WEEKLY QUOTE: "The young lions do lack and suffer hunger; BUT they who seek the Lord shall not be in want of any good thing."
Isn't that Scripture so reassuring that the Lord takes care of His own? If we "seek the Kingdom first" our great God will provide for our needs.
Our last report was short, so today more details will be given concerning some of the items mentioned last Sunday.
THANKSGIVING DAY! We hope you had a memorable one. In addition to the missionaries who gathered at the Stafford house to thank God for our blessings, several non-Christians friends joined us for the feast. Speaking of thanksgiving, we are very grateful for the extra funds received lately. Your sacrifice is commendable and your generosity much appreciated.
GRADUATION. As you know, the ASCOP graduated 17 students (nine from the Master's program, six from the B.A. program and two--Lindsey and Abigail--with their Associate Degrees). Anita Hochdorf and long-term visitor, Allie from OK, along with several Tanzanian ladies, decorated the tables beautifully. An excerpt from the report of TZ 2000 Mission Work director, Cy Stafford states:
"We were thankful for the presence of Gary Fallis who represented the Bear Valley Bible Institute. We are thankful for all the students, their dedication and the sacrifice they were willing to give that they might be better equipped for the work of the Kingdom.
The school has now graduated 125 who are now serving the 150 church plants throughout East Africa. It has been an amazing journey since we began in 1998. From two very small congregations with less than 30 to 150 congregations. Wow, simply amazing the things God continues to do.
We thank the Kensington Woods Elders for their vision...and the Bear Valley staff for their partnership in the Gospel. It was encouraging to see the Tanzania staff at the school take the lead and see this graduation through. All the missionaries did their part, the students theirs and through this cooperation, God was and is being glorified and souls are being saved, day by day.
And, as if it could not have gotten any better, two men obeyed the Gospel after the graduation. One of our graduates (who hopes to plant a new congregation in his home village of Katish) had invited these fellows who he had studied with earlier to the graduation. They made the decision to obey and now the Kingdom is larger by two souls. Thanks be to God, He is good all the time."
EVERYBODY KNOWS... that graduation means one has completed the requirements for a course of study. But graduation from a Bible Institute means much more than that! Dave Ramsey (financial guru) speaks of "changing one's family tree" through properly managing one's finances. This is certainly true (the influencing of generations of people) concerning the Faith being passed on from generation to generation. Even a small dam in a creek detours the water to flow in a different direction.
"THICK SWARMS OF FLIES CAME INTO THE HOUSE..." (Exo. 8: 24) For several weeks, Kisongo has been "plagued" with flies. Almost every night my dining room ceiling has numerous flies seemingly stuck to it (think they were busy laying eggs). Many others are on walls and everywhere else. It's almost impossible to keep them off your plate and was very embarrassing when we had guests over. When looking at last week's report pictures, we noticed that a fly was on the graduation cake!
(WARNING: The following is not for the "faint-hearted.") A "special" fly in East Africa is the Tumbu Fly (cordylobia anthropophaga...derived from the Greek and means "human eater.") All clothes hung out on the line need to be ironed or put in the dryer for five minutes to kill any tiny eggs this fly may deposit on the damp clothes. If not, the eggs will hatch once they contact warm skin and the little maggot will burrow into your skin and eat the flesh. This happened to one of our children a couple of years ago. The Tumbu Fly also lays eggs in dirt. If dirt is thrown and ends up in a child's hair and stays awhile, again, the maggots burrow down into the skin and form a pimple-like place which eventually gets all red and inflamed. About two weeks ago, another young child of ours (name withheld to protect the embarrassed) had five places on his head and two on his upper arm. The way to get them out is to scratch off the top and squeeze the wiggling and "very-much-alive" larvae (maggot) out. Yes, squeezing out seven maggots was gross. The affected child developed a fever about a week later (not sure if it was related to the problem of the maggots) but he is now taking antibiotics and seems fine. Okay, someone pick up the grandmothers (Rita and Jackie) off the floor...really, everything is okay.
GIRLS JUST WANT TO HAVE FUN sometimes and other times focus on what's truly important. At the last spend-the-night party, during the devotional, five girls stated they did not own a Bible. It was great to just reach in a box and give them one (because the Union Grove congregation, in Cleveland, TN, donated more than $300 last year to purchase Swahili Bibles). They were very thankful.
ARUSHA EVANGELIST MEETING. Last week, several local evangelists met with Cy Stafford and Jimmy to further develop a plan for planting churches in different areas in Arusha. Traveling for local folks is a real problem because most people do not own a car and either walk or pay bus fare to go somewhere. Women traveling with small children face additional challenges when it comes to getting to the services. Having a congregation closer to their homes should help many to stay faithful.
STILL MORE TO WRITE...but it will have to wait until a little later. Future Preacher's Training Camp just finished and TCC begins tomorrow. Jimmy is making numerous airport runs with the help of African brethren. It's great to have visitors and we are looking forward to a wonderful week!
THANKS FOR ALL THAT YOU DO!
With Love from Africa,
The Jimmy Gee family