Wednesday, April 8, 2015
“If the law supposes that,” said Mr. Bumble, squeezing his hat emphatically in both hands, “the law is an ass — an idiot.” — Charles Dickens in “Oliver Twist
Well, they are at it again. After failing four times in local courts and once at the regional level, the Methodist Church of Kenya through two Tanzanian pastors (ex-pastors of ours) is suing us at the high court (like the Supreme Court). I read their filing and they are claiming that all of the church buildings, parsonages, and all the buildings here at our mission are their property and can be sold by them. They included me on the list of defendants so I may have to go to court in Mwanza. Our attorney just laughed and said they will lose again and convinced us that this time, we should countersue to reclaim all the money we have spent on legal fees (well over $5,000—most of which came from me). I have not been happy with the idea of suing other Tanzanians even if they are just trying to make money for themselves and to steal property that isn’t theirs. However, one can only take so much. Even this time, we will have to pay about $1,500 for our lawyer (here they call them “advocates”), and even though we have convinced him to wait at least six months for payment—that is money that could go to far better use. If we do win the countersuit and actually reclaim some money, we have decided to spend it all on Swahili Bibles and church construction. That is a big “if” however. First, we have to win the suit before the high court in the next month or so. After that, we will see. If we prevail in court, and we have no expectation of anything else, the Methodist Church in Tanzania will rewrite our agreement with them regarding our mission. Right now, we have all rights to the buildings and property here at our mission until 2025, but to thank us for our help with the lawsuits, the church body will give us all the buildings and property here at Maisha Na Maji in perpetuity. As long as there is one of us living, or one whom we have named as responsible for continuing our mission, everything stays just as it is. The church in Kenya, with help of some of our ex-pastors, has been trying to get this property to sell it almost since we got here. If this final court case is concluded in our favor, they will never ever be able to contest our ownership or management. Even one of the church members who was originally helping the Kenya church has said this is too much and is now helping raise money for our advocate. Shaban has said that he was shocked to hear this man singing our praises in the town and is now convinced that this greedy man’s heart has indeed changed. If that is true, then all of this hassle was worth it—to reclaim one soul for Christ and His mission. More as we get news. I hate this.