Yesterday, our team leader went to deliver supplies to help a village a few hours away that has been severely affected by the flooding in our area, as many other villages have been. We are also seeing some of our local friends and neighbors becoming worried about COVID-19. Our prayer is that through all of these things, floods and viruses alike, the Lord would use them to reveal to these precious peoples that the only solid foundation in this crazy world is Christ and His Word. May the uncertainty and fear drive people to seek for truth that brings real and unshakable hope, to find the God who is truly sovereign over everything and will never leave or forsake us, and Whose perfect love casts out fear. May God use all these things to draw the lost to Himself.
Please pray for a teammate and I as we go out into a neighborhood in our community this week with the goal of making new connections, building relationships, and getting to know some of the ladies. We’re praying for opportunities to share the Gospel with them. Pray for the Holy Spirit to lead us to the right ladies whose hearts He is already at work softening and that He would open doors for us to share about Jesus. Pray that the Lord would give us boldness in sharing and deep love for these neighbors, and that the Father would draw many to His Son!! We long for them to know the Savior we know!!
Recently we asked for prayer for villages in our area that were greatly affected by recent floods. Praise the Lord for how He has provided help in the initial recovery, and especially thank Him for how He raised up the new local church in one village to reach out to their community with Christ’s love and take advantage of the many opportunities the Lord presented for the Gospel to be shared. Please keep praying for all the people of these farming villages, as many lost their seed supplies for this next season of planting. Pray for the Lord’s continued provision for these people. Pray for those who heard the Gospel and experienced Christ’s love through His church to come to faith in Christ. And pray for the local believers to keep persevering in these circumstances, especially pray for the health of the evangelist’s family.
Recent unseasonal rains have caused floods and a lot of damage in local villages. A new church plant is located in one of these villages, the evangelist family who live there currently have 5 other families living with them! They say many have lost homes, or are at least displaced until the waters recede, but even then there will be lots of damage as many homes are simple mud buildings. The Lord is using even this though, as there have been many opportunities to share the Gospel and minister to those in need. Be praying for the Lord to strengthen and encourage the evangelist family and the new church plant out in the village – May the love of Christ shine through them as they help their community. Be praying for our team and church partners, that we would be able to know the best ways to serve and support them, both through supplies and prayers. Be praying for many to come to faith, for opened eyes to see Christ and His great love for the lost and for each unsaved person individually. May He pour out His mercy as mightily as He has poured out the rains!!
Recently, the neighborhood kids have been coming around more and more frequently. We read a few stories together (always starting with a Bible story). They seem genuinely interested in reading together! Pray that the Lord would bless His word and truth as these children listen. That it would be like seed on good soil which takes root and bears fruit. That the children will grow up clinging to truths like “Jesus loves me because He died for me”, and “God is always listening to our prayer when we cry out for His help”, or “God is always with His people so we don’t need to be afraid”. May God use this younger generation to become passionate followers of Jesus in this place as they grow older!!
A huge praise! A couple of days ago a teammate and I were joined by our pastor’s wife on a trip to town to get Bibi a medical check in preparation for surgery. Bibi has responded to the gospel over the last 10 months of sharing it with her. Our pastor’s wife spoke with her and confirmed her understanding, and then she led her in praying a prayer of confession of her salvation in Jesus Christ. A sweet taste of heaven filled the car! Please pray that Bibi can now keep her blood pressure stable for surgery. A young lady who was healed from cancer and came to Christ at our church is now staying with Bibi at the hospital to care for her needs. Praise God for the body of Christ! Please pray for a successful surgery and recovery for Bibi! And for her to grow in her relationship with Jesus!
There is a group of ladies whom we consistently see gathering seaweed off the coast during low tide. They dry it, and then sell it to a business in town. A few team members have been discussing ways to reach out to and connect with these woman. Starting this week, 2 of us are going out hopefully once a week to find a woman who will welcome us and be willing to talk as she works. We hope to be able to share with her how she is loved and valued by God and how Jesus came to save her, and then read a Bible story demonstrating Jesus’ love for women, and also give her an audio Bible to listen to. Please pray that God would lead us to the right women whom He would have us share with, and for them to have open and receptive hearts to the Gospel of the God who sees, knows, and loves them very much!
This past week, a group of 34 local pastors got together and discussed how they were going to strategically reach out in our local area. Reports are that the conversations were good and fruitful. Our prayer is that each would actually put into action what was discussed and result in the word of God going out into areas it has yet to reach. Also, please be praying for continued unity and partnership in the Spirit for these churches and their pastors. May the way they love each other and the lost, and their boldness for the Gospel grow daily and result in much glory given to God.
Praise the Lord our neighbor’s husband has agreed to allow one of our female Tanzanian teammates to come regularly to study in their home with his wife about what God teaches for being a good wife & mother and follower of God, though she is still not allowed to worship with the church. What an awesome Redeemer God we serve! Pray this time will be used faithfully to build our sisters in the Lord and our neighbors’ marriage and be a beautiful witness of Christ to lead this whole family to salvation!
We recently asked for prayer for some upcoming outreaches in the villages. Praise the Lord that many locals came! The truth was preached and heard by hundreds. Over 300 came the first day! May those seeds of truth take root and may God use His Gospel to draw many who heard to saving faith in Christ! The teams were also able to give out reading glasses in those village communities. As the locals receive help from these reading glasses in the physical sense to gain better sight, may the Lord also bless each one with spiritual sight to see Jesus as Savior!
It has been confirmed that kids have been beaten by the Madrasa teachers if word gets back to them that the children are coming to our house to play or hear the chronological Bible stories I have been sharing with them this year … My heart is broken for them. I am praying all the seeds for the Gospel that have been sown in their hearts will be protected and will bear fruit in God’s full time. Pray for the salvation of their hearts, minds, bodies & souls!
Praise the Lord, in a village where our church does outreach, the gathering of 11 new believers continues despite persecution. They have now begun to collect materials to start building a simple structure to meet under to protect the growing group from the sun & rain! Pray for the growth, perseverance, and protection of the new believers.
Our neighbor & Muslim Background Believer came out publicly as a Christian at the beginning of this year. Her husband’s family & neighbors have done all they can to get him to leave her. He has stuck it out, but he can’t live with the shame of the vicious rumors spread about her character. He is on the verge of divorcing her. We counselled with them for almost 3 hours last night – sharing God’s Word about marriage. He seemed to be willing to keep trying to stick it out for the love of her & their kids, but wouldn’t give a clear answer. Please pray for God to preserve & protect their marriage & family. Pray for the salvation of all their family for Jesus’ Name’s sake and their great joy!
There is a village in our district that we have been able to do some outreach in over the past several months, though not as much as we would like due to distance and time restraints. The ideal would be to place a team there in the future, and the village is waiting and even asking for us to come! God has already been at work in this village, it would seem, given their open reception to us. Please pray with us that God would provide for a team to be able to come and live in this village. May His Gospel go out and draw many people to saving faith in Jesus! Please Lord! We know You love these people, so please open to us a door for Your Word there!
Please pray for a number of Swahili young men and an old man in our village who are listening to the audio Swahili Bible and/or reading the Swahili Bible they asked for, along with study guide material which teaches Muslims what it means to follow Christ. They are seeking Jesus and counting the cost of the cross. Pray the Holy Spirit would draw them to Himself and give them the courage to give their lives to Jesus.
Praise God over 20 people are now attending the weekly Sunday services lead by local believers from our church in the outreach village where 11 people gave their lives to Jesus a few weeks ago. Praise God the new believers are persevering in their faith and gathering together despite persecution! Continue to pray for wisdom and discernment for our church as they disciple these young believers. Pray this would continue to multiply, with local believers spreading the gospel and discipling the Swahili all along the coast!
Praise God! A man, from a distant coastal Swahili village where our church has been reaching out, travelled to our church to confess Jesus as his savior before our congregation and join the body of Chirst! The following weekend a group from our church travelled to this man’s village again to share the Gospel and show the Jesus film. 11 people from this unreached coastal Swahili village have repented from their sins and confessed Jesus as their Savior! Praise God! Now please pray for the protection and growth of these fledgling believers and for our church to know how to best disciple them there! Praise God!
As of the last two weeks, our team has started 2 Bible studies, one for men and one for women. We’ve invited some local friends and neighbors to come and study God’s word together each Thursday. Pray that the Holy Spirit would speak in the word of God and reveal Jesus to us all. For the friends who come who are believers, may their faith be strengthened and love for Jesus deepened. For the friends who are not yet believers, pray that they would be brave enough to come and that when they do, their eyes would be opened to see Jesus and His salvation! God’s word does not return to Him void, but accomplishes that for which He sent it. May His word have His way in us in these Bible studies!
I have a dear local friend who I am able to see several times a week and who also helps me learn language. We have been reading through the Gospel of John, praying before we read. A prayer request that has come up is her search for a job. We have been praying for God to provide that in Jesus name. My prayer to God for her is that as we read John, the Spirit would open her eyes to see Jesus and her need for Him, and as we pray, that whether in finding a job or in the search for one, God would reveal Himself to her as the provider of her needs. I long for her to be able to see Jesus for who He is and who He longs to be for her!
Within the next month, there are several outreaches planned in a variety of locations in the Kilwa district of S. Tanzania. Some of them are Jesus film outreaches, another is an eye glass clinic. Pray that people would come to the outreaches and hear the word of God and the Gospel, and be hungry for what they hear. Pray that even now, God would be preparing hearts to truly hear and accept the Gospel and that the Holy Spirit would be at work in a mighty way. Pray for wisdom and boldness for the pastors, churches, evangelists, and other workers putting on these events. May God be glorified in many precious souls receiving the free gift of salvation in the next month!
Off the coast several kilometers, there is a lighthouse which can only be accessed during a specific time of the month when the tide is so low that there is enough open ground to walk out to it. There is a small group of local men who live there that we have been trying to make contact with. Recently, some Christians were able to walk out during low tide and briefly meet the 4 men who live out there and give them audio Bibles. They were not able to stay long as the tide was quickly coming back in and they needed to walk back to shore. Praise God that the group was able to meet the men from the lighthouse! Pray with us that they would listen to God’s word, that the Holy Spirit would help them understand and believe, and that God would open the door for future opportunities to meet and share with these men from the lighthouse. They live at a lighthouse, may their eyes be opened to their own need for the Light only Jesus can give!
Praise God on weekdays and Sundays, Swahili children come to our home and/or church to hear God’s Story being told. Many have shared they no longer want to attend the daily Islamic classes. However, some parents are now refusing to allow their children to come to church anymore. Today some adults came and took away the children from church and went right to madrasa. Please pray the seeds of the Gospel will remain and bear fruit!
Praise God our 4 Tanzanian interns and 7 other believers just completed a 6 week Global Disciples course at our church. Praise God for the opportunity they received to apply their training in our community. Many Swahili heard the gospel, a few have secretly responded to it, and one bold young man has not only professed faith in Jesus, but is also publicly identifying as a new believer by attending our church! Pray for the new believers’ growth and protection. Pray for continued opportunities to share the gospel wherever God leads these believers.
A team recently did a Jesus film outreach trip in a remote village in our district. Praise God for the ways the Gospel was shared through a children’s program, evangelism, tracts, preaching, spiritual films about Jesus and faith, prayer, and well repair on 3 broken wells, helping to provide water in those neighborhoods. People seemed so hungry for the Word – God is at work in a mighty way in this village! There were 22 confessions of faith! Praise God! Pray for these new believers and their young faith to grow. Especially pray for 6 young middle school girls who came to faith and destroyed their charms from the local witch doctor! May they grow strong in their faith and trust that Jesus is better and stronger than anything they may fear and that He is able to completely save, protect, and sustain them through all things.
A team member had a birthday this week, so we hosted a party at her home, inviting several of the local girls to come and join us. It was a fun time with 10 local girls and a local Christian friend from church. After some games we ended the afternoon eating cake and watching the Jesus film for women. We gave out New Testaments to all who wanted them. One woman told a teammate that the movie touched her heart. Let’s pray that the truth of the Gospel seen and heard at this birthday party would stick with those who heard and be a seed that bears fruit unto salvation in their lives. His word does not return void!
“Lord, may whole Swahili families turn to Jesus with faith that endures and bears fruit.”
Our local church has just welcomed a Tanzanian family that is excited to serve the Lord in one of the unreached villages in our district. The plan is that this family will stay in this town for several months to build good, solid relationships with the church and team located here. Then, there is a possibility they will move to one of the villages we already do ministry in as further training before moving out to the more remote location that they will, Lord willing, one day live in to start sharing the Gospel there. We are excited to get to know this family! Be praying for them to grow in their relationships with Jesus, with each other as a family, with our local church and team, and for the Lord to fully prepare and equip them for the work that He has for them in the village. Pray that through them many Swahili Bantu will be saved.
The intern kids arrive for afternoon Bible story & play time at our home each weekday. Slowly more neighborhood kids (of our new or secret believers) have begun to join the intern kids in listening to the Chronological Gospel story from creation to Christ. Please pray the Lord would keep sending them to hear the beautiful story of the Gospel and that they would have a firm foundation established in the truth for all their lives unto salvation. Pray for us as we prepare for the upcoming seminar on Chronological Bible Storying for the intern families as well.
Mama S is beginning to grow in her relationship with the Lord – gaining confidence of who she is in Christ and intimacy with God in her prayer life with Him. Her children have a growing heart for Jesus as well. Although neither she nor her children are allowed yet to worship openly with us, we have seen a softening in her husband toward the gospel. But please pray for the protection of their marriage! People, including her in-laws, have begun to spread vicious rumors about Mama S’s character in the village with the goal of inciting her husband to divorce her. On their porch one afternoon, God opened the door to talk frankly with Baba S about what we saw clearly as a satanic attack to divide and destroy their family. Praise God Baba S acknowledged that this was true and he would not give up on his family! We know satan still wants to devour their family. Please pray for the Lord’s protection and salvation over their whole family.
This Easter, local churches from several denominations gathered in town to publicly celebrate the resurrection of Jesus together! We estimate that over 200 people were in attendance, both Christians and Muslims who came to watch. There was joyful and praise-filled singing by the choirs, children reciting verses they had learned in Sunday school, and money was even raised to help a regional school for children with disabilities. What a witness to our Muslim neighbors and friends to see Christians gathering and celebrating Jesus together despite differences of denomination! We are praising Jesus for what He was doing in our midst on Sunday and praying that He uses it to draw our Muslim neighbors closer to Himself so that they too might know the joy and hope of His resurrection that His people celebrated together on Sunday! Thank You, Jesus, for what You have done for us!
Continue to pray against the attack of Satan in attempting to divide and discourage Mama & Baba S. They have worked so hard & sacrificed so much to try to make a better life for their family. A giant python got into their chicken coup and ate 7 chickens before he was killed. For them, this is a huge discouraging loss. Pray they would see this as a sign that they are doing something honorable & Satan only wants to discourage & keep them trapped in the extreme poverty. Pray the Lord would use this to draw Mama S deeper into faith & prayer with Him & this would lead Baba S to seek the Savior! What Satan has meant for evil, may the Lord turn to good.
Praise God the beginning of a church is being planted in our village after generations who once resisted any church presence! A local believer, who has completed studies away at Bible college & is supplementing his income through work at our non profit, has been appointed to begin Sunday worship service in a classroom at the local secondary school with new local believers who are able to stand and join in this way. The majority of us long term outside believers will remain at our neighboring church so the new body can develop naturally it’s own indigenous identify as the body of Christ while receiving love & encouragement from us in the larger body of Christ. Pray for the Lord to build his church, his kingdom on the Swahili coast!
Our team has several friends that have dealt with, or currently are dealing with, sicknesses in their families. As individual teammates have prayed for these dear friends who have yet to know Jesus, let’s be praying that they come to see the power and love of Jesus through these prayers! May they see that Jesus is a God who cares for them personally, hears our prayers to Him, and answers! May God open their eyes to see His gracious answers to prayers in Jesus name so that they may know the power of the name of Jesus and believe that He truly is God.
In one of the villages our team does outreach in, there is a local sister who has just recently come to faith. She has been receiving some persecution from her neighbors and friends in her village because of her new faith in Jesus. Additionally, because the rains have been late this year, her field in which she planted rice this year is dying. Please pray for this local sister to grow in her faith and learn to cling tightly to Jesus in the midst of the hard things she is facing. Pray that Jesus would show Himself, His love, and His provision for her and her son in tangible ways. And, pray for the team and our local church partners to be given practical way to love this sister well and support her as the body of Christ. May her village see the love of Christ through all of this.
We were able to host a local friend, her little boy, and cousin over for dinner and watch the Jesus film. They had to leave early before finishing the movie, but we were able to finish the rest of the film with the friend at a later date. Please pray that the Holy Spirit would captivate these three locals hearts with this message of the Gospel truth and that the Father would draw them to His Son Jesus!
Mama N is one of those neighbors who has heard the gospel over and over, but is locked in her beliefs. She swung by yesterday and the Lord opened yet another conversation with Mama N about how I have assurance of my salvation by the grace of God through faith in the sacrifice of His Son Jesus on the cross for my sins. My husband had a similar conversation at a ceremony sitting next to the local Muslim secondary school headmaster. Please pray for their salvation and the salvation of their whole families!
Praise the Lord one of our brand new Tanzanian interns led a local man to Jesus as they were farming together in the field this week! Today the man joined us at church and confessed his faith in Jesus Christ before us all, to our great joy! Pray for his spiritual & physical protection & for the body of Christ to know how to best enfold him into our family of God!
Mama S has started coming every afternoon to learn to read & write Swahili! Not only is she learning in this way, but we have time together to pray & for me to share a Bible story with her. Praise God for providing this way for my sister to grow in her young faith and pray this would lead to her whole family’s salvation. Pray the Lord would protect, enable and equip her in all that she needs in Christ Jesus.
We spent Thursday evening visiting with Bibi H again, caring for some of her needs, making her more comfortable, and praying for and encouraging her in the hope of Heaven in Jesus. We knew her time was near. Bibi H passed away the next morning and became the very first Christian ever allowed to be buried in our village! I shared with her neighbor ladies as we washed and shrouded her body for burial and then I prayed over her again thanking God for her life & the hope of heaven and assurance of salvation we have in Christ Jesus. Her funeral was attended by the few Christians in our area and a surprisingly large number of Muslim neighbors. It was a peaceful witness of Jesus Christ as the church came together to honor her life and share the Gospel she had put her hope in. We can’t count how many heard the gospel that day and witnessed the Body of Christ lived out amongst them. I do know Bibi H had no idea how beautifully & broadly the Gospel would be shared through her death. She was probably the most insignificant weak powerless woman in our village and yet God chose her to make glorious history & share the gospel with more than ever before here! Praise Be To God!
In visiting Sunday with elderly Bibi H, we sensed she will soon pass. I shared the gospel of hope with her again and we all sang to her a Swahili hymn. She assured us she believes and is ready to see God. Please pray that what she has confessed to us with her mouth about her faith in Jesus, she has truly believed in her heart. We want to worship with her in heaven one day! Pray the Lord would mercifully bring her home in His perfect time.