Youth Seminar and Mission News
The Chimala Mission Church of Christ held a youth seminar last weekend where over 180+ youth attended from various parts of Tanzania. I was asked to speak on Marriage in the Church and also I was a part of a Q and A panel session with the youth. The seminar was successful and we had 6 baptisms during the seminar! To God be the Glory! I also met a young girl (about 15) who had recently converted from Islam to Christianity. She had been wanting to convert for a while (since someone from the church had been studying with her) but her family had stopped her. Finally, she decided to put Christ on in baptism and she has now been added to the Church. We have to remember that Tanzania is NOT in the Bible Belt! There are not churches on every corner. In fact, there are several Muslims that come onto the mission every day. The Chimala Mission is truly on the 'front line' in the church's fight against Islam.
The Herring Christian Secondary School starts back on Monday, January 7, with their Form 1 students for School Orientation. The rest of the students at HCSS will arrive this coming weekend for the start of school on January 14th. This also includes a new Form 4. Also, students for the Chimala Mission Primary School and also the Chimala Bible Institute will be arriving to begin school also on January 14th.
We had a few BIG visitors to the Chimala Mission on Friday. The District Commissioner and the District Executive Director, as well as other dignitaries both district and local, were on hand for a ceremony. The ceremony was the start of a new immunization program of the vaccine Prevnar. Prevnar has been available in the US since the year 2000 but the first dose in this whole district was given by the District Commissioner on Friday at the Chimala Mission. It was raining but that didn't stop the people from coming and seeing their DC and DED. I was seated directly next to the DC and DED. This allowed me to get to know them a bit -- since I have only been here since June 2012. We also shared a meal following the ceremony. The food was rice, some sort of stew, and also a whole cooked chicken! Boy, what a spread! The meal was great, but I had trouble eating the chicken with a spoon. Finally, after a few minutes of trying, one of the cooks gave me a machete knife to cut the chicken! Finally, success!
Wagner Family Update
The Wagner family is doing well enough here. While our home back in Arkansas was blanketed with a record breaking 10 1/2" of snow, we were sweltering under heat. However, the rains have come to Chimala and the temperature has dropped from around 90-95 degrees to a whopping 80-85! What a change and a blessing! We are actually pulling our covers up again at night.
The girls are continuing to be home-schooled under our tutelage. Rena teaches the younger three and I have taken the older two. Rena is truly enjoying being able to teach the kids. After lunch every day, we would sit in the living room and read-a-round the book Cameron Townsend. It was a book about a Central American missionary who pioneered Bible translation in that region. The older two girls are studying Greek and Roman mythology right now and its relation to the God of the Bible. We have very interesting conversations around the lunch table!
We have been struggling a bit the last few weeks with poor electricity, cell phone service, and internet connectivity. In fact, the cell phones and internet were down on Christmas Day -- where we had planned to have a family phone call with our loved ones back home. However, we were not able to do that. Also, the electricity lately has been very off-and-on. It is a bit trying sometimes, but we always make it through with reading, going outside, etc.
Rena and I have mapped out a walking track around the main part of the mission. It is a one-mile track which we do twice. It has ups-and-downs and is really pushing us! We have generally all lost weight being here.
Preaching the Gospel
We visited several congregations this week. We try and visit a new congregation every Sunday morning and a local congregation on Sunday nights. I preached at Mfumbi church of Christ this morning where there was a good number of people -- probably 15+. I preached on identifying marks of the church that Jesus built in Matthew 16. The singing was good and the fellowship was just as good. This evening, we went to the Chosi A congregation where I preached on growing in maturity. At the church, we had about 5 adults and about 25 kids! When we arrived at the building, they were sitting on the front steps awaiting our arrival and began jumping when we pulled into the church building. Very sweet.
How much do you pay for a regular bottle of Bar-B-Q Sauce? You might think that BBQ sauce is inexpensive and easy to have around. How much do you pay for Ranch dressing? I remember at home that we would pay $1 for a regular bottle of BBQ or Ranch. Here we are paying $3.50 for the same size bottle! If Ranch or BBQ is over three times the cost, you can imagine how much meat costs! We are currently 'breaking even' on money. We are not able to get ahead financially due to the cost of our family living in this country. We would like to ask you to prayerfully consider starting or increasing your support in 2013 so that our family can be more secure financially. We are relying upon you, our brethren, for the very food to feed our children. Please, prayerfully consider this request this year.