Our hearts and prayers go out to all who have suffered from the tornados and storm damage in the Southeast. We have read of homes and church buildings destroyed or damaged, but we have yet to hear of a single Christian killed. We pray that this reflects reality and we are thankful if that is indeed the case.
Jimmy began a 14-week series teaching the Gospel of John to the Sunday morning Bible class, giving an over-all introduction concerning all four Gospel accounts. An ACSOP student, Timothy Anthony, preached a sermon on "The Love of God." We have been thrilled to see some mothers putting into practice things learned in the child-training class. Our worship services are much quieter, most children are sitting with their parent(s) and there is less "traffic" coming and going.
Sunday most of our family and the Stafford family traveled to Monduli to eat lunch with Rick and Cynthia Nobels (visitors of Danny and Nancy Smelser, staying in their house helping out while the Smelsers are in the states). Cynthia has been teaching Heather and Candace to sew (along with several Tanzanian ladies) and is giving our girls a brand-new electric sewing machine that was donated to her project (several of the pedal-operated types were given to the Tanzanian ladies due to the fact that most do not have power in their homes). Heather and Candace have learned a lot, making two blouses and a dress.
The baby shower for Agness was a great success! Ten ladies attended and we had a hilarious time playing, of all things, musical chairs (a game easy to explain and play). Rehema (winner of the first game) asked if we could play again. After winning the second game, she requested to play a third time! Agness' gifts included: a baby blanket, baby clothes, a bag of rice, potatoes, a lot of soap (including dish washing soap and clothes washing soap), and a jar of jelly. The custom here is to sing a song about a "zawadi" (gift) as the gifts are brought to the guest of honor. However, when the woman receives her gift, she sets it aside immediately. Only upon Trina's humble request did they decide to open the gifts as they were received. But it wasn't Agness who opened her gifts...another lady did it for her! It appears that, as the guest of honor, she does nothing for herself (similar to the custom here in which a bride has people attending to her every need at the ceremony...including wiping the sweat off her brow.) This baby shower was a wonderful opportunity for Agness and the ladies to get better acquainted. As we ate refreshments, we listened to a DVD of lullabies. Our four older girls did most of the cake-baking, decorating and house-cleaning (thankfully!) and helped care for the young children who accompanied their mom's.
Every Bible study with Agatha (don't confuse with Agness, the new Christian above) just gets better. Our lesson last Thursday focused on requirements for membership in the Church, studying scripture on how one must understand what the Gospel is and what it means to "obey the Gospel." The rest of the study on the church will probably take 2 more lessons. With Agatha, Trina initially spent a lot of time answering her questions instead of following the lesson plan (maybe a mistake but we don't know if she would have kept up her interest if we had not).
Next week, we hope to report on the upcoming Teen Girls Seminar, the Arusha Youth Seminar, the new mentoring program, and a few details about a blog Trina intends to write. Our heart-felt gratitude goes out to you for your loyal support and interest.
In Christian Love,
Jimmy, Trina and children
A New Study Begins...