Friday, 30 March 2012

New Blog

As you can tell, I have not posted anything on this blog for a long time. One of the main reasons for that is I have a new blog:
Tanzanian Jottings

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Evan's baptism

Last Thursday I headed out to Sombetini to assit the preacher there, Dominic Owaga.  We had arranged the previous week to begin our studies at a little school house where one of the members from Sombetini, Assiri, works.

When we had got there we found that the children, on hearing that we were coming, did not want to go home.  We were waiting for one of the people we were going to study with, so we enjoyed being here and talking with the kids.

It was after this study that the day became very interesting.  I hope you enjoy this video.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Mike and Clint's safari to Tanzania

Well, the dust has settled and we have all recovered.  Mike Criswell and Clint De France have returned to their homes and life here in Arusha has returned to normal.

We enjoyed Mike and Clint's stay so much.  They were such good house guests - we had a lot of laughs and a lot of Bible studies.  The brethren here really appreciated them and gained a lot from their visit.

I have made a short video of their visit.  I hope you enjoy it.

Friday, 30 September 2011

Leadership Study

We had a wonderful Leadership Study this month starting on the 14th September.  Mike Criswell and Clint De France were our speakers and they did a wonderful job.  

We had members come from all over Tanzania and even Kenya for this event.  The brethren from Mbeya even had a 19 hour bus trip to get here!

This is a short video of the Meeting

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Studying God's Word

While Mike and Clint have been here in Tanzania we have had a many great studies.  We have studied with members of the church and non-members too.

On Wednesday, we went to Mererani to assist the teacher there, Fredson John, and to conduct studies with him.  Allen Mkita was sick, so we enlisted the help of Mbise from Nkoaranga.

Mererani is about a 2 hour drive from Arusha along dusty roads and with the air-conditioner not working in the truck yet it was very dusty!  We made it in good time though and met Fred (Fredson) at the marvellously named Kangaroo Hotel!  I am sure it is the only kangaroo in Tanzania!

We shared some cokes and discussed the work before heading out of a study with the family of one of the members there.

We had a great study, answering a question on why there were so many churches.  The Bible clearly tells us that Christ built only one church.
 “I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it."   Matt. 16:18
That one church was not to be built on a mere man (as some say), but on the rock that is Jesus Christ, the Son of God.  The many churches we see today have been built by men a long time after Christ built His church.

We had a really good response with great questions following.  You learn here very quickly that these people are very intelligent.  They may not benefit from a great education, but they are plenty smart!

After this we went on to study with a sister who was having trouble with what the Bible teaches about singing in the assembly.  Mike did an excellent job showing that the New Testament commands us to sing, and the instrument we are to use is our lips and heart.

 "speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord;"  Eph. 5:19
We are no longer under the Old Covenant and its commands, but we are blessed with the New.  There were several non-memebers present and the Q & A afterwards was again wonderful.

We had to leave early in the afternoon so as to get back to Arusha for Wednesday night services.  On the way we stopped under a fig tree and a stream, for a picnic lunch.  There were some herders there with their sheep, goats and cattle.  They came on over to us and we started a conversation.  After a bit we were teaching them the hymn, "Happy Day" in Swahili.  It was a wonderful time.  We ended with a prayer and headed for Arusha.

On Thursday we had arranged a study with Christopher's wife.  Christopher is a faithful member at the Philips congregations and his wife is a member of a pentecostal church.  We had another wonderful study and Mama Christopher told us she would come with her husband to worship in Sunday.

Then we went with Allen, who was feeling better and was translating for us, to a man he knew who worked close to the church building.  This man, Anderson, is a carpenter and we had a great study with him and his work mates at their work place.

It is so good to be able to study with people almost anywhere and feel welcomed each time.

Keep reading for future exciting updates on this work here in Tanzania.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

The Spirit of Exploration Continues in Tanzania

On Tuesday we took some time off from our busy schedule and went on Safari to Arusha National Park.

This park is one of the forgotten gems of Tanzania.  It is only about 1/2 hour out of Arusha, but not many tourists make the trip, preferring to go to the better know parks like Serengeti and Lake Minyara national parks, where there is a chance of seeing the "Big 5".  Arusha does not promise Rhino or lion, but it promises a wide variety of environments and stunning scenery.

We left about 8 o'clock and after battling the Arusha traffic we were on the open highway and headed to Usa River.  From there it was a short drive north up the mountain and we were in the National Park.  It only took a short while to do the paper work and we were on our way.  Within minutes of leaving the park gate we were on to our first game - zebra, warthogs and water buck. We were in little Serengeti.  There is so much difference seeing these wild animal in their natural environment, rather than seeing them in a zoo!
The Explorers!
We then went up the mountain, across a new bridge to a part of the park we had not seen before and were stunned by the beauty of what we saw.  We stopped for a break at a viewing point and had a drink and some cake.  We were high up on the mountain and could see most of the park.  We could see where they filmed the 1960's film Hartari!  We could see over to the Momella Lakes.  We could even seen where Mt. Kilimanjaro was, even is she was modestly hiding behind her clouds.

How you get a car through a tree!
We went on from there and drove through a tree!  A strangler fig had attached itself to a host tree and the result was stunning.  We could have gone further up the mountain, but we only had one day!  So turned around and headed downwards.  We soon meet a party of climbers headed to the summit which is 4,566 metres high (14,980 ft) and a three day climb!  I can tell you we were traveling a lot easier than these people.

Once we had crossed the bridge again we headed off to the Momella lakes (those who remember the Hatari! movie will remember the elephants bathing in the lakes).  We had lunch there and were able to see hippos in the lake around an island in the middle. There are several lakes all with different soda levels.  One of them is just right for flamingos and their pink plumage is stunning in the afternoon sun.

We made our way around the lakes and thought we had seen all they had to offer when we came around a corner and a huge giraffe was idling the day away on the road, in the shade of a tree .

We waited for him (we called him Gerald the giraffe) for about 1/2 an hour before he remembered something he had to do and calmly walked past our car.

I had my window down and could have touched him if I wanted to.  This is not something that happens everyday!

Leaving Gerald behind we headed to the Ngurdoto crater.  This is a stunning caldera with wonderful viewing places around the rim.

We went to the other side to where were have been before and after a long and tricky climb with many switch backs and the vehicle in 4x4 low we were rewarded with a breath taking scene.  Even Mt. Kilimanjaro came to the party and showed herself!  We could see here on our right and Mt. Meru in all her glory on our left.  We could see right down into the crater and even over to Arusha town.

Our time had come to an end, but we all agreed it was a wonderful safari.  There were few people and many animals.  We were even privileged to see the very shy columbus monkeys at very close quarters. All around it was a great day.