Dear Loyal Co-Workers,
A TIME TO LIVE AND WORK. If you are paying attention to the volume numbers of these reports you will notice that this one is Vol. 8 No. 1. Yes, we have completed seven years in Tanzania and are beginning the eighth. We did so on February 8. It has been a growing experience for all of us, as well as a humbling one. To be a part of such a great work (both in terms of the fact that it is God's work and the fact that it is an honor to work with the Stafford’s and others who have come our way) is a grand blessing indeed. We are committed to the work until 2018 but we are also considering what the future will hold. The bottom line is that we do not know, as yet, what the future holds, but we do know Who holds the future. And that is truly a comfort. Thank you for your faithful support over the last seven years. We pray God blesses you richly for it.
A TIME TO DIE. Twa, (of the Islamic faith), who was the husband of Margareth (Christian employee of ACSOP), died and was buried one week ago. Twa, a diabetic who contracted malaria while conducting a safari, died on a Friday evening and was buried the next day (Muslims bury quickly). The Muslims will stay at the deceased persons home and sing for 3 days. Margareth remained home today (instead of worshipping) because her late husbands’ family is meeting regarding HIS belongings. She has two children (ages 10 and 3) and as of Saturday, had not told them about their father’s death. We kindly encouraged her to do so (they lied to the older child telling him his father was on a “long journey.”) This child attended the funeral but did not see who was in the casket. Tanzanians mistakenly believe that keeping the truth from children is protecting them and that they should not be told about such issues until they are much older. I would surmise that there are not many, if any, Swahili books written on the best way to handle this situation. Americans have knowledge, good counsel, etc. at their fingertips…not so here. “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6). Margaret needs prayers to grow in her faith and become strong.
HOT TAMALES! While visiting Margareth, tradition says you must serve “chai” (tea) to your guests. Tanzanians drink it VERY HOT. Just the heat of the cup was too much for Trina’s “tender” fingertips so someone quickly handed her a cloth. Her observation is that the women have had the nerve endings in their hands “seared with a hot iron” (or a hot coal) during their years of cooking over an open fire. We’ve always said, “The strongest woman in America is a wimp in Africa.”
OUR APPRECIATION and FAREWELL is extended to Ted Cherry, who diligently taught two Master’s Classes at the ACSOP. This week at ACSOP the four English classes taught will be: Ezra, Nehemiah and Esther (instructor Ahimidiwe Kimaro), I and II Thessalonians (Emmanuel Peter), Joshua, Judges, Ruth (Charles Heberth) and I and II Timothy and Titus (Jimmy Gee). Due to a miscommunication, the Swahili class will not begin until next week. Abigail will be a student in three classes and Lindsey in two.
The Kisongo girls (ages 12-18) enjoyed a SPEND-THE-NIGHT PARTY at our house last Friday. Thirteen girls played outside games, enjoyed food and snacks (of course!) and watched a movie. Abigail also conducted a devotional on the “Good Samaritan” passage. Abigail invited Grace (whose father would not consent to her baptism) to this event but her father would not allow her to come.
We were very encouraged by the confession of sin by one of our Christian brothers. He admitted to “walking in darkness” and truly wants to be able to overcome the temptations that were destroying his family. This brother realized that sin is “only pleasurable for a season” and now has to deal with the consequences. Prayers were answered and this family is now stronger and slowly working toward healing.
Rosemary will receive the results of her biopsy tomorrow. Rehema (Therasia’s sister) continues to attend the services at Kisongo. Her neighbor, Sophia, has been a very good influence and encourager to both Rehema and Therasia. Sophia didn’t feel knowledgeable enough to teach them but “hath done what she could.” Her efforts have resulted in Therasia’s conversion and Rehema’s desire to study. Never underestimate what a little effort can do.
Thank you for joining us in this work and helping us to teach East Africans God’s Word, giving them the hope of eternal life.
Because He Died for All,
Jimmy, Trina and family