earthen vessels, East Africa, and the gospel
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Category — General

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

The Church in Sengerema

This is the fifth post in a series on the history and progress of the churches we work with. Preceding posts covered the churches in Sweya, Nyakaliro, Shadi, and Luselelo.

A Brief History of the Church in Sengerema

When we made our first visit to Tanzania in 2009, plans were already in motion to start a church in the town of Sengerema, the hub of the district immediately west of the Mwanza Gulf. Roads paved in 2010 connect Sengerema with the city of Mwanza, making its place in the region even more prominant. If you add to that Sengerema’s growing population and the attention it receives from health-and-wealth preachers, our efforts in establishing an outpost for the gospel here makes sense.

The church in Nyakaliro sent one of its deacons, Hamisi Paskali, to start evangelism in 2010. Dan Eads was also asked to assist in planting the church. They shared the preaching and visitation load.

Hamisi and Family at their Commissioning Service

Hamisi and family at their commissioning service

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October 14, 2014   No Comments

Swahili Words to Confuse if you Want a Laugh

People unfamiliar with a language have an uncanny ability to mix up words that have very different meanings. This is one reason why kids say such funny things. Our son has inadvertently confused some four-letter words for completely appropriate words with similar spelling. We laugh, knowing he is just learning. Some of my own language learning mistakes are almost as unfortunate.


Here Are some Swahili examples that I still confuse occasionally and cause a good laugh.

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March 17, 2014   8 Comments

Heri ya Krismas

December 23, 2013   No Comments

In and Around Iringa

Other than all the Swahili grammar we are cramming into our heads, our trip to Iringa has provided a great opportunity to take a breath and enjoy what our new country of residence has to offer. We have found Tanzania to be much more diverse than we realized. The cooler weather is a welcome change. Some foods, which are otherwise unavailable in hotter climates (coffee, dairy, and even berries!), have also been a delightful surprise.

On a more significant note, the trip has broadened our appreciation for our Lord’s work in this country. We have encountered a number of Christians engaged in good works in various places. Their burden for God’s reputation and their experience have served to encourage and equip us with tactics worth exploring. Also, our drive through the heart of the country has identified countless villages yet to have any established witness to the gospel. We are left with the impression that God is working and that there is much work left to be done.

Since we couldn’t bring you with us, we hope you enjoy the following pictures.

Ruaha National Park

Iringa Town

May 23, 2013   No Comments

Unrest in Zanzibar

In 1964, three years after Tanganyika gained its independence, it was united with the islands of Zanzibar and became the United Republic of Tanzania. Interestingly, Zanzibar remained semi-autonomous after the merger; only some of the government’s services are shared with the mainland. There is, however, there is at least one major distinction between Zanzibar and the mainland: Zanzibar is proudly 98-99% Muslim, but on the mainland more people profess Christianity than anything else. Until recently, the whole country has enjoyed political stability–and that is highly unusual for this part of Africa.

Tension has been escalating over the past several weeks as Islamists have moved from mosque to mosque, building up support for independence from the mainland. Riots broke out in Stone Town, Zanzibar, last week on Saturday night and continued through Sunday.

It seems that these are religiously-motivated political riots. Two churches were burned and the Islamist party implicated in the riots is openly opposed to secular government. For now, the conflict is at a stalemate, but it is likely that tension will build as the country moves toward writing a new constitution by 2014. We are praying for the safety of Christians in Zanzibar and the sort of peace that would continue to permit the open proclamation of the gospel.

June 3, 2012   No Comments

How to Help Tumaini Children’s Home

Beth, Ferdinand, and Happyness with kids

I haven’t said much here about Tumaini, the orphanage associated with our team’s ministry. Since Beth, the American co-director of Tumaini, is currently in the States updating many of our church partners and inviting them to help in a new project, it would be a good time to provide some of the same information here. We’ve coordinated Beth’s visit with the beginning of a new campaign for donated items. I’ve already mentioned that we will be shipping a container with these donations and a few of our things this summer; there is still time to help if anyone is interested.

The highest priority for this campaign is to collect the clothing the children will use over the next five years. Other items on the wish list include school supplies, first aid supplies, and toys. We are trying to make the giving process as smooth and efficient as possible, but it is also important for everyone to understand the particular needs and the long process involved with getting everything from here to there. If you would like to help–great! Please see Beth’s instructions and the list of needs she has provided at the Tumaini web blog here.

May 14, 2012   No Comments

Downsize Me

a moving sale on our front lawn, April 21, 2012

Little by little we’re preparing for the move to Africa. The process is something like moving across the country, but even less of our stuff will come with us. We will be using a shipping container to send some essential difficult-to-get-in-Africa items. Most of the container will be used to ship items donated to the orphanage. Otherwise, we’ll be taking over whatever we can fit into our luggage. After our baby showers, I wonder if half of our luggage will be taken up with baby supplies! Fortunately, we’re moving into a house that is semi-furnished.

There’s nothing like moving to help you realize how much stuff you’ve accumulated. It has been a tough but profitable experience trying to justify everything that we will be taking with us. Putting a value on everything we have in this way is good to vet false priorities.

This past Saturday was our first moving sale (we’re planning one more). I was surprised at how successful it was. We’ve had fantastic help. I’d say we sold close to 80% of the stuff we put out for sale. And, since we advertised it as a moving sale, a few people expressed interest in renting our house. God continues to be kind to us in many simple ways.

April 28, 2012   No Comments

Ian David Gass

Our son was born on Monday morning just after 7am. He was 9 lbs 6 oz and 23 in long. Laura and Ian are both doing very well. Thank you for praying for us.

Since the next thing you will ask me for is some pictures, I’ve included them here:

April 24, 2012   7 Comments

Grace Baptist Mission Property in Shadi Village

After my last trip to TZ, I shared that I will be showing some of the pictures taken there. The following collection of pictures will introduce you to the property God has provided for our home and ministry. (Click on a picture to enlarge and read more.)

[I’m sorry that some of you have received this twice by email, but clicking on the pictures should actually work now.]

April 14, 2012   No Comments