PRAISE the LORD! The truck is in Tanzania in a bonded yard. We have been granted our VAT and duty exemptions but are waiting for them to be processed by the government. Thank you so much for your prayers. This whole endeavor has been miraculous. We are hoping and praying to be able to pick it up by the end of May. Please continue to pray with us about this. The truck will be an invaluable tool to help us reach so many places that we have not been able to reach with our current vehicle.
We are also hoping and praying to pick up Sarah at the same time we pick up the truck. She will have a month break between college and a camp in which she will be working for a month. We are looking forward to having her back in Tanzania, even if it is for just a short visit. She will be a tremendous blessing to the ministry. Please pray with us for safe and enjoyable flights for Sarah and for our safety, as we use a public bus to go to Dar es Salaam (at least 16 hours away).
There has been an explosion in the spirit and attendance of children and young people in both the city church and the village church. With the increase in young people coming to the church, we believe it may be the time to start a Youth Session. Young people have always had a significant role in the ministry here in Tanzania. The children are also ripe for the starting of a Bible Club, a ministry that was and continues to be used by God in a marvelous way in the city of Morogoro. Please pray with us about these two new opportunities.
The last day before Easter break, we stopped by a new elementary school in which we teach to make sure that there would be a class later that day. The secondary school, where we teach in the morning, had canceled their religion classes and was holding an all-school assembly. The assistant headmaster of the elementary school said that they would not have a class that afternoon at the regularly scheduled time, but that if we were prepared and would like to teach right then, he would round up all the children for us. The children were just playing outside. There were no regular classes that day, and instead of the regular 40-minute time period, we had complete freedom to go as long as we wanted. Normally, we must also leave right after class in order to go teach at the local teachers’ college. That day, we did not have to leave, and 30 children stayed after class, instead of going out to play, and put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ as their own personal Saviour. We had all the time we needed to be very careful and clear in our presentation of the Gospel. Thank you for praying with us for the school ministries as requested last month. Please pray for more Tanzanians to volunteer to be trained to teach in the many, many schools still without Bible teachers.
For Easter, we held combined services with the church out in the village, cramming into two large vans (with probably twice as many as the recommended number of passengers) and coming into the city church. In between the services, we ate beans, rice, kachumbali (a mixture of raw tomatoes, onions, carrots, green peppers, and lemon juice), and bananas. To cap off the day, we observed the Lord’s Supper with the members from both churches.
Tabora has a unique climate, at least to us. It rains for about half the year, and it doesn’t rain—at all (not a drop)—for the other half. We are nearing the end of our rainy season, and some were even saying the rains were over. Boy, were they wrong! It rained and rained the last Thursday night and the entire Friday of April! The rains left about 2 to 3 feet of water nearly surrounding the city church building. We decided to hold the Sunday services at our house. It was reminiscent of the beginnings of Faith Baptist Church in Morogoro. sWe held services at our house for almost six years before moving to the present location of the church. The spirit was wonderful, and it was such a blessing to have everyone at the house. The biggest blessing of the day, however, was to see Rachel leading a lady visitor to the Lord on our front porch.