Thanksgiving

tuscany sunset, ItalyPsalm 100
All Lands Summoned to Praise God

A Psalm of thanksgiving.

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth.
Worship the Lord with gladness; come into his presence with singing.
Know that the Lord is God. It is he that made us, and we are his; we are his people and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise. Give thanks to him, bless his name.
For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.

The focus of Thanksgiving in November is a reflection upon the season following a very difficult winter and year after the Pilgrims arrived on the Mayflower.  This year I focused some of my free time researching and reading about my ancestry. Through my great mothers’ line, I can trace my heritage back to the Mayflower.  The arrival in Plymouth was not the intended destination, but where they had to make landfall due to many issues.   The winter was harsh and difficult, with many (half of the original passenger and crew) losing their lives as they worked to build shelters and find means of food while they lived on the ship.  In Spring they moved to land and into the shelters and homes built.  They developed good relationships with the Abenaki and other indigenous people groups living there at the time. The following fall, after a successful harvest, a celebration was organized with some of the indigenous people groups invited to join them in the festivities.  The focus of the celebration was to thank God for providing for them even though very difficult trials that included losing half of the person who began the journey through disease, ill health, and bad weather.  They were thankful for the people they met, especially the one who spoke their language, the friendship that began, along with trade and knowledge of what to grow and how to grow the food for that climate.

As we consider this year, we think of the good, as well as the bad, that has taken place in our lives. As we think back, do we see the hand of God even during difficulties, trails, and tribulations?  Has God brought situations and others in your life that have given you hope, new life, new vision, and encouragement? Sometimes when life becomes difficult we can not see the positive circumstances that God has provided for us unless we allow someone to show us the beauty of the forest through the trees. God loves us, and He loves to use others to show that love to us during the good and difficult times. Many have found that the difficulties and victories we have experienced in life become a place of help and encouragement to someone else. Allow God this Thanksgiving to help you see those things you can be thankful for in life today, whether it be a lesson, a word of encouragement, or showing others the Love of God to shine the light of hope into their lives.

Passing it Forward

IMG_0659When you think of the verse in 2 Tim 2:2, “What you have heard from me through many witnesses entrust to faithful people who will be able to teach others as well,” what comes to your mind?  How does this verse impact your life and thoughts?  Why does Paul write this to Timothy?  To whom is he referring too?

Timothy is to pass on the teachings he received from Paul to others. Yet, the qualifier is “faithful” people.  The Greek noun here is pitis used as an adjective meaning trustworthy, faithful, discerning leaders.  The goal is speaking into others’ lives with the truth of Jesus Christ so they can then to the same, to which it keeps going forward, multiplying keeping the truth of Christ.

We see this example through the ministry of Jesus with his twelve disciples.  Jesus spent time with them, speaking into their lives in many different means and forms believing that they will fully understand.  He did so repeatedly until they eventually began to catch on.  His final charge to them in Act 1:8 was the climatic focus point for the years of speaking into their lives through teaching, discipleship making and charging them with the message taught them.

Who do you allow to speak into your life regarding the truth of Jesus Christ?  How are you receiving it?  To whom are you investing this truth into?  Are they in return doing the same?  What would happen if we all did our part?

Fatuma Asheli Selemani: New Bible College Student

Selamani and FatumaMeet Mrs. Fatuma Asheli Selemani: Fatuma is one of the first students to begin work at the new bible college in Geita, Tanzania.  There is an interesting connection we have with Fatuma.  Her husband became friends on FB with me a number of years ago. While Fatuma was pregnant Selemani contacted me to pray for her and the baby because there was complications and they where not sure if the baby or Fatuma would make it.  After the baby was born Selemani asked me to if they could name their daughter after my wife,Sherry.  Sherry agreed.  We had never meet Selemani, Fatuma, nor little Sherry until we visited in January 2019 for the opening of the school and Fatuma arrived as a student.  We where very grateful to meet her and look forward to meeting little Sherry, Selemani, and the rest of their family some some in the future when we go to Tanzania to help with the new Bible College called Evart Bible College.  Below is Fatuma’s testimony.

Was born on 1980 in Kigoma Tanzania, to a family of three children’s and I am second child. My life before I was saved and accept Jesus Christ as Lord and savior of my life was going to church, but I don’t know the importance and reason for going, I was just going in and out.

In 2005, I decided to accept Jesus as my lord and savior. after accepting Jesus as my Lord and savior, I decided to be baptized in water at Ujiji Kigoma Tanzania.

When I received Jesus Christ as my Lord, and savior of my life, I began to love the ministry very much and loved listening song of God very much, Love teaching the word of God to youth, children’s and women and here I saw my salvation begin to come slowly.

After receiving him and being baptized in water I realized my calling in the church. and after realizing my call I decided to ask for a chance to go to the Bible College study in Geita.

I care about business, agriculture, fish and I care about my world affairs.

I was married in the church UJIJI FMCT to Pastor Selemani Amos Mabanzo. I love teaching the word of God and prayer I thanks God for all I am doing well in my family, school and our church FMC Tanzania.

Pastor Conrad

Rev. Conrad E. Bitoye is the District Superintendent for the Geita District of Free Methodist College Tanzania (FMTC) as well as serving as the Director for the Evart Bible College of the FMCT.  He has a great heart and compassion for evangelism, discipleship, and leadership development.  He also oversees Village Church Planting for the Geita District. Below you will find his testimony.  Pray for Pastor Conrad and the ministry and work he is doing for God’s Kingdom.  He is married with children would you pray for them as well.

I was born on March 30th, 1969 in the small village of Nyashana in Nyamgana district of Mwanza Province. I was the third born out of 5 children. At age 18 my father died, and our family suddenly became very pore.  We had many problems and life was very hard for us.  I worried and did not know what to do.  One for the hardest things for me was I thought I had to stop studying at the Roman Catholic Seminary.  I had worked very to get good grades and my hope was to join the Godliness study in the future.

My parents believed in Ancestral worship as well as be Roman Catholic.  I was raised in both beliefs, the Catholic doctrine and ancestral beliefs.  My family’s life began to get more difficult and I passed my exams to move forward.  I did not have anyone to pay for my education and I thought I could find help by going to the small temples where the ancestral gods where worshiped.  I went to those places to offer some things as my parents did.  Many times, I prayed and talked to those temples, believing I could get the answers to my prayers if I did these things, but non came. Nothing I did brought peace to my troubled mind.

As time passed, I received a paper from my friend and began read it. The paper told me that Jesus Christ is the only one who will answer all my questions and help me from my problems.  I read some words from the Bible and they answered my questions.  I found that what I read in the Bible was true.  I asked my friend to ask a pastor to pray for me.  God touched my heart and Jesus changed my life at that day.  I started worshipping the only one and true God.

Gradually, the pastor taught me how to lead worship and preach. I enjoyed doing these, but later I learned to love the world of God.  I desired to know more and understand correctly.  I tried to attend different seminars and bible studies, including bible studies through post (mail).  Later I was selected to attend Bible College.  I grew and learned much more about God and ministry for Jesus.  I started working in evangelism and then became a pastor.  As I continue in His Kingdom work, God has continued to bless me through different ministries up to now.

 

Evidence!

young man at display table

It is exciting to see evidence of the Holy Spirit working as we share about Africa. As we traveled recently to the southern Indiana region we saw God working among those to whom we ministered. This young man was very interested in Africa and what is happening around the world.  
Thank you for partnering with us in prayer and finances.
May your Easter be joyful as you celebrate the Resurrection!

Saying ” tuonane tena”

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2018 has flown by, and now it is 2019.  What a whirlwind it has been from December 2018 to now, Feb. 2019.  Below is a summary of what has taken place.

In December we concluded the 2017 cohort at the Springs of Hope Free Methodist Bible School with final classes and then graduation.  It also concluded our time with Springs of Hope Free Methodist Bible School.  We believe the school will continue strongly with its renewed focus and system under the direction of Director Lillian Musigali and Chairperson Dr. Angela Savala.

We had to opportunity to join in the wedding of our friends Evans and Rebecca at the beginning of December, join with our University Bible Study one last time for study and fellowship, and finish the month with our friends Rev’s Martin and Zippora Amani on Christmas day worshiping with them and having a meal with their family.

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In January 2019 we began our time to wind down saying “tutaonane tena” (we will see you again) to all of our friends in Kenya and enjoyed our time with my Father, Rev. Tom Cahill, Sr. and our daughter, Katelyn Cahill as they came and visited with us for one week.  At the end of the month, we traveled to Geita, Tanzania to join in the opening celebration of Evart Bible College, a Free Methodist ministry for training leaders.

 

In February 2019 we traveled back to the United States, where we are staying with our son and daughter in law, James and Michelle Cahill, in Platteville, Wi.  We where meet with bitter cold and snow, snow, snow.  We also began partnership connections for our next journey in missions.

Christmas 2018

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying,

‘Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace among those whom he favors!’

“When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.’ So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart.” Luke 2:13-19, NRSV

Our time in Kenya is winding down, and as we finish our term as VISA Missionaries in February, we are extremely excited that we will transition to Extended-Term service in missions. We will come home for Partnership Building, visiting many of you to connect and pray with you, share about our ministry, and prepare for our return to the field, as soon as our support levels are where they need to be.

As I (Thom) reflect upon this Christmas 2019, I think of what the Advent of Christ provides for us: love, hope, peace, and joy.  The meaning of Advent is a focus for usmeansofgrace internally and externally. We must allow the presence of the Holy Spirit to infill, renew, and transform us with the love, hope, peace, and joy of Christ for it to flow out of us into the world we are living.  John Wesley often spoke of the Acts of Piety (inward) and the Acts of Mercy (outward) when seeking to help ourselves and others in spiritual growth.

It is my prayer to allow the engagement of the Holy Spirit into my life to provide continual renewal and transformation so I can be what God is calling me to be to the world he has placed me.  I am not perfect, and I must admit I have failed, I have missed the mark, I have sinned by not listening or hearing the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  The beauty of the working of God’s grace upon my life is that I do not have to stay in the same place when I failed, missed the mark and sinned.  I can seek forgiveness, be transformed, renewed, and changed to be more like Christ.  I can learn and be strengthened to not fall back into those negative and destructive places of failure in my life.  I can become an over comer and a new creation in Christ Jesus. I can ask and receive a renewal in my life each day to become more like Christ Jesus.

It is also my prayer that through our travels the Holy Spirit has used Sherry and me to bring the love, hope, peace, and joy of Christ to those we have ministered.  Here are places and ministries we have engaged in with the hope that transformation and renewal through the Holy Spirit makes a lifelong change in people’s lives.

 

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In June we traveled to Nyabondo, Kimumu, and Sirwa.

In July we traveled to Kabura and ministered locally in Eldoret.

In August we worked with the Bible School for the modular program where Sherry worked in the Library and helped with Administrative roles and Thom taught two classes.

In September we traveled to Banja, Kelemosi, and Boruma. We also began a bible study with students from the University of Moi School of Law once a week.

In October we traveled to Kericho where I spoke at the FMCK Women’s retreat and continued to hold weekly Bible Studies. Toward the end of October and beginning of November, we traveled to Rwanda for Africa Regional Team meeting.

In November we completed the Africa Regional Team meeting in Rwanda and returned to Kenya.  We continued our weekly bible study and traveled to Kericho for the Highlands Annual Conference and then to Trans African Annual Conference where I spoke at both.

 

Finally, in December we are in the final module for the bible school.  Sherry continues to help in the Library, and administrative work as Thom teaches two classes and helps with graduation plans along with preparing to be the main speaker. We also will hold one more bible study meeting with the students from the university before they head home for break.

We want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas as the Hope, Joy, Peace, and Love of Jesus Christ be with you all.

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