Dear Friends and Family,
Isn’t it true that life is a mix of joy and sadness, of challenge and victory, of peace and turmoil……… sometimes even at the same time or in the same season. Jesus said to His disciples in John 16:33 “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” We have been sensing the reality of this recently, having peace in Christ, our bedrock, yet around us some rumblings and tribulations have been stirring.
This last month we as a family have had wonderful times together with the kids home on April break, as evidenced by some of the attached pictures. My parents (Jon’s) were out for a two week visit, and we made lots of great memories with them. Drew started on his 12 Tasks of Manhood, and began his reading list and also cooked a meal for seven people. We celebrated April birthdays for Margaret and myself. In the midst of joyful family times, and good fellowship with our missionary neighbors, we also feel the heartache that comes from seeing division and mistrust in the local church. Some of our Tanzanian brothers and sisters are at odds with the local pastor. Some of these divisions have affected the medical work as well. It reminds me of the ‘quarrels’ spoken of in the Corinthian church in 1 Corinthians 1:11-13. There are some in one camp, and others in another camp. Because of these problems, one of the church leaders preached a powerful sermon calling all of us to repentance. Please pray for conviction and reconciliation.
The health center in Magambua has been busy, and a lot of lives have been touched and blessed. By God’s grace, children have been brought back from the edge of death from malaria. We’ve seen a rash of rabid bites from dogs, a civet cat and an African wild cat. Nearly every week we’ve been starting someone on the anti-rabies shots. One of those was a grandmother from Manantu, the mother of Mathayo, one of our night guards. A rabid wild cat came out of the bush early one morning to their homestead, bit a chicken, then bit the family dog, and then started for the people. It got to the grandmother first, but instead of running, she said to herself “Better for it to bite me and we finish it, than to have it get all my grandkids.” And with that, she grabbed the cat by the throat while it bit her hand, and pinned it to the ground, then shouted for her son to come. Mathayo swiftly brought an axe and that was the end of the rabid wild cat. That same day we started the rabies shots on grandma while congratulating her for her bravery and self-less action.
Other exciting news at the health center is that Otto, our lab tech, has agreed to go back to school to become a Clinical Officer. Otto has proven himself over the last few years, and I’m hopeful he will grow in leadership and medical skills so that in three years time he can take charge of the medical team in Magambua. Pray for Otto as he prepares to start C.O. school in September. In the meantime, pray with us for a Tanzanian pharmacist, and Clinical Assistant to help fill some of the staffing needs at the dispensary. Margaret continues to train Asia in pre-natal care and we’re looking forward to one of the bi-annual eye surgery clinics coming up on May 23rd. Pray for the Mvumi team as they come again to ministry to eye patients that week.
Last week I finally had a chance to review the second distribution of Famine Relief which occurred at the end of January and through February. Thank you so much to all of you who donated so generously for the Famine Relief. For the second distribution, we bought most of the sacks of maize at the local market on January 20th and 21st, and by the end of January had 246 sacks of food for the second distribution. The local pastors and evangelists took charge of the distribution, and 12 villages were helped: Magambua, Manantu, Ilasee, Ovada, Wairo, Dinae, Kwa Mtoro, Gumbu, Motto, Ndoroboni, Tumbelo, and Kurio. Across all these villages 422 very poor families/individuals were helped with free food, and 935 families or individuals were able to buy food at the subsidized rate.
By March and April, people started harvesting their crops and we’re over the hump now in terms of danger of hunger in most of the villages. Pastor Seseja told me last week that the new believer from Motto, the one I wrote about in our January update, was really impacted by the Famine Relief, and that the Lord used the kindness shown through the food distribution to draw him to Christ. He’s continuing well in his new faith. So thank you for your part that you played in the spread of the gospel through the famine relief.
At this moment I’m currently writing from RVA, where Melissa and I have volunteered to act as substitute dorm parents for two weeks! We’re half way through the first week, and are covering Twiga Dorm, the dorm that Josh lives in with 17 other guys, while his regular dorm parents are in the States for one of their kid’s college graduation. It’s been great being near our kids, and also getting to know the 8th grade boys in the dorm. (We haven’t embarrassed Josh too much yet!) It’s giving us a wonderful appreciation for all that dorm parents do for boarding kids! Please pray for us as we strive to be godly role models for these young men, do dorm devotions and life in general with them!
Another thing we’ve been praying about is regarding Rachel’s arm. We noticed a lump on the top part of Rachel’s right arm over April vacation. (She says it’s been there for a long time! Which is probably true.) Thankfully, we were able to get her in to the ortho clinic here at Cure Hospital Kijabe, and xrays and consultation with an orthopedic surgeon showed an osteochondroma, which is benign. It doesn’t bother her, but we need to keep an eye on it over the next number of years as she continues to grow. Please pray with us.
When we get back to Magambua the week of May 8th, we’ll start getting ready for the next eye surgery clinic on May 23rd. Thanks for all your prayers, encouragement, and support for us!
Serving the Lord with you,
Jon for all of us
1) For Otto as he prepares to go to C.O. school in September 2) For reconciliation in the local Magambua church
3) Praise for how the Lord worked through the recent famine relief 4) Pray for us as we dorm parent 18 eighth graders for the next two weeks 5) Pray for the upcoming eye surgery clinic on May 23rd
6) Pray for Rachel’s osteochondroma to remain benign and not affect her