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Thursday, September 8, 2011

Rejoicing in God's Blessings

We have been experiencing God's blessings over the last few months of life and ministry here in Tanzania. Here are some highlights.We enjoyed some time as a family in August as we went to Nairobi and Arusha to pick up the Wolfs and Hendersons. We did some shopping and also went camping near Arusha National Park. We found a huge tree on the side of Mt. Meru that we literally drove our car through! The Truth Learning Center now has over 100 students and continues to grow. With the new classrooms now completed we are ready to add grades 4-7 in the years to come.

Natalie had a chance to participate and teach in a womens' conference which was attended by national missionary and pastors' wives in Morogoro and it was a blessing to fellowship with and minister to these special women.

While Natalie was at the ladies meeting Steve had the opportunity to go hunting in the African bush. (Kids stayed in Katesh with friends and fellow missionaries.) We saw a lot of wild game including 4 lions. We have a freezer full of hartebeest and warthog ready for the BBQ. The kids are growing up fast but it is exciting to see them take an interest in the ministry. Hannah likes to sing in the church praise team and both her and Caleb are starting to use puppets in our Sunday School. It is so awesome to minister with our kids and to hear them do it in Kiswahili.

There are no public parks or playgrounds in our area so our yard is becoming the neighborhood playground. The kids enjoy having their friends over to play in their new playhouse which we built together.

Monday, July 11, 2011

10 Years in Tanzania

On July 4, 2001, we arrived in Tanzania for our first term. We praise the Lord for all that He has done the last 10 years. Below are some highlights of what He has been doing recently: Neema is a young lady who has been very faithful to our ministry over the last several years. She has a real heart for evangelism. She was recently married to a great Christian young man and is now living in Arusha. We will truly miss her and her faithful service in the church. We were able to see 2 other couples united in marriage in the church. Pius and his wife Anna and Paul and his wife Paulina had been married tradionally but wanted to recognize God in their marriage and get legally married in the church. We had a small ceremony and reception during our normal Sunday service.
The construction on the new classroom building for the Truth Learning Center is complete. We still need to do painting, electrical work, and have desks and other furniture made. Recently we have seen 11 students accept Christ as their Savior through the ministry of the school.

The construction on the Timothy House Boys Home is continuing. Please continue to pray that the construction goes smoothly and stays on schedule. Pray that God would bring us the right young men for this new ministry.
Rich and Rose are two of our Bible Institute students who have recently finished the first stage of the program which focuses on basic Bible knowledge and service in the local church. They will continue in the next stage which teaches more in-depth Bible doctrine and focuses on leadership in the local church. We now have 18 students who are studying in Bible Institute at the Truth Baptist Church.

Christopher was saved early in our ministry in Katesh. We have seen him grow spiritually and witnessed how God is using him.  He has taken a step of faith to move with his family to the village of Basotu in order to live closer to this ministry and better minister to the people there. We had a special service, offering, and prayer for him as we sent him off to do the work of the Lord.

In May we celebrated both of our birthdays (Steve and Natalie) and also our anniversery (14 years) by spending a few days in Zanzibar while the kids stayed with missionary friends in Arusha. We had a great time just the two of us.

Sarah turned two years old in June and she enjoyed her Winnie the Pooh cake and presents. She is getting so big and is starting to speak in English and Kiswahili.

Caleb had his 7-year-old birthday party in Arusha with missionary friends. We surprised him with a small party and gifts. He likes anything to do with NASA and outer space.

We celebrated July 4th with other Americans in our area (Peace Corps Volunteers) and had a cookout, played some basketball, and had good fellowship. Hannah loves having company just like her mom and can talk your ear off if you will let her.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Building Buildings and Lives, Bush Adventure.

The new classroom building at the TRUTH Center is going up fast. Praise the Lord for this building project going smoothly so far and for the funds to complete it! It will be for grades 4-7 making our Christian school complete and will provide room to grow in the years to come.

The Timothy House Boys Home contruction is underway. This new ministry will target young men who are in need of housing during their secondary school years. The goal is to invest in their lives and to raise up young Timothys who will love and serve the Lord.

We are not only building buildings these days but are also blessed to see God building lives. We praise the Lord for 8 people who have trusted Christ recently and have made Jesus the foundation of their lives. Those who have accepted Christ have been through various ministries of the Truth Baptist Church such as the school ministry, our Sunday School ministry, and an outreach to the local government orphanage. Below is the 3rd grade class at Truth Learning Center, many of whom have trusted Christ as their Saviour.

Every year the missionaries of the Baptist Bible Mission of Tanzania get together for a week of fellowship, preaching, and strategic planning. This year we had a small group because of several missionaries being on furlough but we still had a great time.

This huge (12 feet long) snake was killed near the place we were having our team meeting. It is the largest snake we have seen in the wild.

I was pleased to hear that hunting season was extended to the end of March this year! After driving 4 hours into the bush from Arusha I was able to hunt Eland, Wildebeest, and Gazelle. There were so many animals that I could have shot them all from the same standing position. The area in which I hunted was in traditional Masai land at the base of the volcanic Mountain of God. (Visible in the picture behind me.) The Masai in this area are in desperate need for water and the young herders that you see in the picture were so thirsty they were drinking the bone marrow from the wildebeest's lower legs as we were field dressing it.
The kids (Hannah, Sarah, and Caleb) continue to grow and be such a blessing. God has blessed us with children who are obedient and who bring joy to us every day. It is hard to imagine what life would be like without them.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Back in Tanzania January-February 2011

We arrived back in Tanzania for another term of service on December 31st, 2010, just a few hours before the New Year 2011. The following are some highlights of our first two months:

A missions group from Liberty Baptist Church in Canton, OH, ministered alongside local believers in the village of Basotu doing evangelism. Local tribal dancing gathered a crowd and the gospel was given.
The missions group also ministered together with local believers in Katesh in a children's outreach. Over 800 children received the gospel one afternoon. The group also ministered in two orphanages. The theme for 2011 for the Truth Baptist Church is "2011 . . . Going Forward Together". It was a blessing to see 3 people go forward in their spiritual lives following the Lord in believers baptism. Maria is a young lady who was saved at our youth meeting. Caleb was also baptized and gave a short testimony in Kiswahili.

2011 looks like it will be a year for building. We have 3 building projects starting this year. Below is the new classroom building for the Truth Learning Center. Construction is also starting on the Timothy House Boys Home and also the Basotu village church building. (More pictures coming soon.)

Hannah and Sarah showing off their smiles. Hannah is losing teeth and Sarah is getting more!