The Tanzania Weekly Update – February 10, 2008

10 02 2008

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, 

The Gee’s 





The Tanzania Weekly Update – February 3, 2008

10 02 2008

The Tanzania Weekly Update

Vol.3, No. 31

February 3, 2008 

Dear Supporters, Family and Friends,

HABARI ZA MCHANA?  In English, this is “how is the news of the afternoon?”  Ipapo (a second year student at the ACSOP) preached at the Arusha congregation on the subject of “Mourning for Sin.” He knows the Bible and is enthusiastic with the delivery of the message.  One thing I thought about in accordance with his title was that, sadly, most people are “mourning because of sin” and not “for their sin.” IF YOU CAN’T STAND THE HEAT…get out of the dala dala (15 seater public transportation bus)…and fast!  Our cook and sister in Christ, Hilda, was late coming to work (something highly unusual) a few days ago.  As she and other passengers began to smell smoke and feel the extremely hot temperature in the crowded dala dala (nearly always packed with 30 +)  the driver yelled out “fire” and pulled off the road.  Everyone piled out.  Since the driver did not have a fire extinguisher (which IS required here) or water, someone ran to get water as the passengers watched the van burn.   “WHAT IS THE NAME OF YOUR CHURCH?” was the question asked of Trina while at a restaurant and lodge (Coffee Lodge) yesterday.  She had taken our children and Race and Maddie Hochdorf to swim (modestly dressed J) and eat pizza.  Tuliza, a waitress with whom we are acquainted, plus three fellow workers said they wanted to worship with us.  Trina gladly gave them the “name” of the congregation here, directions and times of the services and said they would be very welcomed.  Trina’s curiosity made her ask Tuliza (who speaks English well) the reason for wanting to worship with us. She said that several weeks ago one of our team members gave her a little calendar with the church name but she had forgotten the name.  In the past three years, she has seen us or some of our group at the Coffee Lodge on several occasions and is familiar with us (although there are several other white-skinned groups here also).  So, we look forward to seeing them at worship and conducting a Bible study if they agree.  May the Lord bless and keep you! Because He Died for All, The Jimmy Gee family 





28 01 2008

The Tanzania Weekly Update

Vol.3, No. 30

January 27, 2008

 

Dear Supporters, Family and Friends,

            We are saddened by the news that a very faithful member of the East Side (Cleveland, TN) congregation has died very suddenly. Ken Simpson was 46 years old and died suddenly Thursday evening of a heart attack. He had just that evening received an award from the city Police Department where he held the rank of Lieutenant. Please keep his wife Linda, and their two sons Josh and Jacob, in your prayers.

 

            We had a good team meeting in Moshi yesterday. The men gathered at the home of John Hall to discuss the events of the upcoming June campaigns and Leadership seminar. Afterward we all went over to the Jensen home (who are always so very hospitable) for a very good meal where we all officially welcomed the Samford and Hochdorf families. Much good is being done and the future is very bright with the team that we have in place. Please pray as plans for this summer are being made.

 

            The ACSOP is going well. My plans are to add a picture and short biography for each student to our blog. I will do this slowly so please be patient. Also, please take note that I will not be sending many more e-mails to tell you of updates to our blog. What you will need to do is go to the blog and look for a link on the right side of the “Home” page which says “Subscribe to Gee’s in Tanzania Weblog by Email.” This will take you to a site which will allow you to sign up to receive an e-mail whenever I post an update. That way I am not flooding people’s e-mail boxes who may not want to hear about it each time that I update it. So, if you wish to stay informed about such updates, you should go to the blog and subscribe. As soon as I figure out how to do it I may also set up an RSS feed. Again, the link is: https://jandtgee.wordpress.com/ 

 

            Also, please keep Cy and Stephanie Stafford in your prayers as they travel over the next three months. They are going on a furlough as well as reporting to many congregations. 

 

            In family news Todd is having his 16th birthday on Thursday. His e-mail is geekids@bol.co.tz if you would like to drop him a note. His big birthday present is going to be delayed until August or September though. It seems for his birthday he wants to climb Mt. Meru and I am going along with him. At present I am in no shape to do so, so the trip will be later in the year to give me time to get in shape. I certainly need your prayers on that one! J Thanks for all you do to make our work possible. Without you we could not be here!

 

In Christ,

Jimmy and Family

 

“If you find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn’t lead anywhere.” Frank A. Clark





No Secrets in Africa

22 01 2008

           

            I had never met the men. I promise! But the first day that Matthew’s physical therapist came to the house, he got lost. He turned up the road on the other side of Braeburn school instead of passing the school and turning up the hill to our house. He came to one of Braeburn’s gates and asked if they knew Jimmy Gee and where he lived. They said “Yes, we know Jimmy Gee. He comes by here in the morning when he is jogging. He is a big man! Go to the bottom of the hill and turn left. His house is the one with the red roof after you pass the school.”  Now, just to set the record straight, I don’t jog, I walk, and I don’t do enough of that but I am trying. However, the point is that I had never introduced myself to these men. I just wave at them as I walk by their guard post. They somehow know my name. The fact is that there are no secrets in Africa.

 

            Along those same lines, there was a time in the ministry of Jesus when He told people not to say anything to others about who He was or what He had done for them. For our purposes here it does not matter why Jesus did this, but some people refer to this as the “Messianic Secret.” It was after His resurrection that Jesus told His apostles (and by implication every other Christian throughout time) to tell everyone the message of the Good News about the fact that He was the Messiah and had come to save mankind (Matt. 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16). It was no longer a secret. The whole world needed to know.

 

            We are seeking to tell the Good News here in East Africa. The team is doing its best to accomplish this through the ABS, the KBS, the ACSOP, seminars, tracts, BCCs, and personal evangelism. But, still, there are millions and millions who have not heard the Truth. Cy Stafford wrote in his weekly report several weeks ago that the Kensington Woods congregation needs to raise $150,000 per year to make sure that this work continues and grows at the necessary levels. If you are already helping, will you increase your support? Will you tell others of the need, whether it be congregations or individuals? Will you rise to the challenge and make sure that the Gospel does not remain a secret to those who are yet untold?





Article on Animism

20 01 2008

Animism is defined as “the belief that personal spiritual beings and impersonal spiritual forces have power over human affairs and, consequently, that human beings must discover what beings and forces are influencing them in order to determine future action and, frequently, to manipulate their power.”[1] In the Western world Animism is somewhat new (with the exception of Native Americans who have practiced it for many centuries) and growing in influence in the form of nature worship, the occult, and several other ideas or practices. But, in other parts of the world it has been around for hundreds, if not thousands, of years and takes various forms including those already named. In East Africa specifically it is found in the form of witch doctors, curses, making animal sacrifices to the spirits of departed ancestors, etc. Yes, it is ingrained in the culture. And, yes, it is still believed by many in the Church and is something to be contended with constantly. Some examples are as follows:

1.      A member of the Church was out in the bush. He looked up into the sky and yelled for his friends to run back to the village. Why? Because he has just seen a witch flying across the sky. In actuality what has he seen? A falling star. But, he has been told all of his life that this is a witch.

2.      In the book already cited, Van Rheenan tells of a Kenyan Christian by the name of Jonathan. He is cursed by a man for interfering in a dispute between this man and a neighbor. He believes the curse to have power over him and he eventually dies. His fellow Christians wonder why his faith in Christ was weak and he could not overcome the curse. This discourages them in their faith.

3.      A man stood up at the Arusha congregation last year to confess sin in his life. He had returned home and, being the oldest son, he is considered to be the one responsible for keeping the spirits of dead relatives appeased. Some calamity had befallen the family and it was assumed that a dead grandfather had caused it. No sacrifice had been made to this departed loved one. So, the Christian chose to give in to family pressure and offered a chicken over the grandfather’s grave. He knew it was wrong and asked for forgiveness.

4.      During the violence which resulted from the Kenyan elections of January 2008, much looting occurred. In one instance there was a warehouse which was broken into and looted. Many things were taken such as refrigerators and other large items. The people who owned the warehouse decided to put out the word that the items which had been stolen had been placed under a curse by a witch doctor. Much of the stolen merchandise was returned.

Stories like these could be told over and over. The challenge is to overcome these ideas with the Truth and work toward converting people to the Gospel. When we say converting, we mean totally converting them. We do not want to make what Van Rheenen calls a “christo-pagan.” We do not want to have someone think that since Christ has overcome the powers of darkness that they should become a Christian for the benefit of power over the spirits of the world. In that case, there is not one God, but many gods and the God we serve just happens to be more powerful than the rest. In addition, we want to convert them to Christ and have them understand that it’s not all about what they get out of it, but also about what they can contribute to it. They can bring glory to God and obey the Scriptures because it is the right thing to do, not because it is a way to overcome the so-called spirits, sickness, poverty, and any other problem that they have.

            To help combat these ideas a project has been undertaken by myself and several others. Most of the graduate students of the Andrew Connally School of Preaching have each written the first draft of their own chapter in a book on Animism and all of its various facets. I will be editing this book. It will prayerfully be published in the next year or so. Please pray that it is accomplished in such a way that it will have a great impact upon the people of East Africa.


[1] Gailyn Van Rheenen, “Communicating Christ in Animistic Contexts,” (Pasadena: William Carey Library, 1991). While I do not agree with all of his conclusions (nor with many other things he has written), the ideas from the book which were used in this article are sound. As always, “Eat the meat and spit out the bones.” 




The Tanzania Weekly Update – January 20, 2008

20 01 2008

The Tanzania Weekly Update

Vol.3, No. 29

January 20,2008

 

Dear Supporters, Family and Friends,

THE FIRST WEEK OF SCHOOL brought some more rain and cooler weather.  The new students at the ACSOP are settling in well and adjusting to the routine.  Our newest missionaries, Hochdorfs, are busy buying necessary appliances and furnishings for their house along with taking care of a hundred and one details. J  Our other new family, the Samfords, seem to be doing great, with Bonnie eager to prepare to help teach in the summer Ladies’ Seminar.  Our team is growing and that means that more will be accomplished in Tanzania…all to the glory of God.  We’re also glad to have 4 more children as a part of the team. It’s not only the husband and/or wife who serve as missionaries…the children make a difference and those old enough can contribute to the work also.  Our children have folded and handed out tracts, made copies of Bible material, helped bind and catalog books for the school library, colored sheets for flip-charts, taught children’s Bible classes, Lindsey actually taught a short lesson during a ladies’ seminar, Todd has preached a few times and was a junior counselor at the Future Preacher’s Camp, and the girls have helped out tremendously in the area of food preparation for guests and new missionaries.  So… never underestimate the value and capability of young people…they can do more than we think. J

  

YESTERDAY, OUR GUARD called our attention to a hilly area across from our driveway.  Many Tanzanian neighbors (men, women and children) were running toward a house that’s actually hidden from our view.  One man stopped to pull a good-sized branch from a small tree.  A thief (mwezi) had been caught at the house and people were running to beat him.   They ran over the hill and thankfully we couldn’t see or hear what all happened.  Trina said she felt sorry for the thief!  Many times the Tanzanians take the law into their own hands because many of the police are corrupt, taking a bribe from the criminal and letting them off easy.  Most likely, the Tanzanian house that was robbed did not have a fence, dogs or a guard (deterrents to thievery).

THE FAMILY OF DON WHALEY are grieving and suffering from their great loss.  Don suffered a massive stroke and then another shortly after.  He died a few days ago and the funeral was scheduled for Saturday. Please pray for them. 

LAST, it is my parent’s wedding anniversary today. James W. and Jackie Gee have been married 46 years (if I have calculated correctly). Congratulations Mom and Dad!! They have done well, even though they were saddled with having to raise me!

“THE BEST PLACE TO SUCCEED is where you are with what you have.”  Charles M. Schwab

         

In Christian Love,

The Jimmy Gee family





13 01 2008

The Tanzania Weekly Update          

Vol. 3, No. 28

January 13, 2008

Dear Supporters, Family and Friends, 

            As I am prone to do sometimes, I forget to mention some very important news. I did it again last week. The team welcomes the Samford family (Carey, Bonnie, Aubrie, and Ayden) to the work. They arrived on January 1. We are thankful for their safe travel. Also on January 1 the Jensen family received the tragic news that George’s mother had died. He left immediately for California to be with his family. He will return this week. Please pray for this good family in their time of grief.

 

            This week the Richardson family returned to the work safely after a well deserved furlough. Please thank God for their safe travel. Then, in the next few days we expect to receive the Hochdorf family to the work. Sean, Anita, Maddie, and Race are scheduled to arrive Wednesday evening. Please pray that they will travel safely.

 

            After a week’s delay the new quarter is scheduled to begin tomorrow. Things have quieted somewhat in Kenya and most of the Kenyan students have arrived. There are still two I think that need to make the journey. We also are hoping to receive two new students in a few days. One is from Malawi and the other from Zambia. It will be the first time that we have had students from these countries. Again, please pray for their safe travel and for all the students, new and returning, as they study the Scriptures and prepare to serve God as evangelists.

 

            I also ask that you keep two individuals and their families in your prayers. Helen Jones, of the East Side congregation in Cleveland, TN is in a Chattanooga hospital and I am told she is not well. In addition to being a distant relative of mine she has been a supporter of our work. Also, Don Whaley, an elder of the Union Grove congregation (where most of my family attends in Cleveland) suffered a massive stroke a few days ago. He is still in a coma and the full prognosis is not known at present. Your prayers for both Don and Helen will be appreciated.

 

            We thank each and every one of you so much for your prayers and support. The work is going well and the future is very bright. Cy Stafford and the elders of the Kensington Woods congregation have hearts that are compassionate toward those who are lost and they show it with their great leadership and deeds concerning the TZ2000 mission work. With the help of God, and with your prayers and support, the team that is on the ground here can and will do great things to His glory. May God bless you this week as you serve Him.

  

In Christ,

Jimmy, Trina, Todd, Lindsey, Abigail, Heather, Candace, Stuart, David, Elijah, and Matthew Gee