Two Reports From Arusha...

Report 10-14-13

To Our Co-Laborers,

The Annual Leadership Conference has come to a close...boasting of attendees from seven African countries. A huge debt of gratitude goes to the following people for all the time and effort put forth to make it a great success: Christopher Mwakabanje, Ahimidiwe Kimaro, Mike Benson, Paulina Martin (and the staff at the ACSOP), Nathan and Jessica McVeigh, Stephanie Stafford and all the speakers and translators. Most of the pictures will be posted on our Facebook page. One of the best lessons was preached by Mike Benson, (Hattiesburg, MS) on the subject of "Self-Control."

One evening when Trina was leaving ACSOP, a neighborhood "bibi' (about 60 years old) carrying a small bag, asked for a ride to the "kona" (corner), a short way past our house. When the side door was opened, the woman immediately climbed into Matthew's car seat (the van was empty and all other seats were available). This isn't the first time passengers have done this...there is some attraction to that car seat! Trina persuaded her to sit in the normal seat.

Upon reaching the corner where the dirt road meets the paved one, the bibi refused to get out. Raising her voice and forcefully speaking her traditional Maasai language, she was hitting Trina on the shoulder telling her to go to the main highway. After enlisting the help of a bystander, Trina repeatedly told the older woman that she (Trina) needed to get back to her house and that this was "the end of the road" so to speak (the woman finally complied).  Most people here are humble, kind and thankful. If she had asked nicely, instead of hollering and hitting, she might have received her request (however, she originally lied saying that she only needed to go to the corner).  In hindsight, Trina should have gone the "second mile."  

"The Lord's Supper" was the lesson topic on Wednesday evening when Mike Benson spoke at the White Rose congregation. Interestingly, when we arrived, there was a goat standing at the gate obviously wanting to go in. After waiting for someone to bring the key, we drove inside the gate but not before the goat (plus her two kids) came in first! There must be a sermon illustration in this story!

Unfortunately, the times of the services at White Rose coincide with the Pentecostal denomination nearby. In America, this would be of no consequence. In Africa, worship assemblies are allowed to broadcast their service over a loud-speaker. The Lord's church endures extremely loud music for the first 20 minutes and then about 40 minutes of shouting "Hallelujah" and a few other favorite words.  It was suggested that the White Rose congregation change their time to five o'clock instead of four o'clock. After about 10 minutes of the instrumental music blaring, Elijah said, "I wish they would turn that boom box down!"         

The local government informed us that the water would be off for three days (meaning no water would be flowing from the government line into our sim tanks). Thankfully, the shut-off was only for two days and our supply was enough that we didn't have to buy a truck of water (and still got the laundry done!)

On Tuesday, Trina took the children to a local recreational place (TGT) to play at the park and swim. Because it is against TGT rules to bring food and drink (except on Mondays when their restaurant is closed), at lunchtime we drove off of their property near a large field to eat tuna fish and peanut butter sandwiches (separate sandwiches mind you...we may have lived in Africa about 10 years but we're not mixing tuna fish and peanut butter together yet!) After a few minutes of enjoying our lunch, an older Maasai man came up to ask for a ride somewhere. When he found out we couldn't transport him, he asked for an orange he saw.

When a Maasai lady and a school boy saw that the old man received food from us they approached. Trina first thought the school boy and the woman were mother and son (but that wouldn't make sense because the boy was in a school uniform and most Maasai boys don't attend school). The woman asked for "mkate" (bread), and Lindsey handed her a partial loaf for her and the boy. However, when the boy grabbed it and began to run, the woman caught him by the shoulder and sternly scolded him. Feeling like a referee, Trina explained that they each could have "nusu" (half). She took out her part and left but the boy stayed right by our van stuffing one piece after another into his mouth. Knowing after 4 pieces of bread he would need some water, we gave him a bottle. This incident gives you a little window into the life here (not to "blow our horn" about giving a little bread and water to someone).     

We are looking forward to having the Daniel Gaines family as a part of our team! Due to arrive on November 4th, will be Daniel, his wife Tiffany, and children: Abigail, Josiah and Levi. Our confidence is high that they will adjust just fine since Tiffany said she likes to "ride loose in the saddle." Flexibility is essential to living life in Tanzania. (However, on the bumpy roads, she might want to hang on for dear life.) 

Brethren, the hardest thing missionaries must do is ask for funds to carry on the work. One can approach it as a necessary evil to have to solicit funds OR view it as giving others an opportunity to help. The problem is that the Prado has over 110,000 miles on it ...that's 110,000 miles on AFRICAN roads. Therefore, the entire suspension is shot. Also, while we were away on furlough, the car was broke into and the side panels (where the locks are located) were stolen. It wasn't repaired properly and is causing problems with locking the vehicle. Obviously, this makes it easier for someone to steal more parts from inside the car or steal the vehicle. It's also physically dangerous for us to drive without being able to lock the doors. Once while driving slowly at night (due to backed up traffic) someone opened our door and was feverishly reaching around trying to find a purse or phone to steal. There was no way for Trina to close the door because the man was between her and the door. 

One of the highest expenses of living in Tanzania is vehicle upkeep and repair (including frequent flat tires). The total needed for car repair is $5,200. If anyone could help us out, we would be highly appreciative of your generosity and kindness.

We hope you will have a blessed week. Thank you for caring for souls in Tanzania and for us as we labor here. 

With Love from Africa,
The Jimmy Gee family

To see the report with pictures, please click here.

Report 10-21-13

Dear Family, Friends and Supporters,

Today was "Friends Day" at the Njiro congregation in Arusha. Nathan McVeigh was asked to speak on "Stewardship" during Bible study and Jimmy spoke on "What is Truth?" Emmanuel Peter, an ACSOP masters' graduate, has been the located preacher in Njiro for several years now.        

We appreciated Mike Benson for his tireless effort to strengthen the African brethren. In addition to teaching at the Leadership Conference and at the intense one-week short course, he taught at every service he was here for (and taught mid-week Bible study twice in one week due to two congregations meeting on different evenings). 

Please pray for Mike's safe return as he is "in the air" now. Also pray for the family of Ahimidiwe. After saving for many years to build their own house, they were able to move in a while back. They were robbed at 2 am a few days ago. A guard for the general area was beat up and the door kicked in. Ahimidiwe's wife, Ludevica, was struck with an iron rod but thankfully her injuries were not serious.

Thank you for joining hands with us to help others come to know Christ. We appreciate each and every one of you!

With Love from Africa,

The Jimmy Gee family

To see pictures from this report, please go here.

Posted on October 20, 2013 .