earthen vessels, East Africa, and the gospel
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Posts from — December 2013

January 2014 Prayer Update

The new year brings a new phase of our work. This month Matt reaches the half-way point in his study of local culture. By next month he plans to begin writing up his conclusions. The result is intended to inform the way we live and share the Scriptures with our neighbors.

Also this month we will reach the end of the first set of Bible stories. This set was shared with the churches to equip us all for the work of evangelism. Next we will be evaluating this project and adjusting it for ongoing use in church planting and discipleship.

The latest episode with truck repairs is showing us that we must learn to live with the unexpected. This makes us all the more grateful for your understanding and prayers. You are most certainly a part of God’s grace in our lives. Thank you.

We invite you to pray with us over the following praises and requests:

  1. Though truck repairs in Moshi finished too late to make a drive back to Mwanza by Christmas, we received help to fly Matt back home to Mwanza so that the family was together for Christmas morning. We thank God for making this Christmas extraordinarily full of His kindness.
  2. The pastors, Bible Institute students, and graduates will be gathering this Friday (the 10th) for a seminar and discussion on church planting. Please pray that God will sharpen and direct the focus of our evangelistic work.
  3. Our teammates, the Eads family, will begin a 6-month furlough at the end of January. We will miss them, but we also anticipate that God desires to use this time to press forward the process of our adjustment.

December 29, 2013   2 Comments

Heri ya Krismas

December 23, 2013   No Comments

I’ll be Home for Christmas

Recently I’ve thought much about how the concept of home is changing for us. By God’s grace we are growing more comfortable saying that Tanzania is our home, though we have not left off calling the States home as well. I write this now far from either home in Moshi where we have just finished a week-long family vacation. As we departed to return we encountered some fairly serious car troubles. Laura and Ian were able to press ahead with our friends while I stayed back to sort out car repairs. Today is December 22 and our hope is that I will be on the road headed back to Mwanza on Christmas Eve. The song “I’ll be Home for Christmas” suddenly has acute meaning for me right now.

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December 22, 2013   3 Comments

December 2013 Prayer Update

A couple significant milestones have been crossed in the past week. This past Sunday I preached my first full-length sermon in Swahili for the morning worship service in Sweya. The last time I preached there I used a message intended as a devotional for the Bible Institute students. On that day the sermon was a tag-team effort with Dan Eads. This time I preached long enough for people to threaten falling asleep. šŸ˜‰

My sermon was part of a series Dan is preaching on Romans 5ā€“8. My text was Romans 6:15ā€“23, where Paul is arguing that God’s intentions in saving us are diametrically opposed to the life we once lived in sin. The big idea of my sermon was, “If we understand what Christ has done for us on the cross, we will not be able to return to sin.”

Laura informed me this morning of a less-significant milestone passed last night in my sleep. Apparently, in the middle of the night I began talking with her in my sleepā€”this time in Swahili. Maybe in a future update I’ll be able to share with you that I spoke in Swahili in my sleepĀ and I was understood!

We are grateful we are not here alone. Of course we are reminded of God’s presence covering over our deficiencies. But furthermore, we are grateful knowing that you are laboring with us in prayer. Here are a few ways you can continue praying with us:

  1. Matt’s first full-length sermon is evidence of God’s grace enabling progress in learning Swahili. We are encouraged that God has permitted and enabled Matt to participate the ministry of His word.
  2. Just as we hoped, Matt is more frequently engaging in conversations about spiritual matters. Please pray that he will learn how to more effectively communicate God’s word and that Scriptures may be welcomed.
  3. Please pray that this holiday season may be full of reminders to be satisfied in our Savior, Jesus Christ. Living in a new home requires that we are make new Christmas traditions. In spite of all the changes we hope to learn that the ultimate reasonĀ for our joy isĀ that God came to earth as man so that He may die for our sins.

December 10, 2013   6 Comments