I’ve just returned from Tanzania, where I had a great time teaching three seminars. I taught and Pastor Dickson, from Arusha, did the interpreting. Dickson is a great guy who really loves the Lord, and I enjoyed being with him. Our first seminar was in Moshi, a decent sized town by African standards. The second was in Maji Ya Chai (meaning ‘water like tea’), and the third was in Arusha, the second largest town in Tanzania.
We had a group of twenty pastors and church leaders in Moshi. They were really an enthusiastic group with a lot of good questions. They’re looking forward to getting the Phase II Bible Studies translated into Swahili so they can use it with their people. We’re going to begin that right away. Dickson knows a man who will translate for $3/page, and we’re gathering funds to translate all of the Bible Studies. I met with the man while we were in Arusha, and he seems to be a quality guy who will do a good job.
We also had a group of twenty three at the seminar in Maji Ya Chai. Most of the men in the seminars are young, in the beginning stages of their ministries. The seminars open their eyes to helping their people grow in Christ-like character and they also draw the pastors into a tightly knit group with the same goals.
The seminar in Arusha was held at Dickson’s church. There were twenty six pastors in this seminar and on Tuesday one of the men who had been in my seminar in ‘97 stood up and told the pastors the teaching had made a huge impact on his life and his ministry during these last 15 years. He encouraged them to listen carefully, take good notes, and put it into practice.
Two of our staff men have died during the past two years and I was able to meet with their wives to encourage them and find out what their needs are.
I’ll be home for a few weeks, to gather my strength, then the next trip is in May. Thanks so much for your prayers and financial support, which is making a huge difference in these pastors lives.
As soon as I finished teaching the second seminar we hopped in a taxi for the twenty minute ride to my hotel just outside of Arusha. We got a place for me to stay and after dinner I crashed. Teaching six days in a row after flying 24 hours took the stuffing out of me. Dickson had me scheduled to teach in his church the next day, so I got up early to go over my message, then headed to the church. I was glad that after lunch at church I was able to go back to the room and rest for a bit.
I’ve had a lot of ugali (thick grits) and beef gravy while I’ve been here. It’s really good, but a little messy. You pull off part of the ugali and form it into a ball with a hole partially though it, then you dip it into the gravy and eat it. The pastors and I had a good laugh at Betty the first time she tried eating gravy with her hands. She had it dripping halfway to her elbow, but she got the hang of it really fast.
The pastors in the third seminar have had more schooling than the other two groups, so I didn’t have to do as much explaining and we were able to go a little faster. On the second day one of the men stood up and told the pastors he had been in my seminar in ’97 and how much it has meant in his life and ministry these past 15 years. He encouraged the pastors to listen carefully and take good notes, then to make sure they put it into practice.
The seminars are over, now I will be meeting with some of the men who were in my previous seminars and the man who will translate our material into Swahili. Thanks for praying me through this trip. I’ll hop on a plane on Saturday and arrive home on Sunday. Ken
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Please Continue to Pray for WDA, Ken and especially the people who have received training in Disciple Building. WDA is having an impact Worldwide through our staff and leaders around the world.
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.