Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Update #4 from my Dad

My Dad leaves Mwanza at 4 am EST. By the time most of us are up, he will have already arrived in Dar es Salam, the capitol of Tanzania. From there he goes to Dubai and then NYC and then Louisville! He arrives in Louisville on Saturday night. So that means 4 days/nights of traveling. Please pray for safe travels back home. 
~Sveta


Dear Friends and Family,

May the Peace of Christ be with you.

Later this morning we will be starting on our 10,000+ mile trip homeward!  This is not my final report.  I am taking advantage of the time to write about some church services I have attended.  I had forgotten to tell you about a special service I was able to be a part of last week.  Danson, my interpreter, became the leader of The Holy Spirit Church of Nyakato in the fall of 2010.  Due to the Bishop's busy schedule, Danson was never officially commissioned as pastor there.  On my second Sunday here, I was invited to join Bishop Kwangu, Danson, their families, and that church for a special commissioning service for Danson.  I was surprised to be asked to preach the sermon for the service.  

I spoke about how we serve a generous God.  When we plant a single seed into the ground, God gives us many more seeds in return for us to harvest.  But remember, that seed has to die in order to produce that harvest. Our lives here on earth we offer to God as a seed for him to plant.  We have to die to self in order to produce fruit.  We like to say we are "sacrificing" our lives for God, but we have to be careful not to become proud of our "sacrifice".  Because our God is a generous God!  We give him our short life here in return for something much greater -- eternity in heaven with Him!  God has said that if we are willing to humble ourselves in obedience to Him, we will bear "the image of the man of heaven" (I John 3:1-3) and, He will share His glory with us!  What a generous God!  Let us also remember the Rich Young Man who made a bad choice.  He turned away from Christ and an eternity in heaven for the sake of temporal stuff that he had to leave behind on earth anyways when he died.  We must realize that the only "thing" we will take with us is our Character.  So we should invest our lives, our abilities, and our possesions in that which will prepare us for our future life in heaven -- developing patience, kindness, forgiveness, self control, generosity, humility, service, obedience, diligence, and other traits of Christ.  What a generous God we serve, who gives us so much in return for the little we give Him!

After the service there was a special church dinner served for the people.  I estimated there were about 100 adults and teenagers and about 50 young children at the service.  I was able to spend the afternoon with Danson, his wife Theresa, and their one year old twin boys.  Theresa is a school teacher on an island in Lake Victoria, three hours away by ferry.  At this point she has to be away from her family Mon. -- Fri. each week, not by choice, but because good jobs are hard to find.  I ask you to join with them in prayer that she would be able to obtain a teaching job in a school close to home.  Also,  Danson would like to attend a theological seminary in America in order to get his Masters Degree.  Advanced education is valued very highly here in Africa, but is very difficult to obtain.  Let us agree with Danson in prayer, if it is God's will for him, that it will happen.  Danson wants to be able to serve his church in the best way possible, and obtaining a masters in theology is an important step towards that goal.

This past weekend Bishop Kwangu, his wife Mary, and I traveled to Geita to join Fr. Francis.  Geita is a rural town located in a wide valley at the base of some small "mountains".  Our host family was very pleasant and welcoming.  I really appreciated their friendliness and hospitality.  The church there had a special recognition time for the students that Fr. Francis taught.  There were about 400 people attending that service.  I was quite surprised to be asked to preach again.  The Bishop wanted me to give the same sermon in this church also.  I had expected that he would be the one to preach, and was honored that he asked me to bring God's Word to the people.  I do not preach on a regular basis, so it was a good experience for me.  ( To tell the truth, I was nervous before preaching each time and prayed a lot for the Holy Spirit's help!)  I am so grateful that I have been able to share what God has been teaching me with others.

A dinner was served for us and the ministry students after the service.  Later in the afternoon, we were taken around to see some of the current projects in the area.  Christ the King Anglican Church is in the middle of Geita, but for many people in the outlaying areas, it is too far to walk to church.  So, there are 7 smaller churches in various stages of completion being constructed around the area.  Also, the foundation has been laid for a small health clinic to be built to serve the people of the town.  It will be owned and operated by the main local church there.  The people of Geita also have the dream of someday building a small permanent "Bible school" with a dormitory for training ministry students.  They are not getting funds from foreigners like us to achieve their goals,  they are doing it themselves.  It is good to see that they have the initiative to go "Forward in Africa" with the building of God's kingdom!

I should go finalize my packing for the trip home, I will say goodbye for now.  Thanks again for being a part of this adventure.  I have so many interesting stories to tell, but they will have to wait until I see you face to face some day.


Peace,  Nathan D.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

151 - Copy
Check out my photography blog tomorrow for this picture with a Bible verse on it. 

Update #3 from my Dad

Dear friends and family,

May the peace of Christ be with you.

We have completed the second full week of teaching here in Mwanza.  It has been a very busy and good week here.  We have been studying "The foundations of sacred scripture", a course which examines the history of how we got the Bible, some basic elements of Bible study, and an overview of each book of the Bible.  The class continued to be very attentive and "came with me" very well.

Last week I mentioned that what they lacked in knowledge, they made up for in enthusiasm. However, I should make it clear that the students know their Bible very well and are very sharp.  If I accidentally misquoted a verse or contradicted myself, they would catch it immediately and point it out.  This was good, for it meant I had to stay alert!

I must give the Lord credit for all the arrangements He has made.  I feel that it has not been my efforts that have made the classes go so well.  I have been blessed greatly with Pastor Danson's help in interpretation.  I could not have asked for a better assistant.  He worked hard and always had a good attitude.  I noticed recently that we have learned to work together very smoothly.  His interpretations into Kiswahili have become a natural extension of my own words in English.  Also, it is much easier to be a good teacher when the students are so eager to learn. 

At this point our plans are to travel with Bishop Kwangu to Geita on this Saturday to join Fr. Francis.  He has finished teaching his class there.  We will stay to attend church on Sunday morning and return together to Mwanza that afternoon.  Fr. Francis will be joining me for my final day of teaching on Monday.  Tuesday will be a day of goodbyes and preparation for our return.  Wednesday morning we will begin our long journey homeward.  I expect to be home next Saturday evening. 

The weather has been very pleasant.  It has rained several times and as a result, got down to about 75 degrees a few times.  I noticed at that point, some of the people here began to put on their sweaters!  I had to reasure them that I did not feel cold at all.  I told you before about eating a fishhead.  I told you that just because it was the most dramatic thing I ate!  (I have actually eaten six fish with heads so far, but I was not under any pressure to eat the heads.)  The food here has been quite good actually.  Mostly rice, potatoes, veggies, greens, tomato soup, beef or chicken, and fruit.  I don't want to scare off any potential missionary teachers!  I have recieved great care here and the people I have had contact with have all been very friendly and helpful.

Once again, thank you for your interest and prayers.  God is at work and it has been a very good trip so far.  I hope to send out a final report after I arrive home.

Peace,  Nathan D.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Tanzanian Meal

We've been at my Aunt's house for the past week and were making different African meals each day. I didn't take any pictures except on Tuesday. I have more pictures from this week to post after I get them edited. So stay tuned for more!
~Sveta
@ Carla's 110
The whole meal. (Chapati is a tortilla like bread.)
2011-02-15 @ Carla's1
Carrots and water
@ Carla's 103
Art
@ Carla's 101
Mandhazi - A coconut bread
@ Carla's 107

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Greatest of these is LOVE

Backgrounds

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, 
but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.

And though I have the gift of prophecy, 
and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, 
and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains,
but have not love, I am nothing.
And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, 
and though I give my body to be burned, 
but have not love, it profits me nothing.
Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy;
 love does not parade itself, is not puffed up;
does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil;
does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth;
Bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things.
Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies,
 they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; 
 whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away.
For we know in part and we prophesy in part.
But when that which is perfect has come,
 then that which is in part will be done away.
When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child,
 I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face.
 Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.
And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.


Happy Valentine's Day! 

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Africa Update #2 | From my Dad

Dear Friends and family,

Greetings in the Name of Christ.

I am at an internet cafe in downtown Mwanza.  We have made it through
our first full week of classes.  We have completed two courses so far.
"The Beliefs, Teachings, and Practices of the Historic Christian
Church",  What has been believed by all Christians, everywhere, for
all time.  And, "Introduction to Apostolic Ordained Ministry", a
course that examines the qualifications and duties of ordained
ministry along with the Ethos and Ethics of Christian Ministry.  I am
averaging about 25 students in class eah day.  The ones who live
farther away are staying in a simple dormitory on the compound, while
others come by bus from their homes.  As you know, Fr. Francis is
teaching in Geita, about 2 1/2 hours away.

Bishop Kwangu has decided it is best for me to stay at St. Dominic's
Catholic Pastoral Retreat House, which is run by the Catholic Church
of Tanzania.  The rooms and food are plain and simple, but very
sufficient and clean.  I am being spoiled with the availability of
(almost) hot water.  I am picked up each morning by the Bishop's
driver for a 20 minute drive to the class.

The weather has been pleasant and sunny.  About 80 at night and about
90 during the day.  It has rained twice since we are here.  This is
the "rainy season" which means everything is green and growing well.
I see many gardens throughout the city wherever people can find a spot
of ground to grow something.  I am told that later in the year
everything will be brown from the heat.

There does not seem to be any traffic rules to follow except drive on
the left side of the road and avoid getting hit.  Other than that, do
as you wish!  The African people seem to be very patient with this
system of traffic and I have not seen any accidents.

The students of my class are very involved, listening carefully and
asking many questions.  Their questions cover a broad variety of
subjects pertaining to Christian doctrines and ethics.  I have to rely
on the Holy Spirit's guidence to give them the best answers and
advice.  Sometimes progress is slow because of the many discussions,
but this is good.  It shows that they are thinking and leaning well.
As they say here in Tanzania, "the students are coming with the
teacher".

My daily schedule is as follows:
6am - 8am  Devotions and preparation for the day's lessons.
9am - 4:30 pm  Class time.
11 am  Tea Break
2 pm  Lunch
5 pm - 9 pm  Back at the Retreat House
      Naps, walks, reading, study for next day lessons
7:30 pm  Supper
I have quiet evenings!

I ate my first fish head on Thursday for lunch.  It was not bad at
all, just a little difficult cracking open the bones to get the stuff
out.  Yes -- I did eat the eyes!  Don't you want to bea missionary
teacher too?!!

The people have been so kind to me.  I am humbled by their attitudes.
What they lack in knowledge or possessions, they make up for in
ethusiasm.  They are ordinary people doing the best they can with what
they have to care for their families and to do God's work.  The
African people work very hard and are very industrious.  The average
person makes less than one dollar a day.  As anywhere in the world,
there are problems to deal with in the churches and in regular
society.  But God is at work here and the Gospel is being spread by
these evangelists.  We are here to help equip them to do their work
better -- and they are grateful.

May the peace of Christ be with you.

Nathan Dunlap



NathanTeach1

My Dad teaching in Mwanza, Tanzania. 


Friday, February 11, 2011

Macro Friday

049

I had some fun while I was waiting for my Mom to play Scrabble. :) On Monday I'll post the rest of the pictures I took. Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Quote

044


“To me, photography is an art of observation. It's about finding something interesting in an ordinary place... I've found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.” 

~Elliott Erwitt

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Africa Update #1 | From my Dad

This is the first update my Dad has sent from Africa. Thank you for all your prayers!



Dear Friends and Family,

May the Peace of Christ be with you.

I am now sitting in a shady spot near our hotel in Mwanza, Tanzania.  We had good all flights coming into the country.  Monday I flew to New York City where I met up with Fr. Francis, Tuesday we flew to Dubai, Wednesday we flew to Dar Es Salam, and Thursday we flew to Mwanza.  This city is located on the southern shores of Lake Victoria.

I am so very grateful for all of those who generously enabled me to come here.  This is only my second full day in the country and I am already learning to appreciate our Tanzanian Christian brothers.  I have been welcomed here so graciously with great enthusiasm.  I am humbled by both your confidence in sending me and in their confidence in receiving me.  We serve a marvelous God who arranges our lives according to His plans. I did not plan to be involved in a teaching ministry in Africa, but God had a plan, and you have become a part of that plan.  Not all can go, but all can participate.  I would not be here without you.  I could not do this work without your support.  Asante sana! Thank you very much!

Allow me to tell you of the general plans for our trip.  Tomorrow morning (Saturday) Bishop Kwangu will be taking Fr. Francis and I to visit in the city of Geita, located about 1.5 hours drive from here.  We will be visiting the pastor and church there, along with the students who are gathering there for classes.  Fr. Francis will stay there to teach them for the next two weeks.  The name of that church is “Christ the King Anglican Church”, the same name as my home church in Kentucky!  However, I will be returning to Mwanza to be teaching a group of students here for the next two weeks.  The students at Geita have already been taught before by Fr. Francis and he will continue to teach them more.  The people  gathered in Mwanza are all new, first time students to our ministry.  We will be learning together.

Today Bishop Kwangu, Pastor Nestor, Pastor Danson, Fr. Francis, and I met together with the Mwanza students.  They have come together from many different towns and churches.  At this point there are 21 men and 7 women.  They are what is called “evangelists” for their churches.  This means that they are leaders in their churches, not called “pastors” because of their present level of ministry education, but they are often serving in a pastoral role in real life.  The Bishop says he expects more to be coming in on Monday.  Ministry education is very hard for them to get and they are very desiring of the teaching we are able to bring to them.  My interpreter has already expressed their desire that many ministry teachers could come to teach in many towns at once.  He said, “Next time bring 10 teachers with you! We are many people wanting to learn how to serve God and our churches better.”  My interpreter is Pastor Danson, the 28 year old pastor of the Holy Spirit Church of Nyakato.

Today we started right in with teaching the first lesson plans.  “The basic beliefs and practices of the Historic Christian Church.”  Fr. Francis and I took turns teaching for an hour or so at a time.  Each session starts with a song and a prayer, lead by the students.  I wish you could hear them sing and pray!  Such enthusiasm and fervor!  I am not one to get very emotional, but I must confess that hearing them sing and pray to the Lord with such great love and energy brought tears to my eyes.  I could tell that they love our Lord Jesus Christ with all of their hearts, all of their souls, all of their minds, and all of their strength.  I have much to learn from my African Brothers and Sisters! 

The location is Nyakato Bible School on the grounds of The Holy Spirit Church of Nyakato.  This is a small Bible School that has not been functioning for some time now and had fallen into some disrepair.
Bishop Kwangu is trying to breathe some new life into this facility, to be used once again for ministry training purposes.  It is located in the outskirts of Mwanza in a quiet, rural atmosphere.  Many of the students will be staying on the grounds for the next two weeks.  I do not know yet if I will be staying with them or at another location nearby.  I await the Bishop's decision, he knows what is the best situation.  When we are here we follow the Bishop's leading.  We are here to assist him in the spiritual growth of his churches.  We follow his plans, not ours.  We are here to help, not to take charge!  Everything we teach and do is submitted to him ahead of time for his approval.  This a good way.  This is the right way.  In this way what we teach is received fully by the students.  It is much more effective to teach God's truths by fitting in with their way of doing things.  We are here to help.

Yesterday I had some free time and went walking by my self through the outdoor markets near our temporary hotel.  I felt completely safe.  The sights and sounds are so incredible!  I liked it!  But best of all was all the friendly people.  I had a very enjoyable time trying to chat with people in a little Kiswahili for a couple of hours.  Many were interested in me, wanting to know details about my family, and my purpose here.  We had some good laughs at my attempts at their language.  The common people are very friendly, you would like them too, I'm sure!

This is Fr. Francis' last trip to this place.  He is passing the ministry on to me and to you.  We have a big job to do for the sake of God's Church here in Tanzania.  The Bishop and pastors here are already making plans for me to return next year.  This year's students are already making plans for me to teach them more next year.  This plan is much bigger than me.  This plan is much bigger than you.  But is is God's Plan and we will be obedient to what he gives us to do for the sake of His Kingdom.  Not by our strength and resources, but by His provision.

I hope to send you a report once a week while I am here.  I am using Fr. Francis' computer now and will have to find an internet cafe to send other reports since we will be apart.

Asante Sana, Mungu Awabariki,   Thank you very much and God bless you all!

Peace,  Nathan Dunlap

Friday, February 4, 2011

Macro Friday

012
After playing upwords a couple nights ago. my sister and I stacked ALL the letters! Not one fell down!! :)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Self Portraits

1
Before and After 

2
I had fun, but tedious, job putting the black background on this. :)
2011-02-011
*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
005
I know this has nothing to do with Self Portraits, but I just had to put it on here somewhere. [smile]