earthen vessels, East Africa, and the gospel
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Posts from — September 2014

September 2014 Prayer Update

This September 12 we will reach the second anniversary of our life in Africa. Looking back at this past year, we can see great progress in making Tanzania our home and place of ministry. For many months after moving in, the mark of our success was simply identifying the problems of our adjustment and coping with them. Now, we could describe the steps forward over this past year by recounting the number of things we did to adjust ourselves and our home to resolve some of those difficulties. Our house is more our home and the flow of life and work makes much more sense to us now than it did a year ago. We find ourselves more free to give thanks about the “Tanzanian” aspects of our life: the beauty of the land, the kindness of our neighbors, and the privilege of our son’s freedom to explore—to name a few.

Matt has also found this year to provide both greater opportunities and challenges in ministry. I’ve gone from devoting the whole of my time in preparation to talk with others about the Scriptures in Swahili to taking various opportunities to do so, and then be told, “that helped,” in various ways.

A Year of Focused Ministry Partnership

The past two months have been without a doubt the most intense season since our move here. Much of this has to do with our preparations for the next Baby Gass. The rest has to do with some good discussions with the Tanzanian church leadership. Observing a number of difficult situations in their own churches,1 a few representatives from each church agreed to make several requests of us missionaries. Some of the requests were for financial aid, some were for counsel, and others were for further explanation regarding our relationship to the churches. In some ways the subsequent discussions revealed the progress made in this church movement; and in other ways, it brought to the surface issues that are preventing spiritual and numerical growth. The intensity of the situation is no doubt a result of growing pains. That these conversations are a necessary—albeit challenging—step forward is a matter to thank the Lord for.

We agreed to answer all their questions and provide some financial help. Knowing that these difficult situations would require more than money to resolve, we also proposed a way to open the Scriptures with them in order to work through these problems together. We are now beginning a year of a focused partnership with these churches in which we will all be seeking God’s wisdom and, hopefully, making necessary corrections.

Prayer Update

I regularly remark to Laura and my teammates on my gratitude for being in a situation which demands that we recognize our need to depend upon the Lord. Thank you for depending on God through prayer as we do the same. Your prayers from wherever you are are no less important nor effective than our prayers here. Here are a few ways you can continue praying with us:

  1. Let’s pray that God would use the upcoming planned and unplanned meetings with the churches for Bible study and prayer to help the churches grow through the challenges they are now facing. May God use these discussions to make His word understood, strengthen our trust in Him, and help us to press forward in unity.
  2. Thank you for praying for the pregnancy and upcoming trip to Nairobi for the baby’s birth. By God’s grace, Laura and the baby are doing well. We continue praying for health, provision, and wisdom approaching the next few months so that the four of us may return to Tanzania safely and soon.
  3. Elias has recovered well from his accident and Samson continues to remark of God’s grace in his family’s situation following the recent loss of his younger brother. Thank you for praying. We may continue to praying for these men as they each face challenges in either making ends meet or leading a church through new situations.

[1]: I have introduced some of these challenges in individual posts on the history and progress of the churches: Sweya, Nyakaliro, Shadi, and Luselelo.

September 10, 2014   No Comments