Thursday, November 14, 2013

Juma's Burden For His Village

In the picture above is Juma and his family. They are new members at our church in Mayoka. Since joining the Central Baptist Church of Mayoka, Juma has asked Pastor Pelegrino about the possibility of starting a church in his home village of Kimaga - a village with no church of ANY kind. 

When Pelegrino went to visit this village with the intention of surveying the area for a potential church plant, over 150 people gathered to listen to the Word of God. They had many, many questions about God, the Bible, and salvation. Pele also shared with them he and Juma's burden to start a church in their village. He asked them what they would normally do on a Sunday since there was no church in their village. They told him that some people just stay home while others follow traditional religion and go to the mountain to pray to their dead ancestors. Here is yet ANOTHER Tanzanian village in complete spiritual darkness! What a joy it is to bring the light of the glorious gospel of Christ to places like Kimaga! 

Since that time Pele has been able to return to this village again to preach the gospel to them and ask if there is interest in starting a church there. Pele received an overwhelmingly positive response. We are now in the process of buying some plastic tarps for them to meet under as we begin the initial stages of a new church plant.

Bill & Tammy Brouwer

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Sunday School Teachers Training Seminar

We are blessed to have Lisa Newland working with us in Tanzania. Earlier this month she held a Sunday School Teachers Seminar. We are greatly encouraged to hear of Mama Odetta's willingness to be used of the Lord in teaching children! Below is Lisa's blog post about the seminar:

Mama Gervas, Mama Odetta, and Lisa Newland

Mama Odetta

49 years old.  Widow.  Mother of 4.  Saved as a child, though didn’t grow much in the Lord till she joined our church over 10 years ago, and even then her attendance/ growth has been up and down.  Mama Odetta was one of our 11 seminar participants this year.

She shared a testimony at the end of the week:  When I found out that my daughter couldn’t go to the seminar, but that I was invited, I thought, “I don’t know how to teach kids.  I wouldn’t know what to do.”  When I asked my friends they all said, “You should go.  We’ll take care of things at home for you.  Go.”  I felt led to come, but still didn’t think I would be able to do much.  Then in our session on teamwork I learned that if I taught Sunday school, I wouldn’t be alone.  I would be joining a team of teachers, and we could help each other.  That’s when I thought, “Maybe I can do this.”  And now, if my fellow teachers will help me, I want to try to help out as a Sunday school teacher.

AMEN!  We all cheered.  Justa, the pastor’s wife at Mama Odetta’s church and the head Sunday school teacher, said,“We will help you for sure.  We are so happy to have you join us!”

Mama Odetta teaching about the rich man and Lazarus
Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons of the seminar, Justa and I taught a demo class.  We had 15-20 neighbor kids each day.  We sat them down in front of all the seminar attendees and taught an hour-long class (including songs, Bible lesson, review questions, and memory verse).  Then on Thursday we split the 11 seminar attendees into 4 groups, and gave them a Bible lesson and 1 ½ hours to prepare their own 1-hour long class.  I was so blessed to watch Mama Odetta teach those kids.  She got right down on their level and told Jesus’ parable of the rich man and Lazarus.   How that living the good life now isn’t that great.  Instead, God is looking for people who will walk by faith.   And this taught by a women who has suffered and struggled and kept her faith in God.  

His name be praised!!!!!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Kenya - Harambee!

It was Saturday morning, Eastern Standard Time, when I saw the first Facebook post concerning the terrorist attack at a mall in Nairobi, Kenya. Shortly thereafter my daughter called to ask me to pray for one of her schoolmates and his father. Both were trapped inside the Westgate Mall while terrorists killed those who could not prove they were Muslims. Then I read of another missionary mother and her children who were hiding in the mall. THANKFULLY both families made it out alive. However, that cannot be said for the 60+ people who died, and the hundreds that have been wounded. 

We were not in Africa when this took place, but this mall is a place we have shopped at during our trips to visit our daughter who attends school an hour outside of Nairobi. This is the mall we took our nephew Steve to last December. It is where we spent some time in July, just prior to our return to the States for our furlough ministry. We ate outside at the Art Cafe that was shown many times on the news. We shopped in the Nakumatt where many hid from the terrorists.  Therefore, it really hit home to watch this on TV and know that it could easily have been us at that mall. It could have easily been us being gunned down for our faith in Christ.

As we mourn for Kenya, we also rejoice to hear reports of Kenyans joining together to help and support one another.  Their response lives up to Kenya's national motto "Harambee!" - which means, "Let's pull together!"

Friday, September 13, 2013

God Cares For Individuals

Many times in church-planting we see the big picture. A village with no Gospel witness. Thousands of lost souls without an opportunity to hear the plan of salvation.
What we may lose sight of is the fact that these villages are made up of individuals who need Jesus Christ in their lives.
Pascali is one such individual who lives in the village of Kikano where we planted a church just last year. Previously, this village had no Gospel-preaching church. Through the witness of this new church Pascali received Jesus Christ as his personal Savior.
Recently Pascali testified that before the church was started in Kikano he was a hopeless drunk. He was unable to provide for the needs of his family. As a matter of fact, he was a heavy burden to his wife and children because of his sinful lifestyle.
However, Pascali gave glory to God by testifying that Jesus has dramatically changed his life! He has stopped drinking. He is faithfully attending church and is now meeting the needs of his family.
Because of a new church plant in a remote village, just think of how this entire family will be changed by the power of the Gospel!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Building Dedication

This past Sunday we had a celebratory service for the Charity Baptist Church in the village of Bundilya. It was their first time to meet in their new building. I'll let this short video give more details...

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Powerful Display of God's Word To Change a Life

We witnessed a powerful display of God’s Word to change a life during our week-long revival meeting at the church in Fumagira the week before Christmas. There were a total of 47 adult salvation decisions during the meeting, however, the salvation of one lady demonstrated the mighty power of the Word of God to convict and convert even one held in bondage by Satan.

As we have mentioned many times before, the villages where we are planting churches are steeped in witchcraft. Before hearing the truth of the Gospel, the people in these villages live in constant fear of curses and under the heavy influence of witchdoctors.  They believe the spirits of their deceased ancestors control every aspect of their lives.  They build little wooden huts for these ancestral spirits to live in.  They cook extra food to place in these huts in order to feed their dead ancestors.  The witchdoctors claim that they can communicate with these spirits.  When people experience trouble or what they consider bad luck, they visit the witchdoctor.  He claims that he can appease your dead ancestors in order to change your luck.  In reality, these people are opening up their souls to Satan and his demons.

This particular lady who was converted at our revival meeting was invited to this meeting by one of our church members at Fumagira.   We discovered later that this was the first time that this lady had ever attended a church in her entire life.  Kitabo, a preacher from a church in Bariadi, preached on the topic of witchcraft that evening. Kitabo knows all about witchcraft since he was a witchdoctor before becoming a Christian. As his message was coming to a close this lady fell to the ground and began yelling and screaming for almost ten minutes. Pastor Pelegrino and some other leaders in the church calmly took her aside and opened the Word of God. As they did so a guttural animalistic voice uttered unintelligible words from her mouth.  She was obviously being harassed by the forces of evil. At one point her eyes rolled to the back of her head and she went unconscious for a short time. When she came to she couldn’t remember anything that had just happened. They spent the next hour giving this lady the message of the Gospel. She desperately wanted deliverance and received Jesus Christ as her Savior.

She instantly became a new creature in Christ! She came every night of these meetings. She attended the Christmas service. She helped the ladies who cooked the meal for the Christmas service. Even her countenance was transformed! She looked like a different person. During our baptismal service on Christmas Day, she publicly declared her faith in Christ and submitted to believer’s baptism.  We are thrilled to report that she continues to faithfully attend our church at Fumagira, and she is growing in grace.  God’s Word has not lost its power. It is still “quick and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword” (Hebrews 4:12).

Friday, January 25, 2013

Revival in Fumagira!

It was a busy week for Fumagira. Pastor Pelegrino, Pastor Petro, Pastor Naftary, and Kitabo organized a week long evangelistic meeting that led into a special combined service on Christmas Day. I'm going to let the pictures do most of the talking...

Nightly Evangelistic Meetings

Each evening there was preaching. This is Kitabo preaching.

Of course there was singing. 

This lady in the middle got saved during these meetings. More on her story in another blog.

The Jesus Film or another Gospel film was shown to a large crowd each night.

Christmas Day Combined Service

Fumagira hosted this year's Christmas service. They started in February saving money to decorate. 
Sure looks festive!

Christmas morning people started arriving from each of the six churches. Boy can they pack a truck!

Each of the choirs from the six churches sang specials they have been working on for some months. Many even had matching outfits made!

The most important part of the day is the PREACHING. Here is a 20 second video clip of Pastor Naftary preaching in Kiswahili and then Kitabo translating it into the mother-tongue of most of the people, Kisukuma

This is one of the 57 who were baptized after the service. What a joy to see so many older people who have trusted Christ as their Savior and then followed in believer's baptism!

And of course we train them to be good Baptists by having a meal afterwards.