Though the fig tree may not blossom, Nor fruit be on the vines; Though the labor of the olive may fail, and the fields yield no food; Though the flock may be cut off from the fold, and there be no herd in the stalls- Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The LORD God is my strength; He will make my feet like deer’s feet, and He will make me walk on my high hills (Habakkuk 3:17-19).
This next week marks my 10th anniversary here in Tanzania. Can you believe it? I arrived in Tanzania for the first time on September 12, 2001. Praise the Lord for His enabling and direction in the ministries here in Tanzania.
The past week has been one of those crazy weeks. Life has a way of never going just as expected. Sometimes there are pleasant surprises and other times there are more difficult ones.
The past two Saturdays have been long days but good ones. We attended graduation parties for two different Bible clubs in local High Schools. The last party involved a side trip. We helped Pastor Oswald and his family move to a new home as they start their new ministry. His wife, Mama Dani, has been a great camp counselor over the past couple years. He just finished Bible School last year and has been traveling several hours by bike to this church to minister. Now he has prepared a place for his family to join him. Pray for Pastor Oswald and his family in their new ministry.
On the Wednesday between, we had a wedding at a local church. The bride and groom both graduated from the vocational school in Rukwa last year and we had attended their graduation party. How fun it is to celebrate with past campers and graduates. On Tuesday the bride, Gladys, came to try on a wedding dress. My bathroom became the fitting room and we pulled out several for her to try. As the decision was finally made with the help of her friends, I thanked her for following through and having a church wedding. Very few kids make it to that point. She then thanked me for teaching her. I had forgotten that she was in a class I taught last September to single girls. Praise God for all the youth that are now producing fruit in their lives, whether it’s kids that have studied hard through High School and are finishing or couples who are waiting to get married before the Lord and their family.
Just before the wedding, I had another pleasant surprise. Visitors from Australia, Chris and Elayne Clash, have been travelling around the world for 4+ years in their homemade buggy. Two years ago they stayed with my grandparents in AK and now they are here with me. I knew they may come by but you’re never sure when you live way out here! So they have been here for a bit and learning about missionary life in Africa, attending weddings, and helping out. Praise God for the blessing of the Body of Christ, where we can fellowship with saints from around the world.
In the midst of all the celebrations, we have been having water problems on the campus here. For years we have relied on a gravity powered water pump to bring water from the river up to the campus holding tank and then from there to each home. For months it has been sketchy in delivery and for the past couple weeks, it’s been pretty much not working at all. We have been getting water from the river in buckets. That gets old really fast. Our maintenance man along with several other co-workers have been working long days trying to figure out what the problem is. This is where Chris, as an engineer, helped a ton. For a couple days he has been working with our maintenance man, learning the system and testing and trying things. Finally, on Sunday afternoon, we were able to make some adjustments and measurements which brought some results. We now have some water running into the holding tank. It’s not as good as it was before but we have some things to work on to improve that. You see any running water is better than no running water! Praise the Lord for everyone’s hard work on the water system. Pray that it will continue to pump water for us.
Change is in the air for the Youth Department of the Grace Church of Tanzania. They have moved my director, Pastor Albert Simwanza, to be the Treasurer of the church. He will do a great job at that, but it means I will get new Tanzanian co-workers soon. The ministry that I do is greatly affected by the national staff that I work with. I’m thankful for the decision to wait a couple months while we think about who is qualified and that I can share what type of person I would like to work with. Pray for Simwanza as he takes on this new job, snd pray for the new Youth Director who will be chosen in November.
Coming up in October, there is going to be a big Bible Conference. Representatives from all the Grace churches in Africa will be coming to Mbeya, Tanzania. There is a lot of preparation to be done. Some of us have been given classes to teach, others are working on the logistics of housing, food, language barriers, etc. Others are leading services in three languages. I have been asked to teach a couple youth workshops as well as help with planning the worship services. Many have to travel long distances, even those from Tanzania have a long way to travel. Please pray for guidance and wisdom for all involved with the planning and teaching of this seminar.