Tuesday, December 25, 2007
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Sunday, October 28, 2007
Wednesday, October 3, 2007
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
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.
Friday, June 29, 2007
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.
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.
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Monday, May 7, 2007
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.
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
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
Sunday, March 25, 2007
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.