Seizing Opportunities by Faith

Uncle David’s 2nd Quarter Frontlines Report

 
 

Uncle David’s Message

A Warrior Crosses the Finish Line

We are called to Mission Service!

NO ONE will receive salvation if he or she doesn’t share the message with others. But it has a cost! It requires sacrifice, obedience and loyalty. Jesus said in Mat. 16:24 “If anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.”

To take up the cross means to die to self. If you could see a crucifixion now, certainly it would not be a pretty sight. God is calling us today to give ourselves completely, to give everything of ourselves, of everything that we have. That is what it means to die to self. You know that self is the most difficult part to let die. The stronger men of earth and the politicians don’t know how to die to self, but the weakest person in Christ can die to self. Following the steps of Christ we can say “Not I, but Christ” and this will be the mark of the last generation!

When I was 25 years old, I was called by the General Conference to go to three places and one of those places was Chiapas, Mexico. We got into the airplane with two daughters and landed close to the Clinic and School of “Bella Vista”. There we found a small hospital, a school of nursing, a secondary school and an aviation program. At that time, a service was offered by Loma Linda University and the School of Dentistry to train and practice with the Montemorelos Adventist University dental student program in Bella Vista.

After 32 years, I met with Dr. Gris and wife Jasmine at Bella Vista. Here in the picture with one their sons, wife and child.

The doctor in charge of the hospital, Dr. Guillermo Gris, along with surgeons from the Montemorelos University, did surgeries on a lot of patients utilizing the full capacity of the hospital. When we broadcasted our evangelistic series “Batallas de Fe” (Battles of Faith) in Mexico, I had the opportunity to visit Dr. Gris in Bella Vista for the first time in 32 years. It has changed a lot but the mission continues with the vision and the sacrifice of the medical Director Dr. Gris who welcomed me and my family when we arrived in Mexico 32 years before. 

He suffered an accident on Sept. 3, 2017 and was paralyzed in part of his body. Guillermo and his wife Jasmine came to visit us at the evangelistic meetings in Chiapas. He is very special to me after so many years (32 years), I was able to come back and visit this beautiful missionary couple at their mission post.

The accident paralyzed almost all his body. Here in his wheelchair enjoying a tropical fruit.

Dr. Gris a Warrior Self-Supporting Missionary 
1956 – 2020

I got a message recently that Dr. Gris died peacefully at 11:13 pm on May 14 this year. He was a warrior, an example of sacrifice and vision to the mission work. Even in his paralyzed condition he was able to do surgeries and continuing serving the needs of the community. We reported in the past editions of our Mission Report Newsletters the story of his accident and many of you were touched and contributed to help him with his medical bills, medical treatments and the mechanical standing wheelchair for him to continue working as a doctor and performing surgeries.

TOP: The donated standing wheelchair

RIGHT: Dr. Gris standing in the wheelchair hugs his lovely wife Jasmine, his long-life partner.

With the standing wheelchair he was able to help with surgeries to patients.

He was the medical doctor who brought to life and received in his hands my son Carlos. He also signed his birth certificate. Thanks to this family, even though he is no longer with us, the vision he started will continue. I will also continue to support the school and medical work there.

Please continue to pray for the mission work in Bella Vista. In our next Frontlines Mission Reports edition we will bring a special report of the life and mission work of this warrior who finished the run of his life on the frontlines. The legacy continues and one day he will receive the “reward”, the crown of glory from Jesus hands… “Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” Mat. 25: 23.

From the Frontlines this is,

Uncle David

 

Frontlines Mission News

God Goes to Work, Even in a Pandemic
GFN Grenada Family Network

Have you been wondering how the missionaries in the field are dealing with the Corona virus? Well, we were curious so we got in touch with our missionary family in Granada to find out. The following is condensed from that conversation.

If you are unfamiliar with Grenada, it is a small island in the Caribbean just above South America. [See Map Image]  It depends heavily on tourism and trade and is vulnerable during pandemics that stop travel! The Shedell family, Steve and Samra and their two children, Anna and Ethan, have been missionaries in Grenada since 2009 except for a three year period volunteering at GMI headquarters in Tennessee.

Grenada is a sovereign state in the West Indies in the Caribbean Sea at the southern end of the Grenadines island chain. Grenada consists of the island of Grenada itself plus six smaller islands which lie to the north of the main island. It is located northwest of Trinidad and Tobago, northeast of Venezuela and southwest of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. Grenada is also known as the “Island of Spice” due to its production of nutmeg and mace crops.

GRENADA FAMILY NETWORK RADIO CHANNEL

For the last six years they have been keeping the Grenada Family Network, a 24 hour radio channel, going and have overseen the expansion from one frequency to two radio frequencies. The original channel is broadcast from a tower that covers the southern part of the island. The additional channel is broadcast from a tower in the northern part of the island and even reaches the smaller island of Carriacou north of Grenada.   You can read more about it in their blog at www.gospelministry.org/god-glory-gfn-report-summer-2019.

Radio Station House

Chair in sitting position.

Inside Radio Studio equipment for radio production.

Mt. Maitland South transmitter site

SHUTDOWN

It turns out that Granada is “shut down”, meaning everyone is staying home and only going out for essentials. For the first two weeks the grocery stores were only open one day a week and only 25 people were allowed in the store at a time! Limits have been put on the quantities of some items to prevent hoarding. So far they are not experiencing food shortages and the island does grow quite a few tropical fruits which helps.

In answer to prayer, the Shedells have been working on a move to the countryside about 25 miles (40 km) from town where they can feast on the many fruit trees and plant a garden. The property is called Mt. Pleasant Estate. The country house required repairs and upgrades that they have been working on for several months with a little help from the owner. Praise the Lord, it is just about ready for them to move into now!

 

Grocery Store Lines due to the entire shutdown in the island

 
 

MT. PLEASANT HOUSE

Not only will they be living in the quiet country but they will save over $400 (US dollars) on rent! The cost of living in Granada is about twice as much as in the United States.  Air conditioning is too expensive so the family has had to adjust to the summer heat and humidity! Many times needed items cost so much on the island that it is worth buying them in the US and shipping them to Granada. This can be tricky however because the right paperwork must be in place to avoid fines for ostensibly trying to avoid import duties.

Another cultural difficulty is the local speech. Although English is the language, it took quite a while for the Shedells to be able to understand the local pronunciations and vocabulary laced with French names, and local slang which is spoken very rapidly by much of the population, especially those living outside the cities.

A view from the Pleasant Country home

Chair in sitting position.

Looking the valley from the roof of the house.

Another beautiful view North from the Mt. Pleasant Estate

This is a typical farm field near the property

REWARDS THROUGH HARDSHIP!

There are rewards though that make the hardships and efforts worthwhile. The biggest reward by far is seeing individuals converted to the truth from listening to the radio broadcasts!  Many called in to request copies of programs and expressed their appreciation for the Christian programming. The local church, while not affluent, offers what they can to support the radio station. A local pastor, Pastor Gordon, records a weekly program. Another church member records voice-overs. There are also local volunteers who help from time to time, but as far as full-time help, the Shedells have been working on their own for several years now, a job that consumes all the time they can allow. Time must be reserved to home school their two children.

Britney a volunteer at the radio station

Those years of missionary work have led to a trust that God will take care of His children. They may not have had all the luxuries they desired but neither have they been without the necessities. God has always provided enough to keep going! That means God inspires us to send some of the resources He has blessed us with!  Here are a few of the needs at the Granada Media Mission:

Current Needs:

  • Regular monthly gifts of $10, $20, $50 or more to keep GFN Radio broadcasting on both frequencies.
  • Two Computers and software ($11,600)– The radio programs are recorded and edited with one computer. The programming is stored and streamed out from a second computer. The two computers they have, while performing well, are 11 years old and need to be updated before they fail.
  • Walk behind tractor for agriculture program: $4,815 (Includes tiller and sweeper attachment to maintain more than ¼ mile of concrete driveway to the country home.) 
  • Money to maintain the radio station which is currently in a house that is need of some repairs.
  • Money to complete the media facility that was begun next door to the SDA church.

Model picture of a tractor for agriculture

Volunteer Needs:

Missionaries with interests in the following are desired:

  • Construction,
  • Maintenance,
  • Agriculture,
  • Computers,
  • Radio or Television.

Of course, long term commitments are the most desirable but even short term help with maintenance and construction would be very welcome!  Those interested in volunteering their time are encouraged to open discussions with Steve Shedell directly and to complete a volunteer application at http://www.gmivolunteers.org/

HOW TO HELP

You can donate online: http://gospelministry.org/donations/

Or by phone at: 423-473-1841

Or you can mail a tax deductible donation to:

Gospel Ministries International
PO Box 506
Collegedale, TN 37315

Kindly include a separate note that it is for Grenada Media Ministry.

Mt Pleasant Scenes

CONTACT THE SHEDELL DIRECTLY

Steve and Samra Shedell
PO Box 2747
St. Paul’s, St. George’s
Grenada, West Indies

Steve.shedell@gmail.com

1 (473) 435-4297

 

**These were the conditions at the time of the interview. Steve gave us more current details in a later communication.**

 

MISSION STORY
My Life in the Mission

From City to Country
Alan & Marie Mathieu 

THE PATH TO GMI

My wife, Marie and I lived in southern California before we came to GMI. We were attending a Sabbath School class that happened to be studying about country living when someone recommended watching David Gates. We had no idea who he was or what he did but Marie watched some of his videos and was so impressed that she recommended them to me. She was especially inspired by the story of God’s miracle healing of David when he was a baby and his intestines simply didn’t work and the doctors had done all they could.  I thought he was probably another good preacher but I had heard plenty of good preachers so I wasn’t in any big hurry to watch. 

Finally I got around to watching David’s videos one day and was surprised by his actions, not just preaching, and the simple faith he acted on, especially the story of his start in Guyana. That was different! Inspiring! I went to the GMI website to see more and was excited by so many descriptions of missionary opportunities! Not that I thought I could fill any. I did not know any language but English and was not an airplane pilot, mechanic, nurse, doctor, dentist, agriculture specialist, Bible worker, or IT engineer. Not only that but we still had a daughter and a son in college to support.

Still, I couldn’t help but explore the website. My curiosity carried me to the blog tab. It was there, buried in one of the blogs, that I found a story and pictures of what was being done in the media department of GMI in Tennessee, USA. As I became acquainted with the needs of the GMI project through the eyes of the script writers, camera operators, video editors, music composers, and set builders, I became more and more excited. Here was what I could do and wanted to do!  Would God want me to help with this project? How would we know?

We began to pray and study. And then we came across Nehemiah 2:12.  “Then I arose in the night, I and a few men with me. And I told no one what my God had put into my heart to do for Jerusalem.“ And Nehemiah 7:5 Then my God put it into my heart to assemble the nobles and the officials and the people to be enrolled by genealogy.” I realized that God was putting this desire to work for Him in my heart! No human would have thought to call me up in California and recruit me for such a volunteer position. God does His own recruiting inside us!

Of course, it wasn’t just that perfectly clear and easy. We had been wanting to move out of the city and live in the country.

OBEDIENCE TO GOD’S CALL

We started realizing that the best way we could help our children is to set an example of active obedience to God’s direction. We had looked on line at places in Oregon and Washington State, putting the location as the first priority. I do believe that God can use individuals for His work where ever they are, but as we prayed and pondered our choices, we had the uneasy feeling that we would end up spending most of our time working on a house and land and very little time directly on the Lord’s work. 

We wanted to work full time for the Lord and I think God put in our minds to  switch our priorities around and find what we could do full time for the Lord and let that dictate the location. I looked at a couple other ministries but they were either in the city or didn’t use volunteers for what we wanted to do. When I discovered GMI and the opportunities offered, as well as the location, I felt strongly that it was the right move.

Marie’s first reaction to the idea of moving to Tennessee was “Tennessee is too far away!”  She shed a few tears, knowing that we would have to leave our granddaughter as well as our adult children in California!  Washington State seemed closer and she has two sisters that live in that state.  Then there was the fear of being a long ways away, alone in a new place and not knowing anyone. 

But we started praying and again we were impressed that the best thing we could do for our children is to show them that we are acting on our beliefs, that we are doing more than just talking and preaching to them. Marie kept remembering that verse in Matthew 10:37, “He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” That doesn’t mean everyone should move away from their adult children! But if God calls us to work for Him in  another place, then we need to give Him first priority. Marie began to have the conviction that if she put God first and worked for Him that He would take care of the kids.

We went back to the website in May 2017 and filled out the volunteer applications. But we figured it would take almost a year to make the move. Would GMI even be interested in talking to us when the move date was so far away? Yes! They were interested and kept in touch for what turned out to be over a year. God had the timing worked out though. Marie was able to finish her job at the school. I was delayed by an operation that I needed but the delay meant I was still employed when the company I worked for announced a big layoff.  The severance package gave us some extra to move and live on!

Here are two of our sons, Sarek and Olando, servicing our truck just before we started the move to Tennessee.

MOVING TO THE VOLUNTEER STATE

When the time to move drew near, we secured a 15 foot (6 meters) moving van and decided that whatever didn’t fit we just wouldn’t take.  We were living in a three bedroom house with a two car garage full of stuff! So we started having garage sales and then giving stuff away until we thought we were down to the right size. But that was before we started packing the truck!  We soon realized that we had to get rid of even more stuff!  We kept reminding each other of that dream that Ellen White had of the trail up to heaven that kept getting narrower and narrower. The people that started up the trail with horses and wagons full of belongings eventually had to leave the wagons behind, then the horses, then their backpacks, and finally even their shoes! It made us feel good that we had started the process!!

The Narrow Way Vision

Moving and packing can be so exhausting!

The day before we were to hit the road, the rental company called and said that they could not find us the tow dolly for our car that we were to tow behind the truck. We had reserved it a week earlier and they were just then figuring out they didn’t have one?! We started praying. We told the rental company our travel plans hoping perhaps one of the towns on our route might have the right dolly.  Praise the Lord, they were able to find one in a town just a couple hours away and on our route!

When we had finished packing and cleaning, we jumped in, said a prayer, and started driving. I soon learned that Marie became nervous going up and down hills, at least those she was not familiar with. Thank the Lord for cell phones. Marie was able to call her sisters and forget about the road ahead!  She didn’t realize that Tennessee was full of hills!

As we drove, we talked about how glad we were that we wouldn’t be cleaning up the garage anymore and that we were leaving our old jobs.  Marie worked at the local SDA grade school in the cafeteria and ran the after-school program. She was tired of cooking, cleaning, and watching children, some of whom could be very disrespectful. I was tired of managing projects and was looking forward to being an individual contributor.

Marie displaying lunch at the GMI kitchen

GOD’S SENSE OF HUMOR

Well, God has a sense of humor! Or maybe He just expects us to make use of our experience. The first task we had when we got to GMI was to clean out a barn crammed with stuff!  Then I was asked to manage the media department and Marie was asked to coordinate the kitchen staff and menu!

Marie wasn’t so sure about managing the kitchen that serves lunch to the volunteers. She had initially thought she would need to work part time at a school again to help our children with the expensive cost of living in California but there were no openings at the schools nearby because we arrived in August. With that door shut, she decided to trust God to provide and accepted the kitchen coordinator position at GMI.

A selfie at an off-campus video shoot

Marie recording a cooking show

God also worked it out that our granddaughter could come to Tennessee and stay for an extended visit. She loves the country and being with the family of GMI volunteers! Marie was inspired to start a little pre-school for her and the other missionary children here on campus. They love learning in both English and Spanish and are memorizing scripture such as the Lord’s Prayer, the Ten Commandments, and some Psalms! She is trying to follow the counsel on “True Education”.

A closeup of Marie in the preschool.

Marie teaching in the Mission Preschool

 

Alan and Sophie enjoying a family hike along a creek with lots of waterfalls.

Marie and Sophie enjoying a beautiful spot along the creek.

THE BIRTH OF CHILDREN’S PROGRAMMING

Volunteering at GMI has been a growing experience, and I mean that in a happy way. We are trying new things and though we may not have experience or special talents, God still uses us if we have faith and try.  Marie has been reading children’s Bible stories for video recordings, an activity that scared her at first.  With time she has grown more and more comfortable in front of the camera.  I’m new at taking those video clips and editing them into children’s programs but I’m learning and loving it! 

The children’s programs started when Marie saw some children’s books sitting on a bookshelf at GMI and thought of reading them for a children’s program.  The next time David and Becky Gates were in town, we mentioned the idea and they immediately and enthusiastically encouraged us to do it in both English and Spanish. “Aunt Becky” shed a few tears and said she had been praying for years for someone to do that! The need is very great in many countries for the children to have wholesome programs to watch!

Marie and Sophie picking wild mulberries

Marie getting acquainted with the neighbor’s Jersey cow.

We love it here in Tennessee and God has blessed us more than we ever expected! One blessing is that we live right across the road from GMI. And yes, that is a big blessing after driving to work in California traffic for many years! We love living where we can look out our windows at the woods with the resident squirrels, rabbits, birds and deer! We love having enough space for a big garden! Marie lived in the country until age thirteen and was raised with gardens and fruit trees.  

NO REGRETS TO GO BACK!

Now, after years living in cities, she is recalling the gardening knowledge she once had and enjoying the local wild edible plants such as blackberries and mulberries too! We are very thankful for our like-minded co-workers who are more like family. We worship together in the mornings and enjoy the vegan lunches prepared here – delicious kale salad with lemon and sesame seeds, tasty vegetable or bean soups, rice or quinoa!  Everything may not be perfect here but we love the beauty of the countryside and the peace of living out of the city. Praise the Lord! He has blessed us much more than we anticipated!

Alan & Marie Mathieu
alan.mathieu@gospelministry.org

 

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Gospel Ministries International

874 S McDonald Rd SW, McDonald, TN 37353

Tel: (423) 473-1841

www.gospelministry.org | www.gmivolunteers.org

“It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness”

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