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Posts from — August 2015

First Worship Service in Usagara

The first worship service for the church plant in Usagara was held this past Sunday, 23 August. House-to-house evangelism has been in progress since the first week of this month. More recently, ground on the nearby Mission property was cleared and a “tent” was erected. Beginning this past week the team began revisiting people to announce that were now ready to begin meeting for worship.

Though we have been generally seeing a warm reception to our visits and God’s evident work in many of the conversations, we still had no idea what to expect Sunday morning. Adding to the unknowns was the fact that no start time was announced–something quite normal for here, but unnerving to this white guy. I arrived at the tent just before 9am and we waited.

In the tent before the guests arrived

In the tent before the guests arrived

By 10:30 or so a few guests had arrived: a man, a woman with her 3 children, and two young men who helped construct the tent. Excellent! We all expect that others are still interested in coming, but it will take some time for the word to circulate. Meanwhile, we plan to continue visiting house-to-house for evangelism.

The service itself was blessed with energetic singing, all-around participation, and a clear message from God’s word by Pastor Samson. Personally, the simplicity of the whole setup was refreshing. We had our voices to praise and pray to God. And, we heard from God’s word. All left encouraged.

August 25, 2015   No Comments

August 2015 Ministry Update

We are approaching the one-month-mark since completing furlough. Ready or not, work and family life shifted into its new-old routines quickly. Ground was broken on a few building projects on our Shadi property. Special evangelistic events, pastoral meetings, and invitations to preach are coming in almost immediately. Through these activities what Swahili was lost over furlough is slowly coming back. All of us are glad to renew relationships with Tanzanian friends.

Opportunities for Evangelism

The Tanzanian churches are organizing a couple planned evangelistic efforts.

A weekend-long outdoor event in Sengerema (Jul 31–Aug 2) provided opportunities for several neighbors to hear clear presentations of the gospel. Pastor Hamisi anticipates more good opportunities for gospel conversations during follow-up.

Preparatory work for church planting in Usagara began last week with house-to-house visitation. Around 60 home visits were made to date. Here that means a 30-minute conversation at each place if the reception is cold. God blessed with many meaningful discussions. The professing Christians have been very eager to have a new church started. Though, as for me, the most important visits were with those for whom the gospel is new news.

Benevolence for Tanzanian Churches

During our furlough meetings we explained intentions to help the Tanzanian churches resolve some complex economic and leadership challenges by contributing stipends for each pastor, funds for certain building projects, and counsel to encourage discipleship. We are now ready to begin distributing these gifts.

The amount of pastoral stipends and usage of building funds have been determined. Churches have been informed that their pastors will begin receiving stipends this month.
Building projects to expand or repair personages etc. have begun at each of the churches. As a new part of regular pastoral meetings, discussions will now include determining how their stipends will change their approach to ministry.

Prayer Update

Thank you for praying with us through our return to Tanzania. We are glad to say that God’s grace continues to teach, comfort, and strengthen through the related expected and unexpected challenges. Let’s continue praying for the following:

  1. Pray that God would continue to open doors for meaningful gospel conversations in Usagara and that these conversations would result in some who would decide to repent, believe in our God, and worship Him.
  2. Please pray for wisdom in approaching a church plant near St Augustine University.
  3. The challenges of readjustment hit us a little harder than we expected, though we have mostly reacclimated. Please continue praying that we would find God’s grace abundant for encouraging each other and understanding the needs of our children who don’t understand all the changes they are experiencing.

August 11, 2015   No Comments