Teleios Ministry

Monday, November 24, 2008

A Lifetime First

This morning was a repeat of all the past mornings with the exception of exceptional chapati prepared by Neema. I had the opportunity to finalize my teaching assignments in Kenya and renew some information regarding the children’s home. Neema continued my Swahili lessons. Mpeli and I reviewed the financial books for the children’s home—they were well-prepared. Also, we reviewed the contracts and the first financial reports for the “bus” business transporting faculty and staff of Tumani University to and from the city center. This is proving to be a very good opportunity to use the bus to provide income for the children’s home.

After lunch we visited the hostel project. Mpeli did a great job in getting it ready for the students and cleaning up the site. Then came the event of the day.

Mpeli and I accompanied Neema to Kidetete to deliver a couple of women’s health packets and women’s “panties” as part of a maternal health partnership led by Suzanah Raffield, Panama City, Florida. Under her leadership Women from Elba, AL, and the Covenant Community Church in Elba gathered the women’s supplies. Culturally, Mpeli and I were not present in the Kidetete church for the distribution. But after a time of talking, singing, praising God, I was invited to join the ladies. They came rushing at me thanking me with unbelieveable enthusiasm. I wish that Suzanah and the women who came to Kidetete in July could have been here. The women kept on thanking me. For me it was a great time of experiencing the diversity of God’s provision, mutual partnerships, and how little/overlooked things regarding women are actually big things for them culturally and practically. I was forbidden to look at some of the pictures for Suzanah but was allowed one photograph of them thanking the USA women and Suzanah through me. In short, I received thanks that did not go to me for items I did not gather or distribute. I did however carry around 400 pairs of panties from Greenville to Iringa, Tanzania. I truly thank the Lord that I was not stopped by customs. Seriously,I truly thank the Lord for Suzanah's vision and the faithfulness of those who embraced the vision. This truly was a lifetime first for me.

Leaving Kidetete we toured parts of Iringa that I had not seen before and returned to the Mwaisumbe household. We enjoyed a relaxing afternoon and evening talking and praying for the concerns of our partners and the staff of the children’s home. Tonight, I am preparing to go to Kenya. Also, I helped Mpeli and Neema install skype on their computer. Tomorrow my safari is Iringa to Dar Es Salaam. After meeting several people that Mpeli has lined up, I fly to Nairobi at 6 PM.

Word from Bernard is that Adrian and Joseph are doing good. They are at Lake Nakuru National Game Park today and tonight. Praying they see every animal possible. Anne Davis and Mary Kabaru started their sessions at Happy Day Academy.

Great Day of Praising God

The sun was bright, a cool breeze came through the mountains, the pineapple juice was fresh, and the coffee was local ground coffee. This morning the Mwaisumbe family began a new era in coffee at their house. All I have to say is, “Starbucks has nothing on the Mwaisumbe family.” A departing missionary had sold them an automatic drip coffee maker. My task was an easy one—demonstrate its use. However, grinding the beans was a new experience for me to observe—I stress observe. I have to say my appreciation for my morning coffee was much greater.

We saw the children off to their worship time. Now that they have the bus, they visit local churches for worship. They loaded the bus in their official church going shirts and took off. Happy and excited to go to worship is an understatement. A growing number of the churches of the Iringa area are very supportive of the children’s home. The children love to go and worship. They usually get to sing and share with the church.

Mpeli, Neema, Berta, Maka, Sam, Onesmo, Elias, and myself left for my home church in the Iringa area, Kidetete Baptist Church. The worship service was especially meaningful for me. The church is growing and now has a choir and a children’s choir (led by one of the young people). Kidetete worship has a lot of singing and praying. One part of the worship was a time of thanksgiving to God for his goodness (no this is not an annual event but an every week time of sharing). My message was on Jesus Changing Lives. We had a special time of prayer for one older gentleman who had some problems with his thinking. The great celebration was that two young women made decision to follow Jesus Christ. One was the teacher of the Kidetete nursery school and for this we praise the Lord. Berta made a commitment to follow Jesus with all of her life. She is the daughter of Mpeli and Neema. Everyone in the Mwaisumbe family was celebrating. As a note, she is awaiting education test results to see if she can enter high school. Please pray for her in this. After worship the Kidetete church leaves singing. A line is formed outside the church and everyone leaving goes through the line greeting each person. This is one of the most beautiful and meaningful expressions of fellowship—I really like this.

Afterward worship we laughed and talked. Then, we celebrated with a chicken dinner at a local restaurant. Mpeli and Neema had guest from the Human Rights Commission for Children. They are an official government agency. They asked a lot of technical questions of Mpeli and Neema. After a period of time, the stopped asking questions those questions and began asking a different kind of question. They were embarrassed not to have something to give to the children. It seems they had never seen a children’s home like this one in Tanzania. They ended up singing and dancing with the children. The group was very positive about the children’s home. They came expecting to find problems and left with praise.

Mpeli, Neema, Pawdre Scout and I spent the rest of the afternoon talking about their vision for the future, the priorities for the children’s home, and the next way to impact the lives of children in Jesus’ name. A part of that discussion was the development of a secondary school which is desparately needed in the area.

The evening concluded by worshipping with the children. Even though the day had been long, they sang with joy and their prayers are always a blessing. This was truly a great day of praise and worship of the Lord.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Great Beginning and End for the Day

This morning we had breakfast outside in the coolness of the morning. I had the great privilege to be visited by the Twins (they came as two years to the Children’s Home and today are four years old). They came to see and to bring their greetings to “Baba” Floyd. I followed them to the Children’s home for us to play together. Also, Neema and I distributed some gifts to the children that you see in the pictures. We played together and one game was a new game that they learned this summer from Trish Miller—“Musical Chairs”. Obviously I did not win—I was robbed! A child stayed right behind me so that I could not side down without sitting on her. We had a great time.

In the afternoon, we went to the farm for some real work. We walked off the farm for size. Also, we checked the farm for slope. The farm gets a lot of water during the rainy season and much of it stands. Plans were made to plow the farm and plant corn and beans. The corn and harvest will greatly help the children’s home budget. Also, we revisited the sights for drilling the well. Next week we hope to begin preparing the field for planting. Already we have helped the local economy. People heard that two pieces of property had been purchase. They asked, “What is going on there? The land must be valuable. Now people are buying land all around us. Some families are not selling but are holding on to their now valuable land. Neema caught me off guard by saying, “this property is big enough for a farm and a secondary school. I am happy that we will plant corn and beans here.” Neema is a woman of great vision and determination.
I met the chairman of the village council—at first he called me, “Frank.” Frank Strickland had been introduced to him in June Frank—Floyd all sound alike.

Tonight we worshipped with the children. They sang, “How Great Thou Art” in Swahili. This was a very moving time of worship.

Tomorrow I will worship in Kidetete and with the children at night. Rumor has that its goat for lunch—eat your heart out!

Home Sweet Children's Home

The travel over was uneventful except God was great in arranging my upgrade to business class from Detroit to Amsterdam and an empty row of seats from Amsterdam to Dar Es Salaam. I had the privilege to meet Frimat Tarimo, Assistant Director Legal Affairs, Higher Education Students Loan Board. He is a part of the Ministry of Education overseeing student loans. He was returning from a trip to the US to discuss best practices for financing student education. This was no accident that we met. We talked about faith in the Lord, the need for education that provides for a strong moral foundation, and various legal aspects of business development in Tanzania. He also has a private practice as an attorney. Frimat was very kind in offering his services in the event that I needed anything while in Tanzania

Mpeli and Frank Mwaisumbe met me at the airport—it was a great time of laughing and hugging. We left for my hotel of choice, Namnani, in Sinza section of Dar Es Salaam. A great night’s sleep and a warm shower do wonders for a person. Breakfast and we were on our way to Iringa. The rainy season is just beginning and the weather was hot and muggy until we reached the mountains. The ride the Mikumi National Park provided a few sights (we were hit by a monsoon rain for part of the ride) herd of elephants, Cape buffalo, zebra, antelopes, and lots of vultures. In fact, two recent lion kills near the highway provided a party for what appeared to be a hundred vultures.

Words always leave me when I try to express the feelings of seeing the children and hearing their songs of welcome. This truly is one of the treasured moments of my life. We sang, danced, and shared words of welcome and greeting. I am going to try and figure out how to post a video on the sight or some sight so you can enjoy their singing as well. After a delicious meal and evening snack of popcorn, it was time to sleep.

Tomorrow is another day.

Adrian Giorgiov and Joseph Simon arrived safely in Nairobi. They are touring the Ruaka area and visiting Pro Africa children and families.