The Stivers in Tanzania :: Expanding Foundations
Greetings from Moshi, Tanzania! We are grateful to God for all that He is doing in our ministry and our family and somehow in the midst of busyness we let a few months go by since our last update. We are seeing the Lord do wonderful things and are excited to share what we've been up to and where we are going. We hope that your summer is off to a great start!
Kingdom Families Advocacy
Family-based orphan care is a new concept and model in Tanzania and adoption among nationals is not common. Therefore, in all that we do with Kingdom Families, it's about establishing a new culture, one that reflects the Kingdom of God and not necessarily traditional Tanzanian culture. As we go around to different churches, seminars and the like, our key scriptures are Romans 8:12-17, James 1:26-27 and Psalm 127. Our passion is to see families in Tanzania thriving and churches and Christian families caring for the orphan and the abandoned as their own.
As this is our heart, we are so grateful for recent opportunities we've had to share with churches and Christian leaders alike. Global-Effect put on a three day pastoral training conference with a partnering pastor in the village of Bonite, fifteen minutes outside of Moshi. On the second day of the conference, Brandon got to lead two sessions along with our friend and colleague Vickie Hemman, who is establishing a refuge home for abused girls. Our focus was on mercy ministries. Brandon first preached out of Luke 4 and Matthew 25 to set the stage of what restoration in Christ looks like and then Vickie and Brandon shared about their respective ministries. During the second session, our African colleague Francis Njogu helped facilitate a powerful time of discussion concerning how we care for the least of these. Most specifically we talked about orphan care and the need for kids to be in families. In all our years of living and working among orphans and churches in Tanzania, we've never had such engagement from those within the church. People wrestled with God's calling to the orphan and presented real life situations that they find themselves in within their own communities. We are finding more and more that God is really working on the hearts of people and we are on the precipice of change in Kilimanjaro.
We saw this even more so earlier this week, when we were invited by our friend Bishop Glorious Shoo to share at one of the opening sessions for the Kilimanjaro Tanzanian Assemblies of God annual meetings. There were upwards of 200 pastors, bishops and church leaders from throughout the region being engaged with true James 1:27 religion as Brandon preached (picture in header). The response after Brandon's message and the subsequent message from Bishop Shoo was remarkable as church leaders from various cities and villages committed to adopt children into their own families, something that is incredibly rare. Below you can see hands raised as people commit before God and one another to take up the cause of the orphan within their own families.
It's such a blessing to see this important message taking root in Kilimanjaro. We are going to keep striking while the kettle is hot and are having our first ever Kingdom Families Orphan Care and Adoption Conference on July 25th. We've already had numerous sign-ups and the church leaders and families that attend are going to get a full-day hearing God's heart for the orphan. We ask that you would lift this day up in prayer. This is uncharted territory, but we continue to pursue God's heart for the orphans and for His church to be empowered.
|Tanzanian Leaders engaged and committed to orphan care|
Bethany Global Update
In our last update back in March, we shared about the exciting partnership that we're entering into with Bethany Global Consulting. Bethany's family-based care model is unmatched throughout world missions and we're excited to partner with them. In our last update, we shared that we had started building towards our fundraising goal of $30,000 to bring out Bethany Master Level Social Workers to assess our current work, then develop and implement a comprehensive strategy to execute it. We are blessed to say that we have raised $12,000 of that goal to date (Praise Jesus!). We are so grateful to the churches that have gotten behind us and this new venture for Kingdom Families: RockHarbor Church of Costa Mesa, The Garden Church of Long Beach and Newport-Mesa Church of Costa Mesa. Thank you all so much! We are still needing more though and would like to have a complete amount before bringing out Bethany representatives so that we can move from Phase 1 to Phase 2 seamlessly. Please consider giving towards this important ministry. You can do so online by clicking here and make the donation for "Kingdom Families Sponsorship." In the comment section, please write "Bethany" so we know how to allocate the funds. Or if you prefer to send a check, please follow the instructions at the bottom of this newsletter. We are of course looking for more church partnerships as well so please contact us if your church is interested or would like more information, firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are hoping to have Bethany representatives come out in the fall. One of the ways that we want to continue to expand before their arrival is to hire a Tanzanian social worker part-time. We are blessed to work with our Tanzanian colleague Meshak Mrema in this ministry, but as he has myriad responsibilities within Global-Effect and we are also needing someone with a social work background, we are hoping to hire someone soon. Please pray for such decisions and the necessary funds to hire such an important person.
|Together with our team at the retreat that Melissa oversaw|
Family and Team Update
Last you heard from us, we had a full house as Cyrus Helbling was living with us for nearly three months. We had such a great time being his stand-in mom and dad as his parents were away. At the same time Brandon was serving at Hope International School four days a week, filling in some while Ryan was away. We are so glad to have the whole Helbling family back and Cyrus has transitioned back to his home.
Last month, during a brief period with all long-term missionaries together, we had a full-day retreat and team building time that Melissa coordinated and oversaw. It was a great time focusing on unity within Global-Effect and the whole team was blessed by her efforts.
Promise and Shepherd are doing great and growing everyday. Promise's vocabulary and sentence structure is through the roof and we're so excited for her to start school at the end of next month. Shepherd is a happy, healthy, growing boy. He has almost caught up to his older sister in weight and is learning how to sit up, roll all over the room, verbalize and any day now he'll be crawling. Our family is receiving an extra blessing next month as Melissa's sister, Rebecca will be moving here to teach at Hope International School. You can check out her website here.
We are so grateful for those that remember us in their prayers and with their giving. We are blown away by the generosity and love that God shows us through all of you. We promise to not leave you all hanging again on the newsletter update front. In fact, we're working on something that we anticipate sharing with you after just a couple weeks so stay tuned. Blessings and love to you from Tanzania.
*To give towards Kingdom Families by check:
Please make the check payable to "Global-Effect" and write "Kingdom Families - Bethany" or "Kingdom Families - Social Worker" in the memo line. Send your check to: Global-Effect, PO Box 992856, Redding CA 96099.