Today we have been in Tanzania for three months. In many ways it feels much longer than that, yet we are astounded to look back at how much God has done in and for us during this short time.
Some of the highlights are significant and some are simple joys, but here is a taste (in no particular order) of God’s blessings and provisions thus far.
This program is exactly what we needed. There are two main sections to our study. The first 30 lessons focused on the foundation and logic of the grammar, as well as core vocabulary. These next 30 lessons could better be described as the art of language (all the “other” ways things can be said). It’s hard to believe that on Thursday we will complete lesson 50 of 60. Although our Kiswahili isn’t being used much yet, we know that this will be a wonderful base for when this is our main language.
We have visited many churches in a variety of denominations and settings. Whether in village Maasai or Luguru churches or town churches with Lutheran, AICT, and Baptist beginnings, we have been warmly welcomed by worshippers of our amazing God. One encouraging surprise was to find a small Tanzanian church supporting four African missionaries. In September they had a month-long missions conference with Tanzanian speakers and a celebration meal with international foods.
In addition to the friends we are making at local churches, we have become close friends with a few German missionaries and through them some young Tanzanians. At least weekly we all dine together and often end up playing games afterwards. The head of the language school, Chuma, is becoming a very dear friend. Recently we had a long weekend break from school, and he came along with us to Bagamoyo (a nearby coastal town with a sad and rich history for Tanzania). It was great to have a Tanzanian friend to travel with. We have also made strong connections with other students here from Finland and South Korea and Togo. Talking together about the gospel from our various backgrounds is so rich.
Though language school has been our main focus, Jim has found several ministry opportunities outside of school. A favorite place is a local training center called Sanga Sanga with Pastor B. (An early graduate of Nassa Theological College) . Along with hosting missions conferences and Bible training events at the center, Pastor B. uses a Bible training program which goes out to the rural pastors. Jim is looking forward to building this connection deeper.
Recently we were introduced to a German missionary teaching theology here in Morogoro. Jim will observe some of his English and Swahili courses.
Other opportunities are being built through times spent together with various Tanzanian pastors and our friend Joel (another AIM missionary) learning about their respective churches and their hearts for the knowledge of Christ to grow across Tanzania. Tomorrow he has the opportunity to go with the local AICT pastor to visit a remote village church.
FOod and Fun
=The school has great food (whew!), and we have also enjoyed exploring some local restaurants and eating street food. We even found some pizza!
=Learning the local transportation has been fun and we’ve had some good gospel connections with a few drivers. The most popular transport here is the Bijaj.
=The grounds of the school are beautiful – rich with baobab trees, flowers, and monkeys – and of course the Uluguru mountains here are a sight we appreciate daily.