Remote fishing villagers respond to the Gospel

By September 5, 2006

Tanzania (MNN) — Fishing villages dot the shores of Lake Rukwa in Tanzania, East Africa. With no accessible roads, villagers are cut off from others and from the Gospel.

Grace Ministries International’s Sam Vinton says GMI missionaries Ted and Kim Rabenold wondered how they could reach those people with the Gospel and decided to get a flat bottomed boat to use in the shallow lake.

Using the boat, Ted has spent time finding villages along the shore and God’s been working. More than 50 people have come to Christ in a number of the villages, and the ministry continues to grow, says Vinton.

“The results are good. We’re taking some of the Bible school students out there now, and leaving them there to start organizing people. We’ll make a trip and drop students off in some of these villages and that’s just going to be one of the projects of our local Bible school. That’ll be part of their practical experience is going out there into these fishing villages.”

In the remote and largely-unreached Rukwa Valley, the Rabenolds work with the Nyika, Fipa, Wanda and Sukuma peoples, and they’re actively engaged in enabling and equipping Tanzanian nationals in doing evangelism, church planting, and community development with the people.

In one village, workers were approached by a man who seemed to be demon possessed. The GMI team prayed with him, explained the Gospel and the man was saved. Vinton says that because that man was the first Christian in his village, “There’s a very powerful testimony of God’s power in that man’s life in bringing him to salvation.”

But Vinton says there are also strong spiritual forces against their ministry, and prayer is needed. “We need to pray for the breaking down of the power of Satan. That group of people in that area have this mountain god that they speak about and have very strong fears about their god. And so, (pray) for the Gospel to penetrate that area with power so that people really come to a knowledge of Christ.

Another need is for more people to help with ongoing evangelism and discipleship, says Vinton, “Also, pray that we can really get men who are interested in going there and being like their pastors at least teaching them and training them and preparing those people to be able to worship the Lord, to be involved in things of the Lord, also to reach out to their own neighbors.”

Pray for the fishing villagers’ salvation and for the follow up needed to train these new believers on how they can live and serve the Lord. Pray also for future outreach work in these villages, including a possible medical outreach trip in October.

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