These past 12 months have been filled with incredible transition and change. We are so thankful that though everything is different for us, our God does not change. He has guided us through each step, and your faithful prayers and notes have lifted and encouraged us.
Below are some of the personal and ministry highlights from our first year in Tanzania:
July – December: These months were set aside for formal language training in Morogoro. Learning Kiswahili was a challenge, but God blessed our time here tremendously. In addition to a knowledge base for language the Lord gifted us with some precious friendships.
December: The very week we completed our language training, we received our work and residency permits (thank you for praying). We then traveled to Arusha to purchase a vehicle (thank you for your generosity), and then drove across the country to our now home in Bulima — arriving just days before Christmas.
Along the way we were blessed to attend the ordination of six AICT (Africa Inland Church of Tanzania) pastors, two of whom were NTC grads. It was quite a celebration. Also attending the ordination were several AIM families who work in unreached people groups in central Tanzania, and it was a joy to meet them as well.
January: Jim began teaching at Nassa Theological College! He taught three courses: New Testament Survey for first year students, Church Relations and Support for the first-ever Missions Diploma students, and Contextualization for the Advanced Diploma students. Jim loves teaching these future pastors and leaders. What a tremendous privilege!
Also in January we took a trip to Dar es Salaam on the coast and celebrated our 25th Anniversary. We are so thankful to God for the years He has given us together, and for a chance to get away and celebrate. We greatly enjoyed spending time together without any logistics to handle – and traveling with only one suitcase!
In February we hosted an event for NTC here at our home. A friend from our 2018 trip to Musoma came down with his AICT Agroforestry team and taught a seminar (in our front yard) to the staff and students. They covered the Biblical foundation for creation care, and then some very practical help for the students for farming and care of trees. What we had planned as a visit with a friend God turned into a wonderful event which we hope will benefit the many communities where the students will be launched to serve.
March brought a surprise visit from our dear missionary friend Shelia D. So fun to have the tables turned and be hosting her here at NTC! Jim was able to participate in a TCRC youth event which focused on “Restoring the Foundations” (Isaiah 58). March also heralded the end of the first term with all the exams and papers to grade.
In April, NTC hosted a Missions Conference for the pastors in this local district. Jim was privileged to speak at one of the sessions and encourage the pastors in their love of God’s Word. We also enjoyed a short break between the terms and worked on some projects to begin turning this former guesthouse into our home.
May began Jim’s second term — the third/last term of this school year at NTC. His courses this term are: Ecclesiology, Worship of God, and History of Missions. One highlight in May was a visit from some of our friends in Morogoro. We hosted M & F for a week and enjoyed showing them a part of their own country they had never seen.
In June Susan began QuickBooks training with the financial staff, and Jim took on the additional NTC role of coordinator for the student ministry assignments. This gave him the opportunity to do more connecting with local pastors in this area, and he was asked to preach at a few of the churches.
The first few days of July brought a wonderful Missions event which we will share more about soon. Jim is busy grading papers and exams and helping NTC prepare for graduation.
And “just like that” a year is past. Another AIM missionary made this statement which we pray will be a mark of our first year, “If a year from now I have mastered the local language, know my way around, and never have another bug bite, it will mean absolutely nothing if I don’t know Him better.”