Posts in category Congregational Development

The Closing of a Chapter

So many books have been written about life in Africa.  Real life adventures of legendary figures like Fredrick Courtney Selous or the exploits of the great ivory hunters make for stimulating reading.  Such nostalgia from by-gone days seems almost fictional.

Remarkably, the wildness of Africa in many places remains untamed.  Areas remain where neither electricity nor piped water flow.  Oh sure, even the remote Masaai herdsman, in his half-wrapped shuka, can be seen talking on a cell phone.  But this is nearly the only thing that would set him apart from his great-grandfather.

Our personal journey as residents in this land of yesteryear is nearly to its end.  This chapter in our missionary journey is closing.  Tears are restrained with effort as I write this piece.  I have repeatedly said that no one can visit Africa and not be touched.  But words cannot convey how intensified the effects are from livingin Africa.  About six years ago, veteran missionary Ed Crookshank told me “Africa gets in your blood.” Well, medications have been able to rid my blood of malaria parasites, but Africa remains there.

To each supporting brother and sister and to each giving congregation we offer our sincerest thanks.  You have been faithfully holding up our hands as we have labored these past five years.  The final pages of this “chapter” have been a distinct blessing.  We have enjoyed the unique opportunity of living here in Iringa and working indigenously.  We have labored shoulder to shoulder with our brethren, striving to implement only what they can continue doing unaided by outsiders.

The dynamite is still in the Word of God (Romans 1:16).  It retains its force to cut the human heart (Acts 2:37; 7:54).  The sword of the Spirit is effective when wielded with patience.  We are humbled to have been the “earthen vessels” to carry this saving water of life to those athirst (2 Corinthians 4:7).  Paul rhetorically asked the question: “how shall they preach, except they be sent?” (Romans 10:15).  Thank you for allowing us to be the sent ones.

We are requesting that you continue your support through June if possible.  We are prayerful that this will be sufficient to allow us to relocate and become reestablished.  We presently have two congregations to investigate in person upon our return.  We are prayerful that one of these is the “door” God knows is best for us.

Even though we are planning on settling into a new work in America, I still wish to assist foreign works.  I already have a trip scheduled for New Zealand next year.  I would be interested in hearing from you if you are willing to be a supporter for short mission efforts in the future.

Please pray for our family as we begin a new chapter in our service to the Lord.

George

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The Great Commission’s Second Part

Our Lord gave us a monumental charge – to go into all the world with the saving gospel.  He died that men might live.  This commission in His own words reads: “Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit:” (Matthew 28:19).  The “second part” of this charge is: “teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I commanded you: and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world” (Matthew 28:20).

Once a soul has been freed from the bondage of sin, continued teaching is vital to further strengthen this initial foundation of faith.  The attrition rate among new converts is often traceable to inadequate initial teaching and the lack of “counting the cost.”  But also, the lack of follow-up teaching plays a part.

We are blessed with a good group of new converts here in Iringa.  On the 7th of this month we hosted a Friday evening teaching and fellowship time.  We had a great turnout.  Joy had prepared a number of traditional African dishes and the Samfords also contributed more.  The included picture shows the wall ledge which served as a buffet “table.”

Following our nice meal we all gathered in our living room and I delivered a lesson – The Problem of Human Suffering.  It is amazing how far back in time misconceptions about this subject can be traced.  Even in the time of Job (Job was likely a Patriarch; Job might be the oldest Book in our Bibles) his “friends” made the assumption that since he was suffering he must have some personal sin.  Furthermore, they surmised that since he was suffering greatly, then his sin must be grievous.

Superstition, witch-doctors, and such like are still so deeply rooted in this culture.  It is so important that our new brothers and sisters be taught the truth regarding these issues.  I have been amazed at how many Christians here seem to still be in mental bondage to some of these deep seeded fears.  Many believe Jesus can save, but still are concerned that a witch-doctor might put a curse upon them.  Freedom from such fears is just one among many blessings that those in Christ should enjoy!

We keep on teaching.  Please keep on praying for us.
George Jensen 2011

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Our Sunday

Sunday we worshiped with the Monduli Juu congregation, which is located in..you guessed it…Monduli Juu.  We’ve worshiped with them once before, right before going on furlough, and have wanted to return.  The membership of the congregation is primarily Massai. They have grown in number since the last time we were there, thanks to the evangelistic efforts of various Christians.

George was asked to teach the Bible class and I was asked to teach the children’s Bible class, which we both did.  Every item of worship took a longer amount of time, because there were three languages used:  English, Swahili and Massai.  The congregation is very friendly and enthusiastic.  It’s a very unique experience, much different, even, than worshiping in only Swahili. They sang songs both in Massai and Swahili. Here is an audio clip of a Massai song.

      1. Massai Singing

Until next time!

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Seminar at Kisongo

The Kisongo congregation, close to ACSOP, hosted a two day seminar Saturday and Sunday, February 20 and 21. Jacob, Luke and Lindsey went Saturday morning, and George and I joined them after a Bible class with a recent convert. Sean Hochdorf taught the Sunday morning Bible class on the Home. There are many areas in which many Tanzanians need improvement, and certainly the dynamics of home life is no exception. It is very common for husbands to beat their wives, and so that is one topic that the missionaries must address over and over again.

George preached two lessons on Sunday. His assigned topics were “Marriage, Divorce and Remarriage”, as well as “Does the Bible Speak About Abortion?” He was also asked to address the idea about whether or not Christians can use abortion as a method for family planning. His lesson on abortion was right after lunch and the room was warm and stuffy, but no one fell asleep. Abortion is a huge problem here. It is against the law in Tanzania, except in such circumstances in which the mother’s life is in danger. However, there are many “butcher shops” and the law is pretty much ignored, by both government and civilians. Sadly, the blood from innocent babies is crying out from the ground in Tanzania, as in many other parts of the world.

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