Marriage was our theme for the week! On Friday, I had the privilege of performing the wedding ceremony of our young teammate, Abigail Gee, as she became Mrs. Adam Rymon. Adam flew in earlier in the week so that the two could be married right here in Africa, as friends and family from America watched via the modern marvel of the internet. Tiffany gained her first experience as a wedding photographer, and did a fantastic job.
The Tanzanians in attendance were fascinated by their first "American" wedding. I thoroughly enjoyed talking to them about the differences in wedding customs. Weddings here generally take around 6 hours, sometimes more. I heard more than one Tanzanian man comment on how much they loved the short American wedding. I don't know how the women felt about it. Although, not knowing what to expect several guests did arrive late only to be surprised that they had missed the whole ceremony! Time just moves at a different pace around here. However, they did not arrive empty-handed. They kindly showered Adam and Abigail with Tanzanian-style gifts that the couple will treasure.
Overall, it was a beautiful event and we wish Adam and Abigail the very best. We appreciate their asking us to be a part of their special day.
The next day, Tiffany and I traveled to Moshi to conduct a marriage seminar with the congregation there. More than 30 people showed up from Moshi and the surrounding areas to listen to lessons designed to strengthen their marriages. Tiffany did a session with the ladies on how to respect their husbands, while I talked with the men about how to better love their wives.
The local preacher, Josephat, did a mixed session on conflict resolution, and I did two other mixed sessions. The ladies fixed a yummy lunch of rice and beans, and we had a couple of bonding activities.
One of my favorite parts was the question and answer period. This gave me the chance to hear some of the real issues that people are facing. Some of the questions were quite typical, but others took me a little more off guard. One man asked me if he could divorce his wife if she went crazy. Hmm... that could be quite a can of worms!
There are many aspects of marital relationships that are culture-dependent, but the Bible still offers timeless advice that applies anywhere. God created marriage and he still knows the best ways for his designs to operate. Mission work has reinforced my appreciation of the universal nature of the Word of God. It is relevant to life anywhere and at anytime.
To see Daniel’s report with pictures, please click here.
Preaching Student Spotlight: Kennedy Ngetich
Kennedy is a second generation Christian who grew up in Kenya, Tanzania’s neighbor to the north. Having been raised in the church, he was baptized by their local preacher as a young adult in 2007.
After fully becoming a Christian he sought an avenue for gaining a deeper understanding of God’s word. A friend, who was a student at the Andrew Connally School of Preaching, told Kennedy about our school. It sounded like a great opportunity so Kennedy applied for enrollment. Now a second year student, and a newly wed as well, he is on his way to becoming a fine preacher of the Gospel thanks to the support of people like you.
The second quarter is off to a good start. This quarter I have the pleasure of teaching Public Speaking 2: Sermon Prep. It is obviously a very important class for future preachers, and is a lot of fun to teach.
Tiffany and I have been asked to put together a marriage seminar that we will present at a number of the congregations in Northern Tanzania. We plan to do the first one on Saturday, April 26 at Moshi. Moshi is a sister city to Arusha and is located less than 2 hours drive to our east. The church there is the home of the Kilimanjaro Bible School and has a reputation for being one of the best singing congregations around. We are looking forward to spending the weekend with them.
May will be a big month for our team. On the 6th, the McVeigh family will return home to America. On the 7th, the Staffords will return to Tanzania from furlough. On the 8th, we are anticipating a visit from the Evans family, missionaries in Iringa, Tanzania. Then later in the month my father, John Gaines, will come to teach a short course at the school. He’ll be the first family member to visit while we’re here so we’re especially excited about the visit. As you can see, it should be an action-packed month.
Shopping in Africa...
...is quite the adventure. To get the items we need we go to 6-10 dukas (stores). It is an all day event and quite exhausting, especially with little ones in tow. We stop at a curbside vegetable market for our produce from Mama Neema. We prefer a store called Pic N Pay for the bulk of our shopping (which newly opened a closer branch called All Mart). There we can buy flour, sugar, cornmeal, beans, rice, etc. Village Market is a very nice but expensive market, but one of the few places to get baked goods, so we buy bread there. We also frequent the “Coke Container” which sells bottled cokes from the back of a container. We rent the bottles and bring them back to pick up new filled ones when finished. We buy large containers of drinking water at a store called Fine Foods Mega. And, we go to Meat King for our meat, as most “meat markets” contain open meat just hanging from the ceilings. The meat here is different, but Meat King is a safe place to purchase it. Moona’s Pharmacy is the place for safe drugs. We go to an office supply duka for paper, pens, etc. There are also other dukas we stop by to look things we need that aren’t somewhere else. There isn’t a one stop shop like Walmart so you really have to have your list together when you shop! I guess you can say we do “mom and pop” store shopping here.
There are specialized dukas for everything and if you want something you have to work hard sometimes to figure out where to find it. Many shops in town are labeled only in Swahili or none at all so you have to have a good eye to find what you need. Street shopping is a little stressful as the sellers can be somewhat forceful trying to make ends meet, but for the most part you are greeted with a friendly “karibu” (welcome) and allowed to look. However, if your eye falls on something for too long, fully expect them to get it down and insist you hold it, try it on, and yes, purchase it. But for groceries, at least, that’s not usually the case except for veggies.
Prices here can be both great and brutal. For example. I can get a bunch of bananas for 3,000 shillings, ($1.50) 2K (4 1/2 pounds) of potatoes are 4,000, ($3) and an avocado is 1,000 (less than a dollar). However, ANYTHING imported is super expensive and if you find something you love then you buy it because it won’t be back for months most likely! For example, a box of taco shells (6) can be found, but they are 20,000 ($13). A container of Philadelphia cream cheese is 14,500 ($9) and most cereals run between 14,000 and 25,000 ($9-15). Needless to say, we don’t eat cereal often, lol. Anything in a can is $3-5 so fresh is best for money but not time. I could go on and on, but I’m sure you get the point. If it’s “normal” for home, it’s really expensive. We only have access to shelf stable (boxed) milk, which has almost spun me into a depression as I LOVE milk! The boys seem to be fine with it and get the nutrients they need, but it is not yummy at all! Most foods taste a little different even if familiar. I have bought beans that literally had bugs jumping out of them and all produce must be washed in bleach water (enough to cleanse but not enough to harm us). When you buy eggs, they are usually covered in dirt and taken from the few cartons they have and placed in a box to take home. (No, they do not all survive the trip home, lol.) We don’t have access to many items we love and my budget is the same as it was in America for food so our eating has changed a lot.
I have finally gotten the hang of shopping here. I know where to find most things and can ask sweet African friends where to find other things. I never thought I would say it, but I sure do miss Walmart! I think I may just walk up and down the aisles for a few hours and be thankful for all that I have access to when I go home for furlough. And I will drink my weight in milk.
To see their report, complete with pictures, please click here.