December 24th report
December has been a busy month with many visitors, Future Preacher's Training Camp, Tanzania Christian Camp and a 2-day camp in Dar es Salaam. There are many "stories" to tell about camp with the most exciting being that Grace, the girl whose father would not allow her to be baptized several months ago, DID become a Christian. Her mother allowed her to attend camp and she requested baptism. As you know, Abigail has been studying with her weekly for the past 8 months. Before baptism, Abigail talked with her, making sure she understood the commitment required and discussed the situation concerning her father. Grace wanted to obey God and she did.
Another teenage girl named Rachel attended camp and afterwards had a page of questions (mainly about the Catholic denomination). One of the questions asked was "Are you permitted to cry when someone dies if you are a Catholic?" Lindsey was asked to study with her and did so this past week. Rachel knows English well and the translator rarely had to intervene. After answering all of her questions, Rachel asked for continuing studies. Rachel learned much at TCC, one thing being that she had not been properly baptized by a denominational church here called the "Restoration church."
Our appreciation is extended to John Rice, Ben Thompson, Burt Fuller, Alan Middleton, and many others. Nine became Christians and we thank God for that. One of those who did so was Mwita Kambarage, youngest son of Kambarage and Agnes, longtime members of the Arusha congregation.
Middleton and Dewayne Marlowe studied with a Pentecostal preacher (a woman) at Mtu wa Mbu (Mosquito River). Interestingly, she said she could not read and was just parroting what other Pentecostal preachers had told her. She was very interested in studying and initially had two questions. One concerned women preachers. After being shown the truth from Scripture, she said, "How can I say anything against what you are saying since it comes from God's Word?" Hopefully, she will continue to study with Gasper, the local preacher.
Today, the remaining three visitors (Sean Pettus, Josh Smith and Jared Gaines) attended Njiro. The preacher, Emmanuel Peter, invited them to speak at their "Friend's Day." Jared was asked to speak on the subject of Christians celebrating Christmas during Bible class, Josh spoke on "The Resurrection" and Sean conducted the Lord's Supper.
As for the Gee family, we are all well and hope to stay that way! The Lord has blessed us with a lot of rain today, which has cooled things off. Jared mentioned it was difficult for him to think of it being the Christmas season due to the warm weather here.
We are very thankful for all of you and wish you all a wonderful end-of-the-year spent with your families. Thank you for your prayers, concern and love.
With Love from Africa,
The Jimmy Gee family
December 31st report
WEEKLY QUOTE: "It is honorable for a man to stop striving, since any fool can start a quarrel." Proverbs 20:3
Today, Saturday, has been nice, quiet and cool...and with no required places to go. What a blessed day to get several "secretarial" jobs accomplished with few interruptions. Several rain showers have helped fill our water storage tanks and everything is looking a lovely green. Thank you for using your precious time to read about the happenings in the Lord's church in Tanzania, East Africa.
Jimmy and Elly Martin met a second time with seven Arusha evangelists to discuss plans to establish five new congregations in the following areas of Arusha: White Rose, Phillips, Kijenge, Kimandolo, Njiro Nchini, and Mbauda. First focusing on White Rose, they will ask a new member if the church in that area can meet in his home for one month. Several men at the meeting were assigned a particular month to teach/preach at White Rose on Sundays and Wednesdays. Jimmy volunteered for the month of January, to teach Bible study lessons on the subject of "Spiritual Disciplines" and preach sermons on the "Nature and Work of God." Charles Heberth (preacher at Kwa Mrombo) will teach on Wednesday nights on the Life of Christ. Plans are underway for a door-knocking campaign (handing out tracts, setting up Bible studies, inviting people to worship) involving the assistance of new and returning ACSOP students in February. Another idea considered was making White Rose one of the assigned areas for the June 2013 "Safari for Souls" campaign. The men will meet monthly to review the progress and plan further.
Jared Gaines, a Faulkner graduate student, was a part of the group which held the 1st Annual Tanzanian Christian Camp in Dar es Salaam ("Dar") which occurred after TCC ended in Kisongo at the ACSOP. Trina has been acquainted with Jared's father (John Gaines) since she was about 11 years old. Sometime in the 80's, John and his family were missionaries in West Africa (Cameroon) for several years and were sponsored by her home congregation, Oxford Church of Christ. (Interestingly, Jared's older brother, Daniel, along with his wife, Tiffany and their three children, will be joining the TZ 2000 Mission Team in October 2013! We are excited that we will have more help and are looking forward to getting to know them better.)
Concerning the 2-day camp in Dar (home to 5 million people), I asked JARED to write a few paragraphs about it.
Here are some things he had to say:
There was not an official count on the first day but the second day we had 301 (including adults). That's bigger than any camp session I've been to in the states. The camp was intended for 9-18 year olds but there were 40 under 9 years of age. We were ready to teach them and they were ready to learn! We had eighty-three 9-12 year olds. As for the ones older than that, I don't know the count. The theme was from Romans 1:16 teaching them "not to be ashamed of the Gospel. The younger kids learned stories of Jesus from the Gospels.
As friendly as Tanzanians are, they are less punctual than Americans so our schedule was difficult to keep. The meals took a long time to arrive. Next year we hope to simplify the meals in order to expedite the process. Devin Morris, Sean Pettus, Brandon Osborn and Charles Herberth (TZ) all did wonderful jobs in leading the devotionals. There was a discussion panel that served to be very instructive and helpful. The Tanzanian teachers kept getting on to the kids for not singing well enough...but I'm sure by the end of the day they were testing the kid's attention spans (and probably many of these kids were "unchurched" and therefore not familiar with the hymns--Trina).
Burt Fuller (the Administrator of Indian Creek Youth Camp near Jasper, AL) did a great job as the director and was also helped by a Tanzanian named Matthew at the church. Although Dar es Salaam was scorching hot making it difficult to stay hydrated, spiritually it was very nourishing. Overall, this first session of TCC in Dar was a huge success, with 301 in attendance and 3 baptisms in 2 days. Next year we hope to schedule a full week of camp and find a larger site in which to hold camp sessions. I hope it was a great experience for the Tanzanians and I know it was an incredible experience for the Americans!"
Next, an excerpt from the report of our team director, Cy Stafford, concerning recent evangelism efforts:
A second blessing was witnessed through the efforts of Alan Middleton and his co-workers as they labored at Mto wa Mbu. After dozens of studies and countless efforts, ten souls obeyed the saving message of the Gospel. Words fall short as to the gratitude we have for all who come and make this mission effort all it can be to God’s glory and to the saving of countless souls.
Alan, Dewayne Marlowe and Daniel Busche (plus Tanzanians) worked some in the area of Kambi Ya Chui (Leopard Camp) where a new congregation started from the work of Mto wa Mbu (Mosquito River). These men also delivered medical supplies to the Tanzanian Christian Clinic in Monduli (operated by the Smelsers) AND worked at Tanzania Christian Camp (TCC). Please read Alan's comments about TCC taken from the wonderful report he sent out:
...this work (Tanzanian Christian Camp) is way more impactful that I anticipated. The response of these kids to this camp has been heartwarming, their comments to us as counselors and volunteers have been laced with both grace, maturity and understanding. I feel after this week that the Lord's church has been strengthened for years to come. With nine baptisms and the leadership potential experienced this week, I am extremely encouraged for the future of the Lord's church in Tanzania. " We encourage you to read his full report (an interesting day-by-day account) to understand more about the work which he was involved in. If interested, please request it at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Normally, a ACSOP student is highlighted in our reports. Since the students are on holiday, the spotlight will shine on a very hardworking, humble, and super-friendly supporter...CINDY LEDFORD. Cindy is definitely an "unsung hero" working behind the scenes in handling our funds in the U.S. She is a member of the East Side congregation in Cleveland, TN, is married to Harry Ledford and they have a son named Michael. This "volunteer" job is a lot of trouble and involves more than just depositing money and trying to keep the figures straight. Cindy and her family sacrifice part of their lives to join hands in this work. As evidence of true servant hood (or perhaps she is a glutton for punishment) she actually writes us every so often THANKING US for allowing her be a part of this work!!! "Cindy, for ALL you have done for us, for all you are doing and for all you will do in the future... THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF OUR HEARTS!" Our appreciation is also extended to the East Side church elders who allow the money to be received there, for their involvement and financial support. Ernest and Emily Jackson (East Side members) also deserve recognition for their effort and time in copying and distributing our report each Sunday.
Last, but certainly not least, is our latest news: Our oldest son, Todd William Gee, is engaged to a wonderful Christian young lady named Lauren Michelle Kelly, daughter of Chris and Brenda Kelly (and sister to Jared Kelly) from Fairhope, AL. Her mother (Brenda) and I are former "school mates" having attended Faulkner University together. We are very happy and looking forward to their wedding next summer during our furlough. "Houses and riches are an inheritance from fathers, but a prudent (wise, sensible) wife is from the Lord." Proverbs 19:14
Also, congratulations are in order for Maddie Hochdorf and her fiancé, Caleb Norman, on their recent engagement. Maddie is the daughter of Sean and Anita Hochdorf (our co-missionaries) and the granddaughter of Norm and Alice Hochdorf who also live in Tanzania.
Another year has come and gone and a fresh, new one lies before us. What will the New Year hold for you? Tomorrow is the first day of the rest of your life. A new opportunity awaits each one of us to love and serve God with all our "heart, soul, strength and mind."
Thank you for your continued support and prayers, without which this work would surely fail. Thank YOU for making the TZ 2000 mission work a success for the glory of God.
With Love From Africa,
Jimmy, Trina, Lindsey, Abigail, Heather, Candace, Stuart, David, Naomi, Elijah and Matthew