Travel Diary 3: Beware of the Steak Strips

Dear ITEM Partner,

I am in the airport in Kilimanjaro, Tanzania waiting for my second flight of the day. The first was from Mwanza, Tanzania to Kilimanjaro. Because of a cancelled flight, I had a 5 hour layover in a small airport with only metal chairs and benches on no place to eat until checked in. And I had to wait 3 hours to just checking. The second flight is taking me back to Nairobi before my trip to Uganda tomorrow. It’s been a long day already but something came up in my conversation with Joseph (ITEM Coordinator) on the way to the airport this morning that opened up another application of the apologetics ministry that I am seeking to launch under ITEM’s banner. More about that later in this report.

DON’T ASK WHY
I was up at the comfortable hour of 7AM. Joseph picked me up and I was at the airport in no time at all. At many of these international airports all your luggage is screened upon entering the airport and then the carry-on bags are screened again before entering the boarding area. I understand the “why,” but it is interesting is that in some cases these screening machines are only a few steps apart. At each stop they require you to come just short of completely undressing which means doing it once, putting everything back on then doing it all over again “right around the corner.” Don’t ask questions. Just follow orders.

Shortly after “911,” anything with a point was considered a potential weapon on a plane. I’ve had the file blade broken off my nail clips and I’ve almost had tweezers taken from me. But today was a new experience. 

BEWARE

I carry beef jerky with me as snack food. Today, one of the young men screen my carry on wanted me to open my carry-on. As you inspected things, he asked me what was in the bag with the label “Kirkland Beef Steak Strips.” I told him it was food, beef. He asked me if he could put it back through the xray/luggage-scanner and I told him to go for it. So, he put the bag of Kirkland Steak Strips back through the luggage scanner all by their lonesome and lo and behold, there was actually Steak Strips in the bag! 

APPLYING APOLOGETICS IN TANZANIA

While driving to the airport this morning I asked Joseph about the situation here in Tanzania. I know from the past that Islam is a big threat to the Christian churches here. Joseph explained that on the surface things are peaceful but that the Muslim strategy is to preach unity and oneness while quietly drawing untaught, unsuspecting Christians and Christian-sympathizers towards Islam claiming they are very similar. I then asked if there are any Christian leaders speaking out and warning non-Muslims that Islam and Christianity are NOT similar. He told me that the recognized Christian spokesmen are also preaching unity and oneness. That led me to ask if there was a need for someone to come in and help believers understand the difference and to be able to explain the differences to Muslims and answer the questions Muslims have about Christ and Christianity. He said, “definitely.” 

It just so happens that I have been doing a little bit of a study on the Islamic worldview and I started thinking that it might be a good idea to come back and hold a meeting for pastors and Christian leaders, comparing the two worldviews. 

(At this point, I shut down the laptop and I am now finishing up at the hotel where I’m spending Thursday night.)

FAST MOVING SCHEDULE

Tomorrow morning, Friday, I have fairly early flight to Entebbe, Uganda where I’ll be through the weekend. It will be my eighth flight in 6 days. But no more until next Friday, May 6. This weekend I will participate in an apologetics summit which was organized by Ben Clifton and Kristen Davis, the co-founders of Adventurous Apologetics. The goal for the weekend is for 6-8 organizations/groups, who are all interested in apologetics, to get together and discuss ways to work together to build an apologetics emphasis in East Africa. 

This is all for today, Thursday. Pray for the beds I sleep in. My aging body with the normal aches and pains doesn’t respond well to beds with hard surfaces. Pray I’ll get the rest I need. 

By His grace,
Steve

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