Which doctor are you going to? The witch doctor. Which doctor?…The WITCH doctor. Ohhh, the witch doctor. It took me a couple of turns to fully grasp my neighbor (Joyce) was planning on going to the witch doctor and she was requesting $200 from me to assist her. ($200 is 2-3 month’s wages). With a hint ignorance and a side glance steeped in cultural insensitivity, I chuckled as I replied ‘no’. ‘No, you don’t need a witch doctor’. She needed to go to a real doctor; a contemporary, needle-wielding, antibiotic-dispensing doctor and well… be healed. Then she told me her story of an ongoing illness that, for the past three years, has robbed her of energy as pain racks her body. Unable to work consistently for the past three years, she’d been to three doctors who all told her nothing was wrong with her physically, so then, assuming the ailment was spiritual she attended various prophet healing sessions. After the prophets failed to heal her she went to a witch doctor. The witch doctor informed her bugs were eating her bones.
*Let’s pause for a second here…because if you’re a Westerner like me, you hear this diagnosis and you think “how amazingly absurd” just like I did. But when you live in a land for so long ruled by witch doctors and natural healers which is most third-world countries, this is their reality. I passed this information along to my other neighbors and members of our local church, and they all simply nodded in agreement that yes, she had had demons inside her. It made me wonder…Am I that spiritually out of touch? Thanks to all my assurances, insurances, just-in-case extra purchases, am I that many degrees removed that I can’t see the obviously spiritual component of this situation?*
The treatment provided by this witch doctor failed to cure her but at least now Joyce knows what the issue is and she wants me to help her find relief by going to a different witch doctor. One problem – as Jesus-loving woman I can’t with clear conscious waste $200 on a witch doctor.
I was in the midst of a very unique cross cultural situation. If I wasn’t going to send her to the witch doctor, how was I going to help Joyce? Well first, I prayed about it, and then I consulted our local pastor on how to be culturally sensitive without compromising my world view. Many local Christians, even as they proclaim Christ and would never go to the witch doctor to curse someone, will definitely go to the witch doctor to heal someone.
As of now, Joyce has come to church with us, we’ve presented the Gospel and prayed over her. I read her the story of Mark 5:21-34 about the woman who was sick for many years and how the Lord healed her because of her faith and proclaimed, “your faith has healed you”. She knows the sole reason we are in Tanzania is to advance the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the Lord brought us together. Now, all we can do is pray… join me in prayer for another lost soul truly coming to Christ.
Also, we’ve taken her to get another opinion from a reputable doctor because if we can help, we must.
The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name. 42 Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Messiah.
Pastor Eliah and Jacob continue their seminar series, holding a seminar in Kwala on ‘Loving one another in serving the Lord Jesus”. 20 church members attended.
After the seminar, Pastors Eliah and Jacob, and a few church members held a two week door-to-door evangelism campaign in the villages of Kwala, Ngozi, Dutumi, Relini and Waya. They presented the Gospel to 110 people and by the grace of God, 20 people responded. Sadly, only 3 of these people have attended church service. However, the message of Jesus was delivered. Let us pray for these 20 people who received Christ. The door of evangelism has been opened in these areas because these people received us into their homes to share the Gospel. Praise God for that.
Kilangalanga Church: We met with 20 families and shared with the gospel of Christ. We visited the homes of many of the people we evangelized last year, and most were still very encouraged, saying that the love of Christ is different and better than what they have experience with other religions and beliefs. 12 of them were motivated to join us for church. We were especially excited to present the Gospel to the Muslim families.
Janga Daughter Church: We were privileged to hold church services under a local baobab tree until we encountered some trouble at the end of March. The local government forbid us to continue using the tree for church services. We have yet to find another meeting spot in the village.
Chekelen Village: We visited 8 families, going door-to-door. Three families expressed willingness to start attending church. We have not yet started a church service in this community, but hopefully we will begin one in the next few months. Currently, Pastor Eliah visits once a week, doing a bible study.
Disunyara Daughter Church: We visited 11 families in the area and distributed booklets of the Gospel of John. Weekly attendance at church services rose to 18 people. We do not meet at a specific spot every Sunday, rather, we rotate to a different house each Sunday.
Future Pastor Simon – Simon is a young Maasai man that introduced himself to us last July. He feels called to be a pastor. After we returned from furlough we continued to communicate and now he’s on the 1520 team. Our local pastors and James will disciple him and he will be sent to the Missions to Unreached Areas seminary when he is ready. Simon really makes a first impression, standing 6”3, with a very deep voice, and already speaking good English.
And, friendly reminder: We have another mission trip planned for this summer (June 30 – July 11). If you’re interested in joining our team, serving our Tanzanian brothers and sisters and building up His church, please let us know!
Oh the long days of motherhood. It really is a love-hate thing for me. Some days I wish I was in an office away from my kids, other days I take videos and look at old videos, and get nostalgic about how fast they’re growing. To balance these emotions I got some help! I have a young lady that comes two days a week just to watch the kiddos, so I can go engage in ministry and run errands without a child on my hip. Whew! This development raise my spirits in a way only moms can understand. Because I can admit, I used to be one of those childless women who threw condescending looks at stay-at-moms like really, how challenging. Allow me to admit I was wrong to the 10th power!
Other than that, I’m starting to delve into my creative side, which is minimal at best. I’m trying my hand at creating videos for our ministries and preparing myself to make a sweet video when our summer trip arrives in July! So wish me luck and have a little grace if you see one of my shaky, 90’s graphic quality videos circulating.
I thank God for FaceTime/iMessage/ the ability to communicate across oceans, and the group of people who communicate from the States. It really helps me (us) feel a sense of community and connection to our families, friends and church back home. A hard day isn’t so hard when you can end it laughing with a friend.
We held albino outreaches in Mkuranga, Bagamoyo, Chalinze, Morogoro and Kibaha through March and April, serving approximately 188 albino people! Mkuranga and Kibaha were new destinations for us, and the people were excited to have us. They reached out to us requesting products and materials through our local partner John Kirumbi.
This month we are requesting a new shipment of approximately 200 bottles of sunscreen. This shipment should be enough to get us through the next quarter, if we don’t branch out into other new areas… Grant, Jenna, and John are bringing the supplies to us at the end of May. Hip hip Hooray!!
Well drilling is on hold this month thanks to rainy season. It rains every day, making it tough to get the drilling equipment out on location and even tougher to actually drill the wells, since we do it by hand. We hope to pick up steam again in June, drilling a well for Pastor Jacob. Our friends at Word of Life Family Church in Minnesota are helping us raise funds to complete Pastor Jacob’s well!
1520 Unreached Farm
The farm continues to grow! We’ll begin planting pili pili and corn after rainy season. Our pig operation has increased to 74 pigs (including 5 pregnant sows). I didn’t realize quite how quickly pigs reproduced… Also, we now have 100 goats, thanks to our new pastor-in-training, Simon. Simon is a Maasai, and the Maasai are famous for herding cattle and goats. So we decided to endeavor into goats because God brought us the right man for the job!
Remember Michael? Well Michael went through a rough season that was on the brink of culminating with his removal from our team here, and then we granted him one last chance to show he was still a hard worker and man of integrity. James gave him 5 acres of land to farm for us. And guess what he did? He successfully planted and harvested rice on his own! A great testimony that people deserve second chances, as we all enter dark seasons in our life, but the Lord is faithful!
Apiculture (Bee Keeping)
Our bee house is still under construction, hampered by the rain. However, we’ve planted all the trees for our garden of the bees! We planted them just before rainy season to give them ample opportunity for growth.
Continuing to pace myself in this marathon. We have several things going here (ministry, bees, pigs, goats, farming, wells) and I want everything to be successful tomorrow but that’s just not going to happen. So, I continue to talk to other wise missionaries and steady myself.
In March, I had the opportunity to go to Zambia and learn from a lifelong missionary there named John, Who through various trials, has made his ministry self-sustainable and I aspire to emulate it. I learned about goats, fish farms, Apiculture, his ministry strategy and how he intertwines that with business, all for the glory of the Kingdom. It was an awesome experience and Zambia is beautiful. It’s what Tanzania should aspire to be. I left with a clearer vision for my ministry and self-sustainability efforts.
Rainy season always makes me stir crazy and it did again this year as we received weeks of daily rainfall. Great for the farm but not so fun when you’re wadding through the mud and flooding to get to the farm. How did I stay sane you ask? NBA. THE PLAYOFFS HAVE ARRIVED!! Power stay on!!
Looking forward to the cooler months ahead, especially since that means Moses can go back outside because the kid’s got a lot of energy.
We’re currently focusing our international missions on Ghana, West Africa. Look for an update on US missions later this month.
Pray for Simon as he starts his journey of developing into a pastor. May he have a willing spirit, desire to learn, and perseverance to stay the path. Pray that he shepherds his flock [of goats] well.
Pray for those who we met with during door-to-door evangelism in the villages. May the Lord continue to work in their hearts and minds. We pray they will enter into the house of the Lord.
Pray for traveling grace, fundraising success, and readiness for Jenna, John, and Grant as they visit us later this month and help us do a VBS, some videotaping, and albino outreaches.
Pray for our local ministry partners: Joseph and Samweli and their families, Pastor Jacob and Eliah and their families, our farm laborers and their families, and Mwalimu John and Goodluck and their families. We couldn’t do any of this without them. We praise God for them and ask Him to keep them with hearts and feet focused on spreading the Gospel.
Pray for the men, women, and children of the Zaramo tribe. Pray for those who have accepted Christ and those that will. Pray that everyone will get a chance to hear and respond to the name of Jesus Christ.
Pray for all the albino people of Mkuranga, Bagamoyo, Chalinze, Morogoro and Kibaha. We thank God for them and are thrilled they want to improve their skin condition. We pray for protection and healing, and we hope to see each and every one of them again when we return to their village.
Pray for Moses to continue to learn and listen. Listening is a tough skill! And it’s hard to listen when you’re going 100 miles per hour. We decided to hold off on putting Moses in school until August, so may the Lord prepare him for when the time arrives.
Pray for Abel’s teething! Those top two teeth are troubling us. And pray the Lord keeps him safe and free of serious illness.
Pray for James’s stress and our self-sustainability efforts. As he digs into the business side of the farm, the oddities of the 3rd world business environment and trying to stay one step ahead of issues, keeps him up at night sometimes.
Pray for patience and balance for Indurance as she prepares to start teaching English to some local children.
Every day it’s something new. Some new phrase, a new look, something he wants to show you. It keeps you on your toes, makes you smile, and kind of drives you nuts all at the same time.
Moses is a pro at the iPad. He loves watching his videos and playing all types of games, recently dad showed him how to shoot deer on the iPad… gotta raise ’em right huh? He loves Abel. He loves to wrestle him, which Abel does not like. Actually Moses likes to wrestle everyone…and he absolutely hates losing in anything (I’m pretty sure he gets that from his father). He loves watching videos of his cousins and family. And from time to time still reminds us that he wants to go to Bibi’s house to Austin, Texas.
His Swahili is coming back faster and faster, as he plays with his buddies here. His best buddy is Shija. And the only piece of clothing he wants to wear out of the house is underwear.
This little mover and shaker is becoming more and more work every day. I see the growing desire of independence in his eyes as he tries to hang with Moses and all his buddies. Everyone around here just loves him and Abel loves the camera. Whenever we FaceTime and he sees another face or his face on the screen he just lights up. He still only has two teeth, but the top two are coming because he’s chewing away on those fingers, but that is not stopping him from eating a full plate. Whatever I eat, he eats, meat, potatoes, eggs, you name it.
He loves being outside and crawling around in the dirt and the mosquitoes still love to eat them. Before the teething pain started he would sleep about seven or eight hours a night. Now, that schedule is all jacked up so we’ll have to wait and see where he ends up.