George and Jacob Left on a Jet Plane…I Headed to the Bush

The last couple of weeks have been particularly busy.  Earlier last week, George and Jacob came down with bad colds.  George was feeling very badly, with many symptoms of malaria, and I ended up driving him to the local hospital that night to be checked.  The test was negative, but the Dr. thought it would be better to give him the treatment just in case.  The guys still weren’t feeling too great, but they were able to leave early Friday morning on their scheduled flight to Malawi, where they will be spending the month of August helping Ed and Lina Crookshank in the work there.  Many of you may remember that our family spent a month there in 2006, helping with teaching in their Mobile Bible School program.  George and Jacob will be traveling to five different locations during the week, teaching the Major and Minor Prophets.  There will also be preaching appointments on Sundays, and Jacob will be teaching some classes for youth on a couple different Saturdays.  So, we covet your prayers for their safety and good health, and also for the rest of us who have remained here at home.

Yesterday, Aug. 1, I traveled with Cy and Stephanie Stafford, as well as Elly and Neema, Jane, Agnes, and Michael, out to Massai bush country.  It’s not a trip that women need to take alone, thus the male chaperones.  There is a newly established congregation in the Longido region which has been requesting a class for ladies.  Stephanie and I, along with Jane and Agnes, agreed to teach some lessons.  Another sister, Neema, came along to do much of the translating.

Our day was very interesting.  Stephanie, the first speaker, had been teaching for only a few minutes, when she spotted a rat running around.  She looked at me with eyes wide open and mouthed “It’s coming your way!”  That was not comforting.  I was able to get my feet off the ground and onto a wooden support under the desk, and looked down and there went the rat!  Let’s just say that I did not dare put my feet back down.  I was sitting near a wall, and the rat ran back and forth near the wall, by me.  He’d take a little trip to the middle of the room, and then come back.  Finally, he went to the other side of the room and climbed up to the window.  He played peek-a-boo for a while, popping his head up and down, in and out of the window, waving his little tail around to let me know he was still there, and then finally made his exit.  Whew!  Was I ever glad!

We taught four lessons, and provided lunch for them in between.  We did not want them to have the burden of feeding us, plus, we didn’t want them to be outside cooking when they could be in class, and so we brought lunch.  Even though you and I would think the food quite tasty – chicken sandwiches or chicken wraps, chips, bananas, and cookies, they really didn’t know what to think of it.  By the looks on their faces, they probably would have much preferred a plate of bland ugali.

The congregation has been in existence for less than two years.  The man who is working here is also a new Christian, doing the best he can in his limited way. Because the people are so void of biblical knowledge, one hardly knows where to begin.  Even though we asked, we really couldn’t determine who may actually be a Christian.  Stephanie, who taught a lesson on Eve, asked if anyone had heard of her, and one person had.  It is so unfortunate that many of their tribal customs and rituals are contrary to biblical teaching, not the least of which is polygamy.  As I was sitting there, I was wondering how many of these women, and even young girls, are wife number two, three, four, five, …ten?  Most of the young women have likely been through what no human being should endure, thanks to their tribal customs…  They need the gospel, which will both elevate their present life, and also give them hope for life eternal. Contrary to popular belief, our aim is not necessarily to change culture.  However, when culture and biblical truths collide, culture must give way to the Bible, and not the other way around.

This kind of situation makes teaching very difficult. For one thing, there is the obvious language barrier. We need both a Swahili translator, and then someone else who understands both Swahili and Massai.  We had to rely on a 10 year old girl to translate from Swahili into the Massai language for us.  In addition to the language barrier, many of them are illiterate.  When I asked how many owned a Bible, maybe three said yes.  Illiteracy greatly inhibits the teaching process.

So, we do what we can, and pray that God will open doors of opportunity, so that we can do more.  Thanks for reading.  Please continue to keep us in your prayers, as many of you so faithfully do.

In Christ,