We have now finished a full week plus one day of work in Tanzania. Our work is hard, and we are very tired by the end of the day. Sometimes it is hard to see whether we are making any progress in our work from hour to hour. But whenever we might be discouraged, God reminds us, whether individually or as a team,
“Even to your old age and gray hairs,
I am he, I am he who will sustain you.
I have made you and I will carry you;
I will sustain you and I will rescue you.”
We are so enjoying our time here. There are definitely things here we don’t love. A quick survey of team members resulted in these answers: the dust; the latrines; the trek to fetch water for work from the stream. But these are far outweighed by the joy God gives us from other things: the sun rising beside Kilimanjaro and bathing the world in gold; having our devotions and library reading down by the stream, with the bubbling of water as our background music; the smiles and laughter of Alumbwe and Bukata (sons of Saba and Ethel, TMI Tanzania national coordinators) as they play with us in a few minutes of free time in between supper and Bible study; the Word of God speaking to us in our devotions or Bible study; hearing what God is doing in the lives of our team members as we take turns leading group devotions each evening.
And we are reminded that God uses even the hard or frustrating things in our lives. So, as Romans 5:3-5 says, “We glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”
There is so much to love here in Africa: the Tanzanian BMW students who work side by side with is after their classes are done each day; the students’ singing, praises rising to Jesus in Swahili; occasional groups of monkeys down by the stream during bath time (those who have not yet seen the monkeys are quite jealous!); the Masai wandering past with their herds of cows, goats, and donkeys; getting to experience – and help with – sunflower harvest here at the base; a sky filled with stars as we finish evening devotions and head into our tents. And of course, Kilimanjaro majestically rising over us, reminding us:
“I lift up my eyes to the mountain –
Where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
The Maker of heaven and earth.”
As always, if you are praying for us, we say a heartfelt THANK YOU. We ask that you please continue praying for health and safety as we work, and that we would be an encouragement to the students and coordinators here.