In the span of 3 1/2 days God answered prayers that our team here in Tanzania have been praying for over a year now. In preparation for our first conference here, we prayed that God would send us the men and women that HE had called to reach out to the unreached/priority people groups in their area. We prayed for men and women that were teachable and open to God in regards to seeing the gospel go to these specific people groups that have not yet known of what Jesus Christ did for them, the salvation and relationship that has been made avaliable by His death and resurrection. We prayed that by the end of our time with these pastors that the people groups in their area would be adopted. We prayed for God to have His way in the conference, that He would move through each of us, through each of the teachings as He saw fit. We prayed that we would be a blessing to each of the pastors and that we would be able to impart Gods heart for people into them. We prayed specifically for open doors into each of the people groups specified. Each of these prayers were answered as God brought 26, humble men of God, from all over southern Tanzania. God had already prepared their hearts beforehand and within the first day of meetings each of the men were entering in with all of their hearts. They were passionate for the hearts of their neighbors who don’t know Christ. During a time of prayer for the priority people groups one of the pastors had a word regarding the need to offer themselves as living sacrifices before God for His work among the unreached/priority peoples of Tanzania. Each of these pastors went to their knees before the Lord and began weeping and crying out to God to use them, knowing that it could end up costing them their very lives, but longing to be used by God to be apart of seeing these groups come into relationship with Jesus Christ. There were puddles on the floor from their tears. The entire room was filled with the sound of their prayers and petitions before the Lord. It was beautiful.
We could see the hand of God moving everything. With the way these pastors entered in the first day, it really gave us an even greater expectation for each day. On that first day, i had the opportunity to talk about the biblical basis for missions. In the past, i have always been nervous about speaking in front of any group of people. It isn’t something that i feel that i do well and never really have a strong desire to do so. Regardless, each time i speak i have to do so in obedience to God. This time was amazing though. The schedule had been moving a little quicker than we had thought it would and my time to talk came a good 2 hours before it was scheduled to be.Charlie asked if i was ready and i said “yes” without even hesitating. I had prayed and told God i was His to use and i really believed that He would use me. As i stood before these 26 men of God, i had no fear. I was completely at ease and spoke comfortably and with confidence. It flowed. Any of you that know me very well know that it wasn’t me… it had to have been God. I can fake it really well and pretend i am not nervous, but inside i still am… this was completely different. It was really cool because part of what i was speaking on was the power in going. That as we go we go with the power of the Holy Spirit. The power is in the going, so as i was obedient, the Holy Spirit enabled me to do what i needed to do, with out any fear or anxiety… no butterflies in the stomach.
Charlie and Sharon did great too. As did Matt and Pastor Dick. It was such a blessing to have them with us. Here are some pictures of Charlie and Sharon ministering.
Not a bad first day of our very first conference. God is sooooo faithful.
More to come…