The Tanzania Weekly Update
Vol.4, No. 1
February 10, 2008
Dear Supporters, Family and Friends,
Yes, if you are paying attention to the numbers at the top of this page, we have started Volume No. 4 of this weekly report. It hardly seems possible that on Friday, February 8, we began our fourth year in Tanzania. It hardly seems possible. With only two years left on our five-year commitment, the question is: will we extend our stay in Tanzania? Time will tell but we are certainly leaning heavily in that direction.
The last three years have been very rewarding and much good has been done by the team. We hope that many of you receive their reports also or read their blogs. Many souls have been taught the Gospel. Many men have graduated from the ACSOP, ABS, and KBS, thus multiplying the number of servants in the field. Many congregations have been planted, all a result of many people working together, not least of which is you, our supporters. Thank you!!
On that note, the ACSOP is going well with about three weeks left in this quarter. As far as my classes are concerned, there has been much good discussion in the Matthew and Mark class resulting in us only being on chapter 8 of Matthew. So, I have a lot of ground to cover and need to speed up. In Greek III, we are on chapter 21 of Summers’ original grammar, studying the last of three chapters on Third Declension nouns. Later this week we will study the Present Participles which will really bring the text alive. I often illustrate the ability to read Greek in this way: knowing Greek or Hebrew is certainly not required for a person’s salvation, but it’s like the difference between watching television in black and white and watching it in color. The details of grammar make the text come alive, bringing out things that are not always brought out in the English translations. If you do not have time to learn Greek, I suggest you buy a translation by Kenneth Wuest entitled “The New Testament: An Expanded Translation.” (While I have certainly not checked every word of this translation, what I have read is very good. So, caveat emptor, which is Latin for ‘let the buyer beware.”)
This past week a prospective student came from Kenya asking for an application to enter the preaching school and desiring to start classes immediately, although we were into the fourth week of classes. He kept insisting that I give him a chance and he could “catch up,” not understanding all of the paperwork needed, both for our records and for the Tanzanian government. If a student comes from any other nation than Tanzania we must apply to the government for a residence/work permit (a process which takes about a month and requires a birth certificate, passport, resume, school certificates/diplomas, and several passport size pictures). The birth certificate and passport take time to get (“no hurry in Africa”). If a foreign student is found on campus (as a student) without the resident permit, it could cause a great deal of trouble.
As for the family, we are doing well with the normal happenings of life with five boys and four girls. This past week has been the week for accidents for Stuart. Once while playing with the other children, he got a black eye. A short while later, Elijah threw a bottle hitting him under the other eye. Then he and David were playing on Friday and Stuart’s chin connected with David’s head and his teeth went into the tongue resulting in a nasty cut. Dr. Danny Smelser was kind enough to make a house-call and pronounce him okay, i.e. no stitches needed. After a liquid diet for a day and several doses of hydrogen peroxide and water, his tongue appears to be healing properly.
Our best to everyone! I have good news to tell: Trina’s mother is planning to visit us for the first time in Tanzania, coming sometime this year. It will be her first time out of the country (maybe first time out of the southern U.S. J) and certainly her first time on an airplane (but hopefully not her last). Now that we’ve put this in writing, she can’t back out! We’re looking forward to your visit, Rita.
In Christian Love,