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"Lord equip us to teach those in need, that which would be pleasing to You.  Restore dignity, sense of purpose, and hope, as they learn new skills and grow; so they too can become givers after recieving a hand-up, not a hand-out.  May they know that the motivation of our action is Your love for them and it is Your will that all men be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth. Amen."

Amidst Bombs, Broken Hearts, and Building Churches; The Lord Declares

"I AM WITH YOU"

 

Where are we to turn in these times of need?  And how can we know where to turn unless we learn?  How can we learn unless we are told?  And how can we be told unless someone is sent to teach us?

 

Senders like you and "go-ers" like us are obedient to the word of God.  Faith with deeds is enduring.  Thank you for being part of a mission that has touched and changed the lives of many.  Three distinct scriptures were given to Al in preparation for this trip: Haggai 1:13, Jeremiah 3:15-16, Colossians 2:2-3.  Indeed they were manifest by God's will and used to bring encouragement to others as time unfolded our days in Tanzania and Kenya.

The act of bringing medical care to many tribal people and bringing the Gospel in conjunction made it apparent that God was with us.  We saw several hundred come to Christ, eagerly asking us to pray for their salvation.  Because so many Maasai came to know the Lord, there is now talk of starting a Bible College in the Maa language to equip the Maasai to witness to the rest of their tribe, who are scattered throughout the 200 mile long prairie.  (The Maasai Steppe)  The Maasai on the prairie and the Chuga tribe on the mountain slopes of Mt. Kilimanjaro are so very grateful we were sent there.  Many were so joyful they were constantly dancing, singing and praising God for this opportunity to receive physical and spiritual healing.

 

Our leader, Dr. Tonya Hawthorne did a marvelous job.  She was untiring in her duties as both Doctor and Team Leader.  Every day we met to pray in the mornings and at night.  She made sure we all hugged one another and was always alert to each of our needs.  Each team member took turns sharing at our morning devotionals.  All having different individual skills, backgrounds etc.. but united in the Body of Christ, which caused us to function in one accord.  We had to be adaptable in our roles each day as the situations warranted.  Every day in both clinic locations, the crowds rapidly increased as word spread about our presence.

 

THE FIRST WEEK:  The Maasai met us singing after we drove one hour across the prairie to the clinic site (a one room Church building constructed with mud and cow dung, Maasai building materials.)  The women on our team were discussing the lack of man-made bathroom facilities and also the lack of God-made facilities (trees and bushes) and had decided to improvise with two people holding up a sheet. Imagine our surprise and delight when we were directed to a private, clean outhouse that the Maasai spent all day constructing for us!  God does supply all our needs!

 

THE SECOND WEEK:  Our team was greeted by the Chuga tribe's believers in the small village of Kilema on the foothills of Kilimanjaro.  They greeted us by singing and dancing us up the mountain to the Church, showering us with flower pedals and their contagious overflowing joy.  They were overwhelmed and grateful for the medications we brought.  They had been praying for aspirin and received from the Lord abundance beyond comprehension!

 

Not only were the people of Tanzania served medically, but also spiritually.  The Doctor saw 1,100 patients and over 500 new souls were added to His Kingdom.  Al was able to minister encouragement to 6 pastors, by sharing the scriptures God had shown him.

 

In addition, we were presented with the opportunity to bless the Church in Kelima with the purchase of a new sewing machine. (To replace the one which had been stolen) on the plane trip to Africa, Al sat next to an attorney (who "happened" to be a Jewish believer)  When he found out about our mission, he handed Al some $ to use for "something on your trip"  And now the women of Kilema can continue earning money through their sewing skills. Again God provided in an unexpected way!

 

THE THIRD WEEK:  On Friday, August 7th, the end of our second week, as the team departed for home, the two of us departed by bus for Nairobi, Kenya, where we planned a 5 day extension of our trip in order to minister at Nairobi Pentecostal Church and in Naikarra (Out in the bush with the Maasai).  Imagine our shock and horror, when we stopped at the Kenya border for a routine visa check and were informed of the bombs that went off that morning in both countries.  We proceeded as planned, knowing that we were called for such a time as this and that it was no accident that placed us in Nairobi the day of the tragedy.  The people of Kenya were in a panic and grief as they learned the scope of the fatalities and injuries.  (Over 5,000 injured and 253 lives lost, mostly Kenyan's)

 

Every where we went, people were affected by the bombing.  Some lives were spared, like Jeremiah’s, a young Maasai believer who was to attend Regent University in the United States this September.  He was traveling to the American Embassy with all the necessary documents in hand to obtain his American Visa, when the bomb went off.  Thankfully, his bus was en route and had not arrived yet. Some lives were not spared:  When we stopped in a shop to greet a Christian shop keeper we had met during our last trip to Kenya, we were told that she wasn't there...she was preparing a funeral for her cousin who had died in the bombing.  The Maasai doctor we visited in Naikarra, was scheduled for surgery at Nairobi Hospital (to have a tumor biopsied for suspected Cancer) He had to cancel his appointment indefinitely because the hospitals were overflowing with injured bomb victims and were severely understaffed.

 

The bombings had many people back home concerned for our welfare.  We are very grateful for your prayers as those evil acts reflect a spiritual battle.  As the president of Kenya stated, "Today Satan has visited us."  We were able to speak to hundreds of believers in the Nairobi church, bringing God's word of encouragement in their time of need.  We prayed with many whose family members and friends were affected by the bombing.

 

Our purpose for taking part in this trip is better expressed by scripture as it was revealed to us before we left home.  "My purpose in that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they might have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely Christ, in whom are hidden all treasures of wisdom and knowledge."  Colossians 2:33

 

May God bless you and keep you.

In His Service,

Al and Gail