Greetings friends and supporters of the Lord’s work in Tanzania. It seems like we just blinked and the holidays were over and we are well on our way into 2013. We hope your holiday season went well and the fresh start of the new year has brought renewed dedication to our Lord.
As of December 14th our daughter, Madeleine, is officially a high school graduate. Maddie returned to the states in July of last year to enroll in a self-paced high school in Cleburne, TX. Initially it was her plan to complete her senior year in one semester. Apparently that pace wasn’t quick enough for her and she wrapped up everything in seven weeks! Not only did she fly through the work she actually understood it and graduated salutatorian of her class. She definitely takes after her mother. We are very proud of her.
It’s about time for classes to start up again for the Andrew Connally School of Preaching. Our school year is slightly different than what we are used to in the states as the academic year begins with the calendar year.
This quarter I will be teaching How to Study the Bible / Hermeneutics. I have a number of sources I am using to get the class designed the way I want. One of the books that is turning out to be most useful is Grasping God’s Word: A Hands On Approach To Reading, Interpreting, and Applying The Bible. If you are interested in knowing or teaching How to Study the Bible pick up a copy, you won’t be disappointed. As with any book written by men, keep in mind that in all religious matters the Bible is the final authority.
New Recording Studio To Begin This Year
Of the many things we have planned for the upcoming year the one that has me most excited is our plan to construct a recording studio. In our desire to spread the gospel it doesn’t take long to realize that we are going to have a difficult time reaching the masses if our only means of converting the lost is one bible study at a time. This is one of the reasons the Tanzania Mission effort was planted in Arusha. It is a large city with a transient population that has a direct effect on much of East Africa. It is also one of the reasons the ACSOP was established; to train multiple men at one time in order to reach more people than we could ever reach on our own. In an effort to further increase our efforts we hope to soon be recording our own DVD’s. We have a number of DVD’s available that have been produced through WVBS out of Maxwell, TX. Christopher Mwakabanje, the ACSOP Swahili director, has made several trips to Texas to record material. The trips, however, are expensive and there is not enough time to produce the myriad of subject matter we need. Additionally, we have a number of other qualified men that can record material. Have you ever resonated well with one preacher but not so much with others? It’s no different here. By having many speakers we can reach more people and cover more material. Please keep this part of the work in your prayers as we go forward with this ambitious project.
Have you been to our Facebook page yet? If you want to see pictures and video of our life here in Tanzania head over to our Tanzania Missions Facebook page. Anita makes a point of posting tons of pictures, video and commentary. If there is something you would like to know about, or would like to see a picture of, send us a message and we will do our best to accommodate. If you don’t mind, while you are there go ahead and “like” us and recommend us to others you think might be interested.
Shortly before Thanksgiving I sent out a request concerning our support. We had quite a monthly deficit and we weren’t sure how we were going to deal with it. I am glad to say that God has blessed us through you as many of you responded favorably toward our need. While we are still short of our budget, the gap was closed significantly and we are breathing much, much easier. On behalf of Anita and myself we offer a heartfelt thank you. Your gracious and selfless offerings have encouraged and humbled us in a way that is unexplainable with words.
An American, a Tanzanian and a Chinese man gather for a meeting. Sounds like the beginning of a joke doesn’t it? Well, this was the scene recently when I went to town to get some quotations for repairing one of our vehicles. The conversation went something like this: (Me) “Nesta, tell him I need a new tie-rod.” (Nesta) “What’s a tie-rod?” (Me) “I’ll teach you later just translate what I’m saying.”(Nesta)”But we don’t have a Swahili word for tie-rod.”(Me)”ummmmm” (Nesta)”What shall I do” (Me) “uhhhhh” (Nesta) “anything else you want to fix while your figuring out what to do about this tie-rod?” (Me) “Now your a comedian?”(Nesta) “Maybe.” (Me) “Ask him to put it on a rack and inspect the front end, he will see the bent tie-rod.” (Nesta) Sawa.
The conversation then proceeded and lasted for quite some time. English, Swahili, Mandarin Chinese. All complex languages to learn, all necessary for me to get some simple mechanic work done. I’ll know soon how well the translation went. The two-page quote was written in Chinese but couldn’t be translated to Swahili or English as the Chinese shop owner only knows how to speak Swahili, not write it.
It’s times like these that I wish the miraculous gift of speaking and translating other languages was still available.
While the scene I described above has no eternal ramifications, the work done by the Tanzania Missions team certainly does. We face translation issues on a regular basis and we are most grateful that we have godly brethren who know how to speak in the native Swahili and in English. As we enter this new year we solicit your prayers as we try to overcome the many obstacles of effectively communicating God’s word to the millions of souls in East Africa. Too, it is our prayer that you will overcome the hurdles that impede your efforts of reaching those in your community. We hope that regardless of the physical location that 2013 will be a year that all of us can bring some to Christ, edify the body, and glorify our God.
Take care and God bless,
Sean, Anita, Maddie, Mom & Dad