Report from Chimala, Tanzania
For the last two weeks we have been blessed to have 15 students from three different African countries on our campus for the Master’s program. Jerry Bates was the teacher and his subjects were “The Gospel of John” and “Advanced Hermeneutics.” In talking to the students it seems that all enjoyed the classes and were appreciative of this opportunity to increase their knowledge of God’s word. One of the side benefits of having the students here is to get to hear about the work they are doing back in their home countries and home towns. It is exciting to hear how God is working in other parts of Africa. But Friday came so quickly and soon we were saying our good byes as they headed back home. We look forward to seeing them again in May as they are back here for two more weeks of Master’s word.
This time they left with an added advantage to help them in their studies. Here at Chimala we have been blessed with many donations of books, and some of the boxes are cases full of new books right from the publisher. For the past few weeks my wife, Carol, has been going through all the boxes and we decided to make up a box full of new books and pamphlets for the students to take home with them. In addition to a box for each student, we made up two big boxes of books that we have duplicates of in our Chimala library and we sent them with the students – One to the new school in Mzuzu, Malawi, and the other to the preacher’s school in Zambia. We are excited to be able to share with our sister schools and help them establish their libraries.
Today, Saturday – November 19 – we had interviews for the new prospective students who will start their first year of training in January. We have both the Swahili and the English Bear Valley programs. While there are a number of Swahili students returning for their second year, this January will be the start of a brand new class for the English side of the program. Our student capacity is 50 students, so in a couple of weeks we should know how many we will actually have coming to start school in January.
With the completion of the Master’s classes things will be quiet around CBI for the next month and a half, but that does not mean the work will cease. In the last two weeks Chimala congregation here on the mission had had 11 baptisms. This comes from their active evangelism program in the town of Chimala. Some of the former graduates of the preaching schools here as well as some of the teachers are heading up this program. While I have been invited to go with them, it is exciting to see the work that they are doing.
As of this writing we have been in Tanzania just 6 weeks and we are excited about the work here and the opportunities we see, especially in the way that the Tanzanians are taking leadership roles and taking ownership in the work. This does not mean that there is not a lot more work to do, but it does mean that the work is headed in the right direction.