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

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

My Heart 4 CUBA!

Of all of the countries in Latin America that I’ve had the privilege to work in, Cuba has in my heart a special and unique draw. In this world there are many challenges that can stretch us to our limits. In Cuba, though, I’ve experienced a perseverant and giving people who are genuine in their passion for God. It’s absolutely amazing and refreshing to your spirit to be around these wonderful people.

Panoramic view of Havana, the capital of Cuba

The Team . . .

This last team I had the privilege of hosting from JRC were both veterans and a few newbies, who all did an awesome job. Our team slogan for the whole trip was, “We move as one!” We also suffered as one, due to a virus of some sort that infected us. The local tonic of the day was “Onion Oil” and I’m not sure it made it worse or became the remedy. In spite of the circumstances, everyday the team was prepared to work and serve. A hundred pairs of new shoes were carried and given, tools for the job delivered, worship instrumentals were played, and testimonies shared. Everyone gave 100% and in return were blessed immensely by the loving Cuban people.


The Church . . .

The construction project at the church in Manzanillo is strategic to the area. The Pastor and congregation take seriously the responsibility God has given them to encourage and build up other surrounding churches. The special women’s ministry is another key part of growth in this area.

In a women’s meeting and several other services, we were given ample opportunity to encourage, pray, share, and minister. The team and I were excited to be a part of what God was doing. Some were saved and others experienced healing in their bodies.


The Project . . .

Altogether, in my estimation, the work in the church is half finished. To complete the building there is a need for several more teams willing to go and at least $80,000 in project funds to be donated. I join with the church in their excitement and hope in seeing the completion of this building.


DIOS BENDIGA a CUBA!

Together we build HOPE! John Sims

HOPE FOR URUGUAY

Uruguay is one of the most stable countries economically and politically in Latin America, yet one of the hardest to reach with the gospel. It is the only atheistic country in the Americas and the only country in the world to have legalized abortion, same sex marriage, prostitution and marijuana. It has been called the most unevangelized nation in the Americas and the “Graveyard of Latin American Missions.” – Steve and Jill McCarthy, Missionaries to Uruguay

Continue reading “HOPE FOR URUGUAY”

Time Spent With Builders International

John and I joined Builders International in 2009, after serving with MAPS Constuction. I never thought our missions work would involve construction as a ministry. Up until then our work had primarily consisted of pastoring and evangelizing as missionaries in the country of Guatemala. Today I can say without hesitation, how amazing it has been to be a part of Builders and grow with the development of this ministry.

If you would like to join us in praying for projects around the world that we have currently partnered with, click on the DOWNLOAD button above for a free listing.

1 Corinthians 2:9 

However, as it is written:

“What no eye has seen,
    what no ear has heard,
and what no human mind has conceived”
    the things God has prepared for those who love him.