Sunday, July 21, 2019

Well Done

“No, it is most unfortunate.  He won’t be able to move those large luggages and continue.”
It was day 11 of 15 for this trip to Uganda.  It had already been a long day with some travel, working with the new accountant that is helping us to get caught up with many things and regulations, additionally, there were meetings with the graphics design artist and other meetings.  We finally wrapped up what we were doing and were seeking to try to drive back to Iganga before dark. 
We probably could have returned before the light of the day was completely gone, but as we sped down the main highway flowing with and meeting lots of traffic, we saw him.  There with just his wheels pointed towards the highway was a local man, his motorcycle and two HUGE bags of maize.  He was on the opposite of the road, facing the direction that we had just come from.  At first glance, I thought he had probably parked for some reason and the motorcycle had fallen over.  He was in a predicament for sure. 
The driver of the vehicle and I started talking about his case.  I asked if he thought he was going to be okay?  The reply, “No, it is most unfortunate.  He won’t be able to move those large luggages and continue.”  (Luggages is often a term used instead of cargo, etc.)  I asked if we should go back and help.  The driver looked hopeful, and said, “Can, we?”  I gave a most definite yes.  We started looking for a place to turn around.  It was a distance before we could.  I said if it had been him, I hope someone would stop to help him. 
There is a concern when coming up on an “accident” like this one  It could be a hoax, trying to get drivers to stop, then you get robbed and even lose your vehicle.  As we approached it seemed very legitimate.  This guy was in trouble.  As we approached he was removing the ropes that held the two huge bags of maize to the motorcycle.  We approached and said we were so sorry for his situation.  His first words to me, as he looked up yet continued to work were, “Well done.”
We helped him get the motorcycle back to the upright position, and he showed us the loose spoke on his rear tire.  It had come loose and gone into the chain of the motorcycle and brought him to a quick halt.  It could have been the end of his life.  He and my driver worked to get it out of the chain and out of the way.  Then he tried to start the motorcycle.  It would not start.  My driver asked him many questions.  He then asked me if we could try to get him to a village that could help him with fixing the motorcycle.  I agreed.  We decided we would try to load up the motorcycle and the two bags of maize, and drive to the village.  We loaded the two bags first.  It was almost more than the three of us could do.  Later my drive said they probably weighed 200 KG each.  (440 lbs. each bag).  We barely got them into the middle seat of the van.  After moving seats out of the way, we finally got the motorcycle into the back also, which is rather miraculous.  We couldn’t get the door closed, but tied it the best we could.  In moving the motorcycle to the van, the spoke came loose again!  OH WHAT A MIRACLE that motorcycle didn’t start.  This many would have wrecked again had we gotten him on his way, and this time in the dark, possibly losing his life completely!
I noticed he was starting to limp more and more.  It seems the adrenaline was wearing off, and he was starting to feel the physical pain from injuries.  I saw a place on his foot that was damaged and bleeding slightly.  The fact that he didn’t more injured is another miracle.  Motorcycle, and 880 lbs. of cargo landing on his leg could have really messed him up.  As we started to pull back onto the busy highway, my driver said that the man was feeling a lot of pain now, and asked if we could go all the way back to Jinja and deliver the maize to the place he was supposed to take it.  I agreed.
We had to pass through a police checkpoint, but they didn’t stop us, for which we are thankful.  We had no place for a third person to sit, and the man wanted to ride with his motorcycle to make sure it didn’t fall out the back or the door open. 
We made it to the place where the man indicated.  He limped off and came back with three young men who unloaded the big bags (with many challenges) and then also the motorcycle.  The man again thanked us very much.  We turned around and headed back to Iganga.
My driver told me thank you.  I told HIM thank you.  He said that the man had run out of options and if we had not stopped he would have had to stay the whole night there on the side of the road.  It was a distance from either village.  He told me that it was a place where many robbers are and it would not have been good.  We arrived back in Iganga quite late. 
The first words he said to me, rang in my ears: Well done.
That is the things I most want to hear from Jesus when He returns.  I want to hear the words as they are written in Matthew 25:21.  “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.  Thou has been faithful over a few things….. Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.”
Matthew 25:40  And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
I’m thankful that the Holy Spirit impressed us to stop and help him.  Before we pulled away, I told him that God had impressed us to help him.  I hope that he knows just how much God loves him and that he will walk closer and closer with him each day.  God really does care about each one of us. 
What a privilege it is when we get to be the hands of feet of Jesus.
It was an encouragement to me to here “well done”, and it just makes my heart long for the day when I hear Jesus say this.  I know that anything good that comes out of my life is from Him.  I am thankful that He used us this night.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

The Nile: Source of life?

Nile Headwaters
Nile Headwaters
The great Nile river starts in Jinja, Uganda coming from Lake Victoria.  Lake Victoria is one of the largest lakes in the world and the largest in Africa.  The Nile is the longest river in the world.  It is amazing to me as I looked out over the headwaters of the great Nile river, I thought about how this source of water brings life to so many along its path.  And certainly, water is very important to life, but there is another source of life that is so important and so many are perishing for lack of knowledge about Him.  On our way to the refugee camps, we cross another bridge over the Nile.  At this place in the Nile, the waters are raging with huge rapids.  The day we started our trip up north toward the refugee camps, we came upon an accident scene.  It was rather fresh, as there were not many vehicles or people there.  As we came up, we saw people running to investigate. 
We could see that there was a body in the middle of the road, laying lifelessly.  Someone in the vehicle asked how fast would a car be going to kill a person instantly like that.  Another in the vehicle said speed isn’t needed for such a tragedy.  Simply falling incorrectly and hitting one’s head badly can cause death. 
Soon several people lifted the lifeless form and placed him in the back of a truck, and they drove the man away.  I thought about how just that morning, this person had no idea that this was the last time he would be at home.  I wondered how would be waiting for him, and he never returning.  I wondered what he and others would have done differently had they known this was his last day. 
Graves in Uganda
Graves in Uganda
 Life is so fragile.  I realized this more and more each day.
I want to live my life without regrets.  I want to make each and every day count to better the life of someone.  Thank you to everyone of you that are mission partners that make this possible. 
As we see so much poverty and malnutrition in various places, my heart aches that I personally cannot do more to help each and every person.  I have to keep reminding myself, that we are not here to give “a man a fish, but to teach him to fish”.  I wouldn’t have enough “fish” to make a dent anyhow.  We don’t want to add to the downward spiral of creating a system of dependency and lack of ability.  We want to empower people with knowledge and skills so they can reach healthy standards in many areas of their lives.  Sanitation, nutrition, industry (enterprise), attitude, farming, and all the rest of the FARM STEW principles are key ingredients to help people to have abundant life. 
I am thankful for the positive impact that FARM STEW is having in so many places and with so many people here in Uganda and also in South Sudan.  As people learn these principles and apply them to their daily lives, lives are improving.  People have hope.  They have hope to give their children good nutrition, and to make some money so they can help them with their basic needs.  They have hope that they are not helpless victims of circumstances, but people who have dignity and can do something to improve themselves and their lives.  People need dignity.  People need hope.  And as people are given hope, we hope this will open the doors that many will realize the greatest Source of Hope that gives us abundant life now and for eternity.  The Nile is amazing and considered a source of life.  But real life is found in Jesus, and we hope to touch many lives that they will find true life in Jesus.
FARM STEW trainers,  volunteers and trainees.
FARM STEW trainers,  volunteers and trainees. 

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Who am I here to serve?

Here’s a story that I just received from Tamara while in Dar es Salaam.

… , but thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself: I am the LORD.
(Leviticus 19:18)

Each day I ask God to direct my day for His service and glory.  Although I am a missionary in Tanzania, mission service isn’t restricted to Tanzanians only.  Today was a clear reminder to me of that.  God still speaks to us, and He cares about everyone. He loves everyone.
I’m still in Dar es Salaam for a few more days.  I needed to take the new books to the National Library to register the ISBN’s for the publishing department.  I also had some shopping for other missionaries and other departments. 
Driving back, as I went through on particular intersection, something caught my attention.  There were two young white men who looked like tourists talking to two Africans.  They were sort of on a median between the crosswalks on a busy street to the right of the highway, where I was.  I watched them, and as the traffic started moving, I continued driving. 
I felt an impression that these two needed some help.  I thought to myself, they are adults, they can take care of themselves.  They should be fine.  Then the impression continued.  I prayed and asked God to not let me hear my own thoughts or that of the enemy.  I felt the impression that I should help these two guys.  Well, at this point, there was no place to turn around.  I continued to the first place where I could turn back that direction and that was quite a distance and traffic was slow.  I prayed and told God that if He wanted me to help these guys, He would have to help me find them.  They were heading down a side road that I don’t really know. Many minutes had passed.   I made the first right turn off the highway that was possible.  Since the roads don’t all run nicely but in all directions, I was just depending on God.  After driving a distance, the first road to my right seemed like the correct one, so I turned down it.  Many minutes had passed since I had seen them.  I just told God that if He was directing me, He knew it would take me this long, and to help me find them and help them be ok.  I knew that it would be a miracle if I found them.  Sure enough, that was the exact correct road.  At this point, there were several motorcycles and Africans around them.  I didn’t count, but I would say 5-7 maybe.  As I rolled down my passenger window, and I heard one of the white guys saying something about them being bad.  I honked and called out to them.  I asked if they needed some help, and where they were going.  They were getting a bit tense over the Africans.  I told them to just get in my car and I would drive them where they need to go.  They were so happy for the offer.  One of them said, “Oh, that would be great!” 
They got in and started to tell me that they were having some troubles with those guys.  I then noticed that in addition to their tourist clothes, one had an expensive camera around his neck.  I mentioned that it was probably drawing the wrong attention to them.  I asked where they needed to go, and we started that way.  I then asked, are you Christians.  There was a pause, then one said he was brought up Christian, then another pause.  I told them that I am a Christian, and then I explained what had happened.  I told them I had seen them, and what I just mentioned above.  I told them that God had sent me to help them.  One of them said, I have never had an experience with God like that.  I said I have them often.   They were in shock and so appreciative for the ride.  They had a pretty good distance to go, and their data package for some reason wasn’t working so they could not get a Taxify or Uber.  They were on holiday for several weeks in Tanzania.  They had climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, been to Zanzibar, and I don’t know what else.  But today they wanted to go to the Botanical Gardens.  (I didn’t know there were any!)  They then asked how long I had been in Tanzania (since January 2012) and what I do.  I told him I was a missionary and my life is about serving Him and serving others.
They were super appreciative.  As they were getting out, they offered to pay me what they would have a taxi.  I refused payment but told them they could take something.  I gave them a newsletter, a business card and an English message book.  One said, I don’t think I will ever forget this day.  We not only didn’t pay for a taxi, we got gifts!

God loves those young men.  Maybe God used me to answer the prayer of one of those Christian parents.  I hope God will keep those young men safe, and that this experience will really draw their hearts out to Him.  Thank you for making it possible for us to minister to so many different people in so many different ways. 
PS: (Lots of other pamphlets (GLOW TRACTS) and other sharing books also got given out today!)

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Taxi Driver

His name is Juma, and he was late.  REALLY late.

We contacted him through Taxify (like Uber).  He called to verify where we were.  He was only a minute away according to the app.  It was a LOT longer than a minute before he got there.  Many taxi’s tried to get us to take their car instead as we waited and waited.  We kept denying them and waited.  Finally he arrived.  He was appologetic.  We were forgiving. 

Traffic quickly became one jam after another.  The from the airport to the house was a long one.  Since we were stopped so much, and there were vendors making their way around the stopped cars trying to sell their wares, it was time to give out tracts.  I moved my bag and fanny pack away from the window to avoid any “grabs”.  Down went my window, and out went my hand with a tract.  Soon I was giving away many tracts to the passersby.  Soon the guest who had just arrived from the US asked for some tracts to give out on his side of the car.  Then our taxi driver asked for a tract to read.  Tracts were going out. 

At one time an old man approached the new guest’s window.  He took the tract and asked what it was.  Our new arrival didn’t have any Swahili to speak, so the taxi driver quickly intervened.  He told the old man to take it and read it.  He said it was good.  The old man said he couldn’t read.  From the cloudness of his eyes, I believed him.  The taxi driver didn’t skip a beat.  He said, “Find someone to read it to you!”

Then a bit later and a little ways down the road, some of the other drivers on the road were curious about what was going out our windows.  The passenger’s side window came down on the car next to us.  The person started asking our taxi driver questions.  Then the taxi driver took a tract from our guest and reached way out and handed it to the passenger in that vehicle. 
Then a fruit salesperson was walking by.  The driver asked for four bananas.  (She also got a tract.) He took one off for himself and then offered the other three to us three in the car!  WOW.  I have never had a taxi driver buy food for me.  We graciously declined, but were very appreciative.  When we arrived at our destination, I asked if he would like some more tracts to give out.  He excitedly said “Yes!”.  

Some days are just full of surprises!

Sunday, June 3, 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.