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

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,

Deborah Sims


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!


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

Masks And Hoods! An Easter Miracle!

I stood in the doorway of the church, watching the people gather in the street to look at the beautiful display of street carpets (alfombras) made from flowers and colored sawdust. What took hours throughout the night to create, would soon be trampled by the Catholic processions. It was Holy Week (Semana Santa) and thousands gathered from around the world to participate in the three days of Easter celebration.

Our family was leading The Community Church of Antigua, which later became an outreach center. Our team had decide to hold a two-night evangelistic outreach at the church. Our plan was to show the Jesus Film in Spanish. At the time, we thought it was a perfect place and opportunity for the event. The church doors open up like huge gates directly onto the cobblestone street.

We started with great anticipation, but our first night ended with disappointment. We had prayed and fasted, but only two people had entered the church to watch the film. We questioned whether our plans were right. We all decided to show the film one more night.

Darkness fell over the city, as different Catholic churches paraded their dead statue of Christ, concealed in a glass coffin. It was Friday night, the time for grieving, as they proceeded to the place of burial. They shoved the eager crowds back. Candles were passed out, along with written prayers to be recited. The death march began with hundreds of men that resembled the Klan, wearing black and white hoods. They were lead by the priests who were swinging smoking incense throughout the street. It was considered an honor to carry the heavy procession barges, weighing 1,700 pounds, displaying the seven cries of Christ.

We were unaware which street the procession would be traveling on. To everyones surprise, the moment they passed by our church the statue of Mary fell over onto the barge. This was a very serious problem and the procession came to a halt in front of our church doors. One by one, young men dressed in dark hoods entered the church. The church was now full. Shortly after, the statue of Mary was repositioned on the stage of the barge. It had been just enough time for the film to catch the attention of the hooded men. They refused to return to their positions and refused to carry the statues any further until the end of the film. They sat on the church floor with eyes fixed on the screen, as they watched the life of Christ for the first time.

John gave an invitation as the film finished. Many chose Christ as their Savior. That Good Friday night, God chose to stop a 1,700-pound barge with a statue of Mary and of a dead Christ, carried by 200 men, to open their ears and eyes to His living love. Many had never heard the whole story of the cross and a risen Savior.

At a time when I am overwhelmed by the suffering due to COVID-19, I am also reminded of how God provided a way for suffering to end by giving His only son as a sacrifice for our sins.

Below is a recent quote from my son who was there that Good Friday night in Antigua where an Easter miracle happened!

Happy Easter! – Deborah Sims


There was a day and an age when it felt like all hope was lost. It may have seemed like the darkness had won. But God in all his love and glory prevailed! It is the greatest day in all humanity! The day sin and death were conquered forever and God’s love reigned supreme! A verse in Romans that has encouraged me during this time says this:

“So now I live with the confidence that there is nothing in the universe with the power to separate us from God’s love. I’m convinced that his love will triumph over death, life’s troubles, fallen angels, or dark rulers in the heavens. There is nothing in our present or future circumstances that can weaken his love. There is no power above us nor beneath us— no power that could ever be found in the universe that can distance us from God’s passionate love, which is lavished upon us through our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One!” Romans 8:38-39 TPT

Nothing can separate us from His love. Nothing. This is good news! – Nathaniel Sims