Sunday, April 12, 2009

T.I.A. (This is Africa).

We have arrived in Arusha, Tanzania after a pretty uneventful trip. The flight from Amsterdam to Kilimanjaro was mostly empty, so we each had plenty of room to spread out and even lay down (very unusually). While I still was not able to sleep myself, Lynn, Kathy and Carl all got a good nap in and I was able to rest a bit. We had no problems at the airport. All of our bags actually arrived with us and our host families were all here to meet us.

As usually though, this is Africa, that is where the term T.I.A. comes from. When we arrived at the school, where we are staying, there was no electricity. Not a particularly unexpected event in Africa, but one you are not looking forward to after 20 hours of flying. No electricity means no lights so we had to get everything in and situated by flashlight (note to self - buy stronger flashlights for next trip). No electricity also means no fans, which is not a huge problem, but it is the rainy season here and so the humidity is up. But most of all, no electricity means no warm water for showers in the morning! Oh well, T.I.A.

Sleeping was OK, if not a bit hot and muggy. During the night our bathroom flooded from a problem, so we woke up this morning to no power and half inch of water in the bathroom and some in our sleeping area. Oh well, T.I.A. After some initial mopping up and laying towels everywhere it was time for a brisk shower (no hot water) and then off to services.

I was up up to bat to teach Bible class and preach in Mosquito River. This village is about an hour's drive west of Arusha near Lake Manyara. It was so cool. Over thirty children and fifty adults (not including missionaries - not a preacher count) attended services. The singing, as always in TZ was awesome. They are such a mild mannered people, but they can raise the roof when the sing. They really do understand Eph 5:19 - they sing with the heart.

The Bible class lesson went well. I taught about Naaman from 2 Kings 5, then we had questions and answers. The sermon was going well....and then...oh yeah, did I mention it was rainy season? About half way through the sermon the sky decided to open up. We were inside and dry, but the building has a metal tin roof and, well, within a few minutes I am speaking as load as I can without screaming and my translator can't even hear me! Oh well, T.I.A. I had to stop for a few minutes and wait it out. Lynn and Kathy were both laughing and we just stopped and waited for the rain to slow. It did slow down enough for me to finish. I am hopeful that God was not commenting on the lesson by drowning me out!

We also have a new brother in Christ baptized at Usa River this morning. I didn't get his name (or I should say I was told his name, but didn't understand what they said - happens alot), but please prayer for him. The Lord knows his name.

We had lunch with the missionary family and are back at the school now (at least I am - Lynn and Kathy are working on their Ladies Day lessons for tomorrow. They are teaching a seminar in Usa River in the morning. I begin teaching James to the students in the preaching school in the morning and Logos to the missionaries tomorrow night.

We miss you all, but love the joy of the brethren in this place. They are a special people - so loving and giving. They are a blessing in our lives and being with them makes electricity and warm water pale by comparison. The opportunity to share the gospel with them, worship with them, and speak with them is a treat. I wouldn't miss this for the world, after all, T.I.A. (this is Africa).

P.S. - The internet connections are spotty right now, but I will post when I can. We love you all.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Going into all the world...well, at least Tanzania!

In just three short (very short) days, I leave for my fourth mission trip to Africa. This will be my third trip to Tanzania and I am really looking forward to it. It is my hope to blog during the trip to keep people up-to-date about what we are doing and seeing while we are there.

During our time in country, I will be teaching the book of James in the Andrew Connelly School of Preaching just outside of Arusha. We (the Bear Valley Bible Institute) have been involved with this work for over seven years and pray for its continued success in training men to preach the gospel in Tanzania and other surrounding countries. I always enjoy teaching these men. Their commitment to learn always touches me and they are a joy and blessing to get to know.

In addition to teaching the preaching students, I will also be teaching the missionary team how to use the Logos Bible Software. This is something I teach to the students in Denver in Ministry Technologies class and I am excited to help the missionaries learn to use this tool in their work. The mission field is a great place to leverage tools like this as it is difficult, if not impossible, to get traditional book libraries in place.

I will be traveling with my wife Lynn, Kathy Pollard and her son, Carl. The ladies are planning to teach a Ladies Program in USA River and help with Bible classes and evangelism in the area. This is my wife's second trip with me and Kathy has been to Tanzania a number of times in the past. They are looking forward to the trip as well and we all pray that our efforts will be productive for the Lord's Kingdom.

Please continue to pray for our safe travel and work as we strive to spread the gospel. I will keep posting as often as I can along the way.