Ferguson Report

Wrapping-up CBC 2010

Looking back at last month’s newsletter I realize I need to give a little summary of our last week at Chimala not only because of the graduation, but also because the 2010 CBC school year has officially come to an end. I know you don’t want to hear about our 13-hour road trip to Dar, or our flights back to the States. Nothing significant about any of those items except to say: “Thank-you Lord for getting us back home alive and in one piece!

But we’re not the only ones thankful for bringing closure to a small chapter  in our  lives.  After 2010 CBC graduates left-to-right: Clergynton Harawa, Askiwe Kayela, Felix Khozomba, Shadrick Lora, Francisco Phiri, and Hellings Mkhala. Spending two years at the Chimala Mission away from home and family, you can begin to see the wear on the CBC graduates’ faces. These guys have studied hard and endured living together in close and frequently-hot quarters day-after-day. They have eaten as their regular staple food a corn-mush substance called “ugali” that they roll up in a ball and pop inside their mouths. Mix that with a few vegetables and an occasional piece or two of tough beef, and you have the basic CBC student diet. [For a vivid demonstration of eating ugali, see the video on my Facebook page]    

Needless to say, the graduates were anxious to complete their studies and return to their loved ones back home. That was the circumstances of our final week in Tanzania. But each of the six graduates completed the requirements for their final course; and by Friday, they were excited about the events of the graduation that evening. The line-up of the program of events included words of encouragement from CBC director, Peter Kamatula; a special guest speaker, Lenkosi Mkwama—the first director of the very first school of preaching at the Chimala Mission; and the valedictorian address from one of our graduates, Francisco Phiri of Malawi. Following the presentation of diplomas and graduate gifts, a traditional Tanzanian feast was offered for all who attended the celebration.

There have been four graduations now in the history of CBC, and I have attended three of them; but every one of them encourages me that there is another group of men who are better equipped and motivated to do effective service for the church of our Lord in East Africa. That is both exciting and frightening. Exciting because I know the possibilities of godly men in God’s hands are endless for the good that can be done. Frightening because I know Satan never rests in devising ways to discourage and destroy what we have struggled to build in the hearts and minds of these men. That’s why we continually ask for your prayers that all of the hours of teaching, studying, and dreaming would effectively “take root downward, and bear fruit upward.”                                             Howell

Does it Really Matter?

It is all too easy to become comfortable with one’s life and seeing things always from one’s own perspective. That’s why it’s time well spent for individuals, organizations and businesses to ask people on the outside what they see. Applying this self-evaluation to the BVBID extension program and foreign mission work in general is equally profitable. After all, churches and individuals faithfully contribute hard-earned money to support works overseas that they may personally never see. Instead, they rely upon the credibility of the mission workers and the reports they write.

Obviously, I am one of those people who have been entrusted with a great amount of confidence by faithful brethren to make sure the works and programs that I am associated with accomplish what they are asked to do. A couple of days ago, I pulled out my old King James Bible looking for a marginal note I remember making years ago. I found the marginal note, but also tucked inside an outside pocket of the Bible cover, I found a hand-written letter that was given to us when we lived in Arusha, Tanzania dated the 7th of September, 2001 – two days before “9-11”. I now remember the letter, but had forgotten all about it. It was written by Selina Bayi, a young lady we studied the Bible with who eventually obeyed the gospel of Christ. She was the sister of one of our close friends and co-workers in Arusha, David Bayi; and she is today married to Julius Gasper, a faithful gospel preacher in Tanzania, and they have a daughter named Agatha. Here are her own unedited words:

Mr and Mrs Furgusson,

I hope you are doing well. I have very glad to express my gratitude to you both for making me pass in a proper path. I now realize that I wasn’t aware of Bible, I was in a total dark. You have helped highly to make my mind understand the actual meaning of the word of the Lord. I still believe you will continue make me learn further.

I have very elated that you had never showed to despair even when I was absolutely reluctant to join this reasonable church. You came frequently where I settle to make sure that I understand the genuine way of Jesus Christ.

I thank you highly from the bottom of my heart to bear the situation with patience. I haven’t something worth enough to pay you for such a precious task you have done for me. You have showed me a wonderful kindness that lastly, I say thank God to enable all that.

I real appreciate what you have done for me in Jesus name we pray to you. Amen. Selina Bayi

No, Selina is wrong about one thing. She did have something to pay us—not anything material, but much more than that. Her sweet and touching letter of gratitude says more than I could explain to you in a report. Her life now consists of not just being a little more than a servant girl working seven days a week for a woman who would never allow her off to worship on Sundays. She has now been a Christian for nine years serving the Lord alongside her husband.

Finding people like Selina is why we keep going back. The gospel of Christ is the only thing that can change people’s lives to give them true joy and genuine contentment. We go because you send. You send, and people hear. People hear, and Jesus saves. What we do together really does matter.           Howell

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Posted on December 1, 2010 .