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Then God Showed Up…

Day Four, Day 4, Fourth Day, The Day After Three… Compassion Bloggers Tanzania

If you are wondering why I’m using all of these different variations of Day 4, it’s for no other reason than I’ve started most of my posts with something like “Day 2 in Tanzania.” I actually like change; change is good, so change often.

Now back to the Day after the 3rd day in Tanzania. We kicked off the day a little early because we had a lot to do prior to catching an early afternoon flight from Mwanza to Arusha. We started off by visiting the African Church Ilemela (AICT) TZ 955.

The AICT Project has been around about 4 years and has 279, and only 9 of which are currently not being sponsored. This center has a library/computer lab that was just recently completed. It was really cool to see and know that this computer lab existed. The Project staff were extremely proud of it and was in the process of building some bookshelves in this new library/computer lab.

We got to hang out with Famous Amos today. Not the cookie guy but 7-year-old Amos who is a student at the AICT Project. Those little Famous Amos Cookies would be good right about now. Speaking of right now, at this moment I’m in a bus with the compassion bloggers in route from the Kilimanjaro airport to the Compassion Local Country Office.

Our journey to Amos’ house consisted of climbing the longest, winding, rocky, hilly, mountain-like trail up to his home. It was like an intense stair climber, elliptical workout. About halfway up the hill, we paused to catch our breath take some pictures of the amazing view.

Once we arrived at the top of the hill, we were welcomed into Amos’ home by his mother Leonia. She was very friendly, gracious and really happy to see us. She stated that we were the first visitors ever to her home from outside of their community. There were 3 other children at the home and the father worked as a day laborer in the community.

As we were talking and hearing Leonia tell her story about a rough season in their lives we witnessed one of those “Then God Showed Up” moments. The phrase “Then God Showed Up” seems to always be preceded by some troubles or a bleak situation… “Then God Showed Up.” I understand the context behind the phrase; however it’s one of those phrases that in my opinion reduces the Almighty Creator of Heaven and Earth to a merely situational God. I like to remember the “3GO’s of God”:

  • God’s Omniscience– God knows everything.
  • God’s Omnipresence- God is everywhere.
  • God’s Omnipotence- God is almighty, all-powerful and can do anything.

Then God Showed Up! Not so much, “God was already there!”

God knows everything, God is everywhere and God can do anything, we have to acknowledge that fact. Some situations it may appear too difficult to acknowledge the “3-GO’s.” The harsh reality is no situation is too difficult or too great to recognize that God was already there.

Now let’s get back to Amos’ mother Leonia’s story. She explained how they were having rough times and she decided to start a business with the help of some funding from some ladies in the church. Her business consisted of selling fish and it was started with the equivalent of maybe $20 in the U.S. She would get fish from the people at the lake and then sell them at market.

Once Leonia’s modest business got up and rolling she trusted a local guy in the community to go and sell her fish; unfortunately one day the guy never returned. At this time in her life, her situation appeared bleak and then something happened… many would say “Then God Showed Up!” Leonia says it this way, “I lost my business, my income and I knew God was there and would take care of me.” That’s exactly what God did, the next week she found out that Amos had received a Compassion Sponsor. (insert applause, ahh’s, halleluja’s and amens)

The support that Leonia received for Amos via the Compassion Sponsor was just enough to compensate for her lost business. God continues to bless their family and she now has a little business of selling little buckets of coal in which people use for cooking. I love Leonia’s spirit and I love the fact that she doesn’t embrace the mentality of “Then God Showed Up!” but rather acknowledges that He was already there.

God continues to use Compassion Sponsors to impact the lives of families and children in Tanzania. My question for you is this will you allow God to use you and a modest investment of $38 a month or roughly 5 quarters per day to change the life of a child and their family?

Get out a jar and start putting one quarter in it each day and make a commitment to sponsor a child. I am simply asking you to sponsor a child from Tanzania. LaKendria and I are looking forward to sitting down with our son’s and sponsoring a Tanzanian child as soon as we get home. We have been Skyping with them daily and they are looking forward to us getting home and sharing the details of our experience.

The Tanzanian Office of Compassion has been around since 1999 and to date there have been 60,869 kids sponsored from Tanzania and there are 4,550 4,449 left to be sponsored.  The cool thing about sponsorship is the fact that it doesn’t just change the sponsored kid’s life, it changes the sponsors life. I love how Shaun Groves talks about the beauty of sponsorship when he says this:

“Sponsors learn how to live more simply, so others can simply live.” ~Shaun Groves

If you sponsor a child, let me know… I’d love to give you a shout-out, pray for you and celebrate in advance with you. Blessings…  Remember you don’t have to wait until God shows up to make a move, He’s Already There!

See pics. from today’s visit below.

compassion child in window

Compassion Child looking through the window.

Amos sponsor letter

Amos sponsor letter tightly kept even with a little water damage.

View from the halfway point up the hill to Amos' house

View from the halfway point up the hill to Amos' house

Amos hanging at the door of his home.

Amos hanging at the door of his home.

Amos Mother sharing her testimony and accounts of God's goodness.

Nike Is Universal... (This made me chuckle)

Me hanging out with the kids...

Zack, LaKendria, Maggie, Shaun and Thomas walking down the hill from Amos' house.

Share your thoughts on “Then God Showed Up,” the fact that you can sponsor a child for 5 quarters a day and any other thoughts on the above pics.

The Life Of Moses and More Muslims Coming To Know Jesus

It’s day 3 of the #Compassion #Tanzania bloggers trip. Today we visited the Evangelistic Assemblies Of God Tanzania (EAGT) Project in the community of Lumula/Mwanza Tanzania. Just like every project, we were greeted with a warm welcome and the kids were especially cheerful, happy, joyful, energetic, singing and really helped us to kick the day off with big smiles on our faces. I was personally moved by the spirit and the power in the atmosphere of this project… Clearly felt God’s presence.

Today we took part in what is called, “The Day In The Life” of a Compassion Child. We visited the house of Moses and although we didn’t see a burning bush on the way to his house we did see the misery of the people in Moses’ community. I didn’t hear him say it; however I believe he was thinking “Let My People Go!” 🙂 Moses is a 10-year-old young man in the EAGT project. Moses lives with his father, mother and 3 siblings.

We spent the morning completing the exact chores that Moses and his family do on a daily basis. These chores included going to town to buy soap and water, washing dishes, preparing the meal and Moses tending his small garden and his cuckoos. Cukoo means chicken in Swahili. Moses is an awesome kid with some great talents; everything from playing soccer, running, to keeping the family tradition of his father and learning to become a seamstress. Moses and his 19-year-old brother Lousobya both sewed and were very mannerable and giving young men.

My wife and I were truly blessed by our time with Moses and his family. When I asked his mother what were her dreams for Moses, her response was simple and yet powerful, “I want Moses to be what God intends for him to be.” Isn’t that the dream for all of us, for us to put all of our chips on the table, work hard, leave it on the field, not make excuses and reach our God potential. Moses’ Compassion Sponsor is helping Moses reach his God potential. As a result of compassion, Moses has a relationship with the Lord and loves singing, playing, reading his Bible and memorizing Bible verses.

Once we left Moses’ home, we went back to the EAGT Project. I had the opportunity to spend some time with Pastor Daniel Kulola, who is the Pastor for the EAGT Project. Pastor Kulola is a gifted leader and has responsibility for over 600 churches in his region. Of the many things that stood out to me today, there is one thing in particular that I wanted to share with you. I wanted to share the impact that Pastor Kulola’s leadership partnered with the Compassion Project has had on their community and the Kingdom Of God.

Pastor Kulola can say it better than I can, so watch this short 3 min. video below and afterwards read my closing comments and pictures of the day at the bottom.

This scripture below sums up what Pastor Kulola said in the video, many people from the community are coming to church and coming to know Jesus first because they hear the stories, see the acts of love and compassion, see people being the hands and feet of Christ for those that they don’t know. Secondly, they see and experience the Good News for themselves and come to know Jesus.

Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.” So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days. And because of his words many more became believers. They said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world. John 4:39-42

My friends, there is power in your testimony, power in your story and power in living out your faith. Muslims are coming to know Jesus because of what they see in the lives of their children and the generosity of strangers. As a matter of fact one of Moses’ compassion teachers Jackobo converted from Islam to Christianity and his story is helping to reach others.

Being a Compassion Sponsor isn’t simply about feeding, educating and making a difference in the lives of the sponsored child… being a sponsor is a compass that’s helping to change people’s life-direction for an eternity. If you want to sponsor one of the kids from the EAGT Project that we visited today Click Here. If you would like to sponsor a child from anywhere in Tanzania Click here.

Share your thoughts on Pastor Kulola’s comments in the video above. What do you think about their amazing growth in less than 2 years?

My prayer for my children, your children, the children of this region, my family and the family of everyone reading this post is, “That you may reach your God Potential!”

Pics. of the day!

Lakendria & Kelli Going To Get Water

Moses paying to get some water

Moses paying to get some soap.

Moses and I washing dishes (learned you can use a little dirt to create a scouring pad)

 

Moses breaking out the sewing machine (showing a little foot-pedal and hand coordination skills)

 

Moses and his soccer team getting ready for a little competition. (He's got skills & shirts vs skins is universal)

Moses, His Brother & Mother

Me and Pastor Kulola having a conversation (not sure what I was saying, but it appears to be animated)

Pic that LaKendria had taken of the Chalkboard in one of the classrooms prior to our departure.

Share any thoughts from the video or post in general. Do you have any questions or comments for me? Thinking about sponsoring a child from Tanzania? Don’t just think about it, do it for the price of a cup of coffee a day you can change a kids life. Click Here, to sponsor a child right now!

Where There Is No Vision The People Perish – Tanzania (Day 2)

Today we kicked off Day 2 of our #Compassion #Tanzania trip bright and early with a little breakfast prior to heading to the AICT African Island Church Tanzania. For the sake of wordiness and consistency, I’ll simply refer to this project as AITC. This was an amazing experience, amazing project, amazing kids and the potential for this project is off the charts. AICT is a relatively new project serving over 250 kids. Of the 250+ kids in the project only 53 of those kids are still in need of a sponsor.

You can actually sponsor a kid specifically from the AICT project by clicking this link… (see pics below) Last time I checked there were 16 kids available on the Compassion site from this particular project and plenty of other kids in need of a sponsor from Tanzania. LaKendria and I are excited about sponsoring a child from Tanzania.

Each day I’m taking in so much information, emotions and stories. Todays emotions were filled with the joys of seeing these little kids have so much fun playing the basic children playground games, smiling for the camera, being mesmerized by my white hellosomebody (hello freedom) watch (see pic below), kids sharing their testimonies, kids singing, the vision the Project Director has for AICT and the list of joys go on and on like this run-on rambling sentence. The entire Compassion Bloggers team left with joyful memories.

On the flip-side of the joyful emotions you had the sadness that came with visiting the home of a poverty stricken family of this 3-year-old little girl Latecia. Latecia is in need of a Sponsor and her mother and brother are in need of hope. (see pic below) We were able to pray over the family, prayers to help them to find the hope that can only be found in Christ. This family has to walk 15 minutes one-way to get water and often times they are unable to afford it. Coming from the US where we have plenty and going to a place like Tanzania, where extreme poverty seems to be par for the course… no matter how you slice it, the emotion of sadness is triggered.

The great thing about seeing extreme poverty and being faced with the question of “What am I going to do about it?” Fortunately, for answsering that question as it relates to Tanzania, God is already doing some amazing work through Compassion International’s holistic ministry approach. With Compassion $38 a month can answer that question of “What am I going to do about it.” $38 a month basically provides:

  • Food and Clean Drinking Water
  • Medical Care and Advocacy
  • Educational Opportunities
  • Life-skills and Leadership Training
  • Understanding Of What It Means To Have a Lifelong relationship with Jesus.

In my opinion I feel that the key to the success of Compassion’s Projects in under-served communities around the globe is the fact that they are Christ centered and a have a clear vision to serve the spiritual, physical, social and educational needs of children in need around the world and right here in Tanzania. As a pastor, I have always embraced the fact that vision is critical to success:

Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keeps the law, happy is he. Proverbs 29:18

I loved hearing Samson’s vision for the Project. Samson is the Project Director (see pic below) and his vision is a laundry list of things that he wants to accomplish by 2022. Everything from every child being sponsored, new classroom space, additional office space and a plethora of other things that will allow them to serve more kids. He had a 10-year plan filled with hope, joy, success and a plan to realize their potential. He was excited about what could be and had an expectant heart for what will be.

I loved hearing this young man named James that is part of the AICT Project bring the word today… (see pic below)  He spoke a Biblical message about vision and God’s love for the children. Coinceidentally I mean God put his fingerprint on this trip as 10-year-old James spoke from Matthew 19:13-14, which is exactly the scripture God gave me to share in my post from yesterday. As he was preaching, Shaun Groves and I just looked at each other and smiled as this young man spoke a powerful vision message about God’s love for the children and what can be.
Compassion international is changing the life course for children in poverty around the globe. You, your family and friends can be a part of that life-change for a nominal commitment. Everyone will end up somewhere; however few will end up somewhere on purpose. Compassion international sponsors have already helped 1.2 million kids chart a new course through sponsorship. Many of you reading this post have helped to make that 1.2 million happen and others of you will be a part of making the next 1.2 million happen.

“Vision without action is a dream. Action without vision is simply passing the time. Action with Vision is making a positive difference.” ~Joel Barker

Compassion has action with vision… Be a Part Of The Vision Today.

Pics Below & Video Below: (The last image is a video walk-through of the Project)

Hanging with kids from the AITC Project

Kids mesmerized by my HelloSomebody - Hello Freedom Watch

Latecia, her mom Agnes & brother Michael

AITC Project Director Samson with "Big Vision"

10-Year-Old James Preaching

My favorite pic. that I took of Latecia

I am going to ask you that question again… You see the problem, you hear the vision, “What are you going to do about it?” Sponsor a child from Tanzania right here.

Share your thoughts on the importance of vision. 

Would you agree that Compassion’s success and holistic approach makes it an organization with Action & Vision?

Any questions, thoughts or observations? Thanks for reading!

Jesus Loves The Children and A Trip To The Motherland – Tanzania Day 1

It’s about 10:00 p.m. on Sunday evening and we (Compassion Bloggers) just finished an amazingly draining yet energizing day. Draining, because we have flown for well over 48hrs due to plane delays, long layovers, schedule changes and you name it. To top the draining portion of the day off, half of the bloggers’ luggage did not arrive (LaKendria and I are in that half that didn’t arrive… insert sad face). Yes today was draining; however today was also Energizing, because… well I’ll get to the energizing part in a moment.

A Little Background: As long as I can remember I have either made statements about the Motherland (referring to Africa), I even found myself sometime in the 80’s wearing the African medallion around my neck. For the first time my wife and I landed in the Motherland together. To be specific we have been to Nairobi Kenya for an airport layover and made our final destination of Mwanza, Tanzania. It’s kind of surreal, lots of emotions, glad we are here together, along with the rest of the amazing bloggers on this trip.

Let’s Get Up To Speed: We finally made it to our hotel for just enough time to check-in, grab lunch and head out to one of the Compassion International CIV Project. I was amazed to see all of the parents and children there to greet us at the church on a Sunday evening. They were all so thankful for the generosity of Compassion International, in other words they were thankful to everyone that sponsors a child or donates to Compassion in any shape, form, or fashion. Those investments are making lasting deposits into the lives of these children and changing their outlook.

My Thoughts From Today: Let me start off by saying, I have so much information, perspective and emotions that I could write forever; however I’ll be sharing every day for the next few days and have memories for a lifetime. Today we had the opportunity to spend time with the pastor, volunteers, parents and project workers. This time allowed us to gain great perspective of the compassion programs and services, while seeing their impact firsthand. I asked the Pastor how other churches perceived them in the community since they were a compassion partner? The pastor informed us that being a compassion partner and having the Compassion CIV project has really been a unifying factor for the community and the Body Of Christ.

He explained that it’s been the one thing that has crossed denominational and cultural lines for the church. They can all come together for the children and for the sake of the Gospel. It was great to hear stories about kids that have come to know Jesus, pastors partnering with other pastors and parents coming forward to have their children prayed for in the name of Jesus. The Body Of Christ in Mwanza is being united around the children and that doesn’t surprise me, because the children are important to God.

I’m reminded of this account in scripture, Matthew 19:13-14

One day some parents brought their children to Jesus so he could lay his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples scolded the parents for bothering him. But Jesus said, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children.”

Back To The Energizing Part: I was energized deep down inside to see a group of people living in such poverty demonstrate how richly blessed they were. I was energized by the fact that I’ve had very little sleep, have not taken a bath in a couple of days, our luggage is lost at this point and you know what “We will be alright.” I was energized by teaching some of the locals here a little slang, the #FistBump, talk Jesus and talk a little sports. I found out that the center for the Memphis Grizzlies, Hasheem Thabeet is a local.

Quotable Moments: One of the church volunteers said the two key problems in their area is poverty and not enough activities. A grandmother raising her 3 grandchildren due to mother leaving when they were young said her dream for her family to have a better roof over their head. “Mr. Scott & Mrs. LaKendria, people keep talking to you as though you speak Swahili… they may think you are from here.” Ha, we are in the motherland.

Tomorrow we get to visit another project and I’ll have a whole lot more to share, I’ll close by saying this. What Compassion International is able to do with $38 a month sponsorship is amazing and helps children, even families get out poverty. Children are coming to know Jesus and communities are being more connected. for those of you that sponsor a child, I want to say thanks on behalf of these children and families. Those of you who have yet to sponsor a child, can sponsor a Tanzanian child by clicking here. Who knows, maybe I’ll give your child a #FistBump while I’m out here.

Below are some pictures that a personally took today. I’m not a photographer; however these are my images through my lens.

Join in, share your thoughts, ask me questions or feel free to make some requests of me while I’m out here,over here, down here.

Chico is a Compassion child currently be sponsored

This Little guy was looking to the sky

Hundreds of people gathered at the church simply to say Thank You!

Grandmother raising her 3 grandchildren... Compassion is helping w/ Chico

Looking out the door

On The Road Again

Any of these pics. stand out to you?

Thanks for reading… Check back tomorrow. 

We Are On Our Way To Tanzania

It’s 1:00 p.m. in Amsterdam 6:00 a.m. in #OKC. I’m headed to Tanzania with a group of Compassion bloggers. We have had some flight complications and therefore missed our connecting flight in Amsterdam. Long story short we will be at the Amsterdam airport all day, catch about 3 flights and then arrive in Tanzania. Not sure what day or time we will arrive, because my global clock is all weird. The great thing about this trip is the fact that I’m traveling w/ my beautiful bride… it really minimizes my perception of complications. We are together, it’s all good!

I am looking forward to connecting you guys with what’s happening in Tanzania and for those of you who will sponsor a child from Tanzania, I can give you a first hand account of what’s happening on the ground.

If you want to get started early and check out the Tanzanian kids in need of a sponsor… Click Here!

I’ll be at the Amsterdam Airport for most of the day… Check twitter for the latest happenings.

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