Monday, June 4, 2018

Come with me.

One morning after consulting my map to where I had been and where I had not been to offer literature, I set off with my backpack full of books and tracts.
Several blocks from the house I met several people eating breakfast just beside the street.  This is very common, as people set up “shop” at various locations if there is traffic there.  I offered them tracts.  After I finished, they told me to enter the gate just behind them, because there were many people inside that would want them.  One person showed me inside, and sure enough, there were a make-shift breakfast places here and there inside these walls and gate.  I gave my little speech about how these tracts were free, and they could choose which they wanted.  I like to carry a variety at times to allow people to choose.  It also helps them to see that other studies (tracts) are available, and if they want to learn more, they can.
Just as I was finishing up giving tracts to the last people inside these walls, and heading back out the gate, and the young man caught up to me and said he had some friends that I should give literature to.  "Come with me," and he started off.  We walked a ways, and he never looked back to see if I was following. I then asked in Swahili, “I’m to follow you, correct?”  He confirmed.  Ok.  Follow I did.  We walked up to a construction site and he called the guard to open up the gate to us.  We went in and there were many people there working, guarding, or just visiting.  He told me to give them literature also.  I did.  Then he led me into the multi-story building (under construction) and started calling out names of people to come get literature.  The various people had fun asking me all kinds of questions and getting literature.  Soon, I asked if I could go, and the young man said that I could.  I exited the construction site, happy that God had opened yet another door!
A few streets down, people were having their breakfast at more permanent food establishments.  I offered literature to the customers and workers.  As I left the first cafe, I saw that there was something similar across the street.  Upon entering, I realized it was more of a pub.  I offered literature and everyone took something.  Then one man who had obviously been drinking liquor (even though it was before 10 AM) started talking to me about someone (maybe his wife) that he wanted me to come and meet.    He said she was at home and I should come to her.  He even used some terminology that I would expect from a Seventh-day Adventist.  I was puzzled and trying to fully comprehend what he was trying to communicate.  Then suddenly from across the room, another man yelled at me, “NO!” He said it in English, even though all of us had only been speaking Swahili.  I looked at him and he repeated himself with just as much seriousness.  “NO!”
That was pretty clear.  I took a few tracts and stuffed them in the drunk man’s shirt pocket, and told him to give them to the lady for me.  The man across the room seemed content at this, and I made my way out and down the street.  
One "come with me" was safe and a good experience.  One "come with me" could have possibly ended my life or something else unpleasant.  God knows how to keep me out of trouble when I keep my eyes and mind on Him.
I really believe that God protected me from something sinister that morning. 
Thank you for all your prayers, encouragement and support that make this work possible and keep us safe from many known and unknown dangers.  Many hundreds of people were given literature this day.  Please pray that God will use it to be a blessing to them and those with whom they will share it with.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Future Posts - Blog saved

Dear friends,
Thank you so much for all your prayers.  It seems that we can comply with the new laws regarding "blogging", as this blog is no long controlled or authored in Tanzania.  This blog is now owned in the United States, and all future posts will be posted by the new owner. 
The new owner has agreed to report future updates on the work that takes place in the mission work of the Schoch family.

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!