November 8, 2012

Missionary Spouses and Families

Lest we forget, ministers serve across the world. Meet Eric and Liz Soard. These two young adults in their mid-20s are missionaries serving the UMC of Tanzania. They both graduated from Lambuth, a UM school. This is from their Oct. newsletter. I know they would love to hear from you, so I've enclosed their emails below. Eric and Liz have a special place in my heart, because they are also friends of my younger daughter.

Don’t go to the church
If you have missed our blog lately, this has quickly become the focus of many churches in the district. Whether we are doing a seminar on men’s and women’s groups in the church, meeting with church leadership about member care, finding funerals as a place where the church can bring the comfort and hope of the Holy Spirit, or welcoming youth for a Sunday afternoon pick-up game of soccer our churches are quickly finding ways to get into the community and be the church during more than just Sunday morning worship.

We were blessed to be present for the latest episode of being the Church in Tarime town. The church in Tarime is currently renting space for Sunday morning worship. The space they rent is a business that shows soccer matches from the United Kingdom throughout the week, a pretty popular space for the teenagers and young adults of Tarime. What we have found out from meeting there since last February is that there is a group of street kids that sleep on the front porch at night.

Every night they come by and lay out cardboard boxes and by morning they are gone, trying to earn some money for food throughout the day. The oldest we talked to is 18 and the youngest around 8. What was amazing to see in the midst of this disturbing learning experience was the response of the church.

This past Sunday the church welcomed them inside and they accepted, we had 8 of the kids worship with us this past Sunday. The church welcomed them in with one of the church leaders introducing them as his guests. After church they stayed to talk to the pastor about their lives, some of their challenges, and the other place in town where street kids sleep at night. After they left the church leadership sat down and expressed their desire to do something and their heart ache that these kids were out here by themselves.

Families may be poor in Tanzania, but they still have each other. These kids have no one, no parents, grandparents, or siblings. They have left their homes either because they were forced to or chose to, the streets being better than home. Bonny, Charles, Fred, and Chacha were all honest, open, and just about in tears as they told us a little bit about why they chose the streets instead of home. The church will start next week, by preparing a small meal for Sunday morning and giving them some spiritual nourishment as well. The church wants to start small, not offering things they can’t deliver, and we weren't exactly prepared nor had we planned for this.

However, they are excited to be helping, loving, and offering grace to these kids that literally sleep on the front steps of a building, they may not have even known held a church service on Sunday mornings. I think everyone involved in this situation is excited about Being the Church.;;

Missionary bios can be found at

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