Saturday, November 2, 2013

“If you have done it for one of the least of these, you have done it for me.” ― Christ Jesus

It would seem that we should all be as happy as pigs in slop.  We have a good new car (eighteen-years old, but new for us), we have fifty biosand filters ready to be installed in a couple of weeks with the promise of more to come, we have growing support for our mission from the U.K., from Australia, and from Houston, Texas, all of which is allowing us to expand and enrich the ministry that we provide.  We have ten students on full scholarship at the Bunda Teachers College. We have joined with the Tanzania Methodist Church and added a hundred churches around Tanzania, we have added a Methodist Seminary that will educate our pastors and lay pastors for free--thanks to the Korean Methodist Church, and we have thirteen of those in school right now who will graduate and be ordained in another year and a half.  We have separated ourselves from the betrayal of those we thought were friends, but who had cheated and stolen from us and were using us to steal funds from the U.S.  It was painful, but it is over.  We have a group wanting us to train their health care workers in our sanitation and hygiene programs.  We have sold our old car to a doctor to carry health care out to the villages.  We have renewed our residence permits and have the American money to renew John's next February.  I already have my plane tickets, hotel reservations, and an appointment at the U.S. Embassy in Dar Es Salaam to have my passport renewed in December.  While in Dar Es Salaam for my passport renewal, I will preach at the biggest Methodist church in Tanzania.  John is planning to put an expensive, deep-water pump into the already hand-dug well near the church at Muranda with his own money.  It looks fairly certain that we will have the money to go back to the U.S. next May or June so that Karen can meet her new grandson and spend at least two weeks with her grandchildren.  Why then are we not happy?  Because Juliana's sister-in-law and a friend of ours who has helped us with our mission many times is dead from a fall in her home.  Because Howa lost the aunt who raised her from malaria on the same day.  Because Amos's daughter is in the hospital with serious malaria.  Because malaria, poverty, water-borne diseases, and other third-world problems continue to plague this country and to affect us personally.  Our health is not what we would like it to be, yet we are serving in spite of it.  We are servants who have difficulty accepting the good because we are so painfully aware of the bad that still surrounds us.  Still, our mission is strong, and we are committed to carrying out the call of God that brought us here.  Happy and content are not words that should be used to describe us.  Resolved, obedient, and thankful for all that we are allowed to do to expand the Kingdom of God and to bring hope to the hopeless in the form of Jesus Christ is what we are.  We are workers whose time of celebration will not come while we are still on this earth, but we are confident about the future of our mission and our work.  We will neither quit nor waver from the path we have chosen, and we are so very, very thankful for all those who have supported us and those who have begun to support us and for every prayer ever prayed to strengthen us and our mission.  We are what we are supposed to be--Christians struggling to live lives that imitate the Gospel, the Good News.  
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