Further news of God moving in Iran

Neal preaching his "PAID IN FULL" message at Oasis

I’ve been struck in the last week, and not just in Neal and Lesley’s news from Austria, that something seems to be afoot in Iran. Please pray for this nation and the individuals mentioned as you read http://grindrods.simplesite.com/437951784.

Also, let me underline the request for prayer support for the Christmas event planned for this Friday afternoon.

A triumphant hope

Ali preaching at the Oasis Wednesday night meeting

This week, in a change of style, Lesley and Neal share a quite extraordinary set of stories of those they have met. In paragraph after paragraph we see people that have endured physical and emotional hardships we can only guess at. Yet joy and hope jump out of the page. I don’t think I can put it any better than Lesley:

As you read, please pray that each person who’s story we’ve shared will find all their needs met and their hopes fulfilled as they learn more about Jesus, and to put their trust in Him and His eternal, incomparable and unconditional love for them heart

Read all about it at: http://grindrods.simplesite.com/437861226

“Flying home for Christmas!”


As I sat in a well-worn barber’s chair on Saturday morning, my mind began to drift towards our UK Christmas visit. As the scissors and the clippers did their work, it gave me time to ponder on how very different my surroundings would be in just a week’s time. They won’t be singing “snow had fallen, snow on snow” here in Morogoro and there’s no chance of “frosty winds making moan”, just warm and wet winds sweeping off the Uluguru mountains behind us. There won’t be any jingling of bells or the twinkling of fairy lights and, whilst there will be plenty of open fires, there won’t be any chestnuts being roasted – just rice, beans, maize, ugali and possibly some chicken. And as you walk around Morogoro you have to look very hard to find a tinselled tree or a laughing Santa – thankfully!

Christmas is indeed coming but there’s a very different feel to it here, where Christians remember the birth of Christ but in a ‘business as usual’ sort of way. The church services do get a bit longer and, quite possibly, a bit noisier! The AIC church here will be having services on three consecutive days, each one lasting for about three hours. Spare a thought for our team leader Tony Swanson who is preaching at all three and is very much looking forward to watching the choir dancing their way through ‘Hark the herald angels sing’! There might also be a few candlelight services happening on Christmas eve but that’s probably more to do with a regular power cut than wanting to create a cosy stable-like feel (?!) in the service!

By the way, talking of power cuts, what does my Tanzanian/Indian barber do in his psychedelic green shop when the power goes off? He cranks up a noisy generator and carries on with the job, which by this point is very nearly done. Out comes a razor for the finishing touch and out comes a rather large brush (the type that goes with a regular dustpan and brush!) to sweep away the cuttings from my head and shoulders. Finally a dab of un-manly fragrant talc is applied to the neck and the job is done. And all for just £2!

Back to the Christmas musings! Whilst there are many differences between Christmas in Tanzania and the UK, the real focus is still the same – it’s a ‘holyday’ to remember the birth of Christ. It’s a time to reflect on an occasion when God began to put his plan of salvation into action; a time when God chose to ‘put on skin’ and come to live on this earth as a human; a time when he chose to use a young peasant girl to bring into the world the Son of the Almighty God, who somehow was also there when the world began! What an outrageous story! And all for the benefit of humanity! Amidst the froth of Christmas let’s find the time to ponder afresh the astounding truths of what it meant for God to become man. And then let’s pour out our hearts in gratitude by giving our lives in service to Him. “What can I give Him, poor as I am? If I were a Shepherd I would bring a lamb. If I were a wise Man I would do my part. Yet what I can I give Him, I give my heart.”

A Tale of Two Churches
The IBM conference season has now finished for the year; Ruth is working on the year-end reports and I’m beginning to ponder the subject for next year’s teaching. We’re thankful to God that the conferences this year have all gone to plan, and that the subject of godly leadership seems to have had an impact.

Bearing in mind Ruth’s comment about statistics in our last update, I’ll refrain from going into detail about miles travelled, litres of fuel consumed (by the car!), sermons preached, and the number of times I’ve been stopped by the police! Suffice to say, whilst it’s been a busy year, it’s been a good one, and we’re finishing the year with a sense of satisfaction at what God has done through us as a team. I’ll round up the year by giving you a glimpse of what life can be like on the preaching road here in Tanzania, in the form of a few diary entries.

AIC Dumila: This was a long and painful day! Left home at 8am, and drove 75 kms to the church. On arrival I was given a dried chapatti and some tea; in hindsight, a mistake! Before I got up to preach, I had to visit the cob-webbed toilet shed three times, although it did give me the opportunity to escape the distorted noise of the generator-powered sound system for a few minutes! When the time came to preach, I then had to battle against the sound of an Islamic wedding party happening nearby. The hypnotic trance-like music seemed to have an effect on the congregation – or was that my preaching!?

There were about 70 people crammed into this small mud-brick church. The notices lasted 20 mins, and there were three collections; one of them a general one, another for some building work, and the other for the choir! For the last one, the guy on the microphone was on hand to call out the amount that each person put into the basket! Meanwhile, sitting rather awkwardly at the front of the church and being able to see through the hole in the wall where a window should have been, I tried to keep a close eye on my car which was in danger of being swamped by Sunday School children! They found it amusing to look at their reflections in the mirrors and to run their hands down the not-so-glistening paintwork! Once the service was finished, I sold 15 Bibles at a knock-down price and was later given a lunch of rice and beans. I finally arrived home at 5:30pm with a pounding headache and the need for a paracetamol!

AIC Kinzudi Dar: Due to the fact this church was off the beaten track, I had asked the pastor to meet me at the main road. On the way to the church he asked me to stop at the butchers so that he could buy lunch! With a quick glance towards the hanging lumps of meat in the shop window, I assured him that my favourite meal was indeed rice and beans, and that he needn’t go to the expense of buying meat just for me! Off we drove with me inwardly cheering! As we approached the church the track got rather more ‘off-road’ and somehow I managed to arrive without ripping the sump from the bottom of the car! Yet again, mine was the only car outside the church; there were a few bicycles but the other 40 people had walked there. We started 25 minutes late and people continued to arrive as the service progressed. In a number of churches I’ve even seen people arrive with five mins of the sermon to go!

What a pleasant surprise! There were no microphones or speakers to shake the internal organs, which meant that I wouldn’t need the wax earplugs that I’d put in my pocket! There was only one collection, one song from a four-woman choir, and lots of congregational singing, much of which I couldn’t really understand, but nevertheless it proved to be a tonic to the soul! The tin-roofed church provided oven-like conditions in the humid heat of Dar, and I noticed that the pastor’s shirt was somewhat damp with only a few minutes gone! I’ve learnt that when preaching in Tanzania, it’s always wise to carry a flannel with you, and indeed, it proved useful as the service went on! I preached from John 13 – the section where Jesus washed the feet of his disciples just hours before the cross. We’re urged to stoop and serve as Jesus did, and that includes ‘washing the feet’ of those we don’t get on with, and those who may have wronged us in the past. I don’t recall reading that Jesus refused to wash the feet of the man who was planning to betray him – such a challenge to us all. As the service drew to a close, we filed out whilst singing the closing song and stood in a long line having shaken each other’s hands. And then……time for some more rice and beans!

Diary Dates:

16th Dec – 4th Jan:           Christmas & New Year with family in England & Scotland!
5th- 7th Jan:                      Unit Leader meetings in Kenya
8th Jan:                             Return to Tanzania
19th Jan:                           Our 10th wedding anniversary!
Jan – dates tbc:                Ruth teaching Intermediates English course
Jan/Feb/March:                Steve preparing seminar teaching material

Progress at Sanga. Forget the view – look at those new window frames!

Prayer & Praise:

  • We’re thanking God for the past year and for all the plans that have come to fruition; for safety on the roads and in the home; for the opportunity to teach from God’s Word; for the progress made at Sanga Sanga. We’re also praising God for you! We’re thankful for the fact that many of you are journeying with us and providing finance and prayer. Thank you so much for being such a blessing!
  • Please pray for Ruth as she continues to provide administrative support to IBM & Sanga, and as she balances the books, handles bookings and manages the housekeeping staff there. The site is certainly being used more and more, with groups coming on a regular basis to use the facilities, but with that growth comes busyness!
  • Please pray for Steve as he spends the bulk of Jan/Feb/March preparing teaching material for the IBM seminars which begin in May. Please also pray for the Swansons as 2018 will be their last year in Morogoro! They’ll be leaving in December 2018 and heading to a new assignment in Uganda. It raises all sorts of questions as to ‘what next’ for the team, for IBM and the work at Sanga. We would value your prayers as we try to discern the best way forward, and seek to recruit new personnel to cover Tony’s roles.

Further ahead: I’ll be leading another Oak Hall Israel trip from 30th Mar–9th April and it would be great to have some familiar faces on the trip! If you’re interested in seeing the sights of Israel & Palestine with your Bibles open, please see this link for further details: http://www.oakhall.co.uk/israel/israel.

In our last update Ruth reported on Oak Hall’s first Tanzania trip which took place back in August. Well, there’s another trip planned for next year (18 Aug-1 Sep), so if you want an idea of what the trip looks like, or maybe even fancy the idea of staying at Sanga yourself, have a look at the online brochure: http://www.oakhall.co.uk/summer/tanzania.

We wish you every blessing for Christmas and the New Year.

Steve & Ruth

There’s a push-bike in there somewhere!

Notice sheet for 3rd December 2017

CBC news logo

Prayer Meeting

A reminder that we will be having our usual prayer meeting this evening at 6pm.  All welcome!

Midweek Service

The next midweek service is on Wed 6th December. The text is 2 Samuel 23.1-7. Eric Seager will be leading and preaching.

Carols by Candlelight – 17th December, 6pm

We’re planning once again to put together a band/ ensemble/ mini-orchestra for the carols by candlelight service. If you play an instrument (to grade 5 or above) and would be interested in playing at the carol service, David Morrell would love to hear from you, with details of what you play if he doesn’t already know! It would be great to hear from everyone who’s interested in taking part as soon as possible.  You can speak to David face to face or email him on davidsuemorrell@gmail.com.

Fight Night

Monday night at CBC is “Fight Night” (second Monday of every month at 8pm). This is a men’s prayer meeting where we pray for our Christian witness, to honour the women in our lives, and for anything and everything as the Spirit leads.

MK Staff Training 2018

This summer (2017) CBC hosted the MK Staff Training course for WEC International. As a church we had the opportunity to meet and be a blessing to new mission workers from all over the world, preparing to serve in schools attended by missionaries’ children. The same course will be held at CBC again in 2018, from Sunday evening 22nd July to Thursday morning 2nd August. We are looking for hosts to provide accommodation, and help with catering and taxi driving for our participants. If you would like to help in any way please talk with Steve or Gill Bryant. Thank you!

Grindrods’ Blog

Please take a paper copy of the latest blog from Austria or visit the link http://grindrods.simplesite.com/435831945

Christmas cards for persecuted believers

“Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.” Heb.13:3

Christmas cards are available at the back of the church. Please take and send with prayer and a verse of encouragement. Send to Open Doors UK, P.O. Box 6, Whitney, OX296WG.  Prefer via email? See opendoorsuk.org.  Speak to Vanessa Naish if necessary.

Church Directory 2018

Please complete a form, which you can find at the back, if your details have changed or you are new to this fellowship.  Once completed, leave in the box on the table at the back. The directory will be published in January. PLEASE WRITE CLEARLY!! Thank you!

Mission and Persecuted Church Prayer

The December Mission Prayer meeting has been cancelled. ​The next meeting will be on Monday 15th January.

Opportunities for Regular Giving

If you would like to give to the work of the church on a regular basis, you might wish to consider setting up a standing order through your bank.  Alternatively, some people find it helpful to use a weekly numbered blue donation envelope for their offering.  And of course, if you are a UK tax payer, then the value of your gift can be increased by 25%, at no extra cost to yourself, if you complete a Gift Aid Declaration.

If you would like to enrol on the blue envelope scheme for 2018, or would like to set up a standing order or make a Gift Aid Declaration, do please speak to one of the Treasury Team: Roger Hammett (Priory Street 11.15 Service); Lynne Little (Church on the Green, Rudloe) or Michael Prior (Priory Street 9.15 Service).

Christmas Service Offerings – 2017

On Saturday 16 December, the offering taken at the Nativity Service will be given to Compassion UK’s “Most Needed Fund” and will be used to support the work of their Child Survival Programme in many poor communities across the world.  Should you wish to find out more go to https://www.compassionuk.org/give/child-survival-programme/

On Sunday 17 December, the offering from the Carols by Candlelight Service will be sent to support the work of the Oasis Centre, our mission partners in Austria working alongside refugees.  For further information do look at Neal and Lesley Grindrod’s blog http://grindrods.simplesite.com/437190281

If you are able to gift aid your donation, special yellow envelopes for your monetary offering are available on the table at the back of the building.  Please do mark them “NATIVITY – COMPASSION” or “CHRISTMAS – OASIS”.  When the offering is taken on the day, only the contents of the yellow envelopes, and loose cash/cheques will be included in the offering total.  Blue envelopes will be treated as regular giving to the general work of the church.  Please do pray about how you can contribute towards this offering, and speak to Lynne Little (Church on the Green, Rudloe), Michael Prior (Priory Street 9.15am) or Roger Hammett (Priory Street 11.15am) for clarification.

Family Christmas decoration-making workshop

We will be making Christmas decorations and having some festive fun this Saturday 9th December at church between 10am and 12pm. There’ll be glitter and tinsel in abundance! Children to be accompanied by a parent please.  Help is needed for this event so please speak to Rhiannon to find out more and to sign up.

A Sweet Christmas – Women’s Christmas Event: Monday 11th December

We look forward to having fellowship and food together as we celebrate Christmas and encourage one another in our walk with God at this special time of year. This year we’re having a ‘Christmas curry’ with oodles of sweet treats! Any questions please speak to Anne Holmes, Christine Coltman or Vicki Kelly.  There is a sign-up sheet.

…This week…

Monday: Mums’ bible study, 10am

Wednesday: Midweek service, 2pm

Thursday: Toddler Group, 10am; CMDAC 7.30pm

Friday: CMDAC 9.30am; Encounter, 3.45pm; Engage, 4:30pm; Energize, 5:30pm

Saturday: Prayer for gospel expansion and other church activities 8.30am


All things Christmas @ CBC Priory Street

9th December, 10am-12pm: decoration-making workshop

11th December, 7:30pm: Women’s Christmas event

16th December, 5pm: Nativity Service

17th December, 6pm: Carols by Candlelight

20th December, 2pm: Midweek Christmas service

24th December: normal 9:15am and 11:15am services; communion 6pm

25th December, 10am: Christmas Day family service; no evening service

31st December: normal 9:15am and 11:15am services; no evening service


psalm-127-1-webIt was really very encouraging and challenging to consider the transforming grace of God last Monday night. God is growing us and it is exciting! One of the key points of God’s transforming grace which we discussed is that we are totally dependent on the Holy Spirit for His transforming work in our lives and at the same time we are responsible to cooperate with the Holy Spirit in this work. How the Holy Spirit does this is a mystery… But He progressively changes and transforms us to be more like Jesus everyday as we cooperate with Him. Think of this illustration taken from Jerry Bridges’ book, The Discipline of Grace: “You are seated in a jet passenger plane flying thirty-five thousand feet above the earth. Suppose (I know this can’t happen in real life) the pilot were to say ‘Folks, we’re in real trouble. One of our wings is about to break off.’ Which one of the wings would you rather lose, the left or the right one? It’s a silly question, isn’t it? No plane can fly with just one wing. Multi-engined planes are designed to fly with only one engine in emergency mode. But no plane can fly with just one wing; both are absolutely necessary. Visualize that aircraft as though you were looking down on it from above. You see the fuselage, where you are sitting, the two wings and the tail assembly. As you look at the two wings you see the words, dependence, on the left wing, and discipline on the right wing. This airplane illustrates one of the most important principles in the Christian life. Just as the airplane must have both wings to fly, so we must exercise both discipline and dependence in becoming conformed into Christ’s likeness. (Jerry Bridges calls it the pursuit of holiness.) Just as it is impossible for an airplane to fly with just one wing, so it is impossible for us to successfully pursue holiness with only dependence or discipline. Discipline refers to training ourselves, just as Paul told Timothy to train himself to be godly. (1 Timothy 4:7) The point of the airplane illustration is that we must not try to carry out our responsibilities in our own strength and willpower. We must depend on the Holy Spirit to enable us. At the same time we must not assume that we have no responsibility simply because we are dependent. God enables us to work, but He does not do the work for us!” From our verse today, the Psalmist sees God so intimately involved in the building and the watching! The builders can’t put their tools away and go watch the telly. The watchmen can’t go home and go to sleep and expect God to watch over the city! They must carry out their responsibilities in total dependence on God that the psalmist speaks of HIS building and HIS watching. Good food for thought! We will resume our study series, Living Out God’s Grace, in January. Praying for you reader, as we enter the Christmas season! This blog will continue to focus on God’s amazing grace at Christmas! Love, Kathy xo  

Give thanks to the just judge

Oasis team, preparing Christmas gift bags for refugees

Thanksgiving celebrations at Oasis this week, as many other places. It sounds like the team had a great time of bonding together amongst their preparations for the Christmas events that will follow shortly. Witness the culmination of the ladies gift and updates on several of the people Lesley and Neal have introduced us to over previous weeks.

As you read, please also pray for these folks, for the perseverance spoken about in the parable of the unjust judge (Luke 18:1-8) and for them to experience the power of God, the just judge: http://grindrods.simplesite.com/437696944


Hi sisters! Tomorrow night is our time to get together with a cuppa, cake and a Bible to study God’s Transforming Grace as we live out the Gospel in our daily lives. transforming grace of GodWHEN: Monday, 27 November, 2017 WHERE: Corsham Baptist Church Hall TIME: 7:30 PM  Be prepared to laugh, be encouraged, and challenged by the ONE “who began the good work within you, and WILL continue His work until it is finally finished on the day when Jesus Christ returns.” See you there!