We just returned from a grueling 2-day road trip to Arusha, Tanzania. We attended the Tanzania Leadership Conference at the Andrew Connally School of Preaching. We traveled with two of our instructors, Boaz Kasiba and Ezekiel Harrison. The fellowship and teachers were outstanding. Dr. Denny Petrillo, Bob Turner, Michael Hite and Neal Pollard, from the Bear Valley Bible Institute were some of the speakers and their lessons were outstanding. Other speakers included Christopher Mwakabanje who is coming to teach short course at Chimala next year. He is the head of the Swahili program in Arusha and is helping CBI with revising our curriculum. He was not the only speaker connected to Chimala.
We were all motivated by the lessons from Francis Wechesa, who is now the head of the Uganda School of Evangelism in Busia, Uganda, another extension connected to Bear Valley. Elly Martin and his wife were in attendance and taught classes that Ezekiel and Boaz attended. We traveled part of the way back with brother Edward of Mbeya and his family. Brad Whinery is an elder in Mississippi and delivered a series of lessons on the eldership. We have asked him to come to Chimala next year and deliver these same lessons for our students.
The trip did have some scary moments. To drive this far in Tanzania is rough and dangerous. We saw many wrecks and, at least twice, other drivers ran us off the road. Once by an overloaded truck who had to swerve into our path because a man was pushing a huge cart in the middle of the mountain road without any concern to oncoming traffic. Then we were texted by Chad who informed us the Islamic extremists were rioting in Dar. It seems a Christian boy and a Moslem child were discussing the merits of each other’s religion and it got out of hand. One of our Christian brothers from the Mdagata congregation was badly injured when the church building was ransacked by Moslem extremist. The preacher from Mdagata was with us at the conference and fervent prayers were offered to the Prince of Peace for our brothers and sisters safety. As usual, our State Department issued warnings for us Americans, but this only reminds us of the importance of the work here in Africa, which is constantly being agitated by a militant group of Islamic believers.
Boaz and Ezekiel were working hard for CBI while at the conference. They spent time with Mahundi, the preacher from the refugee camp, where we have numerous applicants wishing to come to school. They worked it out with him to help with the interview process next week. They also attended special classes where they were taught slow drip irrigation and food processing to teach our students how to better support themselves when they leave school.
We had a Bear Valley staff meeting with Denny Petrillo and Bob Turner, with the combined Andrew Connally and Kenya, Uganda and Chimala Bible School staffs. As far as we were concerned the item of importance to CBI is the process of making our Swahili program a degree-granting program. We are also going to do a Swahili material swap with Andrew Connally since we have a lot of Swahili material printing that will help both of the two schools. I was invited by brother Charles Ogutu, the new director of the Kenya program, to visit next year and teach, which we will Lord willing. I appreciated greatly the warm hospitality of Cy Stafford and his wife. We stayed with them during the conference and Cy and I had some wonderful early morning talks with some of the best Tanzania coffee I have ever drank. This conference was a blessing to all who participated and we plan on bring more of our CBI staff to attend next year.
Here at home the teachers and staff are winding down with the fourth quarter. Nazareth is getting the grades together and we are going to interview the new student applicants next week. Brother Howell Feruguson and Jerry Bates will be arrive soon to teach two short courses, and then we will graduate our 11 students for the year 2012. We were also thrilled as we returned home to learn of Remmy’s work in Ubaruku. Two weeks ago he and some students went and held Bible studies. This past Saturday they studied with a Seventh Day Adventist until 11 pm at night. Sunday, Henry wished to be baptized into Christ and was added to the Lord’s kingdom. This past weekend two more souls were added to the kingdom. We are so appreciative to be involved with some of the greatest people in this great work. Please keep the Chimala Bible Institute in your prayers as we continue to better “train others” to be greater servants in the Lord’s Church.
Garry L. Hill; BVBID Extension Coordinator
Chimala Bible Institute