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Neil and Rachelle's Update
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“The Lord will say, ‘I have long been silent; yes, I have restrained myself. But now, like a woman in labor, I will cry and groan and pant.” -Isaiah 42:14
             
Lake Rukwa, it used to be a game preserve, than one day, it decided to fill up with water and become a lake, as evidenced by the tree trunks poking up through the water. Change is not new here in the Rift valley of Africa and it continues to influence not just the geography but the people living here as well. Many of these people are losing some of their long held customs and beliefs, but what are they being replaced with? As the world encroaches in on them, how are they handling the new challenges that their cultures are facing, such as the erosion of some traditional values? Many of these villages now have churches, often several of them, so how are these churches influencing them, and what is their understanding of salvation? Will these people continue to maintain their identity and language, or will they be swallowed up by the larger group surrounding them? These are some of the questions we’re trying to come to grips with as we visit with the Bungu and the Kisi people here in Tanzania.

We’re thankful that in three years time, we’ve gone from being brand new not knowing anything about Africa to being able to have these kinds of conversations. We’re thankful that we can feel at home with the people here, that we can ride the buses, boats, and motorcycles with them, that we can eat with them, visit with them, and relax with them. Still, we’re increasingly aware of how different our worldviews are, and how no matter how much time we spend here we’ll never fully understand Africa. God continues to show us our inadequacy, and is teaching us that Christianity is not just a set of doctrines which can be recited in a creed but the living out of those doctrines. Realizing this is why it is not just our goal to get people to agree to a certain set of facts about God, but to show people how they can have a living, personal, trusting relationship with God.

Often times, when you’re getting supported to do a work like this, you find yourself reflecting on what impact you’re having on the people you came to serve. The truth is, I don’t really know yet, but I do know that our time here has had an impact on us. We’ve learned a lot from the people here, but more than that, as a family we’ve learned more about the personal nature of God. We’ve seen his hand of protection over us, we’ve seen him answer specific prayers, and we’ve seen him reveal himself to us through his Word. A lot of times when we feel tired and weak, we feel you’re prayers for us keeping us going.
February and March:
· We plan on visiting both the Bungu and Kisi villages again, this time as a family. Pray that God would continue to open our eyes to what he is doing there and how or if he would want us to go in to live and minister in one of these villages. Pray for Rachelle and Micah as it will be their first time there.
April and May:
· We plan on wrapping things up here in Mbeya and then traveling to Mozambique to visit a village church plant and then attend a church planting seminar. We plan on returning to the States in May for an 8 month furlough. Pray that as a family we would handle the transitions well.
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New Tribes Mission | 1000 E First St. | Sanford, FL 32771

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