If your church needs to reach out in mission and ministry but you don't know what to do, you can support two of our young missionaries in Tanzania. Both Eric and Liz are recent graduates of Lambuth University in Jackson, Tennessee and are under 30. This is basically Eric's first church. Here is their December newsletter. If you want to be a part of God in action, here is a golden opportunity.
UNITED METHODIST CHURCH OF TANZANIA, MAKING DISCIPLES OF JESUS CHRIST TO TRANSFORM THE WORLD, December 2012
FOUNDATIONS...THE SEASON OF PREPARATION
I read the first lectionary reading for this year's advent season as I was preparing for the December 2nd sermon...and I couldn't believe it. I started searching another lectionary text and another. WHERE WAS THE CHRISTMAS STORY? Why was I having to read about preparing for Jesus' return or prophecy or things like that? I wanted to preach about Mary, Joseph, and the BABY JESUS. Instead of picking a different text I asked myself what I was supposed to learn. The conclusion is that the Advent Season is a time of preparation. I had this same problem with my own wife's time of pregnancy. I have this same frustration sometimes with the churches here. When are we going to get going already!?! When can the pastors finish their education, when can the churches be built, when can we start receiving teams and volunteers...when can we arrive?
This Christmas season has already been a good reminder of the importance of setting things up well. I have seen this especially in the churches we work with as they try to set a good foundation, literally and figuratively. I was so excited this past week when the church in Masalula started on the foundation of their church building. I was just as excited to have pastors in my home teaching about the importance of worship and explaining about the tools that we have in the common lectionary. These may or may not sound like church geek things to you, but these are the foundations of our work. The church in Masalula has plans to use their building as a nursery school because their nursery students, 4, 5, and 6 year-olds are having to walk an hour to school.
Tarime United Methodist Church is using the lectionary and an advent worship service to cement their call to serve street children. The church is now known by many in town as the Church of the Street Children because we average around 10 in worship on a Sunday and more than that for the food and Sunday School offered before worship service. These foundations are the tools being used to set up the now for the later and they cannot be neglected (as much as we impatient people may have a problem with it). There are other foundations being set in place. Garnasara United Methodist Church has dug the foundation and is hoping to place the first stone soon. The leadership has already put forth an idea for a center for women and children, working on their education and rights within the village of Garnasara. A service that is very, very needed within the village of Garnasara that can be done inside the church building. The foundations are being put into place; we are preparing and will be ready when the Holy Spirit brings the opportunity our way for the next step.
Have a blessed Advent, a season for remembering the historic birth of Jesus, but also (and of equal importance) a season to prepare for his return.
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Missionary Bios can be found at www.umcmission.org