Wednesday, October 28, 2015

57 Days til Christmas! Shop & support us at the same time!

There are only 57 days until Christmas. Our friend, Rachel, is hosting a fundraiser to help us meet our financial needs.

She is a Compassionate Entrepreneur for Trades of Hope! I love this business, because it provides sustainable work with dignity for women coming out of dire circumstances. So when she approached us about this fundraiser, of course, we were excited. They have amazing products that I think many women on our gift lists would be honored and excited to wear or use. 

Would you consider purchasing something for someone on your Christmas list? A parent? Teacher? Friend? Pastor? Mentor? Yourself? :) 

Please see the details below: 

Empowering women

Empowering families
Empowering generations

This is Trades of Hope!

You have been invited by Gretchen to help inspire hope + create change worldwide. Trades of Hope partners with small groups of artisans who are working their way out of poverty and desperate circumstances including slums, sweatshops, and the sex trade. They live all over the world: Haiti, Uganda, Guatemala, Costa Rica, India and Cambodia... even here in the United States. These women don't want charity, they want opportunity!

In addition to these women being given opportunity, you have the opportunity to help SUPPORT the Driesenga Family!! 

***ALL proceeds from this party will be given to Marc and Gretchen to aid in reaching their goal to continue missions work in Tanzania!!***

What's better than giving back in multiple ways?

Join us for this purposeful party for the next month right here on this event page to learn more about the mission of Trades of Hope and to shop beautiful fair trade, handmade jewelry, accessory and home decor items.

View the entire collection now through the Driesenga Family link~


Email Rachel Cunningham at or call 805-390-329

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Hope & Evangelism

I wrote the following blog last April, I think. I'm not sure why I never posted it, but here you go. Thoughts from 6 months ago.

Last weekend a member of our church was driving here in Dar and was struck in the face with a bullet from what they suspect was an armed robbery taking place near where he was driving. He, his wife and newborn child flew to South Africa to try and save his eye. They were unsuccessful.

Also last weekend, the brother of a woman at our church was shot in Johannesburg, South Africa, so she flew there to be with him.

Yesterday, a friend and life-group member with us excitedly shared the picture of her newborn niece and we all celebrated with her over WhatsApp. By morning, the baby had died and even as I type, they are at the baby's burial.

Garissa. 148 people dead in our neighboring country Kenya and heightened security around Tanzania since due to rumors of threats.

So much pain. So many unanswered questions. So much tragedy and heartbreak. So much brokenness.  So much loss. The stories are endless near and around me- I'm sure the same is true in your life and in your context as well. No matter where we live, we cannot escape this brokenness.

I does one cope without Jesus?

How do you cope if you only know death, abuse, injustice, disease, loss...the Good Friday story.

How do you hold onto hope when you don't know about Easter - Resurrection Day...Or if you know, but reject it? What do you hold onto? What do you hope in?

Perhaps people's hope is in humanity and the idea that deep down people are good? Perhaps hope is in a god-like figure, some spiritual being, some idea that there is something 'bigger than us out there'? Perhaps hope is in oneself - trusting that you can, in the end, work it all out in your own strength? Perhaps hope is in science, or money, or education, or relationships, or chariots, or horses...

"Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God."
Psalm 20:7

Putting our hope in anything but Christ is futile. And seeing the brokenness and pain around me only increases the urgency I feel in sharing that hope with others.

Yesterday's sermon was about Evangelism. During worship, after we sang "Mighty To Save", I invited people into a time of prayer for those who don't know Jesus. A few people came to my mind and I prayed for them. During the sermon, however, someone new came to my mind. And I wrestled with God. I was literally telling God it was too complicated and overwhelming - this person was too 'messy'. I felt hopeless. I felt like this persons brokenness is so deep that the gospel just might not be enough. I know in my head the power of the gospel, the love of the Father, the forgiveness of the Son, the transforming work of the Spirit...but my prayers do not reflect that for this individual.

Who has God placed in your life to pray for? To share the gospel with? Is there someone who you, like me, consider to be too 'messy'? Let's repent of our lack of faith and earnestly pray for the salvation of those God has put in our path. Let's pray for boldness in sharing the gospel message. Let's pray for the unconditional love of the Father to pour out from us to others and for us to cling to the hope of Christ!

Monday, October 19, 2015

He Is able. More than able.

THIS SONG has been in my mind today. It's an OLDIE, but it's still true and it's a message I need to focus on. (Can you tell which era I grew up in!?! ha!)

He is able, more than able, to accomplish what concerns me today
He is able, more than able, to handle anything that comes my way
He is able, more than able, to do much more than I could ever dream
He is able, more than able, to make me what he wants me to be. 

We owed our government $1500 on September 15th for estimated self-employment tax for this year. We owe another $1500 in December. Geneva needs to get to the dentist for a cavity. We should really take care of our remaining dog (we had two - one died mysteriously this week) getting neutered. Our van needs a new engine. Yes, a new engine. Selfishly, we found an inexpensive used A/C unit for the kids room for during the hot season - certainly not a necessity, but would be nice for our kids to sleep through the night during the hot season and not have heat rash.


We budget for these things.
We have line items for them.
We've planned for circumstances such as these.

In October, our actual received income is only 59% of our budgeted amount. When we aren't fully funded, we don't have the money for car repairs, or taxes or medical expenses. We should have money in our savings set aside for these things, but for two years, we've been living below our budget, meaning there is no savings.


Is God using our circumstances to redirect us? To move us? Is God using our circumstances to test our faith? To cause us to more fully rely on Him? Is God using our circumstances to display His Glory? To display is power? Are these hardships evidence of spiritual warfare? Is it the enemy who wants us to be done here? Have we been foolish to continue on without full support?

We're in the midst of a storm. We're in a fight. We're trying to keep our focus on Jesus. I have to admit, though, I'm growing weary over the constant battle of fundraising. There have been many days recently when we feel ready to throw in the towel and move home, get full time jobs and not have to rely on others. Neither of us wants to do that, though, when we press ourselves. We want to be here. We came here out of obedience and have not felt God telling us to leave this place or ministry. He might yet, but so far, we feel called to stay in Dar.


This morning I was lead to Mark 4, where Jesus calms a storm. After rebuking the wind and the sea was calmed, Jesus says to his disciples,

"'Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?" 
And they were filled with great fear and said,
 "Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?'"
Mark 4: 40 & 41

Our God controls the wind and the sea. He is the Creator and Provider. He is the Alpha and Omega. He is the Great I Am. He is our Savior. He is sovereign over all. Surely a few thousand dollars is not too much for him to handle. Surely HE IS ABLE! We are choosing to continue on in faith, trusting the Lord to guide our steps and to make His will know for our present and our future. 


Maybe we won't get the van fixed. Maybe we have to move home in June and get full time jobs. Maybe our other dog will die. Maybe we can't pay our taxes. Guess what? HE IS STILL ABLE. He is the one to decide these things, not us. By continuing on in faith, it doesn't mean we expect God to bend to our will, but more that we bend to His. Perhaps, maybe, through all of this, he is just making us who he wants us to be. And that is enough. 

We are looking for a few people to join us in prayer for these next few months - from now until mid-January, which is when we expect to need to make a decision about our future here in Tanzania. If you're willing to commit to pray for us and with us, will you email us at and let us know? We will send out prayer updates weekly (ish) to keep this specific group of prayer warriors up to date on what's going on. 

We also realize that our situation and story is not unique. You might be going through something yourself, where you feel worn down and weary. Maybe you also need the message today that God is able. Maybe you also need to be reminded to reach out to your community for prayers and support, as we are trying to here. Maybe you feel uncertain about where God is leading you in your future and need to know you're not alone. Maybe you're feeling like one of the disciples, full of fear and little faith and need to be reminded that 'even the wind and the sea obey him'. Maybe you need that reminder of the power of God today. Whatever your circumstances, may God's grace and power be evident in your life and may you trust that HE IS ABLE. Let us know if we can pray for you. 

If you feel led to give, please visit the tab above "GIVING" or click HERE to be instantly directed to Christian Reformed World Missions website.