Dear friends and brethren,
On behalf of Anita, Mom, Maddie, Melissa, Dad and myself we send you heartfelt greetings from East Africa. There has been a flurry of activity since I last sent a report and we have made great progress toward our getting settled. Negotiations concerning our rent house have concluded and we were able to come to terms. We moved in the first week in April. Our container has yet to make it to Arusha so we have borrowed items from ACSOP, the Gee’s and the Stafford’s in order to make due until the container arrives. The ladies are happy to be in their own place regardless of the inconvenience of not having our possessions. Their happy so I’m happy.
Even though we have been busy Tanzania can supply reminders that we aren’t immortal. Anita and I have both suffered with malaria. We are almost certain that Anita had cerebral malaria which is fatal if not treated in a timely way. She is still with us so I think we gave her the right medicine. Once Anita recovered from malaria it only took her about a week to fall prey to another of Tanzania’s common issues. She contracted an amoeba and suffered with amoebic dysentery for almost a week. Fortunately, Danny and Nancy Smelser of the Tanzanian Christian Clinic were able to properly diagnose and treat her. The Lord has heard and answered our prayers and we are now all doing well.
We have made trips to several congregations in the area and I have preached and taught bible class on a few occasions. Anita has been conducting a regular bible study with a lady named Lucy. Lucy is the cousin of our dear friend Paulina Elbariki. The study has been going on for almost a month and Anita and mom think that good progress has been made toward Lucy being obedient to the gospel. Anita has taken mom with her on each occasion so she can observe how things are done here in Tanzania. In the near future Anita and mom will swap and mom will conduct the bible study. Pray for her as she, like most of us, is nervous about doing so.
Always abounding in the work of the Lord
Let me encourage each of you as supporters of this work and, more importantly servants of God, to trust in the Lord, be strong and of good courage and tell others about Christ. Perhaps we sometimes lose heart when we think our efforts aren’t bearing the fruit we expect to see but we must remember that we simply do the planting and the watering and God gives the increase (1 Cor. 3:6). We may live a lifetime and never see the results of our labor. We can, however, rest assured as God knows that which we have done (1 Cor. 15:58). In addition to these comments let me offer this story of encouragement. Last week I was in Nairobi to pick up some guests (more about them later). I was in need of a haircut so I ran into a local beauty shop / barber. The barbers name was Gamachisa and he was originally from Ethiopia. Gamachisa asked what I did and where I was from. I proceeded to tell him that I was originally from Texas but now I live in Tanzania and am a teacher and preacher working at a preacher training school in Arusha.
He said “I too study theology, online.”
“Interesting, what’s the name of the school where you are studying theology?”
“Have you ever heard of World Bible School? It is from Texas as well.”
“Well, of course I have. I have many friends that help with WBS. What is your teachers / graders name?”
“Her name is Sandra.”
“Does she happen to be from Round Rock, Texas?” I asked.
“I believe she is” he replied.
He asked if there was anyone in Nairobi that could help him study further. I told him we have graduates from the Andrew Connally School of Preaching in the area and they would be more than happy to study with him. We exchanged information and have already been in communication since our initial conversation. I will be returning to Nairobi in another week and am working on arranging a bible study with him and introducing him to Samson, the preacher at the Babadogo congregation.
Just a few days before meeting Gamachisa, the missionary families gathered for a devotional and Cy Stafford delivered a lesson about praying for doors of opportunity to be open. I couldn’t help but think about the lesson when this door of opportunity presented itself. Even more amazing is that Sandra, the lady from Texas, put forth the effort and has made a difference in a young man’s life who lives halfway around the world from her. The power of the gospel coupled with the zealous efforts of dedicated servants of Christ is indeed an amazing, life-changing, dynamic duo (Rom. 1:16; 8:31). Sandra, whomever you may be, thank you for not giving up and doing your best to spread the greatest message the world has ever heard. Sandra’s efforts serve as a good example for us all. Let us sow the seed, pray for good and honest hearts to receive it and then have peace knowing we have done for the Lord what we could.
Visitors from abroad
We are currently enjoying the company of Cotton and Beulah Box and DuPree and Soneia Galloway from Alabama. These couples also serve as a great example to everyone, especially to the seniors among us. I’m not going to get myself into to trouble by guessing an age but I believe I am safe in saying they are all over 60 and a couple of them over 70. They conduct bible studies all day long leaving early in the morning and returning in the evening. They work every young buck I know under the table. Thus far the studies they have conducted have fallen on good soil and a number of people have been added to the kingdom. Cotton and DuPree work mainly on Mt. Meru and those that are converted attend the congregation at Kioga where David Bai is the preacher. The congregation has seen tremendous growth since its beginning. The Galloway’s and Box’s will be returning home next Friday.
We also have been blessed to have an addition to our home until August. Melissa Burnett, a close friend to Maddie and member at the Granbury Street congregation in Cleburne, worked like a crazy woman and saved enough money to come to Tanzania. It is impressive when a teenager will work 3 or 4 jobs to save enough money and leave the comforts and distractions of America to spend time in a third-world country in an effort to see if she is cut out for foreign mission work. Melissa is a talented, mature, young lady and we believe she will do fantastic here. Teens, are you paying attention? Save your money and come stay with us for a few months. We’ll take good care of you.
Until next time
Well this short report is turning into a small novel so I will sign off for now. Before I go please know that all of us are deeply appreciative of your financial sacrifice. This work would be impossible without it. Thank you for your selflessness.
Until next time, take care and God bless,
Norm, Alice, Sean, Anita, Maddie and Melissa