The Flourishing Seeds of Tabitha Ministry

Linda Spriegel shares how the seeds have flourished in Tabitha Ministry, an outreach in Kenya that started as a small Bible study. Read on to learn how God has and is continuing to use this ministry to glorify His name and bring new believers to His kingdom. All photos credited to Linda Spriegel.

“Heading to Kenya in 2005 with my physician husband and our three children to homeschool, and not terribly excited about our ‘little America’ destination, I asked the Lord, ‘Please give me a few women who are hungry to study Your Word, and I will be happy.’ God was gracious. Within two months of landing at Tenwek, a departing missionary asked me to continue to disciple two Kenyan friends after she left. Thus began my first Bible study. Rachel and Anna were illiterate and did not speak English, or Swahili, which I had just studied. But they had a hunger for God’s Word and a delight in singing and meeting together.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Original Bible study

“Enter Peris, whom we had hired as our cook. She filled the much-needed role as my translator and began to grow herself as we four studied the Word together. It wasn’t long before the news of our study spread. More women came- from their vegetable stands by the hospital, from their gardens nearby, and from farther away. Most of those who came were literate but did not have their own Bibles. So, we looked for funds for Kipsigis Bibles to award them if they learned 17 Scripture verses. God’s Word was entering deeply into their hearts.

recipients-of-bibles

Recipients of Bibles

“When we reached the six-month mark of having our studies, we had 50 women crowding into our living room each week. So, we divided them into village groups. Each group sent their leader and assistant leader to our home for the weekly study. Then these leaders went and taught the lesson in their villages. The groups were closer to home, and more women were able to attend.

“A year later, the number of studies had grown to the point that we had 50 leaders coming to our home each week. Again, we divided them; this time into hillsides with ‘overall leaders.’ These top leaders studied the Word with us each week and then went and taught their leaders, who then taught their members in their villages.

kipisorwet-leaders-training

Kipisorwet leaders’ training

“Obviously, women were hungry to know God and His Word. Some had been in the church for years but had never studied the Word on their own. Others found Christ for the first time in these groups. All were drawn to Jesus. You see, women are often marginalized in Kenyan culture, and they were surprised to read how important they were in God’s eyes. Studying the Gospel of Luke, we began by studying Mary, Elizabeth, and Anna—women of great faith whom God loved and used in His plan. As we continued through the Gospel, we noted the women whose lives were changed by Jesus, the role of women in Jesus’ ministry, and His love for them. The ladies were almost embarrassed to recite one of our early verses from Isaiah 43:4: “You are honored and precious in my eyes, and I love you.” They couldn’t wrap their minds around this amazing attitude of the Almighty God toward them.

“Fast forward 10 years. Peris is co-director with me of Tabitha Women’s Ministry, a network of over 250 Bible studies over the hillsides around Tenwek. We have added another layer of leadership to the studies and have 300 women teaching God’s Word at the different levels each week. They get no remuneration for teaching; they volunteer for the sheer joy of sharing with other women the truths of Jesus they have discovered. The studies continue to expand, on their own. Over 9,000 women have earned their own Bibles, and over 2,500 are presently involved in the weekly studies.

“The ministry has also developed a compassionate outreach aspect, coming alongside local churches that want to help their neediest with house projects, gift cows, or field help. We have partnered with local churches to build 200 homes and to present 150 gift cows to needy families. These visible demonstrations of God’s love have had an impact on many communities, drawing even more people to Christ. And local churches are accepting their responsibility to care for the poor among them.

widow-receives-cow

Widow receives cow

“Back in 2005, we could never have envisioned what God would do with one small Bible study with two illiterate women whose language I did not speak. It was not my strategy, but the Lord went before us and we followed, and He continues to produce much fruit.”

 

 

Seeds of The Print Shop

This month, during our #GoGrowChange theme, the focus will be on seeds—ministries that started small but have grown in recent years. The story below focuses on The Print Shop in Uganda. Kenneth and Delight Hopson are missionaries serving in Uganda, and Kenneth runs the shop. Continue on to read about how God is working in and through the services The Print Shop provides!

kenneth-print-shop-1

(Story and photos provided by Kenneth Hopson.)

“Impact Notice: The Print Shop is a printing outreach that produces Christian literature for ministries that are affecting Africans’ lives in and around the country of Uganda. Wow! That’s the word that comes out of me when I realize how this print shop operating in a garage is reaching different tribes and cultures of East Africa, in many languages, for the gospel’s sake.

“The Print Shop makes an impact that reaches far beyond words printed on sheets of paper. The printed Word is powerful; it is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. When ink is put on paper, the paper is put together to make books, and the books are shipped to an organization ministering to a tribe that is receiving the Word of God for the first time—that means impact for Jesus! Can you imagine being able to read the Bible for the first time in your own mother tongue, learning about how Jesus can transform you into a new creation in Christ?

k-l-working-2

“This impacting ministry once was only a dream in my heart after Jesus saved me in my early 20s. I learned about printing in high school, never imagining that God could use a printer anywhere or for any reason in His vast kingdom. But that is exactly what He has done. God called me to serve Him with what talents I had, and the best way I could think of to do that was to do what I loved—printing. After applying to serve with WGM, God gave me the desire of my heart and called me to East Africa to serve with an existing printing ministry in Tanzania in 1997. For four years, I learned about printing in another context and another world. Those four years turned out to be invaluable to me, preparing me to one day begin a brand new printing ministry in Uganda in 2004.

“That is when The Print Shop began. Those early days were spent printing pastoral training lessons and other materials for WGM. My wife, Delight, was beside me, often helping me collate around our dining room table. Slowly I began to receive requests from Christian ministries in Uganda to print their materials. This started with Heritage International School, where Delight has been ministering for many years and where our three children—Kaleb, Austin, and Emilee—have attended. A “chance” meeting here or a secondhand “happenstance” there brought more ministries to The Print Shop, asking if I could print their materials that they needed to reach Africans to whom they were ministering.

“The work was sometimes so much that I came to realize I could no longer keep up. I began asking others to pray with me for someone with integrity to help me. I needed someone who had a heart as I did—to reach people by printing materials for God’s glory. In His perfect time, God answered many prayers and brought to me a young Ugandan man named Leonard. Leonard didn’t know anything about printing, but he had a servant’s heart, which I so desired in an employee. I taught Leonard how to print with passion, because what we are doing is so important for God’s kingdom! Leonard learned and learned well and has now been with me for two-and-a-half years.

leonard-print-shop-3

“The number of ministries that we are able to print for has grown very much and has now reached into Kenya, South Sudan, Rwanda, and Burundi. The Democratic Republic of the Congo and Tanzania are also future possibilities! The number of languages in which we have been able to print is also many. The number of tribes and souls impacted so far? Only God knows.

“This is what God can do, and this is a daily reality in The Print Shop. We help to advance the kingdom of God by printing the Word of God; discipleship materials; Bible studies; books about Christian living, stewardship, marriage, parenting, prayer; and many other items, making it possible to place printed pages in the hands of real people. That makes my heart pump! I hope it moves you, too, and encourages you to pray for Leonard and me daily so that The Print Shop ministry can continue to grow, reaching more and more lost and spiritually hungry people for Jesus’ sake.”

WGM can help you get involved in Uganda ministries like The Print Shop. Visit wgm.org/uganda for more information. Another way you can get involved is by praying. Will you pray that The Print Shop will continue to grow and become a shining beacon for the gospel message, reaching people who desperately need to hear His Word?

Here I Am. Send Me to Where I Am.

Local missions is something that seems very scary to many of us. At first, this statement might catch you off guard, but I challenge you to really think about what it means to serve the least of these right where you are. Being in the homes of those whom others may view as undeserving, detestable, dangerous, evil, sick, etc., can feel uncomfortable. We know the truth—that we are all loved by God more than we can imagine—so did God call us to follow His calling but only if it’s comfortable?

This month we have been focusing on the topic of “dirt” (how God works through the hard times, the challenging things, the valleys of our walk where we need Him most) in our theme #GoGrowChange. I encourage you to listen to Nathan Metz, WGM missionary and pastor, as he talks about sending you right where you are. Nathan and Jade Metz are missionaries to Uganda, serving in pastoral training and compassionate ministries.

“Nathan was challenged by our pastor from Marion, Indiana, to answer the question, ‘What would you do if tomorrow God called you to Marion instead of Uganda?’ Applying basic missionary strategies to hometown neighborhoods, Nathan unpacks a theology of missions with practical and meaningful application. Watch below!” Jade Metz

This video is from Nathan and Jade’s ministry blog and is courtesy of Brookhaven Wesleyan Church.

As you think about this sermon, ask God to open your eyes to what He has called you to today—right here, right now—and ask the Holy Spirit to move in you.

Get Involved Today

So much good content is going out on our missionaries’s different ministry blogs. There are many more good blogs than the ones highlighted here, so check them out at missioncentral.wordpress.com. These posts focus on praises, requests, ministry updates, and how you can get involved. Are you ready to go make a difference on a work team? Read what God’s doing in the world, and then find a way to join the cause.

Ganeys at Tenwek-

ganey

“About a week ago, we celebrated the fourth class of residents to graduate from the Surgical Training Program at Tenwek. It was so exciting to see four very qualified, godly residents finish their training well. What an encouraging highlight in the midst of some very hard weeks. Please keep praying about the doctors’ strike in Kenya. We haven’t seen any movement toward a resolution. The patients are suffering and those still working are growing weary.”

Romdenhs in Cambodia-

romdenhs

“On February 4th, Sophear turned two-years-old and on March 16th, she had surgery to close a hole in her heart. It was a very scary time for us, but we felt so supported! There were people all around the world praying for Sophear and for us! During the days and weeks leading up to and following Sophear’s surgery, we were reminded in a very real way of two important truths: 1) God is a big God and 2) He loves our precious daughter, His precious daughter. I’m reminded of the lyrical line ‘I’m no longer a slave to fear, for I am a child of God!!’ It is with confidence in this truth that I am able to go to Cambodia.”

Adventures in Chaos- Solheims

solheims

“I’m not the only parent who has ever had to say goodbye to an only son, but today it sure feels like it. Tonight when I hug Nick goodbye, it will hurt more than any other time before. I know it’s part of being a parent to let your kids go. But what about when you’re the one going? Sending him off somehow seems easier.”

Beyond Rivers- Hidugs

adhanom-and-helen-hidug

“At the end of this month (December 2016) I will mark 10 years since I left home, Eritrea. Helen will have a few more months to go after me to complete 10 years. We lived most of that period as refugees.”

Life Between the Trees- WGM Compassion

“Linda Spriegel, a WGM missionary in Kenya at Tenwek Hospital, shares in this post about the Tenwek Orphan ministry and some of the challenges they faced this past year. What should the response of the Church be to orphans and impoverished families?  There is more and more discussion on the global front about doing away with orphanages and empowering families to adopt. We’d love to hear your thoughts as you read and process Linda’s story in regard to the care of orphans.”