Tuesday, April 3, 2018

"I want a book."

While pet/house sitting in Dar es Salaam, I would walk the dogs twice each day on the same route.  Each time I was out, I tried to make special effort to greet people, be friendly, and pray as I walked.  Since I was there for more than three weeks, the regular people in the neighborhood soon recognized who I was.

Week three I felt it was time to hand out literature on my dog-walking route.  I cannot give out literature while walking the dogs as most people are afraid of them.  After walking the dogs, I loaded up my bags, and headed out.  I started my pet route, but decided to not only offer free books/tracts to the people on the street, but also to knock at each gate.  People were very curious about what I was doing, and I don't remember anyone refusing the literature.  Many people wanted more than one piece.

A few days later, I was in a different part of Dar es Salaam, about a 20 minute drive, at least, from the dog route.  As it was getting dark, a young man came up to me and told me that he recognized me from where I was walking the dogs and giving out literature.  He said that he hadn't gotten a book the day I was out there, but really wanted one.  I tried to understand where it was that he was seeing me each day.  It is difficult because many of the streets don't have names.  I thought I had a pretty good idea of where he was referring to (the walk is about a mile or more long.)  I told him I would carry his book with me each time I walked the dogs, and he was to stop me and remind me when he saw me.  He thought it was a good idea. 
The next day, I didn't see him on my morning walk with the dogs.  I decided I would go and give out more literature after my walk, and I did just that.  I walked by where I thought I would find him, but still I did not meet him.  I went down streets I felt God was leading me on.  I had a great time of giving out tracts.  After running out of literature, I returned back to the house. I was concerned, because I would be leaving Dar soon.  If we didn't find each other soon, he would not get his promised book. I continued to carry his book each time I walked the dogs.
One evening, I walked my route, and still no young man.  As I came to an intersection where I am supposed to walk straight, I felt I should go down the street to the right, so I did.  I was about a block down this street when the young man came up to me and reminded me who he was and asked if I had his book.  I started to explain to him that I had been looking for him each day, but had not seen him.  He was on this street just now going to work, I didn't quite catch the reason.  I told him that God had directed me down this street so I could give this book to him.  He was very excited and grateful.  I wonder if Satan was trying to keep this young man and I from meeting again, but God overruled the normal to make sure this young man got his book.
Eternity will tell.

Thank you to everyone that makes this work possible through your prayers, encouragement and support.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

mwangaza.online

We've been getting contacted by someone who is designing special studies for non-Christians (Mus1*ms).  While trying to help him with his request, somehow it also became evident that we needed a different website that didn't have the Swahili word for Bible in it so it would be more appealing to people of all faiths.  Thus, a new website was created.  God blessed, and we had the new website up in record time.  Now we can print this new website on all new publications, and we can stamp in on current books and tracts. 
mwangaza.online
The new website is www.mwangaza.online.

If you know anyone that reads Swahili, please feel free to share this great new resource.  It has short studies about health of body, health of mind, health of spirit, and also Bible studies.  We will soon have some bookmarks ready to give away.  We will have ones with the new website and ones with the Bible study website.  I tried to design them in a way that even if a person just saw them while in someone's hand or book, they could easily see the site name and remember it.


www.mwangaza.info
The new website's bookmark.

www.kujifunzabiblia.com
The Bible Study website bookmark.

 
Thank you for all the support and encouragement. 

Friday, December 29, 2017

Another set of studies online, books and tracts to many.

God is wonderful.  Now the website www.kujifunzabiblia.com has two full sets of Swahili Bible studies and the 27 translated tracts.

www.kujifunzabiblia.com
Daily there is traffic to the site.  I am praying that God will help many people to come to know Him better through these tools!
The next phase will probably be some tracts that were designed specifically for those who are in 1s1amic.  We want everyone to have the opportunity to know how much God loves them!

There are still some minor adjustments yet to be made to the site now that the platform and the theme updated, but it is functional! We also hope to start advertising the site in books, tracts and on bookmarks.

On another note, the latest book seems to be in high demand. 



Doug told me that book sales were up in the office.  He wasn't joking.  There were about 127 receipts for book sales turned in for November!  I have never seen that many in one month!
People are purchasing them for themselves, and also to share.  It is so exciting!
The literature evangelism program seems to like this one also.  They bought almost 3,000 just a couple of weeks ago, and they requested 10,000 more today.  (I started this blog several weeks ago and somehow didn't publish it!)
I have purchased many and given them out and will do the same for my upcoming trip to Dar es Salaam.  I really enjoy giving out books to people.  I think I want to take more than I can carry this trip, so we will be looking into the option of shipping literature by bus after I arrive there.

I'm not looking forward to being apart from my guys, but I am looking forward to some quite time to get some concentrated computer work done (websites, book layout, and much more!)

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So I started this post a while back.  I am in Dar es Salaam and have been since the 13th.  I was only able to bring some tracts, so Doug shipped me a full case of tracts and book.  Then he and Joshua came to Dar for a few days to visit over the holiday and he brought me more! 

I had a self-inking stamp made with the website address.  I have been stamping every book and tract (that is a lot!)  I finished giving out the last of the tracts today.  It was probably just a little over 1,000 tracts and 15 books so far today.  Some people get very excited about the tracts.  That is always encouraging.
I never know what I will learn on such trips.  Today, after giving some out to a group of men the one guy said something to the effect, "This foreigner is giving out something to help us, not like a lot of our own people who are giving out flyers about witch doctors."
I hadn't thought about that, but I have seen those flyers also. 
Several days ago, a couple of young men were walking by.  I was almost to my gate, so I had put the tracts away.  The one man recognized me, and said something to the effect, "You have been giving out literature.  Are you Jehov. Witness?"
I told him I was not.  He then asked if he could have some of my literature.  He was happy to see what I was giving out.
As I was giving out tracts, people would see the books in my bag.  Several of them would ask about those also.  
Something I noticed today is that some of the Mus1im ladies when they are walking alone, are often very interested in taking a tract.  They take it discretely.  If they are in a group or with a man, not so much, but when they are alone, they seem "hungry" for something better.
I'm not pushing anything on anyone, but I am offering hope to everyone.  Please continue to pray for people.  Please pray that we get literature into the hands of all those whom God wants to receive the literature.  Please pray that those who should will visit the website.  Please pray for the Holy Spirit to work on hearts that they may know the Truth in Jesus.  People need Hope.  They need to know God - Who He really is!  He is wonderful and loves each one of them.  I hope they will get to know Him, and love Him back.

Thank you to everyone of you who pray for us and this work.  Thank you to each and every mission partner that make it possible for us to be a tool in God's hands to help people.  Through your prayers, support, and encouragement, this work continues!  THANK YOU.  Please keep praying for this literature/website work.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Swahli Glow Tracts are ONLINE! Mwangaza

I am very excited how God is helping to get the website up and functional!  Not only do we have the first set of Bible studies online, but now we have 27 of the translated-into-Swahili GLOW tracts (Mwangaza) online! 


www.kujifunzabiblia.com/mwanzo/kozi-zinazopatikana/mwangaza/
As soon as I shared this with team members and on Facebook , the number of people visiting the sight went WAY UP!  I started tracking traffic to the website on the 27th of October.  The tracker I am using shows 491 visitors since then, and 397 have been just this week.  One of the teachers here at Kibidula shared the site with 30 WhatsApp groups.  It is very exciting that people can get answers to their questions on a variety of topics, including health of body, mind and spirit!

I am now working on getting the Discover Bible Studies in Swahili on the website.  
Thank you to all our faithful mission partners that make this possible.  Your prayers, support and encouragement make the difference!

Friday, November 3, 2017

Webiste! This gospel ... in all the world ... and then shall the end come.

During our mission presentations while we were on furlough early 2017, this was our key verse.  Matthew 24:14  And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.  I long for heaven, do you?  There are many things going on at Kibidula and other mission stations, seeking to share the love of Jesus with others and to share the truth about His wonderful character.

After helping to distribute over 1 million Swahili tracts in July and more afterwards, a rather steady stream of requests for more information, and especially ONLINE Swahili Bible studies, have been coming in.  If God brought us this far, He will surely take us all the way.

As to be expected, we've had several challenges along the way.  The phone which has the number which is on the tracts and books was stolen.  It was several weeks before we got the number up and working again.  After that, there was yet another challenge and again calls and messages were not getting answered.  We hope that we are very close to resolving this challenge.  The phone will be going to another staff member next week.  He is excited about the work.  Please pray for him to have the energy and wisdom to deal with all the calls, emails and messages.

God sent me the right help (thanks Alan and Craig) to help me get a Swahili Bible Study website up and running.  Just last weekend I did the finishing touches to this first phase of the website. The first series of 15 studies is online and ready for people to read through including links to an online Bible for each scripture reference. 

In designing the website we started out with a rather fancy theme with a learning management system plugin for the lessons.  The challenge of getting everything translated to Swahili was a huge.  We made a lot of headway (days and days), but the more I worked on the site and tested it, the more I realized that it was going to be too complicated for many end users.
Some people will want to be able to read the studies, but not to be identified.  With the system that we had, they would have to give us an email address and sign in.  So we scrapped that system and started all over again with the goal of making it SUPER user friendly, and mobile-phone super friendly. (We expect that the majority of users will be looking at the studies on their mobile phones.  Smart phones and phones with internet access are becoming the common thing here in Tanzania.)
So the revised site is easy to use, but not fancy.  It is ALL in Swahili!  YEAH!  PRAISE TO BE GOD - we have a Swahili online Bible study website up and functional!  Some of the staff have already looked it over.  They are pleased, and they are sharing the site with others. 


There will be more courses added soon along with tracts.

Tuesday I sent the new website link to the people who have contacted us asking for more information.  We have received more than 30 emails on our new email address, and (since September 10th) 130 phone calls and text messages.  I still have about 240 more numbers to contact from calls and message prior to September 10th.

Immediately after sending out the website to those who had contacted us previously we started getting responses such as the following:

Ahsante nashukuru Mungu akubariki (Thank you, I appreciate you.  May God bless you!)

Kuna ujumbe mlinitumia ndipo nikajibu kwa kushukuru.  Bwana awabariki kwa kuanzisha tovuti ya kujifunza Biblia.  Nitawajulisha watu wengine wajifunze habari njema za Mbinguni. (There was a message that you sent to me.  Indeed I answer with gratitude.  May God bless you for starting a website for learning the Bible.  I will let others know so that they may learn the good news of Heaven.)

I'm excited and hope you are excited also!  People want to know the truth!

We are putting the website address on future books and tracts to make it easier for people to find it.If you would like to look at it (Yes it is in Swahili) it is at www.kujifunzabiblia.com.  Kujifunza means "to learn" and Biblia is "Bible".  So our site is called "To learn the Bible".  If you go to look at it, please don't just go to the first page, click and go inside a little ways.  Joshua said that helps with search engine results later.  I think you can figure out where to click.  (On the second page you should choose the top option as the two bottom ones are "course to come in the future".
We hope that many people will come to see the loveliness of Jesus through this new tool.  We hope that this website will help in spreading THIS GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM INTO ALL THE WORLD that Jesus may come!  Please pray that God will use it for His glory.  Thank  you to all of our mission partners.  Your love, prayers, encouragement and support make this and many other things possible! 

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Unquenchable Fire

(Last year's fire season I started this post.  I had better finish it and get it posted!) It has only been five days since we fought the biggest fire I have had to fight so far.  More than 100 acres were burned and more than 1,000 planted trees burned.  One person sprained both of his wrists when he landed very badly while trying to jump down from the water truck.
Sabbath morning I was to give the main message at church.  This fire that had just finally burned out the evening before was very, very fresh in each person's mind.  This fire reminds me of many examples that we can learn from.





Saturday morning as we sat around the kitchen table eating breakfast, we discussed what we could have done better.  My family has backpack sprayers that we keep full of water to help cool down the fire line so people can beat out the fire better.  The fire was SO HOT that it was keeping us too far away to be very effective for very long.  We could spray for only moments before we would have to retreat ourselves.  Our hands and bodies were catching way to much heat.  I decided to add another shirt to my "fire clothes", gloves to protect my hands from the heat, and we rounded up some fire helmets which would keep the heat off our faces and heads (or at least greatly reduce it).
Lesson 1: BE READY!  We got all of our supplies together and put them in the truck.  The wind was just too strong to ignore the fact that there were still some smoldering embers still out there.  It wouldn't take much for another fire to spring up.  Even though we were dressed for church, we took our boots, our clothes, our full water packs, and helmets.
Be ye also ready.   How do we be ready everything in spiritual matters?  Have we taken the time to store up and place the necessary supplies for the day's emergencies?  Have we spent time with the Master, taking in His character, love, and assurance?  We certainly will face emergencies throughout the day and need to draw from His sources.  If we don't have them stored up and ready, how can we use them?  We need to "be ye also ready" at all times.

Unquenchable Fire - That term has confused many people for many years.  Many people understand the term to me that it WON'T go out.  Some other people understand the term meaning you CAN'T put it out until it burns itself out.  We had a great example of that with this fire.  With the high winds, difficult terrain, and the extremely dry conditions, we could only fight the fire somewhat, but it was making gains faster than we were able control it.  It was unquenchable.  We could not quench this fire.  It has to burn itself out.  Our only option was to start back burns and allow it to finish itself out with all the fuel in its path, but in a more controlled manner.  That controlled manner was that we started small fires along another fire break where it was headed towards.  The fire was small as we lit it.  As it started to burn away from the break and towards the coming fire it grew larger and larger.  It was burning away from us, not towards the break, where it could have jumped (as it had already jumped three or four roads already.  The fire finally burned itself out, as we could not put it out.  It was a great example of UNQUENCHABLE FIRE.

Which version does the Bible support regarding "unquenchable fire"?  Sodom and Gomorrah were  burned with "unquenchable fire".  Are they still burning?  No.  They burned in a manner that could not be put out until the fire had finished its job of burning everything up.  In the book Malachi, instead of burning for ceaseless ages, the text indicates that those who refuse to accept Jesus will become ashes.  (Mal 4:3)  And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the LORD of hosts.  There are MANY, many scriptures that point to "hell fire" being a solitary even that burns up and burns out.  Nobody in their right mind likes to see anything suffer and burn.  Why would we believe satan's lie about God burning people for endless ages?  No wonder so many people have turned away from a God like that.  My God, the real God, is the God of love.  Fire is very cleansing.  Sin will be burned up and away.  We could never enjoy ceaseless ages of "heaven" if we knew anybody was burning on and on and on.  Anyhow.  Don't take my word for it.  Check out ALL the Bible verses regarding Hell Fire, and pray.  God will lead you into all truth if you ask Him to, and are willing to accept it.  I can't say it better than many others who have put the verses together already.  Check out https://www.helltruth.com/ to get video, audio and reading material based on THE BIBLE, (not tradition, not theory).  (Beware of TRADITIONS.  The Bible gives MANY warnings about those, just one is here: (Mar 7:13)  Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.)

Thanks for all the prayers.  This 2017 fire season has been better (we are more ready!)  We have more equipment this year, which had helped very, very much.  We have three backpack blowers, we have changed up the water truck to be more effective, and we have even pulled in the bulldozer on two fires.  We did still have to light another big back-burn though, and that fire still jumped.  That one was unquenchable also!  God gives us so many lessons each day.  I hope I am learning what He is teaching, and I hope that I can share some of the blessings He gives us. 


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Be ye also ready and don't be deceived by tradition.  Almost then ENTIRE world (especially the religious leaders of the day) were not ready when Jesus came the first time.  Do we really think we are smarter today?  Do we think Satan has gotten any less effective at deceiving people?  Could it be that the majority will believe a lie at the end of time just before Jesus comes again?  (Rev 12:9)  "And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him." (Luk 18:8)  "I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?"


I'm so thankful that we can always trust the Bible - the whole Bible.  He is the Word, the Word made flesh.  I hope you know Jesus (the REAL Jesus as found throughout the WHOLE Bible.)  His is LOVE!  He is wonderful, and He loves you!  I hope you will get to know Him more and more each day, so you are ready to spend eternity with Him starting now!

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Let's give the devil a black-eye

This guy was huge.  He must have been well over 6 foot tall and built like an American-football defense player.  HUGE.  He was dressed in the long IsIamic tunic (sorry I don't know the right name for that item).  
had been giving out the Swahili version of the GLOW tracts.  Before leaving the house, I prayed and asked the Lord to help me know which ones to take out and how many.  I loaded up 10 packets plus a few extra.  That would give me more than 1,000 tracts to give out.   In addition to this, I loaded up probably 20 health books into my backpack. (That will be another post!)
I had to go into the main part of town to the National Library to deliver the new books for the ISBN office.  The sidewalk was teeming with people.  I offered tracts out as I walked, and often I would have to stop and stand in one place just to hand them out quickly enough as hands would reach over to get one.
I had finished at the National Library.  I prayed about where to go, and headed off in the direction I felt lead to.   I had been praying a lot.  I was asking God to help me get the right tracts into the hands of the people that I met this day.  I was headed down towards City Center.  I was offering tracts to anyone that might want one, but not pushing them on anyone. 
As I mentioned before, at times they would be going as fast as I could separate them.  Often I didn't even see the faces of the takers.  Then it happened.  
"Excuse me!  Excuse me!", I heard from behind me, as this huge representative of the human race loomed over me.
He came around me from behind as I realized he was trying to get my attention.  I turned to meet him, and he started asking me question (I think in English).  
"This thing you are handing out." He showed me a GLOW tract.  "Is it about religion?", he asked.
Not knowing which one he had received, as he was showing me the back, I replied, "A little bit."  I was wondering if he was mad or what.  Was I finally in trouble this time?  This conversation took place several hours ago.  I wish I remember it more clearly now.
He showed me on the back where it says (in Swahili) "Do you want to learn more about the Bible? Contact us by phone or email."  
"This is about religion!" He said, still booming a bit.
I just kept silent and looked at him.  I didn't know what I should to say at this point.  
He continued, "I am IsIamic."  
I had sort of gather that already from his clothing.
He continued, "Is this for me?  Can ANYONE learn more about the Bible? Even me, an IsIamic?"
Now I had something to say! "Yes!  This is for anyone who would like to know more."
He looked confused and intrigued at the same time.  At this point, I handed him another tract which was a small Bible Study within itself.  He looked pleased.
He said, "Thank you!" and he headed the way I had come from, and I continued ahead, praising God.
The main reason I was on the street this day handing out tracts is because my hard drive on my laptop is down.  If things had been as I planned, I would have been staying at the house where I am house/pet sitting working on the new books and tracts that we are translating and having printed.  Well, Satan may have meant it for evil, but God allowed it for good.  Instead of working indoors, I was out on the street and met this beautiful (scary and big) human being that wants to learn more about God.  
*BLACK EYE TO SATAN TODAY!*
Please join with me in prayers that God will help us get these tracts into the hands of those that will accept them.  Please pray that people will be willing to take them, willing to read them, and that they will respond to God's Holy Spirit seeking to reveal Himself to each one of them.  We are in this battle together.  Your prayers and support are life to this work as we are tools in God's hands here.  PLEASE keep praying for the people of Dar es Salaam and all of Tanzania (and all the world!)  Let's see THIS GOSPEL of the Kingdom go into ALL THE WORLD!