Liquid Gold!

Raised on Liquid Gold!

If you grew up in the state of Vermont, more than likely you were raised on something called Liquid Gold and proud of it! Yup! In other words, Maple Syrup!

This time of year Vermonters will be setting their taps in thousands of trees in preparation for the sap that is about to run! Hoping for a good season, the anticipation supersedes the work. It starts with days of hiking through the woods, usually in deep snow, requiring snowshoes. Then come the long hours through the nights boiling the sap. It’s definitely not for the half-hearted!

The first run off is like sweet water with a taste of its own. It goes on everything from ice cream to coffee. There’s nothing like a hot pancake with warm Fancy Maple Syrup, fresh bacon, and a dill pickle. I remember as a child collecting the sap from the buckets hanging on trees, then lugging it to horse-drawn tanks. You could see the steam rise off the backs of the horses.

Nowadays, it is done a little differently, but the outcome is the same. Whether it is a big operation for profit, or a small family hobby, it’s collected, boiled, and enjoyed! Finally, we’d top off the season with a traditional social event . . . a good ‘ol “sugar on snow” party!

Silver or Gold . . . Please!

The first time I walked down the streets and into the villages of Guatemala, I was confronted with poverty and sickness in a way I never could have imagined. The crippled, sick, and orphaned were abandoned to the streets. I remember on the old beautiful steps of the Cathedral sat young and old alike, suffering and begging for portions. My youngest son was only 4-years-old. His immediate response was to share everything we had. At first I felt a strong sense of helplessness. The few dollars I had to give would only bring temporary relief. But then I was reminded of Peter!

Guatemala, View of San Jose Cathedral

In the Bible, Peter was confronted with the same circumstances.

Acts 3:2-3, 6 When a certain man crippled from his birth was being carried along, who was laid each day at that gate of the temple called Beautiful, so that he might beg for charitable gifts from those who entered the temple. So when he saw Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked them to give him a gift.

But Peter said, “Silver and gold I do not have; but what I do have, that I give to you: in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk!”

That day the thought crossed my mind . . . “Unlike Peter, silver and gold I do have.” But that in and of itself is not enough. Jesus spoke to the woman who touched the hem of His garment . . .

Mt 9:22 Jesus turned and saw her. “Take heart, daughter,” he said, “Your faith has healed you.” And the woman was healed at that moment.

Jesus offered more than relief from suffering. In the story of the woman at the well, He offered her eternal life and freedom from her enslavement.

John 4:13 Jesus answered her, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again. But whoever drinks the water that I give him will never be thirsty again. But the water that I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

At the Cathedral that day, I was reminded that I had something greater to offer than silver and gold, it was Jesus. I love the taste of sweet maple syrup, that “liquid gold,” but what Jesus offered the thirsty woman at the well was eternal life. My desire is to use whatever resources I have to bless others. But greater than that is to tell others about Jesus, so they may know His love and receive freely eternal life.

Building Hope,

Deborah Sims

Called To Run! Called A LOSER!

Moments away from taking the stage, we stopped to pray.  We were very aware of all the things that could go wrong, even though we had practiced night after night in preparation for this outreach. Prayer was our weapon.

Many times we began our evangelistic outreaches with music. I’d play the saxophone and John would play his guitar at parks, villages, streets, beaches, prisons, etc. The goal was to set a platform for the gospel to be preached.

Guatemala Park Outreach

The Race And The Runner!

That evening while praying, I envisioned myself running on a race track towards a goal when suddenly, someone in the bleachers called out, “LOSER!” Over and over again they continue to taunt me, “Loser, failure, you’re defeated.” Out of frustration, I finally ran over to the bleachers and began to engage with the heckler in an argument, defending myself.

It wasn’t long before I realized that as I stood there, arguing with the accuser, I had become the very thing I was being accused of.… A LOSER.

I had stopped running long enough to lose sight of the goal set before me, dropping out of the race.

Paul wrote to the Galatians asking them . . . who had bewitched them, who had convinced them to stop running the race?

Galatians 5:7-8 says . . .

You were running the race so well. Who has held you back from following the truth? It certainly isn’t God, for he is the one who called you to freedom.

That night, as prayer ended, I realized my focus had been misplaced. For Christ is the author and finisher of my faith. Focusing on the wrong thing seeds fear and doubt. My eyes were on the accuser, leading me away from the truth and my trust in God.

James 4:7 says . . .

So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

Hebrews 12:1-2 says . . .

And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith . . .

My goal is . . . to stay in the race . . . keep my eyes on Christ . . . for He is the the champion who initiates and perfects my faith. He makes me a winner!

Are you a Winner? You can be!

Romans 8:37 says . . .

Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors and gain an overwhelming victory through Him who loved us.

At Builders International we build HOPE . . . a HOPE that comes from knowing Christ! He gives us the opportunity to introduce that HOPE to others by building places where HOPE can be shared!

Together We Build Hope!

Deborah Sims

It's All About The Shoes!?

I looked down at the floor as we began to pray for the service that was about to start. Around me stood leadership staff and volunteers of all ages ready to serve. Everyone was dressed in casual plain clothes, nothing unusual. What did stand out to me were the SHOES. There was nothing casual or plain about the SHOES. Sparkling, glittering shoes, red shoes, expensive-looking men’s leather shoes, short suede boots, all types of sneakers and colors, pumps with bows, pumps without bows, slip-ons, loafers, tall leather boots, etc.👟 👠 🥿 👞 IT WAS ALL ABOUT THE SHOES! Each pair of shoes seemed to be an expression of the personality of the person wearing them. Thinking about shoes reminded me of my time spent in Guatemala with my family working as missionaries.

I remember so clearly running through the jungle of Guatemala barefoot with my 4-year-old in my arms, pursued by thieves. In the days that followed my rescue, my heart ached to give every barefoot person a pair of shoes. 👠 👞 🥿 👟 Any kind of shoes. I had so many sitting in my closet unused. For shoes can bring protection, relief, and comfort to tired, sore feet. But is it all about the shoes?

My thoughts quickly went to a time when we traveled to the Guatemala City dump where 8,000 people scratch out a living. At the dump we distributed food. Our goal was to share the love of Christ with the children and their families through puppets, songs, gifts, and fun games. Before we left the dump the team had given away all their shoes, one thing we had not planned on doing. After lots of hugs and good-byes everyone returned to the bus barefoot. Shoes aren’t anything without feet to put them on, but they’re everything to those who do not have any. On that day the simple act of giving away our shoes provided an opportunity to share the love of Christ!

So, is it really about the shoes? When entering God’s presence, the Lord told Moses to remove his shoes and to stand barefoot before the burning bush.

Then the Lord said to him, ‘Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” Acts 7:33

In the story of the Wizard Of Oz, when Dorothy clicks her heels together, her magical shoes transport her home to the place of her heart’s desire. But in the real world, it’s not where your cool shoes can take you, but rather where your feet can take your shoes? While your shoes serve a practical purpose, your feet are what it’s all about.

How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?  And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” Romans 10:14-15

So, whether you are wearing leather wing-tipped dress shoes or flip flops, where have your feet taken you!?

I am grateful for the opportunities I’ve been given to serve in missions and travel to places where there are those who have not heard of the love of God. And I am thankful for your partnership in sending John and me.

TOGETHER WE BUILD HOPE!

Deborah Sims

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.

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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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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Ethan and Meghan Sims’s Wedding

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The moment finally came to celebrate the beginning of Ethan and Meghan’s journey to becoming husband and wife. An enchanting moment when a man and a woman become one. It was a moment we all met with great anticipation!

John was given the honor of performing the wedding vows! I fought tears of joy, with a heart full of gratitude, memories of the past, and dreams for the future. It was time to share a son, but to also gain a daughter!

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We have prayed over the years for both sons, that God would bring them HIS choice for a spouse. July 2 our prayers were answered as Meghan walked down the aisle to meet Ethan.

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I DO . . .  I DO!

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THE WEDDING PARTY!

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I had my moment too!

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And they had their dance!!!!!

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THE END of the celebration and the beginning of a journey of marriage and love!

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How did we come to this blessed day? As John and I pursued the calling God placed in our hearts years ago, never did we imagen the plans He had to include into our family two amazing women, Stephanie (Nate’s wife) and Meghan (Ethan’s) wife. I am so grateful for every miracle God has done in my health. I am so grateful for my sons, who love God first and then their families. Most of all I am grateful for my husband who has walked life’s journey with me through better or worse, richer or poor, and sickness or health. He as continually loved me! He has faithfully loved the Lord! And here is OUR FAMILY!

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