Dear Friends and Family,
By God’s grace, after a poor night of sleep Wednesday was pretty much on schedule. It included a way-too-early start followed by two short flights and a meeting with the ITEM team. We were able to refocus the ministry here and make good plans.
The bed in Nairobi was not good news for my aging body. No matter what I did to try to make it more comfortable I was unsuccessful and slept very little. I was up at 4:30 to leave for the airport at 5:30 for an 8:20 flight to Tanzania. Two flights on large prop planes took me from Nairobi to Kilimanjaro, Tanzania then to Mwanza, Tanzania.
ITEM-TANZANIA’S SHORT HISTORY
Our ministry here has been around a long time. The first coordinator went to The States for schooling. The current coordinator went to The States for schooling, turning the ministry over to the third coordinator who went to The States for more schooling when the second came back. Now they are both here.
Several years ago, they withdrew from their own denomination so they could freely preach the whole counsel of God as opposed to teaching from the denomination’s catechism week after week.
There was early confusion on the part of some team members as to what ITEM was going to provide for them in their ministries. Then two of the team members withdrew money from the newly formed denomination’s bank account, which put the brakes on the entire ministry.
It took a couple of years to work through that. The perpetrators were never completely repentant and eventually left the team.
REGROUPED REFOCUSED REVISIONED
Today I met with the team to get caught up on each other’s personal lives and ministries, to discuss the current state of ITEM’s ministry here, and then plan the future. It was a profitable time and I believe our objectives were met.
There are currently two mentoring groups going on here. One is in the Mugumu area (see map in the photo album). The other is here in Mwanza (see map). Joseph, Marwa, ITEM Coordinator, far left in picture in the album, believes we can easily expand to the capital city, Dar Es Salaam, and the other large city, Arusha (see map in album). The plan is to bring together leaders from these areas that Joseph knows as soon as possible and share ITEM’s vision with them. Joseph is confident that they will grab hold of it and that we can them train them and they will become our key men in the other strategic areas. I reminded the team that whenever we launch in a new region we are making a long term investment that includes bringing the same pastors to two seminars and then enrolling them into a mentoring group that now includes lesson plans for 23 meetings, with more to come.
Because of the financial gifts of so many of you, we have been able to purchase electronic equipment for our teams in each country. Today I distributed a Chromebook, a video projector, and a conference speakerphone (see picture). The plan is to use this equipment to connect with us in the US for remote team meetings and even training classes. I also gave each one of them a flash drive filled with great public domain Bible study resources that will help them in their ministries.
E-4 BOOKLET IN SWAHILI
One final discussion that we had was the printing of our E-4 Church Strategy booklet into Swahili so we can make them available at our seminars here.
So, it was a good day. By God’s grace, the mission was accomplished. Tomorrow, Thursday, I head back to Nairobi. Spend one night and Friday head to Uganda for my and ITEM’s first step into an apologetics ministry. It will start with a Summit for several groups that are interested in apologetics, followed next Monday-Wednesday by an apologetics conference. More about that another day.
May the Lord encourage you as you hear these stories of how your prayers and partnership is paying dividends in Africa generally and Tanzania specifically.
By His grace,