult situations, hardships, droughts, and famine. It is how we respond in those times that our lives are strengthened. Colossians 1:17 states that “He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.”  God told Jeremiah in chapter 32 verse 27 “Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh; is anything too difficult for Me?”

We have to rely completely on Him. If we put our faith in men or anything else, we will come up short every time. God is steadfast and unchangeable.  Psalm 135:6 says, “Whatever the Lord pleases, He does, In heaven and in earth, in the seas and in all deeps.” 

Giving up

So if all our effort come short, the only thing left to do is give up. Literally give it all to God. Put it in His hands. Giving up, or surrendering is the only option. We are surrounded by a Holy God. As we studied the attributes of God last month, we studied the Omnipresence of God.

Psalm 139: 7-12

Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there.
If I take the wings of the dawn,
If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea,
10 Even there Your hand will lead me,
And Your right hand will lay hold of me.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will overwhelm me,
And the light around me will be night,”
12 Even the darkness is not dark to You,
And the night is as bright as the day.
Darkness and light are alike to You.

The Bible tells us that we are enemies of God.(Romans 5:10) He is the one that said “Let there be light.” How could we ever win in a war against our Creator. We can’t win. The only “good” option is surrender. We give up. Repentance is rarely talked about any more. But, it is admitting that we, in ourselves can’t fix it. We are wrong. it is also a turning form our sin and a turning to God. Repentance is something we are granted. It is not ours. Acts 11:18 says, “When they heard this, they quieted down and glorified God, saying, “Well then, God has granted to the Gentiles also the repentance that leads to life.” Have you been granted repentance? It is not in our human nature to desire to turn from our wicked ways. Our human nature is wicked. Our hearts are darkened. God must give us light. We have to turn form trusting on our own power or ability, and turn to the work that has been done on our behalf by Jesus. Not just on the cross of Calvary, but the perfect sinless life He lived. Because of His perfect life, He fulfilled the law. When He was on the cross, the sin of Believers was transferred to Him. When we trust in what God has done for us through the cross of Calvary, the righteousness of Christ is imputed or transferred to us. That is how we gain our righteousness. We take on the righteousness of Christ. My good deeds or your good deeds or merits would never be enough to earn you entrance into God’s family. In fact, the Bible tells us that all our righteousness is like a filthy rag. We can’t do anything good. There is none righteousness. Even when drug dealers buy a poor man food, they don’t do it to glorify God, so it is really not good works.

If you really believe that Jesus, God incarnate, died and rose from the dead, wouldn’t that change everything?

How can people believe that and not be transformed into something new? John 1:12 “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” There is no power in us to become a child of God. The power is in God Himself and is given to us. May God grant you the power to surrender to His will and believe on His Son. John 6:29 Jesus answered and said to them,“This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.” Luke 10:20 says, “Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

The Gass Family

We love you!  The Gass Family

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How Beautiful the Feet!

What a privilege it is to serve pastors that have had no formal training. It is so refreshing to see people who are called to preach become enabled and trained.

Garden's Church at Tamarindo

Nardone’s Church at Tamarindo

The Gospel Coalition recently challenged people to “imagine being an indigenous pastor of a local church in South America trying to shepherd a small congregation, with little to no access to formal education. Your understanding of the basic truths of the Bible is greatly lacking. You own only a couple of books and those are of questionable value. Internet access is not reliable. And yet you are responsible for feeding and leading your local church. You and your congregation are struggling to experience the life-changing power of the Gospel.”

Nardony, a humble pastor from the village of Tamarindo, is currently enrolled in the Bible Institute. He is a quiet man who struggles with many difficulties. I often see him waiting until everyone has been served in the lunch line before he gets a plate.  He has memorized most of the required Bible text. (We are working on the book of Philippians this year). We meet once a month and he is usually there before I am despite the long walk he must make to get to a public road so he can catch the bus. His steadfastness and dedication inspire me to work harder. Recently, a team from North Carolina came and hosted a Medical Clinic and VBS at his village. The whole town turned out. Nardony took several of the team on a hike through the rural region to visit homebound patients in need of medical attention. One of those patients has passed away since the team left. Romans 10:15 says, “And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!'”

We are appreciative of all the people who pray for us and make sacrifices in their budgets that allow us to train Nardony for the furtherance of the gospel in Tamarindo.  We are expecting 5 new pastors to join us tomorrow. I wanted to wait to send this out to let you know how it went, but felt it is better to ask your prayers in advance. We will meet at 9am till Noon, then we will have lunch together.

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Pastor Nardony of Tamarindo

 

Each quarter it is our hope to add 5 more students. The cost for materials is about $35 a month per student. That cost covers books, and a meal for the monthly meeting. So far, we have been able to provide a Kindle tablet for each pastor to use throughout the week, Nestor and the guys do home visits and check the study process. This is a learning process for all of us.In the future we may seek scholarships for the pastors. I thank the Lord for providing men like Nestor who teach, run errands, and work through governmental red tape to make all this flow as smoothly as it does. We praise the Lord for His unwavering faithfulness in all things.

Rocket Stoves

During the medical team, one of the doctors met a mom with 2 daughters, both of which had asthma. He asked if we knew where we could get rocket stoves to cut down on smoke in the house due to cooking on wood. This team provided funds to get several stoves. We will be delivering them this week.

House Church

In January, we started hosting a fellowship in our home on Sunday mornings. It started out with just a couple of families but has grown considerably. We have been having around 30 people attending. This has turned into something very beautiful. I have been preaching through the book of Philippians. We have had communion twice.  April is doing Bible studies with the women on Monday mornings. Please keep us in your prayers as we seek to  glorify God in our meetings.

 

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If you would like to support our ministry financially, you can make a tax deductible gift by mailing a check with“Gass Family” in the memo to:

Beautiful Feet Missions
PO Box 766
Waynesboro, MS 39367
or you can click the here and make a one time donation. The electronic gift is not tax deductible.

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Las Noticias de Septembre

We are Residents

We are Residents

After a long wait and lots of trips to the Ministry of Immigration, we now have our residency. This is the some of the biggest news of the year. We are so thankful and appreciative to all those who helped us get past this step. Without this card, we could not have a vehicle, phone, water bill or electricity in our name. Our landlord has been so generous and trusting, allowing us to get our utilities in his name. We would especially like to thank Mike and Heather Burton, Ernie Clark and the countless others that helped us reach this goal. We can now go forward with our non-profit organization, Los Sembradores, or The Sowers International Outreach. We have 3 young men on staff. Nestor, William and Norving. I can now begin to pay them and get their National Social Security (IINS). One huge blessing is that their salaries are covered for the rest of the year.

Elsa gets her insulin

Elsa gets her insulin

One of our most pressings needs has been met. Elsa has been struggling with Diabetes for as long as I have known her. She is a special case and requires a specific insulin that cost over $70 a month. We have asked in the past for help and I am thankful to say that her insulin cost is covered. We have had 3 people step forward and give monthly to cover her medical bills. God has been so good to us and we want everyone to know how appreciative we are for their generosity.

Elsa wants those special 3 to know that she appreciates the life-giving sacrifice they are making to continue her meds.

Nestor and Lucia Hernandez are happy to announce the arrival of their Baby Boy. Gadiel Joshue Hernandez Ortiz was born Monday August 31st at 5pm. He weighed 7lbs. Nestor and Lucia have 2 girls and now have a beautiful baby boy

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Gadiel Hernandez Ortiz

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The Gospel Coalition material

The Gospel Coalition is currently giving away resources to help christians worldwide grow to know Christ better. These resources are a vital part of our Bible studies. April and I have ordered and received several boxes of books in Spanish to help the work here. Please check out their work and support them if you are able.

You can follow us daily on twitter, Youtube, and Instagram

 3rdworldliving Youtube

3rd_worldliving   Twitter

@3rdworldliving Instagram

If you would like to support our ministry financially, you can make a tax deductible gift by mailing a check with “Gass Family” in the memo to:
Beautiful Feet Missions
PO Box 766
Waynesboro, MS 39367
or you can click the here and make a one time donation. The electronic gift is not tax deductible.

https://accounts.google.com/o/oauth2/postmessageRelay?parent=https%3A%2F%2Fgassfamilymission.wordpress.com#rpctoken=819130348&forcesecure=1

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Check out April’s blog

there's no place like home.

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AW Pink on Erroneous Evangelism

A Peculiar Pilgrim

The nature of Christ’s salvation is woefully misrepresented by the present-day evangelist.   He announces a savior from hell rather than a savior from sin.  And that is why so many are fatally deceived, for there are multitudes who wish to escape the Lake of Fire who have no desire to be delivered from their carnality and worldliness.” – Originally from article Saving Faith: Part 1 Signs of the Times. Cited in the DVD Amazing Grace: The History and Theology of Calvinism

I believe this quote from Pink is essential in developing a biblical approach to evangelism.  It’s all too easy to gain ‘converts’ by scaring the ‘hell’ right out of people by conjuring horrific imagery of an eternal state of suffering and misery. Who in their right mind would choose this fate over one of eternal bliss?  Heaven and hell are not the primary issues we are faced with…

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“There But for the grace of God, go I”

“There But for the grace of God, go I” is a saying attributed to the English evangelical preacher and martyr, John Bradford (circa 1510–1555). He is said to have uttered the variant of the expression – “There but for the grace of God, goes John Bradford”, when seeing criminals being led to the scaffold. It basically means “I too, like someone seen to have suffered misfortune, might have suffered a similar fate, but for God’s mercy.” I had to look it up on the internet to find the original source. I have used the phrase many times. Tonight was one of those times.

I met a homeless guy tonight. His name is Omar. I have seen him before, but he did not remember me. I was in the park, in Jinotepe, with a few guys passing out tracts several months back. Omar was there was swearing at me from his drunken stupor. Tonight, just before it was dark, Omar was finding a place to lie down for the night. Our eyes met and I saw a little sparkle. Truth is, I thought about picking up the pace and just avoiding him. Then I thought of the verse in Acts where Peter and John saw the man at the temple gate.

Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour. And a man lame from birth was being carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple that is called the Beautiful Gate to ask alms of those entering the temple. Seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked to receive alms. And Peter directed his gaze at him, as did John, and said, “Look at us.” And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them. But Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!” Acts 3:1-6

Omar certainly thought he was about to “receive” something from me. He was all scuffed up, had a busted lip and scabs on his elbows. He had obviously been having a few rough days in a row. Immediately, he asked me if I could help him out. I told him that he had fallen in a well and that he was out of my reach. I explained to him that he was living a life at war with God and that he was never going to win. I also explained to him that could only be rescued by Jesus. He wept bitterly and put his head on my chest. I prayed for him and he cried and cried. I pray that Omar cries out to Jesus. He is a step ahead of most people; he knows that he is lost.

The truth is that everyone is at war with God until he reconciles us. We can all say, “There but for the grace of God, go I” when we see someone like Omar. What is keeping us from being homeless and swearing at those who represent the Gospel? It is only the grace of God. While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. That is what I told Omar tonight. Even though he was committing treason and claiming that he was king of his life, the king of Kings died a horrible death on the cross, because without the sheading of blood, there is no remission of sin.

I was in a well. There was no way I could get out. I fought, I scratched, I cursed. It was not in my power to get out. I was trapped in the life of Sin. Jesus came and set me free. There but for the grace of God, I would still be. Call out to Jesus!hummingbird2

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