earthen vessels, East Africa, and the gospel
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Posts from — December 2017

December 2017 Prayer Update

Leaders in just about any field reach a level of success when they are able to step away from their work and watch everything move forward without interruption. When we missionaries say we are trying to work ourselves out of a job, we are anticipating the day in which gospel work is wholy entrusted to local churches. Didn’t John relay a similar idea when he wrote, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth” (3 John 4)?

It is now my joy to write this in the back of the Bible Institute classroom while Tanzanian pastors are teaching others the gospel and how to share it with their neighbors. Others, meanwhile, are out preparing a property to be used as meeting place for a church plant in Bulyaheke. And yet others are taking steps to teach their fellow church members principles of biblical stewardship.

Training for Savings Groups

The microfinancing project mentioned in previous prayer updates involves starting savings groups out of Tanzanian churches. You can read more about what this looks like and why we are doing it here.

Each church has selected two members (one man and one woman) to facilitate the formation of savings groups. Following training earlier this month, facilitators are now moving towards launching groups by the end of January. As we explained in the post linked above, these groups are designed as means to teach and encourage biblical stewardship of our things.

New Bible Institute Class

A new year of Bible Institute classes begins this week with a new group of students. At 40 students, the class is large and includes new faces from the church plant in Bukokwa and others who have heard the gospel from previous students. Some are able to attend this time since we are meeting in Nyakaliro—much closer to their homes than classes in Shadi.

This class is the first opportunity for most to consider the consequences of keeping the gospel to ourselves. The other remarkable news of the week is that the Tanzanian pastors are teaching the entire class for the first time. I have the privilege of coaching them through.

Matters For Prayer

  1. As people are being trained in evangelism and Bible teaching, please pray for courage to say what needs to be said and faithfulness to say what God has entrusted to us in His word. Consider specific situations of evangelism, Bible Institute teaching, and small group Bible study.
  2. Lord willing, a new church will soon be born in Bukokwa. 19 were baptized last month. The whole group (about 30) is now studying the churches’ statement of faith and constitution before forming their own membership. Please pray that the teaching will result in faith in and unity in the gospel.
  3. A week after New Year’s Day, the Gass family moves to Nairobi for the birth of Gassito #3, who is due at the end of January. Please pray for health and safety. May I also add that we pray specifically that this time we may avoid fleeing to the hospital in the middle of Nairobi rush hour traffic. Thanks!

We’d like to wish you all a merry Christmas and a happy New Year. Kwa Kiswahili, tunasema heri ya Krismas! Mungu awabiriki wote!

December 19, 2017   No Comments

Explaining Our Microfinancing Project

So far I have only briefly referred to our microfinancing project. Microfinancing, however, is such a broad term and what we are doing is fairly specialized. Let me explain. [Read more →]

December 14, 2017   No Comments

Challenges in Training Teachers

Since Bible Institute enrollment is growing and we continue adding new courses, there is a need to spread out the teaching load. Tanzanian pastors are stepping up to bear that load. Indeed the best reason to involve them is our desire to see Tanzanians discipling Tanzanians. While they are making tremendous progress, the effort has uncovered some challenges we didn’t anticipate. [Read more →]

December 1, 2017   1 Comment