Greetings dear friends and supporters! We’re glad to share some good news from an exciting end to 2014 and a great beginning to 2015. Read on to see what the Lord has been doing in Tanzania.
Andrew Connally School of Preaching Faculty Holiday Get Together
A few days before Christmas the Stafford’s, Granny, Anita and I gathered at our house for a nice meal to encourage and thank the ACSOP faculty and their wives for their hard work. Unbeknownst to them, they were about to be the beneficiaries of a some great gifts given by a number of very generous supporters.
We first enjoyed some kitimoto (that’s ham y’all) with all the trimmings. Thank you Anita and Stephanie for the super food and the extra work we now have to do to take off the weight we gained. Afterwards Stephanie and Anita presented the wives with their gifts and they were thrilled to get them. When the ladies were done Cy and I presented the faculty with their gifts: 13 inch Macbook Pro’s, 1tb portable Hard Drives, 16gb flash drives, 2 books, and their own business cards. Many of you were so generous that we actually had enough given to install Logos 6 Bible software on each computer! They were overwhelmed with joy and gratitude. Thank you for this gift that will aid these men in their work for many years at ACSOP.
Future Preachers Training Camp
It was awesome to see young men gather at the Andrew Connally School of Preaching for the annual Future Preachers Training Camp. This year’s camp had 42 in attendance and was directed by our own Losotwa Michael the Academic Dean at ACSOP. This was Michael’s first year directing a camp and he did an outstanding job. The future of ACSOP is in excellent hands with men like Michael at the helm.
FPTC lasted for one week and was filled daily with training these young men how to study the Bible, how to preach it, and share it with others. Of course no preacher training camp would be worth its salt if it didn’t put the book learning into practice, so the young men prepared sermons and delivered them in front of their peers and instructors. Afterwards a gentle critique was offered in order to help further polish their work.
All of the ACSOP staff delivered lessons during the course of the week. I had the good fortune of being able to address the topic “What can I do to help the church the most?” It was a fun class and the students seem to really enjoy engaging the discussion.
FPTC was launched as an effort to encourage and train young men throughout Tanzania to teach and preach the gospel. It was thrilling to the mission team to see Patrick Kambarage sitting with the counselors this year as he has been a diligent camper since the camp’s inception six years ago. Patrick is precisely the reason the camp was developed and we are delighted that he is now considering attending ACSOP in the future.
By the way, did you know that there are several future preacher training camps taking place in the US? What a great blessing that we can offer such a concentrated supplement to the teaching received at home and our local congregations. If the kingdom is to thrive in the US, and throughout the world, it is essential that we uplift those who are currently preaching and greatly encourage our young men to accept the challenge of proclaiming Christ as preachers of the gospel.
Tanzania Christian Camp
The ACSOP faculty, and many other brethren from Arusha, departed for Dar es Salaam during the last week of December to meet up with John Rice to conduct their annual youth camp. There were 182 campers present and we rejoice with the 11 who obeyed the gospel.
After the camp in Dar wrapped up, John Rice and all the brethren from Arusha made the long journey home, had a couple days off, and then jumped right into the annual Tanzania Christian Camp held on the ACSOP campus. This year’s camp saw 143 young people bring the campus to life with their smiling faces and enthusiasm. Keep the 14 souls that obeyed the gospel during TCC in your prayers as they begin their life as a child of God.
We want to offer a special thank you to John Rice for his continued dedication to youth all around the globe. The number of young people in America, Tanzania, Cambodia, etc. that belong to Christ because of his love for their souls is inestimable.
Mosquito River Campaign
Our friends from Northport Alabama arrived at the end of December to hold a campaign in Mosquito River. These eleven brethren worked tirelessly holding Bible studies, ladies seminars, and teaching children’s classes. Additionally, many of the men constructed benches and built a roof for the new building for the congregation that the brethren in Mosquito River planted in the recent past.
We rejoice that 18 souls obeyed the gospel during this effort. One of those who obeyed was a Masai man who claimed to be 111 years old and had fought in World War I. After he had studied with our Alabama friends he brought his grandson the next day and both he and his grandson were baptized into Christ. Initially, we were told that the old Masai warrior had died the next day but it turns out that it was in fact his younger brother, who incidentally was 95 years old, that had passed away. Unfortunately the younger brother had not put on Christ like his older sibling.
Ladies Exegetical Class
The first Saturday of each month the preachers wives get together for an in depth study of scripture. Tiffany Gaines, Stephanie Stafford, and Anita all take part in building up this group of zealous servants. Anita has been teaching them exegetical principles and is using the book of 1 Peter as the training text. During the last study many of the ladies showed significant progress in their understanding of exegesis and proper application of the scriptures.
Of the many things that Anita has come to appreciate from these studies is how blessed the English speaking world is when it comes to Bible study. One such blessing that we, no doubt, take for granted is our reliable translation of God's word. Trying to teach the ladies the simple concept of choosing repetitive words and phrases throughout 1 Peter has proven to be a challenge simply because of the translation and limited vocabulary of the Kiswahili language. While they can certainly know the truth and understand 1 Peter, it is nevertheless an obstacle for both student and teacher to overcome. Keep these good ladies in your prayers as they strive for a deeper understanding of the Bible.
As we close we want to offer our heartfelt thanks for your prayerful and financial support of this great work. May the Lord continue to bless you throughout 2015.
Until next time, take care and God bless.
Yours in Christ,
Sean and Anita Hochdorf
To see the Hochdorf report, with pictures, please click here.