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Rowse's News - August 2016

by Bob Harvey last modified Aug 03, 2016 07:10 PM
Dear friends, I am now safely back with Kay and all the family. Everyone is doing well, except for poor Julie, Philip’s wife, who at just 40 has had to have a pacemaker put in. Please pray for her: the wound is not healing. Also, please pray for Asha – 15 today!

Rowse's News - August 2016There was just so much to be done before I left that I had to change my ticket and come three weeks later. But thankfully things are sorting themselves out on the compound in Mbeya and our Shabani – please pray for him – has things well-and-truly under control. There is even some progress on the long saga of getting the compound transferred to the trust: the Land Office surveyor has now had the surveying done and we are hopefully getting closer to having the subdivision approved. Please be praying about that, and all the administrative challenges. I have just heard that 450 Trusts like ours have suddenly been deregistered.

Please also be praying for my two dear friends, whom I have mentioned earlier:

 

  • Tanzanian Andi, who was badly slandered by another Tanzanian wanting his ‘seat’, heading up a brilliant programme supporting orphans in villages living with the extended family. He got the ear of the British philanthropist backing the programme, who has pulled the plug on them, leaving them desperate to find replacement support for about 5,000 (and going down!) orphans, and ...

  • British Andy, running a Christian school for girls, for years now and with marvellous results, but facing unbelievable, relentless opposition – not least from professing ‘Christians’.

After returning to Tanzania from Malawi, the Lord provided many open doors and open heartsamong Moravians, Baptists and Anglicans in the Mbeya Region. Again and again, without fail, most people are absolutely astonished at the good news – that grieving sinners (we hammer that!) who trust the punishing Christ got (on the cross) to save them from punishment (in hell) are rescued for good.

When you explain that since we already have eternal life, it must mean that even our future sin is punished in advance, well ... at this point you can find yourself up against a brick wall. The proud can get angry, but others seem to just collapse onto Christ in sheer relief. In the last church I was at just before flying off, when we got to this stage there was a stunned silence: “You all seem surprised?And a young man’s voice answered, “Very!” Above all else in this work, this is what we need to be praying for.

Bad and Good news from the Moravians.

 

This grace teaching is all too much for the local Moravian bishop, and I am sacked (again!) from teaching on Radio Baraka. Do pray for him: in a system of church government where he is supposed to be simply a pastor, especially to the leadership, there is a strong cultural pull for him to become the chief of the ‘tribe’. The chairman of the leadership team has been ousted, supposedly for corruption, but the committee set up to audit him has cleared him. The mutiny was led by the bishop and the deputy chairman who has now conveniently stepped into the chairman’s shoes. Pastors who have spoken out have lost their jobs and in some cases truckloads of thugs have been sent to bundle them and their families and belongings out into the street.

Yet again, Jesus’ words about false teachers are borne out: “You will know them by their fruits.” Everyone is waiting for a synod in October in which the ousted chairman should at last have the chance to exercise his right of appeal. Please be praying for that. Without a miracle from God it is not likely that the truth will prevail as the issue is now being played out on tribal lines.

Good news on Two Fronts.

 

  1. Florence, the wife of the chairman of another ‘province’ of the Moravians – centred in Tabora – got really fired-up about justification after I explained it to her and another leading lady last year. You may recall that I got in, by the skin of my teeth, to teach the local Moravian pastors, after the Anglican bishop had cut short my programme with his diocese. He, too, insisted that justification was by faith PLUS good works. That seminar went like a house on fire. But the icing on the cake was Florence. I had left the two ladies copies of our teach-yourself Bible-study workbook. Being the wife of the big man, she gets invited to teach women here and there all over the ‘province’. She contacted me again recently and it appears she is still busy using these opportunities to announce THE gospel to women.
  2. The next good news is a follow-up on a contact you may have prayed for late last year. Dr Mwanisongole is in charge of postgraduate studies in the theology department of TEKU, the Moravian University in Mbeya. He had heard some of the radio Bible studies and is fully onside. He is not merely an academic who knows about God, but he gives every indication of being someone who knows God. [Incidentally, it is 50 years this year since the Lord used that question, “John, do you know God?” to make me his child, drawing me to the cross at the age of 19, after the bishops had already decided I should be trained for “holy orders”]. He arranged with the lady principal to get me two full afternoons with the students. We moved ahead cautiously on the first day, but by the end of the second day – when attendance was well up on the first day – it appears that the bulk of them had been persuaded (though only the Lord will know for sure). Even the principal changed her answers. So please be praying for those students.

 

Sundry Happenings

 

  • I have a couple of cataract jobs coming up, the first one August 11. It will mean a change ofglasses – I may only need reading glasses after this, if it goes OK – but I needed a new pair anyway; when a lens came out in Malawi, a ‘kind’ optometrist put it back with superglue which she managed to spill over both lenses. Besides a skin cutting-out from the Sunspot clinic, I have another little job where some plumbing is popping out through the wall of my ‘tent’. After so long being away from Kay, it seems I have a couple of her-nears.

  • I would value prayer for discipline to work more steadily on the setting up of the Chewa translation of the workbook. It’s absolutely vital and urgent, but awfully tedious work. I am also working on a little Swahili booklet to encourage Christians in the midst of suffering. This began with a request from some South African friends farming in Tanzania, who have a lady working for them who, on top of repeated bereavement, has been loaded with some horrible “Job’s counsellors” advice.

  • Please also pray for the arrangements for the next spell in Africa. I leave here, God-willing, September 21st. First up, we are working on one or two “Grace Clinics” in Uganda. Also, the session I was to have at the police college in Dar es Salaam has been postponed till I return. I have sent them a questionnaire relating to their own thinking on witchcraft. This could be highly sensitive, and they may well not agree to have the officers do it. But it could prove very useful to the whole anti-witch-hunting programme. So please be praying about that – and that the police college work will go ahead this time.

Two projects for your Consideration

 

  1. A senior pastor friend of mine with the Lutherans in Tanzania, a faithful friend of many years, brave and unswerving on the gospel, already has a key leadership role in his diocese. With more qualifications – at least a diploma – he could find himself even more strategically positioned. I have been negotiating with a Presbyterian theological college in Malawi – founded by Irish Pressies – who have agreed to accept him and give him some credit for his previous studies. I do not have the full details on fees yet, but if any of you are looking for a good project, here is one I would firmly recommend.

  2. If I may remind you of another need, I went ahead and sent the equivalent of AUD700 towards the cost of schooling for Daudi’s three children for the second half of this year. (Daudi is my ‘Timothy’ in the Lake Victoria side of Tanzania. He is the one whose daughter was killed by a snake.) I would be glad to hear from anyone who would like to contribute towards that. I have made no commitment for the future, but it is a need that will probably not go away in a hurry. In the atmosphere of uncertainty over leadership in Mara Diocese, support from the UK for pastors’ children went down, and Daudi’s three were sent home. The alternative is government schools with classes of 150-200, especially since a free “schooling”-for-all programme was announced. There is now a new bishop who, we hope, will inspire confidence again, but in the meantime Daudi’s three are left high and dry. Pastors and others have been amazingly responsive to Daudi’s seminars, although the last one he ran was quite tough going. Right now, he is teaching 100+ in Arusha, including some from Malawi and Uganda. Do pray for him and his family.

My “Timothys”

 

  • Another ‘Timothy’, Moses Makanta in northern Zambia, and Gertrude, his wife, have been going through real grief, but they remain steadfast. Recently a total stranger came to Isoka and sorted out Moses to thank him for the life-changing message Moses had given him via radio. After some people anonymously objected to his preaching on grace,

  • Travol Muwapa, my ‘Timothy’ among Zambian Pentecostals, was ruthlessly thrown out of a large church that he had been used to build up (from almost nothing) over 18 years. Well, thank you again for praying: the bishop who threw him out has been soundly reprimanded after an appeal to other bishops at national level, and he has been promised a new placement.

 

Thank You for all your praying and kind concern.

John – with love from Kay and Asha.

 

My phone no. is: 0470 299 896.

Kay’s is: 0416 010 419

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