My Upcoming Mission to Africa

September 3, 2019Tim in 1977

God bless you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ,

It seems like a long time has passed since I last wrote to you asking for prayers for an upcoming mission, but here we are. On Wednesday, September 3, I fly out of New Orleans along with Evan Pyle for an 11-day mission (excluding travel time) in Africa. We are scheduled to arrive in Tanzania on Friday morning, and travel to the Maasai village of Matebete that day. We will be there until the following Thursday when we return to Dar es Salaam to fly to Uganda Friday morning for a four-day mission, returning to Tanzania on Tuesday afternoon, and flying out for the USA a few hours later, landing in New Orleans on the 18th.

The trip is significant on many accounts.  It will be my first visit to East Africa since March 2017, the longest I’ve been away since my first trip way back in 2003. Evan and I have not been on a mission together since May 2014, and even that was not really “together” since we went to separate destinations upon arrival. The last time we minister together in Matebete was in January 2012.

Another thing that stands out in my mind is that this month marks the 20th anniversary of the founding of Workers Together With Him. My first official board of directors was made up of me and Evan, plus Scott Abercrombie, Jeff Bass, Ray Beard, Marty Durbin, and Todd Pekel. It seems like a long time ago, and even though this particular group didn’t stay together long, it was very significant to me to have them by my side back then.

It’s been an adventure from the start, and one that I never could have mapped out for myself. All I really knew was that I was supposed to teach the Bible. Exactly what and where I would teach was very much a mystery, along with how I would support my family along the way. I can only marvel at God’s continual goodness and faithfulness. It has been, without a doubt, wholly undeserved on my part. Of course, that is true of everything that has happened to me through Christ.

During my time in Matebete, I will be teaching the epistle of Philippians, and I am sure the Maasai will be ministered to by the truths in that marvelous letter. So many of the bottom-line problems we face in ministry are examined. It is Christianity without sugar-coating. Christianity for the soldiers of the cross.

In chapter 4, Paul delves into the delicate subject of ministry support. Delicate because – well, you know – some people just don’t want to bear that cross. Paul mastered the balance between deep and heartfelt gratitude for those who were touched by the Lord to make financial sacrifices in order to help him in his work, AND a full-out trust and dependence on God and God alone to sustain him. It is an example I have tried my best to follow. I am deeply grateful to those who have sacrificed from their own resources to help me – some without fluctuation for the full 20 years of WTWH. Others have been more spontaneous in their giving, and for those gifts I am also grateful beyond measure. It is truly humbling. And of course, without God’s help, none of this would be possible, because (“as much as lieth in me”) I have relied on God to move in people’s heart to support this work. I took to heart the example of George Mueller who only talked to God about his needs, and understood what Brother Andrew was talking about when he derided “the hint missionaries” in his book God’s Smuggler. One chapter in particular, “The Game of the Royal Way” was life-changing for me. Now, let me say this again, I have not always lived up to these ideals. But when I didn’t, my guilt made whatever money I raised feel like filthy lucre. 

So thanks again to all of you who were touched by God to help WTWH during these 20 years. I trust that the investment pays big dividends to you “on the other side” so you have many crowns to lay at the Lord’s feet.

I am also blessed to tell you that I am returning to Nepal in November, this time with my dear friend Alois Eggmann from Switzerland. I met Alois and his wife Regina in Thessaloniki, Greece in 1998 on my first international mission, and we have remained good friends all through the years. The Nepal Presbyterian Bible College has given me a full two weeks to teach, and I am presenting all the new classes I’ve developed over the last few years – the Book of Joshua, the Book of Acts, the Passion Week, and the Epistles of Romans and Philippians. I will also be teaching the first class I ever developed oh-so-long-ago, “If Ye Do These Things, Ye Shall Never Fall” (still one of my favorite things to teach!). I am very excited and very grateful for this opportunity. 

But first things first, right? For now, my heart will be in Africa. And, of course, at home, even though I’ll be absent. Please remember my wife Nelly in your prayers while I am away, even as you pray for me and Evan.

Thank you for your love and care for me, and for helping me run my race.
In the service of His Majesty, the King of kings,