HOPE Along The Amazon!

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THE LOWER AMAZON RIVER . . . When I hear the stories told by teams returning from the Amazon, I am amazed at what is being accomplished along the banks of this enormous river. Many of you may have heard of the movie that captures the majesty of the Montana wilderness called, A River Runs Through It. While the lower Amazon River does not display such beauty, it has an amazing uniqueness of its own. Outside of Manaus, the Rio Negro  and Rio Solimoes converge forming the lower Amazon. Along its banks are villages full of families, linked to 300 unreached ethnic tribes nestled deep in the dense jungles. The river people make their home on the riverbanks like in the photo above.

The teams going join missionary Mark Lemos and board the blue vessel (river boat) in route to the villages along the riverbanks. They’re ready to work and build churches that will help village pastors reach further into the jungle. The teams are equipped with water filters, building supplies, medical, and most of all ready to share the love of Christ.

“The spiritual rivers run dark among people unaware of God’s grace. But as the stream of God’s workers flows into the region, there will be a meeting of the waters.” – Andy Raatz

Check out this video of the journey into the Amazon! https://vimeo.com/313546141

At Builders International we believe everyone deserves a place to find HOPE. The Amazon river is a place where we are striving to bring that HOPE, where there is sickness, violence, alcoholism, drug abuse, murder and suicide.

There are more projects bringing HOPE through the construction ministry with the help of  many appreciated volunteers and donors. It is our joy and privileged to be a part of this work and effort.

And you can be too!

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Building On A Firm Foundation

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In traveling with teams, I’ve had the privilege of helping rebuild churches in the country of Cuba. Every time I go my heart is moved to help support the construction needs connected with rapid church growth throughout the island. With the lack of resources, many of the buildings are crumbling. Along with old churches in need of repair, there are new pastors in training waiting for facilities.

As a builder, I recognize the importance of building a firm foundation. In the picture above, it is easy to see that the depth of this foundation being laid in Manzanillo is a clear reflection of another foundation spoken of by Christ.

Luke 6:47-48

47As for everyone who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice, I will show you what they are like. 48 They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. 

At Builders International we believe every person deserves a place to find HOPE. Deborah and I have embraced this vision with a passion, working to help provide opportunities for people to receive that HOPE through the efforts of the construction ministry.

Old Church – New Church (Manzanillo, Cuba)

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Ministry Time – James River Church Team

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John and Deborah Sims

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Mail a check to:
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Why Do People Go?

If you happened to journey deep into the heart of the Brazilian jungle, you might find a bright blue river boat gliding along the Amazon River! If you spotted this vessel, you also will find “willing vessels” on board, where they live together for a week at a time while working hard to build a church along the banks of this massive river.

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We at Builders International join with missionaries around the world like Mark Lemos in Brazil, to be a network of teams and resources to help complete projects impacting communities.

Builders International missionary Tom Moore, recounted his recent journey down the river with one of our South Texas team:

“Our recent trip down the Amazon River in Brazil began with team members gathering at the departure gate in Miami to meet each other before our flight to Manaus, Brazil.

For some of the team members, this was their first construction missions trip. However, several had been on many construction missions trips throughout their lifetime!

Why would these team members give so much of their personal time and finances to make another trip like this? What motivates someone to make these kinds of sacrifices year after year?

Yes, it was on the Amazon River, but the work was hard. Most days it was very hot and several times we were all soaked by the tropical rain. There were no guided fishing trips with great photo ops. The food was adequate but nothing like a five-star restaurant.

Every person came for the same reason. To build a church for the purpose of spreading the gospel! The building we worked on will be a place where people can belong for years to come. Where hurting people can find hope. Men who are facing problems they cannot solve will find hope. Women who are struggling to deal with the hardships of daily life will find hope. Children trying to find their place in the world and deal with personal fears will find hope.

We did not build an ordinary structure. Yes, it is made of ordinary cement, block, steel, and roofing but it is so much more than that. We built a place where people can find hope, no matter what kind of problem they are facing.

When we said our goodbyes, boarded the boat for the last time, and headed up the river that we called home for a week…we all knew we were not only leaving behind a beautiful country called Brazil, but we were leaving behind a lasting legacy of life where hope can now be found!” – Tom Moore

 

If you are interested in joining efforts with us to in making a difference spreading hope and help to those communities around the world, please contact us!

john@buildersintl.org / deborah@buildersintl.org  / 417.582.0003 / 1648 W. Lloyd St. Ozark, MO 65721


It is our goal a Builders International to be a network of teams and resources to help complete projects, which will move them toward greater effectiveness in this area of the world.  


Helping Hands In The Islands

Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) are two groups of islands located in the North Atlantic Ocean, southeast of the Bahamas, northwest of Puerto Rico and north of Haiti. They’re are eight main islands and 299 smaller islands. TCI is a part of the Commonwealth of England so, when you arrive you will find everyone driving on the wrong side of the road.😊 The extreme beauty of the islands has brought a rapid growth in tourism.

On the island of Providenciales, many migrant workers have come from the surrounding countries in the Caribbean in search of work. Many Haitian’s came at the time of the 2010 earthquake. Pastor Bradley of Community Fellowship Center had a vision and a plan to see the people coming to the shores of Turks and Caicos Islands reached for Christ.

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The family roots of Pastor Bradley go back for generations in the TCI. If you travel with him, it’s not long before you realize everybody on the island knows him. His influence has helped establish the civil laws for the TCI and brought education opportunities. When you hear the testimony of how God moved in his father’s life, it’s evident God began something years ago to establish him in a key place of bringing hope to many nations in the islands.

The Sunday we shared with Community Fellow Center, thirteen countries were recognized and celebrated as a part of the church. We had the privilege of tasting authentic food from every nation so proudly represented! We were honored to pray with the first appointed female governess (Premier) over Turks and Caicos.

Monday morning the work began as the team laid block for the new bathrooms that will serve the 200 children in the elementary school and the Caribbean School of Theology.

A97I7742Hurricane Harvey did its damage throughout the islands in August of 2017. We finished painting the main sanctuary ceiling of the new roof. Additional plans where then made to complete the new Creole church currently reaching out to 200 members. Many of these families arrived in Providenciales in search of relief and hope, leaving loved ones behind. I am grateful to have been a small part of this trip in helping further the work of Community Fellowship Center.

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MY TESTIMONY –  It’d been some time sense I’d had the opportunity to travel on a work team with John. I wasn’t sure what I would be useful for. To my amazement the opportunities to serve were endless. Meal prep, painting, serving water, shoveling mortar, moving chairs, playing with children, praying with and encouraging ladies, and much more. But even in the midst of the sweet fellowship and team work, God lets you know He see the troubles you carry deep in your heart. One day I’d finished preparing the lunch with Pastor Rachael. I said good-bye and left, only to realize I’d left my backpack in the school lunch room. When I returned, Pastor Rachael responded with enthusiasm. She asked about my health and said God had told her to pray for me. We shared a great time of prayer and dreams. God always knows!

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  • NORTH TEXAS TEAM – Three churches joined together to make up a team of four pastors and wives, a plumber, general contractor, two teachers and a military veteran. 
  • THANKFUL – We are so thankful for everyone of them. They made a difference!
  • AND. . . one photographer/videographer!

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Turks & Caicos

The Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) of the Caribbean have remained somewhat obscure to the outside world until the `80s when tourism investment began to come to the Islands. With the prospects of employment people immigrated there from nearby island countries. TCI is an English speaking country, but growing with Creole and Spanish speakers, estimating between 17,000 – 30,000. Superintendent Pastor Bradley saw that God was bringing people to their shores who could be reached for Christ. It was evident as we visited the project sites that the leadership had one passion in front of them, to take advantage of the moment to share the gospel of Christ.

On my recent visit to TCI with a group of North TX Pastors, we set our goal to best determine how we could partner with this growing work.

The current Creole congregation lost its complete roof structure in the storm. That did not deter them. They set about building the concrete second floor which, is now ready for walls. At the same time properties for the new Spanish church and a secondary English speaking location have been acquired.

The TCI church is alive and moving forward. Builders International is partnering with the Turks and Caicos church in this effort and is currently scheduling construction teams. Please refer to our website for more opportunity to be a part. – John Sims

https://projects.buildersintl.org/project/197

 

 

The CHURCH in CUBA!

It is always a joy to work and serve in the country of Cuba. I find over and over, whether on the coast or in the city with a project, the churches have a consistent passion for Christ.

On this recent trip to Cuba, I was privileged to host a team from James River Church. In the town of Yaguajay the JRC team worked together with the church to start the process of building a new dinning hall and dorm that will serve the churches in the area.

Together everyone worked hard. The daily work included demolitions, sanding, painting, digging footers, hauling materials, and mixing concrete, while working in the rain.

We had an unexpected awesome surprise when some members of the church provided antique Chevys as daily transportation to and from the project.  There was a beautiful 1952 with original motor, a ’56, and my favorite year, a ’57 Chevy Belair. What a treat!

Escorted to church and the project in style!

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House church in Cuba!

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Dinner is served!

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Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

John

Amazon 100

AJR_8106HOME OF THE LARGEST NUMBER OF UNCONTACTED TRIBES IN THE WORLD, Brazil’s remote and vast Amazon region has extremely limited contact with the outside world. They survive in nearly COMPLETE ISOLATION from the global industrial economy!

Many of the tribes in this part of the world are difficult to reach. The dense growth of trees, plants, and thick underbrush discourages passage by outsiders and affords strict territorial practices for villages that fear intrusion of any kind. In order to protect their borders, they go so far as to kill those who dare intrude. Because of the great number of settlements within these controlled boundaries, there are naturally many different languages, most having no written languages.

Even the government has laws restricting some areas, which prohibit missionaries from approaching the inhabitants of certain villages. BUT GOD IS MAKING A WAY for reaching this primitive society! “With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.” [Matthew 19:26]

Andy Raatz, Director of AGWM Communications, shared two dramatic cases in Worldview Magazine [Volume 2, June 2016]:

Raatz tells of Edgardo Chung, who had fallen gravely ill after working as a drug runner for Pablo Escobar’s drug cartel. Through divine intervention things began to happen. A witch doctor gave him a radio with ritual chants recorded on a cassette tape. Edgardo became frustrated when the tape player wouldn’t work, so he smacked it, causing it to switch to a Christian radio station. At that moment, the preacher said, “If anyone listening has a terminal illness, Jesus Christ can change your life and heal you!” Edgardo ultimately found an AG church, was saved, and was miraculously healed! Today, he pastors a church of nearly 100 families among one of those tribes!

Andy Raatz gave another wonderful example of how God opened doors to a village, in spite of cultural barriers and government laws, for a young Brazilian woman named Elizabeth Vencio. Because of the disturbing rate of suicides occurring among the young in their village, the leaders sought government help in establishing education for their children. Elizabeth had spent many years preparing to reach a hidden tribe for Christ, topping out with an advanced degree in linguistics. Sometime later, she would be a perfect match for that village’s need. According to Raatz, after only five years of Elizabeth’s ministry, over half of the previously unreached people group was saved!

Director Raatz’s accounts of Edgardo and Elizabeth are an encouraging part of the history of how God remembers the seemingly-forgotten people living in this largest river basin on earth.

Assemblies of God missionaries, Mark and Helba Lemos, have a vision for bringing these indigenous people the Gospel by building 100 churches (and beyond) along the rivers and tributaries.

So far, 81 churches have already been built! These buildings are prefabricated metal structures, with metal roof and adobe brick walls. They measure 26 X 56 feet, and will seat 150 people.

We at Builders International are helping with the logistics for team efforts to build churches in this part of the world. Team members who join this adventure will boat in and live on a riverboat for a week while doing construction!

From Builders International Direct Mailer