Last Sunday we went and worshipped with the brethren at Mererani, which is about a 1 1/2 hour drive from Arusha. We had a wonderful time there and were uplifted by all the Christians we met.
We picked up Allen Mkita, who would be my translator for the service, at 8.00 a.m. and headed out of town to the East. The first part of the journey was good and fast, going down Mt. Meru and heading out to the Kilimanjaro International Airport. Just at the gates to the airport we turned off and left the good road. We then drove on a rough and rattly road that has a sign proudly saying that Tanzanite One looks after this road.
Mererani is the only place in the world where you can find Tanzanite and Tanzanite One is the South African company that does most of the mining. It seems they make a huge amount of money out of the area, but put little back into it.
We made it into a dusty, dirty town that would not look out out of place in an old western movie. It really has a pioneering feel to it. We were able to refresh ourselves at the aptly named Kangaroo Hotel (remember that Anne and I are Australians) with a cup of tea and met the preacher from Mererani, Fred, there.
We then headed out to the church building. As we got out of the truck our ears were greeted by the sweet sound of Africans singing gospel songs. As at most of the congregations, the brethren sing hymns as they wait for services to start. As they finished their song we were greeted warmly.
We had a great service and I was asked to teach and officiate over the Lord's table. I taught on following the pattern - how God has always given his people patterns to follow, from Noah, to Moses and how Jesus taught us we must worship in spirit and truth (Jn 4:24). We too have to follow the pattern given to us in the New Testament.
After services we were told during announcements that there was a lady there requesting baptism. Everyone was very happy! I was asked if I could help them out, of course I was more than happy to do so.
One of the difficulties they have in Mererani is the lack of water. None of the brethren have any transport and the nearest river is a long way away. I was happy to drive there for them. We had a lot of people who wanted to go, but the truck can only hold so many people, so some were disappointed.
The river is about 20 minutes drive out of town and although, when we got there, we were told there was no water in it, we found a pool that had sufficient water. The river is used for irrigation and sometimes the water is needed elsewhere.
When we got down to the river Fred conducted the baptism. I was deeply moved by the quiet and respectful manner in which he officiated over this act. Our new sister in Christ, Elizabeth, was warmly welcomed into the body of Christ by the brethren. After a prayer we made our way back to town.
We left Mererani very happy with the day and stopped for a picnic lunch under a shady tree. There were 3 little boys sitting there and we gave them some bread to eat and a soda to drink. They told us that they we sheep and goat herders and following their pointing fingers we could pick out their charges in the distance. A little later a Masai man came up, we gave him some bread too and had a very interesting conversation with him also (Allen doing the translating of course).
So, that was our trip to Mererani. The Lord's work is growing here in Tanzania, please pray for it to continue.
P.S. you can see some photos of the trip on the "Photos" page about.