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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!