This past Sunday, the 12th, our family traveled to Babati to visit and worship with the Lord’s people. We were up at 4:30 a.m. and left our house at 6 a.m. We picked up Ahimediwe, who came along to translate, and then we were on our way. Babati is 172 kilometers from Arusha (107 miles), and the trip took about three hours.
We got there at 9 a.m. and there was no one there yet. Some of us needed to use the restroom, but there were no facilities where the church meets. Ahimediwe found a neighbor who was willing to let us use theirs, for which we were thankful. It was a typical African outhouse; a hole in the ground, but at least it was in a shack of its own, so privacy was greatly appreciated. The neighbors seemed to find it quite interesting to see the three of us waiting in line!
The church in Babati has had many struggles. Due to the ungodly behavior of a former member, many church members have fallen away. However, there is a small group that is really trying to hang in there, and they were very grateful for us coming. One of the graduates from ACSOP is working with congregation. It’s wonderful to see former students and the various works in which they are involved.
George’s topic for Bible class was on Elijah, and his feelings of being alone. George reminded them that though at times they may feel like they are alone, they are not, and that God knows and cares about each individual, including during their time of struggles. George also preached during the worship hour. The brethren were very happy to have us visit. One of the first things that the preacher mentioned was their need for help in evangelism.
On this particular Sunday, there were only two women – an elderly woman, and another woman, who was there with her husband and children. The younger woman asked us more than once if we could come live there, and when it was evident that we could not, she asked if we could come stay for two weeks and teach there. She was very friendly, and was patient with my Swahili. [:)] Our plan is to make this one of the congregations that we visit monthly, and we hope to hold some special classes for them, to better equip their own members to share the gospel with others.
After worship, we said our goodbyes, and after getting down the road a little ways, we stopped for a few moments to have a bite of lunch that we brought with us. We finally got home at 3:30, and after washing the road dust off, we got busy preparing for the other missionaries to come at 5:00 p.m. for our Sunday evening Bible class. All of the missionary ladies pitch in so that we can share a light supper after our Bible study, and this time we had breakfast for supper. My family is always happy to see biscuits and gravy! Needless to say, we were all ready to hit the hay at the end of the day, but it was a day well spent.
Concerning other activities, Lindsey has started volunteer work at the medical clinic, which is operated by Dr. Smelser and his wife, Nancy, who are members of the church. Depending on schedules, she will be able to go once or twice a week. The clinic is about an hour’s drive from our house, and most of the time she will be able to catch a ride with Stephanie Stafford, who also volunteers her nursing skills. Julia also plans to help, as her schedule allows.
We hope you all have a wonderful week. Let’s each one of us use our time in such a way that we bring honor to Christ.
George and Joy