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February 9, 2012:

Here is my report for our January 2012 mission to Tanzania. As I wrote before, Evan Pyle and I originally planned this trip for last November, but we postponed it after a controversy came to light regarding the misuse of funds we’d purposed for the Maasai Worship and Historical Center. We both felt that this problem needed to be handled by the community itself, and we finalized our travel plans only after hearing that the situation had been resolved. As it turned out, there was still work to be done.

Evan and I flew out of Baton Rouge on Wednesday, 18 January, and arrived in Dar es Salaam two days later on Friday morning East Africa time. Once again the all-day bus ride from Dar to Chimala on Saturday was the most grueling part of the journey, but the good cheer of our traveling companion, Milka Kisota, and a fairly comfortable bus (with air conditioning!) made things bearable. By nightfall we had arrived in Matebete village where we were once again hosted at the home of the parents of Evelyn Paraboy Kaney.

On Sunday morning we attended services at the Matebete Church of Christ, pastored by Evangelist Patrick Kinana. Patrick is the Secretary of ITO (WTWH-Tanzania), and he has great desire to see the Maasai Christians unite under the banner of the Cross. His love for the Word of God was very evident by his teaching that morning. His assistant pastor, Tetan Kaney, presided over a very lovely Communion service.

That afternoon the church elders and village leaders gathered at the Maasai Worship and Historical Center to sort out the week’s activities. After we set the schedule for the teachings, Evan and I presented our gift of an eight-man tent to be used in future ITO missions. Of course everyone wanted to see the tent set up, and this was joyfully accomplished despite the language barrier and a rather confusing sheet of instructions.

Classes began on Monday. Evan taught a four-part series that culminated with his teaching on Ananias and Sapphira, and from Tuesday to Friday, I taught on “The Principles of the Doctrine of Christ.” Paulo Kurupashi did a fine job as our interpreter throughout the week, and we made an audio recording of the class. The hours went by quickly, and I believe everyone received something good from the Lord. But the unresolved controversy cast a shadow over everything and nothing seemed quite right. By Wednesday I was wondering if this would be our last mission to Matebete.

On Thursday I invited Patrick and Tetan to join us for lunch and conversation. Again, Paulo translated for us. These men assured us that we should not be discouraged, and that our work was both necessary and very appreciated. We discussed how we might do a better job. We agreed that it was important for other Maasai to see that Christianity is not a white man’s religion. One way to fight this misconception was to continue sending members of ITO on missions to other villages, Maasai preaching to Maasai. But Patrick said that it would be a great benefit if we would accompany them on these missions. It would still be Maasai teaching Maasai, but our show of support would speak loudly to the community. They would see that the Gospel is the important thing, not the person teaching.

We suggested that the Maasai in Matebete begin a Bible study program to review the lessons we’d been teaching. Patrick noted that Paulo was well suited to lead such a study. All in all, this lunchtime conversation breathed new life and enthusiasm into my soul and I was very thankful.

A key part of this Bible study program will rest on the work of Rev. George Oripu. I first met George on our mission to Mahongo Village in 2005. George has been working on a translation of “The Principles of the Doctrine of Christ,” first into Swahili and then into the Maasai language. This publication will be a great asset to our work both in Tanzania and Kenya. Christine Pyle donated a laptop computer to help with this project.

After I’d taught my final session on Friday, we had a question and answer period that closed out our teaching series. Later in the afternoon, we reassembled at the Center for its official opening and dedication. This meeting was led by Philipo Kaney. I was honored to cut the “ribbon” (actually a vine) to mark the opening of the Center. Afterwards we enjoyed a great feast under the meeting tree.

On Saturday, Evan and I again met with Philipo to seek his counsel on how to resolve the controversy about the funds. We learned that the guilty party had confessed his misdeeds to Philipo, but told a very different story to us. With Philipo’s help, we took the necessary (though painful) steps to set things right again.

On Sunday morning we left the village and caught the bus out of Chimala, content with what had been accomplished, and thankful for the firm hand of the Lord that is guiding and protecting this work.

Next on our mission calendar, I will be teaching “In the Power of His Might” in Mutuati Town in Meru, Kenya, from March 14 to 18. Jay Pearson will join me for this event. This class is being hosted by Christian Life Teachings International. Then, from April 13 to 15, I’ll be in Forest, Virginia, teaching “The Principles of the Doctrine of Christ.” Steve Monahan will accompany me on this trip.

I close this report first with a note of great appreciation for the work of Evelyn Paraboy Kaney, who made all the necessary arrangements for our stay in Africa. We cannot overstate the value of her service to ITO and WTWH.

And finally, thanks to our supporters who are such an vital part of this work. May God bless you through and through.

Photos from our January Mission can be seen here.

In the service of His Majesty, the King of kings,
Tim

 

 


 

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