My time spent in Tanzania was nothing short of life changing. From the daily encounters with the people in our village, to the joy found in the tiniest of moments, the experience is something I'll never forget. What God did in our time there was the most incredible thing. God did nothing short of our expectations. In fact, He blew them out of the water! Below is a journal entry from day seven of our time on the trip. I provided some backstory and context since some of it wouldn't make sense unless you read the previous journal entries. I pray that this story would impact just one person's heart. I pray that God would use this to show one person His faithfulness, abundance, truth and love.
Day 7 6/11/16 Lugata Village 4th Ministry Day
This was my most draining day. God used everything I had, and it was a roller coaster of emotions all day. We got to our mission point at 9:45 a.m. as usual. As usual, we began to plan our day. And as usual, God changed that right before we left our mission point. We did not leave the mission point until 12:30 p.m. today…
Right before we were planning to leave at 10:00 a.m., 3 Roman Catholic came to us and just wanted to chat. So we talked with them and found out about their Catholic faith. Maura (my mission point partner) grew up Catholic, so she knew how to speak to it with Scripture. She went to Galatians and it was awesome just watching them interact. They were interested in what else the Bible had to say but had to run errands, so they left.
Then, we saw Dotto (a friend who put his faith in Christ three days prior) sitting with a new person that we had never met before. His name is Faustine, and Dotto actually shared Christ with him and he came to know the Lord! We got to train him a bit, and we had Faith (my translator) write down the instructions for the cube (our tool for sharing the Gospel) on paper for Faustine to learn.
Then, Rukas (a friend who put his faith in Christ the previous day) shows up. He shared the cube with six people and three of them came to know the Lord! This is multiplication vision at work! It was amazing! We celebrated, took lots of photos and then left because God had a lot more in store…
Written - 6/11/16 10:50 p.m.
Maura went to visit Rafael (a friend with an unbelievable story in our village), and I was going to visit Lucas (a friend who came to know the Lord and was given the new name Issac after being baptized). Lucas was not home, so I went to check on Imelda (a friend whom we had met on our first day in the village) instead.
Backstory - We met Imelda on our first day in the village. Her son took us to her house because she had bad arthritis pain all over her body, and she had been unable to sleep at night for 15 years because of it. We asked her if she believes in Jesus, and if she believed that Jesus could heal her arthritis. She said yes, and we would learn later that she had been baptized a few years prior. We prayed healing over her, and later that afternoon we prayed over her again. We came back the next day, and the Lord healed her! Hallelujah! We were able to sit down with her that next day and hear her testimony, and we built a solid relationship with her. The following happened two days later.
As Elijah (Maura’s translator) and I approached her house, we heard shouting and a bell; it sounded like a casino. Elijah told me there was a witch doctor inside. As we walked in front of the house, Elijah could see Imelda sitting in the middle of everyone, and no more than a second after we saw her, someone shut the door to keep us from looking. I was distraught. I had no idea what to do.
Then, God spoke and said to do what Joshua did at Jericho. I thought it was weird, but I knew that God told me exactly what I needed to do. I told Elijah what we were going to do, and he said we shouldn’t do it around the house because there was a man on the property that kept telling us Imelda wasn't home and that he’d fight us if we didn’t leave. S we decided to do the Jericho walk on the road in front of her house.
I ran and grabbed Maura and Faith so they could join us. So, we marched up and back on the road seven times while silently praying, worshipping and reading Scripture. Halfway through, God told me to take my shoes off because I was standing on Holy Ground. I realized later that this was part of the story at the end of Joshua 5. So I did. We finished, circled up, held hands, prayed, and then at the same time we shouted, “The Lord has given us this house!”
We decided to go back to the mission point to eat, and I kept wondering if what we just did was dumb or not. I decided to ask them all, and they all said, “No.” Elijah then turned to me and said that he was walking farther behind us because he heard them talking inside the house. He heard them saying, ”There’s something happening on the road. If it’s the Adventists, we don’t care. But if it’s the Pentecostal Church, then we are afraid.” That made it all worth it.
As soon as I sat down to eat lunch, Susan (one of our trip leaders) pulled up. She sat and talked with us, and we explained everything that’d happened with Imelda. Then the tears came because Susan encouraged us so much.
She told us that this is God’s battle, not ours. We can only do what God tells us to do, and He does the rest. I was so upset because we couldn’t see what He was going to do to complete what He told us to do. Then, Susan gave me a slip of paper that had my expectation for the week.
My Expectation - I'm expecting God to raise up all 11 churches that we are hoping to aid in planting, and I expect Him to soften the hearts of the Tanzanian people and display His love for them so that tens or even hundreds would come to know Him. I hope that God uses me to relate to the people I encounter in a way that they've never experienced before. I also hope the Lord uses the gift of story telling and photography that He gave me so that we may tell all about the things He does when we get home.
More tears. God fulfilled my expectation and exceeded it. He showed me He did this morning. He planted a church in our village. He fulfilled it!
After that, we ate, swung on the swing under the mango tree and prepared to go out again. I went back and followed up with the uncle (a man I had met the previous day), and I got to hear his entire story! It was incredible. I took a massive family photo for them before we had to leave. By this point, my heart had been poured out and exhausted. I was spiritually empty.
I got back to the mission point, and Maura asked me to lead a D-Group (Bible study), while she talked with the three Roman Catholic women we’d met earlier. I talked with the group about baptism and they had a lot of great questions. When we finished, we prayed for healing over a few people and then left.
When the van came to pick us up, there were two people from Wade’s (one of my friends that went on the trip) village in the van with us. We then learned that we were going to another village “close to camp” to pray over a demon possessed woman. “Close to camp” was more like 30 minutes on the opposite side of the island.
We arrived at the house, but I decided to simply watch because I had been drained from the events that had occurred at our village that day. They prayed for almost 45 minutes, but the demon was not cast out. We had to leave because it was about to get dark. We arrived back at camp at 7:15 p.m. last night, and I was pooped. Today is our last day. I really don’t want to leave. This has truly become another home for me. The people, the country and everything are just so beautiful. Time for church, Tanzanian style!
Written - 6/12/16 7:59 a.m.