QUOTE OF THE WEEK: "Much of what we see depends on what we are looking for." Phil Calloway
Well, folks, there is so much to write about this week! The greatest news of all is that after about 10 studies, Rehema (early 20's) decided to be baptized into Christ last Sunday evening! The issue holding her back for a couple of weeks was the "sinner's prayer." Lindsey (if we do say so) used such good logic and handled the Scripture so well in her study with Rehema (the sister of Teresia). Rehema's mom said she would like to attend services next Sunday. If you remember, Teresia (Rehema's sister) suffered some slight persecution from the Pentecostal denomination when she became a N.T. Christian, obeying the words of Christ and not the teaching of men. We’re just wondering how they will react now.
Nice, Teresia's friend, and also a member of the same Pentecostal congregation, sat in on two studies that Lindsey conducted with Rehema and wanted to be baptized the same day as Rehema. However, after some questions Nice decided she needed more study and Lindsey has studied twice with her since. Beth Akin, Jimmy's sister, actually began the studies, laying the foundation with Nice while she was here (had about 4 studies with her).
While Abigail was studying with Grace last Sunday evening, her father (who refused to let her be baptized several months ago but agreed that she could continue studying) brought out an English Bible in hopes that she could learn English at the same time she is learning God's Word.
It is very encouraging to simply walk around our neighborhood and see many houses where Tanzanian Christians live because many neighbors have been converted over the last few years. As we walk out of my gate turning to the right, we pass the mud home of Ruth and David. Across the road is Peter and Teresia. If we keep walking, we'll cross over another road and up towards the left is the orange-painted home of Isaiah and Usta, and then next-door is Lembris and Rosemary. On the same property is David and Mama Stevin, and across another road is Job and Joyce. Not too far away (down the hill) is Lucy, and then continuing straight ahead will lead you to Paulina and Elibariki's. Near the highway is a bar called "Tembo Club" and Teresia and Rehema live up on the hill. Going back up the road and to the left is Deo and Janet, Abbas and wife, daughter-in-law Lydia, and on around the neighborhood, near to the Mosquito Net factory is Monica and family, Loshea and Neema, and Thomas and Jane. Other members of "Kanisa La Kristo" (Kisongo Church of Christ) live in Kisongo town and Ngaramtoni ya Chini.
In last weeks' report, we spoke of our many trips to the dentist office in the past several weeks. Our wonderful dentist, of the Catholic faith, has allowed me to place copies of Reason & Revelation and the Discovery magazine for children (produced by Apologetics Press) in her waiting room.
Todd Storks (along with his wife Susan, daughter Haley, son Wesley and friend, Brian) arrived in TZ very early Saturday morning. The Storks are state-side missionaries in Georgia. After only 3 hours of sleep, Susan and Haley taught/attended a "Teacher's Seminar" at Kwa Mrombo while the guys also did some evangelism. We are so happy they are here and will keep you posted on their activities!
INTERESTING: Statistics show that 5% of the preachers are proclaiming the Gospel to 95% of the population and 95% of preachers are preaching to 5% of the world's population (the U.S.). Something seems unbalanced in that equation.
SWAHILI LANGUAGE: The Swahili word "lala" means "sleep." It is interesting that we have the English phrase "lala land." As we all know, many words from different languages found their way into the English language due to the immigrants who chose America as their new home (such as the French word, "bouquet"). While African slaves did not choose to come to America, we suspect that their presence there is the reason this Swahili word came to be a part of the English language.
ACSOP NEWS: Thirteen Masters' Students have arrived to take the class being taught by Jimmy ("The Spiritual Development of the Preacher"). We enjoyed them being in our home for a spaghetti dinner last Wednesday evening (cooked by our 14-year-old daughter, Heather). Lindsey has been tasked with the job of interviewing them so we may learn more and share that information with you.
Today the "spotlight" will be on Pius Bwile, a Christian of over 20 years, and the father of five. Although Pius was not raised in a Christian home, his mother taught him the Gospel after she learned the Truth as an older adult. Fifteen members of his family are Christians and Pius speaks five different languages (I'm still struggling with my second one). When a former ACSOP student told him about the school, Pius said he was very excited about the opportunity to become a Gospel preacher. He says the best thing he has learned at ACSOP was Greek but his favorite class was the Leadership Class taught by Bob Turner (Bear Valley Bible Institute of Denver, CO).
Time is flying and, in 9 months, Lord willing, we leave our TZ home for a furlough that we take every 2 1/2 years. There is a LOT of preparation in order to leave the house and get "all of our ducks in a row" so to speak. Before leaving, one major task is to prepare a new presentation of the work, showing how it has grown, changed, new aspects of the work, etc.
Furloughs are important in order to speak with people face-to-face about the work, visit our supporters and family. However, we don't like the "uprooting" for three months or more, the initial 24 hours of travel, the almost-claustrophobic feeling on the airplane, airplane food, lack of sleep, jet lag, traveling in the states every weekend and sometimes on Wednesday nights, fast food, gaining 30 lbs (did it our other two 2 furloughs, so why should this one be any different?) getting to hotels at 1 am or later...dragging sleeping kids out of the van, and then getting up at 6 am to get ready for church services (many times to drive another hour to get to the building depending on the location of the hotel). We used to think that staying in hotels and eating out was fun! ha/ha We spent so much time on the roads that some of our older children said once they sat down on the bench at church they began looking for their seat belt!
In Trina's opinion, furloughs help keep missionaries in the field (but not for the reasons you may think). There are times when the "grass seems greener" in America when we lose our focus and see only the congested traffic, the inefficiency and corruption in TZ government offices, experience culture issues, language issues, instability of electrical power and insufficient water supply, see a lack of beauty in many places (trash everywhere in the city), street teenagers demanding money, observe the sadness and poverty sin has brought and witness young children unsupervised, uncared for and unloved.
However, a month of furlough is enough to rid us of any desire for the comforts and convenience of the U.S. and to cause us to ache to return to the mission field. American food doesn't taste quite as good as remembered, we tire of being the visitor at every congregation with few opportunities to teach and become frustrated at not having much of a purpose. Listening to the same presentation (ours) every week gets old and the singing at most congregations is not quite as good as we longed for (all of a sudden we realize we are singing the loudest and wonder why no one else is thrilled to sing these English songs?). We sometimes see furloughs as a "necessary evil" because, for the most part, we'd rather stay here on the African continent and skip the time in America.
We believe missionaries should be more "transparent" in reporting the good AND the bad, the rewarding AND the challenging, the successes AND the disappointments. So before you write us off as a "Negative Nellie," we will also say that furloughs are beneficial in a positive way because so many of you treat us royally, having us in your homes, feeding us, planning special occasions, and encouraging us by expressing your appreciation through words and generosity. Going to Backwoods Christian Camp is another grand benefit of furlough. Our spirits get refreshed and renewed by reconnecting with many Christian friends.
Last, but not LEAST, we will enjoy time with our oldest son, Todd (and girlfriend, Lauren Kelly), our parents, siblings and extended families, and grandchildren get to visit grandparents. Then, soon, we return to the mission field, back to familiarity for the past 8 years, back to our TZ friends and to people hungry to learn the truth, back to our own house and our normal routine.
Today, the services of the church were moved to the ACSOP building due to some race cars practicing in the field right next to the church building (lots of dust and lots of noise). The ladies and Trina completed Genesis chapter 27 discussing deception, consequences of sin, and the principles of reaping and sowing. Abigail taught the children's class. Jimmy preached a great sermon on Col. 3:1-3 on "Seeking Things Above." One visitor, Alex, worshipped with us today. Ahimidiwe and others have been studying with him for about two months.
Thank you for the opportunity of working here. Please remember our new sister Rehema as she begins her new life and pray for her faithfulness. Pray that Nice will come to the knowledge of the Truth and understand fully concerning a commitment to Christ and will obey. Both attended worship today.
May your day be filled with warmth, love and appreciation for all of your blessings! We count you as one of ours. Thank you for joining hands with us in teaching the Gospel in East Africa. We love you all!
Priviledged to Serve in Tanzania,
Jimmy, Trina, Lindsey, Abigail, Heather, Candace, Stuart, David, Naomi, Elijah and Matthew