It is not everyday that one gets the opportunity to see the impact a building can have in a community. Just recently, we had the privilege and honor of representing Builders International at the ribbon-cutting… More
People Over Projects!
As we say goodbye to 2021 and look forward to 2022, we once again are amazed at this year’s progress in our mission projects despite the present day challenges. Even with all the building that has taken place, we believe it is people over projects that matter most and remains at the heart of what we do.
One year after the dedication of the first church built in Flor de Maroñas, Uruguay with missionaries Steve and Jill McCarthy, the best news of all came!!
“In one year, the church saw 124 salvations, multiple baptism services, and a vision to continue reaching their community!” – Steve McCarthy
We rejoice with our friends and Pastor Marcelo and Virginia over the lives changed in the past year since Church #1 of the Hope for Uruguay 100 project was finished.
In just over a year, 12 churches have been built throughout the atheistic country of Uruguay! That is 12 communities where God’s word is moving forward, and the kingdom is being advanced…12 communities with a place to find hope!!
This next year Deborah and I ask you to continue to pray for us as we finish raising our missionary support to fund our work with Builders International. We will be working in the countries of Peru, Ecuador, Antigua, Uruguay, Cuba, as well as numerous others around the world, partnering with our missionaries to assist them in sharing Christ.
- Peru: In a remote region accessible only by boat, new churches are being built for communities with trained pastors who are reaching the Iquitos people. Two have been completed in the villages of Pijuayal and Nuevo Progreso.
- Ecuador: The Jungle Bible School will train indigenous church planters to reach 400 unreached villages of the head-shrinking Shuar tribe.
- Antigua: The Youth Ministry Center will provide a safe place for neglected, abused, and broken youth exposed to the dangers of drugs, prostitution, witchcraft, and poverty, to find hope and grow in Jesus.
- Uruguay: Hope for Uruguay 100 is an initiative to build 100 churches in 10 years throughout Uruguay, which is known as one of the most unevangelized nations in the Americas.
- Cuba: The church in Manzanillo will bring encouragement, relief, and advancement of the gospel with the expansion of their facility.
Our challenge…to finish raising our missions funds in 2022 and return promptly to our work.
Our missionary budget is set at the cash goal of $14,700, along with increased monthly support. Would you consider helping us with our missions budget, as we continue our work with Builders International, building HOPE?
People over projects are at the heart of what we do. As projects are moving forward around the world…Belgium, Brazil, Ecuador, Ghana, Guatemala, Honduras, Liberia, Mexico, Nepal, Panama, Peru, Rwanda, Spain, Ukraine, and Uruguay…lives are being changed!!
Thank you for your continued support and friendship. We pray your family remains safe, under His care! Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year!
Together, We Build Hope,
John Sims, Regional Project Manager – Builders International Missionaries John and Deborah Sims | International Ministries
To help with recurring monthly support, one-time cash donation, or an increase to your current giving, scan the QR Code below or follow the Link Tree url.
For Information on how To Give: https://linktr.ee/JohnLSims
RECAP ON 2020…
The beginning of 2020 started off with a bang! January 9th, Deborah and I returned from the BGMC event in Mexico with good news!
We were excited! We had just raised the remaining funds needed to finish the construction of the Berea ChildHope School in Zacapa, Guatemala. It was only January and we were off to the start of a promising year.
Following our trip to Mexico, plans had been made for the upcoming Hope for Uruguay 100 project. This would be the newest initiative…to build 100 churches throughout Uruguay. We had an assessment team scheduled for March, a vision team scheduled for April, and churches ready to send funding and teams to build Church #1.
There had been years of preparation by Uruguayan leadership, with church planters trained and congregations meeting under tents and other inadequate facilities while waiting for a building. We were finally at the point where this project was about to launch.
These two projects were to be our biggest focus for 2020! We felt privileged and excited to join with our missionaries and Builders as a part of something we could see the Lord in so strongly.
Then the unexpected happened! We suddenly found ourselves facing a global pandemic. We watched in disbelief as the world shut down and our partnering missionaries returned home.
All AG World Missions team travel was canceled and our scheduled projects put on hold. But what disturbed us in a deeper way, was the thought of how people were going to suffer in these communities. What about the children cared for by Berea ChildHope School or the tribal people living along the Amazon River, who depend on connecting to the outside world by way of the river. Does HOPE prevail during a pandemic?
In Montevideo, Uruguay, where church #1 was scheduled to be built, the ladies had worked hard selling fruta pies to help raise enough money to purchase land. The banks in Uruguay are not legally allowed to provide a loan to a church, but with persistent work and God’s help, the land was purchased. Pastor Marcelo and Virginia and their congregation had met under a tent for the past three years. Shivering during the winter months, sweltering during the summer months, and enduring soaking wet feet during the rainy season.
Everything had led up to this moment. Now our hands were tied, unable to help.
No assessment trip to work with our missionaries, Steve and Jill McCarthy, for the technical planning for 100 churches, no vision team to raise the funds needed for church #2 and beyond, and no US construction teams for church #1 – La Iglesia Encuentro con la Vida, in Montevideo, Uruguay.
Disappointed and frustrated, once again we wondered…Does HOPE prevail during a pandemic?
“That’s when the Virtual Mission Trip happened. In September, Builders hosted our first-ever, truly interactive, live Virtual Mission Trip to Uruguay. A connection took place between Uruguayans, a missionary family, team members, and generous donors from all over the world during a historical event where thousands of people witnessed a life-changing project from “dirt to done” in just five days!
No more church under a tent. No more cold or wet feet during church. This grateful group of brothers and sisters were now in a brand new building!
Not only was the local community in Uruguay incredibly impacted, but unexplainable generosity has been pouring in from the virtual audience of donors who witnessed their sacrificial giving put to work. They were able to see the congregation, both young and old, work excitedly and tirelessly to construct the church in record time. What I believe made the biggest impact on our U.S. partners was their ability to lift up this group of strangers, with real-time emotional and heartfelt prayers, as they humbly approached the camera with hearts of cheerful gratitude.
This was huge for these communities in Uruguay! Church #2 had been meeting in a bus and in the town of Lorenzo Geyres, nothing had been built in over 30ty years. But this was not all.
Since then, miraculously, Church #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, #7, #8 and #9 have all been funded, completed, and dedicated!
Dedication Day … Berea ChildHOPE School
It began as a … Vision, Burden, Dream, Need.
Another Win … 2021!
In May of 2021, Berea ChildHope School, led by missionaries Daren and Hiedi Walker was completed!! The school will care for 500 students, providing an escape from poverty and hope for a better future.
Does HOPE prevail during a pandemic? Absolutely! 2020 and 2021 has been years when once again we’ve seen, though we are bound by the limitations and the troubles of this world, God is not.
These are only a couple of miraculous faith-building examples of how God has allowed Deborah and me to see what hope can look like during a pandemic.
While COVID-19 continues to bring instability to many countries, Project Shovel-Ready ensures that projects poised to advance the gospel move forward to completion. These projects have been thoroughly vetted and are viable with a well-thought out plan. They are ready to go … just waiting for help!
Deborah and I will be working with the Builders International team, helping to bring these projects to completion!
HURRICANE RECOVERY – BAHAMAS
HOME OF HOPE DENTAL CLINIC – BANGLADESH
CONTINENTAL THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY – BELGIUM
JUNGLE BIBLE SCHOOL – ECUADOR
HONDURAS DEAF SCHOOL – HONDURAS
HONDURAS TRANSFORMATION PROJECT – HONDURAS
PEMBA MINISTRY CENTER – MOZAMBIQUE
CASA DE MI GLORIA CHURCH PLANTS – NICARAGUA
HAPPY HORIZONS CHILDREN’S RANCH – PHILIPPINES
MALLORCA CHRISTIAN CENTER – SPAIN
WHIT-SANDE MINISTRY CENTER – SURINAME
EVANGEL THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY – UKRAINE
HOPE IN ACTION MEDICAL MINISTRY CENTER – UKRAINE
TANNA MISSIONS CENTER – VANUATU
To find our more, visit: ProjectShoveReady.org
Thank you for your continued support and friendship. We pray your family remains safe, under His care!
Together We Build Hope,
John Sims, Regional Project Manager – Builders International
Deborah Sims, Lead Visual Communications | Builders International
A new BIRTH and a RE-BIRTH!
No matter the time of day, it always seemed like rush hour on the road to San Cristobal, Guatemala. This day was no different. Missionary Tom, John, and I were on our way to the US Embassy to meet with the Ambassador of the United States and the Deputy of Missions. It was an honor to be invited to share our story and we were excited. We knew in advance we would have this meeting, through a confirmation from the Lord. We’d only been in the country two weeks as new missionaries, but God had already done so much in our hearts.
Then the unexpected happened! We saw a young girl fall down, while standing in the median between two lanes of heavy traffic. We quickly circled around and pulled off the road to see if we could be of any assistance. An old woman stood beside her, holding the hand of a small confused boy, appearing to be her grandson. The old woman was frantic, yelling words we could not understand. I knelt down beside the young girl on the ground, only to discover she was in labour. The baby had crowned and was coming!
Tom and John quickly grabbed the necessary supplies from the van needed for the delivery, then set off in search of the father, who’d gone for help. They returned shortly and stood at a distance. The father was troubled. Tom and John continued to reassure him.
The young mother clung to me tightly. She was wrapped in a colorful, indigenous, tipica skirt. I wondered which village she called home. She and her family had tried to reach the hospital on foot when she’d gone into labour. Now it was too late. My heart was desperate to help her in any way I could. Even though she did not speak a word to me, there seemed to be an understanding between us. I was grateful for the experience I’d had earlier that year as a coaching partner for a friend’s home birth; but this time we were in the middle of rush hour traffic and no one seemed to care.
Then suddenly, a car pulled up behind our van and out jumped a gentleman. In broken english, he introduced himself as a doctor. He explained, he’d stopped because he’d seen our US plates.
Seconds later, the baby was born! I wrapped her in an old sweater covered with grass and handed her to her new mom. As men gathered around to help her into the doctor’s vehicle, it was hard to say goodbye. I didn’t even know her name, but that day our hearts were bound together through what started in fear and ended in deep joy!
The doctor had been afraid of hepatitis and, therefore, had been hesitant to help. He would have never stopped to assist, if he had not noticed our US plates. We were relieved to have his assistance, but the arrival of a new baby was not what he expected.
As we drove the rest of the way to the US Embassy, John shared about the father. They had prayed with him. While his daughter was being born on a dirty highway, in the middle of a median, he’d given his life to Christ, accepting him as Saviour. A newborn daughter and a born-again father!
In John 3:3-7, Jesus explains to Nicodemus what it means to be born again.
3 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born-again.”
4 “How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!”
5 Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. 6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. 7 You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born-again.’”
During this global pandemic, we are not able to do things in our usual way, but with God all things are possible. He can bring unexpected opportunities, like using the birth of a baby, to bring a father the opportunity to know and accept Christ as his Saviour.
Building HOPE takes a TEAM,
September 23rd through the 27th, we at Builders International are hosting live a Virtual Mission Trip to the country of Uruguay!
This is a FREE opportunity for you and me to experience the journey of a mission trip and the impact you can have! I’d like to invite you to join John and I in this unconventional way of going to the mission field. If you’re interested, visit builduruguay.org and join the team! That way you won’t miss out on updates and details about the trip!
Far, Far, Away…
When your heart is consumed with a passion for missions, it can be frustrating when confronted with closed borders. With restrictions on travel it can seem nearly impossible to continue your missions work…or is it? This was how we felt at the beginning of March this year.
What do you do when faced with a global pandemic?
Builders International construction teams missions trips are a vital part to the work. Not only are the lives of team members impacted, but the work itself is advanced for our missionary and national partners building places where people find hope!
With borders closed our projects no longer had the huge resource of teams, which brings physical labor, as well as project funding for construction materials.
The Answer to the Dilemma.
This is where the strength of our amazing network pulls together. In the middle of this global pandemic, churches have continued to send the construction funds needed, so materials could still be purchased and local labor hired. Our missionary and national church partners have been able to keep the work moving forward.
Because of this, great things are taking place this month!
- The roof went up on the Berea ChildHope School in Guatemala.
- A church was built on the Amazon River.
- The foundation was poured for Church #1 in Uruguay for the Hope for Uruguay 100 initiative.
God Always Makes A Way!
Often I am reminded of the missionary work of Andrew van der Bijl, also known as Brother Andrew, the founder of Open Doors. During the Cold War, he traveled to the Soviet Union in a Volkswagen Beetle to encourage Christians who were living under great persecution. He smuggled Bibles into communist countries, earning him the name, Gods Smuggler.
If we have no eye for the lost around us, how can we then ever have God’s love for the people far away?
Because no one ever becomes a missionary by crossing the ocean. You are a missionary here or you’re not a missionary.
– Brother Andrew
We are very thankful to be a part of the Builders team and to all who have partnered together with us to bring HOPE to communities around the world, by assisting the national church with their construction needs.
I have committed in my heart, whether here or across the ocean, to share the love of God daily with those around me.
And together, we will build places where people find hope!
Deborah and John Sims
They thought loss, but God gave gain!
The hallways were empty and silent on the campus of Continental Theological Seminary (CTS). The Coronavirus had invaded Belgium like the rest of Europe. Suddenly in one day everything had changed.
It had been such a fantastic school year for the CTS students. Now the future was bleak and full of uncertainty. It was heart wrenching as the staff watched the students pack their bags and prepare to return to their homes and families.
At the peak of Covid-19, it was estimated up to 600 people a day were dying in Belgium. Like every other school and business in Belgium…and across the globe, CTS would have to close their doors too.
The CTS President, Dr. Joseph Dimitrov, explained how in moments of a trial like COVID-19, your dreams are tested and it is easy to question the plans God has given you. Discouragement can take over as the trial seems to dictate the circumstances.
Dr. Dimitrov continued by saying, “I have never doubted about the faithfulness of God to CTS as we went through this coronavirus period.
James 1:2-3 says, ‘Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.’
The Coronavirus was one of those trials. We learned new virtues of endurance and patience.”
What was Loss, Now was Gain.
Education in Europe is taught in a more traditional way in classrooms. During the time of the pandemic, the staff was given new tools and developed skills for teaching online. Three months later, every student passed their final exam after participating in these online courses! The graduating class of 2020 will have its commencement service on October 3! The new school year will begin in October, as well, with two first-time students from Greece and Honduras.
The school faculty and student body stayed connected, sharing testimonies of the goodness of God in challenging situations. Now, at Continental Theological Seminary they are redreaming the dream.
What was considered as a loss in the beginning, now is considered gain!
The Construction Phase Is Happening.
The architectural and engineering plans are completed on the Continental Theological Seminary expansion for the Pentecostal Center. Now begins the Construction Phase for the new dormitory, cafeteria, and administration offices. The Pentecostal Center will prepare students to reach the post-Christian culture with the good news of Jesus!
I’ll leave you with a powerful thought Dr. Dimitrov shared:
“Tell me what your God is like and I will tell you what your trust should be!”
Together We Build Hope,