Babies, rabies, cataracts and a broken arm

Dear Friends and Family,

It’s been a busy couple of months for us since our last update. Thank you for praying for the Pahi meeting May, it went very well overall, and I’m encouraged by all the support from the local leadership and Pwani Diocese. Pray that things will move forward with the right workers there who have hearts for ministry.
In June we welcomed Dan Everett for six weeks, who fit in great and enjoyed his time with us in Magambua! We also had a quick visit from Kim Stengele, which was a treat! Kim helped facilitate eye screening among the Alagwa people, and then we hosted an eye surgery clinic at the end of June for the Alagwa patients, which went very well. It was another great week for the TIMO team among the Alagwa to demonstrate tangible love for their neighbors!
Josh had a really great first year at RVA, and finished fifth grade in July. After picking Josh up at school we returned to Tanzania where we picked up Jon’s parents and then headed to the beach for a family vacation. It was great seeing Mimi and Poppop again! At the end of the vacation, Drew fell off a scooter and gave himself a small buckle fracture of his left forearm, which thankfully has healed up well now.

Margaret Papov, our new missionary midwife, made it Magambua in the beginning of July. She is still settling in and adjusting to using Swahili again after several years, learning Kisandawe (the local language) and to practicing as a nurse midwife again. She’ll also be doing some Scripture Use work with the Hunzikers as well once she gets some more Kisandawe under her belt. Praise the Lord, her residence permit and nursing registration have both come through. Jon and Margaret have been able to deliver some babies together this past month, the first was a girl who the family named Margaret! The last two deliveries were a few weeks premature, one weighed 2.5 kg (5 lb 8 oz) and the other 2.7 (6 lb). Both were doing fine the day after delivery.

On a sad note, a six year old girl from Dinae, died from rabies this month. She and her father were bitten by a rabid civet cat who came in to their house at night. They came to us quickly, but our rabies vaccine had run out the day before, and our typical supplier didn’t have any more. We finally got some two weeks later, but they delayed in returning. She came eventually but full blown rabies had already set in. We were able to get the father started on the shots, but his daughter died two days after onset of symptoms. Our team took this all very hard. Please pray for the family of this little girl, pray the vaccine would prevent the father from dying, pray for their comfort and most of all, for their salvation.

Starting the week of September 9th, the local AICT churches will be holding evangelistic meetings in Magambua and Kwa Mtoro. A choir from Mwanza will be coming. Pray to the Lord of the Harvest that we would see many come to faith in Christ!

We’ve also entered a time of prayer and evaluation with our local church leaders to look at the possibility of church planting efforts in some specific villages. Please pray for wisdom and the Lord’s guidance as we discuss the villages of Msera, Birise, Baaba, and Tumbelo. Praise God, there is a small group of believers already in Tumbelo, who came to faith through a combination of the mobile MCH clinic we used to run there and evangelism done by the Kwa Mtoro and Gumbu churches. Pray for discipleship efforts in Tumbelo.

We have been looking ahead to more changes as both boys will be at R.V.A. this school year. We have tried to do several fun activities in the last month, trying to make the most of the short time we have had before our world gets turned upside down. We had a living room family sleep over, went camping and had a “Dino-dinner” for Josh’s 12th birthday. Jon also took Drew out for a one night camping trip just to have some father/son time before this school year begins. We will attach some photos and let them speak for themselves!

We have been in Nairobi this week getting some business and school items taken care of. We have also been able to spend some good time with Melissa’s cousin, Jeff Barnett and his family, who have just returned to Kenya after almost 2 years away so that has been good. We’ll be getting the boys settled in to RVA tomorrow and Saturday. I (Melissa) will board the plane on Saturday night to fly to the U.S. for three weeks. Stressful, yes, but on the bright side, how many people get to spend their 40th birthday (Sept. 1st) in 3 different countries! I will arrive in PA and meet up with my mom and then we will begin the drive down to Florida the following Saturday. I will have about 2 weeks with her in Florida to help her settle in before returning to Africa again on the 21st of Sept.

So, our family will spread across 2 continents and 3 countries for the next few weeks. And each of us will be busy and making big adjustments. Please pray for us! This is one of those very emotional times for us. It is so very painful to be separated from our children but we know they are in God’s hands and it is for the sake of the KINGDOM that we willingly make this sacrifice. Oh that we will see many more Sandawe people come to know the LORD!

Please pray for:

1- Drew settling in to RVA for the first time
2- Melissa’s travels to the US and Shosho settling in to AIM’s retirement center in Florida
3- The evangelistic meetings in September
4- Margaret’s settling in to ministry in Usandawe
5- Church planting planning
6- The family who lost their daughter to rabies

In Christ,

Melissa for all of us

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