Happy New Year to our friends and family. 2016 has started with a bang and we are so happy to be able to tell you about the Children’s Seminar held over the weekend. These seminars have been a blessing both to us and the communities. Jane and Desdery get calls every month from communities asking us to come to them! We are thankful for all of your prayers and support. Without them, these seminars would not be possible.
This month we traveled to a small community an hour and a half away called Mtu Mbo. The preacher there, Julian Gasper, is surrounded by the Maasai community and has helped establish several Maasai congregations. Due to this, he invited all of these congregations and they were slowly bussed in that morning. If you do not know about the Maasai, I encourage you to look into the culture. They are one of the few tribes that has still not assimilated into the modern culture.
Due to the congregations having to be bussed in, we got off to a late start. However, by 11:00 we had 110 children and 55 women! This was a huge blessing to us. We started the morning with children’s songs and none of the children had ever learned any. So, we had the privilege of teaching them “Yesu upendo kuzunguka Nyuma” (Jesus love is a bubbling over), “Nina furaha furaha ndani ya moyo” (I’ve got the Joy, Joy, in my heart), and “Mwanga Wangu wa Kristo” (This Christian Light of Mine).
When it was time for classes the children learned quickly and were eager to participate. Many did not know that God had created the world and even fewer new He created it in 6 days (and rested on the 7th). Samantha had one child who knew all of the New Testament books but the majority did not know any in the Old or New Testaments.
While Anna and Samantha were teaching the children’s classes, Justin and Desdery were
teaching the Gospel to a large crowd of the parents who had gathered. Everything Justin said had to be translated to Kiswahili by Desdery and then another man translated what Desdery said to Maasai. Both a man and a woman responded to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and put the Lord on in Baptism that day. We are grateful to have these opportunities.
After lunch Anna held a seminar for the women. Similar to Justin’s study, Jane translated what Anna said into Kiswahili and then another lady translated that into Maasai. It was a new experience. Anna was able to talk to the women about the importance of teaching children. How they need to see what you are teaching them to fully understand. When Anna used the example of Noah’s ark – the Maasai women responded verbally with understanding. None of them had seen the ocean, so their children sure enough had not, and none of them had seen a boat. In fact, the word boat the translator did not know. One of the oldest Maasai women in the crowd translated the word. It was a word many of the women had never heard. Anna then explained that for the children to truly understand that amount of water and a boat we need to help them “see” it in their minds. She explained how you can gradually talk about water rising. First, it is higher than their heads, then higher than their houses, then it rises above the trees, and finally is higher than the twiga (giraffes). You could see their understanding as they began to nod their heads. Anna encouraged them to draw a boat in the dirt and show tell the children that it is a house that could float on the water.
With every culture comes good and bad. The Maasai are very set in their ways and it is difficult to show them that while some of the things they do are okay, some are wrong. It takes a lot of studying with them to show them that drinking cows blood is not okay (cows are sacred to the Maasai, having multiple wives is not what God wants (the Maasai have many, many wives), and that many of their traditions are harmful. We came face to face with that on Saturday when one of the young girls (around 7) wore a Maasai ring. This mean her dowry had been paid for, cows had been exchanged, and she was someone’s bride. Two other little girls had a single shaved stripe down each side of their head. This indicates that they have been circumcised (genital mutilation). And many of the children had circular scars on their faces indicating that at some point they were sick and the pain was inflicted on them to “heal” them. These things are difficult to see but we know that the Gospel is powerful. It may take time but these are things that can change.
If you would like to help us financially with next month’s seminar please send a check to:
Make the checks payable to Horton’s Chapel COC Horton Chapel Church of Christ
925 Union Ridge Road
PO BOX 1100
Belton, KY 42324
PLEASE PUT FOR THE MAYNARDS – AFRICA (And include what you want it for i.e. Children’s Seminar)
Please continue to remember us in your prayers as well as our brother in Christ and friend, Cy Stafford. The Tanzanian’s are brokenhearted over the news of Cy (as are we) and we pray God heals him and returns him to the work here.
The Maynard Family