Life is always good here on the mission. There are so many things to do and see here that we always have something to do. We have to be careful, however, because the ants have been quite busy of late. When you get into ants here in Chimala, you know it quickly! Jonah was looking at some ants a few weeks ago. While he was away from the 'line' of ants, he didn't see the other ants in the grass. It took all of us and one of our guards to get all the ants off of him!
The kids are almost finished with home school for this school year. Rena has been keeping them very busy about every day to get finished. They started late, in October, and they have been playing 'catch up' ever since. Jonah will be starting with kindergarten this year and is very excited. We have already ordered our home school material for next year and we are working on getting it shipped over to us.
Rena, Anna, and Cheryl Bode (another missionary) have been doing mobile clinics in the area. They go to a Masai village and another closby village of Mfumbi. Rena has been doing well-baby checks and giving immunizations.
We recently hosted lunch for all of the missionaries and guests on the mission to a spagetti lunch with homemade bread! It was quite good.
The weather is changing here in Chimala. We are coming out of the rainy season and into the dry season. That means low humity and cool weather. Nice. However, as you know how it goes with weather changes, a few of the girls are suffering from allergies and/or colds from the weather change.
We are going to go on our furlough in October. We have already raised $300 but we need about $12,000 just for plane tickets. We need your help. We would love to come and visit with you, when we are home, about our work here in Chimala. We are prayerfully asking for your assistance with this trip.
Also, we have revived the mission garden. It is in full bloom! It is producing tomatoes, cucumbers, watermelon, and so much more. First, we provide all of the vegetables that the schools need to operate. Afterwards, the missionaries share what is left. The ground is fertile!
Chimala Mission Update
You can check out the latest Chimala Mission newsletter here.
The Chimala Bible Institute is our 2-year Preacher Training program associated with the Bear Valley Bible Institute in Denver, CO. We are very proud of the progress the school has made over the last few years. It is currently one of the largest schools of preaching in the world associated with churches of Christ. They will be finishing up short courses in a few weeks and then head home to be with their families until July -- when they will start up again. We are enjoying the visiting teachers we have with us. Reuben Egwu is a preacher and evangelist from Nigeria. He is also a director of a school of preaching in that country. He is here teaching for two weeks. He has spoken several times at the Chimala B (Mission) church of Christ and has been well received every time. We also have Robert Curry here teaching at CBI. Robert is an old friend of Garry Hill (CBI Dean/BV Coordinator). Robert has a Doctor of Ministry from Harding University and we are quite happy to have him here.
Speaking of preacher training, our 2-year residential program is not the only option for preaching training. In fact, we are looking at branching out into local churches strategically placed in commercial centers of SW Tanzania with our Bible School program. This program will train church leaders in their own community to be effective leaders in their own churches. We would be able to train the educated and employed members of the church who cannot come to a 2 year residential program but would love to be trained more. We are excited about this opportunity to train more men and be effective leaders of our churches.
Anna, my oldest daughter, has been busy whipping the CBI library into shape and preparing it for the books coming on the next container. However, with all of these books, we are in need of shelves. One shelf for our library costs $80 each. We are in need of at least 6 -- maybe more -- to fit all of the current books we have and also the books coming.
The Chimala Mission Hospital has recently been to the brink of closure and (thanks be to God) we are able to keep it open! The Tanzanian government has a program of free obstetrics care for expectant mothers. They strongly suggested that we come into that program last year. Since that time, the number of mothers giving birth have surged. The life-expectancy of mothers are higher with better care than having their child at home. Meanwhile, the TZ government had agreed to cover the expenses of these mothers but has not even come close to fulfilling their end of the bargain. While we were happy to participate, we could no longer afford to be giving away free medical care, supplies, and medicine. We have had to stop the program a few weeks ago. Since then, the LORD has blessed us! Even though we are now charging for our services again, the number of patients has not stayed the same, but increased! We are now in a much better position financially than we were just one month before. The LORD always knows what is best.
We also have two visitors who are volunteering at CMH for the next few weeks. They are Tony Tsang and Grace Tang. They are fourth year med students from Hong Kong, China. They have been working well at the hospital and enlightened by their experiences at CMH.
The Herring Christian Secondary School is going to be doing mock Form 4 exams this next week preparing for the big test in October. As you may know, HCSS is only 3 years old, so this is our first Form 4 year and exam. There is much that is depending upon the outcome of this exam. We are confident that our students will perform well. We would appreciate your prayers, however, since so much depends upon this exam.
One of the projects we are trying to get started is a fish farm. Tilapia is a popular fish and easy to grow. We are wanting to grow Tilapia here on the mission for several reasons. First, it will provide low-cost, healthy protein for the school children. Second, it will reduce costs for school operation as food (especially meat) is quite expensive. Third, we want to train our preacher students and secondary school students to be able to do this in their own place so that can earn a living.
The Ailsa Farm project is really setting off at this time. We are preparing to begin a seed nursery on the mountain at Ailsa to start planting trees there in January. We will also plant apple trees as well as avocado trees. This will enable the mission to not only keep the land, but to make it productive and useful again to the mission. We are also looking at regaining our mission presence on the mountain. This is a vital first step. We went up for a land survey last week. On the way up, there were only a few clouds. However, by the time we were ready to come down, the rain was heavy and we slide down almost sideways! It's always an adventure in Chimala.
Our sponsoring church is planning on sending a container to us at this time, however, due to the financial assistance we have been giving the hospital, we are unable at this time to send it. If you could help us out with container expenses, that would be wonderful. On the container, we have personal items, mission supplies, books for CBI, and so much more.
As the mission is a huge place with so much going on all of the time, we are trying to refocus on the spiritual formation of our employees, students, and missionaries. It is important that we all keep in mind that we are working for the LORD, but we still must maintain a personal relationship with Him. The first step in helping the spiritual formation of our mission family is by encouraging chapel attendance and varying speakers. On the mission, there are 5 chapels that go on each day. We want to encourage spiritual growth by giving a variety of speakers at the chapels around the mission.
Preaching the Gospel
We visit several congregations in the area. We have been working with one congregation more closely -- the Majombe church of Christ. When we visited there one Sunday morning, there was not a Christian meeting there. We investigated to find that another congregation had been started just down the road due to some of the older members. Since we have been working them, we have had 1 baptism and a few restorations. Also, the church is again meeting on a regular basis. Praise be to God for His good help in that effort. We will continue to work occasionally with them to see that they continue 'spurring one another on in love and good works.'
We are looking at several groups coming to work at the Chimala Mision over the course of the next few months. Oklahoma Christian University will be arriving next Saturday on the mission with plans for VBS and service work around the mission. We are also looking at a group from Harding University Nurses coming in mid-May; Tony Hopper and John Rogers in July; and a campaign group in September from Kentucky. We could use you as well in the work here on the mission if you can come. What benefit is there for short-term mission trips? First, they encourage the local Christians. It is helpful to know that there are other Christians out there besides the ones in your local area. Second, they encourage the full-time missionaries to keep working on the field full-time. Third, they encourage Christians in the states to see the wonderful works that God is doing throughout the world. Fourth, it opens the mind of the short-term missionary to new cultures and experiences that they might not get otherwise. Fifth, they can participate in the Great Commission by helping with evangelism. All in all, it is important for full-time missionaries to maintain the work, but also it is important for short-term missionaries to come and encourage the work with their presence and assistance.
Chad Wagner and family
To see Chad’s report with pictures, please click here.