March 30, 2016
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Julie and I celebrated our 24th wedding anniversary this month. It is hard to imagine that now over 1/3 of those 24 years has been spent ministering and living in Africa. I never would have thought that we would spend our lives living and ministering here but God directs our paths in the ways He wants us to go. There have been hundreds of times I thought I couldn’t make it living here, that I couldn’t continue any longer, that it was time to return to the States, that I’d had enough. I am so thankful for the loving, Godly, beautiful wife of 24 years that God has given to me. I definitely couldn’t have made it here without her. In fact, I don’t think I could have made it through life at all without her. But, of course, God knew all of that too and that must have been why He put us together. I know that our marriage doesn’t always exemplify the relationship between Jesus and his churches as Paul explains in Ephesians 5 but that fault probably lies with me and we do pray that our marriage would bring Him glory. Thanks for sticking with this lousy missionary man for 24 years, Julie. I sure do love you!
And it’s a good thing she loves me too because our anniversary day wasn’t the most romantic of days. We spent the entire day in the immigration department in Nairobi working on travel documents for Chloe. It was stifling hot. We got shuffled around from window to window. We dealt with a lot of unhelpful and antagonistic people. We were stymied in almost every way. We had paperwork stolen from us from workers in the department. We had nothing to eat or drink. But we did see God change the hearts of resistant people and did see Him change things in ways that only He can change them. Chloe was a trooper throughout the entire day. She didn’t cry or “lose it” until we got back to the guest house. We eventually left the immigration department at the end of the day without the documents we went for but we are still in hopes of receiving them soon. Please be in prayer about this with us. (After we calmed down from the horrendous day we were at least able to go to a nice restaurant in Nairobi to celebrate our anniversary).
I am praying hard about getting back up to Pokot region and ministering again to the Pokot people who live out in “the bush”. God has put these people on my heart but He has also seemed to close all doors to me into this region. I have been waiting for doors to open back up. I have been asking God if I should be trying to open some of these closed doors myself in order to get this ministry going again. I don’t want to get ahead of where God wants me and I certainly can’t minister up there without His power, His Spirit and His blessing but I’m wondering how much He wants me to step out on faith and do some things before He begins to open some of those doors again. It can be difficult knowing God’s will and how to follow it. So, yes, you can pray about this with me as well.
Working with Kefa and Matilda and the group that meets in their house has continued to be a joy even if we have not seen the growth in the group that we wish. One of the things that I enjoy the most is the discussions we always get to have before the Bible study begins (The group always starts late. That’s Kenyan culture. No hurry in Africa). We get to talk about various life issues that have nothing to do with the Bible lesson we have prepared but are relevant to the lives of the people. I enjoy it because we get to apply the Bible and the life and teachings of Jesus directly to their lives where they live each day. I get to say over and over again, “Hmm, what does the Bible say about that”? or “Hmm, what does Jesus say about that”? or “Hmm, what does God think about that”? Yes, I enjoy that!
Until next month, beloved.
May God’s peace and joy be with you.
For the glory of God in East Africa,
Roger & Julie Tate (and Emily, Amy, Josiah & Chloe)
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