Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas in Kitongo

Christmas 2011 found our family in the village of Kitongo. The Independent Baptist Church of Kitongo was started in October 2010. This church has had its struggles, but has continued to move forward. It was decided that they would host this year's combined Christmas service. They were thrilled to have this privilege and they worked hard over the past few months preparing for this big day. They also decided to have two days of special meetings leading up to the Sunday service. Since this village is over an hour away from our home we were invited by the Helsby Family to stay with them. (They minister in a family-style orphanage there in Kitongo and attend our church.) What a blessing that was!

Friday and Saturday people visited in the village announcing we would be showing the Jesus Film as well as some other Christian cinemas.  It was exciting to see the people as they clapped when Jesus performed miracles, and with rapt attention watched as Jesus was horrifically crucified and then gloriously rose again! We praise the Lord for the six people who professed Christ through these special meetings.

Christmas Day - Sunday, we had a big combined service with churches coming from Fumagira, Igekemaja, and Mayoka. We had been praying for no rain during these meetings because the roads are pretty beat up with one bridge caved in and repaired. Rain could have prevented these other churches from making it out to Kitongo. The Lord answered prayer with three days of dry weather - something we've not seen much of recently. With joy the churches began arriving. They came prepared with special choir music and memory work from the children. It was neat listening to the children quote the books of the Bible and long passages of Scripture by memory. It was truly a service to look back on with much rejoicing!

On a more personal note...we spent Sunday afternoon with our friends, Dave & Becky Helsby and their six children, Lisa Newland, Alicia Hazlett, and Larry and Bev. We opened gifts and ate a big meal, although not really a typical Christmas dinner - enchiladas, salsa, guacamole, broccoli salad, green beans, corn on the cob, and salad. No matter what it was it was, we thoroughly enjoyed it as we celebrated our Savior's birth together as believers!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Teaching Pastor's Wives

This week I had the privilege of teaching at Lake Victoria Baptist College for the first time. I felt my Swahili had progressed enough to attempt teaching a class. I decided to teach about being a godly woman, with the emphasis on the role of a pastor's wife. I spent months reading over my material, studying, praying, etc. However, when the day finally arrived I felt a wave of panic. I did NOT feel ready to get up there and teach for hours and hours in Swahili! I don't know how many of you reading this have ever learned a foreign language, but let me tell you - IT'S HARD! I could feel my mind going completely blank and a dread fell on my heart. "What if I get up there and can't remember anything? What if all I can do is read what I've written down? What if those ladies walk away having not learned a thing because of my inability to communicate effectively?" All these questions and "Why in the world did I agree to teach this class?!" came to my mind. So the entire drive to the college I BEGGED God to help me. "Dear Lord, I KNOW I can't do this on my own. If  you enable me to convey truth to these ladies through Swahili then I will give you all the glory."

When I arrived the ladies were excited to learn about being a pastor's wife. I started the class by telling them about myself. How old I was (important in African culture), how long I've been married, about my children, when we got into full-time ministry, etc. I went around the room and asked how long they had been pastor's wives. Several of the ladies have been in ministry for about 5+ years with two only about a year. This helped to calm my nerves as we conversed informally back and forth. Then I began teaching and the Lord helped me each step of the way. He allowed me to remember what I had studied and enabled me to teach His truths. PRAISE HIM!

Through this class the ladies are desiring a monthly Pastor's Wife meeting. They asked me to cover the same material over again, but at a slower pace that will allow more discussion and application. I'm looking forward to having more of an impact on the lives of these women as they serve the Lord in their various churches. Please pray for our first meeting which is scheduled for February 9th.