Let Them Eat...Snake!

Dear Co-Workers, 

QUOTE OF THE WEEK:  "Enjoy the little things.  One day you may look back and realize...they were the BIG things." Author unknown, but possibly Barbara Johnson.

AFTER A TOTAL OF 48 BIBLE STUDIES AND 9 BAPTISMS (two weeks work in TZ) the Storks family (Todd, Susan, Wesley and Haley) and friend, Brian Simon, left Friday to return to the U.S. We are very grateful to them for the time, effort and expense they put forth. In fact, we learned they had taken out a loan to finance their way to Tanzania (they were unable to secure enough funds from congregations). While we certainly admired their dedication and desire, at the same time it saddened us.

TWO-STEPPING. While going up some steps, Elijah was "taking two steps at a time" and commented, "This is the way Muslims do it."  Obviously, he had probably seen a little boy dressed in his white Muslim tunic-type dress doing this and thought that every Muslim walked up stairs that way. This innocent remark reminds us to consider each person individually and not "throw a blanket" over a whole group of people of a certain race or nationality when only one person acts a certain way (whether positively or negatively).   

TOO OLD? Trina’s translator, Paulina, and her were discussing medical care in TZ and she brought up the terrible car accident she was involved in about 15 years ago (she suffered a crushed hip and a very serious injury to her arm). An older woman was also involved and like Paulina, also suffered a crushed hip. Due to the woman's age (about 70) the doctors would not repair or do surgery on her hip. Paulina said they simply let her lay there and she returned to her home crippled for the rest of her life.

TOO YOUNG? Elly's wife, Neema, told us of being in a room where another woman gave birth prematurely (at about 6 -7 months gestation). The doctor immediately threw the living child into the garbage can full of medical rubbish (syringes, etc) saying, "No way that child will survive." While the possibility was great that the doctor was right (this was about 23 years ago in Tanzania), is that the way a helpless newborn baby should be treated?

"LET THEM EAT.....SNAKE!" Teresia related that, when she was 5 years old, her grandmother worked for some white people (wazungu) who, while out in the bush and had no other meat, cooked and ate a snake. Her grandmother always warned Teresia saying, "Don't eat the meat!" if she worked for or visited with white people. This past week, a snake was found near our porch and the women were in the process of deciding how to kill it (our guard was gone at the time). Jokingly, one of the girls, turned to Teresia and "suggested' we have it for lunch! In order to kill it, our neighbor, Ruth, and Teresia, both ran in the house to get a bag of salt to throw on the snake (hiding under a large flat rock). Since we had never heard of "killing a snake by the salt method", we looked it up later via the internet and learned that throwing salt on a snake is only an "old wives' tale" and has no effect. We also learned that Ruth is a champion rock thrower and we were quite amused that this quiet, humble, small-statured lady, could be so VICIOUS when it came to "snake-killing." Needless to say, we stepped out of her line of fire!

"SAY WHAT?" Speaking of Teresia (of whom you read about frequently), she told of a translator at the Pentecostal denomination (where she previously attended). A white foreigner was preaching and the translator didn't know English well but was doing his best to translate it into KiSwahili. "Jesus came with the Holy Spirit" was translated "Jesus came with Sprite in the car."  "Jesus was the Messiah" was translated "Jesus was a Maasai (a famous tribe in East Africa).” "Today is Sunday" was translated "Today is the day of the Sun."    

DID YOU LOOK....for the "invisible" man standing beside the elephant or did you realize that Jimmy accidentally left Trina’s note to him (concerning a picture of an elephant) in the report when he sent it last week?

NO REASON TO COMPLAIN after we saw a grown man "walking" with his knees bent up almost touching his chin, and his hips almost touching the road, breathing in all the dust from the cars. No, we had no reason to complain about the traffic that day or anything else.

A SPECIAL THANK-YOU is extended towards Exel Aultman, Stephanie Stafford's mother who lives with Stephanie and Cy here in Kisongo, Tanzania. At 80 years of age, she is still a good seamstress and has done quite a bit of alterations/repair on some of our clothing in the past few weeks. Thank you, Granny Aultman!     

CLEMENT MURUNGU is presently an ACSOP master's student and is in our "spotlight" today. He is a widower with seven children (three have obeyed the Gospel) and his home church is Marakta Church of Christ in Katesh. Clement has been a Christian for more than 10 years, having been converted by Francis Wechesa (the first director of the Arusha Bible School and ACSOP). Fluent in four languages, Clement found out about the ACSOP through his home congregation and says that the best thing he learned there concerned Christian Leadership. His motivation in becoming a preacher was simply the Great Commission of Jesus (Matt. 28:19-20). Clement, an enthusiastic song-leader, is a good student academically and of good character.

FAMILY NEWS: Most of us are doing fine, however, four of us are on medicine due to having an amoeba. One can get an amoeba by drinking contaminated water or eating contaminated food.  We drink and cook only with bottled water, clean our vegetables and fruit with bleach and water, put bleach in our rinse water (for dishes) and add bleach in our water tank from which water runs into the house. To know more about amoeba's, Google the subject (warning: content may not be suitable for those with a "weak" stomach). We think we need a special filter for the water coming into the house through the faucets (the water we shower in, wash our hands with, etc).

THINGS WE STILL FIND HUMOROUS: men carrying items or a Bible in a Barbie or Tinkerbell gift bag or sporting a shirt that says "Baby on Board." Tanzanian men wear bright pink shirts and purple pants and think nothing of it. Many wear t-shirts donated but do not know the meaning of the English writing on them. Once a young teenager was wearing a t-shirt with the words "Number 1 Grand-Dad!" To us, the outfit that "takes the cake" is the one of many Maasai men here. Seeing a very rugged, tall, muscular man, wearing his traditional robe, with a sword strapped to his side while holding a long stick over his shoulders and wearing a pair of LADIES WHITE SANDALS is funny to us! Somehow the shoes ruin the whole "tough-guy" image! Many Maasai out in the bush wear the sandals made from old tires. But we have seen many in Arusha (maybe theirs is a special group) wearing the ladies' sandals with the slight heel. Tanzanians find many "funny" things about us foreigners (especially tourists) and enjoy a good laugh also (just ask Elly Martin about some past & present missionaries and visitors. He's got some stories to tell)!

NORMAL IS RELATIVE. It struck me the other day that much of the frustration Americans  experience in TZ traffic is due to what we perceive as "normal" or what we grew up with. For Tanzanians, dodging objects in traffic (motorcycles, bicycles, wooden carts, dogs, people, mini-van buses who stop with no warning, stalled vehicles, etc) is NORMAL. We are used to driving faster and the road being for motorized vehicles only. "Normal" to us is order, boundaries and rules being respected and enforced. We see "normal" as vehicles having the "right of way" for the most part. Motorcycles here do not act as a vehicle but are driven on the sides of the roads and up and down the middle of a two-way street (riding on the white dotted line) between traffic. They dodge in and out of cars and come up beside cars with no warning. Does this explain why it took Trina three and a half years to work up the courage to drive in TZ?

The new quarter begins tomorrow at the ACSOP. Jimmy will be teaching Jeremiah and Lamentations. Sean Hochdorf will be teaching Minor Prophets I. Cy Stafford will be teaching Personal Evangelism II. And, Emmanuel Peter will teach the book of Revelation.   

Today is Jimmy's 46th birthday! We feel blessed to have him as the husband and father of this family. Thank YOU for supporting our family in this mission field! 

In His Service, 
Jimmy, Trina and the kids

Posted on August 12, 2012 .