What Now?!

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!

Does HOPE prevail during a global pandemic? We truly believe the answer is Yes!

Builders International

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.

What Now?

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 

Moving projects forward to completion even in these uncertain times.

Builders International

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

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.

The Dilemma.

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!

Berea ChildHope School – Zacapa, Guatemala
Church #103 – Amazon River, Brazil
Church #1 – Flor de Maroñas, Uruguay

God Always Makes A Way!

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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,

Deborah Sims

Time Stood Still!

In a time when the world seems to have stood still, unexpectedly, some things moved forward. Just when we thought all was lost, the opposite happened. Our projects with Builders International continued to moved forward. Thanks to generous donors, committed missionary partners, team leaders, and God’s help, the work has continued to grow. Plans are being made to build the very first church of the Hope for Uruguay 100 initiative…CHURCH #1 of 100!

Our goal with Builders International is to help build 100 churches in 10 years throughout Uruguay, which is known as one of the most unevangelized nations in the Americas.

“In all my travels, I have witnessed no greater spiritual desert than Uruguay.”

– David Wilkerson

“Hope for Uruguay 100 will bring hope to communities across this secular nation ravaged by drugs and alcohol, legalized abortion, and prostitution. It will provide permanent buildings for established, growing congregations. 

A building adds immense value to a new congregation. It provides a central place within the community for evangelism, discipleship, worship, and fellowship. Needs are met, lives are changed, and families are transformed. A new building also gives the pastor credibility within the community.”

– Builders International


Meet Pastor Marcelo and his wife Virginia!

Marcelo grew up with eight siblings and a father who was an alcoholic. Chaos, violence, depression, and financial insecurity constantly surrounded his family. Marcelo was always looking for places to go to escape his home. 

He lived down the road from an Assemblies of God church. One Saturday evening, as he wandered off from home, he decided to go to the church. That night he attended the children’s service. The children’s ministry workers displayed a genuine love and concern for him he had never before experienced. This impacted Marcelo, influencing him to go back week after week, until finally he gave his heart to Jesus!

Many years later, Marcelo had the opportunity to lead his father to Christ…just days before his father passed away!

While serving in their local church, he and his wife, Virginia, sensed the call of God to pastoral ministry. They began to prepare through Bible school training in the evenings.

Twelve years later, Marcelo and Virginia pastor a church in the Barrio Flor de Maroñas community of Montevideo, Uruguay. Their church currently meets in a tent, as they await their new building.

Most every night of the week you’ll find one of the church groups meeting in the tent, whether it’s children, youth, women, men, or everyone together! They meet rain or shine, cold or hot, week in and week out, under the tent on their property. No matter what the temperature is outside, their main concern is the salvation of those in their community! 


Plans for CHURCH #1 (in Barrio Flor de Maroñas) have begun!

“The plan is for the construction of this church building to be finished by the end of September, so this growing congregation can continue sharing the Gospel with more people in their community.

The first four projects of Hope for Uruguay 100 have already been determined. Each church already has a congregation meeting in a temporary location and a trained pastor. The properties have been purchased and they are ready for construction with the goal of all four buildings being erected by the end of the year.”

– Builders International


The Victories for the first 4 churches in Uruguay!

  • A pastor trained and a congregation formed.
  • Property purchased in the name of the Uruguayan General Council of the Assemblies of God.
  • Building design completed.
  • Building permit received

To be a part of building the very first church of the Hope for Uruguay 100 initiative, contact:

Missionary & LAC Project Manager, John Sims . 417-207-5753 . John@buildersintl.org


Join our Financial Support Team

Online giving visit: http://bit.ly/giving-sims
To setup recurring monthly giving or a make a one-time gift.

Mail a check to:
Assemblies of God World Missions 
1445 N. Boonville Ave.
Springfield, MO 65802

(write “John and Deborah Sims ” in memo line)
Giving to Account #243932

Freed From Prison, Freed From His Past!

I passed by the prison cell laden with stone and iron. The heaviness of the atmosphere seemed palpable to me. The night before we arrived I laid in bed wide-awake and pondered, “How would I tell these men God had delivered me from men just like them?” My stomach churned with nerves. They were murderers, rapists, and thieves, much like the men who had robbed us just weeks earlier. I needed peace. “Didn’t they deserve to hear about the love of God? But, what if they felt judged by me? And, how would I overcome intimidation and find the courage needed?” I tried to piece together words that would bear hope.

I was grateful for our team. Our interpreter and his wife were experienced in these things and seemed to be confident in the plan. They had invited John and me to share our terrifying encounter and rescue in this country of Guatemala.

The old Catholic convent now served as a prison for men, isolating them from society. Once we arrived, we were searched and given permission to enter. The thick stone walls and iron bars made for cold and lonely surroundings. There was nothing in the way of furniture nor personal belongings, except for soccer balls in the courtyard. My thoughts from the night before continued to weigh heavily on my heart.

We entered the courtyard where the games had begun. I was nervous. Quickly we were escorted into a room where a group of men stood waiting to hear what we had to say. I wondered, “What have I gotten myself into?” After introductions were made, it was my turn to speak. Suddenly, compassion overcame me. It did not seem important why I was there, but what God was doing. 

In the next few minutes, I shared John’s and my story of the highway robbery and the men who had attacked us. Silence fell over the group. As I dared to look in their eyes, I could see pain. Tears ran down their cheeks as I continued to share how God had rescued us from an impossible situation. If I could only help them to understand how much God loved them. At that moment, I was reminded of our primary purpose as believers; and my reason for being at the prison was clear. It was not to tell my story, but rather to be a manifestation of God’s love. For we had also received freely the forgiving love of God. 

See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. 1John 3:1

We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him? 1John 3:16

It was hard to say good-bye. We prayed with the men and as we left they were kind and showed their gratitude. One young man had caught our attention. He stood out because of a serious, debilitating injury to his eye. His name was Pedro. It wouldn’t be until months later that we would come to realize the full magnitude of what God was doing that day in Pedro’s life.

The evangelistic crusade would be held in a three-top circus tent with capacity for 1500 people. People gathered out of curiosity to watch the enormous tent go up. The local soccer field near the busy food market was the perfect place. It took weeks of preparation and prayer. Daily announcements were made on a loudspeaker inviting people to the crusade. 

At the end of the week-long crusade, Pedro walked into the back of the tent. We couldn’t believe it! We greeted him with excitement! He explained how he’d just been released from prison. While in the courtyard of the prison he had heard the announcements on the loudspeaker coming from the street. The crusade was the first place he had decided he wanted to go. He had remembered our visit to the prison and wanted to know this God we had talked about. Set free from prison in one moment and from his past in the next, all in that same day! He became a new and changed man when introduced to the love of God. 

Pedro attended a training center where he learned more about God’s love. When he returned to his village at the foothills of a volcano, he was not the same man he had once been. Pedro decided to serve in his local church introducing others to the same love and forgiveness that had set him free.

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. John 3:16

It is not only what God does in us, but it’s what He does through us. During this time of COVID-19, I am reminded of the opportunities we have to introduce people to God’s love. Instead of being consumed with fear, judgments, and intimidation, let’s do the opposite and use every opportunity we’ve been given to share the love of God with people just like Pedro!

Together, we build HOPE!

Deborah Sims