Dear Friends, Family and Supporters
Greetings in the precious Name of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ!
We trust all is well with you.
We had a very effective, busy and appreciated time of ministry in Malawi, the warm heart of Africa. Our schedule was packed, our free time was scarce, adventures were plenteous and the scenery was breath-taking!
We have now been on this Africa Overland Mission for almost two months. We have driven more than 10,500km, and we are in the third of eleven countries that we plan to minister in. We have so far conducted 77 meetings in Mozambique, Malawi and Tanzania.
It was such a blessing for us to visit the Sola Scriptura Bible College in Mzuzu, where we met with Oom Peet Erasmus, the founder of the college (whom we had previously met at Sola Scriptura in Mozambique). At this College we were able to run a 3-day Great Commission Seminar which was much appreciated by the students as well as the founder.
Renee also used her culinary skills to bless Oom Peet and his ministry-companion with 3 cooked meals a day, which they appreciated very much after a long time of only eating out of tins.
We showed the Jesus film on separate nights in neighbouring towns.
We visited the town of Livingstonia, situated high up on a mountainous plateau, 1,386m above sea level, which can only be reached by a very precarious winding road. We took time to explore the Livingstonia Mission where we learnt much about the history and were impressed by the stained glass window in the cathedral which depicted scenes from the life of Dr. David Livingstone. We found a picturesque campsite near the top of the mountain where we could camp for the weekend. The view was incredible!
Thank you for keeping us in your prayers as we crossed the border into Tanzania. The officials probingly opened almost every door of the vehicle and trailer, inspecting our load with stern faces and even requesting that we open some of the boxes. We were expecting the worst. However, it went much better than we expected. God had granted us favour in the eyes of the officials who praised us for our missionary endeavours, refrained from charging us any import tax, and wished us well on our journey.
With joyful hearts we praised the Lord as we drove through into Tanzania!
Stuck in the Mud
We were exhausted travellers when we arrived in the dark at our first appointment after a long, tiresome, 13-hour day of driving over rough, slippery, pot-holed roads at an average speed of 15 km/hour. Whilst we were reversing the trailer under the mango tree where we were to set up camp, to our intense horror, the ground gave way beneath one of the trailer's wheels! The ground, which had seemed to be perfectly solid, swallowed up the entire wheel and the trailer sank down onto its belly at a horrific angle! Michael valiantly tackled the laborious task of freeing the trailer from the clutches of the muddy monster.
Mutiny in the Mud!
After an hour of digging, wrestling and pulling, the trailer emerged from the sticky mud trap which had held it so defiantly. Before we had a chance to breathe a sigh of relief and celebrate, the back wheel of the vehicle disappeared into another invisible sink-hole! Michael bravely took on the new challenge and worked at releasing this new victim from the mutinous mud.
Eventually, after an exhaustive struggle for more than an hour and a half, both vehicle and trailer were victoriously perched on solid ground. We then carefully selected a solid spot where we could safely camp for the night.
Risky Rough Roads
Tanzania has proved to be a dangerous challenge for travel. Most of our journey has been along rough, bumpy, gravel, dirt roads that have suffered much damage from the plenteous rains which have turned them into slippery, muddy, perilous tracks. We often slipped and slid precariously passed unfortunate vehicles that had themselves skidded off the narrow mud tracks and were thus half-blocking what was left of the risky road.
The tar roads present dangers of its own as kamikaze busses whizz past us at recklessly high speeds. Frequent wreckages along the road are a constant reminder to us of our deep dependence on God for His protection over us and the vehicle.
Ministry in Tanzania
Michael had the opportunity to minister at a mid-week meeting held at the church where we got stuck in the mud, as well as speak to the students of the Sola Scriptura Bible College in Tanzania. We had opportunities to show the Jesus film in neighbouring towns, of which one occasion was rained out. Michael also had the opportunity to do open-air preaching in one of the villages where hundreds of villagers gathered around to listen intently.
We have some promising ministry planned for the next few weeks. Please pray that we may be effective in our attempts of fulfilling the Great Commission.
Thank you very much to each of you who have been praying for us. We desperately need, desire, and covet your prayers. Thank you also to those of you who have deposited money into our bank account, your support enables us to be more effective in fulfilling our calling.
May God bless you (and us) with greater effectiveness in fulfilling the Great Commission.
In His service – and loving it!
Michael and Renee Watson
P.O. Box 74 Newlands 7725
Cape Town South Africa