Sunday, July 19, 2015

Farming Project

We currently have 3 dairy cows and 2 beef cows.

     As we look toward the future of this great work, we want to do all that we can to increase the sustainability of the work.  We are increasingly handing over more and more responsibilities to the local brethren and actively working to reduce their dependency on the missionaries.  As a part of that, we are also working to cut costs at the school and increase the amount that it can support itself.  

     Towards that end, we are improving and expanding the farming/gardening project at the school. We spent a portion of last week hosting and meeting with some interested parties from the US that are going to help us with this by supplying funding and expertise.  The future in this area is very promising.  

     Expanding our food production will help the school in two ways.  First, it reduces the cost of feeding the students and staff.  Secondly, whatever can be produced above the school's food-needs can be sold to further offset expenses.  In other words, once the operation is in full-swing, it will both sustain itself and contribute to the fiscal health of the school.

     One area of food production is livestock.  Currently, the school has a medium-sized chicken house supporting a little over 100 broilers.  We'd like to drastically expand that to include as many as 1,000 layers and 1,000 broilers.  We're also exploring the possibility of adding pigs to the project.  They would be highly profitable in the market here.  Plus that would give us a place for the prodigal to work until they repent.  (Just kidding!)  We could also marginally increase our cattle stock, but our grounds cannot support more than a few more cows.  

Current chicken house

     The other area of production is garden crops.  This is the most immediate area of focus.  Our guys have been building these raised, drip-irrigation beds.  Netting is placed around crops like tomatoes that are particularly vulnerable to pests.  At this point, we have about 25 of these beds prepared, but we having funding now to go ahead and cover a full acre.

     Another great advantage of this project is the training that it provides to the students.  The Lord's church is growing so rapidly in East Africa, that we can't graduate guys fast enough to keep up with the tremendous demand for trained evangelists.  However, most of these needs are at very small congregations that can't afford to support a man full-time.  As our students learn these gardening methods, they gain a skill that will allow them to feed their families while they are serving at a local congregation.  

    As you can see, these efforts represent a positive step forward in the area of self-sustainability of both the school and the students entering the work force.  Join with me in praying for God's continued blessings on these efforts.

Josiah Update:  He continues to have episodes periodically, and we are anxiously awaiting his next round of testing on August 3.  Thanks to some very kind friends, I'm going to have the opportunity to make a short visit to the US soon.  I'll arrive just in time for Levi's birthday (my youngest son).  I'll be able to be there for Josiah's hospital stay.  As a bonus, I'll have the opportunity to attend Polishing the Pulpit before rushing back to teach my 3rd quarter class at ACSOP.  It will have been a full 2 months since I've seen my wife and kids, so I'm very eager and appreciative of the opportunity to visit.
     By the way, if I wasn't able to get to your congregation on my last furlough, and you would like for me to visit with you next month, then please contact me and I'll be glad to try to work you into the schedule.  

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Report from Michael Losotwa

I reported to you recently that the Arusha congregation was conducting a campaign.  This was a completely indigenous effort run totally by the local brethren.  I'm very happy to report that it has resulted in four souls putting on Christ through baptism.  The local leadership continues to step up and are growing nicely.  I have great hope for the long-term future of the church here even after the missionaries pull back.  Permanent good is being accomplished through the work here, and I am very proud to be a part of this team.

Now, this week I would like to share with you the monthly report from one of our faculty members of the Andrew Connally School of Preaching:

I would like to send to you my sincere greetings from ACSOP. It’s my pleasure to let you know how things have been going on around here in this other part of the world. For sure we have a lot of things done here that are giving glory to God. On June the 1st the ACSOP was closed for break and every student went home. That was followed with pre and main evangelism campaigns in many congregations in around the Arusha city leading many lost souls to Christ. 
Those campaigns took more than two weeks. Thereafter my companion by name Koimere Ndoosywho is a preacher in Monduli Juu and an ACSOP master’s program student, and I traveled to Kajiado County. This area is located in southern Kenya about 75 kilometers from Nemanga town which is at the border between Tanzania and Kenya. Its dwellers are members of the Maasai tribe. Our main reason of going there was to conduct a Bible seminar for five days. The main theme was “Bring the Church Back to Christ.” 
The existence of the church there has a very disappointing story. According to the old natives of that area it seems that the faithful church of Christ was the first one to introduce Christianity in that area in the early 1980’s. Some missionaries from USA visited there on that time and evangelized almost the whole county and established more than eighteen congregations. Those missionaries worked there up to early 1990’s and their contract was done. 
Seven years later another group of missionaries came to that area with some new teaching with the new name of the church which is “Christianity Community Church.” They came with the teachings that “contextualize the Bible with your community.” They turned the church upside down, introducing a new system of worship including instrumental music in the worship plus a special group of singers to entertain the worshipers in the worship. 
They also dismissed the regular taking of the Lord’s Supper, put women to leadership of the church where the men were present, and ordained one pastor in each congregation. They also ordained one man to be an overseer over all churches in all the area. Surely it’s so disappointing that all the eighteen former congregations were fallen in that apostasy.The encouraging thing is that three years ago there was an older man named Kisakui Oloum who started to reorganize the church, and teach the truth in Leboo village in that area.  That was where we conducted our seminar for five days. Whereby four men out of ten who attended were leaders of that denomination and they admitted that they were on the wrong way and they needed to come back to the truth. 
We encouraged Kisakui Oulum’s son, Nathan, who is an ACSOP first year student, to keep on evangelizing, preaching and strengthening the brethren in that area.   Please let’s remember these fellows in our daily prayers. 
With love from the Andrew Connally School of Preaching,

Losotwa Michael
Dean of Academics, Andrew Connally School of Preaching

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Appreciating Our Team

     Proverbs 3:27 says, "Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in the power of your hand to do so."  With that in mind, some of the men and women who form the local backbone of the work at the Andrew Connally School of Preaching were honored with an appreciation dinner last week.  We took them to the Arusha Coffee Lodge for a nice dinner, then we presented them with some small gifts to express our gratitude to them.  The work couldn't take place without men and women like this.  Their efforts are critical to the present, as well as to the future of the work.  Join with me in thanking God for them, and praying that He blesses them. 

     The highlight of the evening was a surprise guest appearance by Sean Hochdorf.  (Sean now works with the mission from the US side, but he lived in Tanzania for several years. )  Everyone was delighted to see him.

     Today, I introduced the Spiritual Disciplines seminar to the Manyire congregation.  This was the site of a recent campaign, so it was good to have the chance to check up on them.  I took along Ayubu (Job) with me.  Ayubu is the preacher at the Ilkiurei congregation.  I'm training him to be able to take this set of lessons to other congregations himself.  Next month he should be prepared to start the seminar at Moshi without me.  The ladies of the congregation prepared some delicious rice and stew for us after church, capping off a very enjoyable visit.

Josiah Update:  After his initial EEG, the neurologist has decided to do a 72-hour EEG and a sedated MRI.  These tests are scheduled to begin on August 3.  We appreciate your prayers and support.  We especially want to thank those of you who have sent additional contributions.  We'll keep you informed as information becomes available.