Sunday, February 28, 2016

Short Report - February 28

Greetings fellow workers,

God is continuing to bless the work here, and demonstrate his goodness.  It's an honor to serve Him along side of each of you and together with the soldiers of Christ here.

Bible Tracts

We are absolutely thrilled that Mission Printing has chosen to send a treasure trove of biblical tracts and materials to us.  This week an entire shipping container of materials arrived at the Andrew Connally School of Preaching.  We'll serve as a distribution point, and some of these materials will go to other mission points across East Africa.  As you can tell from the pictures, there's plenty to go around.  This will be a great blessing to the work here.

Students unloading the shipment of tracts

Daniel inspecting a box of tracts

Levi shows us how high the boxes are piled

Area Reports
Here are some excerpts from reports we've received from some of the area preachers about work taking place at their congregations.  Be encouraged at all of the work being done for our Lord.

From Yusuph:
The outline of Baptisms and restorations for all congregations on Lake Zone this February,
USHIROMBO - 3 restored
LULEMBELA - 13 souls
IMALAMAGIGO -8 souls IBAMBULA - 3 restored
SUNVE - 4 Soul restored and 5 baptism.

From Joseph Juma Withare:
For two last month I was established 12 Bible Classes with 25 people right now I have 15 Bible Classes with 31 people I was also visiting the church members who are hack sliding for many years I succeed to restored one, also working for other back sliders.

From Ibrahimu Mrutu at the Kisongo church:
The church is rapidly increasing it’s number, the attendance now is awesome. We are absolutely thanks to the might God for the great chance to preach the Gospel.
The great challenge that we have is building. Our current building is now small, some times members stands outside.

From Hamidu Mohamed at the Kazibizyo church:
Within this February GOD has been added 10 souls (Ten) in his kingdom, the big effort caused this result to appear look these result on January if you are remember I wrote 20 twenty souls were obeyed, so that we have 30 new converts within these two month and according to these results the number will increasing because the church have made plan to encourage every believers to make sure that are invite their neighbors or relatives or friends so the work of evangelism are becoming very easy.

Cy Update
We rejoice that Cy's cancer has gone into remission.  He is currently undergoing physical therapy in an effort to get strong enough to continue on with the treatment plan.  Please continue to pray for him.

Enjoy some pictures from the week:
Daniel poses with Josiah and Levi outside of the Kilimanjaro Bible School

Daniel preaching at Moshi 
Daniel preaching at Njiro Chini

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Short Report - Feb 14

Greetings Fellow Workers,

     It's been another wonderful week in Tanzania.  The students have returned to the Andrew Connally School of Preaching for a new year of study.  We were happy to welcome about 30 new students into their first year of training.  Meanwhile, it was great to see the familiar faces of our returning second year students after their break.

     The Njiro Chini congregation is between preachers right now, so Daniel is doing a lot of teaching there to help out.  Also, Justin is guest speaking at the Ilkiurei congregation for the quarter, while Anna and Samantha continue with the children's class at Kisongo.

     Saturday, both missionary families went to the Lerai congregation to conduct a seminar.  There were a couple of sessions for the children with about 130 in attendance.  There were also lessons for the ladies.  One was a lesson on unity, and the other was about how to better teach the Bible to their children.  Meanwhile, Justin and Daniel conducted Bible studies with the other adults.  You can enjoy some pictures from the day below.

     In other news, Cy Stafford continues to hold on.  He has had some small improvements, but still has a very long way to go.  Please continue to be diligent in your prayers on his behalf.  They are making a difference.

    Thank you for your prayers and support.  Your partnership is helping to make some wonderful things possible.

Till all have heard...

Daniel Gaines

Daniel teaches a class of about 50 adults who gathered for the seminar.

Anna teaches a children's class while Anita helps out and Jane translates.

Tiffany teaches the women

Justin teaches a small group study

Samantha teaches the books of the Bible to a group of children while Daniel teaches a group of adults.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

A Tribute to Cy Stafford

Cy Stafford - My brother, my fellow worker, my fellow soldier, and my hero in the faith.

     In Philippians 2, Paul writes about a man named Epaphroditus.  He describes Epaphroditus as "my brother and fellow worker and fellow soldier."  Paul admonishes the Philippians to "hold men like him [Epaphroditus] in high regard."  In other words, this is the type of man who is worthy of honor, admiration, and respect.  This type of man is a hero.

     Our modern world tells us to admire actors, singers, and athletes.  These are the people that children dream of being.  Our world admires those who make the most money, for these are the ones that society deems "successful."  Parents dream of this type of success for their children, so that they can have "better" lives than the parents did.  

     I suggest to you that the world needs more heroes like Epaphroditus.  We also need to identify men and women in our midst that are already like Epaphroditus, and honor them.  We need to point them out to our children as role models.  Friends, we have just lost one such man.  Cy Stafford has indeed been a modern-day brother and fellow worker and fellow soldier to the Apostle Paul and to our Lord Jesus Christ.  

     Cy has spent about 23 years as a missionary in Tanzania, Africa.  He loves Tanzania dearly.  I can't count the number of times that I heard him smile and say, "Ah, this is my favorite time of day in Africa!"  He would say this regardless of what time of day it was because he loves them all!  He would just take in stride the things that infuriated other missionaries about life in Africa with a shrug and a "T.I.A." ("this is Africa).  Cy often describes Tanzania as "the last, best place on Earth."  That's how he truly views it.  

     Along the way, he has impacted countless souls on both sides of the Atlantic.  His impact on the church in East Africa is immeasurable.  In addition to the evangelism that he directly participated in, he founded the Andrew Connally School of Preaching.  This school has graduated almost 150 preachers and church leaders that are making the Lord's church a strong force in the region.  He has provided such tremendous, irreplaceable leadership and vision to the churches there.

     However, his impact goes far beyond conversion numbers.  There is no modern man more beloved by the brethren in northern Tanzania than Cy Stafford.  The difference he has made in their personal lives is incalculable.  His loss will be felt passionately by the christians there.

     Though he is an African missionary, he has also made a great difference to so many people in America.  The outpouring of loving messages and prayer requests that have flooded social media over the past year+ is a testament to that.  I've rarely encountered someone who seemed to mean so much to so many.  When people spend time with him, they walk away from the encounter with their faith strengthened and their evangelistic zeal increased.  It seems everyone has a favorite Cy story or quote.  The Wizard of Oz told the Tin Man, "A heart is not judged by how much you love; but by how much you are loved by others."  By that standard, Cy Stafford had a very great heart indeed.  

     Cy Stafford has made a huge difference in my life.  He is the man responsible for making me a Tanzanian missionary, and for teaching me how to fill that role.  He very patiently worked on me over the course of a decade, but finally succeeded in getting us to Arusha.  Any good that I did as a missionary is in large part a result of Cy's influence.  By his gracious example, he taught me the value of hospitality.  He is my mentor and friend.  He is my brother and fellow worker and fellow soldier.  I will miss him dearly.  

     Though Cy is uncomfortable with receiving honor, and he always seeks to deflect attention away from himself, he has been a man that we should hold "in high regard."  This is the type of person that parents should hope their children grow up to be.  

     We thought we'd lost him over a year ago, but this miracle man persevered despite all odds.  We praise and thank God for the additional time that he granted our brother Cy on this earth.  However, the time to be selfish with Cy is passed.  He has gone on to receive great rewards and to forever be free of pain and suffering.  Now join with me in prayer for his sweet wife, Stephanie, and the rest of the family and friends that he leaves behind.  

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Short Report - Feb 7

Daniel addresses the Njiro Chini congregation while Elly translates

Tiffany teaches the children's Bible class

Anybody remember using a fan during church?  The practice is back on this sweltering Sunday!

Greetings fellow workers,

     The rains are falling here in Africa.  The grass is green and the flowers are blooming.  It is truly a beautiful time of year to be here in this portion of God's creation.

     The Gaines family is safely back in Tanzania, and back in the groove.  Furlough was great, but it feels good to be back in the field.  We've missed this place and its wonderful people.

     The new school year begins tomorrow.  Students are shaking off the cobwebs of from their break and preparing to resume their studies.  We look forward to welcoming in a fresh class of Swahili students who are eagerly beginning the journey that their predecessors just completed.  One of the great joys of this work is knowing that it is never finished.  We have yet to run out of willing men who are seeking to strengthen their service to God, and the kingdom here is blessed for it.

     On a more somber note, our beloved brother, Cy Stafford, continues to have serious health problems.  It seems that one day brings bad news, but the next brings rays of hope.  During this turbulent time, a schedule for fasting and prayers of intervention has been organized.  We invite you to participate in this to whatever degree you would like.

Fasting Schedule:
-Bear Valley: February 1-10
- Churches of East Africa: February 11-21
- U.S. churches: February 22 - March 1

     Thank you brothers for your prayers and support.  This work wouldn't be possible without the participation of good people like you.

Till all have heard...

Daniel Gaines