Enjoy this little update on our family’s life and work in Geita.
Family and Life
- Baylor is running and climbing like a little monkey. She talks about as well as one, too — mostly using hand gestures, grunting, and shrieking.
- We’re driving our new truck, and it is such a great blessing to us.
- We’re still trying to sell our old truck, and are going to be forced this month to sell it at a loss (before leaving for furlough). Anyone wanting to help cover the difference, send us an email.
- March was used primarily as a team month.
- We evaluated our time in Geita thus far, and set goals for the next year.
- We ended the month with a team dynamics workshop with Dale and Vicki Hawley, sent by/through Missions Resource Network. Very productive.
- In early June, Eddie and Carol Hendrix, representing Three Chopt Church (in Richmond, Virginia, one of our sponsoring congregations) visited, encouraging us much (and bearing gifts from other church members).
- We love that we have a membership to the gold mine “village.” We take Baylor swimming and to the playground almost every Saturday for family day.
- We can’t wait to return to the states to visit our family and friends. We fly into Atlanta on August 1, and look forward to seeing you all. In a couple of days, I’ll post more information about our furlough calendar and planned whereabouts during our time in the states.
Evangelism and Discipleship
- We have begun spending more time with some of the existing Churches of Christ in our area (within a 2 1/2 hour driving radius of Geita). These churches came to be (some directly and many indirectly) through the Mwanza work. It’s really encouraging to see Tanzanians planting new churches, and it’s humbling to be invited to help with spiritual maturation in these congregations.
- There are currently 10 of these churches on our side of the Lake, and one of my goals was to visit with each of these churches before furlough. I have been successful in doing so. Mostly I’ve been teaching discipleship in the churches and servant leadership among leaders. My intention is to equip Christians in these churches for disciple-making and church-planting in their areas. Eventually I will be teaching the Discovery Bible Study method.
- Our first visit to the church at Kasilo village was for their Easter service. Calvin had been working with this new congregation and was asked to attend at Easter for several baptisms, but the Groens were leaving the country for their furlough and couldn’t make it. So Christie and I were blessed to attend. I preached on Easter and baptism, and we celebrated 11 baptisms with their church that day. It was especially encouraging to me that the Tanzanians performed all the baptisms, and didn’t “defer” to the white missionary.
- This Sunday Carson and I will be visiting the Nyamisundo church (which neighbors Kasilo) for another group of baptisms.
- I’m feeling more comfortable teaching in Swahili,
though my sermons must be typed out nearly word-for-word. Lately, I’ve been able to stray from the notes, but I still need them in my hands. I feel good about the last couple of times I’ve preached, though I look forward to a time when it won’t take 10 hours to write a sermon.I no longer need notes for preaching in Swahili. I had some strange kind of massive breakthrough on this overnight trip to visit five churches, and now am much more confident in my teaching and preaching. God be praised.
Development and Service
- Christie’s English class is continuing to go well, and will come to a close next week. She’ll begin a new class for new students after our furlough.
- The demonstration farm will be on Neema House property, though that land is not actually in hand. This means it will be next December before we unveil that area as an educational farm.
- Speaking of Neema House lands, while Calvin has been in the states I’ve been the contact for local government concerning that property and our obtaining of it. This hasn’t been a great deal of work, but it does take a great deal of patience. There’s a lot of red tape and runaround on basically everything, and the officials aren’t necessarily easy to get in contact with, either. Lots of unanswered calls, visits to empty offices, and waiting. I do not envy Calvin in this work.
- Christie and I have realized that our 2011 budget — which was created in October of 2010 — does not accurately reflect our needs. For this reason we’ll be reworking a budget for 2012 which we will share with our sponsors (and anyone else who should care to see it) during furlough.
- We are unsure about our finances during furlough this year. We’ve written each of our sponsoring churches to ask if they might help us with a few of our needs while we are home. Most everywhere we’re going we’ll be staying with family and friends, so the bulk of money will be in travel costs (we’re borrowing a car from a friend). We will also try to buy some new (and used) clothes while home, and one of our churches is checking prices on a refurbished computer for us. There are two expenses for which we’ve not received any moneys and likely cannot pay for ourselves:
- Tropical Agriculture Development Course, ECHO — Fort Myers, Florida. The class registration fee is $545, my plane ticket will cost around $300, and then there will be minimal costs for lodging and food.
- Global Missions Conference — Dallas, Texas. The registration cost is $75.
- If you’re interested in helping us with either of these conferences, please let us know.
If you made it this far, thank you so much for reading. Please pray that our last 3 1/2 weeks in Tanzania will be productive (and that time will pass quickly — I feel a bit like a school-age kid during the last week of school before summer break). We can’t wait to be home to see all of you.