"Greet every saint in Christ Jesus." Greetings in Tanzania are very important. Many local people spend several minutes in greetings toward one another, the Maasai tribe being especially famous for their long, extended ones (sometimes lasting an hour or more). Up until recently, the Maasai language was only a spoken one (the reason many Maasai cannot spell words in their own language). I was told that it was considered rude to simply ask a stranger for the time or ask directions without first greeting them and asking how they are. My observation is that Americans are more task-oriented and Tanzanians more focused on following protocol and are friendlier to others for the most part. Both cultures would do well to "move a little closer to the middle" on this issue.
"Let no man despise your youth..." Saturday brought to a close the 3rd Annual Young Preachers Camp, where young men (ages 15-25) were taught how to compose and deliver a sermon, lead prayers and lead singing. This camp, begun by Roger Shepherd (now of Montgomery, AL), is now being conducted by the Tanzanian Christians. This type of growth is very encouraging. A young man, Ishmael, was baptized into Christ while attending. We are always thrilled when one decides to follow Jesus but we are especially excited for this 16-year-old son of my friend, Harriett. His mother (who has had many challenges in her life) has been a Christian since Ishmael was about 3 years old. However, his father is Muslim. To have hope that Islam will not be spread any further in this family is certainly refreshing. Ishmael also plans to attend...
Tanzania Christian Camp. Eight Americans (John Rice, Ben Thompson, John Watts, Brooks Boyd and daughter Katelyn, Burt Fuller and daughters, Kelsey and Morgan) arrived safely Friday night in order to conduct TCC at the Andrew Connally School of Preaching. This morning at Kisongo, Ben, a former missionary to Tanzania, taught the Bible Study for the men and Brooks preached an excellent sermon on the subject of Christian Growth. Katelyn taught the children's class on "The Prodigal Son" and Trina taught the Ladies on the "Consequences of Sin" using Genesis chapter 3 as the basis.
"And the Lord added to the church daily"...Yes, more wonderful news: Lembris and his wife, Rosemary, were baptized! Studies continue with them to better ground them in the faith. It was thrilling to see them at Wednesday evening services and in both Bible class and worship this morning.
"But if there is no interpreter, let him keep silent..." Unfortunately, that's what Trina had to do...cancel her Bible study on Friday morning with her neighbor, Katherine, due to the translator being very sick. We will re-schedule soon. Katherine is the wife of Ziaka, a Christian and one of our part-time guards. They have a precious little 3-month old son named Nicodemus.
"I thank my God upon every remembrance of you..." You, our supporters, are the "life-blood" of this mission work. "You" are at every baptism, every Bible study, every class taught, every sermon preached and every Ladies or Children's Bible class. "You" are at the new churches being planted and "You" go with every student as he graduates to spread the Gospel in new areas. Thank you for your confidence and support.
In Christian Love,
Jimmy & Trina Gee