earthen vessels, East Africa, and the gospel
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Posts from — September 2015

Be Our Guest

We just completed two weeks of hosting visitors from outside Tanzania. As it is commonly said here, receiving guests is a blessing from God. Although it is a busy affair, it is also very refreshing. [Read more →]

September 30, 2015   No Comments

Recent Tumaini Happenings


George and Robert

We are pleased to share with you that God has allowed us to bring two more children to live at Tumaini Children’s Home. The current total of kids living here is now 57. The two newcomers, George and Robert, are both about 5-yrs-old.

Standard 7 Graduation


Saturday, September 12, was also the graduation for Standard 7, our oldest 9 children. This milestone is particularly significant as it marks the end of primary school in the Tanzanian education system. Exams taken at this level determine placement into public secondary schools. In the nearly five years since our kids have switched over to a private school, they have taken great steps forward academically and socially. It is also remarkable to remember that many of their peers in the village will be unable to continue formal education after this point. Standard 7 is the end of the educational road for most people in our churches.

Here the new school year begins in January. Beth and the rest of the Tumaini team have started the challenging process of deciding the next step in the oldest’s education.

September 24, 2015   No Comments

September 2015 Ministry Update

Pastors’ Meetings & Building Projects

Distribution of benevolence for pastors’ stipends and church building projects has proceeded well. Most of these building projects are practically complete. Pastors have expressed gratitude for their stipends and have begun to make adjustments to their family and ministry commitments. As we are approaching a new planting season, we expect to see new situations as pastors should now be able to exchange some of the time that they would have otherwise needed to farm with ministry responsibilities.

One important forum for speaking into the Tanzanian churches’ approach to evangelism and discipleship is the monthly pastors’ meetings which began while we were on furlough. These are shaping up to be excellent opportunities to open the Scriptures together and consider how God’s word dictates the priorities of church ministry and how those priorities are fleshed out. The past two months’ meetings touched issues relating to discipleship, church discipline, and leadership in church meetings.

Evangelism in Usagara

rain in Usagara

rain, rain, wait a little!

Since the first week of August God has granted us many opportunities for gospel conversations in Usagara as part of the church in Shadi’s efforts to launch a new church. As we have gone from house-to-house asking for a few moments to share God’s word, we have found people generally receptive to the message. Like most of our neighbors, many in Usagara apparently have very different ideas about what the gospel is. We have followed up by discussing the difference between salvation by works and salvation by grace through faith; and with others, the difference between salvation from poverty and sickness and salvation from sin and death.

Of those we have visited many have volunteered their agreement; some have made steps to join the small group now worshiping on Sundays in the “tent.” In fact, we have now already filled all five benches!

Prayer Update

  1. We thank God for the many opportunities to preach the Gospel over the last month. We believe God has blessed these conversations. It is also encouraging to see a number of people affirming the gospel. This brings us to a critical stage in the birth of a new church: the people in the group with very little understanding of what a church is or ought to be easily outnumber those who do. Please pray that this group will develop good habits of evangelism and discipleship.
  2. Tanzania is approaching presidential elections this October. The political scene has been relatively peaceful for decades here, though the potential for conflict is now increasing. The increased competitiveness can be good for the democratic process. On the other hand, some signs suggest that this competition induces oppression and violence. Please pray for peace in which the gospel may be proclaimed.
  3. Laura is working hard to establish regular routines at home while one child is learning how to use the restroom and another is learning how to crawl. This means that language learning and building relationships with our Tanzanian neighbors often gets set aside out of necessity. Please pray that she will find the strength to care for all the people in her life.

September 13, 2015   No Comments

Safety and the Upcoming Elections in Tanzania

Tanzania has gained a well-earned reputation for being relatively free of tribal conflict and politically-motivated violence. With an unprecedented amount of competition for upcoming presidential elections, some are questioning whether or not the political process will remain peaceful.

Lively Political Discussion

Lively Political Discussion

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September 1, 2015   No Comments