In July 2013, I was somewhat frantically making plans to start the first class of Ukunda Missions School in Kenya. It seemed like there were so many missing pieces, so many things needed to come together before we could start the school at the end of August.
In the midst of this, a Kenyan acquaintance invited me to attend a meeting at his church in Nairobi, and he didn’t seem to want to take no for an answer. I felt slightly annoyed by the pressure, but when I prayed about it, I thought I should go.
God was arranging a vital connection for our new school.
At that meeting, two American missionaries, Anthony and Cindi Holland, were teaching. As I listened to them, I realized that we needed to have them teach in our new school.
God was arranging a vital connection to our new school.
Anthony and Cindi teach a course on the foundational doctrines of Christianity called Relational Evangelism Action Program (REAP).
They present the course so simply and clearly that by the time a student has finished taking the course, he can teach the course.
This powerful impartation of the fundamental truths of Christianity does not take place by accident.
Anthony & Cindi spent much of their lifeshaping and refining this course so that every part of it is carefully thought out and communicated. They have focused on doing one thing with excellence, and that one thing is multiplying and spreading around the world as their disciples become disciple-makers.
REAP became a foundational part of the Ukunda Missions School and Tanga Mission School. In each school year, REAP is the first course to be taught, and it lays the foundation for all the other training the students receive as they train to become missionaries.
When it came time to start a missionary training school in Paraguay (ALMA) in March 2020, we wanted to include the course as a foundational part of the school. Anthony and Cindi made plans to personally come to Paraguay, to help lay the same foundations in ALMA that they laid in Ukunda Missions School.
Anthony and Cindy arrived in Paraguay in March, as the COVID crisis was beginning. Because of the crisis, Paraguay closed its borders and they have remained closed. Eight of the twelve students who were to be part of the first class at ALMA were coming from other Latin American countries and were unable to enter Paraguay. These circumstances didn’t stop Anthony and Cindy.
They decided to make the best of the situation and give what they had.
And so at ALMA, a tight-knit core group is forming. The director, Katana Baya, is there with the founder Eloise Gwynn, the administrator Cynthia Gomez and her husband, Robert. The four students are there, and Anthony and Cindi.
Together they are worshiping before the throne of God every day, studying the fundamental truths of Christianity. They are connecting with one another, with the Lord, and with the vision that he is giving us for Latin America and the world.
Because of the shutdown, other teachers were not able to enter Paraguay to teach at the new school.
And so instead of teaching for three weeks, Anthony and Cindi have been teaching for three months. Every week I receive very positive reports about what is taking place.
God is causing Anthony and Cindi to be a very central part of the foundation of the new school.
The core group at ALMA is preparing the way for those who will follow. As they pray together and take steps of faith, a spiritual foundation is laid for the mission’s movement coming to Paraguay.
I thank God for every person who is part of that foundation. I thank God for the day of small beginnings because I know that God is preparing a strong foundation for great work.
I thank God for Anthony and Cindi, who have paid such a high price, and invested so wholeheartedly in this ministry.
I pray that God gives them a multitude of spiritual sons and daughters in Latin America, just as He has done in Africa.
Anthony and Cindy Holland, ALMA teachers and leaders of REAP International Ministry.
A widow living by a brook in Paraguay daily looked out over a picturesque 30-acre campus. She and her departed husband Richard Gwinn had built this campus as a missionary training center and called it ALMA (America Latina Misiones Al-Mundo; translated as Latin American Missions to the World)
It seems like much of 2020 was spent trying to return to Paraguay. In February, I entered Paraguay, planning to start the ALMA missionary training school at the new campus outside of Asuncion. Katana Baya, one of our main leaders in Africa, arrived from Kenya to help shape and direct the new school.
This week at ALMA, our students started their second Altar Week of the year. This entire week is given to prayer and fasting, from morning to night. Students ask God to give them clear directions for the future; they ask him to deal with any issues in their lives which He wants to burn away because those issues are keeping them from fulfilling His purposes for them.