Encounter Jesus

Faith is a girl from this people group who is studying medicine in Khartoum. She returned from Khartoum for a month recently because of the recent coup in Sudan and the closure of the medical school. She has now returned and begun her final module and should graduate and return to this area mid 2022. Pray her faith in God will grow as she encounters Jesus.

Stroke

We have prayed for *Rivkah over the last 11 years. She is a secret believer in her 60’s and had a stroke about 2 months ago. She is unable to walk unaided and also has problems with her speech. She has moved to live with her daughter who lives in a satellite village at the other side of town. Pray for her in her recovery and for wisdom as she and her family make decisions. Pray that she might seek healing and strength through Jesus and learn to put her full trust in Him.

Move towards Jesus

Amal* was one of our previous teammate’s language helpers who shortly after we got to know her had a horrendous physical attack by a local man who left her for dead. Our team members walked through this dark time of court appearances and physical healing with her and it has resulted in a deep relationship with her and her husband Aarat*. Aarat* interestingly is part of Elizabeth’s* family and the brother to Mama Eliphaz* who we also know well. Pray for an openness to Jesus Truth by whole families and that this family will move towards Jesus and know that with God everything is possible. MARK 10:27

Choose to follow

Alan* is now a senior government official in the town. He still identifies as a Muslim but in the past, through a Muslim Background Believer (MBB) who he worked with, has encountered Jesus and knows about his saving grace. He has helped believers in this town (including ourselves and our team) to maintain our presence and witness and has encouraged us by helping us navigate some difficult cultural issues. Pray that he might choose to follow Jesus unswervingly. There are several covert believers in the town in a similar position to Alan* and they are networked together even if in a very loose way. May they choose to follow Jesus and may they function as Christ’s body and bear witness to Him.

Study together

We have only seen *Abraham and *Salome once since they asked for a Bible. They are both working as teachers and very busy but have a break from 23rd Dec to 4th Jan and they plan to see us then. Pray that an opportunity for us to study God’s word with them both together and that God’s word would speak to them as they explore the Bible they now have in their home.

Remove obstacles and proclaim good news

Pray for all those who identify as followers of Jesus in town (many workers in government institutions and businesses). Pray that at this time of celebration we will see the opportunities which are available to remove obstacles and misunderstandings and proclaim good news through our lives and words. Pray God would be glorified.

A prayer for Arab Swahili people

Father, for a people seeking to serve and please God, yet are ‘ever seeing but never perceiving, and ever hearing but never understanding; otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!’ we ask you by your Spirit and our witness to open their hearts and be transformed by the renewal of their minds into a people who worship you in spirt and in truth.

Be Brave

It is not uncommon for Muslim Background Believers to have messy lives (like the rest of us broken-but-being-transformed people) so lifestyle choices are often complex. Pray for *Euodia that she will know God’s leading and presence as she makes decisions. Pray that she might be brave and open to what God has for her.

Covid

Pray for the staff in the local government hospital where we are seeing many covid patients. There is a constant battle with fatalism, denial and misinformation even amongst the qualified staff. Pray that we can all be influencers and examples of an effective and compassionate response to the pandemic without burnout.

Reconciliation

Pray for *Leah and *Bill. Several years ago Bill decided to follow Jesus but he is now sitting on the fence trying to blend what the Bible says with Islamic beliefs. He and his wife Leah have divorced and our hearts ache for their two children. Pray for the miracle of reconciliation and forgiveness between Bill & Leah and also between them and God their Father.

Ashura

Yesterday our community commemorated “Ashura” by enacting the brutal murder of the prophet Mohammed’s grandsons. Pray that our friends and neighbours will discover a God who experienced sacrifice, pain and suffering. A God who will meet them in their pain so that they don’t need to stay in this place of historic pain and suffering, but rather that they can receive healing from one who understands sacrifice.

Prince of Peace

Please pray that the Swahili Arabs who are fasting this month will find they have no peace, that they will long for peace, and that the Prince of Peace will disclose Himself to them as their only hope.

Gospel seeds

Pray for *Mark, a kind, gentle, and smart young man. For 10 months he regularly turned up for DBS. He seemed genuinely to be seeking truth and had many deep insights as we studied creation to Christ and the first 10 chapters of John. Pray that God would cultivate and grow the many seeds that were sewn in what seemed like fertile soil and that God’s word would accomplish all that God purposed it and not return empty. Isaiah 55:11

Stand firm

Pray for *Euodia our dear sister in Lord! She converted to Islam years ago but was baptized in 2019 during DBS and for 18 months was discipled by our team members. We appreciate her boldness in sharing her own faith with Muslim friends. In the last few months with no team members on location she has struggled. Pray that her faith be strengthened and she will have courage to stand firm no matter what the circumstances. Phil 4:1

Counting Them Loss

“Whatever things were gain to me, those I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ,” the apostle Paul said. The Swahili Arab are proud of their heritage and pedigree. They are very much like Paul who sought a righteousness through works and trusted in his ethnicity and status to give him spiritual credit. Pray that they will count everything loss for the sake of knowing Christ and being found in Him.

Equal Interest and Openness

Pray for those Swahili Arabs who are especially proud of their heritage to come to the place of counting all things loss for the sake of gaining Christ, knowing Him, being found in Him. Pray for those who have invested much time in studying their religion to have courage to read and study the Bible with equal interest and openness. Pray that they will have a clear understanding of grace versus works, and receive grace as better.

Burning Desire

Please pray for a young Arab Swahili man who keeps pursuing me (I believe he wants to convert me…which is great!) Pray that he would have a burning desire for the Truth and Jesus would reveal Himself. Pray that our conversations about the Kingdom of Light versus darkness would penetrate deep.

A Running Club

In a community center in the predominately Islamic part of the city, many young Somali, Swahili, and Arab girls come to spend time with the Christian staff. We’ve recently started a running club, and are dreaming of many other programs such as art and music classes to initiate relationships with families in this community. The goal in each of these programs, clubs, and classes is always to bring the name of Jesus into homes and to families. Please pray for us workers to be bold in making Jesus famous on the Swahili Coast! Pray specifically this week for the young 20-something girls S, L, and A! (Swahili, Arab, and Somali, respectively)— that they will be drawn to Jesus in the lives of the workers there and that intentional Gospel conversations would happen even this week!

Discovering the Bible

Pray for those who are discovering the Bible through reading it with their Christian friends, that they  will put their faith in Christ and find Him faithful to make them His strong and courageous witnesses, even to the ends of the earth.

Asking to Learn

The Swahili Arabs need Jesus but cling to Islam. Recently a number have begun learning about God through discovery Bible studies. Others are also asking to learn. Some have believed and confessed Christ. Pray that this movement will accelerate and that Jesus will be honored and glorified through how He works in this people.

A Significant Dream

A week ago we had a dear friend who has been studying the Scriptures come to us distraught after discovering that her husband had taken a girlfriend, presumably to eventually marry her as a second wife. She shared with us and went home. That evening she had a dream of a man in all white, surrounded by very bright light, who came and told her that he was leaving her with his peace. When she asked who he was, he told her that soon she would know. Please pray with us that the “man in white” would continue to reveal His full identity to her and that she would truly receive His lasting, eternal, soul-securing peace.

That They Would Feel His Love Near

This past week we had our normal Christmas celebrations in our neighborhoods where many of our Muslim friends gathered to eat, share, and enjoy the day with us. We also had a Christmas study group where those who have been studying the Word with us all came together to study the Christmas story and share a meal together. We are so excited about this more intentional and close look at what Christmas is all about. Please lift up all who gathered, that His presence would be so close to them. Pray that as we continue to declare the name of Emmanuel, our friends would feel His love near and their hearts would be changed.

With Greater Impact

As we head toward Christmas, we remember that last year our big community celebration was met with some opposition for the first time ever. Pray that the opposition last year would actually lead to even more people joining us this year. Pray that the story of Christmas would go out even more boldly and with greater impact than it ever has before. Pray that hearts would be softened to joyfully receive their King.

Start the Wheel- March 29, 2019 update

In March we asked the Lord for 3 different Discovery Bible Study groups to start, with each group having 4 local people studying by the end of the year. At that point we had no one. We asked for at least 3 people who would fearlessly “start the wheel” of pursuing Jesus in our community. While our numbers were not as neat and tidy as we had prayed for, what did miraculously happen was that we had 4 groups running consistently, and at least 10 people truly and intentionally encountered the Word of God with us. Some came in and out because they traveled. Others came and went for reasons unknown. But all of them left with a better understanding of the Scriptures and having been prayed for by us and with us. There are 3 people who have started the wheel, 1 having been baptized, and 2 not believing yet but continuing to move toward Jesus. We praise Him for this supernatural response to our prayers!

To Read During Boring Hours

Last week we had an unexpected encounter with a fisherman who took us on a hunt for a specific shell we were looking for. During the adventure, we got to share with him that Jesus loved fishermen and hung out with them often. We told him there are a number of stories in the Bible where Jesus spent time on the water with His disciples. Our fisherman excitedly told us he would like to have a Bible to read during his “boring hours” on the fishing boat. We assured him we would bring him one and before we parted he reminded us, “Please bring me your book!” Since then we have not been able to find him again. Please pray for this man and the many other Swahili men who make their living on the ocean. Pray that Jesus would draw these men to Himself and make them fishers of men.

Captured by the Love of the King

Last week just before our study time with our one baptized believer, a 16-year-old neighbor showed up at my house. She was just home from boarding school and came to greet me. When I explained to her what we were about to do, she begged to stay. I went to get permission from her mom who was sitting outside with two other neighbors. The three women discussed it and decided it would be okay. Please pray for this normally reserved girl who was highly engaged and excited during our study! Pray she would come back this week and that her heart would be captured by the love of the King.

A Well-Respected Couple

For many months we have been praying and hoping for a well-respected couple who would join our Bible studies and be willing to open up their home to others who are searching for the Truth too. Recently, one couple we have known for years agreed to host a study in their home but they have not been consistent or committed to it. We know that they are people of peace and that God is working in their hearts. Please pray that He would ignite a passion in them to move forward in providing a safe place for many to come to study with them. And most of all, pray that He would bring them to saving faith as they do it.

The Power of the Word

In the past few months we have given out 4 Bibles to people who are seeking. Every single person handled them with tenderness, gently opening the front cover and reading the first words of Genesis. We have seen the power of the Word in this place. Please pray that whether the Word of God goes out in written or spoken form that it will land on good soil. Pray for protection over the Bibles that are in unwelcoming homes. Pray and believe with us that God’s Word will not return void.

Approaching Jesus’ Death and Resurrection

A few months ago we started studying with a young man who seemed to be craving access to the Scriptures despite his devotion to Islam. We started our Scripture study in Genesis and 14 weeks later, we are fast approaching the stories of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Please pray with us that as he encounters these stories in the next few weeks his heart would be deeply moved and stirred by the Spirit. Pray that he would understand this Good News is given for him and that he would receive it with great joy!

Small Groups Mighty God

We continue to ask the Lord to grow the numbers of those who are studying the Scriptures with us in our DBS groups. Please join us in praying that God would move in the hearts of those who are already studying with us to invite their neighbors and friends in. Pray that Jesus would use them as the catalyst for growing the groups so that by the end of the year, we would have 12 people studying with us regularly.

Capture Her Heart

We recently began studying the Scriptures with a woman who came from a churched background. But years ago, after experiencing a lot of hurt and disappointment from the church, she converted to Islam. She is illiterate so our study with her is the first one that is strictly oral. Please pray that Jesus would capture her heart and she would find Him to be her source of salvation and healing. Pray as well for others to join this study who may be illiterate but can come and hear the Word of God.

Captivated by the Scriptures

Recently we have had 3 Discovery Bible Study groups start and gain traction in our town. Last night we invited another couple who we have known to be people of peace for years and they said yes to reading with us next weekend! They are an influential couple in town who are known for their gift of teaching and their kind hearts. Please pray that this fourth study would truly start in this coming week and that this couple’s hearts would be captivated by the Scriptures.

Start The Wheel

We have decided to ask the Lord to give us 3 separate Discovery Bible Study groups with 4 local people studying in each by the end of the year. This is a huge, bold ask of the Father in a place like this and we know it won’t come without great prayer and fasting. It will likely be a bit like a fly wheel- that first rotation is hard and slow but each time it turns it picks up momentum. Similarly, we believe that what we need most is those first 3 people who are willing to pave the way in committing to study with us and once they are there, we will more quickly gain traction with others. Will you please ask the Father to quickly bring us 3 S people who would be willing to “start the wheel?”

Softened by a Crisis

One of our most precious S friends has been a part of all our lives for years. She has been willing to read the Word, had dreams of spiritual truth, has been prayed for by us and has prayed with us. Lately it has been a bit harder to know what she is thinking about spiritual things and we have been asking the Spirit to not give up on pursuing her heart. Her sister just died quite unexpectedly and she is broken-hearted. Please pray with us that this sudden crisis would make a way for her heart to be softened to the truth that through Jesus, death has lost its sting and hope can be found.

For the First Time

For the first time, this year’s Christmas celebrations among the Swahili Arab people were met with some clear opposition. While it was naturally discouraging to deal with, our hearts couldn’t help but be encouraged as we reflected on the truth that when Jesus’ name is being celebrated, people will come against it. The reason we were celebrating was clear. Would you pray Jesus’ words over those who stood with us, that anyone who receives us, would receive Him. And for those who came against the celebration, pray for the Father’s mercy to soften their hearts and lead them to repentance.

PoP

This season of Ramadan has brought a lot of opportunities to have spiritual conversations as we break the fast with friends and neighbors in the evenings. Recently we enjoyed iftar with a family who are certainly people of peace. We spent over an hour talking about our respective beliefs and were able to share that while we could see that the people in this community are very good and kind people, they still had not been transformed by the love of Jesus. The father of the family listened intently to what was shared and even agreed that he should be willing to read the Bible. Please pray for families like these to realize that their striving for their own righteousness is not enough to be reconciled to God and that total transformation is available to them through Jesus.

Seeking Satisfaction

Mid-way through Ramadhan, people here on the coast are finding life hard. This is the month they are trying to appease Allah, and hopefully feel satisfied in that. Of course from scripture we know it is an endless trail. Pray that the people of Kilwa Masoko and the South Coast would be drawn to Jesus, the only one that truly satisfies.

Discipleship training

Please pray for a discipleship training and outreach program that is happening May 28-July 10 along the south coast of Tanzania. 16 young men and women from a cluster of six churches are learning to lead their fellowships in discipleship outreach. Pray for the multiplication of disciples and the birth of a movement.

Conference update

Last night 210 people participated in the conference! Praise God for the interest and enthusiasm of the participants for cross cultural missions. Pray we finish well and strong. Our goal is to equip and empower those the Lord has placed in strategic locations among the UPGs of the coast.

Missions conference

Pray for the Madavu Fellowship conference starting today in Mombasa. They are expecting over 100 workers to attend! Pray for grace and strength for Peter and Esther, who are hosting. Ask the Holy Spirit to minister to his people as they gather together.