Have you ever locked your keys in the car? It’s really never at a convenient moment, but I think maybe one of the worst times is when your family of six is at the airport curb, ready to leave the country, and your passports and suitcases are still inside.
Yep. That’s how we started our first family mission trip to Nicaragua! And if you are thinking, “Surely, things will get better…” You should probably go read our vacation story from last year which, oddly enough, also involved locking keys in the car as well as a broken foot, broken tooth, broken toe, a closed theme park, and swimming in raw sewage. (We don’t make a habit of swimming in sewage, in case you were wondering. We save that for special occasions.)
Our flights were fairly uneventful, aside from when they took our most important carry-on bag from us. (It was the one with all the technology we need for the ministry, as well as the money we had already exchanged for Cordobas.) Oh – and the Wendy’s in the Houston airport was out of baked potatoes and I had to eat french fries. Not that I’m bitter or anything.
We did finally arrive in Managua, Nicaragua. Our friends were waiting for us and we only had to get our luggage, clear Customs, and find them. Unfortunately, both Customs and the luggage inspectors weren’t quite sure of us. Apparently, two 40-somethings traveling with 4 teens and 11 suitcases seems nefarious. Maybe it was because I snapped this picture before Allen informed me that no pictures are to be taken in this part of the airport. Oops.
After they walked Allen out to find our friends to verify our story, called in several people to ask us questions, and did a lot of paperwork, we were able to get our luggage, which was then inspected. Twice. We were finally allowed to leave the airport at 9 pm.
It took 2 trucks and quite a few friends, but we got the 6 of us and all our luggage to our “home away from home” in Diriamba, Corazo. We are staying in the second house of the Mayor of Diriamba. I will say more about him later because he is the kindest, most thoughtful and humble man and we are thankful to be counted among his friends. But for now, I’ll just tell you that the hurricanes of the past months flooded this house and ruined all his furniture. We knew this and our team planned ahead, having cots and an air mattress waiting for us. We even found out that the Mayor had installed a window A/C unit just for us! This Arizona girl was seriously excited about that news!
However, it was very late when we arrived “home”, and the power had gone out. This meant no air conditioning, but it also made it difficult to inflate the “Self-Inflating Air Mattress”. We decided to take turns blowing. We each blew until we felt faint, at which point the other would take over. We got it up to about 2 inches high before we passed out. (Not really. We’re just quitters.)
Deciding to sleep on it “as is”, we crawled on. This is when I discovered that my legs weigh far less than my head and every time Allen moved – my legs would “jump up in the air like they just did not care”. This led to jokes about the hokey pokey and I had a strong urge to turn our bed around. It was at this point we realized it was useless to try to sleep like that because we were laughing too hard.
We ditched the mattress, put the blanket on the cool tile floor near the open door, hoping to catch a breeze, and tried hard to sleep. Just as we were finally drifting off, around 3 am, the power, and every light on the property, turned on.
Party at the Mann’s! We had air conditioning AND an inflated bed! Who could ask for anything more??? And in just a few hours we would start a new day and we were excited about the ministry opportunities! Plus, maybe our adventures would be… less adventurous! One can always hope!
God continues to bless the Philippines branch of Graceworks Global!
–Every Saturday, Children from poverty-stricken areas are given food, love, and the message of Christ.
–Every Sunday, young adults are meeting for prayer and Bible study. Many are coming to Christ and growing in Him!
–Pastor Roel (our Filipino assistant) spends each week inviting people to Bible studies and giving them the gospel. This week many attended a study on salvation.
— The gospel is also shared with any who will listen This week, 3 security guards trusted in Christ for their salvation!
We are so thankful for Pastor Roel and the work he is doing in the Name of Christ!
One of the ways we share the gospel is through the use of what we call “The Wordless Bracelet”. We make packets containing colors that represent sin, purity, the blood of Christ, growth and heaven. Kids (and often adults too) make the bracelets and hear the gospel as they work. Then they are also able to use that bracelet to share the Good News with their friends and family as well!
But making packets takes time. A lot of it. Imagine putting 25,000 individual rubber bands and 1,000 minuscule plastic clips into 1,000 tiny baggies… I don’t have to imagine. Sometimes I can’t even escape those rubber bands in my dreams!
But Ponderosa Bible Teens came to our rescue! In just one hour they did what takes my family weeks!
Thanks PBC Teens. You guys are the best!
And we have 1,000 bracelet packets vacuum sealed and ready for Nicaragua!
Graceworks Global travels to many developing countries that desperately need clean, safe, water – and we do our best to get them as much help as we can, but until recently, it was almost unthinkable to need such a thing in the USA. However, with all of the recent hurricanes and subsequent flooding, we find it necessary to lend aid to some of our own here in the States.
One of our local churches in Payson, AZ, Mountain Bible Church, (in cooperation with Samaritan’s Purse), is taking a clean-up crew to areas near the Houston, TX area – and we want to help! It’s not possible for us to physically go at this time, but we are sending some water filter kits ahead of them to distribute to those whose ground water has been contaminated. Our friends at Mountain Bible will be using these buckets to share the good news of Jesus and it is our hope and prayer that many will receive Jesus as the Living and True Water of Life.
If you would like to be partner with us and purchase a filter kit for a family in need…
We just need 82 people to sponsor 1 bucket in order to reach our goal!
Because we are ordering in bulk, we are receiving a special rate from GreenHitechs.com as they are helping us accomplish a part of the vast need. The kits, normally $100 plus shipping, are being offered to us for only $80. Families will not have to wait for stores to re-stock water or for the humanitarian workers to get water to them. They will be able to purify their own water wherever they are! This is a huge benefit to them.
If you cannot contribute financially, please be in prayer for those going, that they may truly be a light in the darkness and that many will be saved through the distribution of these buckets.
The Pastors and Church Leaders conference is in its final day.
Kids have been fed and given school supplies.
But my favorite part has to be the gospel bracelets. Using the colors of the “Wordless Book”, kids make bracelets and learn about God’s gift of Salvation AND how to share that gift with others! Take a look…
Please pray for these dear children and new friends that they will take their knowledge and share the gospel with people we will never meet! I love how that works!
One of the most amazing things about having a ministry of training local pastors to minister to their own people is that — local pastors end up ministering to their own people! This is particularly exciting because…
A. It happens year-round, not just when we are in-country
B. The language and cultural barriers we face are non-existent for them, so they can minister effectively with the tools and knowledge they have been given.
C. The results are exponential because they will connect with people we will never even meet!
“GraceWorks was able to minister to youth and preaching time during Sunday worship. Praise the Lord I was able to minister to the family of church members.” –Pastor Roel
The ministry has continued in our absence, but there is more to be done! Allen and his father, Rich Mann, will be traveling this week to train new pastors and work with the children and poor areas of the Philippines.
Thank you for your continued prayers and support! You are making a difference around the world!
We are so excited to announce that GraceWorks Global has received its 501(c)(3) approval! What does that mean? It means we are an official Non-Profit Organization recognized by the IRS!
We will be spending the next few weeks transitioning our financial arrangements, so if you are a current donor, please continue to donate as you have in the past until you hear differently from us. But be on the look-out for a letter from us and thank you for sticking with us through the changes of the past years.
We have more exciting news to share in the days ahead. Great things are happening at GWG and it’s all because of the grace of Jesus Christ and the faithfulness of His people!
We are so happy to welcome Pastor Roel Allocod to our overseas team. Pastor Roel has been working hard to share God’s Word with local as well as remote churches. He runs children’s ministries, holds weekly Bible studies for young adults, and shares the gospel wherever he goes.
I met Pastor Roel a few years ago just prior to full-time mission work. Through strange and various contacts, God brought us together and we developed a great friendship. Over the past couple of years, God has been moving in him to work among the regional churches and to impact the lives of children – most of whom are very poor and destitute. He cares deeply for these kids, and it shows! We have had teams work with him over the past couple of years and they can attest to this fact.
We decided to add Pastor Roel and his family to our overseas, Filipino ministry family. He has been working hard and traveling much. He continues to develop relationships for open doors to share the gospel and the truths of God’s Word.
Please continue to pray for our work in the Philippines. We have some dreams and goals about which we are praying. An example would be to see a small “Family Center” built for orphaned children. We have a location but need the necessary funds to not only build a couple of small dorms, but to also be able to feed and clothe the children on a monthly basis.
Some great things are happening in the Philippines with our GraceWorks Global Team! Our co-laborer, Pastor Roel Allocod, has been traveling throughout his community, sharing the gospel, encouraging churches, and preaching and teaching. Recently, he started meeting with young adults in a shopping mall to study God’s Word weekly. Many of these are now beginning to attend church and participate in the church events as well. Pastor Roel sent a request for funds to purchase Bibles for these young adults and now they all have their own Bibles and are studying them daily! Please pray for their salvation and spiritual growth in discipleship. Prayerfully and financially, I (Allen) will be returning to teach and encourage them soon.
However, we also received word this morning from Pastor Roel that his hometown has been affected by a strong earthquake. Here is what he says… “Please extend prayer to my home city Surigao where we held our pastor’s and church leader seminar[. The city] was hit last night by 6.7 magnitude of earthquake – gaisano mall and hotels were badly damage[d], church people were [al]so affected. They need our help and prayer as well.”
Thank you for your faithful prayers and support!
We finally got our water purification buckets shipped, and we did it for a fraction of the initial $22,000 quote we received. (I think we might have laughed at the poor man giving us that number but he had to know that was ridiculous!) We had to load them up and take them to Phoenix (where they sat in Allen’s gracious parents’ front yard for a week while the shipper tried to fix a paperwork error!) but they were finally picked up a few days ago.
The buckets leave the States on the 12th, traveling by boat (we are literally SHIPPING them) and will arrive on Christmas Day. Allen will be distributing them to areas with no access to clean water and areas that are particularly affected by jaundice caused by water contamination.
We have not shipped to this country before so please pray with us that there will be no Customs issues (as we are distributing these freely, not selling or making money in any way) and that BOTH pallets will arrive safely and on time!