We also got to do medical ministry with our doctor. Below is a picture of the line of people waiting to see the doctor. He was able to see about 120 patients everyday for 5 days. People would start forming a line at 5 am just to see Doctor Len who comes at 9am after morning devotions, worship, and chai. The team and I would also hike everyday to more remote villages surrounding Igalula. Sometimes we hiked two hours to get to our destination, preached and did door to door, then hiked two hours back. But their was so much fruit. I really enjoyed talking to many people outside their house about my love for Jesus. “For the love of Christ compels us…” –2 Corinthians5:14.I even got to sit down with a group of Muslim men and tell them that I loved them and that Jesus loves them as we sipped some coffee. We had some pretty interesting conversations. And many people gave their lives to Christ. We brought around 50 bibles to the village. The problem is they still need so much more. Many Christians there will go their whole lives without bibles. Even pastors and leaders in the church don’t have bibles. So, they always remind us to bring bibles with us when we visit. And they cherish the Word. When we gave a bible to a Muslim man who heard about Jesus he sucked it into his chest and held it against his heart, thanking us. It was so cool to see. Please pray for the Word of God to spread in this place. Igot to talk with a man named Fanwel and Imanuel about Jesus. They still weren’t sure if they believed the whole Jesus story so I continued to visit them. Finally one day Fanwel told me he was ready to receive Jesus, so he and his wife prayed with me. Pray for him too. I’ll never forget his beautiful smile.
Above are some mamas we met on our walk. Left is a creek we had to cross to get to the villages Rukoma and Buhingu to preach. I am standing with my friend and translator Rashidi.
At night we were able to bring a small generator and projector to show the movies: Passion of the Christ, Jesus film, Muslim testimonies of dreams of Jesus, and a testimony of AIDS. It was so amazing to see 300 people come out to stand for two hours and watch these films. They have never seen a TV in their life, let alone a big screen movie of the Passion. Here is a picture of Harold and Gabriel the translator leading people in prayer. Many many people prayed to receive Jesus that night as Gabriel translated. Thank God! Pleasepray that they will get connected to a church and continue to learn about Jesus. These villages were “spiritual warzones”. We would hear drums beating at night in the distance as we lay in our tents. These were drums the fishermen would beat at night. They like to use witchcraft to help them catch fish and they were calling the spirits to come. Then we would wake up in the middle of the night to the Mosque’s call to prayer. Also, many homes in the village have a tiny little grass hut in the backyard. These are supposedly homes for their spirits to live. Needless to say we prayed a lot, and God moved powerfully. Then Casey continued to write what I've posted above.
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
WOW! Praise God! Praise His holy name! My friend in Tanzania (Casey) who I had the vision about (see the posts titles "Peace" and "Encourage") just sent out an email telling the amazing things that God has been doing in Tanzania through her and others! Continue reading below to read parts of her latest update . . . and be encouraged! ;) Note: I put the last part of her letter first and the first part after it for those of you who want to know more about God working in Tanzania and Casey's life there. I have kept her letter exactly how she wrote it. Please pray for these people and for Casey.
Now I can share my favorite story from our time in the village: GOD’S HEALING POWER! During my door to door with Oscar, my translator, we met an old man weaving baskets in the shade. We started talking to him and found out he was a Christian. So I asked if we could pray for him and he said, “Yes, please pray for my son, he is crazy, but he’s all I have left to take care of me.” When he called his son no one came. Then we went to the garden and found what looked like a 15 year old boy playing in the dirt. He wouldn’t answer me when I greeted him. He wouldn’t talk to anyone actually. He was to our eyes mentally handicapped. I was immediately reminded of the scriptures where they brought a sick boy before Jesus who had seizures and people presumed he was medically ill, but Jesus cast a demon out of him. So, I prayed in Jesus name for evil to leave this son. I just prayed for him to be healed. But nothing happened then so we finished talking and moved on. When I left the mother came home and told her son to go to the church again to get prayed for. So the next day he came and all of the team and I prayed for him. Again nothing big happened. I decided the next day after that to visit them again. The father said to me right away when I saw him that he was so grateful because his son was HEALED. I didn’t know if it was for real so I asked to see the boy. He was resting so they awoke him and brought him out. He immediately greeted me and my jaw almost dropped. It was a surreal moment. I knew that only one day ago this boy was crazy and not comprehensive. He had been that way for many years. And now I stood looking at a different person. The father said, “Now he is helping me and he acts like a human, thank you”. I praised God. The mama was there and asked us to pray again because she was very tired and having bad dreams at night. I told her how many times headaches and tiredness come from not drinking water since they hardly drink any and then I talked about dreams. I told her how many times satan tries to attack us or scare us in our dreams. But she simply needs to plead the blood of Jesus over her mind and over her house and read scriptures before she goes to bed. Then I wondered if they had ever gotten involved with any witchcraft because that could be the cause if they have any of that still in their house. It’s like an open door to demons to come. They said no, but that they used to be Muslim and killed a goat once for witchcraft purposes, but nothing else since they became Christians. I told them to renounce any evil they had been involved with so there would be no connections. When we held hands to pray I just prayed in English with them. As I was praying and renouncing evil in Jesus’ powerful name, I felt a hand shake a little. So, I opened my eyes and saw the mama was twitching and shaking for a moment. After we finished praying she told me that sometime while I was praying she felt like spirits were leaving! Hallelujah! Here is a picture of our team praying for the boy who was healed and the family and I after he was healed.
The team and I were really excited and we saw such a huge change. We gave the boy a bible and found out that he was 19 or 20 (they don’t remember). Then we found out his name was Monewa which means the oppressed one or one who people throw stones at and is defenseless. So, I told the parents he needs a new name. See, the family had 9 children and 8 of them had died from sicknesses. He was the only child left. I was so sad at his name, but I prayed and felt like God wanted to bless this son of his, that this would be the year of God’s favor and blessing on them. And the family renamed the son Imani, which means faith! Please pray for this family. They have special place in my heart. They need help physically, financially, and spiritually. I noticed the father’s knee bent backwards when he walked. It was hard to look at but he never asked for prayer for it, just for his son. Even now, if you have 30 seconds, pray for this family, pray for this village, pray that Jesus touches their lives. Pray that their eyes would be opened to see the truth. Pray for the Muslim community. Many of them just believe in Allah because that is what their families knew, they never questioned what they believed or tried to find out for themselves the truth. In talking with them they have many similar beliefs but I tell them the reason they need Jesus. They have no atonement for their sins. And ALL have sinned. There is no sacrifice that will do except the blood of the Holy One who never sinned. See, even here people kill goats or drink the blood of people because they think it atones for their sins. But the blood of animals does nothing for humans and even the blood of humans cannot cleanse us because all have sinned, except one. His name is Jesus. He is the perfect sacrifice, “once for all” –Hebrews 10:10.
*If you are unfamiliar with demons (a.k.a. evil spirits) check out what I've written at the bottom of this post.
The first part:
Note: I havn't included all of the pictures Casey mentions, but other than that I chose to keep her letter exactly how she typed it. I did put a few words in bold though.
There were nine people on this team from California and we kept them busy. The picture is of the Knepper’s, the Ramsey’s, I and the team. The first few days we had different activities planned such as experiencing the “Day in the Life” of a Tanzanian. The women caught, killed, plucked, and cooked chickens for the men who were pouring rock all day long for 2,000 shillings, or two dollars. On Sunday we visited five different churches in town where they were able to preach. The people here love guest speakers so they made all of us preach. They don’t mind sitting through 3 sermons, no one is checking their watch when we run over time. I also took the team to kids club in Kamala and Ujiji, villages very close to Kigoma. The taught and played with around 400 kids. Ujiji is known for its high witchcraft and Muslim population. We know we have to be careful while we are there. They have thrown rocks at us before. We don’t have a building to teach in either. All of the kids just gather in someone’s yard. While two of the Tanzanian kid’s club leaders were teaching two Tanzanian mamas walked by. One woman said to the other, “If I found my son here I would beat him”. Pray for the Christians in this village. We told them how much they encouraged us and went home. Next we went to a village called Igalula. To the left is a picture from the helicopter. But, sadly we didn’t take a helicopter to this village. We took an 18 hour boat ride, an experience I will remember forever. On this small boat there were 200 people, 50 oil drums, chickens, bags of rice, and our team. First, to get on the boat you have to ride a little dingy out to it and sort of jump onto the bigger boat. It is scary as the waves are crashing and people are handing up babies and bags for you to catch so they can jump on. It was very very packed on the boat. We left Kigoma at 7 pm and it soon became dark. I tried to find a place to sleep but I had to step over mamas and babies in the dark to find a little nook. Tons of mamas and babies down in the hull sat on top of the drums but in the middle of the night the men stopped at many villages along the lake and dropped off a few oil drums. So we awoke every hour or so to move out some oil drums. I felt like a human-tetris-piece sleeping on top of luggage and people. The babies and mamas just went to the bathroom down in the hull since it was an 18 hour journey and there was no toilet. So the smell or urine filled the air. Along with that was the smell of vomit of some of the people who didn’t scale the side of the boat soon enough to throw up overboard. During the night a fisherman was sleeping on a skinny board lying across the hull and he fell off landing on top of me. Luckily a tarp draped across the beams partially caught his fall before landing on me and the people beside me. I was fine and we made it to the village finally where we all crashed and fell asleep, still feeling the waves rocking us. Thank God we finally got to these people. The picture on the left is us taking the dingy out to the bigger boat. The picture on the right is the morning after our 18 hour boat ride. I’m somewhere down in the mess of luggage.
In this village we did many kids clubs as they flocked to us. We also got to teach kids club leaders how to lead their own kids clubs in their villages. The picture to the left is just a pack of kids that followed us that day.
Please pray for these people in Tanzania and pray for Casey and her team there too. As Casey says, "God bless you! Mungu awabariki wote!"
*In the Bible Jesus deals with demons on numerous occasions. To read about these check out Matthew 9:32-33, 4:24, 8:16, 8:28-34, 12:22-29, 15:22-28, 17:14-18, Mark 1:32-34, hmm, here's a good one Mark 16:17, and etc. etc. If you're still curious go to Biblegateway.com and type "demon" in the top search box (you'll get 80 results in the NIV translation). I also want to note that demons are definitely still around today in the USA and all around the world. I could go on for awhile about that and it's too much to explain here right now so if you want to know more just ask.
May God be with you,
Monday, September 7, 2009
Recently I have been learning a lot about the power of encouragement. I am also learning that I don't do near enough of it. My parents might tell you that I did plenty of nagging, trying to self-righteously push them to do things that I thought they should do, but that is not encouragement! Encouragement can come in many different forms though. At summer camp as a kid, I remember doing this thing where everyone would have a paper lunch bag with their name on it and you would write down "warm fuzzies" (compliments, nice things) about everyone on a scrap of paper and put it in their bag. I loved to read mine, I especially treasured the ones that happened to reassure me in an area where I doubted myself the most. Recently, I've seen encouragement in monster cookies sent to a friend competing in an Iron Man (2.5 mile swim, 115 bike, and then a 26.2 mile run--I'm not sure if I have the bike distance right but it's long!), a (second) thank you note a year after the event to a pastor, and the vision I shared in my last post gave great, and perfectly timed, encouragement to that friend.
For whatever reason, I normally don't give that much credit to encouragement and perhaps that is why I don't do it as often as I ought. However, the three recent forms of encouragement described above meant more than I could have ever supposed to the people who received it! I too have been encouraged recently. I performed in some skits at church and afterwards many people encouraged me by telling me that I did a great job. It's a small thing to me tell me that, but to me it meant so much! And you know that perfect timing of the encouraging vision I had? Well, that definitely encouraged me to know that God's totally working. It also reinforced that God has chosen us to do his work. He could have encouraged my friend himself, but instead he chose to work through me. Often God's method of choice is to work through us instead of doing everything himself. In fact, I think because he worked through me, the encouragement my friend received was greater because God was glorified even more and we were both encouraged by it.
As you can see from these different examples encouragement can be many different things, big or small, but they all bless people and give them strength. It is so important that we encourage one another. You see God's people encouraging each other throughout the Bible. Hebrews 3:13 "But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness." It is important that we encourage because the world is hard and the devil is always on the attack. Add into that the fact that God usually choses us as his method to spread the good news of salvation and you really find need for encouragement. I often either feel inadequate/unworthy to spread the gospel or I'll be selfish and forget (yikes!) about others. Either way, I would benefit from someone practicing 2 Timothy 4:2 on me, "Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction."
So let us encourage one another with the same purpose as Paul, "My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ" (Colossians 2:2). Finally, let us not forget that we already have eternal encouragement from the promise that we will one day be reunited with God where love reigns and there is no more evil or pain. "May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word." 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 (emphasis added).