Friday, February 19, 2016

February 2016 Newsletter



The Stivers in Tanzania: February 2016

Happy New Year from Tanzania! We hope and pray that 2016 has gotten off to a great start for you and your family. It is shaping up to be an exciting year for us and our ministry. God is on the move and we're excited to share some updates with all of you.

Family Update

It's hard believe all that has happened over the last year in our family and we thank God for his grace during all the transitioning. Moses has now been home for nearly six months! We've seen great growth and maturation in him as he's transitioned out of an institution and into our family. Moses just finished a stint playing on the Hope International School soccer team which Brandon helped coach and had a blast with his friends. We're so blessed by who he is and the young man that he's becoming. Shepherd turned one in December and as of this week has begun walking, or rather he's skipped walking and gone straight to running! He is continually a source of joy in our family. Our sweet Promise is such a big girl now and is enjoying preschool very much. It's wonderful to see all that she's learning. She has battled different ailments over the last few months from a broken collarbone in November to a current bout with pneumonia. Please lift her health up as well as all of ours. One of the difficult things in being in Tanzania is not having the same medical services that we once enjoyed in California. Please call on God our Healer for Promise!

In the coming months, we plan on making a visit to the states. So get ready to see us soon! This year, especially with the adoption undertaking, has been our most stressful and draining season of ministry and life in Tanzania yet. We thank God for all he's done in our family and with Kingdom Families, but we are in need of a change for a few months to reconnect with friends, family and supporters. Our hope is to be there from April to some time in August and split time between friends and family in California as well spending time with Brandon's parents and sister in Wisconsin. 

As we look forward to furlough, we'd ask that you consider any ways that you might be able to assist us. As much as we love seeing everyone and cherish our time in our home country, it can also be tough at times being away from our own house, car and rhythm of life. If you're able to help or could at least keep an ear out for us, here are somethings that would help us.


  • A car that seats at least five people to use while in California 
  • A place to stay in California
  • Opportunities to preach, speak with small groups or anyway that we can connect with American communities to share the work God is doing here
  • Extra support for airfare as we are now five people strong (click here to give online)

Kingdom Families Update

We're so thankful for ways that God is moving Kingdom Families forward and all the ways that we're expanding. As we continue to establish family-based orphan care in northern Tanzania, we're focusing on our on-going relationship with social welfare in Kilimanjaro. One of the important steps in that was to hire a social worker for our program. Meet Jerioth Shao.

We're so grateful to have added Jerioth to our Kingdom Families team last month and she has been doing such an incredible job aiding our program as well as Kimbilio Girls Home (another Global-EFFECT project). Her insight and expertise have been second to none. She is a certified social worker in Tanzania and carries the message of Kingdom Families and why kids should be in families, not institutions. She's been busy at work writing our reports, speaking with social welfare officers and advising current situations with the families currently on board. This has been a HUGE step forward for Kingdom Families and we couldn't be happier.

On the Horizon

This Saturday (February 20th) we have a Kingdom Families Conference held at the church of our dear friend Pastor Evarist. He and his wife, Mama Winner, have been such a blessing to our family and we're excited to be serving in their church this weekend. Unlike the Kingdom Families Conference we had in July, this conference will focus not only on orphan care, but also on marriage and parenting. Orphan care is our DNA, but we want to take a step beyond that and also empower families to live according to God's word and God's Spirit. It's a time to strengthen the core of the local church. Our hope is to have a couple of these Kingdom Families conferences before leaving on furlough. 

Next month, we will be having consultants from Bethany Global coming out to advise our family based orphan care ministry that is central to Kingdom Families. We are so excited that they at last are coming out! We've been in touch with different Bethany representatives and have scheduled for the week of March 21st for their visit. One of those visiting will be Sebilu Bodja who pioneered their far-reaching family-based program in Ethiopia which is the flagship for their global ministry. We can't wait to learn from him and have their help in building Kingdom Families family based orphan care component.

Let's Be In Touch!

We couldn't say it enough, we appreciate you as a prayer and financial supporter! Our supporters are a constant reminder to us of God's faithfulness, provision and blessing. We returned to Tanzania a year ago this month. We had a newborn that is now walking and talking. There was a lonely child sitting in an orphanage that is now a full-fledged son in our family. We had a toddler that is now a beautiful and growing preschooler. We had a ministry that was focused on a few kids in Kilimanjaro that is now aiming to alter the culture of an entire nation. You have a part in this and we thank you!

We'd love to re-connect with you especially as we plan on being back for a visit in the coming months. Please email us at thestiversintanzania@gmail.com or message us on Facebook. Your encouragements and engagement are always a blessing to us. We'd love for you to check out our blogs to keep in step with us and the culture of Kingdom Families. Brandon has been blogging each week for the last month at Build This Kingdom and Melissa continues blogging at The Beauty of Becoming. In addition to Facebook, you can also find Melissa on Instagram and Brandon on Twitter.

Thank you again for all the support, love and prayers. We hope to see you soon!

Love,
Brandon, Melissa, Moses, Promise and Shepherd

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