The first ministry is an at-cost Bible and Christian bookstore. The Sowers are currently running it, but since Russell and Iris moved up the mountain with Allen and Trish (Russell's parents), it is more difficult for the pastors to get to them. Russell was running the bookstore out of his home in town. Because we rented a house with enough room to grow into the ministry God has in store for us, we currently have a spare room that I am using as an office that can double as the bookstore and will put the bookstore back in town with easier access to the pastors in a more central location. As soon as Russell and Allen work out the details with us as to how to run the bookstore, we will run it for them from our home. This is awesome for several reasons -- first of which is that it helps the Sowers by providing someone to run the bookstore and let them focus on other important ministries that they have; second, it helps the pastors by making the bookstore more accessible again; third, it helps us by introducing us to a large number of pastors in Gracias and the surrounding area; fourth, it helps us by forcing us to learn more Spanish and practice it with the people that we plan to be working with in ministry.
The second ministry is a Pastor's Training School. Several missionaries are in a partnership to run a inter-denominational Pastor's Training School for local pastors. The program provides some much needed Bible College type of education to over 40 pastors in the mountains around Gracias. Many of these pastors have a 3rd grade level education so any training we can give them to properly handle God's Word and how to minister to their flock is a tremendous benefit to them. The program is 8 to 9 months (outside of coffee season) and is 3 (sometimes 4) full days each month. I have been invited to participate and partner with these other missionaries in this important ministry. In the partnership, we will have a responsibility to raise some of the funds to help cover the costs of the Pastors attending the workshops, so if this something that interests you please be in prayer about it and let us know. We will be meeting sometimes in the new few weeks to iron out the details of exactly what will be taught in 2017 and who will teach each subject. Here are a couple of pictures from last year's workshops.
The third ministry opportunity is way too early in the development stage to talk about at this point, but please join us as we pray about the possibilities and whether it is something that God would have us pursue.
As 2016 winds down and we all prepare for a new year, we know that some of you are praying about how to best use some special year-end charitable donations you want to make in this tax year. I want to share with you that we were offered another matching grant to help close out our fiscal year. A very generous donor has offered a $2,000 matching grant for all new donations that are given online between today and 12/28/2016 (or postmarked between those dates if you mail a check). Regular givers will not have their regular donations matched, but anything above and beyond normal giving will be matched. Also, if you make a new monthly (or quarterly) commitment to give and send your first donation before 12/28/2016, and entire year of your donations will be matched. If you are already a monthly donor and increase your monthly donation, the increase will be matched. If you are giving as a part of the matching grant, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know what you are giving towards the grant so we can track it.
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We are very excited to announce that Ms. Emma Caitlyn Agee was born Friday December 16th, 2016 at 5;45pm CST. She weighed 5lbs 2oz, is 16.9 inches long. Little Emma, mamma, and daddy are doing great, just a little sleep deprived. We are ready to start our new beginning with her.
-- The Agee Family