There have been so many things happening recently that there is no way we can fill you in on everything, yet it is difficult to decide what to leave out. Even what is included below is just a sketchy outline and yet it is still four pages worth of news. Join us in praising God for the exciting things He is bringing about here in Tanzania!
This summer’s internship, which Brad organized, was completed very successfully. All the interns’ reports to our international office were very positive. One of the interns, Lydia Noll, is still with us until December, completing her Bible College internship requirement for her degree in Missions.
A few other visitors will be with us from August 26th through September 7th. Our Director of Field Operations, Dave Parrish, will be visiting along with Gerald and Ruth Denny (Member Care) and Bill McMahon (Multi-media Dept.). Gerald and Dave will present the Peace Makers Seminar during our branch spiritual retreat while Ruth works with the kids. Bill will be collecting video and photos of the work of the East Africa Branch. Please pray for safe travels for our visitors and for a wonderful Spirit led retreat.
Pray also as we, and the rest of the administrative team, meet with Dave Parrish. We will primarily be addressing ideas and ways in which we can more easily facilitate partnership development with other organizations and individuals, both inside and outside East Africa. We feel one of the major ways in which Vision 2020 (reaching all the unreached peoples in East Africa by 2020) will be achieved is through partnerships with other members of the body of Christ. One of our primary strategies in achieving Vision 2020 is to equip and empower Tanzanian nationals, as much as we possibly can, to carry out as much of the work as they can themselves.
To this end, we are adding two nationals to our team who will be ministering along side us. Edson Kamenya will be moving out of the position of Branch Administrative Assistant and into the area of development and implementation of evangelistic/discipleship materials and programs. He is leaving his paid position and joining us as a volunteer, trusting the Lord for his needs, just as we Western missionaries do. Secondly Seth Gideon, a long-time friend and ministry partner of Jeff Hobbie from Dodoma, joined our work as a formal partner and will be helping Jeff mentor and lead our newly developing ministry teams.
Pray for these men in their new ministries, especially for the funds needed to support their ministries and families as they step out on faith to serve the Lord. A new project was recently approved in the branch’s budget for Scripture Use Programs, which will include these men’s ministries.
The Lord has provided a wonderful new Branch Administrative Assistant named Euphrasia (Efrasia in Swahili), which is allowing us to release Edson to move into ministry partnership with us. Euphrasia began work on August 1st. Please pray for her as she learns her new job and for good relationships as we get to know each other and continue to work together. Euphrasia has just had to make an unexpected trip to the capital because her father has gone into a diabetic coma and is not doing well. Please pray for Euphrasia and her family.
After the interns left, Brad and Lydia stayed in the capital to attend a translation workshop sponsored by a South African Bible translation organization called Word for the World. Dr. Barry Funnel and his family are planning on moving to Tanzania at the beginning of next year and establishing the work of Word for the World in Tanzania. We look forward to partnering with them, as well as Wycliffe Bible Translators and United Bible Society, especially in a training program for national translators.
We sponsored two ministers to this translation principles workshop. One is a Kagulu man, Sauli, who has been working with Brad on the Kagulu dictionary and will help Brad in the area of linguistic analysis on the Kagulu language. The second minister is from the Kami area. Our previous survey of the Kami people indicated that they are a 99% Muslim group just outside of Morogoro. However, because there are no pure Kami villages left, they are loosing their language. There are several churches in their traditional area, but the membership of these churches is almost completely made up of people from other tribes.
Our survey report recommended a strategy of translating some scripture portions into Kami, so the Kami people can realize that the message is for them, not just for those other peoples living in the Kami area. After the Kami realize the Gospel is for them, they can then be transitioned into the Swahili-speaking churches already established in their area. Leonard, the minister from the Kami area is himself half Kami and has been working independently to try and translate the Bible into the Kami language. He translated the first seven chapters of Mark even before the workshop. Thanks to the workshop, he indicated that he is aware of several mistakes he needs to correct, based on the new training he received.
Pray for Leonard as he continues to translate and as he tries to reach out to the Kami people. Pray for Brad as he begins working with Leonard, to train and better equip him for the task of Bible translation. Pray also for reviewers to be raised up to help with the Bible Translation work. Pray also for the hearts and minds of the Kami people to be opened to the truth of God’s Word in their language so that they may have no doubt that God’s message is for them too, not just the other peoples who have moved into their area to live and work.
Brad has also begun the process of speaking with various church leaders, as well as Tanzania Bible Society, in order to encourage the start of a Bible translation project in the Lugulu language. It is the largest language group in the Morogoro area and is considered to be the mother language for about 10 other related languages that we have grouped together into the Morogoro Cluster of languages. Getting the Lugulu translation program started will eventually help make other language programs within the Morogoro Cluster go more quickly and smoothly once they are begun, especially if we are able to utilize the CARLA (Computer-Aided Related Language Adaptation) Program.
We are sharing with you here an excerpt from Jeff and Lori Hobbie’s news email regarding some administrative meetings that we had here in Morogoro last week:
I [Jeff] left smiling, thankful for my teammates and for the Lord's direction in our meetings . . . [One] outcome was the strategic decision to make the least reached our primary focus for future outreach ministry. There are urgent needs within the Morogoro cluster where we have begun translation work, but we concluded that there are existing avenues to initiate further translation and Scripture Utilization programs in the area. In the area south of Dar-es-Salaam, however, no such avenues exist. A variety of socio-religious factors have isolated the people groups of this area from the Gospel. A spiritual oppression exists in opposition to the Spirit of Christ and the Church has been reluctant and unsuccessful in her ministry attempts. It's here that we have determined to focus our efforts of bringing our Muslim brothers and sisters the gifts of compassion and love that we have found in Christ.
But before we conduct another socio-linguistic survey, and before the ministry team invites anyone to trust in Jesus, we have determined to begin with a prayer journey. Jeri Ashley, our surveyor, has been carrying a burden for this for some time. … We all came to understand this was the Lord leading us in our next step. So much could be said about the difficulties the Church has faced in this area. Our own survey team experienced unusual struggles when we last attempted a survey in the area...excessive postponements and delays, a car accident, emotional distress, and prolonged physical illness. Before proceeding further, we will conduct on-site prayer in the form of a prayer journey. We will be praying blessing and asking the Lord to bring His kingdom. We will also be doing spiritual mapping, searching for spiritual insight into the situation and specific guidance on how, when, and where to respond in ministry. For those interested in the process, please see "Informed Intercession" by George Otis, Jr.
Our current thoughts on conducting the prayer journey include partnering with nationals and other mission organizations in prayer and fasting for Southeastern Tanzania this October/November. Prayer teams of nationals and missionaries will journey into the Southeast for about two weeks. Their goal will be to seek discernment for discovering the spiritual conditions and strongholds in the region. Phase II of the Prayer Journey will occur sometime next summer as the participants from Phase I (nationals and missionaries who know the language and culture of Tanzania) lead Christians from outside the country of Tanzania in peppering the entire Southeast with small prayer journey teams. In just mentioning the idea of a prayer walk/journey, several people from churches in the US have expressed interest in joining us in this endeavor. If you feel the Lord is leading you to come and join us in praying in the unreached peoples in Southeastern Tanzania, please let us know.
While Brad has been busy running the summer internship program, overseeing the Kagulu translation, working on the start of a couple of new translation projects in the Morogoro cluster, participating in administrative meetings, and working with a contractor on getting blue prints and building permits to begin the improvements and construction for our house and a small training center, Tammie has been busy calling and facilitating the meetings to coordinate and integrate the work of the different areas of the branch. She has also been maintaining communication with more than 15 people who are seriously interested in coming to join our team here in Tanzania. We are anticipating rapid growth of the branch beginning in early 2005.
It is also Tammie’s responsibility to develop and maintain good relationships with other mission organizations here in Tanzania and to develop partnerships to help facilitate the work when possible. There are several partnership possibilities currently being considered. Please pray that the Lord would lead us in developing these partnerships and these would bring about the opportunity to exhibit unity in the body of Christ. Tammie continues to serve as a trustee for Gateway Community Development Initiative and Safina Center Rehabilitation Trust, a street children’s ministry.
The Safina street kids’ ministry has recently been approved as an official PBT project in our budget. Several people in the US, especially several of our former summer interns, expressed an interest in supporting the street kids’ ministry, so now there is an avenue for that support. The kids at the center are all doing quite well at school. They are excited about just having moved into their own new facilities.
Two groups of young people from Holland, with the Livingstone organization, came and helped complete the first phase of the children’s home; four rooms and the outdoor toilet. They should have electricity by the end of this month. The work crews were also able to lay the foundation for the second phase of building for the children’s home; it includes a bathroom and an office. The center houses 20 children on a full-time basis and assists 10 others who live in poor situations with an extended relative. All the children receive free health care, education, and spiritual instruction. Pray for the upcoming trustees meeting on September 7th.
Our kids start back to school September 1st. Bradley will be in 3rd grade, Yuda in Kindergarten, and Morrie in Pre-K at the international school here in Morogoro. Yuda’s English is doing great; in fact, it is better than his Swahili. He has been working hard, though often against his will, this summer to be better prepared for Kindergarten. We’ve seen a lot of improvement in Yuda over the summer.
Bradley has learned all his multiplication tables over the summer and has enjoyed writing his own stories; he has created the character “Rocket Rabbit”. He even got his Dad to be the cameraman for a two-minute short “Rocket Rabbit” video. Bradley devised the set himself and Dad produced the video as well. Dad finished the frame for an ant farm, so Bradley is currently in search of a queen ant, with the help of our yard worker; brother and sister love to tag along.
Morrie doesn’t miss an opportunity to let anyone know that she is a “cutie pie”. She likes playing with her Barbie dolls and dollhouse and, like many little girls, likes to primp. She recently learned how to put her own hair in a ponytail; the interns were good sports in allowing her to practice on them this summer. We had to keep her closet locked for a while, until she learned she couldn’t change clothes so many times in one day. All the kids are enjoying learning to play tennis. We were all able to go to Zanzibar Island with the interns for a few days at the beginning of the summer break. The last week of August, we will be in the capital in a nice hotel on the beach for our branch spiritual retreat before the kids head back to school.
The kids are hoping they will get to see snow at Christmas. Since we aren’t planning on climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, we obviously aren’t planning on being in Tanzania for Christmas. We are due for home assignment (furlough) this Spring, but due to the lack of personnel to oversee the translation work that has begun and our heavy involvement in administration, it won’t be very convenient on the branch for us to go on home assignment until late 2005. This will allow new personnel to arrive and us to help with their orientation, and then they can fill in the oversight of the translation programs.
Since a five-year term is a bit too long, we’ve been given permission to make a short visit to the US this winter while the kids are out of school. We want to touch base with as many of our supporters as we can, though the holiday season isn’t necessarily the best time of year to do that. We are planning on being in the US from about December 7th through mid January. Please contact our Forwarding Agent if you’d like to have us share about our ministry at your church while we are Stateside.
Of course, we will also take the opportunity to visit family so they can all meet Yuda for the first time. Yuda is looking forward to flying on an airplane and getting to see snow. Morrie is looking forward to snow as well since she was only about a year old when she last (and first) experienced snow.