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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.


Jon & Jessica Reed said...

Hello Steve & Natalie,
Great to hear your update!
We think of you all often and pray for you.
Deptuation is going pretty good. Kindof slower this fall, but God has provided 30% of our support!
We've been at some churches that support you and have met many more people that know you. You have a great reputation! :-)
Keep Pressing on!
Bye for now,
Jon & Jessica Reed

Mandy said...

it was great to read and catch up on everything, there has certainly been a lot going on, that's for sure! the truth center looks AWESOME!!!! i'm so excited for you guys! keep up the good work over there!! love ya!