Posted a week ago
Once again, I want to personally thank each of you for your continued prayer and support of our ministry with e3 Partners. Tina and I are constantly amazed by everything God is accomplishing through e3, and you have been a part of it.
On September 20, we are celebrating e3 Giving Day. Every online donation completed on this very special day will be enhanced by a bonus pool offered by several generous contributors. This means that if you make an additional gift on e3 Giving Day, a percentage of this bonus pool will be added to it, making it go farther!
So how can you participate?
1. Mark September 20, 2016 on your calendar! Put it in your smartphone. Write it on a sticky note and stick it to your mirror. Whatever it takes, make it a date to remember!
2. Follow e3 Partners on Facebook (here). This is a great opportunity to connect with others who are supporting me and other field staff on September 20. You can also learn about the exciting things God is doing through us!
3. Pray about how you might participate. As September 20 approaches, prayerfully consider how you could support my ministry with an additional gift.
4. Make your donation through THIS page. On September 20, return to this page and make a donation of any amount by clicking the yellow "Donate to this Fundraiser" button in the upper-right section.
Your donation will be credited to my support account, along with a percentage of the bonus pool. I can’t thank you enough for your support. If you have any questions, feel free to send me an email at email@example.com.
Posted a week ago
I am so excited to share a couple developments with you all! First off, we’ve reached a major milestone in our journey! We are now at a point where we have enough consistent monthly donations coming in to begin leading trips on a part-time basis! “Part-time” just means I will only lead two trips per year (rather than four or more) until we reach a full-time level of monthly donations. This is a huge answer to prayer, and we can't thank you enough for the role you've played in partnering with us!
My second bit of great news is that I have just scheduled my first of two required training trips! As I’ve mentioned to many of you in the past, one of these training trips will be to my area of focus (Tanzania) while the other will be to a different region so that I may gain a broader range of experience and have the opportunity to work with multiple trainers.
My first training trip will be an "Extreme Expedition" into the Amazon from October 16 through 25. We will spend the first two days in Yurimaguas, Peru training local believers how to implement a disciple making/church multiplication model. Then, along with the newly-trained nationals, we will take dugout canoes down river for the remainder of the trip where we will camp in the jungle and share the gospel with the Shawi people! I am unbelievably excited for this trip, and can't wait to give you a report in November!
Once my training is complete, all of my trip expenses will be absorbed into the expedition budget and I will not need to raise additional funds beyond our monthly donations. However, I do need to secure donations for these two training trips, each costing approximately $3,000. If God puts it on your heart to support our ministry in this specific way, just click the yellow "Donate to this Fundraiser" button in the upper right portion of this screen to make a donation!
What's Happening in Tanzania?
One of the reasons I love e3 Partners so much is that they truly understand that God has called his followers to be the church—to be His hands and feet and mouth. And that the proclamation of the gospel should go hand in hand with tangible examples of God’s love. After planting new churches, Community Transformation (CT) groups follow up with these new churches to help them better their circumstances, invest in their communities and be the church.
Last June, the Tanzania team launched a Community Transformation initiative in the pseudo-urban area of Shinyanga. Since then, one of the Tanzanian nationals, Deogratias has mobilized 160 people and has formed fifteen CT groups that are now performing a variety of projects to better their circumstances. Some groups are now farming, sewing and raising goats & milk-cows while others are making soap, tie-dyed fabric and cakes. Eight of the fifteen groups have been registered with the local government, which allows them to sell their products in the local markets. This is a huge achievement for them!
One of the ladies who attended the training in June, Scolistica, formed a gardening group last year through which she is now mentoring a group of teenage boys so they will have life skills and grow into godly men. The group’s tomato crop produced a profitable harvest, which has generated income for her family. Her marriage has improved since she became involved in CT, and she has gained her husband’s respect and appreciation.
Just last week, on August 8th, the Shinyangan government held an official “Community Transformation Day”, a festival to showcase the fifteen groups and their projects as well as share information about the Community Transformation program! We are so excited that God is working through these young believers to literally transform their community and show His love!
Prayer Requests • For Matt to be mentally and spiritually prepared for his upcoming trip to Peru
• For God to prepare the hearts of those with whom we will share the gospel
• For spiritual protection over everyone on the trip
• For physical health and safety during the trip
• For continued improvement in Tina's health
Please send us your prayer requests as well so we can be praying for your most current needs!
Posted a week ago
You know, it’s kind of funny. When God put the desire in our hearts to invest in the harvest in Africa, we thought we would start helping others grow closer to God. It turns out, we have some growing to do ourselves! Now, I’ve never had a problem with faith. Believing in God and trusting Him have always been easy for me. So, no issue there, right? And I always thought I had a healthy prayer life, too. I mean, I talked with God pretty frequently—most mornings, each night at bedtime with the kids, of course before dinner, and even occasionally throughout the day. Pretty good, huh?
Then we had to take a leap of faith.
We had to examine ourselves and make a life-altering decision based on our trust in God’s provision. Do we really trust God to meet our needs? My easy, simple faith said, “Of course! Let’s do it!” So, I resigned from my “stable" job and we embarked on a journey to build up our support team. I was confident that people would respond enthusiastically, support God’s calling in our lives and jump on board the harvest wagon! While we've indeed been blessed with many people responding encouragingly, we have yet to cross the bridge of financial sustainability. As our savings buffer dwindled, it became apparent that our game plan was not God’s game plan, and our timeframe was not the same as His.
Our faith has been challenged in ways it never has before.
Through multiple detours, “dry spells” and disappointments, I have begun turning to God in utter dependence. Calling on Him to once again affirm our calling. Asking Him to search our hearts and correct any notion of “doing this our way” or through “our own strength”. Our faith has been challenged in ways it never has before. We’ve had to trust Him and rely on Him like never before in our lives. Suddenly, it’s not so easy anymore. We’ve had people suggest “cutting bait and going home”, taking the path of “greater security” and essentially giving up. We’ve had to earnestly ask ourselves, “Do we really believe God called us to this? And if He did, do we really believe He will provide for us?”
Through much prayer, reflection on our journey and the multiple affirmations we've received along the way, we're convinced we are on the path He has laid out for us. It's almost like He's saying, "You decided to obey when it was easy. Will you continue to obey as it gets more difficult? Will you trust Me through the trials?" This has been a hard road. It is still a hard road! And it is stretching us and growing us to a deeper and more solid faith in His goodness and conviction in His calling. He’s put us in a position of complete reliance on Him, and as a result, I realize that these days I usually spend more time talking with Him than with anyone else, even my wife. And here I thought I prayed "enough" before!
A short while back, my mentor shared a quote that made me look at prayer a little differently. I think it's a wonderful thing for us all to consider: "If you stopped praying altogether, would it make a significant difference in your life? If not, then why do you pray at all?"
A Call to Action
So, where do we find ourselves now? We have one month left of dedicated “support building” time where we draw a salary from our ministry account. If we have not reached a sustainable level of monthly donations at that time, I will need to get another job, and build up support “on the side”. You guys know I’m itching to get out into the field, so I would obviously rather not go that route! But hitting that “sustainable” mark is a God-sized task, as we need an additional $3,000 per month committed. I know God can meet and surpass this need, and of course I know that His plan may be different than mine. But, I am going to give it my all and strive forward toward the calling He has given me! And I am asking you to help me. Yes, you. Would each and every one of you reading this be willing to commit to prayer? Whew! Thought I was going to ask you all for money, didn’t you?
Nope. I want your prayers. This newsletter will go out to over 300 people—almost ALL of whom love the Lord as much as I do. I’m asking you to pray for us and with us. Jesus Himself said, “...beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest." That word, “beseech” carries an urgency with it. It means, “to urgently implore or entreat”. I’m volunteering to go into the harvest field and I’m asking you to beseech the Lord of the harvest to send me! Will you commit to urgently imploring the Lord to provide what is needed to send me? I would ask you to include our family in your daily prayers. Put a note in your bible, on your fridge, next to your bed or on your desk. Wherever you’ll see it and remember to pray. Ask Him if He would like you to do anything else, something more. Maybe tell a friend, share our video, or consider giving. Whatever He leads you to do.
And one more thing. If you are willing to commit to faithful prayer with us, would you please let me know? Just send me an email or message me on facebook and say, "I'm praying with you". We would be so grateful for your encouragement and would love to know who our dedicated prayer warriors are! Thank you all!
Posted a week ago
Hello everyone!I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas season with your families! Christmas has always been my favorite time of the year, and now that we’re out in South Carolina, we get the added bonus of having our very own Winter Wonderland! The above picture was taken at the little creek that runs through the woods behind our house. With just a handful of snowy days each year, it seems like the perfect balance of the seasons for Tina and I. The kids made snow angels and snowmen, had snowball fights, went sledding and would have stayed outside all day long if we would have let them! It really is the most wonderful time of the year...and I believe that’s in large part because people are just a little friendlier, smiles come a little easier, and things are just a little closer to how God intended them to be.
Discerning God's voice...through our 6-year-old
From mid-November to early January, I was working a holiday assignment with the USPS. It was a wonderful blessing of provision, but it unfortunately didn’t allow for much family time (six 12-hour days/week during the holidays that I love so much!). During this time, we experienced an unexpected downturn on the homefront, and began wondering what God was trying to communicate to us.
Evan was hit especially hard with our schedule adjustment. My working from home had allowed him 24/7 access to daddy, which suddenly dropped to about 3 hours a day literally overnight. Within the first couple weeks of this new schedule, he became withdrawn—still sweet and gentle, but confused and unconfident. He would avoid answering questions with a “yes” or “no”; instead saying, “maybe” or, “What do you think I would want?”. He stopped praying, refused to say “amen” when we prayed together, wouldn’t say “I’m sorry” and stopped saying, “I love you”.
He would find creative ways to express himself with other words and phrases, but just didn’t seem able to use these particular words that he’d been using perfectly well for years. When we would tell him, “I love you,” he would either ask a random question to change the subject, or give an incoherent mumble. It was heartbreaking. Over those two months, we spent many hours talking with him about why his behavior had changed. He would initially try to change the subject, but once getting into it he would begin crying and say he didn’t know why he couldn’t say “yes”, “no”, “amen”, “I’m sorry” and “I love you”. He acknowledged that he was doing it consciously, but couldn’t explain why.
While still dealing with Tina's health issues and working a job that seemed to be delaying us from the ministry we so desperately want to immerse ourselves in, this latest development really seemed like the last thing we needed. I will admit to asking God, "Why does life get increasingly difficult the more we follow You?" But in those times, I have to remind myself that God doesn't need me to accomplish His work, but rather, gives me the privilege of being involved in what He's doing. In fact, it seems that each of these progressive challenges addresses my heart (realizing that I can share my faith more wherever I am, not just while abroad), my habits (self-discipline and frequency of witnessing) and my preconceptions (how much I can handle, both emotionally and physically). Suddenly, it seemed like all these obstacles to our ministry are more likely preparation for our ministry, which in turn has made me quite receptive to what God is teaching me! In 2 Corinthians 4:17, Paul says,
"For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are unseen are eternal."
So far, I'll tell you I've had to trust God more in the past two years than at any other time in my life. I've learned that He gives me strength to handle more than I thought possible...then the load increases...and it increases again, and each time the measure of strength He provides is sufficient. As volatile as our circumstances may be, there is one constant—One who has never, and will never change; Who is faithful even when I'm not; Who is strong when I am weak; Who never asks more of anyone than according to the ability He has given them. And let me tell you my experience with Him: He has never failed me. Do you think this experience and perspective may come in handy in the mission field? I have no doubt that it will (as frightening as that thought can be!).
He has never failed me.
After my eight-week appointment at the post office ended, I returned to the job search. But, after three weeks of complete non-responsiveness on numerous positions I was perfectly qualified for, I sat down to put in some focused prayer-time on the subject. The only problem was my mind kept asking, “Wouldn’t my time be better spent getting our support-team assembled than looking for another temporary job?" I couldn’t shake it. So I shifted my focus and asked God to give me direction and to give Tina and I a sense of unity in that direction. A couple hours later, I checked my e3 email and had a message from my manager informing me that we now had enough in our support account to begin drawing a partial salary while we focus full-time on completing our support-building! Wow. That was crazy. So at lunch time, I told the kids about what had transpired and asked them to be praying that God would give us a clear direction. That night as we put the kids down to bed, Evan volunteered to pray, asking, “God, please let daddy start working on missions work again”. The following night, for the first time in over two months, as I put him in bed, he said, “I love you.” Then he got out of bed, ran into our bedroom and told Tina, “I love you, mommy. I’ll always love you.” Needless to say, there were a few tears, and a sense of divine confirmation that we were heading in the right direction, in the right time. The following day at lunch, we thanked God for His direction, and informed the kids we would be resuming our team-assembly, to which Evan exclaimed, "God answered!"
As we return to full-time support-team building, we ask you to join us in prayer. Right now, we have 28% of our monthly support committed and coming in. We need to get the remaining 72% committed over the next four to six months. This seems like a huge challenge to me—but something tells me the God who spoke the universe into existence won’t have a problem with it. The thing is, this process isn’t just about getting me into the mission field. God is assembling a team of His children to get involved in the harvest. Team members who will pray faithfully, team members who will contribute financial resources, and team members who will go share the gospel with the lost. Could He simply provide the finances we need through a winning lottery ticket left in our mailbox? Of course! But that would require less faith on our part and could deprive others of the privilege and blessing of being involved in what He is doing! Would you please join us in praying for the following?
Prayer Requests"God, please...
•prepare the hearts of those You want on this ministry team;
•help Matt and Tina connect with those people;
•give each person you call the faith and courage to obediently respond to your calling.
We trust that as we seek Him and follow the path He is laying out before us, that He will provide everything we need. Can I ask you one more thing? Would you start thinking about whether there is anyone you know who may be interested in hearing about our ministry? I will follow up with you in the coming weeks to see if God has put anyone on your heart to share this opportunity with!
Thank you all!
The Brown Family
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Matt Brown, e3 Partners Ministries
1735 Memorial Drive Extension
Greer, SC 29651
Copyright © 2016 Matt Brown, e3 Partners Ministry, All rights reserved.
Posted a week ago
Walking by FaithHello, friends and family! As I write this, I’m looking out the windows at the trees beginning to change...golden hues of yellow and orange sprinkled among the green, and a beautiful, vibrant red sugar maple just in front of our house. The idea of seasons was one of the things we were most looking forward to with our move to South Carolina, and it continues to adopt a greater meaning in our lives as we progress in our journey with God. Over the past three months, we have been privileged to focus full-time on assembling our ministry team. During this time, we have had over 30 families join our financial support team, and many more commit to our prayer team, providing a firm foundation for our ministry! Thank you, God!
Before we are able to draw a ministry salary though, we will need many more partners to come on board. So, much like the leaves outside indicate a change, we too are entering into a new season. As we continue to build up our team, I will also need to work an additional job to provide for our family. As soon as we have enough financial support partners on board, we can begin drawing a salary from our support account, and can once again focus full-time on building the rest of our team.
God is using this time to assemble the people He wants on His team
Every day, we draw one day closer to God’s calling! We have been blessed with a number of wonderful partners—many of whom are reading this—both as part of our prayer team and our financial support team. Each one of you is invaluable. I truly cannot over-emphasize that point. Beyond financial gifts and prayers, each one of you has encouraged Tina and me as we walk forward in faith, and you have confirmed and solidified the calling God has given us.
As anxious as we are to get back to Tanzania, I know God is using this time to assemble the people He wants on His team and to bless and encourage people according to His plan. He is using this time to prepare us for the ministry before us. One thing I have learned—and have seen born out time and again—is that God’s plan is always better than my plan!
“Wait for the LORD; Be strong and let your heart take courage;
Yes, wait for the LORD.” –Psalm 27:14
Family UpdateFor those who haven’t heard, Tina has begun homeschooling both our kids! With all the changes in the public school system lately (and more still coming down the line), we both wanted to be more informed about and involved with what our kids were being taught. We selected a Christian curriculum that presents all the different subjects from a Biblical framework and worldview and uses Scripture for examples. The kids are loving learning about God and His world!
So much is happening in Tanzania right now! Every couple months, groups of Americans fly to the other side of the world to partner with Tanzanians in a common mission—to share the good news of Jesus Christ. Just this past June, one such expedition traveled to Maisome Island on Lake Victoria (the world's second largest freshwater lake).
The Amazing Grace of Redeemed Lives
While there, our team's Church Planting Coordinator, Lana King, met a woman named Christina who is married to an alcoholic man who had "attached himself to another woman." Christina told Lana this other woman was the village prostitute and witch, a woman named Sophia. Sophia had placed a spell on Christina and her home, and because of this, the villagers had intended to burn down her home, drag Christina out and burn her alive. Thank God this plan was thwarted by the Village Chairman.
Christina, already a believer of Jesus Christ, asked Lana and her translator to share the gospel with her friend, one of her husband's other wives. Christina participated in presenting the gospel, and her friend accepted Christ.
The following day, Lana and her translator met Christina's husband. After sharing how Jesus had died to pay the price for his sins, this man accepted Christ as his personal savior as well, and promised to come to that day's Bible study meeting at the new church, under a tree. When the time came, Christina, her husband and Sophia were all in attendance at the Bible study. Lana learned that Sophia had given her life to Christ a few days previously, and had attended the afternoon Bible study each day. The final day of the expedition, all three were present and participated in worship and Bible study together.
Lana asks, "Please pray for these, and all those who accepted Jesus as their Savior, that God will continue to draw them to Himself and work in and through them to reach the village of Majengo for Christ."
Join Our Facebook Prayer Group!We are so grateful for each of our prayer warriors and supporters, and are committed to praying for our team daily. We would love to stay current with your needs and make sure we are praying for you all in the most appropriate and timely way. We’ve recently created a Facebook group specifically so we can share needs, encouragement, results and praises in a real-time, confidential community. This will also be the best way for you to stay current with our family's and ministry's needs.
Just search for “Go Therefore...” on Facebook (or click here) and click “Join Group”. As a closed group, it is viewable and accessible only by members, so we can personally connect and continually maintain open communication and prayer with you! Please feel free to encourage and pray for others in the group as well—we are all part of a team that God is bringing together to reach His lost children, bless one another and glorify Himself!
Prayer Requests• For God to continue using the Partner-building time to prepare us for ministry in Africa
• Continued improvement in Tina’s ongoing PTSD and digestive issues (she will post a current update here in the next few days).
• Unity as the e3 Tanzania team meets in November to discuss the ministry vision for 2016
Thank you all!
The Brown Family
"Go Therefore..." Prayer Group
Matt's Personal Facebook Page
Our mailing address is:
Matt Brown, e3 Partners Ministry
1735 Memorial Drive Ext.
Greer, SC 29651
Copyright © 2015 Matt Brown, e3 Partners Ministry, All rights reserved.
Posted a week ago
It's go time! We are now officially launching our ministry campaign and inviting others to join us in reaching people in Africa! There are a few different ways you could be involved if you feel God is leading you to partner with us.
The first way is to pray.
This is the most important way you could help us. James 5:16-18 says, "Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months. Then he prayed again, and the sky poured rain and the earth produced its fruit."
Imagine how powerful this ministry can be and how many souls can be reached if we have a hundred (or more!) saints earnestly and faithfully petitioning God! If you would be willing to join us in prayer, here are a few specific requests:
- That we would quickly reach our financial goal so we can begin reaching the lost!
- Protection for our family. We have already encountered significant spiritual resistance and oppression. Please pray for God's strength to persevere through the challenges!
- For a united vision when I am partnered with a Tanzanian national to promote genuine discipleship.
- For an ABUNDANT harvest!
- For no soul to go unreached in Tanzania!
The second way is to give.
Jesus lived on support. The disciples lived on support. Paul lived on support. "But wait!" you say, "Paul had a tent-making job to support himself!" Indeed, he did... at certain times. For those of you who know me well, I'm all about the context. In 1 Corinthians 9 Paul says, "...the Lord directed those who proclaim the gospel to get their living from the gospel," but also says, "Nevertheless, we did not use this right, but we endure all things so that we will cause no hindrance to the gospel of Christ." At that time, there were others preaching the gospel for personal financial gain. Paul wanted to make sure the Corinthians never got that impression from him, so he never asked them for financial support. The church in Thessalonica was a different story. They were so sure Jesus was about to come back that many of them ceased working altogether and began relying on others to support them. Paul addresses this issue in 2 Thessalonians 3: "...we did not act in an undisciplined manner among you, nor did we eat anyone’s bread without paying for it, but with labor and hardship we kept working night and day so that we would not be a burden to any of you; not because we do not have the right to this, but in order to offer ourselves as a model for you, so that you would follow our example."
So, we are following this biblical model of being fully-focused on The Great Commission and trusting God to provide for our material needs through His body of believers. If you want to play a part in reaching the lost people of Africa or feel that God is calling you to partner with us, we would be honored to have you as part of our team! Feel free to call me (619-964-0492), email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) or click the "Donate" tab above!
The third way is to go.
After we reach our financial goal, I will begin assembling groups of people to GO to Tanzania and preach the gospel! These 10-day trips are an awesome opportunity to put your faith into action and wind up growing in your faith. You will have the opportunity to raise support, practice sharing your testimony, learn a simple (yet amazingly effective) way to present the gospel, and learn how to lead new believers through a Bible study. It may sound intimidating, but it is so intuitive—and Spirit-led—that with a little practice, even a brand-new believer can do it! In fact, that's part of the design! You will invite those you lead to faith to share the good news with their friends and family! I can tell you from personal experience that it is incredible and wondrous to watch someone share the gospel with a family member, having just come to faith themselves, ten minutes before! If you would be interested in going to Tanzania, just let me know! If there is a different area you feel called to, just click "Menu" in the top-right corner of this page, then click "Destinations" on the right!
Would you like to be involved?
Before ascending back to the Father, Jesus gave all His followers (that includes us!) this command: "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you." Whether it's in Africa or your workplace, God has commanded us to show others the light that has been placed in us! We should always model a life of righteousness and hope in this corrupt and hopeless world, "Always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence (1 Peter 3:15)".
We are all ministry workers, but we have different gifts and roles (see Philippians 4). I would ask you to prayerfully consider how God may have you get involved. Our immediate need is for prayer warriors and monthly financial-support partners. Will you join us in this ministry? Do you know anyone with a similar passion who may be interested in partnering with us? We would surely be honored to labor with you, and will rejoice in "the profit which increases to your account (Phil. 4:15-17)"!