QUOTE OF THE WEEK: "Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless." Mother Teresa
SINCE THE LAST REPORT was written on Saturday, we didn't comment on last Sunday's happenings. While driving the "Gospel Chariot" (the old white van) to pick up neighborhood ladies for Sunday services, Trina noticed Lydia walking, all dressed up and carrying a Bible. Normally, this Kisongo member is very late for Bible Study and sometimes misses it, as well as worship, altogether. When we offered her a ride, she explained that she was "escorting" some other family members to the Lutheran church. Tradition has it that after the death of a family member (her deceased husband's grandfather recently died...) the entire family is to attend the church services where most of the family regularly goes. Although Lydia is a weak, 5-year-old Christian, we were still shocked that she would miss the services of the Lord's church to follow a tribal tradition (or perhaps simply family tradition). Happiness translated as we talked with Lydia asking why she was putting tradition before God.We discussed forsaking the assembly, loving the Lord above everyone and everything else, etc. But Lydia decided to go on to the denominational church services. Sadly, during worship, we noticed others in her extended family that were missing. The first 30-minutes of the Ladies class was spent discussing the "forsaking of the assembly" before reading the last part of Genesis 28. Today, the Ladies classed studied the topic of "Giving" in accordance with the last verse of chapter 28. Last Sunday, Jimmy began a three-part series on the book of "Jonah. His first lesson centered on the subject of "Sin" and how, like Jonah, there is always a "fare" to be paid. Today he continued the series focusing on how a person's sin affects others.
SPEAKING OF CHURCH MEMBERS, Rosemary is due to give birth any day. Please pray that she will have a safe delivery and that she and her Christian sister-in-law will quit quarreling and attend services more regularly. Pray for our new sister Hilda (taught by Beth Akin) and her baby boy named "Bless." Hilda is very sad because her husband is forcing her to get a job and is REQUIRING her to take their son to his mother who lives far away FOR A YEAR. Although we volunteered to keep Bless, who is less than one year old, so Hilda can still see him in the evenings, the husband is still refusing. Most people in America would be shocked by this common situation in Africa where many children are raised for several years by grandmothers, aunts, etc.
SPEAKING OF CHILDREN, Paulina and Trina have visited three orphanages, giving away books brought by the Hoover, AL group. Across from the Kisongo market is a sign advertising an orphanage. It boasted that it was not JUST a Children's Home but an empowerment center, giving orphaned/abandoned children the advantages that would lead to success (nutrition, good physical care, education opportunities, opportunities to learn job skills, etc). Imagine our huge disappointment when we found 20 very dirty, barefoot children (12 years old and under) living in a very small house (two small bedrooms, a hall way, and an office) with not one toy or book to be found. There were 6 beds with a few other foam mattresses stacked on the floor. Thankfully, the house-parents were there and everyone was friendly but their sign was sadly misleading. We thought the center was seriously lacking but, because we have become used to seeing some of the "accepted Tanzanian ways," we try not to judge too quickly. However, Paulina, was of the same mind-set ...that this center was not a good one by any means, much less an "enpowerment center." The outside kitchen was not even covered and, if we remember correctly, there wasn't even a "choo"...an outdoor toliet (and no inside one).
INTRODUCING...Richard Olwenyi, a second-year ACSOP student, scheduled to graduate this November! Richard, who grew up in a Catholic home, is married with 2 young children. A current ACSOP masters' student, Peter Were, taught Richard the Gospel, who, in turn, has taught about 35 more people. His home congregation in Hagulu (Uganda) consists of 16 faithful Christians. Richard says his favorite class was "Personal Evangelism" and that ACSOP has "capable, friendly and qualified instructors."
ON THE HOME FRONT....our boys are immensely enjoying 2 buckets of Lego's from the states, spending hours building and creating new inventions. There are only two drawbacks to "boys and their attraction to Lego's." Number one is the "nature of Lego's" tend to be that they wander off... all over the house (in and under beds, couches, bathrooms, outside, in the car, etc). Secondly, we agree with comedian Tim Hawkins who says, "Next to giving birth, the most painful experience that can be endured is STEPPING BAREFOOT ON A LEGO!" Going on to other family members, Heather is keeping very busy in the kitchen because Lindsey and Abigail are very busy taking classes at the ACSOP every day plus trying to complete their "home-school" education. Matthew (five years old) is making some progress in speech therapy (made the "G" sound 3 times) and hugged Trina for the first time! Elijah is taking medication for a spider bite.
OLD AS THE HILLS! Conversation overheard: Stuart was pretending to interview David concerning skateboarding. Elijah stated that the competition would begin in 1819. Candace said, "Well, you are a little late!" To which Stuart added, "1819! That's when Dad was growing up!"
GIVE CREDIT WHEN CREDIT IS DUE! Last week, we failed to mention that most of the photos in the last report were taken by our nephew, Steven Akin. We will probably be using many of his photos in the future because he is very talented with a camera and took many wonderful pictures while visiting here.
THANK YOU....we are so glad you are interested in lost souls, this mission work and in us. We are interested in you. For those of you whom we do not know as well, write and tell us more about you and your family. We really want to know you better.
In Christian Love,
The Jimmy Gee family