earthen vessels, East Africa, and the gospel
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Posts from — January 2012

An Encouraging Meeting Close to Home

We traveled a short distance to Calvary Bible Church in Ypsilanti, MI on Jan. 22. We participated in a discussion on Bible Study in Sunday School, worshiped the Lord during the morning service and through participating in the Lord’s supper, and Matt presented the ministry in Tanzania in the evening service. We had a wonderful time meeting with fellow believers at Calvary. The church encouraged our hearts by being sincerely interested in us and in the work in TZ, by asking outstanding questions, and by spending a special time of prayer specifically for our requests. God blessed us through the ministry of his people as we sought to be a blessing to them!

January 29, 2012   No Comments

A Wonderful Reunion with Fellow Believers

We headed back to Delafield, WI for the weekend of January 15 to spend time with Lakewood Baptist Church, one of our newest partners. We presented our ministry to there back in June, so they invited us to come and worship with them and to meet many new friends that we had missed or who were not currently attending LBC in the summer. Matt and I had a wonderful time fellowshipping with the people of Lakewood during several opportunities for interaction. We also participated in their “Missions Sunday,” along with their other missionary family Josh and Rachel Roberts. We were greatly encouraged by the interest and knowledge that the people of Lakewood showed us in what God is calling us to do in Africa. We also appreciated their sincere desire to be godly ministry partners with us. Matt and I were asked how they as a church can help and support the ministry in Tanzania, and to us personally as we minister there.

January 26, 2012   No Comments

Praying for Missionaries

This week is Inter-City Baptist Church’s annual prayer week. It represents our belief in the importance of devoting ourselves to prayer for our own spiritual well-being and the mission of the church. Spending more time with other believers in prayer never fails to be an encouragement to me. I’m sure this has to do with spending so much time thinking about God’s character and goodness towards us.

One purpose of prayer week is to begin the new year in dependence on God. With that in mind, I’ve provided below an outline you could use to pray for missionaries. This particular outline is adopted from the one we used this week.

Pray for the Proclamation of the Message:

  • For opportunities to communicate the gospel (Col 4:2-3; 2 Cor 2:12; 1 Cor 16:9)
  • For clarity in communicating the gospel (Col 4:4-6; cf. 2 Tim 2:22-26)
  • For boldness in communicating the gospel (Eph 6:19-20; cf. Acts 4:23-31)

Pray for the People Involved in the Mission:

  • That God would send out more workers to communicate the gospel (Matt 9:37, 38)
  • For success and safety for those who communicate the gospel (2 Thess 3:1-2; Rom 1:8ff)
  • That they would remain pure, fit for service (Phil 1:27; 1 Pet 2:12)

Pray for the Places in which they Minister:

  • For the political and societal structure to be conducive to communicating the gospel (1 Tim 2:1-7)
  • That they would encounter circumstances that facilitate gospel proclamation (1 Tim 2:1-7)
  • That they would encounter circumstances that facilitate gospel proclamation (Phil 1:12)
  • For the gospel to spread into unreached areas (Mark 16:15; Matt 28:18-20)

Pray for the Progress of the Mission: Souls Saved and Churches Planted:

  • For the salvation of the lost as the gospel is proclaimed (Rom 10:1; John 15:7-8, 16)
  • For God to remove the hardness of hearts (Eph 4:18; Acts 16:14)
  • For God to open people’s eyes to understand the gospel so that they may turn from darkness to light (Acts 26:18; cf. 1 Cor 2:14)
  • For God to draw people to Himself (John 6:44)
  • For the Holy Spirit to convict people of sin, righteousness, and judgment (John 16:8-11)
  • For God to grant people repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth (2 Tim 2:25-26)


P.S. A friend posted this outline in the form of a bookmark here. May I also recommend an excellent sermon by Mark Minnick on the subject of prayer and missions available in the SGI archives: “Forward on Your Knees” (mp3).

January 12, 2012   1 Comment

January 2012 Prayer Update

Our new year started off with an excellent Student Global Impact Conference. The theme, “Not Ashamed of the Gospel,” was timely and well-treated by the speakers. Needless to say, it was personally encouraging for both of us. I’d highly recommend checking out the recordings and notes online at (once they get them up there).

We anticipate this year to be an eventful one for us. Our meeting schedule resumes on the third Sunday in January and does not slow down much before Baby Gass is due. There are good things ahead! Our prayers have been focused on preparations for what is coming–parenthood, moving out of our current home, and starting our first term on the field. Here are a few specific praises and prayer requests:

  1. We have a nearly-full meeting schedule through April.
  2. We have a fantastic group of people supporting us in prayer. We are also excited that the level of our financial support continues to grow. Currently, about 60% of our support is coming in.
  1. Matt will be in Tanzania for 3 weeks beginning the third week of January. This will provide opportunity for all of our teammates (with the exception of Laura) to meet together. We’ll be discussing ministry and I’ll be getting a start on our transition to Africa. Please pray that this will be useful for all of us. Among other things, I hope it pushes us through the last part of our pre-field ministry.
  2. Over the last week of January and the first week of February, the Bible Institute will be in session. Please pray that students will deepen their faith through the biblical teaching and continue to sharpen their gifts for serving the Lord.
  3. Other upcoming events in Tanzania include meetings between Rob, Dan and the Tanzanian pastors. They will be discussing the details of the next church plant as well as some other significant issues. Please pray that God will give wisdom to the missionaries and the pastors involved in these meetings.
  4. In the last general session of this past SGI Conference, Pastor Doran suggested that we do not realize how deeply our own culture has undermined our boldness in Christian witness. Being overly concerned about others rejecting the gospel should be just as foreign to us Christians as the strangest African custom. But for most all of us, we are too comfortable with avoiding clear gospel conversations. Please pray that we would continue to uproot our ingrained tendency to love ourselves more than sharing the truth about Jesus Christ.

January 6, 2012   No Comments