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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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?”
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, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
While our people believe that Jesus ascended into heaven and is alive and with God today, they were taught that He never actually died, making our Good Friday and Easter celebrations highly offensive. Especially when we proclaim that someone they see as a perfect prophet not only died but was crucified on a cross. Please pray that this Easter season many would hear and understand the beauty of a Savior who was willing to be humiliated and put to shame on our behalf. Pray they would understand that He did it as an act of Love for us.
Praise God that a group of churches in Kilwa Masoko have recognised that it is time for them to be reaching out and sharing the gospel in villages of the area that are entirely unreached. Please pray for wisdom in how to do this, open doors, and much progress in an area that has been mostly Islamic for hundreds of years. Please pray that the Holy Spirit will produce a movement to faith in Christ.
This past week a dear friend of ours was attacked and seriously injured in a robbery. People are accustomed to violence from the “outside,” but many are quite fearful because this has come from inside of their people group. The woman who was attacked was a local young mother and the man who allegedly did it was a respected older man. Please pray that this incident would point many to the comfort and healing found in Jesus and the great mercy and great justice that is found in our Father.
One of our dear friends here has been having dreams which point to the Truths of Scripture. While her journey toward Jesus seems to be moving a bit faster, we have also seen growth in each member of her household. To see that God is responding to our prayer that He would draw entire families to Himself rather than just individuals is so encouraging. Please pray for many families to come to know Him together, and especially for S’s family, that as the Lord completes the work He has started in her, He would also be working in the hearts of her parents, siblings, and grandmother.
Pray for a forum to train church workers and missionaries in how to disciple Muslim background believers 9-14 April in Mombasa. Pray for many to come and be well equipped with vision and skills to disciple the many Swahili peoples along the coast. Ask God to bless and provide for all the preparations. Pray for 70 missionary couples to be sent out along the 700 km Kenya coast!
Mama Bird was scared … her 5 year old son had just thrown up a bowl full of blood when I walked by her home. Immediately I took the boy in my arms & asked if I could pray for him. She had seen effective prayers before in releasing our neighbor’s daughter from demonic bondage, witnessed her neighbor family’s salvation out of Islam, and had been hearing bits and pieces of God’s story. As I prayed, the boy became peaceful and rested in my arms as Mama Bird gathered their things for us to rush him to the hospital. The next day she came back with her recovering son to thank me for the prayer and emergency help. Please keep praying for opportunities to share with our beloved neighbors the hope of the gospel of Jesus Christ and pray that they would not only hear, but believe with a faith that endures the persecutions to come.
Our elderly mother recently went home to Jesus. We thank God for her godly example. Her death, though sorrowful, also filled us with such peace and joy in knowing she is where her treasure was laid. The local body of Christ has surrounded us with loving compassion. And our neighbors are watching! We mourn radically different from them. We have assurance of salvation in Jesus Christ! They fear that Allah will not accept their good deeds. We praise God for the open doors He has given us to testify to the hope and salvation there is in Jesus Christ. We know our mom is rejoicing in heaven that the seeds of the gospel are being planted from her life and death in Jesus Christ. Now please pray these seeds would bear the fruit of salvation in Christ that endures!
There are seasons of intensified illness & death here on the coast and we are in one of them now. There have been many funerals & hospitalizations & we have faced cases of malaria, nasty infections, and painful flare ups of chronic illness. Pray we would not grow weary in doing good and that God would fortify our bodies and hearts as we comfort the sick and mourning even in our own weakness. Pray as we show the loving compassion of Christ and share the hope we have in Christ with our dear neighbors, they would lay hold of the Hope of Salvation!
Praise God for the challenges the church is facing here: a new Mosque attempting to cross over the church property, and boarders trying to build as close to us as possible when they have plenty of space to build elsewhere. Satan is so obviously feeling threatened by God’s Kingdom growing here! Praise God! We are wrestling over how do we, the local church, best enfold & disciple all these new believers who have come out of Islam. Pray for the Lord to continue to build his Kingdom, and preserve & grow his local body here to be a bold, loving witness of the hope & redemption there is in Jesus Christ! May His Kingdom come, may His will be done!
Praise God for the new believers who are hungering for their lost neighbors to know Jesus as their Savior too. At Christmas Bibi C brought 2 of her granddaughters to celebrate a meal with us & hear the gospel. Mama F did the same in bringing Mama Bird. And today Mama A brought a young searching man to come hear the gospel after he had heard her testimony of God’s healing & salvation and witnessed how the body of Christ has loved her. He responded to the Gospel & wants to join us tomorrow in church to testify & worship with his new family!!! Praise be to Our Lord God! Please pray for the salvation of these precious people & pray for it to spread!
Thank you for praying for our Christmas Feast for our staff. It was a joyous time of thanking the Lord God for His enablement of all the hard work and results produced this past year. We had a great opportunity to share the reason we have such hope for the future on the coast through the gospel of Jesus Christ. We were thankful that many families stayed on to watch the Jesus film. Praise God! Pray that all the seeds of the Gospel planted that day would sprout and bear fruit that endures!
Our Christian nonprofit will be hosting a Christmas party to thank God for His awesome enablement and provision throughout this past year. We will have a traditional feast followed by the Jesus film. Some of our local crew have come to faith directly and indirectly in the past 2 years through the ministry of our nonprofit and others are searching. We see this party as another opportunity to openly celebrate and share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with all their families. Please pray the Lord will miraculously move to glorify Himself in and through this celebration. Before this, the only attempt to ever show the Jesus film in our village resulted in the stoning of the equipment and the missionaries being chased out of the village. Never before have Christians been able to serve long term in this village and we are thankful for the open door God has given us the past 3 years! Please pray!
Praise God that the body of Christ boldly displayed their generous unity in committing all the funds needed to send Ndugu S, a fairly new Swahili believer, to a carpentry & discipleship training school. He desires to grow in his faith and be trained in this skill so he can return to our village able to support himself and bear Christ’s witness to his neighbors through this vocation. Pray the Lord would continue to meet Ndugu S’ needs.
One of our local women and dear friends recently had a dream where she saw herself coming out of a “gate” and walking on a “tight” path. She asked me if I knew what it meant and I was able to share the verses with her from Matthew 7 about the narrow path and narrow gate that leads to life. She had some amazing insights about the verses and her dream and is asking God to give her more clarity about what it all means. Please pray specifically that He will show her that Jesus Himself is the gate
Praise God for opportunities to share Christ’s witness with Mama N. She is a strong local leader among the women of our village. She seems entirely content with her many good works which she believes bring her favor from Allah. The other day she came by for a visit and God opened wide the door to share the gospel of grace with her again. She asked about the road and reservoir project. I shared with her how I was praising God for answering our prayers to delay the rains which were pouring down in all the areas around us so that we could complete the project in good time. She looked a bit startled and said, “Yes. Yes. Wow! Truly we all knew it would rain, but it hasn’t. Now I know why. God hears your prayers because you are a good person!” I said, “No! Mama N! I am a sinner! But my Savior Jesus is the Son of God who took away my sins, the sins of the world through His sacrifice of his body & blood on the cross! I am made Holy and now have a relationship with God Almighty because of Jesus! He is what makes me holy and good so that I can go to God for all my needs. God hears the prayers of all who trust in Jesus!” She listened thoughtfully. Pray for the Holy Spirit to draw her and her respected Swahili family to Christ!
Please pray for the needs of the Swahili peoples along the coast of Kenya and Tanzania. They come from a wide variety of places and backgrounds, and yet they are almost all Muslim and in deep need of the Lord Jesus Christ. Pray for the gospel to spread rapidly and multiply, and for them to embrace the Saviour and receive eternal life.
Praise God for the salvation of a Swahili man who came to church to seek healing. He had limped into our marriage seminar the day before and then returned the next day for our church service to ask for healing prayer for his crippled foot. After the church finished praying for him at the end of the service, he said he also wanted to give his life to Jesus – so right then and there the body led him in a prayer of repentance and acceptance of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Praise God! Please continue to pray for his physical healing and for the church to lovingly enfold our newest member into the body.
Praise God for a timely, effective marriage seminar hosted by our local church which was attended by both singles and married! At the closing of the seminar day, a young new believer and his girlfriend chose that time to confess and repent before the body of Christ for sin they had entered into. This is radically counter- cultural! The following Sunday they announced before their loving church family their desire to be married in a covenant before God and with their Church family as witnesses! Praise God for the conviction of the Holy Spirit and the body of Christ who is helping them to now plan their wedding! Pray their wedding and marriage will be a vivid witness to the Swahili of Christ’s redeeming love for the church!
Praise God for an effective “Theology in Farming” seminar for our staff and coastal pastors! The coastal pastors, who heard some of the concepts and principles taught for the very first time, especially felt deeply encouraged and equipped with an effective tool to bridge the gospel through farming in the Swahili communities they are trying to reach! Now pray they would diligently apply these principles and follow the leading of the Holy Spirit as they go to the Swahili!
A couple of days ago I was unexpectedly blessed when I sat down in my best friend’s shop to read the story of Jesus and Bartimaeus to her and an older, partially blind gentleman happened to walk up and start listening to our story. Those few minutes of his listening turned into getting to share 4 stories from the Word and all of us discussing them together. Both of them have asked to continue hearing stories and see great value in the lessons they teach. Pray that as Swahili people hear stories of Truth, they would be captivated not only by the wisdom, but by the person of Jesus. Pray they would see the Truth of who He is in each story we share.