Dear Family and Friends,
“Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Psalm 119:105
Thank you so much for praying for my trip to Usandawe last week to do a Swahili Bible distribution. While Melissa was in Nairobi for meetings, I went to our old stomping grounds in the bush.
Using project funds from our ‘Outreach and Training Project for UPG’s’ (Outreach/Training Project for UPG’s – The Eagers in Tanzania (jmeager.com)) , I was able to purchase Bibles from Soma Biblia. I asked Pastor Mahalu from AICT Njiro, here in Arusha, if he had some people who could come along with me to help. Well, he himself came, along with two young ladies who are very keen on missions, one of whom is his daughter Witness. The other was Lucy, also from AICT Njiro church. We traveled from Arusha down to Usandawe on Monday, then joined up with Odilo (who hosted us) and visited many villages from Tuesday to Thursday, and left on Friday. All and all it was a very successful trip. The Lord put together a great team! With Odilo’s connections, we were able to visit 15 different villages, and distribute 305 Bibles across 43 different local churches among eight different denominations! We subsidized the price, dropping the cost of the Bibles by about 50%. There was a real hunger among many churches for Bibles. Our goal was to see families who didn’t own a Bible, to at least be able to have one in the home for them to use. We also sold 144 Tenzi za Rohoni, a popular Swahili hymnbook used across Tanzania. Besides Odilo’s family, I was able to see a lot of friends in Magambua who I used to work with, so that was real treat as well.
A neat story from the trip: The first evening in Manatu at Odilo’s home, a young Barabaig believer came to the house. I recognized him but couldn’t remember his name. I greeted him “Bwana asifiwe!” (Praise the Lord), and he gave me a big smile, greeted me back, and asked if I remembered him. He went on to explain that his name was Petro, and that his mother had given birth to twins about 14 years ago, and I was the doctor that helped deliver them at the Magambua clinic! He said the twins are both doing great and are in 7th grade right now. He went on to explain how his mother only just in the last couple years has come to faith in Christ and now attends an FPCT church with him and with the twins, one of whom is named Daktari (doctor). I rejoiced with Petro and his pastor over Mama Petro coming to faith and God’s wonderful grace in their lives!
Our team had a real joy in being able to bring God’s Word to so many across Usandawe, but a number of other great things happened on the trip. We had a real unity on the team, Pastor Mahalu and Odilo hit it off right away, and we had many nights singing together, sharing testimonies and encouraging one another. Each night we had family devotions at Odilo’s house, and he asked different people to share something from the Bible. Witness and Lucy jumped right in, and were really great with recording names and keeping track of the funds. We spent a lot of time just getting to know each other better as we bounced across the many bumpy kilometers in Usandawe, talking about faith, culture, missions, joys, challenges. As we say in Africa “It’s all about relationships!” And this trip was no exception. I believe the Lord will use this trip to speak to a city church about the needs in a far away place among a less reached people group. Because of how Pastor Mahalu and Odilo connected, I wouldn’t be surprised if other kinds of trips happen between AICT Njiro and churches in Usandawe. With the funds collected from the Bible sales, I was able to buy another 220 Bibles, and will leave those at Odilo’s place so that more people will have access to purchase them at a reduced price again.
May the Lord build His church in Usandawe through the study of His Word!
Blessings in Christ,