Short version: Our whole family of six drove to Mwanza and later Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania. We praise God for his good work in ministries and friends we have worked with for 20 years. We thank God for healing John Mwanzalima after a terrible accident and helping us through multiple car failures on the journeys.
Story with pictures and detail: We had a great trip to Mwanza, Tanzania in June. We went to see our friend, John Mwanzalima, principal of LVCC. He had a very bad accident on public transportation. He spent 6 weeks flat in bed in so much pain that he couldn’t roll himself over, with a couple cracked ribs and damaged hip. He was finally walking with a cane when we saw him. He rejoiced greatly to be alive and able to recover since a number of others died. Please continue to pray for his full recovery.
We were invited to visit so many old friend’s homes. Great to see God blessing and using these Tanzanians and missionaries! We experienced many familiar places though there is much change – paved roads, towering hotels and a four story mall nearing completion. I (Steve) also spoke to a missionary team, two churches, and at the chapel of another Christian college (see below).
On Father’s Day, I preached in the village outside Musoma where I went to language school in 1986 and again with our young family in 1995. Then there was no PEFA (Pentecostal Evangelistic Fellowship of Africa – the church under which we serve many churches in Tanzania) church there. Now you can see (below) that there is a thriving church pastored by Bishop Benester, LVCC dean and our co-worker all of these years. This is the biggest church and church roof that I have seen built by a local congregation in PEFA. 20 years ago, PEFA in Northwestern Tanzania had only three permanent buildings with metal roofs in all of NW Tanzania – all built with funds from outside. For awhile, we found donors to help with roofing materials for congregations that built concrete or brick buildings. Slowly this encouragement got congregations building. Now about 40 (of 200) PEFA churches in NW TZ have permanent buildings. Rejoice!
Later on Father’s Day we watched the sun set on a rocky peninsula where we had a picnic celebration of Father’s Day 20 years earlier. This trip was a perfect way to celebrate 20 years for our family in East Africa! Thank you for supporting our family, LVCC, and these Tanzanian churches for all of these years!
Hannah led a youth group in Mwanza and enjoyed being “home” after 5 years. The twins led a VBS for missionary kids (photo below), did Swahili lessons and then went to the village alone for 5 days. Justin spent two months in Tanzania researching how people care for the mentally ill in hospitals, churches and traditional healing.
Hannah, Jan and I left the others after two weeks. God protected us on the way home despite driving with a broken wheel bearing that got increasingly bad. In July, we drove to Dar Es Salaam on the Indian ocean coast to meet my brother, Nathan, his wife Karen, their daughter Kari and son-in-law Brian. On this trip, the engine died and would not restart on three different days. I spent each of the 10 days on the trip and another 10 afterward dealing with fixing the van. But God provided a tow, housing with missionary friends, or barely got us to our next destination. Jan summarized it well with “Yes, we are not in control, but it is okay because God is in control!”
On facebook, a friend said, “Sorry … The lesson is GET A BETTER CAR!!!! …It is hindering your ministry…I will put my money where my mouth is. Because of duty a decent van in Kenya runs $20,000. You bucket of bolts is worth maybe $3000. You raise $16,700 from your supporters and as a fellow missionary I will kick in the last $300. Deal?”
So I agreed. Please pray with us about getting get a better vehicle. Contributions are welcome also!
Pray also for:
· Next Tuesday to Friday we will be driving 6 hours to Tenwek Christian hospital to preach to all of their staff for three nights of their first missions conference. Pray that God would speak through me and people would obey.
· The Mwanza and Musoma LVCC Bible school sessions running now.
· The NEGST-AIU semester which starts August 31.