Neil and Rachelle's Update
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Back in Tanzania
You know what comes out when you turn on the water from an old pipe which hasn’t been used in a long time? Murky, rusty water. But the longer you let it run, the clearer the water becomes. That’s kind of how its been for us getting back into Swahili. We just have to start talking, and although its not always pretty, its starting to flow again. Here’s a little bit of what we’ve been up to the past couple months, along with a link where you can read about Neil’s trip to Mozambique.
First Visit to Vidunda
During our team formation meetings last June, it seemed that God was leading us to consider the Vidunda, a people group that lives in the mountains of Morogoro region. Joas, a member of a local church in Dar es Salaam and one of the guys on our survey team, had visited there in 2016, and together we planned to look closer at the possibility of doing ministry there.
God used a local pastor, a fellow researcher, a girl talking on her phone, and a catechist to help open the doors for us to do further survey in the Vidunda villages. When we needed an introduction letter in the regional capital, a like minded pastor spoke up for us and helped us get permission to move on. When we got to the first village, an elderly man who had previously done language research remembered Joas and helped us get approval from the village leaders to visit their villages. While we were hiking up to the second village, we met a girl sitting on a large, flat rock and talking on her phone, the only place around where she could get reception. It turned out the elderly man we were with was her uncle, and just like that we had a place to stay in the village. Later, a catechist took me to another small village where he hosted me in his home, and when some of the locals seemed skeptical of me, he reassured them that I was okay there.
While I was there, an elder in the community explained to me how in the past, when their children got sick, they would go to the graves of their ancestors and offer sacrifices to appease them. Once they found the offended ancestor, their sickness would go away. He went on to explain how many years ago, missionaries came and baptized them into the church. Now, he said, when their children get sick they must discern whether the offended ancestor was baptized or not. If he was not baptized, then they must go to the grave and offer a sacrifice as they did before, but if the ancestor causing the problem happened to be baptized, then they must go to the church to give an offering and say a prayer to appease him in order for the problem to go away.
Pray for the Vidunda people that they would understand who God is. Pray for us that God would show us if he would have us work there, and if he does that he would continue to make a way for that to happen. Praise God for how he made a way during each step of our trip, and pray that  he would show us the next steps to take.
 Rag Rugs
While Neil was travelling, Rachelle stayed with some co-workers who live next to an orphanage. She and Micah spent a lot of time with the people at the orphanage, and she started teaching one of the ladies how to make rag rugs from old sheets and clothes. She learned fast, and since then Rachelle has been making rugs with other ladies from the church and from the community, and its proving to be a good opportunity to hang out with people. Keep praying for us as we seek to go deeper in our relationships with people here. Pray that we would walk by faith and that God’s love would be evident in us.
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