Greetings from Tanzania. It’s funny how much life can change in the blink of an eye. Looking back since our last prayer letter just two months ago, the world has changed so much. I guess the obvious change would be the impact of the Coronavirus. We have been diligently praying for the world, but especially for you all, our friends and family in the States. We have been praying that your churches can remain strong and that you all will continue to be the light that this world desperately needs despite the obstacles.
Here in Tanzania as of the end of April, we have had 284 cases with 10 casualties. The government has closed down all schooling until further notice; however, businesses and churches can remain open as long as they have proper handwashing stations. They do suggest social distancing, however, so no soul winning as a group, no parties, etc. It’s not enforced, but it seems that people are heeding that wisdom. Just a few days ago, it was still being discussed about getting rid of Sunday school and shortening the church service until this virus can be contained to reduce folks being together for a long period of time. We are grateful for the impact that we can still have here.
We actually started a married couples’ Sunday school class back at the beginning of March. We currently have 20 couples in the class. I feel that Sunday school in small groups is important. There is a different kind of interaction that you can have that’s different than just one big class. I am teaching the couples’ class, and my assistant is teaching the others. With the help of more teachers in the future, I would like to branch out again into even smaller groups.
Prayer is powerful. Getting a hold of God for yourself and others—that’s what I have been preaching on as of late. I’ve been preaching on the different areas of prayer and why we pray. We ended the series with an all-night prayer meeting. We split up into groups and had different topics every hour; we also had breaks in between, with some short preaching as well. We had people show up to pray from the hours of 9 p.m. until 6 a.m.
Divine appointments still happen. It was Sunday night. I was at home, and a lady named Mama Jackie was walking by and needed some help. She didn’t know us but felt like she could stop and knock at our door. She was in need of $1 to get back home. She told me that her husband had mental issues, and she had used all her money to help him. Now she just needed fare to get home. I was able to help her with that physical need, but I said, “Let me help you with a much greater need—your eternal need.” She trusted Christ that evening.
Another situation came up on a different Sunday night. Our neighbor, who lived up the mountain a way, was bitten by a rabid dog and passed away. Well, the entire neighborhood went to her house to show support to the husband and family. That evening they were bringing the body back to the house for the funeral. Later I received a call that her pastor was not coming to do the funeral, and they asked if I could do it. The family was in a bind; and, of course, I was willing to help. Even though it was a very last-minute thing, I was able to do the funeral and give the Gospel, and 30 people trusted in Christ.
We are always encouraged that, in spite of the situation, God can always receive our praise and get the glory. Don’t lose heart. God is doing something behind the scenes that is special; I’m very sure. Thank you all who encourage us with cards, emails, etc. We are so grateful and pleased to call you all our friends. If we can be a help to you, please feel free to email us. Please be safe. We love you guys.
Your missionary friends,
Mshama, Martha, Esther, & Benjamin Kinyonga