June Newsletter

CULTURAL DIFFERENCES

There are very few similarities between Mbubuni, Tanzania and America.  That’s why it’s such a joy when God calls others to travel to the other side of the world to experience a few days with the students and staff at Next Life Foundation school.  It’s important for our American Board to continue to understand the cultural differences on these trips and for all of us, leadership, guests and donors to see lives changed through education and a growing exposure to Christ in the process.  God’s glory is evident everywhere the eyes see.

MAY MISSION TRIP

The May trip was Patti’s 12th trip to Mbuguni and God’s work in developing the ministry, Next Life Foundation.   Let’s look at the team that dove into this adventure.  Each person financially supporting and praying for these individuals becomes part of the experience also so we thank God for each of you.

Grace is a young wife who began physician assistant school at the beginning of June.  East Africa wasn’t totally new to her.  When she was 12 years old, she travelled with her parents to Ethiopia to meet and bring home her 8 year old sister, Zinash, from an orphanage there.  Grace has spent a lot of time at Okoboji Lutheran Bible Camp with her family and also as a counselor so when there was down time with the Next Life students she was teaching them simple camp songs and they loved it.  After finishing one song they would beg for more.  We always know the students are comfortable with us when they play with our hair and Grace was very obliging in letting the girls “style” her hair.  (We only know what we know and the Tanzanian hair is much different than most of our western hair so they are very curious.)

Judy was the loving “grandma” of our group.  In 2009 Judy made her maiden voyage to Tanzania with STEMM (Siouxland Tanzania Educational Medical Ministries) out of Sioux City, IA.  She was thrilled to have her granddaughter, Grace, return with her to this wonderful country.  She shared some of her heart-felt memories from her previous trip with the team and her love for the Tanzanian people had not dimmed at all.  She was ready with hugs for any and all.  Her sweet personality made it easy for her to bond with everyone she met.  She welcomed each individual into her heart.  Judy has no problem loving her neighbor as herself even when her neighbor was 8,000 miles from her home. 

Trey was a first grader in the Okoboji school when Patti shared about Tanzania with the Joy Kids program at her church.  He decided that day he would someday accompany Patti on a mission trip.  The dream stayed alive for 8 years and eventually he began raising funds.  This May, he had the money raised and during May Term of his freshman year at Okoboji High School his dream became reality.  Trey was around the same age as many students and bonded quickly despite the language barrier.  As a self-proclaimed picky eater, Trey was the one that wanted to have a goat roast with the students.  He participated in classes with them, ate with them and played with them.  He has already decided to return to Mbuguni to see his friends and make new ones. 

Each member of the team brought a special set of skills with them and they all used those skills to relate to the staff and students.  They ministered to others by demonstrating the love of God and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit throughout the week.  They were a blessing and were blessed through their willingness to go and serve others who may not know but are learning more about the God who loves them more than we can imagine.

HOPE BEING REALIZED

In 2016 the first tailoring students began their journey with Next Life Foundation and God’s big vision through NLF for the young people and mamas in Mbuguni began.  This primarily Muslim and poverty stricken village in northern Tanzania is home to people trapped in a life of little hope of improving their situation.

Next Life Foundation’s goal has always been to provide a vocational skill that will provide a future income for our graduates and also more importantly bring them a hope in Jesus Christ.  Due to the Islamic influence in the area sharing Christ must be done in a gentle but consistent manner.  As the reputation of the school has grown, so has the sharing of Christ.  The Christian worship has become an important part of the school day.  “Morning Glory” and “Evening Glory” begin and end each school day.  These are times for the students to pray, sing praises and hear our carpentry instructor, Mr Reonald, read and speak from the Bible.  The May mission team had the opportunity to share in this special time Thursday afternoon.  The Holy Spirit was definitely in that place.  It was a joy to see that all of our Muslim students chose to stay and participate.  There is also a weekly time of devotions each Friday.  This is a extended time of worship where Pastor Elia, a local pastor, comes to lead the worship time.  God’s goodness was and is overwhelming no matter our circumstances.

FINANCIAL NEEDS

God has provided so abundantly for Next Life.  To think of having our own property with the classrooms and buildings in the short time our ministry has been in existence is a God-story in itself.  We are so thankful for each of you, our faithful financial donors.  Our Tanzania Board of Directors and staff do a great job adjusting to the funds available.  They are deeply appreciative of our generous donors.  The past few months the next phase of construction, building a perimeter security wall, has been put on hold due to financial constraints but it is very important in their culture that we provide protection for our students, staff and the physical property.  If you feel moved to be part of God’s continuing work among this Tanzanian village, we will welcome your financial support and praise God for it.  We have been and are blessed by your support.

PRAYER REQUESTS

  • Student, Rakia, who recently lost her mom shortly after the birth of Rakia’s 4th sibling
  • Christ be glorified in all that Next Life Foundation does
  • Holy Spirit be active in the lives of our students, staff and board members
  • Health and safety for our students, staff and their families
  • Adequate funds

SAVE THE DATE

Mark your calendar for the Next Life Foundation Annual Banquet.  Thursday, September 22nd at the  Maser Monarch Lodge, Okoboji, IA (22785 Nature Center Road)

Next Life Foundation  2106 Tarzan St  Okoboji, IA  51355   http://www.NextLifeFound.org

Traveling Again

It’s up early for Trey, Grace, Judy & Patti, Lord, so they can make the hour-long drive to the airport, fly about eight hours to Doha, Qatar and then hang out.  They have about nine hours to kill before they head back to the States.  It’s a little exciting though because Godlid is traveling with them.   She’s never been out of Tanzania before so this is a whole new experience for her.  Everyone will have a chance to get to know her and ask all the questions about Arusha and Mbuguni that are popping into their heads after time to process.  Stay close to these travelers again, Lord.  So many people in this airport, so many cultures but all created by you.  You designed each person intentionally with specific plans for their lives.  Forgive me, Father, for not always looking to you and following those plans.  Help me to keep my eyes focused on you through prayer, Bible reading and worship.  I pray this in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy.  Spread your protection over them,
    that those who love your name may rejoice in you.  Surely, Lord, you bless the righteous;
    you surround them with your favor as with a shield.  Psalm 5:11-12

Saying Goodbyes

This is the last day for Judy, Grace, Trey and Patti to tie up loose ends with the “loom hat” mamas, the students and to say their goodbyes.  God, thank you so much for this glorious experience for the team.  Thank you for letting me be a participant through prayer.  As these short term missionaries get themselves organized and put things back into their suitcases remind them of the experiences you’ve given them, how you’ve shown yourself to them in new ways and continue to conform them into the image of Jesus.  Praise to you, Lord, for all good things in life.  You bless us beyond what we deserve and more than we can imagine.  Thank you for loving me so much.  Help me to love you more.  In Jesus’ name I pray.  Amen.

For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
The Lord gives grace and glory;
No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly. Psalm 84:11

Your thoughts are higher than my thoughts, Lord

Today, Lord, the team is going to the Ngorongoro Crater.  This is another one of your marvelous creations, God; a collapsed volcano that’s 14 miles across and 1.24 miles deep.  Such rich soil is found here which has attracted a host of diverse animals to thrive in this area.  Lions stalking wildebeest, ostrich frolicking around zebra, warthogs playing here and there, hippos floating the day away in the ponds and all kinds of other animals, birds and reptiles.  In Psalm 50, Lord, you say that all the animals, cattle, birds and insects are yours and you know them.  Then in Luke 12 you tell me that you know how many hairs are on my head.  This is just so much more than my mind can comprehend!  Obviously, your thoughts and ways are much higher than my thoughts and ways.  You are much, much bigger than I usually think of you.  Please Lord, help me to love you in a bigger way, have more faith in you and dream to do bigger things in Your name.  I love you, Jesus.  Amen.

How many are your works, Lord!  In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures.  Psalm 104:24

How Great are Your Works, Lord

Your ways are so wonderful, Lord.  To give us a day to worship you and rest in you is definitely what each of us need.  Thank you that Grace, Trey, Judy and Patti have an opportunity to worship with people from all over the world at the Arusha Community Church.  Then as they travel to Tarangire National Park for safari, be with them.  The wonder of your creation is awesome.  The stripes of the zebras are unique to each animal just like our fingerprints are all different, the long necks of the giraffe in order to reach the leaves they need to eat and the sensitive nerves in the trunk of the elephant.  It’s remarkable the details you’ve worked out in everything you created, God!  How can we keep from praising you for who you are and what you have created for our enjoyment?  Help me to open my eyes and see your hand in my surroundings.  It’s there, plain as day, so don’t let me overlook it.  I give you thanks and praise for your blessings in nature, Lord.  In Jesus’ name I pray.  Amen.

How great are your works, Lord, how profound your thoughts!  Psalm 92:5

Pray for Safety & the Mamas

My loving Savior Jesus, thank you for watching over my friends in Tanzania and watching over me.  Again, keep them safe as they travel out to Mbuguni from Arusha.  People and animals are always walking along the road.  I just ask that you keep everyone safe.  The roads are so rough and dusty and there are always flat tires.  Please Lord, keep the single mamas safe also that will be traveling from quite a distance to learn how to make loom hats.  Help the team be efficient in teaching and the mamas receptive in learning.  Let this stocking hat endeavor be fruitful for these single mothers so they can support their families.  Let your praises ring out as this hat making group shares songs of praise to you as they teach and learn.  Remind me, Lord, that I can sing and pray during my daily activities also.  You are worthy of all praise.  In Jesus’ name I pray.  Amen.

I will praise God’s name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving.  Psalm 69:30

Pray for a Closer Relationship with God

What a special day Fridays are at Next Life Foundation’s campus, Lord.  Judy, Trey, Grace & Patti continued to work with the students on their projects in the morning, they play games over their lunch time then Pastor Elia comes for devotions.  Wow Lord, do they know how to worship you!  Their singing and dancing are so full of joy and sincere love for you. Help me to find joy in worshipping you through singing and studying the Bible.  Help me to know you more.  Help me to love you more.  In Jesus’ name I pray.  Amen

Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done wonderful things, things planned long ago.  Isaiah 25:1

Pray for Contentment

So many things I take for granted, Lord.  Forgive me.  None of the students at Next Life have running water, electricity, a car, enough food, and on and on and on.  Forgive me when I complain about such stupid things.  Help me be content in you, Lord.  Trey, Grace, Judy and Patti have been helping the tailoring students make reusable feminine hygiene pads.  When the girls have their monthly periods they often have to miss school and/or work because they don’t have any products to use.  Again, what a blessing that we’ve taken for granted here in the United States!  The team has also been working with the carpentry students making stools and chairs.  With no electricity it is a LOT of work to plane the rough boards until they’re smooth.  It’s like ALL day long that they plane and plane and plane!  This is probably how you worked in your carpentry shop, Jesus, when you were on the earth.  It’s hard work!  Thanks for being an example for us.  In Jesus’ name I pray.  Amen.

Don’t love money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, “I will never fail you.  I will never abandon you.”  Hebrews 13:5

Pray for Purpose

God, people are the same everywhere and yet we’re different.  You made us all so beautiful in our own way.  Some of us have a lot materially, and in Mbuguni and its surrounding area, people have absolutely nothing.  Many people have deep spiritual happiness and others seem so empty inside.  The “stuff” we have doesn’t really matter, does it Lord?  What really makes our lives purposeful and worthwhile is if we have Jesus as our foundation, our truth.  You, Jesus, give our life meaning and purpose.  Some of the students at Next Life get this and others don’t at all.  It’s the same with our friends and acquaintances everywhere.  When Trey, Judy, Grace & Patti have lunch with the students in Mbuguni, they’ll have fun playing games with them.  There are a few students that are just sad on the inside.  Help them to find you, Lord.  Help them find the purpose that you made them for.  Show me what you made me for so my life can bring You glory and honor.  In Jesus’ name I pray.  Amen.

You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.  Psalm 16:11