Christian Terpstra and Jon Velting in Nicaragua

Grace Ministries International, Grace Bible College and the Grace Gospel Fellowship once again partnered together to offer a cross-cultural mission trip for our High School age students. Twenty-one team members from 11 churches in seven states came to Grace Bible College for 3 days of training and preparation for serving together in Nicaragua.  July 21 the team arrived in Nagarote, Nicaragua to begin our ministry.  We were working on the 2 ½ acre plot of land of our first ministry center in Nicaragua. We were building a pre-fab concrete perimeter wall, cutting the grass with machetes and clearing trees and stumps out of the path of the new wall.  Our kids worked so hard under very hot, humid and dirty conditions.  They mixed cement by hand, carried hundreds of heavy cement blocks and cement posts, hauled many wheel barrows full of gravel and sand always with good attitudes.  As a leader, I was so proud of the two students from RCBC, Jon Velting and Christian Terpstra.  They are such hard workers and no matter how difficult the task, they always found a way to make it fun.


2016 EXITE Team in Nicaragua

The team also led games, did skits, made crafts and taught lessons in the children’s clubs and youth groups.  They gave testimonies, sang special musical numbers and gave devotionals.  In Matagalpa where Jeff & Sally Roth and Brett & Debby Chapman serve, our team did an evangelistic outreach event in a large park; and ½ the team hiked 2 ½ hours down to a valley to minister to some deaf families with Sally. We also had the awesome treat to be able to share the Gospel in 4 classes in a special needs school in Matagalpa.

One highlight of the trip for me was to see the youth take ownership of this trip and plan and prepare all the lessons, skits, games and crafts for every ministry opportunity. It was definitely a stretching experience for them but the Lord used each one of them to bless our Nicaraguan brothers and sisters.

Don Ten Hoeve, EXITE Team Coordinator

Christian Terpstra writes…

Being on the EXITE team was an experience I will never forget. It was very fun to meet a lot of new people, on the team and in Nicaragua.  It definitely challenged me spiritually and physically.  Our travel day to Nicaragua was very hectic with over seven hours’ worth of delays.  We got to our hotel around 3am and didn’t get settled into our rooms until about 4am.  My parents were just getting up for work, while we were just about to go to

picture04bed.  A big part of the trip was building a perimeter wall around a property for a new church.  A big difference between here and there was technology.  We had a goal of 100 meters.  We didn’t have a post hole digger, or a cement mixer so all of that work had to be done by hand.  With close to 40 hours invested into the project, we got 91 posts in, 72 sections of blocks in (plus 15 of Parkside’s).  We lifted a total of 870 cement blocks into place.

It was cool to see that people could still live without a strong police force.  For example, on the second Sunday, the rodeo was going on.  We arrived there late, so we couldn’t get tickets to go in.  Jon and I decided we should try to climb the roof to watch from above.  When we got up there we got a lot of looks from the locals.  It was definitely neat to be on the other side of the spectrum and be the different ones.  Thank you for your prayers during the trip.  I hope to be part of the EXITE team again next year.


[column width=”1/1″ last=”true” title=”Brianna Roth” title_type=”single” animation=”none” implicit=”true”]


A man’s steps are established by the LORD, and He takes pleasure in his way. Though he falls, he will not be overwhelmed, because the LORD holds his hand.” ~Psalm 37:23-24 (HCSB)

Four years ago–I took my CNA (Certified Nurse’s Assistant) course through a program called “Stepping Stones” headquartered in a tiny building off 28th street, because it was the cheapest option available. By God’s grace and mercy; I passed the state board exam even though I was only 17 years old. Little did I know that I would be assisting surgeons in the operating room in the distant future! I love reminiscing and appreciating how the name of my training course so perfectly describes my journey towards being a medical doctor!

Challenges accompanied this small taste of what my future might look like. I had to trust God to raise every penny of the insurmountable $7,300 goal. I admitted many frustrations with learning Portuguese despite being challenged hearing-wise. I worked in the OR theatre with the anesthesiologists, residents and other members of the crew. I needed to ask for help when Ipicture1 couldn’t understand what was said behind the mask. I helped with post-operative care and treatment when following the SIM missionary nurse about. I even got the chance to do a marathon surgery weekend at a neighboring hospital with another doctor and pre-med student. I reassured and comforted many clients. I observed the physicians and listened during grand rounds. I educated the Angolan nurses regarding medication administration principles. I took photos for the hospital’s director. I sat in on literally hundreds of consultations. I monitored a neonate with respiratory issues and kept the jar-turned-into-CPAP machine functioning.

God provided many opportunities to minister to people around me, doing what I love!  I constantly prayed for the Holy Spirit to bless others through me. God also chose to use THEM to bless ME. I was very touched by four individuals in particular: Carlos, Laurinda, Maria and Adriano.

TRUST!  Carlos is a little Mukubal (nomadic tribe in the Namib desert) boy with a congenital gastrointestinal disorder who exhibited amazing trust regardless of the language barrier. He looked at me and immediately clasped my fingers as he sat on the narrow wooden seat. Large brown eyes accompanied by an oversized t-shirt made for a very endearing image.

picture2HOPE!  Laurinda is a young 16-year old teen whose countenance appeared very dejected until we gave her a new wheelchair pad. This lessened the brutal gouging of her stage-four necrotic ulcers on her buttocks caused by nerve damage at the 7th thoracic vertebra that left her a paraplegic. Hope blossomed in her beautiful face.

JOY!  Maria is the newborn little angel that I was able to gently transfer to her proud daddy’s arms. God used her to remind me that joy is an attitude we deliberately choose; even though a lady had died that morning from complications related to the six-hour long surgery we’d performed the night before.

GRATITUDE!  Adriano is the blind elderly Mukubal gentleman with benign prostatic hypertrophy and prostate cancer. I needed to help this fellow to the restroom and back. I have taken several patients to the bathroom over the years but I’ve never seen such appreciation leaping out at me—from the resplendent grin, clasped hands and sightless eyes turned upwards in the direction of my voice.picture3

I thank you all so very much for your overwhelmingly generous financial support and prayers for me as I traveled overseas on one of the most incredible life-changing experiences I have ever had.  I definitely consider this a major stepping stone in my education and my walk with the Lord.  Our culture values independence to a fault, but God has shown me that dependence on Him is far more valuable.

“But He said to me,

‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.’

Therefore, I will gladly all the more boast about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may reside in me.

So because of Christ, I am pleased in weaknesses, in insults, in catastrophes, in persecutions and in pressures.

picture4For when I am weak, then I am strong.”


2 Corinthians 12:9-10


Brianna was privileged to serve in Lubango, Angola from June 5 to July 25 this past summer. We thank the Lord for her desire to serve in the area of nursing.

Please continue to pray for her as she finishes her senior year at Calvin College and looks forward to graduating in May 2017.  Pray that the Lord will guide her as she decides where to serve following graduation.



Tom, Crispin and staff at the hospital in Bujumbura.

As returning missionary candidates with Grace Ministries International, we’re thrilled to see the Lord directing and guiding us as we start the process of getting ready to return to East Africa!  This past June, we asked for prayer for our survey trip to Burundi, Tanzania and Zambia to assess each location as potential places for ministry.  In August, our visit to each country gave us the opportunity to meet with African leaders, missionaries, church members, and pastors to discuss specific areas of ministry where we could be used.


Having lunch at Method’s house in Mwanza.

In Bujumbura, Burundi we met with missionary faculty, lay leaders and the rector of Hope Africa University (HAU) and discussed the vision and direction of his administration and its guiding principles as a Christian university who would welcome new missionary faculty.  We’re encouraged by the Biblical values that this Free Methodist-founded university clearly adheres to in this economically struggling country.  After speaking with several key department heads at the university, we can envision teaching roles for both of us while advancing Vision 2023 by opening a new GMI field in Burundi.  Some advantages for Burundi are that we would be able to use French and some Swahili and we would be just a few miles from the border with DR Congo where we could be in contact with former colleagues from the Congolese churches.  HAU even operates a radio station with educational and Christian programming allowing the potential to participate in reaching a huge audience with Biblical truth and the Gospel.  In addition, Burundi is also bordered by Tanzania, making cooperation with sister churches there possible too.


Ice Cream in Mwanza!

In Mwanza, Tanzania we spent time with Pastor Method Mwendapole who took us on a tour of his area of ministry.  He has established church plants in the suburban areas outside the main city and there is a good start on a new building that will serve as a Bible school and church.  We’re encouraged by Pastor Mwendapole and his optimistic, enthusiastic godly spirit as he looks forward to working alongside the Sherman’s and Wilson’s and the role he’s playing as a part of the movement toward GMI’s Vision 2023.  We could see the possibilities for the new ministry in this rapidly growing, budding tourist, and port city.  If the Lord calls us here, we could see helping to start a church plant in the very heart of the city.  Some contacts were made that could also help us make use of our teaching and healthcare talents.


At the Miller’s in Kabwe, working on Whitney’s injured toe!

In Kabwe, Zambia we discussed the future hopes for GMI’s role with Crispin, the national Grace Church chairman, and other leaders.  We’re encouraged by the vision of the present administration as it seeks to disciple and build up the Zambian church to become a consistent and faithful witness to the life-changing Gospel of Grace in the surrounding region.  We attended the Sunday Grace Church service in the downtown area led by a Zambian preacher and another lay leader.  The church includes missionaries from various countries, expatriate workers, and black and white Zambians including a large group from the deaf community who together spanned generations.  This Church is lacking consistent pastoral leadership and has weakened as a result.  We both have opportunities to teach in our respective fields as well as helping to strengthen Grace Church’s presence in Kabwe.

As you read this, we’re preparing to meet with the GMI board to discuss and finalize our placement.  Please pray that our ministry vision aligns with that of the board.  We await His answer believing that “God is able to make all Grace abound to us so that in all things at all times having all that we need we will abound in every good work”( II Cor. 9:8).



Mother and daughter at GCDE Building Dedication. Daughter benefited from cleft palette surgery four years ago.

Dave Velting, Ken Wieringa and Tom Thorburn met missionary Mike Caraway in Sumbawanga, Tanzania. The purpose of the visit was to gain insights about GCDE’s outreach and ministries and its impact on the people who have participated in one or more of its educational programs. We also had the opportunity to attend and participate in the dedication of the newly remodeled office building that GCDE owns and now calls home. We met with the GCDE Board of Directors to learn more about their vision for GCDE. The visits were very informative and gave us many insights about how GCDE has grown as a Christian non-profit organization in the past 10 years since its founding.

Some of the highlights of our visit:

  • Several hundred small business people have been trained in the past six years. They have put into practice many of the biblical values and principals woven into the good business practices taught by Mike Caraway and Martin Haule. We visited some of those who attended the trainings and were impressed with their Christian walk and the changes they’ve made in their businesses.
  • Over 50 farmers have attended seminars on Farming God’s Way over the past two years. These seminars were lead by GCDE Board member Jelle Kipaka. Several demonstration plots were established during the growing season last year along with 6 farmers putting into practice the basic principles of Farming God’s Way. We visited several of those farm families and found

    Farming God’s Way Plot

    that they had increased yields of their corn (maize) crops. Each of the families are planning to expand Farming God’s Way to larger parts of their corn when the planting and rainy season starts in October. The result of the increased yields means that each family increased the amount of food for their family and have the excess to sell for cash. We convey the thanks given by many to RCBC for their generous gift to support the ministry of Farming God’s Way.

  • The dedication of the GCDE office building gave many people who had benefited from GCDE’s programs and ministries an opportunity to share their testimony and impact of the changes brought about in their lives. One such testimony was a mom whose daughter was born with a cleft palette. This child was not accepted by the community nor accepted by other children. Following the surgery which took place in Dar es Salaam this young lady is able to participate fully in school now without the humiliation that she experienced previously. Following her mother’s testimony at the dedication the daughter spoke briefly and brought tears to everyone’s eyes. Praise the Lord for those willing to speak out about their faith in Christ Jesus. There have been over 120 cleft and fistula patients who have benefited from this ministry thanks to Lynn Caraway for working with Tanzanians to get the program started several years ago.

GCDE Board of Directors

In Mbeya we visited with another group of business persons who have gone through business training led by David Mbukwa. He participated in one of the very first classes taught by GCDE. He has taken the training to over 160 of his fellow business people in Mbeya. He is a strong Christian witness and is giving back to his community in several ways with his colleagues this past year. In working with his colleagues they’ve established a savings and loan club to help each other to strengthen their financial position to benefit their families and work in the community. We also had the opportunity to visit with many of the missionaries serving in the Sumbawanga area including Steve and Barbara Sherman, Ted and Kim Rabenold, Mark and Jodi Guilzon, Brook Seekins, Mike and Terese Benton, and Cory and Kim Hodgson. We were guests of Mike and Lynn Caraway in Mumba. We also spent time with Wayne and Sheryl Gasser in Dar. Each of them asked that RCBC family continue to pray for each of them and their families and the Lord’s work they are leading in Tanzania.

It was gratifying to see and visit with many of the people that have benefited from the work led by the GCDE staff and Board. May the Lord receive the praise for these ministries being led in His name.  Our heartfelt thanks to all who made our visit to Tanzania so informative and gratifying because of the Lord’s work they are leading.

~ Dave, Ken and Tom


picture12Thank you to everyone who prayed for us and supported us on our recent trip to Cameroon Africa!  It was an adventure from start to finish, and we felt the support and prayers of everyone here at home!

Our days in Cameroon were very full, with speaking on the radio to promote KidsGames, church services, the Bible Conference, traveling and doing KidsGames.  Our first few days were spent acclimating ourselves to Cameroon and visiting towns around Kumba, which was our home base.

On our first day in Cameroon, we attended an evangelistic service at one of the smaller churches in a nearby town called Kake’. picture13 There was enthusiastic worship, complete with dancing and rhythmic clapping (neither of which we are very good at!), and Pastor Kaleb Kemper gave the message.  What a blessing to see the joy of the Lord in these fellow believers!

We had an adventure on our way to visit the capitol, Yaounde, when our car broke down.  The guys pushed it a short distance, and we found some men who could work on it, but we had to sit and wait while they tried to figure out what was wrong.  As we waited, we got a glimpse of life in Cameroon that we would not have seen otherwise.  We also got to experience public transportation!

When we finally returned from our road trip, the Bible Conference was in full swing.  Gerald and Pastor Kaleb did most of the speaking there, but we were able to do a session on Children’s Ministry and the importance of teaching the children God’s Word in a way they can understand.  We also had two KidsGames training meetings during this time.  We found the African believers to be eager to learn, and receptive to the message that children need to be taught the Word so that they can begin to build a foundation of faith in their early years.

picture14Many of you probably heard that Mr. Dan was dealing with kidney stones during this time.  They began when we were in Yaounde, but he didn’t see a doctor until Friday, the second day of the Bible Conference.  The doctor did give him medication that gave him some relief, but he was not completely free from the pain until about a week later.  In the meantime, we learned more about the Cameroonian medical system than we ever wanted to know!  But we thank God for good doctors and a wonderful nurse who was finally able to get the medicine that gave relief.

After we were in Cameroon for a week and a half, it was finally time for KidsGames!  We were glad to have the time to prepare and get acclimated to the culture of Cameroon, but we were excited to finally be starting the program that we came to do!  We had spoken on the radio three times, and Pastor Jacob had talked about KidsGames many other times on the radio, so we were a little nervous about how many kids would come.

The first day, there was a flurry of preparation, getting last-minute cleaning and set-up done.  And then the kids started coming.picture15  And coming, and coming!  We ended up with about 340 kids the first day, and over 400 the rest of the week.  We had a wonderful team of about 64 leaders who were excited to lead their tracks and teach the kids.  The first day was a little chaotic, as everyone was trying to figure out the program, but after that, things went very smoothly.  We ended the week with a closing program where 23 groups did presentations, from singing to reciting memory verses to skits.  One group even sang a song that was written for us, thanking us for coming and bringing KidsGames.  It was very touching, and we will always treasure the memory of their sweet voices.

By the time we flew home late Sunday night, we were completely exhausted, but felt good knowing that we had accomplished our mission, and had not held anything back.  Even as we travelled, we felt the prayers and support of everyone who was praying for us, both at home and in Cameroon.

We want to thank our church family for this amazing opportunity, and for your support during our trip and since we have been home.  This trip definitely took us out of our comfort zone, but God was with us all the way!