Dear Friends and Family,|
Greetings from rugged, beautiful Tanzania! It's hard to believe that summer is over - although here in a land of
perpetual summer, we only notice the change of season by rain or lack of rain.
God has been good - blessing us with health and safety as we have traveled to the many towns and villages to share His word.
Though the towns may vary in size, they are pretty much the same - the dusty main drag is lined with little shops, selling
everything from food to hardware to used clothing, a bus stand, a few small bars and maybe a guest house or two. Men
and women sit, passing the time, watching whatever there is to see while cows, goats, chickens and children roam free in the
vacant spaces. The pastors, poor as they are, give us a royal welcome and show us gracious hospitality. Church
people greet us warmly while observing us with curiosity. Despite roofless, dirt floor churches the worship is
enthusiastic and God's word eagerly received.
Regardless of the similarities, each trip gives us a unique experience to remember. It is inspiring to meet pastors,
persevering in their service to the Lord, in these remote villages. They are so appreciative of us venturing out to
visit them and conduct a seminar in their churches. It is encouraging to join with African brothers and sisters in their
enthusiastic praise and worship to our Father. We are often told how helpful and encouraging our messages are, but we
feel that it is us, who have been encouraged and blessed. On the other hand, it is sobering to see how these pastors
struggle to eke out an existence to support their families, ever trusting God as their help. Occasionally we meet
disabled people, who, had they been in North America would have received medical attention and therapy to correct their
disabilities, but who seemingly have accepted their lot in life.
Such was the case at our latest seminar in Magu. There we witnessed a man make his way to the front of the church in a
custom built wheel chair, made from tires from an old bicycle - complete with fenders and reflectors. Although paralyzed
from the waist down, he maneuvered his way to one side of the choir. As the members sang, dancing in unison, he also
moved his head and arms in prefect rhythm. He seemed to thoroughly enjoy being a participant in the choir and his
enthusiasm was contagious. We later learned that he had been injured, a few years ago, when a jack collapsed while he
was repairing a bus. Undeterred by this tragedy, this happily married father of three, sang joyfully during the praise
and worship time, listened intently to each message, smiling and nodding in approval at the teaching of God having a work for each
of us to do, and joining many others at the altar for special prayer at the close of the service.
Another person that we have become acquainted with is closer to home, here in the Mwanza area. Steven Mwita is an 18 yr
old, who completed Standard 8 (primary school) at the top of his class, in Kenya. His father, now 91, and his mother,
61, are no longer able to provide for him or pay school fees for him to continue to secondary school. Without support at
home, Steven came to live with his brother and sister-in-law in Mwanza. He was able to find a job working in a small
shop but he really desires to continue his education. He is a good Christian youth, attending Church regularly and
participating in the choir and youth programs. The future of so many bright young people is limited by lack of financial
support. Steven is trusting God to help him find a sponsor so that he can continue his education.
As Jesus said, in Matthew 9:37 "...The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few", similarly the needs are many and the resources
are limited. Without your prayers and your support, we would not be able to do the work God has called us to do, nor
would we be able to help those in need. We sincerely thank you for partnering with us through your continued interest,
prayers and financial support.
In a few weeks time we will be returning once again to North America for a short home visit. We look forward to seeing
many of you as we share our experiences and give an update on our ministry in churches and groups as we have opportunity.
In closing, it is our prayer that each of us, in these last days, love the Lord with all our hearts, serve Him with all our
strength and be infused with that same spirit that "turned the world upside down" so long ago.
In His service,
John and Glenna Peterson