Saturday, June 21, 2014

Doug caught a thief "red-handed" TWICE!

We caught a thief "red handed!" 
This afternoon, we decided to take the boys for a walk that they had been asking for.  We decided to walk the "fire breaks."  While walking we notice someone way down in the valley "poking around" with a stick.  It didn't look like anyone we knew, so Doug and Ashery headed back up to the road, while Joshua and I went on down and around to where we had seen him.  On our way I thought I saw him way ahead of us looking at us.  By the time we got up the hill and met the other two guys, it sure seemed that he must have ducked into the brush and trees.  We kept looking and poking around for him for over 30 minutes.  Doug finally heard him in the brush and ducked down.  Then he came out and Doug confronted him.  He no longer had the stick that we had seen him with in the beginning.  He did have a machete and a few plants.  Doug called to the rest of us and we came from our various places. 

The man said he was from two different villages and also gave his name differently a few times.  Supposedly he was looking for plants for medicine.  He had not gotten permission to be on Kibidula property, and we were told to ask him to leave.  The man said he had his motorcycle parked a distance away.  Doug and the boys escorted him to his motorcycle and I took the dog home. 
After arriving back home, Doug told me more of the story.  After they arrived at the motorcycle, the man took his handful of plants, and strapped them to his bike.  Doug and the boys headed away from him but then ducked down out of sight to see what he might do.  The man took off on his bike and the boys left to go to a friends house to help walk their dogs.    Doug was going a different way but kept hearing a motorcycle. He said he thought it was probably another one.  So he headed back to where they had saw the man leave.  Doug saw the motorcycle again, but the man was not there.  After a while, he heard the man coming through the woods and ducked down.  He had a bag this time and started up his bike to leave.  Doug popped out and told him to turn of the bike.  Doug asked to inspect the bag.  Sure enough, the guy was caught.  In his bag were rats!  (I wish I had been there to see the look on Doug's face.  I think that was what he was doing with that big stick in the bushes when we first saw him.  I thought maybe he was poking around for snakes.  He was searching for rats!  He should have just said so in the beginning.)

Doug also asked him why he needed medicinal plants.  Supposedly his kids have the flu.  Doug told him that we could help with that problem.  Supposedly he will come back tomorrow to our house for help for the kids.  But Doug told him not to come back for plants or rats again.  I really don't expect him to come for help tomorrow, but I could be surprised.  Stranger things have happened.  So, Doug caught a rat & plant thief red handed.  I think the plants were probably a cover-up when he saw that we had seen him.  I could be wrong.  The whole thing is pretty suspicious.  The good news it that there are few less rats here on campus (and a few less weeds.)

So our walk was a bit more interesting than we had planned it to be.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Wrapping up the work in Dodoma and facing the Road of Death!

12 people sitting were baptized Saturday along with some others!

Last day of meetings 14 total tents were set up and there wasn't enough room!

During the last week - a health lesson - Tamara teaching, Joshua translating
With a name like "The Road of Death" you would think a person wouldn't really be looking forward to facing it, but we are!  It means that we are going home soon.  It has been almost three weeks since we have slept in our own beds.  We aren't complaining, but there is no place like home.
The health outreach and evangelism effort have been going on for three weeks now, and things are wrapped up.  Six hundred and thirty-nine people responded to our health expo and health outreach for testing and education.  We handed out thousands of pieces of literature on health and salvation in the last several weeks.  God has opened many doors.  We have spoken or taught in four different locations. Ten people followed their Saviour in baptism last week and 12 or more today.
The group set up an additional 9 tents, so today there are 14 tents here on the playing field of the local primary school. 
Flat dry stretch on the "road of death" from Iringa to Dodoma

Joshua helping with the sound system at the meetings

Doug testings some late comers

Doug and Joshua and many school children.

Tamara teaching and Ashery translating a health lesson

Some of the aftermath after the first dirt devil

Dirt devil aftermath another angle.

Doug and Joshua testing and giving health counseling

Ashely and a helper helping with health testing

House call to the village


This village puppy was so very skinny

House call to a 90 year old grandmother and a man that had an accident.  Doug is massaging.

Walking back from that house - trash is everywhere often in these villages
Heavy load of fire wood.  People are so resourceful and hardworking.

We leave in less than two hours!  I wanted to get caught up on posts before we get back the the land of random internet!  It has been nice being able to post pictures without making them less than 50 kb each! 
I did sleep well last night (the first time in many, many days!)  Maybe concern about the NUMEROUS malaria carrying mosquitoes has been keeping me up too much.  I got enough bites last night before going to bed I guess I wasn't worried about accidentally touching the net and getting a few more during the night.  I don't know.

Thank you everyone for your prayers and support.  Much will be going on over the next few months.  We have appointments near and far through October (at least) so far. 
We are close to 10% to our goal for purchasing a vehicle for our department.  We were very blessed to be able to use a pick-up this trip.  It belongs to another department but was available because of the recent leaving of a family from Kibidula.  Soon it will be put back into service with that department as a new family is arriving for that department.  We are still praying that God will provide a vehicle for the Medical Missionary team.  Thank you for your prayers and thank you to all who are supporting this work. 

The feedback we got last night as we were saying our good-byes was very encouraging.  God is touching hearts!  One couple from a non-Christian religion, made an amazing appearance late yesterday at the closing meeting.  They brought their 5 day old baby.  They had just came from the hospital with him.  The baby was dying.  If I understood (and Joshua also gave me details) the baby would not cry or nurse.  It had been on a feeding tube.  A group of church members went and prayed with them and the baby immediately started getting better.  When the hospital released them yesterday, the father said, "We are not going home.  We will go to the church first, and I want to be baptized."  They also asked for the baby to be dedicated.  It was, and the family will start lessons to prepare to follow Jesus as their Saviour in baptism.  It was a very emotional way to end the meeting.

Many people came up to us and were so thankful for the teaching and service that we gave during the last three weeks.  Many asked for our contact info and for written materials to learn more.  Some asked us to pray for them as they seek to follow the counsel that was given them.

I challenged them to a Daniel-10-day-test.  Many accepted and I told them we would pray for them!
God is faithful.  Time to pack!

THANK YOU EVERYONE for making it possible for us to work here in Africa.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

New and the Old

I am trying to clean up some things on my laptop tonight, since I just finished up with a project and have a few minutes before bedtime.
I was making sure some stories I had written on my desktop had indeed been made into blog posts before I delete them.  So I was looking through this site and previous posts.
I was looking at the Sights and Sounds post with all the various pictures, and it struck me how this country is so varied.
There are still people that live almost as if the rest of the world had not changed at all.  They have no electricity.  They cook using three stones as a stove.  They plant and harvest everything by hand.  Often they will use a big kinu to pound out their grains instead of taking them to a mill.  They walk everywhere they go, and some don't even have cell phones.
Then there are those that have taken in as many as possible of the developed-world's-ways.  We recently came from a wedding and the number of digital cameras and camera's on people's phones was surprising!  In some places, I think 80% of all the people have cell phones, and many of those have internet capabilities.
Cell phone towers are dotting the horizon more and more.  Even the road out to Mago has electric poles going up on it!  That seems so very strange after traveling that road for two years and there not being any electricity to the villages.  Now many people will have access to electricity!
Long flat mud houses along the "Road of Death" to Dodoma from Iringa
In other places where the lines have not come yet, there are more and more solar panels here and there.  Often we see in villages make-shift electric lines go from one place to another because people are buying electricity from someone who runs a generator at certain times in the day.  We are hearing more and more radios with loud music.  Even the buses have music videos or movies, of which I am not thrilled.   Everyone is subjected to it, whether they want to hear it or not.  Often it is so loud that even earplugs don't really help.
A few of the main roads are in good shape, and as soon as you leave those roads, often they are almost impassable.
The contrasts are amazing.
We see ox-carts, donkey carts, people carts, people carrying large loads on their heads.
Then we see the opposite.  We see semi-trucks, motorcycles, trucks, bicycles, daladalas packed to overflowing with merchandise tied on top (even goats at times.)

Ox-cart on the road between Dodoma and Iringa
It think of all the changes my generation has seen in our lives.  And then I think about the changes the people in this generation here in Tanzania have seen!  Oh, what would their grandparents think?
It just amazes me.  We experience such a huge variety of circumstances and people from day to day and place to place.  We just don't know what to expect next.
Hmm.  We live in a very varied place.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Demons and Dust Devils

For many people the idea of demon possessed people sounds like a thing out of the movies or something foolish.  But here in Tanzania, there are still practicing witchdoctors  and numerous accounts with the occult type challenges.  We are in a war between God and Satan and I think many times people forget that 1/3 of the (once holy) angels fell and now are what many call "demons." 
We have heard testimonies from people who have been very involved in witchcraft.  We have heard amazing stories from evangelist, students and close friends.  Even here just down the road from the largest university in East Africa (UDOM) in the village of Makulu during our efforts we have been hearing stories that have just happened that day while team members have been visiting guests in their homes. 
Yesterday we had a lady having a screaming foaming fit at the site (thankfully it was not during any of the teaching times, but it did run off  young men that were there to be health tested.) 
After a season of prayer things have been quit.  I just found out that she had been going to church but had stopped.  She then went to a witchdoctor to try to get a "spell or whatever" to get a husband.  Venturing on Satan's ground is a sure way to open the door for trouble.  I was also told that she is doing well now. 

Then today a lady saw us and was told we were testing blood sugars (incorrectly.)  She came and we did test her weight, height, BMI, and BP.  She received lots of counseling on health issues especially being overweight, diabetes and high BP.  She was full of questions and was very talkative.  She was with us for over an hour.  We invited her to the meetings and then the discussion turned really interesting as she started to tell us that she could not come because she has a problem with demons (especially a demon of a witchdoctor) that will not allow her to enter a church or religious meeting.  She was really very open about what was going on in her house and her problems.  She did give us her phone number and several of the local people plan to follow up with her to pray and study with her. 
And if that wasn't interesting enough - the weather is attacking us.
Friday the site and Doug were attacked by a dust devil (like a mini tornado.)  I saw it coming and ran for the truck.  Doug was putting up the measuring tape on the metal post of the sound system tent, and the dust devil picked up the tent, cutting his hand on the metal tape, broke one of the metal pipes, and dumped the tent down (three legs down one standing.)  There were only minor injuries.  The tent was welded and put back up.  Some of the speakers were damaged.
Attack #1.  Doug was holding the pole that is now on the ground where the boy is walking.

Then yesterday when we came back from lunch, we saw they were working on the speakers again.  We asked what happened and they pointed to the four tents that are together for the audience.  One was lifted off two of its legs and placed over the edges of two others.  It was moved about 4 feet!  Then we looked at the marks on the ground and saw that all of them had been moved.  They said a huge wind came and blew down the speakers and moved the tents.
Today, we saw a HUGE dust devil (MANY TIMES BIGGER than the one Friday.)  It was coming towards our site, then it changed direction and then dissappeard.  We saw it throw dirt and dibris thousands of feet in the air.  I watched for many minutes to see the debris continue upward until I couldn't even see it (and some of it was big!)  It came dangerously close to where Joshua and Ashery were. 
A friend of mine said (old World War II saying) that you know when you are close to the target when you start to "catch" flak.  Well, we must be onto something here! 

Please continue to keep us and everyone in your prayers!  We have four more days of meetings.  Many have been baptized and more are preparing for baptism Saturday.  God is faithful!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

New Family Member & Dodoma Trip

Ashery is the youngest student to attend (and graduate) from the evangelism school. 
Ashery receiving his certificates at the evangelism school graduation
 After graduation he joined our family and medical missionary team.  He is proving to be a GREAT asset to our team.  He is not phased at all when we come  to challenges.  He actually loves them.  He is such a trooper.  When someone starts to ask very challenging questions he is eager to jump in and work out the confusion.  He prays a lot and God is giving him the gift of helping people understand things that seem complicated to them.  We praise the Lord for bringing him into our team and family.  It has been funny though.  We have run into something we didn't expect.  Many people think he is a black American instead of a Tanzanian.  Oh, it makes for some funny misunderstandings.

The trip to Dodoma was longer than we thought.  I had forgotten that the road between Iringa and Dodoma was called "The Road of Death."  We had learned that name for it when we were in language school over two years ago.  It is the shortest route to Dodoma, but many buses and people had been taking the much longer way to Morogoro and back.  We were told that one time someone had been told not to go that way, but he insisted.  He was on motorcycle and thought he could pick his way through.  It took him TWO DAYS to get there!  They have been doing a lot of work (and still are) on the road.  The area that goes through the mountains is something to behold for sure!  WOW.  It was pretty, but a bit scary.  I don't know if I would be so willing to pass through there on bus and certainly think twice about going that route during the rainy season.
The steep mountain-side road (with no guardrails) on the Road of Death
We have been having a steady stream of people getting testing at the health expo.  It isn't much of an expo anymore, since we had to take our banners down.  The wind here is fierce and after one day, several of our banners were BADLY damaged.  I am not sure what I will do about that.  So they have come down and we will not be using them again this trip.  We will need to replace them SOON.
Doug singing and exercising with some students

Our meeting site is on the playground of a school.  We have lots of young visitors everyday.  We have taken turns telling them stories, testing them, playing violin for them, sing songs with them and teach them.

We had hoped that we would have some local assistance with the testing, but that hasn't materialized.  The evening teaching sessions are going great and we have had some extra speaking opportunities also.  We did house to house work Saturday afternoon.  That was great.  We met a lot of people and were able to meet several people with lots of health questions.  We were able to get back with one household today, and more people are coming to the meetings.
Dodoma health expo taking blood pressures
Between us and the other people going door-to-door, people have taken hundreds of
tracts on the Good News of salvation and health.

Today the evangelist and other church members went house to house.  They encountered at least one man that was suffering with demons.  It was a very interesting story (a bit grotesque at points.)  But the man asked for help and they prayed much with him.  He had many witchcraft charms and was scared to touch them and told people if they touched them they (the charms) would kill them.  Well, our group touched them and helped the man make a fire and they burned all the witchcraft items (the man's desire) and he is now wanting to be baptized!  God is amazing.

We have two more weeks to go here.  Thank you for all the prayers!