As soon as I finished teaching the first seminar we hopped on a bus and traveled to Maji Ya Chai. That means ‘Water Like Tea’ in Swahili. It’s a good name because the water is as brown as tea and the peoples’ teeth are stained the same color. You can always tell if someone is from this area, or if there is a stranger in their midst.
I spent quite a bit of time talking to Greggory MFinanga, a layman who attended the seminar. Greggory is a really huge guy who is in a wheelchair that’s like a tricycle. The pedals are up at shoulder height and he propels himself around using his arms (which are as big as my thighs). It would be hard enough to get around on paved roads, I don’t know how he does it in all this dirt.
Greggory was excited to find out that he has been discipling young men without even knowing it! He has a couple of small groups that meet regularly and he said they are growing in Christ-like character. Greggory can read English, so I gave him a CD with our Phase II Bible Studies on it. He is looking forward to teaching the Bible Studies and putting all his other material together in an organized way.
Charles’ pastors’ group has been a fun group to teach. I could spend the rest of my life in this area. They are so needy and eager to learn and they have really caught the vision. The problem is to get our Phase II Bible Studies translated into Swahili. Dickson knows a man who can do the translating for just $3 a page. I hope to meet with him when we’re in Arusha for the next seminar. Be praying with me that we can get the finances to help these pastors out.
I arrived in Tanzania at 9:00 on Sunday evening and made the 1-hour trip to Moshi, a town near the airport. Every time I’m in Moshi, it reminds me of a wild west town. I was stuck here a couple of years ago when the sun was just beginning to set and the buses had stopped running. I finally found a hotel with one long hall, with the only toilet at the end of the hall. The electricity went off as soon as I checked in, but I had my trusty flashlight along. My stomach was upset because I had eaten some VERY rare goat with a Masai chieftain and I kept running back and forth down the hall and back with my toilet paper in one hand and the flashlight in the other! That’s the memory of Moshi that sticks with me.
Although the road between the airport and town is considered a highway, it’s very narrow and several times I had to close my eyes so I didn’t see what was happening. Dickson took me to a hotel and we checked in so we could both get some sleep before the seminar began on Monday morning. I was really pleased with the way Dickson set up the seminar. There were 20 pastors who attended, which was a good number for that area. They were very attentive and a real joy to teach. They’re excited about starting to disciple their people.
Please be praying for us as we move to teach for Charles Sengasu and his pastors’ group. Charles was in the group I lived with and taught in Lushoto for six weeks, in ’94. Charles is a pastor who works discipling other pastors. He’s a really faithful man. Pray also for my strength. I’ll be teaching three seminars in a row without a day off.