From Matt Swahili:
If you don’t know—most likely because we’ve never met—my name is Matt (not really!). I’m with the Swahili Coast team, 23, single and just graduated from college. I’d never met any of the other team members before deciding to come here. I came because I knew God was calling me to Africa, and every other door shut but this one. BUT I’m certain I’m in the center of God’s will and that He led me here. I love the rest of the team and am glad I ended up here.
Long term, I want to spend my life working here in Africa, but I don’t know if it will always be on the Swahili Coast. When I’m not teaching English, studying in language school or attending to personal things, I like to play basketball, spend time with University students, and go out meeting new people.
Surprisingly, although this is an island, I am not a beach guy at all! I prefer only to go when it is mandatory.
Recently I’ve been praying specifically for God to open doors to relationships and opportunities to lift Jesus higher and leave a lasting/impacting witness of Him. It’s not that I wasn’t expecting God to answer these prayers, but not so soon! Many times there’s been a lot of waiting before a specific prayer was answered.
The last few weeks, I’ve had 4 different opportunities to openly share the gospel, mostly with young men who are studying Islamic Studies or teaching in their local mosques. While they did not grasp this mystery of the gospel, they did give me the time to share and I made sure they understood what I was saying in English. We’re friends and see each other as often as possible so from this point on, instead of continuing to preach preach preach to them, I am praying (and asking you to pray as well) for Jesus to reveal Himself to these guys, whether through signs, wonders, dreams, visions, or even just through the witness of my life. Their names are Adam, Ted, Alex and Oscar (not really!).
Recently I had a very unexpected experience. I met another young man—I’ll call him Abe—while exercising on the beach every morning. We’ve become fairly good friends, at least I talk to him more than anyone else there. For two weeks he’s asked to show me around the island and help me practice Swahili. Honestly, my first thought was, “been there, done that.” It’s usually the same few locations every time.
But I had a free day and God had laid this guy on my heart as I’ve been praying. So I called him. First we went to a small village where he lives. I spoke with his grandmother for a few minutes then he took me to our next destination, another small village.
I quickly found out Abe teaches Islamic manners and customs to the children (ages 5-14) of this village every day. He invited me to not only observe their class, but to speak to the children! In Swahili! After my simple introduction–maybe 10 minutes–who I am, where I come from, and other things, he opened up for questions. Of course, the first question was, “What religion are you?”
Part of me wanted to start preaching the gospel and another part of me was nervous about what would happen. Then I remembered my team leader always encourages us to just lift Jesus up and He will draw men unto Himself. So, I told them that was a great question and I take it very seriously. I then explained that I follow God just like them, but also that I love and follow Isa (or Jesus) very much.
I said a little more and it turned out very well. There is much more I can tell you about the day but PLEASE keep these children and my friend, Abe, in prayer. I pray that through our continued relationship, ABE WILL SEE JESUS!
Thank you for being here to encourage and support us with your prayers. It is much appreciated and is accomplishing much to advance His kingdom here. God bless you.