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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.”

 

 

Hope for a Little One

Mike and Julie Ganey are missionaries serving at Tenwek Hospital and in the surrounding community in Kenya. Did you know that Tenwek is more than just a hospital? Its motto, “We Treat, Jesus Heals,” is one that the staff truly takes to heart. Tenwek is not just a hospital; it is a battleground. God is answering prayers, fighting evil, healing the sick, and changing hearts on a daily basis. Today, thanks to the Ganeys’ latest blog post, you will get a glimpse into a miracle where Dr. Mike Ganey and his team treated and Jesus healed.

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Photo credit: Julian Anne Ganey

“A month ago I received an urgent page from the head nurse at Tenwek. A hospital was calling to send us a very sick newborn girl. She was only 2 kg and had been vomiting since she was born three days before. The transfer was arranged emergently.

“On arrival to Tenwek, we found her to be quite ill. Gravely so. We emergently took her to theatre to find what we feared – over half of her small intestine was twisted and black. It needed to be removed. Had it been much more she would not be able to survive without very expensive nutrition through her IV – perhaps indefinitely. Something that doesn’t happen here in subSaharan Africa. Some places can manage short term treatment like that, but not long term. We have been striving to provide such short term treatment for little ones like this and we thought we might be able to do so for her. For a little while…

“So we removed the dying intestine. But she was so sick we were worried she wouldn’t survive. We decided we would bring her back in two days (if she survived) to make sure no further intestine needed to be removed. Just before closing her little abdomen, I reached up with a finger to check her stomach and make sure the drain we placed through her nose was properly positioned inside the stomach to keep it decompressed after surgery. A routine thing. But instead of finding the tube as expected, I found her stomach was mostly dead.

“Two thirds of her stomach was falling apart. I quickly removed the portion that was affected and placed the tube inside the good portion that remained. Then I quickly sewed up the large hole where most of her stomach should have been. We placed a drainage catheter next to the repair and closed up her belly. I didn’t expect her to survive.

“Amazingly she woke up right away after the operation and the anesthetist took out her breathing tube. She was vigorous and breathing well. I didn’t expect that. Newborns don’t usually wake up so well after something like this. So while the team prepared to move her to the nursery, I went to find mom.”

To finish this amazing story, visit the Ganeys’ ministry blog. WGM can help you get involved in this powerful ministry. Visit wgm.org/tenwek to find out more about what you can do to make a difference for babies just like Tracy.

2nd Annual My Grown-Up Christmas List

Last year, Heath and Angela Many, missionaries serving in Kenya at Tenwek Hospital, posted a Christmas list on their blog of the greatest needs in Kenya that you could donate to. This year, they decided to make a list again. Is the Lord calling you to get involved in the Manys’ ministry by making a special Christmas donation?

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Photo credit: Heath and Angela Many

“Tis the season!  No better day than ‘Giving Tuesday’ to roll out my 2nd annual Grown up Christmas List!  Even though this year we will have the joy of celebrating Christmas in America, our hearts and minds are still with our Kenyan friends and neighbors.  Throughout the past few years, our vision has grown bigger, our passion deeper, and our excitement greater about what God is doing in East Africa through Tenwek Hospital, our PAACS graduates, and our local Kenyan church.

“Although it has been humbling and challenging to live and work in an area of the world with such great need, it has also been rewarding beyond measure.  I know that our blog has been silent since our return to the US this past summer.  We have found it difficult to express in words the ups and downs of living between two ‘homes.’  Returning to the US with fresh eyes has been interesting!  Maybe we will share more in a future post about the good, the bad, and the ugly of this fresh perspective.  But one surprising outcome of our experience so far in serving as ‘missionaries’ is the amazing way that God has allowed us to connect so many people within our circle (and even beyond) to His work in the world.  Ironically, even though we have ‘less’ by the world’s standards now, we have been able to GIVE even MORE…by being conduits of your blessings which have been given so generously.

“We have been continually amazed at how God has used YOU (our community in America) to bless our community in Kenya!  So in this season of giving, we wanted to again highlight some needs near to our hearts.  If you are hoping to make a real difference with your dollars this Christmas season, instead of more online shopping for more ‘stuff’…consider one of our wish-list items!”

To see their entire Christmas list, visit the Manys’ ministry blog. WGM can also help you find other ways to get involved in the ministry at Tenwek Hospital. Click this link to explore and learn about the missionaries, needs, history, and more.

http://www.wgm.org/tenwek

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For In These Things I Have Delight

Clark and Valerie Sleeth are missionaries currently on homeland ministry assignment who will be serving at Tenwek Hospital in Kenya. In their latest blog post, Valerie speaks about an uplifting surprise that recently got her thinking about God’s point of view when it comes to our worship. Read more to see what lessons she learned and how we can apply them to our lives.

“Last week I was startled in the most wonderful way. I was giving Hannah her standard morning ‘kiss attack’ and the strangest noise erupted beside my ear. It stopped me mid-smooch. Realizing what it might have been, I tentatively renewed my attack. And again! Hannah was laughing.

“When Hannah smiled for the first time I knew we were in trouble. At three and a half months she demands no more than cuddles and a dry diaper; but, when more varied requests start coming, I don’t know how we’ll say ‘no’ to that grin.

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“Since that laugh a week ago we have been doing all we can to hear it again. We have kissed and tweaked every accessible fat roll, engaged in a series of facial contortions that would bring a mime envy, and, by this point, have spent several man hours making nonsensical noises at every volume and tone. My mom—I think just by being Hannah’s Yaya—has brought forth one episode of spontaneous laughter. This, of course, has only caused us to renew our efforts.

“Recently, mid-coo, I realized that this is how I should be worshipping God. I was convicted. How many hours a day do I spend trying to elicit a baby-smile? Do I intentionally seek to bring God joy in the same way? We are created to bring Him glory. When I have a spare moment, or even when I’m already talking to God, do I stop to offer Him the praise and gratitude that I know makes Him smile?

“When Hannah smiles it melts my heart. I feel joy when I know that I have pleased my Father. Though Jesus tells us that as His followers there will be hardship as we bear His cross, we also have the assurance of knowing that we have been adopted as co-heirs and that God delights in His children.

“I have challenged myself—and I challenge you—each day to intentionally delight the Lord in a way that you’re not already doing. For me, so far, this has been thankful prayer, writing an encouraging note to a co-worker that I’ve been meaning to appreciate, and singing hymns with Hannah at the piano (the Lord delights even in my off-key worship!).

“May we hear some Lord laughter.”

I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord. (Jeremiah 9:24 ESV)

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