Approximately twenty years ago Lowell and Claudia Wertz came to Tanzania with two other Methodist missionaries from the Congo to plant churches. The United Methodist Church did not have a presence in Tanzania, so Lowell and Claudia signed up! Today, a thriving and growing mission takes place in the western part of this country. Thanks to faithful persons around the world, especially in the States, Joy In the Harvest is now reaping the harvest of God's kingdom in Kigoma. What God has done through Lowell and Claudia is nothing short of remarkable.
This morning we were able to take a tour of Joy In the Harvest ministry. Lowell shared with us the ways in which this mission has grown over the years. The Computer School in particular is very impressive, and the community center now under construction will be one of the largest buildings in Kigoma. A radio station is also in the works. This has been very appealing to Bill Frosch who spent several years in radio broadcasting. Who knows how the Lord will use Bill in the future for this!!
There are many different aspects to Joy In the Harvest. One of those is the incredible organization and adminstration of the buildings, grounds, and staff. It is clear Lowell and Claudia have gifts in this department! The years of experience they have contributes to the way the mission operates on a daily basis.
To be sure, there is more work to do. The needs are so great it is difficult to know where to begin. And yet, Joy In the Harvest is an oasis of hope in a sea of poverty. When I take mission trips I am reminded again of the sacrifice of persons like Lowell and Claudia. I am also reminded of how important it is for churches like Grace Church to find ways of supporting the work here. So little can go such a long, long way. It is a partnership.
Tomorrow, we will make our way to the refugee camp north of Kigoma. We will leave on Friday afternoon and return on Saturday. I have been asked to share a word of encouragement with the workers. Again, I don't know what to say as I am the one who needs to learn from them!
Continue to keep us in prayer. Our prayers have certainly been with you.