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Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from Tanzania! We had a really lovely holiday as we reflected on our Savior's birth over 2,000 years ago. Needless to say, it was a different celebration than the one we had in America last year, but still good. On Christmas Eve, we went over to the Wolfs' house for food and fellowship, and enjoyed celebrating Hayden's first Christmas with them. When we got home, we let the kids each open one gift, and they loved that! Then we got up early this morning to finish opening the rest. Hannah's favorite gift was a doll from her grandparents, and Caleb's favorite gift was a Spider-man back pack. We hurried over to church for a special service. The children's choir sang the Swahili version of Hark the Herald Angels Sing, and after the service, there was a delicious meal of rice and beans, which all 120 of us enjoyed thoroughly. When we got home this afternoon, we relaxed and played with our gifts, and talked to family on Skype. Tomorrow we are going to Babati for 2 days for a Christmas party with 3 other missionary families, and also Steve will be going hunting for the first and last time this season. He is really hoping to come home with a warthog--that would make a great New Year's Dinner!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Happy 5th Birthday, Hannah!

Considering our location, we tend to group holidays/celebrations together so that out-of-town guests can kill ALOT of birds with one stone! So, the day after Hannah's K-4 graduation, we had her 5th birthday party. Usually we have some sort of theme, but Hannah, wanting to be sensitive to the fact that there would be BOYS at her party, decided to avoid anything "girly" and just have a costume party--even the adults had to dress up! This led to one of my more embarrassing moments in Tanzania as I tried to explain to a local seamstress how to make a Larry-Boy costume for Caleb. Anyway, Hannah was Genevieve, Caleb was his favorite superhero, Moriah was a princess, Shawn was a policeman, Jamison was a firefighter, Hayden was a dinosaur, Steve was a fisherman, Nate was a tourist, Heather was an Indian, and I (for lack of planning) stuffed a pillow in my shirt and was a pregnant woman. Hannah's favorite gift was a slip-and-slide, so after a big serving of yummy ice cream cake, we all headed outside to watch the fun.

Hannah's K-4 Graduation

The day after Thanksgiving, we had a special little "K-4 Graduation" for Hannah at home with the Myers and Wolfs. (Can you tell we don't get out much?) She shared with everyone some of the most interesting things that she had learned about this year, quoted some Bible verses, and read part of a small book for us. Steve prayed for her, that God would help her to continue to love learning her entire life, and that she would bring glory to Him while obeying His plan for her life. We celebrated with punch and cookies, which Hannah made by herself. We are very proud of our daughter!

Happy Thanksgiving!

It happens every year--someone in America asks us, "So, are you having a special Thanksgiving service at church?" This year, it was my mom, so I can't groan too loudly! Ok, my American friends, Thanksgiving is only celebrated by AMERICANS. No, we do not have a special service at church, and nor are turkeys readily available. I did manage to buy one imported from Kenya at the bargain price of around $4 a pound. It was a 22-pounder, so you can do the math. Anyway, we really did have a special celebration with our AMERICAN friends. The Myers came with their 4 kids from Babati, the Wolf family joined us, and 4 Peace Corps Volunteers in our district came over as well. The kids did a short-but-sweet program where they quoted Psalm 100 and sang "We Gather Together", and before the delicious meal we went around the table, sharing about the blessings we've experienced in the past year. We had already decorated the house for Christmas the previous Tuesday, so we enjoyed listening to Christmas music, and after playing football and basketball outside for a few hours, we watched the movie "Elf" while eating turkey and bacon sandwiches.

Sunday, October 28, 2007


Praise the Lord the TRUTH Center is now open! What a great weekend here in Katesh! It has truly been the highlight of our six years of service in Tanzania. A group of 8 people from our home church, Canton Baptist Temple, including our pastor Mike Frazier have been with us all week. The group helped with painting and other finishing work for two days. We then had two days of evangelistic meetings where we passed out over 18,000 invitations and gospel tracts in the morning. In the afternoon and evenings we had games, singing, preaching, and a gospel film on the grounds of the TRUTH Center. All the activities were made complete by the dedication service of the Truth Baptist Church on Sunday morning with over 200 in attendance. Through the week of activities 16 people made a profession of faith in Christ. To God be the glory!

We have included the following pictures and will be adding more soon. In the near future we will be producing a short video of the entire project that we will make available to you. Thank you for your prayers and financial support that have made our vision a reality!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Life Goes On!

Even when we fail to update our blog for several weeks at a time, LIFE DOES GO ON! Maybe that's precisely the reason WHY we don't have time to write updates! Here are a few highlights of the weeks (and months!) gone by...

VISITORS FROM KENYA: Back in August, our friends who are missionaries in Kenya, Bob and Ericka Clark, came to visit for 6 days with their 3 boys, Vance, Edward, and Riley. They have ministered in Northern Kenya for several years to the Turkana people. Life there is difficult, but they have persevered and God has blessed. We really enjoyed the opportunity to get to know them better, and the kids had alot of fun together as well.

BABIES, BABIES, AND MORE BABIES! I want to wish the best to those nearest and dearest to us (in heart, if not in locale) who have welcomed new babies into their hearts and homes over the last few months. My sister Andrea gave birth to her 5th child in April, a girl named Katherine (Kate). Baby Hayden, 1st son of our teammates Nate and Heather Wolf was born in Nairobi in May. And finally my brother Dan and his wife welcomed their 3rd child in August, a boy named Aslan. Congratulations to all!

TRUTH CENTER: It has been such fun watching every stage of the TRUTH Center be built! Amazingly, the construction workers are putting on the finishing touches as I write this, and then we have some big jobs to do like landscaping, painting the inside walls, and getting the furniture built and arranged. But God really has had His hand in this whole project. We are looking forward to the group from our church coming at the end of this month for the Grand Opening. We have some exciting things planned, so please be in prayer for all of the festivities.

HOMESCHOOLING: Hannah and Caleb continue to do well with their schoolwork. Hannah has finished all of her K-4 books, so for the next 6 weeks we will just do some review work and fun activities. Here in Tanzania, schools run from January to December, with a month-long break every 3 months, so we are following that same schedule. We will officially finish our school year before Thanksgiving. Hannah and Caleb especially enjoy learning about other countries. Last week it was Japan, and this week it is The Netherlands. The countries that Hannah is most interested in are China and Iraq. I love that my kids want to know about the world, and are not just confined to the "American" realm, although they are certainly proud to be Americans! Starting in November, we'll begin studying about the Pilgrims and Indians and Plymouth Rock and the Mayflower, in preparation for Thanksgiving. They will also memorize Psalm 100 to recite at our Thanksgiving celebration. I am so thankful for the opportunity to homeschool my kids, and really invest in them and make learning fun. Because Hannah is also very interested in learning sign language, my mom is sending her dvd's for Christmas to teach her all about it, so that will be a fun new aspect of our curriculum.

TRUTH LEARNING CENTER: Something looming on my horizon is the opening of our new English-medium school (kindergarten) at the TRUTH Center in January 2008. At this point we are planning to only accept children who are 5-6 years old, as they prepare to enter 1st grade the following year. We hope to have 20-30 students, and I will be the main teacher, although I am praying that God will lead me to some competent assistants. This will be the first Christian school in Katesh, and we are praying that if it is God's will, He will lead someone from our home church to start a full-blown elementary school. We are excited about the possibilities. Please pray that we will get a good number of students as well as assistants. Hannah and Caleb will attend since I will be there all day, but I will have to supplement Hannah's studies at home. Caleb should do very well, although he is only 3, since he has a head-start on the other kids--he already knows English!

ASANTE ELIYA! Asante is Swahili for "thanks", and we truly do thank God for sending us Eliya 6.5 years ago when we lived in Bonga. He has worked for us since that time, even moving his whole family to Katesh when we came here 3.5 years ago. He has been so incredibly faithful and trustworthy, and we praise the Lord that he is confident of his call into the ministry, and is now working for the church full-time. We had a special surprise party for him to show how much he has meant to us.

WANAWAKE WA IMANI: "Women of Faith" is the name of our ladies group that meets one Saturday morning a month. We are studying Elisabeth George's book, The Remarkable Women of the Bible, and are enjoying it so much. This Saturday we are studying about Rebekah. We usually have around 10 women, and we play games, sing songs, share prayer requests and pray together, and of course have our lesson with a question time following. Please pray that these women, who come from various backgrounds and walks of life, would truly grow in their relationship with Christ and with one another.

SUNDAY SCHOOL: We have the neatest Sunday school kids around! They often arrive an hour early and wait outside for us to unlock the building. When we started our church in March 2005, I began teaching them chronologically through the entire Bible. Would you believe that after 3.5 years we are about halfway through the life of Christ? They have learned so much and retain an amazing amount of information. We had a contest two months ago where they had to learn the books of the Old and New Testament, as well as 26 Bible verses. This month's contest is to raise 10,000 shillings (a little less than $10) to give towards the church's water project for the TRUTH Center. If they reach their goal by this Sunday, then we will have a special party with hot tea and cookies. $10 might not seem like much, but most of these kids are only given about 2 cents a week by their parents to do as they please, so it can be quite a sacrifice to give it to the Lord. I praise the Lord that we have been able to train several new teachers so that now I only teach once a month. It is exciting to see others catch the vision for teaching children God's Word.

UNTIL NEXT TIME...I hope you feel a bit caught up. It felt good to get all of that out of me! We see God's grace in our lives on a daily basis, and we do ask that you specifically be in prayer for us this month as we finish the TRUTH Center and dedicate it to the Lord.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Pressing On!

What about the unreached Datooga tribe? Our burden and vision for the Datooga tribe is still the heartbeat of our ministry. Living in the small town of Katesh, we are surrounded by several people groups, including the Datooga (Barabaig), Iraqw, Wanyaturu, and several other smaller groups. While most of the Datooga still live in the villages surrounding Katesh, we have been able to minister to those who do live in or near town. We praise the Lord that two Datooga men were recently saved and baptized in the Katesh church. We also praise the Lord that there is one Datooga man who has recently joined our Bible Institute program. Please pray that the TRUTH Center and the Katesh church will have the opportunity to reach the thousands of people in the surrounding villages as our vision continues to grow.

Truth Center Progress! The TRUTH Center is now in the final stages of construction. The walls are being plastered, windows and doors are going in, and soon the construction will be completed. Although construction is not finished, we have already seen the Lord blessing at the property. In June we had open air evangelistic meetings in the field next to the TRUTH Center. Praise the Lord for 15 souls who made professions of faith. We also used the newly-built baptismal to baptize 5 believers. Please pray for the completion of the construction and the needed funds to reach our goal.

Missions Giving Started! God is continuing to build and strengthen the local church in Katesh. We have just finished almost three months of teaching on tithing, offerings, and missions giving. We praise the Lord for an increase in the offerings over the last few months and especially for the commitment to give towards missions. Praise the Lord that this young church not only pays its own bills each month, but will soon begin supporting national missionaries. Please pray for the church as it also begins to support Assistant Pastor Eliya full-time in the months to come.
Day Off and Daddy Time. Steve has enjoyed spending time with Hannah and Caleb on his day off each week. They enjoy dirtbike rides to the amazing crater and climbing "Hannah's Hill" with a picnic lunch.

Friday, June 29, 2007

A Busy June

It is hard to believe that 2007 is already half over, and that we've been back in Tanzania for nearly 4 months now! And the month of June has flown by for us as well, as we've been incredibly busy and blessed in our lives and ministry.

Revival Services/Youth Rally
The Wolfs came back just in time for our special revival meetings, which were held June 22-24. Five young men came from the Baptist church in Arusha to assist us with outreach, and we had a Tanzanian man named John come from the Mwanza area, where he serves as a missionary. After the morning services, we had a meal together, and then spent the afternoon canvassing the town, passing out tracts and invitations to the other activities. In the evenings, we met down at the TRUTH Center, where we played volleyball, big ball, and soccer. Following the games, there was special music and then a gospel message given by John, while the children were taken aside by the youth and taught a separate lesson. We praise the Lord that we were able to lead 15 people to a saving knowledge of Jesus, and this week we have been eagerly visiting them and following up on their decisions. Please pray that those who attended the revival services will become faithful members of our church family.

The TRUTH Center
This week the roofs are being built at the TRUTH Center. We know it won't be long and all of the buildings will be complete--isn't that exciting? Since we had the evening sessions of the rally at the TRUTH Center, we were able to get a picture of what it will be like when we are using that facility every day of the week, for God's glory--the future is bright! We praise the Lord that funds continue to come in for the furnishings, but please do pray about the remaining $10,000 that is needed to reach our goal.

The first week of June, we went to Kenya for 3 main reasons. First of all, to see the Wolfs (our partners here in Katesh) who had been in Nairobi for 2 months for the birth of their first child. We were so thrilled to meet little Hayden Nathaniel, who was born on May 15th. What a beautiful baby, and what content parents! Our second reason for going to Kenya was to have a little fun (fun for us is going out to restaurants, shopping malls, and playgrounds!), and we spent two days doing that. Our third reason was to visit the ministry of Jerry Daniels in Nanyuki. When we have shared our vision for Katesh and the Hanang District, many people have told us, "That sounds just like what the Daniels are doing in Kenya!" So for many years we have wanted to see their work first-hand, to get ideas and advice, and mainly just to be encouraged that this vision can, in fact, be accomplished. It was an incredibly profitable time, and we are so thankful that the Wolfs were able to go as well, so that as a team we could see what God has done in Nanyuki. Steve and Nate enjoyed talking to Jerry and the Kenyan pastor, and I (Natalie) spent two days at their preschool, trying to form a model in my mind of what our school should be like. While in Nanyuki, which is located on the Equator, we were also able to go on a safari, where our favorite animals were the chimpanzees and "Morani", a "tame" rhino.

Happy Birthday, Caleb!
On Monday, June 25th, we were thrilled to celebrate our son Caleb's 3rd birthday! He has been looking forward to his Spider-man birthday party for several months now, and was not disappointed. Our good friends, Rodney and Lynn Myers, along with their children, Shawn, Jamison, Moriah, and Cherith, drove an hour and a half from Babati to join us for this special day. The Wolfs were there as well, along with Heather's parents visiting from Michigan. Caleb is such a joy to our family, and we can't imagine our lives without him.

Did You Know?
Many times people ask what we do during the week. Sometimes we get so busy in our routine that we forget to mention the ministries that occur on a weekly basis. On Wednesday afternoons we visit those who have visited our church. On Wednesday evenings we have Bible study at church, which is a special and informal time when everyone sits in a circle and listens to teaching from God's Word, and then the floor is open for questions and discussion. On Thursdays we have a Bible club in the field behind our house. On Fridays we teach a Bible class at the secondary school. On Saturdays we have church cleaning in the morning, followed by a meeting to plan the service for the following day. Everyone who comes for church cleaning is given some sort of job in Sunday's service, whether it be welcoming guests, praying for the offering, or sweeping the floor before church. On any given Saturday, we also have discipleship classes, Bible school classes, or a ladies meeting. On Saturday afternoons, we teach another Bible club at the local government orphanage. On Sunday mornings, we have Sunday school at 9am for the children, and then the service at 10am for the adults. On Sunday afternoons at 4pm, we have a youth service where we play volleyball and other games, sing songs, and have a challenge from the Bible. There are so many more ministries that we would like to start once we have the facilities of the TRUTH Center at our disposal. Please begin now to pray with us that God would burden specific people in our church to oversee new ministries.

On a Personal Note...
Thankfully we are all healthy at the moment, for the most part. This time of year is very chilly and windy (in the low 50's) so we have colds and coughs from time to time (even in Africa!). Hannah and Caleb are doing well with homeschooling. We will try to finish Hannah's K-4 year by December 1st, and she and Caleb will attend the school that we will be starting at the TRUTH Center in January (although I will continue supplementing their studies at home). My father will be arriving on July 1st for 5 weeks to continue with his water projects. Please pray for good success in those efforts. All in all, we are so thankful for our life here in Tanzania, and for the ministry of which we are privileged to be a part. We so appreciate your prayers and correspondence. May God bless each of you in the place where He has you!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Teaching All Things

Matthew 28:20 "Teaching them to observe all things." An important part of the Great Commission is not only to preach the gospel, but to teach and train believers in the faith. We praise the Lord for 6 souls recently saved, and also for the opportunity to teach and train believers thus fulfilling the second half of the Great Commission.

The Katesh church had its first two graduates of the Bible Institute. Eliya and Ester are a husband and wife team who have been actively involved and instrumental in the church. Eliya has served as assistant pastor and Ester is now scheduling all the children's ministries and is an excellent Sunday School teacher. This month 7 new students will start the Bible Institute program which requires them to be actively involved in the ministries of the church.
Recently we had an Evangelism seminar where 15 people learned about the importance of personal evangelism and also techniques to use while sharing their faith. Those who attended are using what they learned to share God's Word with lost family, friends, and neighbors.

The TRUTH Center construction continues and the walls for all the buildings are now complete. Excitement is growing in the church and community. Lord-willing, the roofs will be going up soon and the grand opening and dedication is still planned for late October. Please continue to pray for the $10,000 still needed for the furniture, supplies, and equipment for this ministry center.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Water, Weddings, and Walls

Water: Praise the Lord water was found in the village of Simbay! This village is where we started our first church in 2002. At that time we began working with the village leadership in trying to solve the water crisis there. Lance Whyle, Natalie's father, led the project and after two attempts at drilling over the last two years water came rushing out of the ground. The villagers were excited to say the least. We were able to hand out hundreds of gospel tracts and share the hope of the "Living Water", Jesus Christ, with the crowd who had gathered. Drilling will continue in three other villages in the weeks to come. In July, hand pumps will be installed and these new wells will be dedicated to the Lord.

Weddings: On Sunday May 6 we were able to see two young couples unite in marriage during a special church service. These young couples were already living together for some time but felt the Lord convicting them about not being married. Please pray for these couples and for others like them as they grow in the Lord.

Walls: The walls are now going up on the TRUTH Center buildings. It is exciting to see things starting to take shape. It is also exciting to "need" these new buildings as we are growing out of our current rented one. For the past several weeks we have had full services and some standing in the back for lack of seating. Please continue to pray for the construction of the TRUTH Center and the ministry it will have. Please continue to pray for the needed $14,000 to complete the project with furniture, equipment, and start-up supplies.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

No Other Foundation

"For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ." 1 Cor 3:11

I was told by the building contractor that laying the foundation is the most important and also the hardest part of building. The foundation's quality will determine the strength of the building which is built upon it.

The foundation for all that we do in ministry here in Tanzania is the Lord Jesus Christ. For two years now we have been preaching salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ and building a local church on this truth. Upon this foundation we are seeing people make spiritual decisions that are changing their lives. We had "standing room only" attendance for our Easter service and celebrated the resurrection of our Lord with believers baptism. (Picture: Assistant Pastor Eliya baptizing a new believer.)

Speaking of foundations, the foundations for the TRUTH Center buildings are now completed. All of the work is being done by hand, including making cement blocks on the building site, and the digging of a 15-foot deep septic tank. Construction will continue with the walls going up in the weeks ahead.

Please continue to pray for the spiritual foundation that we are laying here in Katesh, Tanzania. Pray also for the contruction of the TRUTH Center which will be built on the spiritual foundation of the way, the TRUTH, and the life, Jesus Christ.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Services on Sunday, April 1st

We were once again so pleased to have such great attendance at church! We had 51 adults in the morning service, and since we only have about 45 seats, some folks had to stand, but our church people were thrilled to be faced with such a "problem"! We plan to buy 10 more chairs this week. Praise the Lord, Mama Ema was able to lead one woman to the Lord following the service. In the evening youth service, we had about 40 young people there to play volleyball and we also introduced them to UNO. They loved it! It was funny to hear them shout, "UNO!", no doubt the first Spanish word they've ever spoken. We were also glad that many of those who accepted Christ last week came to church again this week. Now we are trying to get them to commit to going through our discipleship lessons. Please pray for these new believers.

Progress on the TRUTH Center

These days we have a hard time keeping ourselves away from the land in the middle of town where the TRUTH Center is being built! We have been so pleased with our contractor to this point. Steve is thrilled that he has not personally been bothered with the details of the project. Our initial fear was that he would constantly be hounded anytime they ran out of nails or someone showed up late for work! But once we signed that contract and paid him half his money, the contractor has just taken over and run the whole show. Last week they laid the foundations for the two main buildings, and this week they are making the cement blocks to begin building the walls. Steve told the contractor he just wants to be able to see a little progress each day, and we haven't been disappointed. Please continue to pray for our church people as they raise the $500 to bring water to the site. They have quite a ways to go, but are excited about the challenge.

Hanang Christian School

Our school doesn't officially have a name, but it sure is a fun place to learn! We are thankful to have a large enough house to be able to set one whole room aside for our school. It is a bright, cheerful place and Hannah and Caleb love to hear me say, "It's time to go to school!"

Easter is coming!

I took some pictures of the children in their Easter clothes, compliments of Grandma, and I thought you all might enjoy seeing how adorable they looked. On Thursday, the Myers family (friends of ours, and missionaries in Babati--about 75 min. away) will join us for lunch and we'll dye Easter eggs and do some special activities to celebrate Jesus' resurrection. On Good Friday we will have a special service at church and observe the Lord's supper. On Saturday we will have our Easter meal with Nate and Heather Wolf, because immediately after church on Sunday, we have to drive 5 hours to the airport to pick up my dad who will be coming to Tanzania for 5 weeks to work on water well projects. We will update our blog following all the Easter activities of the weekend, but until then, may we all be especially mindful this week of the tremendous gift that God gave to us in His Son, Jesus.

A bit about Caleb

Our son Caleb will turn 3 on June 25th. He is so different from Hannah, so completely his own person. He's hit some pretty big milestones in the past two weeks, however. He started school (just some preschool things like colors, shapes, letters, and numbers), and he finally got his big-boy bed! He just loves it, although he looks like such a little speck in it! He must have been really unhappy in his crib though, because ever since he's slept in his new bed, he has not woken up once during the night. I can count on one hand the number of times I have slept through the night in the last 4 years, and 3 of them were this week--what a treat. Caleb loves to play outside in his sandbox, especially if I put a tub of water in the box with him. I figure if my kids are really dirty by the end of the day then it was a great day for them. He also likes to dress up in his Spider-man and Buzz Lightyear costumes. If he wants to be Superman, he has to settle for having a blanket tied around his neck as a cape, and if he wants to be a soldier, it seems that his normal clothes suffice. Last year, you could not get him to sit still for 5 minutes to read a book to him, but now I will find him laying on his stomach on his bedroom floor with a pile of books in front of him--he'll stay there for 30 minutes or more. He has two little buddies his age (Ibrahimu and Baraka), but since they are all still so young, they tend to fight more than play. He does like a boy named Ali an awful lot--Ali is almost 9, and will let Caleb do anything he wants, hence Caleb's devotion to him. Caleb enjoys hearing Bible stories and we are trying to get him to pray something other than "Dear God, Save my life. Amen." We're not sure where he got that prayer, but it seems to cover all the bases. He and Hannah are good friends, as they are only 18 months apart, and normally they play very well together. His favorite thing to do in the whole world is to ride the motorcycle with his dad. He just screams the whole time, "This is FUN!"

A bit about Hannah

Our daughter Hannah turned 4 in December. She is a sweet and talkative girl, and has such a sensitive spirit towards God. When we returned to Katesh a few weeks ago, we set up a schoolroom so that we could begin homeschooling her. She loves to go to school! Right now we are only doing it 4 days a week, for 2 hours a day, but she enjoys every minute of it. Hannah is glad to be back with her best Tanzanian buddy, Rehema. Rehema is about 9 months older than Hannah, but about 2 inches shorter. They have such a good time together playing dress-up and singing songs in the backyard. After Easter, Rehema will join Hannah at "school" on Thursday afternoons. I know that Hannah will enjoy having a schoolmate. Since we've been back, we've been encouraged to see that Hannah is beginning to relearn Swahili. She gets a little disturbed though that every child in town knows her name and screams it repeatedly while we run errands. On Saturday nights, she always remembers to pray that God will bring alot of people to church on Sunday--maybe that's why we've seen such an increase in attendance! Since she no longer takes naps, her afternoon ritual is to watch an episode of "Little House on the Prairie." She thinks Nellie is just beautiful (although mean) and sometimes asks me to call her Nellie instead of Hannah. She would enjoy a pen-pal, so anyone reading who has a child her age, feel free to write!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

A Harvest of Souls

We had another great Sunday here in Katesh! This morning Steve preached from the book of Acts, focusing on the fact that we as Christians need to testify about God's grace in our lives, especially to those who don't know Christ. It was a long sermon (over an hour), but it was so chock-full of great Scripture and practical application that everyone listened attentively and followed along very closely. We had a good crowd--about 47 adults--and at the invitation, 8 people came forward to accept Christ as their personal Savior. We were able to speak with each of them individually, and it was obvious that the Lord had just prepared their hearts and our church to reap some harvest today. We also had an amazing offering--about $12 in the regular offering, and about $8 for the water project at the TRUTH Center. Also, after the service, two men talked to Steve about needing to marry their girlfriends who are also the mothers of their children. The Holy Spirit is definitely at work in people's hearts, leading them to make decisions about things that we've not even addressed yet. And tonight at the youth service, we again had nearly 50 young people for volleyball and service time. We are astounded to see how the Lord is at work. We feel like for so long we've just plodded along, but what an encouragement to finally see some visible fruit.
The TRUTH Center property is progressing as well. Tomorrow they will begin laying the foundations for the buildings. Steve plans to stay on the grounds all day on Monday to make sure that everything is done properly and according to our plans. So far we have been very pleased with the contractor and his workers. Pray that things continue to go smoothly and on schedule.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Dedication Day

Sunday, March 18, 2007, was a monumental and historical day in the short life of our church. After a wonderful sermon about the Apostle Peter's vision from God to preach the gospel to the Gentiles, Steve shared with the people about our vision for the TRUTH Center. At the end of the message, one of the older men in our church, Jackson, shared with the people how he believed that they would be able to raise the $500 needed to get water to the TRUTH Center property. This will be a huge task for them, considering our weekly offerings average $5 and the average person with a job is paid about $2 a day. The people were excited by this challenge, and after the service, we all sang as we walked together (through the drizzle and mud) to the TRUTH Center property. The contractor and his assistants met us there, and we stood in a circle, holding hands, and dedicated the land to the Lord, as well as the project and all of those who would be involved in it.