On behalf of the Hochdorf family we send our friends and neighbors of Tanzania Missions a heartfelt greeting from the southern hemisphere. We thank God for you. While winter is coming into view for you back home, we are headed into summer and it appears it’s going to be quite toasty this year.
TANZANIA LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE
We have recently wrapped up the Annual Tanzania Leadership Conference and from all accounts it was a real success. We are grateful to God for the opportunity to bring Him glory through worship in song, preaching and prayer.
The Tanzanian Leadership Conference is an event we host each year at the Andrew Connally School of Preaching (ACSOP) in Arusha. Our theme this year, NATIONAL LEADERSHIP: SHAPING A NATION FOR SERVICE TO GOD, Lessons on national leadership from 1&2 Samuel and 1&2 Kings, was well received by those in attendance. Speaking of attendance, we were very pleased that we had brethren from Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and the United States present. We averaged 130 daily attendance over the four day period; an increase of over 50%! The Lord’s church is growing in East Africa and brethren are anxious to attend any event that will bring them closer to God and help them grow. It is all but impossible to relate the difficulty and danger our brethren in East Africa must endure to a travel to such an event.
They, literally, put their life on the line when they commit to traveling cross-country. We were all encouraged by the presence and participation of many of the Bear Valley Bible Institute of Denver (BVBID) faculty. Denny Petrillo, Bob Turner, Michael Hite and Neal Pollard all made the trip and did a marvelous job preaching at the conference as well as the various congregations on Sunday. ACSOP is a BVBID extension school; a relationship for which we are very appreciative. Aside from the BVBID staff we also had speakers from Alabama, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Texas, Uganda, Kenya and, of course, Tanzania. A truly, multi- national event.
We continue to be rewarded with good news from ACSOP graduates. Congregations are planted regularly throughout East Africa. Cy Stafford, our team leader reported recently:
These two men [Charles Ogutu and Elias Omollo] are graduates of the Andrew Connally School of Preaching. These two soldiers of Christ, after graduating from the school, went on to plant eight new congregations between the two of them. Charles had even begun a “preacher training school” in an effort to equip men to go as he had done, “making disciples”.
Gasper Julius and the Mto wa Mbu congregation have planted two new congregations. Gasper is in the process of starting a Bible School for the edification of the local believers and as an outreach to the lost of their community.
This is just a glimpse at some of the fruit God is bearing. Please continue to offer prayers of thanks and continued blessings as our brethren work to bring others to Christ.
Currently I am teaching Minor Prophets 2 at ACSOP. This is the final quarter before the english class graduates at the end of November. I have some new duties that we will be implementing into the work over the next few months. Stay tuned for further details as we are going to need to be laborers together in order to get up and running.
Anita continues to conduct regular Bible studies each week. She and mom go out each week to visit several of the ladies who are new converts at Kwa Mrombo, where we worship. Aside from just getting to know them they have bible studies and discuss first principles.
Anita has an ongoing Bible study with a couple that live over the hill from us in Kisongo. Sylvester and Neema have been studying for quite some time but neither has decided to commit their life to Christ as of yet. Pray for this couple and Anita as they continue to study together.
Mom and Dad are doing fine. They continue to be amazed at how kind and loving the Tanzanian people are. Dad takes frequent walks and enjoys the TZ countryside. Actually, I think he enjoys the children. They flock to him while he is walking, hoping to get some pi pi (pronounced “pee pee,” Swahili for candy). Sometimes he gives in and whew, the mob is on once the first piece hits a hand! Separation from the rest of the family has been difficult but they are glad that we can Skype and they can see the grand kids from time-to-time.
In our last newsletter we introduced you to Arnold, a young boy, all but orphaned, living next door to us in some very desperate conditions. As previously mentioned we were able to get Arnold into a good school and he has been doing very well. Since our last newsletter Nester and
Esther Augustus, have agreed to allow Arnold to move in with them. Nester, is our property foreman and a good Christian brother. Nester and Esther have three children of their own. They rent a two room place in Kisongo. Normally when we Americans think of two rooms we are picturing two rooms with a bathroom, kitchen,etc. Two rooms in TZ is just that, two rooms (10‘x10’). Meals are cooked in Nester and Esther’s bedroom and served in the living room/bedroom/dining room. I mention this for a couple of reasons: 1. To show the selfless generosity given by a family that has neither the money nor the space to take on another child and, 2. So that we might take an opportunity to again count our blessings. At any rate, it is so touching to see how happy and safe Arnold feels. He is finally experiencing the love and care all children should receive.
Some of you responded to Arnold’s story and wanted to help. I have to make a plea for forgiveness. As soon as I sent out that newsletter I departed for a 2000 mile journey across Tanzania. When I returned I was up to my eyeballs in director duties for the Tanzanian Leadership Conference. I know, enough whining Sean, bottom line is I failed to respond to your generous offering for help. I’m sorry. If you are still so inclined to offer help for Arnold I give my word I’ll respond in a timely way. Again, I’m sorry.
If you have never lived in a foreign field as a missionary you might not realize that missionaries don’t simply pack up, seamlessly move to a far away land and conduct thousands of Bible studies everyday. Yes, the soil is such that opportunities for reaching the lost abound and being able to work in such an environment is encouraging indeed. However, a missionary has many hats to wear; preacher, teacher, student, mentor, hospitality expert, accountant, mechanic, handyman, etc. One of said hats is that of employer. When living in a third world country, as here in Tanzania, it is expected (and needed) that you will employ Tanzanian’s for a number of tasks, domestic or otherwise. We try to employ brethren, those who will work hard while at the same time trying to provide them an opportunity for growth and improvement.
This past week I had the unenviable task of having to fire one of the men who worked for us. He was hired as a night guard and his duties have been light, at best; pick up the trash in the yard, wash the truck and be alert through the shift. As is the case with each of our workers, we periodically loan them money for various reasons and deduct it from their pay. This particular man came, one day, asking for a significant amount of money stating that his wife was pregnant and he was trying to prepare for the hospital bill, clothing, etc. Knowing that the baby wasn’t due for another 6 weeks or so I offered him an opportunity to earn the money instead of borrowing that which I knew he could not repay. Long story short, he accepted my offer but didn’t do the work.
Trying to go the extra mile, I gave a mild rebuke and we gave it another shot. It didn’t take. Not only did he not carry out the extra work, his regular duties began to suffer as well. After a long effort at trying to help this brother the time has come to exercise some very difficult tough love and let him go. It’s especially tough knowing that there is almost an 80% unemployment rate in Tanzania, he is married and has a new baby. Hey, I didn’t sign up for this in preaching school.
In the end, however, I extended every possible way and means to help him. Simply put, he was lazy. The scriptures still teach the necessity of work. “For even when we were with you, we used to command this to you: that if anyone does not want to work, neither should he eat” (2 Thes. 3:10). As is the case with almost all sin, we don’t normally sin to ourselves. Those we love and care for are generally the recipients of the consequences of our actions. This man’s family will now endure hardship because he was lazy and not willing to work.
If you can’t tell, I have agonized over this decision. So much so that we went ahead and paid for all the hospital bills connected with the delivery of their new baby, gave them a blanket to bring the child home in (a big deal here), bought them enough food to last a month, and let him finish out the month. Firing him is the last thing I want to do but I know it to be the right thing to do.
Please don’t misunderstand, we love living in Tanzania, we love the Tanzanian’s, and we love doing the Lord’s work in such a wonderful environment. Rather, I write this to provide a small glimpse into the unseen life of a foreign missionary. Please pray for me, and the other missionaries here, and around the globe, as we do our best to be Christlike in wearing so many different hats as we serve our Lord in a foreign land.
UNTIL NEXT TIME
Perhaps it becomes somewhat redundant but I can’t close without saying thank you for your support. Times are hard almost everywhere in the world right now and yet, you have seen fit to sacrifice hard earned income to promote the cause of Christ in Tanzania. It is a true sacrifice indeed and we really hope you know that we thank God for your selflessness regularly.
Yours in Christ,
Sean, Anita, Maddie, Mom and Dad
To Sean Hochdorf’s latest report with pictures, click here.