Saturday, January 25, 2014

Meet Eli


The young man pictured above is Eli.  Of course, that is not his given name, but it is the one most call him as his given name is long and hard for me to remember.  Eli is of the masai tribe.  They practise many things which are contrary to the Bible and are cattle farmers.  Eli came to me in July last year asking if I would be willing to assist him in going to college.  While I get many requests for help which I cannot grant, this particular one I felt compeled to meet. 
Eli informed me that his father has 4 wives and 22 children.  Eli is 22 and stated that he had no desire to stay within the tribe and continue as a cattle farmer.  His desire was to continue his education in order to find better work.  Eli had already taken the initiative to apply to two higher education courses and had been accepted by one and was awaiting news of his acceptance to the other.  Having recieved this acceptance, he was now in need of funding.
While to us the cost is not too great, to a Tanzanian, especially a young man like Eli the cost is a fortune which they can rarely come upon.  The cost of his first year of school would be around 900,000 shillings which in USD equals around $575.  The average daily wage for a Tanzanian is 5-7,000 shillings per day.  It would take 5 months to earn this amount of money.
I talked with Eli for several days about his plans.  I agreed to pay for his education if he would do two things.  The first was to study hard and make good grades.  The second was to read the Bible (which I provided) and go to church while at school.  He agreed and in September he left for school in Dodama which is quite a distance from here.
Eli returned to Chimala in December for  the holidays and then was to spend one month working at the hospital learning the administrative side of things as part of his schooling.  He scored all A's and B's in his classes and he said he had been reading his Bible as promised.  For the month he would spend here, I bunked him in with the CBI students (Chimala Bible School) and hooked him up with several of the Bible teachers for Bible studies.  Yesterday, Eli was baptized into Christ.  I am so proud of him and rejoice in his decision to accept God's plan of salvation.  Below are a few pictures of his glorious day.
This is Boaz, an Elder at the Mission church of Christ and one of the Bible teachers who studied with Eli.  He is attempting to clear some of the muck from the top of the water where Eli will be baptized.

Eli is listening as we are all singing praises to God.

Boaz finds that while we sang and read a few scriptures, the muck has returned to the area.

Chad leads the prayer for Eli.  This was a GREAT DAY!


Saturday, January 18, 2014

Catching my breath

It is funny, don't you think, that we wish each other a Happy New Year.  I understand that it is the turning of a new calendar and, of course, it signifies that we have lived through it....but do we really expect the New Year to be different from the days before?  Just a question.

Here it is already the bottom half of another month; the previous days have ran together and quickly by.  The first of the month brought many new faces to the mission and an unexpected trip to Dar.  One of the missionaries who arrived at the end of December was Bill Stinson, our state-side mission Administrator.  Unfortunately he was very ill upon arrival at the Mbeya airport and while he did improve from that incident, he continued with chest pains.  His continued chest pain was the reason for the trip to Dar.  We went to one of the cardiologists in Dar for assistance.  Bill was given some medications to stabalize his heart and chest pain.  We were sad Bill had to leave the mission earlier than was expected, but glad he was able to return back to the states to have his condition further investigated.

The Wagner's arrived back to the mission from their two month furlough and I was so happy to have my mission family back on the mission with me.  Arriving with them were our new team members, the Price family. 

The mission schools began their new school year on January 6th,  which also adds lots of work for everyone.  During the school break, many were busy cleaning and fixing up the school preparing it for the new students.  Of course, we always wish we could do more or have more time, but in the end things were pretty well ready.

On top of all these items, the hospital and clinics continued to need attention as well.  Many of you may have already heard about the excitement of the December 28th Mfumbi clinic where I killed a cobra....but in case you haven't let me tell you.  You know I truly hate snakes...I rarely see one that you wont hear me scream bloody murder.  But for some reason when I saw this snake slithering on the ground, I did not only not scream, but I grabbed a chunk of wood which was laying nearby and went after it.  It must have been a passing minute of insanity....  As I went after it, I did not know it was a cobra until it turned toward me raising up its head and body from the ground, opening that threatening-looking cape around its head.  Now that stopped me for just a minute and the others in the area began yelling at me to "get back", "get back".  But when the snake began to slither away again, I continued to go after it.  Once again, it turned toward me raising up from the ground and spreading that cape...and I thought.."no you don't!  I am bigger than you"...and down I went with that piece of wood I had in my hand and smashed him just behind his head.  Then one of the others (men, I might add) then came over and finished him off by smashing his head.

The clinic, in spite of the snake was very successful.  I will need to really work on getting more pictures to show you the good work we are doing.  I seem to be so busy working that I forget about taking them.  We were not as busy at the December clinic as we were in November, but that was to be expected.  We saw 46 patients and the church is telling me that they are extremely happy to have the clinic for the community.

One more small bit of news for today.  I will be making another unexpected trip to Dar on Monday.  I have somehow managed to hurt my left knee.  It was something which happened back around the 4th of the month and is not getting any better.  I did not fall or have an just "popped" one day when I was walking quickly across some uneven ground.  Will have an MRI to see if anything further needs to be done.  Hopefully just needs more rest than I seem to be able to give it.


Wednesday, January 1, 2014


I want to wish you all a very HAPPY NEW YEAR!  I pray that the Good Lord blesses you all throughout this year.

I also want to thank all of you who helped me to have a very successful 2013 at Chimala Mission.  I pray that we can all continue to work together to make 2014 even more successful.