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

Progress from the Inside Out

Change Brought by Pastoral Stipends

The effect of the pastoral stipends has been greater in some ways than what we expected. Though there is no hard and fast evidence of this, I believe there has been an up-tick in the pastors’ engaging other people. Following that, we have had productive conversations about church membership, use of the tongue, and evangelism—conversations that we have found difficult to engage in prior to dispensing stipends. It appears that the stipends have given them enough freedom to focus on other things.

There is also what the pastors have said when asked how the stipends are helping:

  • “Now when I come home my children are happy because they have had enough to eat.”
  • “I used to have one day per week for pastoral ministry [because he was spending four weekdays every week on his farm or doing day-labor], now I have five.”

Needless to say, it is really encouraging to hear our friends rejoice in God’s provision. Dispensing of stipends and building funds, however, is just the easy part of a larger project. As I’ve said during our furlough meetings, the benevolence the churches are now receiving is a band-aid fix for several systemic spiritual and economic problems. The success of the long-term fix relies on several efforts to address these complex problems. For the sake of our labor in prayer together, I’d like to highlight a few of these efforts.
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October 23, 2015   No Comments

October 2015 Ministry Update

For this month’s update we recorded a short 4-minute video.

[vimeo 141789422]

Prayer Update

  1. By God’s grace, we are in a place where His gospel can be preached house-to-house. We and our Tanzanian coworkers are investing personal time and resources to share God’s word with others in Usagara, while preparations are under way in Malimbe to start evangelism there. We pray that out of these efforts God will produce fruit for the sake of His name.
  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. These months at the end of the dry season tend to be exceptionally difficult on our friends and neighbors. Food harvested from the last growing season is running out, prices are climbing, while preparations for the coming growing season create an added financial burden. We pray God will show Himself faithful to provide for all of us and that our part will be played with wisdom and compassion (1 John 3:16–18).

October 9, 2015   No Comments