We are so thankful for YOU! Why?
January 8th marks 20 years since we arrived with two babies in East Africa. All of these years, we have worked side by side with the wise, faithful Tanzanian leaders below.
Front Row, L to R – Raphael, Benester, John, Nestory. In addition to running Lake Victoria Christian College, these men each pastor a church, lead a region of churches (totaling 280 churches) and are recent or current national leaders. Back Row- 5 of our family – Janice, Isaac, Steve. Rachel, Hannah
The top leadership of LVCC met our top leader at AIU – the VC, Prof. Dankitt Nassiuma. Nice for us to have our bosses meet one another so they know about our responsibilities in both places.
We took these pictures a week before Christmas when they came from Tanzania to Nairobi for an LVCC board meeting. During our meetings, we thanked them for all of their wisdom, faithfulness, and hard work for just $150/month. They said “Look at all that has transpired because of your perseverance, especially in those tough early years,” and “You have done something no missionary has ever done – continued financial support even after moving away” [from Tanzania to Kenya to teach missions at AIU]. But all of that is really YOU who faithfully pray, give, encourage all these 20 years. YOU are key TEAM members. You pray perseverance and fruitfulness into us. Only God records your faithful prayers, but my records show your faithful giving to TEAM – in fact more than 20 of you churches and individuals have supported TEAM monthly for all 20 years. You have prayed and given even though most of you have never heard the encouragement from these leaders or met the ministers and missionaries being trained.
When we came to Mwanza, Raphael was head student of 35. John and Nestory had recently graduated in the first class. 465 ministers are studying now. The deans told of the reputation our graduates have given LVCC in many denominations through their very effective pastoring. Tens of thousands have been trained in seminars. They talked of how the marriage seminars continue to be taught spontaneously although TEAM sponsorship ended a decade ago. They told Hannah that when they give money from her to orphans and widows they encourage Tanzanians to continue to give because “this comes from students like you.”
We discussed the seminar we conducted on witch accusations, the 4 follow-up seminars, and the plans for more. They discussed how engrained and disastrous misunderstandings on this were in local villages and even churches, but how our teaching is slowly changing worldviews and community relationships. They were excited about my writing and teaching on this and that their research with me has become part of an international movement.
John also gave the great news that the 17 acres of land in Mwanza had been resurveyed and the legal obstacles removed. It should be ready to build on this year (and will need to be built on within 3 years or the government will give it to others).
Although we apologized that TEAM had been unable to give 3 months of our regular support in 2014, Benester responded with faith, “let us just pray that God will supply by the end of the year.”
[If you want to give a special gift as part of answering that prayer, you can donate online here or to avoid having any percentage taken by credit card companies send it to TEAM, 1466 Portland Ave. St Paul, MN 55104. As always, 100% of your giving will go to ministry in East Africa; nothing is taken for administrative charges.]
Again, I cannot thank you enough for all of your prayers, giving, and trust through the years! God has used you to do amazing things in Tanzania and across Africa!