Thursday, March 29, 2012

Two more baptisms

What a wonderful 2 days we have had here. Studies in both Nkoaranga and Makamira and baptism from each study.  What a joy to serve the Lord! What a joy to see the lost the lost come to Christ. We rejoice over the soul that have been saved.

I hope you enjoy the photos of the two baptisms.


Friday, March 23, 2012

Video - Safari Singida

Here is a litle video of our tip to Singida, I hope you enjoy it.


The Singida Safari.

 In Swahili, the language of Tanzania, the word “safari” means a journey. Whenever you go somewhere in Tanzania you are going on a safari. 

While in English the word evokes high adventure and embarking on a journey into the wilderness, that is not strictly the case. However, in my experience any “safari” in Tanzania is full of adventure.

Last weekend we travelled down to Singida, a town about 350 km south west of Arusha. It was a great trip and we enjoyed worshiping with the brethren there very much.

We left on Friday morning at about 8.00 am, Anne, Katy and myself. We drove through town and out into the open country. This is the road to the famous National parks where the big game is. Serengeti, Lake Manyara, Tarangeri. Not that we had time to visit them but we passed a lot of the safari vehicles that were ferrying tourists to these places.

The road was pretty good, but then we hit a 60km stretch where they were remaking the road and it got really rough, it ended up taking us 2 hours just to do this part. We made it ok though and after a picnic lunch we arrived in Singida town.

Samuel was waiting for us at the hotel and after getting settled in and a quick clean up to remove the road grime we headed out to his mother’s village to see some of the brethren. Samuel has started two congregations in this area, one in the village about 45 minutes drive out of town and another in the town itself.  We had a good time with his family and then headed back to the hotel to rest up for a busy Saturday.

It was fairly clear to all of us that Samuel was not well, so I decided that the first order of business in the morning was to get him to a doctor and get some medication into him.  We were just turning into the hospital, having slowed down and indicated to turn right and the truck was hit by a motor cycle (they are called piki pikis here because of the noise they make). Passengers hit my fender with his knee, fortunately we were right outside the hospital so he was taken in there while I waited for the police to come along.  We were met eventually by 2 very nice officers who suggested if I was to help the patient a little, out of compassion, with his medical bills then everything would work out fine.  Of course I was more than willing to assist the poor guy – he was not in the wrong, so after the obligatory haggling we came up with a reasonable amount that all were happy with.

The scene of the accident

After having to wait so long to get this done, the line at the hospital was so long that Samuel did not want to go, he wanted us to get to visit the brethren.  Anne was enrolled to try and work out what might be wrong with him and together with a local chemist they worked out what he might need. It must have worked because he started looking a lot better in a couple of hours.

We headed out to the village in the afternoon and we had a great study there until late. The quality of the questions was great and I was very encouraged by their desire to learn the biblical truths. Arrangements we made for Sunday and we said good bye to them all until the morning.
After our study

We had a wonderful service in the village. The brethren meet in a school room which is light and roomy. I was pleased with the number of people who attended and their participation in each part of the worship. Samuel got me to teach and lead around the Lord’s table, which of course I was very happy to do. After the service they wanted us to come with them to Samuel’s mother’s house where they presented Anne with a present of a pumpkin – Samuel had found out how much we like pumpkins and how many things Anne can do with them.
The brethren on Sunday

Unfortunately we had to leave right away in order to get back to Arusha as Anne and I had to travel to Nairobi the next day. So we said warm farewells and then hit the road. We all had a lovely weekend with a group of wonderful Christians.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The road to Niarobi

 Things have been very busy here the last few weeks and as a result I have not been doing enough Jottings on the blog. Hopefully I will be able to catch up in the next couple of day, even if it means that there will be a few extra entries. Stick with me and I hope you enjoy it.

We are currently in Nairobi, the capital of the country of Kenya. We had to come up here on Monday for Anne to have an operation at the Aga Khan University hospital here. Unfortunately there are really not very good hospitals in Tanzania, so we needed to travel.

We left Arusha on Monday morning after a bit of running around. I had to take the truck back to the mechanic who had “repaired” it last week. Almost as soon as I had picked it up a warning light came on that after a lot of searching proved to be a water sensor in the fuel filter (supposed to have been replace). After a mechanic got an eye full of diesel, he showed me how to drain the filter and re-prime it. Dirty fuel here is a big problem and know how to do this will be a big help.

Anyway, back to the trip. Anne insisted that we stop for a coffee on the way out of town as we did not need to be in Nairobi at any specific time, so we had a leisurely cappuccino at our favourite cafĂ© (she wanted me to relax).  We were then ready to head off. Both of us were enjoying the drive and the sunny day when a thought stuck me. “I’ve not got the original registration papers” – the certified copies I carry would not get us over the border.  We had to turn back home and get them, adding another hour to our 5 hour trip.

I’ll explain a boarder crossing here in Africa.  Namunga is the boarder town we go through – there is no missing the crossing as trucks are lined up before it for several hundred metres. The first thing to do is fill out the paper work to leave the country. Once that is done you have to present yourself at the counter to have your finger prints taken – some times they also take your photos (this is called “Biometrics” here). Once you have your passport stamped then you have to arrange to take the car out of the country – this is where the original paper work comes in. What you are actually doing it temporarily exporting the vehicle (they keep your papers so you can’t sell it over the border). More forms have to be filled out and signed and the registration papers have to be handed over. Then you are good to go. You head out to “no mans land” (a lot more trucks lined up here).

Over on the Kenyan side you have to fill out forms to enter the country – it’s funny these forms are just about exactly the same as you filled out to leave Tanzania. Then comes the tricky bit – you have to purchase visa. Even after all the times we have been across this border we still don’t know what we need.  Some times they want you to buy a transit visa for $20, other times they refuse this and say you have to buy a single entry visa for $50, other times they say the single entry visa will allow you to enter multiple times without payment. Then again, other times you have to pay $20 for them to stamp your old single entry visa. It is all very confusing to say the least!

Anyway, we made it through our border crossing without too many problems and not loosing too much hair and we were on our way again.

Driving in East Africa is always a challenge. Even on a main highway such as we were on with a good surface. You never know what is over the brow of the ridge or around the next corner. It might be a broken down truck or a stray donkey. It might be a whole heard of cattle and goats blocking the road. It might just be a crazy driver who appears to not know what side of the road he should be on. There is one thing to be said for driving here – you don’t get drowsy, you can’t!

Because of the delay in leaving we hit Nairobi right on rush hour (thought I honestly think rush hour here is between 6 am and midnight!). “Six lanes of traffic, three lanes moving slow!” Except all 6 lanes were stopped most of the time! It took us 2 hours to get through this traffic jam. Drivers here appear to be crazy! Now, don’t get me wrong, there are traffic rules here in East Africa! It is just the rules the drivers follow are not those that the traffic police have set. These rules have something to do with only the bravest will succeeded.  If you hesitate, all is lost! It does help to have a large 4X4 what has an extra 2 inch lift in the suspension!

The main thing we were aiming for was the restful guest house and dinner that was waiting for us.  We finally made it into the drive of the Mennonite guest house at about 7.30 p.m. and dinner was still being served. We checked in and were about to go into dinner when we were told that we couldn’t get dinner – we had not pre-booked it.  Well, the hunter instinct in me came to the front. I was not going to be beaten. I was going to have a good meal, no matter what. So… I took Anne down to an Italian bistro we had passed down the road and had a wonderful dinner there.
The Mennonite Guesthouse, Nairobi

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Sin is crouching at the door

Nothing has really changed much in this old world. Men
are still men, women are still the same. And sin is still sin.

While some of our activities might be a little different people are still the same. It doesn't matter if they live in Tanzania, Australia or the U.S.A. And time doesn't matter either. We, who are living today are no different to those who have lived before us.

God spoke to Cain and said, "If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it." (Genesis 4:7 NASB)

Just as sin was crouching at the door for Cain, so to it is for us. We need to realise it is there and be careful to do as Cain was told. We need to "do well".

We had a very good lesson last Sunday given by brother Wilson Maturo. He taught us the dangers of sin and the remedy of sin.

While we are the ones responsible for our sins, Jesus has redeemed us and paid the price we rightly should pay. We receive that most wonderful of gifts after having believed, repented, confessed the wonderful name of Christ and being baptised into His death for the forgiveness of sins. We are saved. Our sins are washed away. We have been bought with the price of the precious blood of Jesus. Thank you Lord Jesus!

But don't forget, "sin is crouching at the door". Just because we are forgiven. That doesn't mean that we are free of the temptation of sin. Peter writes, "Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour." (1 Peter 5:8 NASB). Don't let him devour you!

We need to understand that the Devil wants us. He wants us to sin, he wants us to join him in his wicked domain. He would love to have another Christian to add to his long role call. Don't let him have you!

James, in his epistle gives us a short verse that outlines how we defeat the devil. He writes, "Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you." (James 4:7 NASB). Short but sweet.

First of all we have to "submit therefore to God". This is just what God told Cain; it is what he has told all His children from the beginning of time. We have to do as He says.

Secondly we have to "resist the devil". That means saying "no" to him and his various temptations. Jesus showed us His example of them when he was tempted in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11). When we say no to the devil he has no power over us. In fact, in the words of James, "he will flee from you." When we resist the devil, then he has no power over us. If, however, we stop and look at his temptation, maybe enjoy it "just a little bit" - if we open the door to sin a little bit , WATCH OUT! "Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour." (1 Peter 5:8 NASB)

Heaven is our home, Christ is our saviour. Don't let sin in the door!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Sunday Worship at Makamira

One of the great joys of living and working here in Tanzania is being able to travel to and worship with other brethren in other congregations.

This week we went out of town and worshipped with the good brethren at Makamira.  It takes us about half an hour to get there from our house. We travel east of town through some small villages, passing banana and coffee fields. When we get to the village of Makamira we head north and up the mountain. This area is dominated by a wonderful moutain, Mount Meru, the twin of Mount Kilimanjaro. Like Kilimanjaro it was a volcano, but it has been quiet for many years.

A little ways up the road we turn off to a small track and make our way to the Makamira church building. The brethren there are very pleased with this building, as you can see it is not finished yet, but they are able to get out of the elements and it is their own.

Adolph Noah (the preacher's son) standing outside the building before services.
Kanisa La Kristo - The Church of Christ
We arrived about half an hour before services started and before many of the members arrived.  After a little while, Noah Msuya, the preacher at Makamira, started us singing. This is a common thing to do before services, singing a few of the favourite songs, learning new ones. I really enjoy this time as it gives me a chance to learn more of the Swahili songs.

We had a very good service with good singing and thoughtful prayers. The brethren had asked me to teach and I taught on "The Salt of the Earth, The Light of the World" - on how we have to make a difference. Christianity is an active religion and we have to do what the Bible says. All the brethren gave very good attention to what I was saying and seemed to appreciate my words.

The brethren pose for a photo after services.
After services we headed off to Msuya's house where we enjoyed a soda and had a great conversations - they really are wonderful people. We then went off to Msuya's parents house to see his father. He was not able to attend services - he had a very bad stroke several years ago that has left him crippled and without the use of speach. While we were there we were pressed to stay for lunch and we once again enjoyed their hospitality.
Noah Msuya's parents
We had such a good day and love those brethren at Makamira.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Early Sunday morning

One of the little routines we have here is, when we can, to stop for a coffee before church on Sunday.

The Africafe is a great place to sit, relax and gather our thoughts before worshipping our God.

We used to find it was a big rush to get to church and we were often a bit flustered. Now, it is often a bit rushed to be out in time to get coffee, but then we can relax and contemplate the wonderful things we are going to do in worship.

We have really enjoyed this in the last few weeks as we have had Katy with us to enjoy the moment.

-- Post From My iPhone