Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Fire, fire, fire! This is not a drill!

I think Doug learned it in the Navy, but this is what he announces when there is a wildfire.
All hands on deck would be a good interpretation.  We have had three unexpected fires already this dry season on campus and one nearby where we were called to help.
The winds are STRONG now.  The grass is too tall and too dry.  This all makes for a challenging fire season!
Thankfully I don't believe anything important has been burned.
Even the fire that went through the old cow pasture didn't seem to harm the wooden posts.
God is so gracious to us!
It is also honey harvesting season.  How do they calm the bees?  They use smoke.
Where there is smoke.... (you know the rest)... there is fire.
So some of the fires are because the remains after smoking the beehive have not been put out well enough.  The following day when it is warm, dry and WINDY, the fires have started up.  It is almost ALWAYS in the afternoon that we have fires, but not always.  Our second fire was in the morning.

Our last fire was our largest one so far.  It happened on a Sunday and most of our staff and nearly all of our students were GONE!
The phone rang and it was Jason.  He was a LONG way off, on his way back from town with a truck full of window glass for the press building.  He asked where the smoke was.  He said he could see BIG SMOKE and it looked like it was at Kibidula or just north of us from where he was.  I asked where he was.  HE WAS A LONG WAY OFF.  I ran out to the road, and could see NOTHING.  NOTHING.......
Doug and Joshua jumped on the motorcycle and off they went to see if they could see smoke.  They went one direction, and not too far away, Joshua saw two small puffs of smoke the other direction.  They turned around and zipped off, coming back by here.  I immediately changed clothes into some I didn't mind messing up, and called the Cootz (only the ladies home at that time!)
Then I get the message, YES it is HERE and it is BIG!  I start calling people and running to get the truck ready.  Jason said he already got the message and called the driver of the water truck and "our" fire chief.  After driving to get a few more helpers (I will try to keep this a short and not include ALL the details), off we went to join those that had already arrived.
As I was driving out, I started to think it must already be out.  I couldn't even see the smoke from the house or much of the road.  As we finally got closer, we could see LOTS OF SMOKE!  The wind was so strong that day that the smoke was being pushed off down low for a distance and wasn't very noticeable from campus roads!
The water truck and crew were busy and the fire was out within an hour.

In talking to Jason after it was out, he said by the time he got close to campus, it looked like the smoke was FAR away.
WHAT?  If Jason had waited until he got close, he would have dismissed it as not here. 
Oh, how thankful we are that God showed him BIG SMOKE from far away, or that fire would have been HUGE by the time we would have found out about it!  God intervened again.  God impressed him that it was at Kibidula or very close to it.  I am so thankful that the few people that were able to come to the fire were around.  We were not a lot of poeple.

All the glory goes to God.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Where's my phone? God intervenes!

Yesterday, Doug received a call asking if he could escort a truck load of bags of cement out to the new building site for the One-Day School that has been started here.
He finished his lunch quickly and left.
When he got home, he relayed this story to me.
He said, "I lost my phone."

I asked what happened.  He said it fell out of his pocket on the way to the work site.  I said I hoped it didn't get run over by the truck!  Then he showed it to me.  The screen cover was partially off and it was a little dirty.
He laughed and told me the rest of the story.He said his alarm to renew his phone package went off as he was escorting the truck out.  He pulled out his phone and turned off the alarm while driving.  He then put it back in his pocket.  He was going slow because the truck was coming slowly.  He doesn't have any mirrors on the motorcycle (another story).
At some point after arriving there, he searched for his phone and realized it was missing.  He retraced his steps and drove back out to where he had last used it.  Nothing.
He asked others there to call his phone to help him find it.
If I understand correctly, someone even asked one of the people that were in the truck about it, but didn't get a response.
Doug listened carefully while close to the truck, and sure enough, he heard something inside.  Our director climbed in and started digging.   I mean digging.
It was buried beneath a cushion and pile of coats.  It would seem that someone didn't want the phone to be heard.  They must have seen it on the road or even fall out of his pocket and retrieved it.
They didn't get it turned off before arriving at the delivery spot.
It would seem they hoped the mound of coats and cushion would keep it from being heard and retrieved.
We praise the Lord for helping Doug get his phone back. 

God is so good to us.  We just don't know how many times he intervenes!

It reminds me of the incident that happened several weeks ago in town.  Tere, Catherine and I were in town doing shopping for ourselves and others.  We split up for some reason.  I was putting my phone in one of my baskets.  Each time I came back I would unload my basket into the truck and continue on.  We had put a LOT of stuff in the back of the truck.  We had parted ways.  When I came back to the truck about 15 minutes or so later, Tere and Catherine were there.  They said they were so glad to see me and pointed out my phone was sitting right out in the open in the back of the truck on top of everything in plain site!
OH, I about choked!  All I could do was praise God over and over again for protecting my phone even in my carelessness!

Several weeks before this, we were trying to get phone lines set up for the Cootz and I ended up getting a new sim card also.  We were pulling out and putting in new sim cards, cutting them, trying this and that to make everything work.  I was being very careful each time to put the tiny sim card in a safe place each time I changed one out.  It had been a full size sim card, but was now trimmed down to the smaller version.

When we finished there (which was a little booth by the side of the road), we went back to the truck to leave.  I don't remember why, but I decided to check for the sim card (my original one).  I looked for it and could not find it.  I was sure it was in my little pink zippered pocket.  I told the others I couldn't find it.  Tere said, it is in your little pink zipper purse.  I said I was sure it was too, but I had looked more than once already and it wasn't there!  I said she could look for it while I went and retraced my steps.  I walked back to the place and told them what happened and we looked all around, nothing....
I was praying.  This was my main phone number line and I also had "money" on that line, maybe $30 or more.  I prayed and walked, and searched.  The thing is about the size of a large pea.  It could blend in so well with little pieces of paper.
God lead me to the exact right place in the ROAD and there it was.  I picked it up flashed it to the people at the stand who were also still looking on the ground for it.  I praised God all the way back for helping me find my needle in a haystack!

GOD CARES.  He really does.  Little things, big things.  I don't recommend being careless, but I am so thankful that He is there in our time of trouble!

Medical Missionary Work in the Village

With our last evangelism school session, when they went out to the village to do their effort, our Mr. Bill went with them.  He was right there in the middle of it with them helping with first-aid issues and other things.  We were told that there was a terrible case of bed bugs where they stayed.  Some of our students were "city folk" so the village conditions were a real eye-opener for some of them.   One student said she didn't have a clue that people of her own country lived so close to the edge of survival.
One lady in particular that had some nasty wounds on her legs was helped by Mr. Bill and our students.  Before the end of the meetings she was able to walk again and even walked to the church service.  We are thankful that we can watch God work to help people not only physically but also spiritually.
Here are a few other excerpts from Bills notes on the village effort.

     We were provided with a five room building for all 30 of us, two rooms for the ladies, 3 for the guy's, no kitchen or bathroom of course. The kitchen was a separate little building apart from the main house with a two or three burner stove, depending on how many fires you want to make on the floor. Totally off the grid as you would expect. We did have running water however, would you like to know how far we had to run for it? Only one quarter mile twice a day. We had 5 gallon containers and buckets. The guys would carry these containers, usually by their handles, some on their shoulders, that was my preference, the ladies choose to carry these 70 lb. burdens on their heads. I think it will forever fascinate me to watch them do this. One day while I was getting my bath water at the pump, two little, really little girls, no more than 6, or 7 years old, were also fetching their family's water supply. I pumped the water into their buckets, and with all my strength, lifted each bucket above their heads, until they positioned themselves under their load, relieving me of the weigh that made my arms shake, then in amazement watched them skip away, okay, they didn't skip, but it would not have surprised me if they had.
        What occupied most of our time was walking from home to home visiting, making friends, sharing the gospel as we had opportunity, and having prayer with them. On the first day out, our group of three came to the home of an intoxicated man working his craft of basket weaving, his wife sitting on the ground with their youngest of eight children by her side. All three looking dirty and dejected, the woman especially, with her head hung down, not bothering to even look at perhaps the only visitors they may of had for years. After ten minutes of trying to encourage this family, we started to leave, but by the request of the husband to his wife to show us her lower left leg, we stayed to see a sight that made our stomachs turn. On the front of this leg was a 4 inch gash, very deep and badly infected, due to an injury received by falling two months prior to our visit. The infection surrounding the wound by 3 to 4 inches, wrapping around to the back of the leg. Then were her right leg makes contact with the oozing  fluid of the infection, the infection had spread to that leg as well. Before even considering the implications of the problem, I told the students who were with me that we have to treat this. Fortunately I packed my little first aid kit; a small roll of gauze, some tape, a few band aids, what more do you need to save a leg. In the bush country of Africa you do what you have to do with what ever you have. We returned the next day to start treatments, washing the infected area with warm water and soap. One day we forgot the soap and she didn't have any, so we used a small packet of shampoo I had in my backpack from a hotel. After cleaning the wound and the infected areas we applied a charcoal poultice, prayed, and left. By the third treatment, the oozing had stopped and the infection was in remission. A week and a half later we were able to stop the charcoal treatment and focus on aiding the healing process. For that we applied honey. Toward the end of the 3 weeks of treatments, the women told us how surprised her neighbors were to see her walking again. We didn't realize when we first met her that she wasn't walking.

Bill in Njojo village helping the lady that couldn't walk

         It didn't take long before word got out that we were helping people. We were mostly getting people with infected foot injuries....
       We were taken to the home of a little 7 year old girl who became ill when she was 2 years old. She was hospitalized for a week, recovered from the illness, but was no longer able to walk or talk. Her mother died giving birth to her next sibling so Sara, was given to her grandparents to raise. Tanzania does not have facilities, or homes for the handicapped. This is not an uncommon case, I have seen it twice before. As the child gets older, so do the grandparents, until they are incapable to meet the increasing needs of the child. They usually die at a young age of neglect and starvation. We took a video of her and as much information as we could, and told the father we would try to locate a facility that can give her the care she needs.
     Three days before our effort ended, a mother brought her eight year old daughter to us with a massive infected sore on her neck, under her left ear. My heart sank at the sight of this beautiful child with this nasty infection eating away her flesh. So what can we do? We do the best we can with what we have, and pray! After the third, and last day of treatment with charcoal and honey, the improvement was remarkable. We instructed the mother to continue the treatment until she is completely healed. I hope to go back to that village to check on her.
     Each evening we conducted meetings, mostly on better living habits and health. It amazed me how far people would walk on trails in the dark to attend the meetings. The meetings were conducted in front of the building we were living in. One evening a large black snake was seen coming out of the building. Those who seen, and killed it believe it came out of the room that I and two other men slept in, on the floor.
    After about fifteen nights of being eaten by bed bugs, I finally figured out how to get rid of them. God's natural remedies are truly wonderful. I would take a clove of garlic into my sleeping bag and rub it all over myself, then leave the rest of the garlic in the bag through the night.

Thank you for all the prayers and support.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Agriculture School Graduation and the first time to use our new buidling!

 On June 19th, we said goodbye to the second year students that graduated from our agriculture school sponsored by REACH Switzerland.  We had 27 graduates.  It was a happy day for them and their families. 
This ambitious group of students and staff decided they would work extra hard to clean up the things left over from construction so they could use our new multipurpose building.  It was a fantastic way to begin the use of this new building.

The graduating students giving a song.

The students and staff did a nice job of decorating and preparing for the graduation.  It was a very special day, and we were blessed to be part of it with them.
After the program was finished, the graduates and staff.

Please do continue to pray for the young people here in Tanzania.  We seek to equip them with physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual tools to help them in this life and for eternity.
In addition to the agriculture, spiritual, English, sewing, and carpentry lessons, the graduates were offered a very special deal.  Sewing machines and carpentry tools were purchased and for a fraction of the cost, the students were able to purchase them so they could immediately go to work with their acquired skills.

Thank you for all your prayers and support.

Catching up on the news

Oh, it has been so long since I blogged, it took me a while to figure out how to do it again.
So I am looking through my pictures to remind me of some of the events over the last few months.

I apologize for those who like to read these posts.  We have been very busy, and I haven't made the time to keep you informed.  Please forgive me.

A lot has happened over the last many months.

Randy and Fletcher came and put the together the Zenair 801.  It was such an exciting day that we saw it take off for the test flight and return back safely!
Fletcher, Jason, Randy and the 801
First flight

 Then just after this, in November, we had four young men come to help us out.  It was a special treat for us because they are young men that we know from when we lived in Missouri.  The Tafts and Banges helped us personally and as a mission station with MANY, MANY projects.  We have just had more to do than we have time or manpower.  These young men jumped in and helped us get many projects moving forward.  We really appreciate their willingness and sacrifice to come be a blessing to so many and especially us!

Finally getting the muffler fixed - THANK YOU!

Cutting down some really tall trees that were dangerously close to structures.

Unloading One-Day Churches and books

Helping out wherever needed.

The last load of sheep was sold before the end of 2015.

I started the year out in an unexpected way.  I came down with typhoid fever.    Because of a very quick and long driving trip to Dar es Salaam to get some paperwork moving the right direction, I didn't get enough sleep on the trip, and I got VERY SICK.  I was out of commission for several days.  I finally had to go get tested as my fevers were very high and I didn't want to eat.  God helped me get well!  A few others on campus also came down with it.  We aren't sure what the source was.

Doug and I taught the medical missionary session in January (I did until I got so sick).  We had a very large class. 

It seems like I have been back and forth to Dar es Salaam many times and also on other trips since getting involved with the publishing work.  On the way back from one trip, we saw something unusual.
Camels by the side of the road. 

At the beginning of February we had to "put down" our beloved Lassie.  He was the best guard dog, and super family pet.  He had developed cancerous tumors all over and had a huge painful swelling on his shoulder.  He got to where he couldn't get comfortable, and hardly could get up and down.  We just couldn't watch him suffer and die slowly.  It was a hard day in the Schoch house.

With his passing, we needed a new "guard dog".  We asked for a male, and ended up with little Alto.  She is a funny GIRL.
Faithful Lassie unable to get comfortable

Little Alto trying to get the kitty to like her
 Just a few days later, I get a call that our dog has arrived.  I thought we already had our dog!  We were told this one is a male.  What could I do, but go get him.  He was so skinny.  He is doing pretty good now.

Then came Tenor

After this, I was off and running going to publishing meetings,and meeting with the church union leadership.
First in Iringa, then in Singida. 

Iringa Town Southern Tanzanian Union Publishing Meetings

One Sabbath afternoon we spent our time trying to free up a stuck cow who managed to wedge herself between boulders and sink her back legs in a muddy hole.

Free the cow! 
 With much help and effort, she was finally freed and walked back to the herd, but not before a torrential rain soaked us.  When she finally came out she landed on the hand of one of our agriculture students.  His fingers were badly busted open.  We took him home to dry him off, wash his wounds and bandage them.

Then I was off to another publishing meeting but this time in the North.  They are another great group of people.  

Singida Publishing meetings
Then we had the joy of having Joshua White on campus for a time helping us with true education principles.
Also Robert and Johann came from Canada to help us with many of the construction projects.  We made some good progress while they where here.  We also really enjoyed their cooking! 

A large donation helped us to get a very needed piece of equipment that has been a huge help all over campus.  On April 28th, JaCoB arrived.  Our JCB backhoe has been helping us get a lot done in a shorter amount of time!
IT'S HERE!  The unloading, early in the morning. 

Then we had the great treat of the Cootz family arriving on campus.  They "fit right in" with the team.  We are so glad to have them here. 

The avocado project continues to expand.  We have added a greenhouse and many new varieties to test.  We have lots and lots of orders for seedlings which is a huge blessing to the project.
New greenhouse in the background and thousands of new seedlings

 At the end of May, our evangelism school session ended with a large graduation of excited people ready to go out and work for the Lord!  It is always hard for me to say goodbye to them.
Graduating class from the Evangelism School
We are happy that avocado season is now in full swing.  Here is a load going to town for sale.
Beautiful Kibidula Avocados

 At the beginning of June, I went out to the 2nd Unit of the Agriculture school.  We had heard that they had good yield on their crops, but I didn't expect to see the long mountain of bean plants ready to be threshed!  God really blessed their efforts this session.  They expected more crops than previous years!  MUCH MORE!
Mountain of bean plants at unit 2
 Finally in June, Robert arrived from Kenya to help with accounting.  We are still waiting to see if it will all work out for him to join the team.  All the accounting work has kept Doug VERY busy!
Robert Maina from Kenya

 Our primary school did a "vacation bible school" type of event in a village and the final day many of our staff went out to show our support.  The young people did almost the entire program for both Sabbath school and main service.  They also did programs in the afternoon.  They are a lively group and very creative.
Young people singing

Well that gets up up to part way through June.  I think I will post a separate post for the next item I find on my camera.
I hope to post again SOON, if not today.
Thank you for all the prayers and support!