News of Grace Series: Getting to Know Our GMI Missionaries
This week’s featured missionary: John Caprari
John and Naomi met at Grace Bible College and were married in 2013. They knew from the beginning that God made them to be involved in foreign missions and He was calling them, but had no idea what the timing looked like. John and Naomi desired to be available and willing to God’s leading, no matter what direction that looked like. God used a six-week-long mission trip to Eastern and Southern Africa to give clarity and peace to their specific calling during this time of their lives.
John and Naomi look forward to working alongside fellow missionaries and nationals in Tanzania, East Africa. God has given them a burden and a vision for a city in the northern area of Tanzania, a region where GMI does not yet have a missionary presence. Their plans are to leave for Tanzania in July 2016 where they will begin church planting efforts, leadership development through discipleship, mentoring, educating, and any other ministries that they find to be effective in advancing God’s work in this area of the world.
Now, here are John’s answers to our “Get to know you” questions!
1. What most excites you about your field and ministry?
Reaching out to Mwanza, a new area in Tanzania, in itself is exciting. The opportunity to partner with the Tanzanian church and proclaim the gospel in this area of the world has much potential. It will be exciting to watch people change from non-believers to baby Christians to mature in their faith. Some of these will even be the next generation of leadership in Mwanza and Tanzania.
2. What is the most difficult about your field and ministry?
We want to be involved in church planting. There will be two main challenges. First one being, we have never planted churches. Our goal will be to go to Tanzania as learners of this skill, as this ministry will be done differently in Tanzania compared to the U.S. The second challenge will be the church planters. We don’t want to be the ones planting the churches. We want to give the nationals the skills and resources they need to do it themselves. The difficulty will be finding the leaders who are available, willing, called, and passionate.
3. Name 3 things God has taught you as a missionary.
Patience. The Unity of the Body of Christ. Urgency for the gospel.
4. What did God use to call you into missions?
People. From the beginning my call to ministry was because of people, namely Jeremy Herr. My call to missions, overseas cross-cultural ministry was because of a person, namely Greg Kelley, Director of World Mission. Our call as a couple to Tanzania was because of people, namely missionaries like the Shermans and leadership of the Tanzanian Church.
5. If you could share anything with someone considering missions what would it be?
Don’t be afraid of the call. If God is calling you to be a missionary. Just do it. Embrace the call. Also, seek the call. We struggled with whether God was calling us to cross-cultural ministry or stateside ministry. So, we sought the calling to both and God made it clear where He wanted us to be.
6. In what ways have you seen God’s faithful provision?
When we were in deputation for the first few months we were traveling around in the Northwest. We knew our time there was coming to a close and we were going back to Michigan for the next 6-8 months or so. At that point, we didn’t have a place to live during that time or didn’t have jobs to maintain a place to live. God provided both within a week of us arriving in MI.
7. What is a favorite thing about the country you serve in?
The people. I spent one month in Tanzania and fell in love with the people. I can’t wait until I can speak their language and get to know them as people even more.
8. Who was one person that had a big influence in your decision to become a missionary?
Greg Kelley. He spoke at a GBC chapel on unreached people. Over 3 billion people in the world will live and die without access to the gospel.
9. In what ways can others best encourage missionaries
Pray. And then write them every once in awhile to tell them you are praying or thinking of them.
10. What is one of your favorite funny memories from the field?
I was teaching a seminar with Steve Sherman translating into Swahili. Even then, I try to say the Swahili words that I know up to this point. I was getting warm so I took off my sweater saying “moto”. Everyone laughed because it meant fire. What I meant to say was “joto”, which means hot.