Were headed back to Tanzania tomorrow, July 2. We’ll be there about a month. This is an exciting time to be going back.
We should have learned by now not to be so surprised when we experience moments of jaw-dropping Divine Serendipity. But the most amazing moments catch us so completely off-guard! It seems we’re always looking off in another direction when, BAM!…God sneaks up on us and knocks our socks off!
Rewind briefly to a moment near the end of March…only three months ago. We were just getting used to the idea the school was now running Bulima Dispensary. We were still asking questions like, “what do we have to do?” “where do we start?” “what does this mean?” You know, the really basic stuff you think about as you’re just starting a new project. We had spoken to our partners in Tanzania several times and were starting to get some ideas about where this might lead. But our expectations were fairly muted.
Then, seemingly out of far left field…an email message arrives in the inbox from a dentist in Virginia. A Christian dentist. A Christian dentist who has been on dental missions in places like Peru, Mexico, and most recently Tanzania. He enjoys the mission trips, he says, but he’d like to do something more long-term…more permanent. Maybe start a dental clinic in a massively underserved area of Tanzania. A clinic where he could help train nationals in how to provide basic dental services. Where he, and perhaps other dentists, could go from time-to-time to provide dental services. He would like to do something which would last and make an ongoing difference. And since he’s a follower of Jesus, he’d like to do all of this in the name of Jesus and the Kingdom of God. Someone told him about The Lion of Judah Academy and the dispensary.
“Would we be interested in exploring something like that?” Dr. Michael Kennedy asks.
How do you even start to respond to an inquiry of that sort? Something that is so far outside of any “box” you could imagine that you don’t even have a category for it! And yet, at the same time, it feels so right…such a perfect fit…. You just know, all the way down in the core of your spirit, that God is in it somehow.
“Divine Serendipity,” I call to it. Moments in which the hand of God is so evident in the management of bringing events and people together that He seems almost physically visible. We have seen it so often over the past 20 years with The Lion of Judah Academy you’d think we’d have gotten used to it by now. But no…God is still sneaking up on us while we are looking off in a different direction, and knocking our socks off! (less than three weeks later Lynn and I met Mike – the dentist – and his wife, Pam, in Orlando. We spent the afternoon talking, dreaming, visiting an organization which is doing work similar to what we’re discussing. It was then we learned their daughter, and Lynn’s sister, know each other and have worked closely together in missions work out in Bozeman, Montana! What! How could that be possible?….Wave after wave of God’s divine serendipity….)
Where is all this leading? We don’t know! We have lots of things to explore, information to gather, and people to talk to while we’re in Tanzania in July. But God seems to be nudging us along, while at the same time cautioning: don’t allow your expectations of what I have planned get in the way of seeing what I’m really going to do!
Doors appear to be cracking open all over the place. Mtebe is talking about “a hospital.” A HOSPITAL!??, we think, as we shake our heads in amazement at the dreams of this man whom God has used to accomplish seemingly impossible things. At first we never imagined The Lion of Judah Academy being anything more than a few class rooms…now look what God has done! And, we wonder, why has God provided all that property he has provided…there must be some reason for it. We certainly don’t need all of that for a school! Hmmmm, we wonder…”What is God up to?”)
It’s incredibly exciting. A little scary. Sometimes it feels overwhelming. What is God up to? Where is all this going to lead? (And, on a purely personal note, Hart and Lynn are wondering, “what does He expect of us this time?” Don’t get us wrong. We’ll do it…we just can’t help wondering what “it” is! And Lord, please don’t forget, we’re over 70 years old now!)
I haven’t even mentioned the conversations concerning an eye health clinic! (very similar Divine Serendipty as the dental clinic idea – a Christian optometrist approached us!). Or the possibility of some kind of health care vocational training school connected to Lion of Judah Academy. Or the opportunities for some of our incredibly talented graduates who have gone on to university studies, received degrees, and entered various health care related fields. Or at least a couple of dozen other “God incidences” which have emerged, all related to this subject.
What is God up to?
Whatever it is, The Board of Trustees of the Lion of Judah Academy in Tanzania are seeking God, and listening hard. The Board of Directors of The Lion of Judah Ministries here in the U.S. have already decided they want to be part of it.
So we invite you to come along. Now, we freely admit, we don’t know where we’re inviting you to go. But we’d love to have you along for the ride! So what can you do now?
Pray. Please Pray. At this moment, prayers are the most important thing (they always are, of course…but in this time of discerning and listening, prayer is especially crucial to getting started on the right foot). Here are some issues to get you started:
- wisdom to discern how God is leading
- for the continuing ministry of The Lion of Judah Academy, because whatever new thing God may be doing, the school will continue to need our ongoing support and encouragement
- for Lynn and Hart while we are at the school (July 2 – August 6); for our travel, our health and safety, and for us to be alert and sensitive to what God wants us to learn, think and decide
- for the leadership of the school and the school’s board of trustees in Tanzania, for them to be able to discern what God is up to…and where God is calling us to go
- for resources, human, material and spiritual, to accomplish God’s purposes in this
If you believe God is giving you any wisdom or word we need to hear, please share that with us.
We will keep you informed. We will do our best, while we are in Tanzania, to post updates on what we are learning and discovering. We expect to return in early August.
Please also pray for The Lion of Judah Academy. Second term classes are beginning. Students are returning to school…for many it is a 2-3 day journey to get from their homes to the school. Please pray for the teachers and all their preparations. And rain is so important. Rainy season won’t start for several weeks, but another failed rainy season would be devastating for the area of the school
God bless you all.