Dear Friends and Family,|
Greetings from Mwanza, the "Rock City" of Tanzania — appropriately named due to the massive rocks and boulders found in and
around the city, some precariously piled one on top of the other. They often remind us of Jesus' words in Luke 19:40, that
if we do not offer praise and worship to God, even the stones would cry out.
God continues to bless us — keeping us safe at home and on the road, keeping us in good health, providing for us, and
blessing the ministry which He has called us to. God is good!
The Urafiki Health Centre in Igoma continues to help meet the community's health needs. The addition of the Maternal Child
Health Unit has been a great addition with vaccines and teaching to help promote good health for mothers and children. Approximately
60 — 70 mothers and infants attend weekly, as well as women coming for prenatal care. Health, hygiene and nutrition
issues are key elements to health promotion and disease prevention that need to be taught in a culturally acceptable way. Recently
members of a World Partners missions team provided much appreciated medical out-post clinics in a few surrounding villages, while
others helped to renovate and expand the clinic reception area to better accommodate the growing number of client files. The need
for expansion, although trying at times, is an indication of the good reputation the clinic enjoys in the community.
It is a privilege and always an interesting experience traveling to the remote villages. Over the past few months we have visited
quite a variety — Malya and Misasi, very small communities not too far from home; Bukoba, a town on the other side of the lake;
Muriti, a very small community on Ukerewe Island in Lake Victoria; and Shirati a small lake side town just south of the Kenya
border. Although each place is unique, the hunger for the Word of God is common. The people, though poor, are always gracious and
welcoming. Pastors tell us how they are encouraged to have someone come to teach at their churches but it is an encouragement to us
to have several congregations, of various denominations, gather together to participate in the seminars. As well as traveling to the
villages, each of us has had opportunities to speak in churches in the Mwanza area on weekends.
After our most recent seminar concluded, we were challenged with a message that Glenna often teaches, that our walk must match our
talk. We, as Christians, sooner or later encounter "moments of truth." We understood this more fully on the last night when an
older man came up to thank us for the teachings. He stuck out his hand and John immediately saw several fingers missing and knew he
had leprosy — still frequently seen here. For a split second we balked, but then realized that if we truly believed what we
preached there could be no compromise. John took his hand, as did Glenna and James, and shook it warmly.
We sometimes feel a bit like Jesus must have felt when he said, "the harvest is ready but the laborers are few." We see so many
needs here — physical, spiritual, medical and financial. As we are confronted by people in search of help, it is often heart
wrenching that we can not do more than offer words of encouragement and prayer, and sometimes a few shillings concealed in a handshake.
In our last newsletter, the new Bugando Hill church building was highlighted as well an appeal for funds to help complete the
project. Recently each member of the congregation endeavored to donate the equivalent of a bag of cement, approximately $20,
towards the construction — a sacrificial offering for many who are quite poor and others unemployed. We were pleasantly
surprised with the results. We trust the Lord to bless gift and giver and multiply it to meet the remaining need.
One of the pastors we met on our travels was Pastor Jonas Magere, a mature man and committed pastor. He had just completed his
first year of Bible College but was unable to continue due to lack of money for fees. His eldest son, Silas, a fisherman, was
helping the family while his father was at college but his meager earnings only provided for food and necessities. Pastor
Jonas approached us to try to find someone to sponsor him for the $1000 per year Bible College fees. We offered to share
his need with you, should the Lord lay it on someone's heart to help him.
In conclusion, we want to thank all of you profusely for your prayers and financial support. You have been such a blessing to
us and likewise to the people of Tanzania. We are often reminded of the verses in Romans 10:14–15, "How shall the people
call upon God if they don't believe? And how can people believe if they haven't heard the Word of God? And how can they hear
without someone to tell them? And how can someone tell them if they are not sent? It is written, 'How beautiful is the coming
of those who bring the Good News.'"
In His service,
John and Glenna Peterson