Down South

Mid November our team took a trip south to meet once again with the pastors that we have been working with down there. First of all, i want to thank you for ALL of your prayers. They were much needed as you will soon see. πŸ™‚ Me, Charlie and Sharon, were very excited to have this opportunity to meet again with our pastor friends. We were especially excited because my cousin, Rodney, was able to fly in and be apart of it.

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Rodney, as he came out from the baggage claim. I think he is happy to be here. πŸ™‚

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Peter blessed us so much by taking us to pick up Rodney, then taking us to the airport for our trip, picking us up when we returned, and then taking Rodney back to the airport. Here he is taking a nap while we waited for Rodney’s plane to arrive… he needed it. πŸ™‚ We love you, Peter!

We arrived safely at our destination and were met at the airport by our good friend, Pastor Joseph. Then next day Charlie was supposed to speak at another pastor friend of ours’ church. Charlie, however, had gotten malaria earlier that week and wasn’t feeling well enough to go. Me, Sharon and Rodney got to church and had the very new experiancing the announcement of an engagement. I have never seen anything like this before. I will give you the condensed version. A man stood up and had this young man come forward with his older brother. He said some things about the young man, his position in the church and such and that there was a special lady in his life… and then almost as if he was raffling off something… he said something to the effect of “and the lucky girl iiissss… CHRISTINA!” The entire church went wild. A whole bunch of women jumped up and started shouting and clapping. So the young man and his older brother and the young woman and some female relative are standing in front of the church. The brother and the female relative take a nice cloth and begin to dabb the faces of their young man and woman. Almost like they were supposed to be really nervous and they were wiping the sweat off. The one man is still saying things into the microphone and people from the congregation come up and begin to wrap large peices of brightly colored fabrics around them. They would put on on the girl and then take it off. Another one would show it to everyone, place it around the boy and take it back. Some would put it around both of them. We figured that they were showing them the gifts that they were getting. Randomly throughout this someone would be shouting or making loud noises out of joy. πŸ˜€ The olding family members would be wiping the happy couples foreheads and the happy couple did their best not to show that they were happy about this. πŸ™‚ πŸ˜€ The announcer asks for them to then take out the rings and proceeds to remind them which finger it goes on for the engagement as opposed to the one that they will put it on when they get married. πŸ˜€ Here they put it on the finger next to your index finger for engagement. Interesting for sure. After the rings were exchanged people got pictures with them. The family members, friends, the pastor and his wife, members of the worship team, us the guests… and then it was a ll up for grabbs. Everyone was up in the front celebrating with the happy couple who still have not shown any expression of happiness. πŸ˜€ At one point the older brother picks up the young man and proceeds to jump and twirl around with him. The young man did not move at all… his arms were firmly planted at his sides. πŸ˜€ I think it must not be looked highly on to look to happy to be leaving your parents homes to be joined with your soon to be spouse. It was a very fun experiance. Below is the happy couple, trying not to smile, with Pastor Ben and his wife. πŸ™‚ The older brother is the one smiling freely in the background. πŸ™‚
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Sharon gave the word that sunday for Charlie, since he wasn’t able to come. It was a good time. πŸ™‚

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Sharon and translator

We really had a great time meeting with a lot of the pastors that we had met in August. We spent time with each of the partnerships that had been previously formed. We had a good time of teaching regarding what God is doing in the world with Church Planting Movements, as well as encouraging and praying for these men. They have been ministering for many years in a place that is very hard. Many of them are tired and discouraged. We were able to pray with them regarding this and really had the opportunity to encourage them. We also had a ton of new pastors. Many of which joined up with other partnerships to reach out to specific tribes in their areas. God really answered our prayers in this area. Especially for one of our pastors. He had been the only one to choose a particular tribe that is known to be very hard to reach out to and that can even be dangerous. During this time God brought another man alongside of him to help him in this work. Praise God for His faithfulness! There was also one tribe that had not yet been adopted by anyone. At one of the places where we were meeting three different men came up and said that they wanted to begin working together to see this particular people groups reached with the gospel of Jesus Christ. This was another thing we had been praying for.

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Me and one of our pastors. I was speaking on the parable of the sower and the seed and the importance of having the message that is preached to be understood by those hearing.

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Charlie teaching on the importance of training trainers.

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Rodney, teaching on seven things that can hinder the move of God among a people group.

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This is a random shot of the bed i slept in at our $3 a night hostel in one of the cities we ministered in. I found the neon green, bright blue, and hot pink sheet combos very enjoyable. πŸ˜€

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Here is Sharon, sharing a word from the Lord for the pastors in another city.

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Here i am teaching again. Each time we taught the group got bigger. πŸ™‚

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Here is Rodney teaching again too. He actually did his part and Charlies that day. Charlie still wasn’t feeling better and found out that his malaria had actually gotten worse and deciede it would be better for him to rest. We had no idea what was in store for us that day. This was our last city that we were going to be ministering in. We had 20 pastors there learning, all of which have a desire to see people groups reached with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Rodney was bringing the meeting to a close, we had all stood up and were about to pray when i heard a creaking noise. It had been raining on and off all morning. I looked up and saw the edges of the roof flexing. It was like everything was in slow motion. In my mind i thought “Oh my God…” I thought about running but didn’t because i didn’t know where the roof would land. I dropped to my knees and immediately covered my head and neck.. just like we learned in school if there was a tornado. πŸ™‚ It was only a matter of seconds and the roof was on us. The middle of the roof landed sqaurely on the tables we were sitting at. Not a thing touched me. From the time that i heard the creak to the time it landed on the table it was like all was silent. I don’t remember yelling or anything. As soon as the roof hit and i hadn’t gotten hit, it was like the world exploded in sound again. I looked around quickly trying to assess the damage, to see where everyone else was. I saw Rodney helping Sharon out from near the table. I looked and saw everyone else against the side wall. I began to shout, “is anyone hurt? Is everyone here?” I heard Rodney call and say he needed help. He had found a girl in the corner who was bleeding from the head. We grabbed her and began to push through the people, telling everyone to get out from that inside wall and to get out into the courtyard.

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This is a shot of where we were meeting right after the roof fell in. We went to see if anyone was hurt. Sharon had been hit in the back with a beam. She was in a lot of pain so piled her, the girl, and 5 other people who had been injured into our car that we had rented. We had to get them to the hospital. It was craziness. In the end of it all. There were no serios injuries. We had x-rays done and no one had any abnormalities, broken bones or anything. PRAISE GOD!!! The most amazing thing about this whole situation was the testimony that went all over the city we were in of God saving His people. One of the workers from the place we were staying said that many people used that same area for many different things. She said that if it had been anyone else people would have died, but because iwe were children of God that HE saved us! AMEN! A group of government officials had been meeting that day as well somewhere else in the city and heard what had happened. They decided that they needed to come and see what happened. So about 8-10 men – district officials, secretaries of agriculture, finance, heads of the militia, police and some others – came and saw the damage. One of our pastors overheard what they were saying and translated it for us. He told us that these men were praising God that no one was killed and were testifying that it was because we were God’s people that we had been saved. The name of our Lord was lifted high that day. Looking back on it, God’s hand was protecting us the whole time. If we hadn’t put the tables where they were the roof would have come completely to the floor, and there wouldn’t have been anyplaces that would have been safe. Many people would have died. So we give praise to God, who holds us in the palm of His hand and keeps us from harm.

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This was the main table that our team had been sitting at. The purple chair on the right was the chair that sharon was in when the bean hit her back. This table and one more is what was keeping the rest of the roof from coming the rest of the way down.

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The truss of the roof landed squarely on Sharon’s Bible.

Like i said in the beginning… THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, for ALL of your prayers. Your prayers saved lives and saw pastors come together for the purpose of seeing the gospel go forth in a greater way in the southern region of Tanzania. May the name of our Lord Jesus be praised!!!

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3 thoughts on “Down South

  1. I love the picture of the stoic, newly engaged couple…but especially the huge smile on the face of the brother! What a great experience!

    God is so good to take care of you all! Prayer really matters, doesn’t it?

    Love, Mom

  2. Wow it’s all so amazing! I’ve been sharing the roof story with people at work and I love that God gives us experiences like that that we can share with others and draw them to His heart! It’s also so inspiring to see you teaching! I’m so excited for all God is doing in Tanzania and in/through you! Yay!

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