Wednesday, April 23, 2008
The rainy season is ending. The tall green grass is fading along the mountainside to waves of brown. Wild flowers along with allergies are flaring up everywhere. Some have begun to harvest their crops, others have begun to burn fields to prepare for next seasons plantings. Most importantly for me is that the ends of the rains brings new opportunities to build our school. We have been waiting out the rains while traveling from church to church encouraging people here to raise money and work to build bricks for the next stage of our building process. In this stage, I am not asking for money from America. According to the agreement I made with the church, I would look for money to help build the secondary school in America but it was not going to be a project of the American churches only. It would require work, or money, or both from the Tanzanian church as well.
I have spent the last few months reminding churches of this agreement. At times this has been difficult. People share stories of how life has been hard this past year due to crop failures and family needs. Their complaints are legitimate. Life is difficult and the falling dollar has caused international prices for imports to change- especially with fuel costs and everything that comes here comes on large trucks. The shilling has lost ground even to the dollar and costs for everything have grown. But the benefits for the school will come to the Tanzanians and the Tanzanian church so it is important that they too contribute. We are not only offering charity but also building up people. In every stage of growth sacrifices must be made.
Last week though as I visited a local church it was announced that they were scheduling the youth of the church to build 60,000 bricks in a few weeks. Following this announcement, an elder from the church stood up in the middle of the service and said that it wasn't enough for the youth to build the bricks. Instead, the entire church should be there to build. Applause rose from the congregation and within my own soul. It is encouraging to me to know that the work we are doing out here is not only noticed and appreciated but also inspiring the local churches to contribute.
The well has been dug (50 feet dug by hand-tools), the ground is being prepared, and in a few short weeks I will be out on the field along with the entire Chanji church making bricks by hand. I don't know what I am doing but others will teach me. I am both part of the church here and part of the church in America. I find it important enough to contribute my money to the project, and as a member of the church here, I will give of my work also. Mostly, I will get in the way no doubt but my presence there means more than one more shovel to dig. It will show in a physical way that I belong here shoulder by shoulder as in the days of Nehemiah.
We appreciate your support both to us personally and to the building project here. Please pray for us as we break ground again and as we continue to raise support for the remaining stages of the building process!
Also we offer praise that Pat Apel (Becca's mom) has come to join us for 2 months and Keith Zuber (Chad's father), Craig Apel (Becca's father), and Kevin Rigg will be joining us for the month of May for a pastors conference and other ministries here. (Maybe I will get them digging with us as well!)
In Him who builds us up,