Tomorrow it will be two weeks since I returned from Africa. I had the opportunity to visit our bases in Africa: Uganda, Zambia, Malawi, Madagascar, South Africa back to Uganda, Tanzania and then back to the States. It only took three and ½ months for this trip.
The first stop of the summer was the Mustard Seed program. We had 24 team members with their guardians. Our theme was “Cowboy Camp” and we had a real cowboy come and be our evening speaker. We had a corral where we gathered throughout the day for all our different activities. We enjoyed some cowboy food, learned Bible stories and memory verses, did some cowboy crafts, sang, played games and went swimming. There were stick horse rides, snacks, the obstacle course and evening rallies; where each team did a team cheer, the messiest tents were revealed from Miss Piggy, and each team found out who ran the fastest in the obstacle course. Our evening message was from Cowboy Lee, who shared about the Christian cowboy life and talked about the gear a cowboy uses and related it to our Christian walk with the Lord. It was a good camp and thank you for your prayers!
During 2nd Boot Camp a situation arose in Uganda that I was asked to help resolve. So on July 5th, I arrived in Uganda. The Lord was so good and we were able to work through the problem.
I went to Zambia to visit the Motorcycle Sunday Schools. We have two circuits that run 14 Sunday Schools. I traveled both by truck and motorcycle. One day we rode 37 kilometers (22 miles) on tarmac roads, dirt roads, footpaths, through trees, tall grass and ended at a village where children and adults had made their way from their village homes to await the Circuit Riders arrival and Sunday School began. Children gathered under a tree and the Bible story and a verse was taught. An invitation was offered to give their hearts to the Lord. They then colored a picture that went with the Bible story, an offering was taken, and games were played. Meanwhile the adults met in a shelter and enjoyed a Bible study, followed by a phonics lesson. Many adults have never had the opportunity to learn to read or write. At the end of the Sunday School, many stayed behind to receive medical attention. Symptoms are colds, coughs, headaches, skin rashes, cuts and malaria issues. We packed up and headed out to either a bunk house or back to the nearest orphan Rescue Unit for the night. Every day we went out to meet with small, medium and large groups of children, teens and adults ready to hear the message of Jesus Christ. The Circuits have been running in some places for several years now. At several locations, the communities have become healthy physically and spiritually. Former students are now community teachers or a church has been established. Participants are learning basic things about the Lord and learning that God loves them and how to pray to a God that will answer prayer. In the States we can turn on the radio or TV and have many choices of what church we will attend on Sunday. At the places we are holding Sunday School, there is little or no Bible teaching unless two faithful Circuit Riders climb on their motorcycle and travel the roads. I had opportunity to travel in Zambia and share the Good News. Many thanks to ALL the Circuit Riders and Rescue Unit Facilitators in Zambia, Malawi, Cameroon, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Cambodia, Honduras, Uganda, Tanzania and Indonesia who share the Bible every week.
Not only did I get to visit the Sunday Schools, but I also met with all the Orphan Rescue Unit Facilitators and Circuit Riders for what we call a Refresher course. I was able to get information on our sponsored orphans so updates can be given to donors.
The next stop was Malawi. It was a fast 12 days. We began with a Teen Missions Malawi board meeting by phone with TMI Director, Bob Bland, in Florida, a Refresher course with half the Rescue Unit Facilitators and Circuit Riders. Again, I was able to gather orphan information for the sponsorship program. We run four full Circuits in Malawi. Three half Circuits are run from the Bible Missionary and Work Training Center, with 10 Rescue Units and two matrons Sunday Schools – total of 45 Sunday Schools. I spent the week with the Mangochi Circuit. Last year, a US team went to a Muslim village and a team of girls was able to drill a well for the people. That well has opened the door for chiefs in seven different villages who allow us to run Sunday Schools. This is a very, very, strong Muslim area. One Sunday school operated for three months with only three children coming. The Circuit Riders requested to move to another village, but the Coordinator said, “let’s try one more month”. When I attended the Sunday School there were 25 in attendance and there would have been more but it was a school break. Another village, had some Christians come who wanted to start a church. Their house was burnt down and the church they were building was torn down. Today we are allowed to run a Sunday School in this village. At another Sunday School I visited, the children would not come into the class, because they were afraid of the white lady. I left and the kids came in. I am thankful for our national Circuit Riders that do not combat cultural differences but are accepted and able to share the Gospel with these children.
Madagascar was my next stop. We have two bases in Madagascar one in the North and one in the South. I visited both bases. In the South Africa airport, I connected with a TMI staffer, Loretta, who will be spending time in Madagascar and helping with Motorcycle Sunday Schools. She will teach at the BMW and help with agriculture training. Upon arriving in Tana, the capital of Madagascar, we met with our country coordinator Liva, who shared some difficulties that had just happened at the north base. We decided we should go to our north base first. We spent one day checking on things we needed to purchase for the north and south bases, and traveled 12 hours to the base. I worked to get Loretta settled at the base as well with Liva and Nomena (Liva’s wife), working through many of the staff issues. It was a difficult time but the Lord was faithful, and we were able to put a plan in place, not knowing how God would provide the staff that was needed to fill the gaps. It was decided that Loretta would help at the north base until December. I still needed to visit the south base staff, so we traveled by TMI truck to Tana. Loretta’s visa needed to be renewed and we shopped for more things to take to the south base. We left the capital early in the morning. Along the way and the truck started to have brake problems. We turned back to the closest village and Liva talked with a mechanic. We thought we had solved the problem, so the next morning we headed out again, only to come to the same place in the road and we smelled the brakes smoking. After the brakes and tires cooled down, we returned to the same town and made arrangements for the mechanic to come and fix the truck. With limited time we hired a car to take us to the south base. We worked two days at the base and I was able to meet with the staff and pave the way for Loretta to be a part of the south base team in January. We returned to the town with high expectations that the truck was fixed, but learned the mechanic had just arrived a few hours before we did, (he had to travel to Tana and look for the part we needed.) So, again we had to hire a vehicle to drive us back to Tana. Just as we were ready to start back, Liva received news that his sister passed away during childbirth. Nomena was able to travel and join Liva for the funeral. Praise the Lord that his sister gave her heart to the Lord. It was time for me to fly on to South Africa.
When I arrived in South Africa, I traveled to our Sunday School Circuit at a nearby township. Every Sunday School is held at a soccer field. There really isn’t much for the children to do in the area. They are just getting started, but the children are eager to play games and hear the word of God. When they go home and the parents asked what they did at Sunday school, they are able to share the Bible story. Isn’t the Lord good to make it possible for people to hear the Gospel that is not in our plan? I returned to the base to meet with the staff, they were good meetings and we pray they were a blessing to all.
I returned to Uganda, but there was a mix up on my arrival day. I was able to make travel arrangements to make the five hour drive to our base from the airport. It was about midnight when I arrived and I was able to cross through the neighbor’s property to yell over the fence to our Coordinators in their house. They heard me and opened the gate for me. During my absence the base was able to install solar lights as well as getting water tanks set up so the base will be able to have rainwater as their primary source of water. The electric and water bills have been unmanageable. The issues at Bunalwenyi Secondary School were resolved.
I then traveled to Tanzania to see how the base was running and how the construction of the BMW buildings were going. I was there a couple of years ago, to return and see the BMW building roofed and seven students was a blessing. I was given a tour around the school, and given the privilege to open the school with a prayer of dedication. I was also taken to the BMW office where photos of Bob and Bernie Bland, the Tanzanian President and mine are displayed. Much has been accomplished with the recent US teams and national teams. There is now a nice staff house with trees planted, a garden, chickens and rabbits. We investigated setting up a bank account and looked at treadle sewing machines for continued education and also had several meetings.
In 1993, my sister and brother-in-law lived in Moshi, Tanzania. Steve Petersen, Rutherford Banda, my Dad and Mom and I did the set up and ran the first Boot Camp in Tanzania. Years later, we have a base running, a Boot Camp and a Sunday School. One of the students that I met was on an Evangelistic Bicycle team. Who could have known God’s plan for this young man who is now attending the BMW. This is truly the blessings of the Lord.
I am so grateful that you stand with me financially and in prayer. The Lord is so faithful to take care of all my needs and I thank you for make it possible for me to serve with Teen Missions.
Because of Him,
P.S. I am leaving Saturday November 7, for two weeks in Madagascar, please pray.