Dear friends and supports of the work in Tanzania, we hope you find this current newsletter uplifting and that you will seize upon it as a tool to encourage you to greater service in the kingdom. Without further delay let’s bring you up to speed on God’s work in Tanzania.
East Africa Gospel Meeting
Last month Cy Stafford and I had the privilege to further our recruiting efforts for the next English class intake at the Andrew Connally School of Preaching. We traveled a total of 1400 miles (7000 American miles*) and were able to enjoy the beauty of the Tanzania countryside.
Our first stop was Babati, Tanzania where we met with a group of 10 preachers and interested members. We spent some time discussing their needs, concerns and hopes for the future. Cy went on to discuss A.S.C.O.P. and handed out a few applications that could be taken back to prospective students. We said our goodbyes and hit the road to make it to Singida by nightfall.
The trip was planned in order to coincide with the East Africa Gospel Meeting. The East Africa Gospel Meeting is an annual event that is completely planned and coordinated by churches of Christ in the East African community. The location rotates each year and this year’s meeting was in Mwanza, Tanzania. From Singida it was a full day’s journey but we finally arrived early that evening. Mwanza is a beautiful city located on the Southern shore of Lake Victoria.
With preachers and faithful brethren attending from all over East Africa we were grateful for the opportunity to speak about A.S.C.O.P. and to encourage those in attendance to take back applications for those men who have the desire to become Gospel preachers. We addressed the crowd and handed out a number of prospective student packets. Keep our recruiting efforts in your prayers as East Africa is always in need of qualified men to preach Christ to this overpopulated region.
The E.A.G.M. was a well attended success for the cause of Christ. In addition to local members there were 38 men from 25 different congregations present. Brethren came from Kenya, throughout Tanzania, Congo, and Uganda. In the end a tremendous amount of fellowship was had among the brethren and they received much needed encouragement. Even better, 8 souls were added to the kingdom and God was glorified through the teaching and preaching of His word.
After departing Mwanza we headed for the town of Kisumu located in Kenya. It was here that we were to meet up with Mike Reese. Mike had come with a group of men to help in setting up the new Kenya School of Preaching. One of our A.S.C.O.P. graduates, Charles Ogutu, will be the first director. He is a very capable and dedicated man and we are grateful he is willing to step up and lead this large undertaking.
A.C.S.O.P. Student Recruiting
In addition to the previous trip, we have scheduled another recruiting effort that we intend to start this next week. We will be traveling to Dar es Salaam, Morogoro, and Mbeya. The trip will be a long one coming in at a hair under 1500 miles. This time Cy Stafford, Jimmy Gee, Elly Martin and myself will be making the trip. Please pray for its success and that we can have safe passageway.
The Minor Prophets Make A Major Impression
I have just finished teaching Minor Prophets 1 (Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Nahum, and Jonah) at the A.S.C.O.P. What a thrilling study. Having never taught the Minor Prophets I saw the class as an opportunity for personal growth and I am sure glad I did. Aside from the primary message of their preaching to Israel and Judah it is amazing how relevant their preaching is for today. Let me encourage you to take some time and study the minor prophets and if you really want to challenge yourself and grow exponentially, teach a class on the minor prophets. God’s word is rich and the neglected study of the minor prophets are nuggets of gold waiting for you to mine and add to your treasure chest of scripture knowledge.
I am glad (yea, relieved) to report that all of my students passed the class and can proceed to Minor Prophets 2 which I will be teaching next quarter. After finishing their final, we had all the students up for lunch. I have included some pictures of our meal together. I find it’s good to feed the students after thrashing them for a quarter. It’s like a peace offering that keeps me in their good graces.
One of the tragedies in our world is the number of children that are abandoned by parents who don’t care what happens to their own flesh and blood. I wish it were in the power of one person to wipe the slate clean and provide every orphan with the love and care they need. We can’t fix every broken home but we can help some along our journey toward eternity. Meet Arnold. Arnold lives in a traditional mud hut with his grandmother and their cow. Yes, the cow does come in from time-to-time. Arnold’s parents abandoned him when he was very young. We have located his father but he doesn’t want anything to do with Arnold. No one knows where his mother is. Arnold’s grandmother is very old and has been sick for a long time. We don’t expect her to live more than another 6-12 months. Arnold has been the lackey for those that share the family property (distant aunt’s, uncles, etc). Arnold has had it rough. No one wants to take care of him and he has suffered more days without food than you can imagine. I first took notice of Arnold on my daily drive down the hill. When I drive down the road I roll down my window and all the kids come running to slap me high fives as I go by. Arnold seemed to always have some kind of comedy routine when I approached and it intrigued me. One sign of intelligence is the use of humor and comedy and Arnold didn’t lack for either. After some investigating we found out about him and his tragic situation. How do you laugh and cut up under such horrible circumstances? At any rate, we wanted to see if we could offer him some real help, help that might give him some hope for the future. I could spend a considerable amount of time explaining everything but suffice it to say that we now have Arnold enrolled in a private school and he is doing well. The effort has been a collaborative one involving my parents, Nester and Esther (our head guard), and Anita and me. Nester and Esther are feeding Arnold each night and the school provides breakfast and lunch. Arnold comes to our house to get water so he can bathe and be presentable for school. He will be reporting to me bringing his grades to show how he is progressing and doing a few chores around the house so we can get to know him better. Keep Arnold in your prayers. Although we have opened some doors for him his life is very difficult.
Want to help Arnold? Drop us a line and we’ll get you what you need to know.
Tanzania Leadership Conference
For quite a while now our team has been working on the upcoming Tanzania Leadership Conference. I was tasked with scheduling, topics, etc. and have had a good time organizing the effort. We have 21 different speakers coming from 3 different countries. A large portion of the staff at the Bear Valley Bible Institute of Denver will be present to deliver a number of the lessons. What a blessing. This year’s theme is: NATIONAL LEADERSHIP: SHAPING A NATION FOR SERVICE TO GOD, Lessons on national leadership from 1&2 Samuel and 1&2 Kings. With 33 different lessons for men and women we are hoping this year’s conference will bring glory to God and a mountain of edification for our brethren.
As this report comes to a close we want each of you to know how much you are appreciated. It is only through your selflessness that a work like this can go forward. Your sacrifice doesn’t go unnoticed by us, and more importantly, by our heavenly Father.
Until next time, take care and God bless.
To see Sean’s report, complete with pictures, click here.