My name is April Lorenz, I am a new member of the Grace Ministries International team. I am a full time missionary headed for the field of Puerto Rico. I wanted to take a minute to write about how God has guided me to Puerto Rico. I have prayed about being a missionary for most of my life. When I was 8 yrs old, I knew it was what I wanted to do. My parents encouraged me to go on different short term trips to Costa Rica and Puerto Rico and I really enjoyed serving alongside other GMI missionaries. Every time I came home from a trip I realized that there was nothing I would rather do than serve God daily on the mission field. I decided to attend Grace Bible College to pursue cross-cultural missions. In college God provided the opportunity to serve in Uruguay with Alex and Deltha Gulart. After I returned home I had a peace in my heart knowing that I was doing exactly what God was calling me to do. I began praying about where God wanted me to serve Him and that He would break my heart for people who need to hear the message of the Gospel.
For my internship in 2014, I went back to Puerto Rico to work with GMI missionary, Kaylah Alicea, running an after school ministry for kids. I really enjoyed learning from her and having fun with the kids. The hardest thing about leaving, was saying goodbye to the kids who I had built relationships with. I came home to finish school and keep searching for where God would have me go. Isaiah 6:8 says “And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.” This was my prayer and God answered.
In January of 2016, I moved back to Puerto Rico to assist and support Kaylah and Harry Alicea in running the after school center as they were expecting their first child. It was a challenge and great opportunity to plan curriculum, crafts, games, and create bible lessons for our students. At some point I realized that I loved what I was doing and God had given me a passion for those children and that community. I started praying about my future in Puerto Rico and praying about God’s will for my life. I didn’t want to just decide that this must be God’s plan because I loved it, or because I felt comfortable. I wanted to be sure that this was his plan. Over the past year, reading through the word of God, one of the biggest lessons I kept coming back to was: to continually give God control and to have faith and trust that his will is being done.
When I moved back to Grand Rapids in August, I realized that I left my heart in Puerto Rico. It had become my home and I couldn’t imagine being anywhere else. I applied to GMI in October and was accepted as a full time missionary. As a full term missionary to Puerto Rico I will be transitioning with Harry and Kaylah as they come off the field this summer and I will oversee the daily operations of Club Maravilla, the after-school center. One of the most amazing things that God has done to prepare my heart was to provide those previous opportunities to visit Puerto Rico and to cultivate relationships with many of the children in the barrio. I’m overjoyed to be returning to a community that I love and to keep building on those relationships so that there will be opportunities to share God’s word. I am excited about the idea of reaching out intentionally to members of the community and the local church to become mentors for our students. When our kids see other believers living out a relationship with Christ, it can make a real impact on their lives! Please pray that we would have many people volunteer to be mentors and that they would be able to cultivate authentic relationships with our students.
Please pray that my full financial support will come in so I can return to the after school center. I am praying that God would use me to show authentic love to those I come in contact with daily, not just our kids but the community. To stay involved please visit gracem.org!