ACSOP At Work...

Dear Supporters, Family and Friends,

QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “Any small deed DONE is greater than the grandest intention THOUGHT OF.”  

At the last missionary devotional, Cotton Box brought the above quote to our attention. Whether it is original with him or from another source, the statement is certainly true and is worth remembering. Don’t discount the small kindnesses you perform each day...each has its own special value (a cold cup of water...) and it only takes a spark to start a flame. 

This past week has been a particularly stressful one for Trina. Health issues (stomach bacteria and a terrible sty on her eye), inside-house painting  which also turned into floor painting (the furniture had to be moved TWICE), dealing with the chaos of an “upside-down” house, other side issues plus the “normal” day-to-day responsibilities/work of taking care of a family of 11  have been especially “challenging” (translation: it has taken much extra effort to maintain a positive attitude and to behave properly and failing on many occasions!)

Because the painting was something the landlord was asked to do, Trina said many times, “ME AND MY BIG MOUTH!” After painting some floors, the workmen first said, “No water on it for 2 days.” Then later, “Make that 3 days.” Next day they said, “Don’t use any soap.” What? Never again use any kind of soap on the dirty floors or the paint will come up? After examining the paint can, we saw it was actually roof paint (although when they began the project they assured me the paint was “special for the floor.”)

The landlord gave them permission to buy REAL floor paint (oil based) so now we GET to move some of the furniture (and thus turn the house upside down again) a THIRD TIME. Afterwards, the entire neighborhood has been invited to a farewell party as the “men in the white coats” haul me off to the “hospitali la kicha” (Swahili for “hospital of the insane’). Our company arrives in one week and the energy level is about half of what it used to be. Thankfully, we have four wonderful older daughters who are a great help to us and without whom we may not have survived this past week. We’ve moved houses about 30 times in our 23 years and this painting ordeal was/is about equal to some of our difficult moving experiences!

However, when we think about our co-missionary (Sean Hochdorf) and the issues he has faced recently, we have no reason to complain! He “upstaged” me and my problems (ha/ha) greatly with his appendix problems. Thank you very much for your prayers on his and his family’s behalf. Along with our director, Cy Stafford, they are in Nairobi at the present awaiting possible surgery. Before operating, it was recommended that a CT scan be done to rule out other problems. After checking at FOUR different medical facilities in Arusha and Nairobi and being told (at all four) that the CT scanner was broken, one was finally located. Sean had already sent his passport to the American Embassy in Dar es Salaam to get extra pages added. When the need to travel to Kenya came up, that process had to be expedited. Jimmy has been in contact with the Hochdorf’s almost daily but we’re sure they even had more problems than what we heard about. The Hochdorf family hasn’t even had time to really get settled (their container full of their household supplies/furniture is still sitting in Dar es Salaam with “issues” of its own). The devil tries hard to discourage God’s Work in Africa (maybe for good reason because it is so successful) but when one perseveres, God rewards greatly. The missionaries feel fortunate to have both Dr. Smelser and his wife Nancy, and Stephanie Stafford (RN) here to give assistance/advice. Please continue your prayers for this family and for Sean’s quick recovery.

The construction work on the Ladies’ and children’s classrooms continues at the Kisongo church building. Metal bars on the windows (a must in Africa) and metal doors were installed this past week. Due to a problem with the locks, we could not get inside. So the ladies and children joined the men’s class on Acts (Ahimidiwe taught). Jimmy taught the New Converts Class and preached (to a packed auditorium) a powerful sermon on being “Imitators of God.”     

Grace, a 15-year-old friend of Abigail (whom she studies with nearly every Sunday), attended both Bible study and worship today. She has several relatives who are Christians and came with her aunt. While Grace’s father may prevent her temporarily from being baptized, he is not preventing her from learning the Truth. To God be the Glory!

Lindsey has been trying, unsuccessfully, to study again with a young lady named Jackie (18-year-old neighbor of new Christian Teresia). Some time ago, we reported that at the first study Jackie said, “Without God life is nothing” when asked why she wanted to study. Jackie was not home at the last scheduled study. She is busy with school, Girl Scouts and spends about 3-4 hours each Sunday at the Pentecostal denomination. Lindsey heard that Jackie’s mother did not want her to study (We’re supposing she is afraid she will leave the Pentecostal group as Teresia did).

You may remember a visitor named Esther (who travels to different area villages selling onions and tomatoes). She has agreed to a Bible study but couldn’t give us a day and time. Esther is supposed to call this week when she figures out her schedule.

“I’M SURPRISED YOU WOULD TREAT THE BIRTHDAY BOY LIKE THIS,” Elijah replied Saturday morning as we required him (and David) to go outside for 30 minutes due to running and screaming in the house. We celebrated Elijah’s 6th birthday yesterday in “military” style and putting candles in donuts that Heather made instead of a cake. (Speaking of Heather, she is so excited about meeting the Akins in Nairobi that we may have to tie her hands behind her back to keep her from packing her suitcase so early!)

THE ACSOP AT WORK. Last week, we reported on a story that now we have more (and perhaps different) facts about. Felix Myombe, 2007 ACSOP graduate, returned to his home congregation in Mbeya (south Tanzania) to begin working with the preacher, Edwin Tusekelege. During the 2 years Felix worked with Edward, part of his evangelistic work included teaching Bible knowledge in a local secondary school. Because the administration required a two-year teaching certificate (for him to continue teaching) he enrolled in a teachers’ college at Morogoro. While there, Felix began a campus ministry where he invited fellow members of the church (three) and others to study the bible and fellowship together. As part of this ministry, he enrolled 46 fellow students in a BCC written by Roger Dickson (missionary to South Africa). During their study of two years, the students began to understand Bible authority and realized that all religious questions should be answered strictly from the Bible.

After completing the course, Felix decided to award the 46 students a certificate in a special graduation ceremony (a week before their graduation from the teachers’ college.) Felix requested that Christopher Mwakabanje (ACSOP Director of Swahili Program) attend as the guest speaker. After the ceremony, the students stayed an hour and a half asking Bible questions. The Senior lecturer of the teacher college attended this special graduation ceremony and made this profound statement, “How can we deny what you are saying because it is coming from the bible?” Very impressed with both Felix and Christopher, he promised to allow the campus ministry to continue although Felix has graduated. 

What really struck us as amazing was the reason stated by Felix as to why he began the campus ministry. While attending an ACSOP class (Kings and Chronicles) his instructor (Christopher Mwakabanje) told the preacher students: “when you move to new place, it is easy to hide who and what you are because no one knows you. In order to keep from falling away and living in sin, live your Christianity for all to see.” When Felix moved to Morogoro to obtain his teachers’ certificate, he remembered this and knew he should do something public to help himself stay faithful. So the campus ministry came to be. As a result, 46 nonchristians have studied the Bible for 2 years. As yet, none have become Christians but we know God has promised that his word will not return unto Him void (Isa. 55:11). Please say a special prayer that these students will obey the Word they have been taught. We are thankful to God for Felix, Christopher and the ACSOP which is made possible by people like you who are willing to sacrifice and do without some luxuries and conveniences so that word can be taught in TZ and all of East Africa.  

With Love from Africa,
The Jimmy Gee family

P.S. There will be no report next week due to the trip to Nairobi to pick up the Akin family.

Posted on May 6, 2012 .