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