Category: Overseas Mission

Every part has it’s role

View across Salzburg old town towards the snowcapped Alps.

Reading Lesley’s blog this week it seemed to me a real-life illustration of Paul’s insight about how God manages things so we each bring our specific gifts and talents to build the church:

But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 1 Corinthians 12:18

I hope it inspires you to praise and intercession:

And sorry, this is the unexpected bonus from week 9:

Similar but different

river side view

This week Neal & Lesley have been reflecting on different rhythms to life in Austria. As you read through their news of this week please pray not only for ‘F’, ‘M’ and family but also that Neal and Lesley will be refreshed by a little time out and return with renewed energy for their work:

Oakies in Tanzania!

Oak Hall visitors and painting project One of highlights of life here in Morogoro is the Book Club that I (Ruth) attend every month.  Half a dozen Christian ladies get together to discuss whatever book we are currently studying.  Right now we are reading through Sally Breedlove’s book ‘Choosing Rest’.  It’s subheading is, “Cultivating a Sunday heart in a Monday world.” Rest is an interesting concept for missionaries when there can be many demands on our time.  We can often feel the pressure to ‘redeem the time’ for the sake of those who are supporting us financially.  And, frankly, sometimes there is just so much to do.  But rest is vital if we are to be here for the long haul.  It’s sometimes difficult to get the balance right.  2017 has been an exceptionally busy year for us and we are looking forward to a rest.  But first, what have we been doing since we last wrote….?

August—Oak Hall in Tanzania!

Steve and I have been connected with Oak Hall Expeditions for over 10 years and Oak Hall has also been a generous supporter of Sanga Sanga Retreat Centre.  So it was a real pleasure to host the first Oak Hall trip to Tanzania!  Twenty-four intrepid souls came for a taste of mission and culture.  The trip started with a hiccup as fog in Amsterdam meant the group missed its connection and ended up coming on 2 separate flights much later than expected.  Good job our Oak Hall training and experiences in Africa have taught us to be flexible! The group was based at Sanga Sanga Retreat Centre for 10 days.  They threw themselves gladly into some practical work on 2 of those days, painting the outside of the conference centre and working on the hydroponics project.  Evenings were special times, spent around the campfire as we gathered for worship and Bible study, gazing at the stars above.  We took them to visit a nearby Maasai village where they tried some Maasai dancing; we visited a local NGO which trains ‘hero’ rats to sniff out landmines and TB (fascinating—visit; we enjoyed a mountain hike in the Ulugurus and we had a day on safari where we saw everything including lion!

Worshipping at AICT Kiloka

But the real highlights for the group were the visits we made to  AICT Dakawa and AICT Kiloka, small village churches.  At Dakawa, as soon as the choir began to sing and dance our group jumped up to join in too!  It was amazing and surprisingly emotional—two sets of people, different in language, culture, appearance and economic status, but united in enjoying praising God.  The British aren’t so stiff-upper lipped after all!  At Kiloka we sang a couple of songs to the church (with actions!) and received a very warm welcome and gifts of rice and bananas.  It was fascinating to watch our group’s reactions and see it all through their eyes, as if for the first time.

Ruth’s birthday coincided with the visit to AICT Dakawa and she was presented with a kanga

We ended the trip on the coast for a couple of days, including a day on a tropical island enjoying the golden sands and warm waters of the Indian Ocean—and all getting completely soaked on choppy seas on the way back!  All in all, it was a successful trip, tiring but rewarding, and we look forward, God willing, to hosting another group next year!  If you’re interested contact Oak Hall!


AICT Magambua

We travelled deep into rural Tanzania in September for a pastors’ seminar.  Magambua is in an area where the people group are classed as ‘unreached’.  Steve was again teaching on the subject of leadership with moral integrity.  We stayed with an AIM missionary couple , fellow birding enthusiasts!  Numbers attending the conference were lower than expected but they still enjoyed some lively discussion on the topic!  At the end of the conference we took an extra day in Magambua to rest and enjoy some bird watching.  I saw 21 new birds!

October—AIM Tanzania Conference & Iringa

Bob Hunt, Steve’s former All Nations tutor

AIM has quite a number of missionaries in different parts of Tanzania and our annual conference is the opportunity to get together and catch up.  Steve, myself and Cath were responsible for organising this year’s conference but in spite of that it all went very smoothly!  Bob Hunt, Steve’s former tutor at All Nations, came to do the Bible teaching, leading us through the Gospel of John on some of the journeys of Jesus.  After conference Bob came back to Morogoro with us for a couple of days and it was good to be able to show him a little of our lives here and, of course, Sanga Sanga. Steve has just retuned from Iringa where he has been teaching at the last of this year’s regional seminars.  If this were Steve writing you would now get a series of stats—numbers of kilometres driven, hours on the road, numbers of sessions taught etc!  Suffice to say, however, that 138 pastors, evangelists and their wives have received teaching on godly leadership this year.  Let’s pray that God will use them to shape His church into a model for the world to follow. Thanks, as always, for your support and prayers for us.  Every blessing, Steve & Ruth

Diary Dates & Prayer Requests:

  • 5 Nov             Steve preaching at AICT Dumila
  • 14-17 Nov      Evangelists’ plenary seminar at Sanga Sanga
  • 19 Nov           Steve preaching at AICT Mbezi Beach, Dar
  • 20-24 Nov      Ruth teaching English course for Intermediates
  • 15 Dec           Travel to Dar/UK for Christmas break

– Praise God for the completion of this year’s regional pastors’ seminars and pray that God will raise up humble leaders.  We are thankful for the many kilometers driven safely and for the people who have received this year’s teaching.

– Praise God for a successful Oak Hall trip, after months of planning.  Pray that those who came will be open to God’s calling on their lives to serve him however he chooses.

– Pray for Steve in his Unit Leader duties—he will be travelling to visit various members of the unit over the next few weeks.

– We are planning a short break in the UK over Christmas and New Year.  It will be Ruth’s parents’ diamond wedding anniversary on Boxing Day.  Pray for safe travels and for a good time with family in Carlisle, Bicester, Newark, Nairn and Elgin!  We return to Tanzania via Kenya on 8th January.

One of our Oak Hall guests has a close encounter with a ‘hero’ rat!

Ever heard the parable of the toy boat?

Neal and Lesley Grindrod

This week may have seen the monthly ‘stock-take’ closure of the Oasis clothing room and a public holiday in Austria but was not, I think, any less busy for all that.

As you catch up on Neal and Lesley’s diary please do continue to pray that they have wisdom and stamina for their work and consolation at being away from home and loved ones.

Oh and the boat? Read on at:

The latest Oasis post is in!

Neal and Emmanuel enjoying some Connect 4

As mentioned last time Neal and Lesley have had visitors hence the bumper post this week. Whilst the leaves are still falling back in Corsham, plans are already well underway for some Christmas joy to share with the refugees: Click to read about Weeks 5 & 6

Steve B travelling to Thailand this week


From Sunday 8th to Friday 27th October Steve is visiting Chiang Mai in Thailand. There are two main purposes:

  • spend time at the WEC boarding home where some of WEC’s MKs (missionaries children) live. They attend Grace International School while their parents serve the Lord either in Thailand or another country. Steve’s role is to give pastoral support and practical encouragement to the couple running the home. He will be there from 10th – 17th and from 22nd – 26th October.
  • attend Asiacon, a large conference for leaders from four areas in Asia. From 17th – 22nd he will give presentations on safeguarding and talk with individuals.

Please pray for Steve to be able to minister effectively in both of these situations.

To learn more about Steve and Gill’s work download their biannual prayer letter here

A busy week…

A letter to Oasis from an Eastern-European lady

Catch up on some of the people Lesley introduced us to last week (sorry for no re-post on the CBC site, maybe you should read here before going on).

Then on to a big Wednesday when Neal gave an address in six-languages; and some dancing that was truly the oil of joy instead of mourning (Isaiah 61), a glimpse of the “day of the Lord’s favour” surely.

And that’s just half-way through the week, be sure to read (and watch) to the end:

Hitting the (Austrian) ground running …

Room full of people listening to Ali preach in Farsi and German with Russian translation by Leila

As most of you will know, we fare-welled Neal and Lesley recently as they returned to Austria after their trip last year to spend four months working with the Oasis Refugee Ministry in Traiskirchen, just south of Vienna.

It certainly sounds like they’re right back in the thick of it with powerful stories of love and tragedy already, but don’t take my word for it, read for yourself:

Talking of Sanga Sanga

Martin & Jo Sheringham

Hi to you all!

It seems strange to say we will see you all soon but if all goes according to plan we will! Next weekend we fly, arriving back late on Sunday evening in the UK.
Our last week will be a tight one as we have a few more projects we want to complete however, to quote one of our favourite TV police chiefs ‘You can only do what you can do’ (answers on a postcard please).

Talking of police….Steve and Ruth – who were with us last night for a catch up/goodbye/meal – were amazed that during our time here, although we have been stopped by the police on numerous occasions we have never been fined. Martin’s honest ploy of opening the window, smiling and greeting them with a loud and British ‘Good morning!’ seems to amuse them and after a brief glance at our licences, we are waved on.

Talking of waving…that is also how he deals with them when we pass all the police checks, while I am sinking into my seat wondering why he must draw attention to us, and now they wave back – silly me, of course, waving works…

Talking of Steve and Ruth…they have said goodbye to the Oak Hall-ers and have a brief moment to catch their breath before heading off on Tuesday to a conference where Steve will be speaking, it’s been a pretty exhausting time for them both. The feedback from the holiday group though was very encouraging, so all their efforts have been worth it.

Talking of things that are worth it…whatever our efforts, whatever we manage to achieve, there is nothing more worth it than giving of ourselves to God. He is worth our all whatever the cost because He has already paid the highest price and somehow He thought we were worth it!

Last Sunday we joined the hoilday group to visit a tiny village church over the mountains and into, what felt like, the jungle. The caretaker/evangelist from Sanga Sanga, runs the church here, planted a few years ago, in a very hostile area where there is little other Christian influence around. We were delighted by their welcome and joined in with their worship – we hope it was as encouraging for them as it was for us!

Things we will miss…the entertaining antics on the road, the amazing shops – all tiny but crammed full with anything and everything, all the folks at Sanga Sanga, the ‘wheelbarrow bird’ (we will explain all), the home entertainment system – monkey treks through the garden, learning from Cath and Tony/Steve and Ruth about Tanzanian life, cheap ‘n’ fresh fruit ‘n’ veg sold at the gate…and so much more.

‘For the Lord is good. His unfailing love continues forever, and His faithfulness continues to each generation.’

Psalm 100:5

See you soon,
Jo ‘n’ Martin