Dear Friends and Family,W e are home after a busy yet wonderful summer. As usual our summer began with the 2019 Boot Camps here in Florida. Tom fulfilled his duties as Mr. O.C. (the guy who met each team at the starting line for the morning Obstacle Course run), as well as helped in video, computers and graphics. I coordinated both our summer volunteers and the Preteen program, taught several classes and helped where needed. Boot Camp went well and it was a blessing to see the Lord work in hearts and lives. There is honestly nothing on Earth quite like Boot Camp.
On July 3rd we boarded our first of what would end up being 17 flights, to eight countries and began our summer assignment which was to encourage, train and walk beside our national staff.
Tanzania was our first stop. We have a nice base there located near Mt. Kilimanjaro and there are days you have a wonderful view of the mountain. Our staff and students have multiple agricultural projects going. This is the only TMI base that grows sunflowers. They grow enough to press the oil which the school and Boot Camp use throughout the year. They also grow maize, beans, greens, eggplant and onions. They raise rabbits and chickens as well. I taught some Bible classes and held a refresher on phonics. Tom audited finances and gave computer training. We also spent time encouraging our coordinators, staff and students. Many of our neighbors are Masai and our staff have really helped to encourage and share the Gospel with them. It is a common practice to marry off girls as young as 14 and our staff have been instrumental in keeping many of these girls in school and enjoying life as a young girl. Two of our students are from Muslim backgrounds and can never again return home or they will be killed by their families for converting to Christianity. We have some passionate young people who have truly given up all to serve the Jesus they love so dearly.
Stop two was to South Africa. This stop was a blessing for me because it’s one of the few African countries in which I can purchase gluten free items. The weather was so cold. It was 35° the first few days and then we had a heat wave and it got up to 40. We were so cold. Our wonderful staff lent us thick winter coats which was a huge blessing. We had staff meetings, helped with finances, did computer training and spent time encouraging our staff. We are in transition at this base as our new coordinators have only been in place a year. When they arrived the Bible school had two students. We now have 10. They have a heart for these people and believe God has placed them in this position and so are determined to do their best with His help.
Our third stop was the country of Madagascar. Tom and I hadn’t been here since 2012 and so we were so pleased with all the changes. Madagascar is such a unique and beautiful country. We have two bases there, one in the south and one in the north. We traveled to the south base first, which took us three days to reach. I have never in my life been so car sick. It is a windy switchback type of road and it did me in. This base was the most remote site we visited this summer. Our staff here have a real heart for the lost and love being in ministry. We were only with our staff, students and circuit riders for two days but they were full days and we enjoyed our time. They have planted saffron, pineapples, and had gardens of greens, tomatoes and onions. In the future they plan to plant cinnamon and vanilla. We then journeyed three days to the north base stopping along the way at a natural hot springs. TMI life is busy at the north base. They have 17 students, 9 staff and oversee a primary school with 1,000 students. The people of this country are beautiful and we enjoyed seeing the children in their classes. We had staff meetings and time to hear the testimonies of the staff and circuit riders. Madagascar is a dark country spiritually. People are very steeped in the worship of ancestors, nature and witchcraft. There are so many open doors for the Gospel in this country and we are so excited to be a part of all that is happening here.
Our fourth stop was Zimbabwe. Our two staff families were so happy to receive us. The Bible school was on break so we only met half of them. We did host a refresher for the eight circuit riders and were blessed as they shared the stories of the impact the ministry is making. They have 18 stops on the circuits and minister to 6,000 children each week. It is an incredible ministry. The Bible school students also do 12 Sunday schools. This base has a host of animals. We have turkeys, guinea fowl, donkeys, chickens and cows. The cows and donkeys wear bells and you can hear them ringing throughout the day. We have a major issue with monkeys and baboons eating everything in our gardens. We have recently built a chicken wire cage over the garden to keep them out. We enjoyed our daily walks here as the landscape of balancing rocks is so beautiful. Life is not easy for our staff here, due to the economic situations in the country. Prices go up and down constantly and some staple items are difficult to get. The rains were not good this year so we fear many will face difficult times in the October and November dry season. Pray our staff will be able to be a light of the Gospel in these times.
The fifth and final stop was Uganda. We spent a lot of hours here working on finances. We also held a refresher for the rescue unit facilitators, and had a board meeting. It was a busy time. We have 17 students at this base and they hail from Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Sudan. While in Uganda we made a side trip for two days to the country of Rwanda. TMI had asked us to fly over to set a team up for North Americans for the summer of 2020. Rwanda is the cleanest African country we had ever visited. The people are wonderful and so friendly. We saw several projects and decided on building a school. Our pastor contact was a wonderful man with a heart for his people. We met with village mayors, heads of finances and all kinds of people with the authority to do the project. It was evident to us that this village had not had many white visitors. A huge trail of children followed us wherever we went. The school we are going to build will be the first in this village. The hosting church was having a baptismal service the day we were there and it was such a privilege to be a part of that experience.
It is such a privilege to serve the Lord. We love Africa. Our coordinators wives were such wonderful hostesses, making sure our rooms were neat, clean and that we had everything we would need. We spent countless hours on the road, even experienced two flat tires, yet we are grateful for safety and protection. We love our national staff and enjoy the opportunity to assist and encourage them, we shared meals and much laughter. Our staff children are like grandchildren to us and we so enjoyed each moment with them. Every base dog loved Tom and so we ‘adopted’ many a guard which stuck to us like glue.
Office work never ceases to keep us both busy. Tom is involved in graphics and computers. He is helping with a new mortgage program right now. I am working in Personnel, teaching in the Bible school and doing some writing—never a dull moment. I unfortunately, returned home with a cold which turned into a good case of acute bronchitis and once that finished, I developed a double ear infection. I am grateful I was healthy overseas and waited til I got home. We plan, Lord willing, to do a deputation trip in November. We plan to be up north November 9-December 4. We will be in Pennsylvania and Michigan and in between those states.
If you would like us to stop for a cup of coffee you can email us at [email protected] or text 321-536-5578 we would love to see you.
Tom and Deena celebrate 10 years of marriage this year and our Elsie just turned 7. She is loving first grade and says her favorite class is art. Jude is in preschool three days a week and is all boy. Kalah is teaching first grade and has her hands full with 19 students. She enjoys working with the youth group at church each week and heads up our cafe. Zachary is working at an area supermarket and is on a break from school right now. Daniel and Kelsey have their hands full with three precious little ones. Daniel is selling insurance and we are praying for his success. My mother is doing quite well despite the fact that she still misses daddy. Two of her childhood friends have come back into her life and these three widows spend much-needed time together. I am grateful for the way the Lord has provided for her every need.
Thank you to all our wonderful prayer partners and supporters. We want to encourage you that lives are being changed as we partner together for God’s glory.
Because He Lives,
Tom and Linda Maher
- Thank the Lord for a successful summer program where lives were changed around the world.
- We are grateful to the Lord for safety during our African journey.
- We are thankful for our family.
- We are thankful for faithful prayer partners and supporters.
- Pray for Kalah to have a successful school year.
- Pray for Daniel’s success as an insurance salesman.
- Pray for Zach to maintain his diabetes.
- Pray for Tom and Deena as they manage life, ministry and family.
- Pray for Linda’s mom to continue to enjoy life and be content.
- Pray for many many teens to sign up for the 2020 teams.