Sunday, February 23, 2014

Happenings of the Week

Class Continues

The second week into the new school year the students and I are growing more comfortable with each other.  The language barrier is a perpetual challenge as even the English speaking students struggle a little with my southern accent.  Those who speak English still do so with heavy Swahili pronunciations.  For example, a Tanzanian friend recently expressed that he thought that "bird", "bed", and "beard" were all pronounced the same.  I can't imagine how laughable my efforts at Swahili must seem!  But we are making progress with each session.  I look forward to continuing to walk with these men along their path to becoming preachers.  I hope that God has great things in store for them.


We enjoyed the privilege of hosting the missionaries' weekly devo at our house again this week.  One of the visiting campaigners, Nathan Bailey, was gracious enough to provide the lesson for us continuing this month's theme of Love.

Njiro Update

We continued to do Bible studies this week in the Njiro Chini area where a new church has been planted.  The baby congregation has had it's first baptism and is gaining more visitors each week.  Gasper Maurice, one of the Andrew Connally School of Preaching graduates from this past November, has been working tirelessly in the new church plant by setting up, conducting, and translating for Bible studies.  He is a great example of what we hope for from our graduates, and I expect him to continue serving well as the evangelist for the new church.
Gasper Maurice

Eva teaching Sunday

Part of the goal of a missionary is to replace themselves.  With that in mind, Tiffany has been working with a couple of the ladies at Ilkuirei to teach them how to teach children's Bible class.  Eva has been translating for Tiffany, thereby observing how she teaches.  Next Sunday, Eva is planning to teach by herself for the first time.  We are excited about this step for her, and for the future of the congregation's children's class.  

Tiffany and Eva preparing for class

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Back to School!

     We are looking forward to this being an incredibly busy, but wonderful week. The first quarter of the year begins this week at the Andrew Connally School of Preaching.  That means we will be welcoming in a new class of Swahili speaking students, and advancing our existing class of English speakers to second year status.  I can't wait to get to know the new students.  I'll spend twelve hours in the classroom this week teaching "How We Got the Bible" and "The Intertestamental Period".  Both are fascinating and challenging studies.

     The new church plant in Njiro Chini had their very first worship service today.  It is exciting to see a church being born!  We will continue to help there as opportunity permits throughout the month.

     A couple of weeks ago, Tiffany started her own blog entitled "Choosing Gladness".  Tiffany is a talented writer and I always enjoy her perspective on things.  Her post last week has been particularly popular and a number of people have expressed that it was encouraging to them. You can read it here.

     This month is our turn to host in our home the weekly devotionals for missionaries.  With Valentine's Day right around the corner we have chosen to focus on love for the entire month.  We began our study looking at 1 Corinthians 13 and reminding ourselves from verse 3 that any sacrifice we might make or work we might do is useless without love as our motivation.  We also observed that love is an "eternal" virtue.  When we get to heaven we won't need hope because our hope will have been realized.  We won't need faith because faith is the evidence of things unseen, and then we will see God face to face.  Yet love will still remain - love for the Lord and for one another.

     Team leader, Cy Stafford, shares the following story that is worth repeating:
 Last week a fellow came up to the Arusha Bible School introducing himself as; “Reverend Nicolaus Shayo”. He inquired as to what the school was doing and how might “his congregation” be involved. After it was explained that anyone could come, tuition free, and study the Bible four days a week for two years at no cost to them, he said: “I want my whole congregation to join.” He took applications for each member and some have already joined the new intake.
It is so rewarding to see the ways that God is constantly at work here!  Thank you so much for partnering in this work with your prayers, encouragment, and support!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Building Classrooms, Churches, and Preachers' Wives

This Classroom Exists Because of Your Support
Clockwise: 1) Emmanuel stands beside his finished product. 2)The partition before it was painted 3) The new classroom that was created 4) Children enjoying class in their new classroom
     A couple of weeks ago we let you know about some needs that the Ilkuirei congregation had, and your response was resounding.  You came through with more than we asked for to build a partition and install windows!  The congregation has been touched by your generosity and has asked me to convey to you their sincere gratitude.  It is wonderful to see brethren reaching across oceans to help and connect with one another.

     One of the members, Emmanuel, is a fundi (carpenter) and was able to provide the labor in building the partition.  You can see his handiwork in the pictures above.  The members have taken pride in the addition and are very excited.  Work should begin on the windows this week.  Thanks to your kindness, I expect there to be enough money left over to possibly provide curtains which would further dim the outside noise.  We will be sure to keep you up to date on the progress being made.

A Church is About to be Born

Daniel and a group of evangelists and church leaders from the congregations in Arusha

     As I have mentioned before, the Arusha congregations are working together to plant a new congregation in the Njiro Chini neighborhood.  On Saturday, I joined a group of evangelists and local church leaders to survey the area and make plans for the month.  Each congregation is "adopting" a day of the week for the whole month of February to go door to door in this area.  Ilkuirei's day is Fridays.  A new church being planted by the purposeful, combined efforts of other congregations rather than because of splits and discord - what a concept!  God and His people never fail to amaze.  

Ladies at Work

     Last month all of the preachers' wives in the area got together for fellowship and Bible study.  They were edified so much that they decided to make it a monthly event.  This month's meeting was Saturday.  Anita Hochdorf taught an exegetical study.  Agnes, one of the local women and one of the best cooks in town, taught the other ladies how to make communion bread (no Matzos crackers here!).  Then Tiffany put her teacher skills to work doing a "make and take" session to improve the very limited Bible class tools that each congregation has.  This month she helped them make a poster to teach the names and divisions of the books of the Bible (in Swahili of course).  You can read Jessica McVeigh's excellent article about the day here.    

     Thank you for your continued interest and support.  It is thrilling to be partnered with you and God in working for the kingdom.