6 October 2014

“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command….. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go bear fruit – fruit that will last – and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.” John 15:13-14, 16

Dear friends and prayer partners

Blessings in Jesus!

Please know that your partnership is pivotal to me being here in Tanzania and I am extremely grateful for your prayer and financial support, which I do not take for granted! I continue to be humbled by the support I have and am receiving.

This prayer letter is a great opportunity to testify to the goodness of God, His timing and His providence! I have so much to be thankful to Him for as I reflect on the last couple of months.

Taken on 1 October

Taken on 1 October

Some of you were aware that one of my aunt’s (Aunty Ta) was admitted to hospital in a critical condition nearly two months ago. Four days prior to my departure from New Zealand, doctors had advised Aunty Ta’s family that they would be ‘letting her go’ as her brain was dead and that she would never be able to drink, eat and talk again! By the grace of God, Aunty Ta is still with us and is drinking, eating and talking! Day by day she is progressing and is now in Kenepuru hospital for rehabilitation. I praise God for His grace and mercy, for all the prayer support and for the immediate and extended family who came from near and far to support Aunty Ta.

Since I arrived in Tanzania at the beginning of September, praise God several of the prayer requests I submitted prior to leaving New Zealand have been and are being answered!

I am thankful for the networking that God has provided and for all the people He has brought across my path so far. I see the importance of developing relationships with both Tanzanians and non-Tanzanians, particularly as I desire to be here long-term.Darlene, Nanette and I

I am being stretched in different ways. I had the opportunity to give a teaching on the book of Jonah to about 70+ people, including 30 pastors at a Bible teaching seminar. Our team (Henry, Darlene, Nanette and I) were invited to speak at different churches one Sunday; I shared about the fear of man and the fear of God, primarily from the book of Proverbs. I know I will have other opportunities to share in churches when I return to Uyole.

CrusadeOur team undertook a three day crusade in Uyole, the area where the center is located and we were extremely blessed to see our children in the audience. We praise God our children were able to hear the Gospel and to be encouraged as Henry preached the Word of God.

One of the highlights during the crusade was the opportunity to pray and lay hands on women and children, it so blessed my heart.

After the crusade, I went and gave my children a hug and kissed them goodnight. Other children came too desiring to be loved and seeking a hug and a kiss.

To Jesus be the glory for all that He has done in the lives of my children and at the orphan centre!

I praise God for the sponsors, theirs and your invaluable prayers that are making a difference in my children’s lives. The children were so happy and excited when Henry, Darlene, Nanette and I visited them at the centre. We were greeted with shouts of joy as our children came running to embrace us.

Since our last visit in May there is now running water, electricity, concrete laid; the kitchen upgraded with new concrete, windows, tables and chairs and converted to a dining/living room. We thank God for the funds for these projects that were provided by churches and specific individuals.

The children love going to the center, either three times a week and for the children who live in the neighbourhood, they attend every day. They are provided with food, participate in reading the Bible, pray specifically for their sponsors and other prayer needs, and play with resources that have been gifted by sponsors and others from around the world.

I thank God for Sekela, Joel and Hosiana; who are key staff in the orphan centre. Please continue to pray for them as they minister to and meet the needs of the children:

The area we are considering land for the orphan centre is in Nsongwi, a village in Uyole. Please pray God will show us the right location and for Him to grant us favour. The land is owned by the village government and we are hoping they will grant us the land to build our orphanage and to develop an agriculture program. We will need to meet with the village government and the district comissioner, to discuss our intentions.

I thank God for His timing and His wisdom. We are still in the process of registering our NGO and it appears the timing as yet is not right. Please pray for wisdom for all parties involved in this process and for God’s perfect timing.

I mentioned in my last update about my hosts in Uyole, Jason and Amanda Fihavango, who are also running an orphan centre called Nuru Orphans Centre. Their centre has twenty children who have come to them from birth; they are called ‘throw away babies’ as they are found in the rubbish tip, the forest or the street. They live and stay at the centre until they are in their teens. I thank God for the opportunity to express love to these children who are so precious and valued in the eyes of God.

PS David, there are full-time volunteer positions available to be a sitter and hold the babies, who very rarely cry!

I have now been in Iringa for two weeks learning Kiswahili and the Tanzanian culture. I am finding the course extremely challenging in several ways. I am learning with John, an English man, who has been studying Kiswahili for a year and has a good grasp of speaking and understanding Kiswahili. As we are learning together, it appears the expectation is for me to have a similar understanding as John.

For me pronouncing some of the words is difficult and as we are learning a lot of information and rapidly, my memory recall is not very good. I have been rather disheartened on more than one occasion and sometimes wonder whether I will manage to complete the course! I have spoken to my teachers and discussed with them my concerns, to seek their advice how I can improve in my learning. I know through your prayer support and by the grace of God, He will provide me with the help I need to complete the course.

God reminds me that challenges keep me reliant on Him and rather than on myself. I also know it’s about keeping things into perspective and how I choose to respond to challenges.

Aside from the difficulties with learning Kiswahili, I am enjoying being here in Iringa. It is a small town with a population of about 110,000. The people I have met and interacted with are very friendly and helpful, some are trying to help me with speaking Kiswahili! To increase my confidence with getting out and about, I am walking about an hour day during the week to and from my course. It’s a nice walk and I have the opportunity to practice a little Kiswahili en-route with the locals!

Thank you to everyone who has kept in contact with me either via through Hotmail or Facebook, please accept in advance my sincerest apologies for my slow or non-response to your email or message.

If you have access to Facebook and would like to follow my occasional brief updates, please add me as a friend if you are not one or ready.

With sincerest thanks and blessings in Jesus