It is hard to believe we have been living in Africa for almost six months. We have loved our time here, and we believe we have pretty well adjusted to the culture. Obviously, there have been some struggles, but now our entire family is quite comfortable. Thank you to everyone who helped us with our shipping container; it has finally arrived. This has been a big help to us in adjusting to having a home that is our own.
Over these last couple of months, our primary focus has been on language school, and, praise the Lord, last week, we completed school. We are not fluent in the language, but we can comprehend much of it. Generally, we can understand about half of a conversation, and if given the time, we can provide some kind of response. Now it will be mostly learning new vocabulary and committing it to memory. Even our kids have learned basic words and commands.
While going out, we attempt to have as many conversations as we can in Swahili. The people many times are surprised to hear us speak any of their language. Often, this leads to our giving the Gospel to the people and their receiving Christ. Earlier this month, I was able to have one of these conversations with the guard of our apartment complex. He was definitely surprised that I spoke to him at all (due to a massive class divide in the culture here), let alone did it in his language. His name is Jamin, and he is from a small village about ten hours away. Two years ago, he lost his job and had to leave his wife and children in their village to come to the city for work (this is surprisingly common). By the end of our conversation, he had received Christ. I watched that joy come and then go, as it set in his mind that his family does not know Christ. He started to cry, “I need to tell my family, but I only get to see them once a year. What can I do?” We have now planned a trip to his home village to bring the Gospel to his family and have an outreach program.
Now that we finished language school, we will focus our attention on ministry. Due to the uniqueness of our ministry, many times, I have to give other reasons to be in a particular area, such as humanitarian aid or business. This allows me to come and go freely and safely in these areas. One specific situation was for South Sudan. Recently, a rebel group attacked several villages, displacing 2,721 households. We currently do not have a number on how many were killed. Although I could not go personally, I was able to send one ton of food and a national pastor there to help them, resulting in 800 people receiving Christ. We will be making a trip there ourselves in the coming months.
As we have asked, one of the most significant prayer requests is for God to open doors. God has been answering this. We have made great connections and friendships with the people here that will help us further our ministry.
Next month, hopefully, I will have a meeting with the ambassador for one of our neighboring countries. We will be discussing him granting me access to his country as humanitarian aid through our NGO. Please pray this meeting goes well; if it does, I will have access to one of the most restricted countries on the continent.
Once again, thank you for your support and prayers for our ministry and family.
In His service,
The Newton Family