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Wednesday, May 8, 2013

We Moved!

We have moved our blog to  Follow the blog link at this site. 

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Good bye 2012 . . . Hello 2013

Pastor Frazier and Steve preaching at the Truth Baptist Church missions conference.  The TBC is supporting 3 Tanzanian missionaries through its own missions giving.  The church also has a church-planting fund used to help start churches in the surrounding villages.

Pastor Frazier receives his "love offering" in the form of a traditional Datooga spear from church member William who is from the Datooga tribe.
Our Bible Institute ministry strives to train servants and leaders in the local church.  We recently had three graduate from the leadership level.  Philomena, Yesaya, and Christopher have been faithful for years and continue to serve in the local church.
Two kindergarten graduates of the Truth Learning Center.  The school is entering its 6th year with over 150 students from nursery to grade 5. 

Rich, the assistant pastor of Truth Baptist Church, with Lydia his new wife.  The entire church participated in their wedding and the church was packed out with family and friends.  It is a blessing to see two young people follow God's plan for marriage.
The Burkholder kids dressed up for our annual costume party with the Peace Corps volunteers in our area.  Caleb- Karate Kid, Hannah - Movie Star, and Sarah - Ballerina.

We had a huge Thanksgiving meal with over 30 friends in Katesh.  Fellow missionaries from the area and Peace Corps volunteers enjoyed a traditional Thanksgiving meal, watching some football, and playing "cornhole."  It was a great day of fun and fellowship.
The kids' table at Thanksgiving.  The kids also did a short program in which they sang a few songs and quoted Psalm 100.
The day after Thanksgiving we took a hike up Mt. Hanang.  It is over 11,000 feet and took 6 hours to climb up and 5 hours to come down. 
Hannah turned 10 years old in December and we took advantage of the Thanksgiving guests and had an early birthday party.  We had a Mexican Fiesta theme with pinata, sombrero cake, and some great mexican food.

The kids could hardly wait for Christmas day when they got to open their presents.  Sarah is all girl and loves dolls and dress-up clothes.  Caleb got a new baseball bat.  Hannah loves her new clothes and crafts.
The big gift this year was a new "zip line" which is around 70 feet long and 10 feet high from the top of the kids' play house to the ground below. 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Full Circle Missions

Our goal as church planting missionaries is to see missions come full circle.  What a joy it is to see the churches started by foreign missionaries becoming involved in missions themselves through prayer, support, and sending missionaries and starting new churches.  In our ministry, missions is coming full circle in the following ways:

(Photo above: Making mud bricks for the pastor's home and small church building in the village of Bassodesh.)  This church was started over a year ago by the Basotu Baptist Church, which was started by the Truth Baptist Church in Katesh.  The church had been meeting in a small rented building for it's first year.  Bricks were made by Pastor John and some of the believers from this church.  Bricks were also purchased from offerings from the believers of the Katesh and Endasak churches.  The doors and windows were made by Pastor Christopher (a carpenter by trade) of the Basotu church.

Pastor John explaining his vision and burden for the village of Bassodesh as the building gets started.

 Pastor John with his wife and children in front of their current home.  Pray for them as they move to the church property in Bassodesh to live and minister full time.  Pastor John's youngest child, being held in this picture, has cerebral palsy and needs special prayer. 
Pastor John and Christopher in front of new buildings that will be used instead of a rented room.  This building will help the church as John lives in one and the other is used for the small congregation to meet in.  As the church grows they will need to build a larger church building in the future.

Part of the Great Commision of missions is seeing people saved and baptized in the local church.  The Truth Baptist Church not only continues to reach out through missions but also in the town of Katesh.  Those saved and baptized are discipled through a series of Bible lessons and then further trained for service and leadership in the local church through our Bible Institute ministry.

Through the donations of God's people and the ministry of Living Water International with the help of Lance Whyle (Natalie's father), the village of Basotu has fresh and clean drinking water for the first time.  People were using the Basotu lake for their drinking water and suffering with illnesses from the contaminated water.  Pastor Christopher and his family have suffered in the past with many illnesses but now can get water from this new well.  The church is planning a special dedication service of the well in which it will reach out to the community with the message of the Living Water, Jesus Christ.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Road Rage Incident

Recently we went on a trip to a national park with the young men from the Timothy House.  We had a great time enjoying God's creation and this was the first time for these young men to see animals such as elephants, giraffe, cape buffalo, zebra, gazelle, impala, and we were even able to see a pride of 8 lions! 
We are all standing in front of this giant baobab tree which we were all able to crawl into the small opening at the bottom and fit comfortably inside.

We saw hundreds of elephants and were able to get within a few feet of them.  These animals are wild and we thought we were safe in the car.  Usually elephants will give some warning signs before making a charge, but I guess we came across one that was having a bad day.  Out of nowhere he charged our vehicle and we took off.  The young male elephant chased us for several meters before letting us have it on the back side of the car. 

Nobody was hurt but we all got quite a rush out of this road rage incident.  All of the young men hit the floor of the car when the elephant charged and needless to say their first safari was an exciting one.  I think we will wait awhile to get the car repaired as it is such a good story, plus I don't think our insurance will cover an accident with a wild elephant.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Using Education as a Tool

We were blessed to have a group of 4 teachers from our church to come and minister with us through education.  They spent a week at the Truth Learning Center observing our classes and teachers.  They prepared a seminar for our teachers to help them in their teaching techniques.

The following week the guest teachers visited public schools in our area.  We hosted an education seminar at the Truth Center for the teachers of the public schools.  Around 80 teachers attended 4 workshops and were encouraged in their work.  The church paid for a meal for the teachers and the members served in different ways throughout the day.  Around 20 teachers came the following day for a special Sunday service where each one received a Swahili New Testament and a gospel message.

Kweli Learning Center teacher Augustino is showing students some basic skills on laptop computers donated by the group.  The group raised money for the Truth Center to purchase its own photocopy machine.  The school was blessed with other supplies as well, and some supplies were also donated to the local public school teachers.
The ministry of the Truth Center is growing and we needed a new water line in order to meet the daily needs of the school and Timothy House ministry.  The new water line is direct from the local storage tank and the trench had to be hand-dug for 600 yards.  Lord-willing this new line will provide enough water to meet the growing needs.

We were praying for over two years for this small piece of land next to the Truth Center.  It was the last open plot available next to the Truth Center and needed for future growth.  At first, the land owner was not willing to sell, but through prayer and God's provision of the funds needed, the plot is now ours.  We are praying about how the Lord would have us to use this land in the future.  Some possible ideas are to expand the projects for the Timothy House, a dorm building for the school and Bible Institute, a pastors home, etc.   
We have the blessing of working with a great group of independant baptist missionaries in Tanzania.  We get together once a year for a time of fellowship, planning, and preaching.  We cooperate in areas such as youth camps and training leadership through Bible Institute and national pastors meetings.

Augustino has been a faithful church member and also teaches at the Truth Learning Center. (See picture above.) He is also one of our Bible Institute students and was able to graduate from the first level of this training which focuses on serving in the local church. He is leading our Sunday night youth meetings and is continuing in the leadership level of the Bible Institute. 
One of the great blessings of living in Tanzania is being surrounded by God's creation.  While on "safari" I saw these elephants dancing "trunk to trunk."
Even while sitting down this camel was taller than Caleb.  He got to ride this camel on a recent trip to Arusha when we took some time out to have some fun.
The crocodile hunter?  Hardly.  This is about as big of a croc that I will hold.
Sarah celebrated her 3rd birthday with a Hello Kitty party complete with custom cake.
Caleb turned 8 and we celebrated with missionary friends who came to visit.  Caleb is very interested in space and we tease him that he will be the first missionary to the moon.
After a busy few months we were able to take our family vacation along the Tanzanian coast.  We enjoyed our time together as a family swimming, snorkeling, and playing on the beach.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Mountains and Valleys

We started out 2012 with many victories and "on top of the mountain."  In late March we were able to see the vision to start new churches continue on as the Truth Baptist Church launched the new church plant in the village of Endasak.  A team of Bible Institute students from Truth Baptist Church are being led by missionaries Brad and Tricia Henderson in the new church plant.

It is always a joy to see new believers get baptized.  Elias was invited to our church by his neighbor who is a faithful church member.  After attending for several weeks and visiting with him in his home he received Christ as his personal Savior.  He was shortly after baptized as a result of going through discipleship lessons.  His wife and children are now attending church faithfully.  Pray for him, his wife, and children as they continue to attend and grow in the Lord.

(Photo below: Rich, assistant pastor and leader of the Timothy House ministry with the "end result" of the chicken project that was started a few months ago.)  We were able to raise and sell around 80 chickens the week of Easter.  This project and other small projects are helping to meet the daily needs of the boys who stay at the Timothy House.  With the first batch of chickens now gone we are starting over with 20 hens and selling eggs.  Pray for these projects as we try to teach the young men the importance of work and self-reliance and support the daily needs of this ministry.  Pray for the young men as well as we continue to teach and disciple them to be faithful followers of Christ.
We praise the Lord for children who can interact and minister alongside us in the culture and language.  Hannah has started a Bible club at school called G.O.D. (Girls Of Devotion).  They meet each Wednesday to sing songs, do a craft, play a game, have a memory verse and a Bible lesson.  While she is meeting with the girls her age, Natalie has a ladies' Bible Study and Steve meets with the men.  We have also started a married couples fellowship that meets once a month.  We have seen couples come who are really needing the Lord to work in their marriages.  Pray for us as we minister to families as a family.

Caleb loves to hang out with his Tanzanian friends and have friend day at our house. Especially since he has two sisters that boss him around all the time!  He is a boy that really loves the Lord and is a joy to be around. 

The kids always enjoy when Grandpa (Natalie's dad) comes to Tanzania for a visit. Lance is continuing to minister in Tanzania several times a year through Living Water International by helping villages who do not have clean drinking water. We enjoy the time we are able to have with him when he comes to town between his projects.
(Photo below: The youth from the Truth Baptist Church on top of Mt. Hanang, 11,000+ feet above sea level.)  We climbed all day and had lessons along the way from different Bible stories that took place on the mountain.  It was a great time of bonding and fellowship.

While Natalie was at a missionary ladies retreat in the mountains of Tanzania the kids and Steve went camping.  We could not have had a better view looking out over the Massai Steppe.  We went on several short hikes to look at the amazing views and several waterfalls.