earthen vessels, East Africa, and the gospel
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The Three Gassitos

It is our delight to share with you that Nia Joy Gass was born at 2:45 pm, Saturday, February 3. She is beautiful, and all are well.

3 Gassitos

Nia (pronounced NEE-ya) has roots in Welsh or Swahili. In Swahili, her name means “purpose” or “intention.” More specifically, our Tanzanian friends will understand that her name is an allusion to God’s purpose.

God’s Intentions

As it turns out, God intended to keep Nia in the hospital for nine days after birth. She contracted a dangerous but somewhat common infection. Her antibiotic treatment concluded on Monday, and all tests suggest that we need not be concerned regarding long-term consequences.

We made the trip to Nairobi for the hospitals and doctors here just in case we find ourselves with such problems. God’s intentions were (in part) to remind us of our need for Him. Please join us thanking God for His kindness and answer to our prayers!

Laura and I would also like to publicly thank our coworkers and friends here in Nairobi for all the support that they’ve provided as we have been living between the hospital, government offices, and our suitcases. We couldn’t imagine handling this without them!

We’ll stay here in the diaspora until Nia’s passport is ready for our move back to Tanzania.

February 14, 2018   1 Comment

July 2017 Prayer Update

For this update we reflected on recent reasons to give thanks to God and recorded it in a short video. We also included a special family announcement. Follow the link below to see it online.

Prayer Update

  1. Thank the Lord with us that the churches successfully organized a fellowship to coordinate their work together and (eventually) fulfill their requirements to the government. The June 22nd meeting was notable as a mark of the churches’ growing maturity.
  2. We are grateful that our co-worker, Beth Roark, is receiving good medical treatment in the States. Please pray for her recovery from surgery, the success of this treatment, and Tumaini Children’s Home while she is away.
  3. We are preparing two Bible Institute classes for August: one on the church and a second on bible interpretation. Please pray for teachers and students alike so that the Lord may be served in these efforts.
  4. Please pray for Laura’s health and strength regarding the happy news we shared in the video 🙂

July 20, 2017   4 Comments

Call Me Mng’wananogu

Paulo stopped by recently to give me a Sukuma name. Many of you may recall that Paulo served as the pastor of the church in Sweya for several years. You may also know that he is the one who has “baptized” our teammates with their Sukuma names.

You can call me Mng’wananogu (if you can pronounce it). It is the name given to a son who is favored by his parents because he is easy to send on errands. For this reason his mama may set aside an extra portion of dinner for him.

I am told that it’s not official until we slaughter a goat and have a naming party. I don’t have any goats ready for that, though some have already gone ahead and started calling me Mng’wananogu.

Sukuma village

A Sukuma village some time between 1906 and 1918.

When living in Sukumaland it’s good to be as Sukuma as I can. Although putting concerted effort into learning the Sukuma tribal language will have to wait while I’m still plugging holes in my Swahili, I have enough Sukuma to greet people and ask about their family. And that much is enough show people that my interest in being here goes beyond superficial matters. So Mng’wananogu I am.

November 1, 2015   No Comments

Upcoming Planned Evangelism

The long dry season (June–August) is often considered a good time for community activities that get squeezed out of the planting and harvesting seasons. These months are usually when checkers and soccer football leagues are formed. The increased free time is probably why the Tanzanian churches are gearing up for special outreach. Please join with us in praying for these efforts to share the gospel.

  1. The church in Sengerema is hosting outdoor evangelistic services the last weekend in July (July 31–Aug 2). Dan Eads and Pastor Samson (from Shadi) will be preaching gospel messages each day. Food will be provided and some follow-up visits may be conducted the same weekend. This will be the first event of this kind to be hosted by the churches we are working with.
  2. The church in Shadi is moving forward with its plans to plant a church in Usagara (south of us by a 30-minute-drive). Evangelism begins the first week of August with small teams of church members relocating to Usagara to visit house-to-house during the weekdays. This plan will be repeated for a few weeks until a group can be formed.
  3. Dan Eads has set September as the start of evangelistic work near the Saint Augustine University campus in Malimbe (near Sweya, 15-minute-drive from Shadi). He plans to focus on small group Bible studies with the help of some Bible Institute graduates.

Each project reflects a slightly different method of evangelism. To be honest, we are all trying to develop best practices in proclaiming the gospel to people who generally believe that the gospel is mainly about prosperity and that God’s favor is bestowed for attending church. These errors can be reinforced or corrected by the way we share the gospel.

I intend to participate in each of these efforts. May I suggest that we pray for opportunity and wisdom in handling gospel conversations and God’s effectual working to win people to Himself for the sake of His name.

July 30, 2015   No Comments

Kyla Marie Gass

Our baby girl arrived Monday evening just before 6 o’clock PM. She and mom are both doing very well. Thank you all for praying for health and safety!

We had been praying specifically that when the time came, we would be able to make it to the hospital safely. Similarly, friends who have come here for their children’s births shared how they prayed: that “the hour” would not come during the Nairobi rush hour. While they were able to make their trips to the hospital in the middle of the night, God chose to keep us safe through the middle of that notoriously bad Nairobi rush hour traffic. We are all glad that is over with and that the result is simply beautiful. Thanks again for praying with us.

November 25, 2014   7 Comments

Two Accidents

Wednesday of this week brought an unusually high amount of difficult news. The shop owners in town went on strike (again) and we were summoned to the village chairman’s office in Sweya to settle a land dispute. The most challenging news involved two of the pastors we work with.

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August 21, 2014   2 Comments

Another New Arrival

The Gass Family

We are happy to announce that we are expecting a new addition to our family! Baby Gass is due to arrive the end of November. We are so thankful to God for answering our prayers! Please continue to join us in prayer:

  1. We plan for the delivery to take place in Nairobi, Kenya. This means that we will need to travel there in November or possibly October, either by plane or truck. Please pray for wisdom and safety in travel, as well as a safe and healthy delivery.
  2. A significant amount of paperwork goes into having a baby in a foreign country. Please pray that the required paperwork will go through smoothly after the baby’s birth.
  3. Please pray for a healthy pregnancy for both me and for the baby. Everything looks good so far.
  4. Please also pray for strength for me to continue to fulfill my responsibilities in our home and with language learning. I need God’s grace to daily love Ian, especially when I am tired and not feeling well.

Thank you!

May 30, 2014   3 Comments

New Arrivals

The 5 New Arrivals and Rachelle

The 5 New Arrivals and Rachelle

Tumaini Children’s Home received five new children last month. These four and five-year-olds have been handed over to us at the request of another orphanage in Mwanza which is only prepared to care for infants and toddlers.

Aparrently there has been something of an epidemic in recently orphaned children recently. We are grateful that God has sufficiently provided the means so that we can become a part of their lives. Please pray with us that we (especially the employees and volunteers at Tumaini) will bear the added responsibility with wisdom and trust in God.

As usual, more information on the children and their adjustment into the family here can be found at Tumaini’s blog here.

May 20, 2014   No Comments

Launguage Progress Present and Future

In the most recent update video we thanked you for your prayers for our progress in language learning. We know that some of the credit for our progress is due to all of you who have labored with us in prayer. So, thanks again…and congrats! [Read more →]

May 16, 2014   No Comments

Heri ya Krismas

December 23, 2013   No Comments