Thursday, August 30, 2012

To Nairobi

Anne an I left early this morning to travel to Nairobi to meet Delmer Lee and Mike Criswell. These good brothers are going to be with us for the next 3 weeks.

We had a great trip and made good time until we hit Nairobi, the capital of Kenya. Even there the traffic was not too bad, but we had to head off the highway to get some bibles at the Bible Society. It took us about an hour and a half in stopped trafic to make it about 1 km. It would have been much easier to walk. But we made it, got the Bibles and made it out of the city centre.

Note the guy sitting in the lounge chair while waiting in traffic.

A little lunch and we felt a bit better. But still Anne collapsed on the bed at Hampton House Guest House for a sleep for 3 hours!

We are now waiting for out take away to be delivered (nothing like this happens in Arusha).

I will keep you in the loop if I have wifi.


- Post From My iPhone

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Mbeya video

Here is a video of our recent trip to Mbeya.

Brother Mwakasungula and the brethren there treated us so good and there was a lot of wonderful work done there.

I hope you enjoy this video - the singing is wonderful

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Dakawa Teacher's Training College

Yesterday we headed out of Mbeya. I has been a very busy 10 days we spent there, but very good. We had so many studies I can’t count them, and we were well received wherever we went. Two brothers were added to the Lord’s church and after their baptisms they attended every service, which encourages me greatly for their future in the church (the church here meets twice on Sundays and on Wednesdays and Friday evenings).

So, we headed out, but out but our work in this area was not done yet.  Samuel Mwakasugula had asked me if I would be willing to visit and study with some students at a college near to Morogoro. Of course I said I would be very happy to do that. Arrangements were made and we planned to visit them last night when we arrived from Mbeya. We were also taking Felix, who had graduated from the college last year and knew these students very well.

We arrived in Morogoro at about 6.30 p.m., after a long and adventuraous drive. It took us 11 hours to get here and we were not short of entertainment, what with road works and rolled over trucks.

Because of the lack of time we headed straight out to the college here. I have learnt that distances are rather flexible here, so I was not at all surprised to find a college “near Morogoro” was in fact 1 hour’s drive away. We got there at 7.30 and could hear them gathered together singing. Felix was in almost constant phone contact with one or the other of them. Unfortunately, the administration would not let us see the student, so we had to go back to town. We arrived at the hotel very tired and were happy to be able to lie down.

Today we headed back to the college, this time were were going to see the Principal and get permission from him. We first met the Vice Principal, a very nice man called Mr. Msange. He then took us through to the principal’s office where we met Mr. Elasto Nyagwe, who made us feel very welcome and even apologised for last night.

We were finally ready to meet the students.  It seems that while Felix was at the college he baptised 18 students. Some, like Felix, have graduated and moved to other areas, but there still remains 9 students who regularly meet for worship on Sunday. They tell me that many of the other students visit as well.

The study was in one of the class rooms, and when we got there they were all ready to meet us. We were made to feel very welcome and showed a great deal of respect. I was very please with how they all listened to to the  gospel preached.

I taught on how Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God. How He built the church - His church and He only build one church. And I also taught how to obey the gospel.  There followed some questions, but not as many as I expected. College students here are very much different from what I am used to. They are expected to just sit and listen to the teacher and not interact with him.

Samuel had some tracks and booklet he wanted to hand out and then we had a song and finished our study with a prayer. It was after that the they all started to relax. We were taking some photos and they started gathering around me and asking many things. I even got an invitation to come the their graduation next year.

I am really looking forward to meeting with these wonderful young people once again. Until today I did not know that there was a congregation meeting here.  I will try to come and worship with them one Lord's day, if I get the chance.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

A Wonderful Day Doing the Lord's Work in Mbeya

There are days here in this work that are just down right frunstrating. There are other days that you say, "Yes, that was a good day." And still other days when you say - "What a fantastic day!"

Monday was a fantastic day! The Lord blessed us richly. We had arranged to to meet up to do some house to house studies at 11.00 a.m. and so I headed out from the Karibuni Centre is good time. It only took about 10 minutes to drive to Bro. Samuel's house and we were ready for work. Bro. Samuel was not there, he had a call from some other brethren, but he left me in the able hands of Brother Larent and Brother Isaiah. We were going to study with a man from the Moravian church.

We had a very good study there on the One Church. This man was a good student of the Bible and he told us he could really see what the Bible was saying and that Jesus did build only one church. The denominations came later. He told us he would have to think on these things and welcomed us back.

We then had some studies on the road side. The brothers with me were handing out tracts and talking to people. This lead to several other studies.

After a nice lunch that Bro. Samuel's wife had left for us we headed out again, this time with Bro. Samuel (having finished his work with the other brothers). We were to study with 2 men whom Samuel had been studying with before. They had studied about baptism and now they wanted to study about the church.  We studied about the church being the Body and Christ being the head. Again we had a good study and after these men heard that we are baptised into the one body (1 Cor 12:13) they wanted to think about things for a while. I was about to leave, but they then said they NEEDED to be baptised.

So it was off to the river. Samuel baptised both of these new brothers and we praised God together.

Please pray for these young brothers.

Lord's Day at Mbeya

Our first Lord's day at Mbeya was really nice. We were told that services started at 10.00 a.m., so Anne and I were there about 20 minutes early (We had been show where the building was the day beforehand).  As is often the case here, many of the brethren were not there at start time, but Bro. Samuel started anyway, I believe he had an extra long song service to give the late comers time.

The singing here is some of the best we have heard in Tanzania (and all the singing is good). They use different song books to which Anne and I are used to, so we were not used to many of the songs. It was very uplifting though.

The whole service was very orderly and respectful. All listened actively to my lesson and the Lord's Supper was conducted with the respect it truly deserves. When we had finsished Brother Samuel told me he was disappointed that more had not come - some of the newest members were not present. But we had a wonderful service anyway.

After morning services Bro. Samuel told me they had an arrangement to go to the Children's Prison to teach there and they wanted me to come. So, after dropping Anne off at the Karibuni Centre we headed off.

We reached the gates that were half open without any sings or guards around. We then drove up through a dusty field to the prison building. Still there was no one around. I followed the brothers right through the first door into to prison - it was standing open. We then reached the second door which was latched with a bit of wire. Samuel was having trouble opening it, so one of the boys inside opened it for him.  Still there was not guard, in fact no security at all!

We were greeted very respectfully by the boys. Here a younger person will say to an older person "Shikamo". The elder will respond with "Marahaba" Literally this translates to "I kiss your feet" and the response is "delightful". While it sounds a but funny and it take a bit of getting used to, it is good to see the respect that is shown here.

We were shown to the office where we were to sign in - everyone was very nice. An older man looked in charge and there was a very motherly woman in the background. While we were signing in the boys quietly moved into the class room next door. They sat respectful and listen well.  The translator, Felix then asked the boys if they knew any hymns. They raised their hands and Felix chose one at a time. They sang one line of the song and the rest of the boys would then sing along. They did such a good job. In all they sang 4 songs and clearly enjoyed every minute of it. There were boys there ranging from 10 years to 18 and all were actively taking part.

It was then my turn to teach. On seeing the garden out side I decided to teach them about the parable of the sower. They all knew about farming, sowing seeds and different types of soils, so they were sitting very interested. After about 30 minutes I stopped and asked for questions. What they really wanted to know was what was Australia like. "Was there children prisons there?", "Did children live on the streets?"

While I don't know their stories or their crimes, I know they were just boys who had left their mothers behind. My heart went out to them.

The congregation in Mbeya has evening services on the Lord's day - none of the other congregations I work with here do.  They meet at 4.00 p.m. and Samuel had invited a man we had studied with on Saturday - he is a follower of William Branham. So Samuel had asked me to teach on prophesy. Again the service went very well. The visitors were respectfully received and everything was performed in a goodly way.

It is a real privilege to work with such Christians.
Felix and Lorent

On the road to Mbeya Part 2

We had a good rest over night and awoke refreshed and ready to tackle another day on the road. Mama Pierina (Dimitra) gave us a good breakfast and we were away.

Again it was a long drive from Morogogoro to Mbeya, but the country we were passing through was breathtaking. We passed through open plains, National Parks, mountains and step gorges. There certainly was no tome to get board!

We passed through the Mikumi National Park and we were really not sure what to expect. Having been in Serengeti and all the major parks in the north of the country we were used to paying steep fees to enter. Here at Mikumi there were no fees, just slow down signs.  We really didn't want to drive fast at all because we were seeing a lot of game. Thomson's gazelles, Cape Buffalos, Giraffes and lot of monkey.  It was a really nice drive.

Another highlight of the trip was passing through the Scenic Valley of the Baobab Trees. All over the country we have see these strange yet majestic tress. But for about 20 kms these wonderful trees lined the road and covered the hills.  We were following the river up through the valley and all around us were these up-side-down trees.

After leaving the town of Iringa we hit the road works. We cant really complain because we LOVE the new roads they are putting in all over the country, but it is hard to be patient when you have a long way to travel and you are stopped in a long line of traffic for nearly an hour.

While we were stopped a couple of French people came up to the truck and asked us for a lift. They were heading for a prehistoric site just out of Iringa and asked is if we would like to join them. It sounded wonderful, but we had no time. A couple of days ago I received an email from them thanking us for the lift and highly recommending visiting the site.

We knew we were running out of time to get to Mbeya before dark - I have already stated why I don't like driving at night in Africa. So we drove hard the rest of the way. Lunch was a quick pit spot. The F1 mechanics would have been pleased with the way Anne leapt out of the truck and quickly made the sandwiches. She then drove while I ate mine and as soon as I had finished we had another driver's change and Anne was able to eat her lunch.

We finally arrived in Mbeya just as it was getting dark. The Karibuni Centre, were we are staying was on my GPS (I have an African GPS map that users add too, including me). The road however that it was telling us to go down, was not there. After a while we found a goat track hidden behind about 20 large semis. It was good to stop and rest for a while - even if the restaurant was not open. We were both so tired we were happy with a little water and a scone to share that was left over from lunch.

Monday, August 6, 2012

On the Road to Mbeya

I am writing this entry on Monday morning sitting at the Karibuni Centre in Mbeya, south Tanzania.  Anne and I headed out here from Arusha very early on last Thursday morning and things have been so busy that until now I have not been able to write in the blog. So I will now go back to the trip.

Mbeya is about 1200 kms (750 miles) south of Aurusha, but the trip took us 2 full days of hard driving. Here in Tanzania the roads are not that good and they go through every town and village so you have to slow down just as you are getting some steam up. That is particularly true with our truck - it sometimes feels we should be pedalling to get past some of the trucks!

We started out just after 6 a.m., missing the daily traffic jam in Arusha. However, here in Africa there are a lot of people out on the road at that time. You have to be very careful with pedestrians, cyclists and motorbike riders. Some times it seems that they have a death wish. The road are not very wide here and when people walk on the side of the road and a tuck is coming the other way, it gets a bit hairy!

The other problem with leaving early in the morning is the long distance busses. These drive at breakneck speeds, passing on blind corners and often forcing cars off the road. The only thing to do when you see one coming towards you on your side of the road is to give way. I have a belief that you ALWAYS give way to the biggest vehicle.

The first large town you get to when you leave Arusha is Moshi. It sits at the foot of Mt. Kilimanjaro and we desided to have a break there. We know of a cafe not far from the highway, and while it is not great coffee, its not too bad.  Both Anne and I were suffereing from nasty colds so a cup of the hot brew went down wonderfully!

It was interesting sitting on the verandah watching early morning African life pass by. Across the road is a bus stop for the Dar Express bus. They only stop to pick up passengers from Moshi, but the local traders don't miss their chance of making a sale - holding up their goods to the high windows attached to large boards.

It is a long road from there onwards. We did not get to see Mt. Kilimanjaro as it was covered in clouds, but we passed by the North and South Pare mountains and the beautiful Usambara mountains.
Usambara Mountians
These roads really slow you down!
We stopped about half way through our trip for lunch at Korogwe at a kind of truck stop call the White Parrot. We are able to refuel the truck and us as well. Its in a really neat building with a thatched roof. We always stop there on the way through Korogwe, the people are very nice and the food is always reasonable.

We made it to our destination for the night at about 6.00 p.m.  We were very tired but happy with where we had chosen to stay for the night. Mama Pierinas was a restaurant and guest house owned and run by a Greek lady who was born here in Tanzania. She made us feel very welcome and we were able to rest up well for the next stage of our journey.
On the verahnda at Mama Pierinans