January brought about several great things on the farm. At the beginning of the month we expanded the cow barn to make room for the upcoming calves. We finished just in time for our first calf, Ruby, to arrive.
Normally, beans are left to dry on the stalks here before they are harvested. This January we had an unusual amount of rain. Many of the beans were ready and dried, but some we had to harvest anyway and leave out to dry. Around our area, most farms lost their entire bean crop this year due to the excessive rain.
Thanks be to God, we were able to harvest a large bean crop with only a small loss. There are enough beans to feed ACSOP for many months.
We also started the process of adding 10 more double dig raised beds. These are being planted with several different things the school needs (onions, boga-greens, potatoes).
Personally, Anna and I bought two dairy goats. We raised dairy goats in the states and wanted to start on a small scale to see if they are successful here. We will add them to what is taught to the preaching students. If they are successful they will be a great tool for families who want to provide milk and profit for their families but do not have the room or money for a large dairy cow (their names are Moses and Zipporah).
January started the new curriculum Anna and Samantha are teaching to the children at Kisongo Kanisa la Kristo. They are learning the major Bible characters, in order (starting with Genesis), and the line of Jesus. It took a few weeks but now the children understand and are so excited to learn a new character every week. The kids can tell you what happens in EVERY chapter of Genesis beginning with chapter 1 through chapter 26 (they begin with chapters 27-36 on Sunday). They can also tell you that Mwanzo (Genesis) was written by Musa (Moses) and they can name the line of Jesus (Adam, Seth, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob/Israel – this is where they have gotten so far).
After two weeks Anna left Samantha with the children’s class and she is now teaching the women in the Church. Many of them do not know the material being taught to the children so she is working on three areas 1) The Bible characters of the OT and how they relate to the NT, 2) What children of different ages should know about each story, and 3) What we as adults should know and learn from each story. So far she has had around 30 women each Sunday morning.
In March, when Samantha leaves, there are already 3 teachers who are willing to take over the class who currently help Samantha on Sunday mornings. Anna hopes that her class will help and encourage more women in the Church feel confident to teach the children.
For several months now, Samantha has been working on organizing the library for the students at Andrew Connally School of Preaching. The Dewey decimal system was too complicated to keep up with and so she and Anna (along with Cy Stafford) came up with a system by colors. The books are now divided up into categories by color (i.e. Sermons-light green, Resources-pink, History-orange) and then those categories are divided up into sections that are identified on those labels. Each color and category is explained by a laminated poster (in the matching color) on the walls of the library.
Justin is preaching at White Rose Kanisa la Kristo for the next three months. The Church is focusing its evangelism efforts in this area and the local preacher has asked Justin to do a series of lessons. He is also doing a series of lessons for the youth that meet at the Kisongo Church on Saturday’s on the role of youth in the Church according to the 1st and 2nd books of Timothy.
We have one last (BIG) announcement. After lots of prayer, speaking with our friends and family, and writing our supporting elders, Anna and I have decided after our one year commitment ends this fall, to recommit for three more years (fall of 2019). There are lots of plans to expand the farming project and we have agreed to stay on board and help see it through. We are thrilled to be a part of this work here in Arusha, Tanzania. Please keep us in your prayers. We will be traveling back to America this fall to raise funds. If you would like to help us please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. If your congregation would like us to come and present our work, let us know and we will arrange that.
Please continue to keep Cy Stafford in your prayers. He had some major setbacks this month but the Lord heard our cries and prayers and he has begun to slowly improve. He has a long way to go but we are thanking God for the small improvements. Please continue to pray for him.