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Saturday, October 13, 2012
From the time that I was a child, Africa has had a very special place in my heart. My family lived in Cameroon for three years when I was very young, and I have fond memories of the people and the culture. Then when I was 13 years old, my family had plans to become involved with work in Tanzania. Unfortunately, these plans fell through because of a health crisis in our family, and we were never able to return. In our college years, a group from Freed-Hardeman went on a campaign to Tanzania to help with the fledgling TZ2000 mission effort. Intrigued, Tiffany and I joined the campaign and were thrilled with the work taking place. At the time, we were not ready to make the leap into long-term missions, but a seed of passion for missions was planted in my own soul, to grow quietly over the next ten years. In 2010, Tiffany and I had the opportunity to return to Tanzania for another campaign – this time with our daughter, Abby. Still enthralled with the work, I knew that I wanted to live there one day. After much prayer and thought, Tiffany and I agreed that it was the right choice for our family. I talked with the elders at Lehman Avenue about the great things happening in Tanzania, and they received it eagerly. They saw the great potential and opportunities that could come along with being involved in a venture like this. So together we began to formulate a plan. Read all about that plan, and our journey on this blog.
Monday, October 1, 2012
· Where are they going? Arusha, Tanzania
o Geography and Population
§ Tanzania is located in the region of East Africa, bordering the Indian Ocean, between Kenya and Mozambique. For comparison’s sake, Tanzania is slightly larger than twice the size of California.
§ Tanzania has a population of about 40,000,000. Nearly a quarter of that population is located in the North-Central Region of Tanzania where the Gaines family will be living. This area is a major agricultural region located around the base of Mt. Kilimanjaro and Mt. Meru, only 4 hours south of Nairobi, Kenya. It is convenient to the Kilimanjaro International Airport, making air travel into and out of the region feasible.
§ The major languages are Swahili and English. Swahili is the language of the common people while the more educated speak English. Official government proceedings are conducted in English.
§ Classes at the Andrew Connally School of Preaching are taught in English, but translators are used when preaching to the local congregations or conducting personal Bible studies.
§ Tanzania's population has been estimated to consist of roughly of 62% “Christian”, 35% Muslim, and 3% followers of indigenous religious groups. The Christian population is mostly composed of Roman Catholics, Orthodox, Protestants (especially Lutherans), Pentecostals, Seventh-day Adventists, Mormons, and Jehovah's Witnesses.
· What will they be doing?
o Training local evangelists at the Andrew Connally School of Preaching
§ The campus has a library, classrooms, kitchen, offices, dormitories (for up to 48 students), guest quarters, and a large covered patio area for group gatherings. Due to a partnership with the Bear Valley Bible Institute in Denver, CO, graduates of ACSOP receive a Bachelors degree in Bible. A Masters program is also available.
§ Men come from all over East Africa to receive this education. So far, ACSOP has trained just over 100 evangelists. These men return back to their home country or region to teach or preach what they have learned in this school. The graduates have been partly responsible for the planting of more than 150 new churches, not only in Tanzania, but also in the Congo, Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, and Kenya. Because of this school the Gospel is not only being taken throughout Tanzania, but into all of East Africa.
o Working to support and strengthen the local congregations through teaching, preaching, personal evangelism, event and program organization and participation, etc. (including Tanzania Christian Camp and Safari for Souls campaigns).
§ In 2012 alone, Safari for Souls campaigns were partially responsible for more than 90 souls being added to the Church.
· How long will they be there?
o 3 years
§ The local missionaries recommend a 3 year commitment.
§ Due to the transition and adjustments of the first year, the best work tends to happen in the 2nd and 3rd years.
§ A significant time commitment offers more “bang for the buck” relative to the initial investment in the work.
o Continued involvement:
§ Upon returning to the U.S., Daniel hopes to take annual trips back to Tanzania to teach short courses at ACSOP or to lead Safari for Souls campaigns that would involve other Christians from the area.
· What is Lehman’s involvement?
o Lehman Avenue will be the Sponsoring Congregation for this effort. This means Lehman will:
§ Oversee the work of the Gaines family
§ Support the work with prayers and encouragement
§ Make financial contributions to the work
§ Serve as the collection point for funds raised for the work
§ Commit to bring the Gaines family back to the U.S. in the event that the mission had to be prematurely terminated.
· How much will it cost?
§ Work Fund - $3,800-4,300
§ Personal Salary - $3,550
o One-Time Expenses: (vehicle, 20 ft. shipping container, appliances, travel) $49,000-71,000
· Why Tanzania?
o The ground is very fertile.
§ In 1998, there were 36 Christians in northern Tanzania. By 2009, there were 3,000 Christians meeting regularly. The locals are hungry for the Gospel and receptive to its teachings. They just need more people willing and able to teach them.
o There is already a structured work in place.
§ We do not have to start from scratch here. There are good facilities in place, and long-term missionaries already in country to provide expertise and support. Everything is in place for the Gaines family to be able to get started with effective work immediately.
o There is comfort in familiarity.
§ Daniel and Tiffany have already visited the area twice during campaigns. Their daughter, Abby, accompanied them on the second trip. Additionally, Daniel lived in Cameroon, Africa for three years as a child. This has given the family some level of familiarity with the area, culture, and the work that can be done there.
· What will it take to get set up and started?
o A house will have to be found and rented. Rent is usually paid a year in advance. The Gaines family will stay with the Staffords until they can find a suitable house. Utilities will have to be activated. Security personnel and house help will have to be hired.
o Some furniture and personal items will be shipped. The process of shipping and clearing customs can take several weeks.
o Appliances will need to be purchased in country because of differences in electrical systems.
o A car will need to be purchased in country.
· What is their exit plan?
o Monthly contributors are asked to be willing to continue their contributions for 90 days after the Gaines family returns to the U.S., or until a new job has been secured, whichever comes first.
o Some money will be set aside each month for a repatriation fund to help with transitioning back to the U.S.
o Remaining repatriation needs will be provided by selling the vehicle.
· What will they do when they get back?
o While no hard commitments have been made, it is the mutual hope of the Lehman Avenue elders and the Gaines family that they will be able to continue to work together in some capacity after this mission trip.
· What will happen to the Bible School Program at Lehman?
o Daniel will provide suitable information to whomever the elders appoint to facilitate the seamless continuation of the Bible School Program. The current curriculum plan is expected to remain intact going forward.
· Family Issues
o What will everyday life be like for the family?
§ Everyday life will be more difficult in many ways. Tiffany will have do more things “the hard way”, such as boiling water before use for cooking and washing dishes, cooking foods mostly from scratch, and of course everyday chores of laundry and cleaning. Tiffany will also be homeschooling Abby for the 6th through 8th grades. There are several other missionary families in Arusha that will provide a social atmosphere for Abby while in TZ. Abby also hopes to continue her piano lessons at a local music academy. Additionally, Tiffany will be caring for Levi and Josiah during the day and providing preschool instruction for them as well as playing and naps.
§ Daniel will be teaching at the ACSOP, engaging in regular study and lesson preparation in his office, conducting home Bible studies with others, and attending to other daily missions’ duties.
o What are the pros and cons for having children in the mission field?
§ Some cons include:
- Lack of “easy” foods
- Missing american customs and holidays
- Inability to see extended family on a regular basis
- Readjusting to a new lifestyle and culture
§ Some pros include:
- Avoiding the negatives of American culture during a formative age in Abby’s life (modesty, drinking, drugs, etc.)
- Teaching the children the difference in needs and wants through an everyday life that includes seeing true poverty
- Showing the children that God comes first in life wherever they are and that they should want to teach everyone about His word
- The children will also have the advantage of living in a beautiful part of the world in which God created amazing landscapes and animals.
- Learning a new language, Swahili
- Being exposed to different world views and cultures, and understanding what it is like to be a minority
o What will they do about healthcare?
§ There is a clinic in northern Tanzania that is run by an American doctor from Florence, AL who is a member of the church.
§ For serious problems, quality healthcare can be found by making the 4 hour drive to Nairobi, Kenya.
· How can I help?
o One-time contributions to help with initial costs
o Monthly contributions to supply for the on-going work