Archive for the ‘Missions’ Category

Almost twenty years ago, I began praying that God would allow our little country church to be more directly involved in Missions work somewhere in the world. On Wednesday 15 of us returned from two weeks of short-term Missions work in Tanzania. A team comprised of young and old, men and women, two pastors and thirteen laypeople, and members of three different churches. It marked the 8th time someone from our church went to Arusha, Tanzania, to serve with Tanzanian brothers and sisters to do kingdom work.

In the span of these almost twenty years God also raised up “Speedy” Payton Downing to be a missionary to Indonesia (a small team from our church went to see him, his wife Grace, and son Fin, two years ago), and God sent out Davidmark and Cindy Grabowski from our church to pastor at the First Baptist Church in Hughson, California. Davidmark and one of his deacons, John Porter, joined with our team on this recent trip. Also, Patti Littlefield, member of the Hickman Community Church and our former church secretary, whom God used, along with Blenda Highsmith, to direct us to Tanzania in the first place, was back with us.

The first week our team was spread out in six locations over 600 miles apart. Altogether we worked in 8 churches and their communities, trained over 100 pastors and pastor wives, engaged with hundreds of people, saw people coming to Christ, passed out almost 600 Bibles and trained people how to get started using them, trained leaders in each church in how to lead a basic discipleship course called Survival Kit for New Christians, expanded the Pastor Grant program (designed to help pastors generate income so they can stay in small churches), and left materials and equipment behind for Pastor Goodluck, whom we support as an indigenous missionary, to continue in starting, growing, and strengthening Tanzanian churches and pastors.

On our way home (a 10,000 miles, 30-hour journey), I thought about how many people it took to make these two weeks happen, to sent the 15 of us. Just on my part there are Susie who took on all the responsibilities at home, Jannette who took on being the music leader and being the church hub, Russ, Malcolm, and Russ who shouldered my small group assignments, Robert and Jim who preached in my absence, Richard Mayes who taught on Wednesday evening, Musicians doing double duty, and Chuck who drove me to the airport and back. For each one of our team members, there were multiple others who picked up the slack here at home to free us up for two weeks; that adds up to a lot of people. Then, you have to add all who contributed to cover the costs of materials and equipment, helped with travel expenses, and covered us with prayer. On top of that, you have to add Pastor Goodluck and his wife Glory, our translators and all the people who freed them up, and all the Tanzanian sisters and brothers who prepared and participated because they care about their churches, their communities, their nation, and above all the kingdom of God.

So, a big, huge THANK YOU! Is in order.

Above all, my heart is filled with praise to God, to Him be all glory.

Love you, Pastor Hans


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