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. 

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.

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