We live in Mwanza, Tanzania, serving with Emmanuel International helping local churches in physical and spiritual ministry.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Making a Racket and Heavens Open

I drove slowly through the maze of mud houses, avoiding trees, thorn bushes, goats and other various obstacles and enjoyed making the loudest racket I ever have! Honking my horn and waving to all, I was with a group of guys from the Tanzania Assemblies of God church in Kimande, one of whom was shouting into a microphone. We had a generator and huge speaker tied to the roof, a CD player inside and a mass of tangled wires inside and out that would seriously stress out my brother-in-law, James! We were blasting Tanzanian singing and drumming along with the honking and shouting. It was great! It was a village announcement that the big movie night in Kimande was about to start! We very quickly had an entourage of children chasing along beside and behind and before long we had to stop and get a load of them off the Land Cruiser!

Let's go shout it out!
We watched the Jesus Film on both the Friday and Saturday evenings, in different locations in the village. We had over 600 people come to watch; it was great! There were two moments with very funny reactions! One was when Jesus and his disciples collected up the miracle catch of fish ... the audience, many of whom fish in the river here, were in collected awed amazement at the sight of so many wriggling fish! The second was at a very serious moment as Jesus broke bread with his disciples at the Last Supper before his death. At this moving and poignant moment, the entire audience broke out in incredulous laughter as Jesus snapped with crunch what everyone thought was a soft chapatti! Then again as Peter broke his bread, there was a loud "snap" and everyone roared a second time! And then John ... you get the idea! Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the whole thing and many recorded the showing on their mobile phones. So we hope that many will continue to watch it in their homes and hear the truth of the words of Jesus, that it may bring life and hope to many in the village.

Kimande kids excited about the film night!

Making the most of all the equipment (generator, projector, speakers, computer, big screen etc...), before the film, we showed a photo video for the benefit of the stoves group, showing all their hard work so far. They all loved seeing themselves up on the big screen and we hope it was encouraging for them to see the progress they have made since that first day in July.

It was lovely to have Simoni come for the second showing. Simoni is part of the stoves group and as I mentioned last week, he was shot in his home by armed robbers one night. He is doing remarkably well and the wound is healing without infection. The bullet passed straight through his upper leg. He lives in Itunundu so we drove to pick him and his wife up so that they could join in. They were so grateful, indeed so grateful to be alive.

In the middle of Friday night someone arrived at the hospital with arms machete-slashed at both elbows. Again robbers in the night. With all this going on, we were very conscious of all the expensive equipment in our home - very publically known about! We are thankful to God for keeping us and everything safe! We were also thankful for safe-keeping as we were sat on the ground in the dark watching the film, because during the prayers, a scorpion appeared near Chupe (a young woman who came with us from town along with Mims Knowles, the occupational therapist at Neema Crafts) and then at the end of the film, Jesca stumbled across a snake underfoot. Both snake and scorpion were quickly killed, and although it may seem a small coincidence, as stones were hurled at the head of the snake, we felt strongly that God was with us!

On Sunday, we attended a full church service in every sense of the word. It was full of people (the church now over double the number that it was in July). And it was full of activity, celebrating baptism, communion and an ordination as well as the usual singing and sermon. So it was good, but also a very long, hot sit, squashed close on wooden benches! We were more than ready for the ugali and beans, further celebrating the Pastor's ordination, at 2pm!

On Monday, we had a meeting with a small number of the stoves group. Unfortunately because there was another funeral, very few were around, but we went ahead with our Seminar on Selling. We were encouraging them to think about how to be proactive and profitable with selling the stoves, as this is one of their struggles at the moment. We had some fun little dramas and brainstorming and it seemed to work, as that afternoon, Mama Esther had a stove displayed for sale by the main road near her house, with plans to ask her husband to write a sign for her.

Tim's sketch as a good tea salesman!
The sad news while we were there was to hear that it is fairly certain that Bruno has been murdered and that the police have been bribed to keep away. There is still no body, so there can be no funeral or closure. We continue to pray for the family as they mourn.

The good news is that life has been transformed for one of the young men in the Ikuka Stoves Group! Obed had what many described as a "bad character." He was stealing, getting drunk and smoking pot. He wasn't at all interested in God or Christianity. But he accepted a Bible along with others in the village in October and he started to read it. He has now turned his life around! He became a Christian, he has stopped stealing, drinking and smoking and is now part of the Church in Ikuka!

The other good news was that the rains came... not on Friday night, not on Saturday night, but on Sunday, after all the outdoor meetings!

"For as the rain and the snow (ok, no snow; we were absolutely, completely, unbearably dripping hot by Sunday) come down from heaven and do not return without watering the earth and making it bud and sprout so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth; it will not return to me empty, but will accomplish the purpose for which I sent it."  (Isaiah 55:10-11)

We read this chapter of Isaiah many times in the very beginning of our work in Kimande, and it was wonderful to hear it again, read in Swahili at the church meeting on Sunday. And then reminded on Sunday afternoon of the promise of watering and sprouting of seeds sown, as the heavens over Kimande opened ... preparing the ground for rice seeds soon to be planted.

The heavens open!



  1. God clearly answered prayer for the two film nights.and it is great news about Obed - clear evidence that the Gospel of Jesus really does chage lives. You must be so encouraged.

  2. Great blog - so happy to hear of such a successful weekend!

  3. I love that picture of the heavens opening! I love you guys hope you are well!

  4. Thank you! Love to you all - MD's and Austin!


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