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AUGUST 2022    
     August was a busy month! The Tanzanian children, who all attend boarding schools, have been home on break due to the national census. This gave our children the opportunity to make many new friends. Meanwhile, the ACSOP students have returned to the school to begin the fall semester. Graduation will be held in November.
      Our biggest accomplishment this month was finding a house in Moshi! It is currently undergoing some repairs, painting, and small construction projects. We have been to see the progress a couple of times, and hope to move in by the end of September.
     A special thanks must be given to Charles, Ahimidiwe, and Agustino from ACSOP. These men have taken time out of their schedules to assist us with our work and resident permits, our search for housing, and several different issues that have arisen over the past three months (including challenges like how to make our Japanese vehicle speak English!). At times it is frustrating that we cannot do everything for ourselves; however, that is the challenge a person faces when moving to a foreign country. We appreciate these men deeply for their help.
     One of the best parts of mission work is welcoming Christian families to our home. We have enjoyed fellowshipping with several of the brethren this month. It was also our privilege to host a group of medical personnel who were here on a survey trip. Such visits are a joy because we get to share the enthusiasm these folks have for working in Tanzania.
     We have continued to visit area congregations. August saw us visiting Monduli, Baraka (in Mosquito River), Arusha, and Mererani. We attended Kisongo for mid-week Bible study. We really look forward to these visits as it gives us an opportunity to meet so many of the preachers and members in the Arusha region. The Arusha church of Christ hosted a two-day seminar covering women's topics and marriage. We were able to attend the marriage seminar and it was well-received by all who attended.
     A big highlight of this month has been conducting Bible studies with Zihaka from ACSOP. We studied with two different men and will continue to do so over the upcoming weeks.
     Some of the issues facing Tanzanian churches are not often encountered in the U.S. The Baraka congregation is in the Mosquito River area, and this area is primarily inhabited by members of the Maasai tribe. Polygamy is the norm, making conversions very difficult (especially among the men). Even when a married Maasai desires to become a Christian, he has a hard time understanding that he must give up all but his first wife. The result is that the converts are mainly women who have no legal right to divorce here and who face exile from the tribe if their church attendance is opposed. They have no financial means to support themselves and their children if they are cast out. We ask that you pray for those in Tanzania who face enormous cultural hurdles in their desire to follow Christ.
     As always, we ask you to keep our work here, YOUR work here, in your daily prayers. We are so very thankful to all who are a part of this effort. You are the senders, and your role is vital in the harvest field.

In Christ,
Noel, Jessica, Lorelai, Claude, Arabella, & Juliette Stafford

From Jessica...

     The month of August really flew by! Between the kids playing non-stop with their friends, traveling to Moshi to deal with house matters, and starting back to school, it has been a whirlwind.
     Our new school year began this month. Lorelai started 11th grade, Claude 8th, Arabella 7th, and Juliette 5th. They will begin Swahili classes at Kibo-Shanty Secondary School when we get moved to Moshi. Claude will also play soccer at the school, and Lorelai will take chemistry lab. That is such a blessing because I did NOT manage to bring a full chemistry lab setup in my suitcase!
     Claude and Noel had a treat this month. They were able to attend a professional soccer game here in Arusha, along with some men and boys from church. If you know Claude, you know why his smile is so big in the picture! He has begun collecting jerseys for his favorite local teams.
     The kids have really enjoyed playing with their Tanzanian friends this month. Everyone was home from school because of the national census. Claude invited his friends over as much as possible with one goal in mind: PLAY LOTS OF SOCCER. Sadly, the local thorn bushes scored a few dead "futbols" and he is down to one "good" one (the tough ones that feel like leather). The girls, meanwhile, have entertained kids of all ages with the few toys we managed to bring over, and generally running wild in the yard or hanging out on the porch.
     This Lewis County native was super excited over a surprise treat. We enjoyed two really truly yard sales, and made some new friends in the process! (The best find, of course, was the books.)
     For August, I made a goal of translating one Bible story and a song to go with it with visual aids. I wanted to give one packet to each congregation so they would have teaching materials that will last for a while. A huge thanks goes out to Jane and Paulina, who helped me translate the song, and to Vivian who translated the story. Beth also gets props for showing up at crunch time to help me get everything laminated! I will just say that typing in a foreign language is NOT easy. I fought my computer's autocorrect every step of the way; as a result, the lesson still went out with a few minor typos in it. Next time, I will take smaller bites.
     On a serious note, I just want to say how touched I was with the challenges facing the families in Maasai country. Though the government has begun to mandate school for the Maasai children, by and large they do not go to school. They never learn to read at all, unless some person or organization reaches out to help them. That is just what the Baraka congregation is doing; they offer lessons during the week to help those who are interested learn to read. Their philosophy is "if they can learn to read, they can read the Bible. Then they can learn for themselves about God." I tend to think of our world as being very modern until I see entire swaths of the country still battling illiteracy and religious darkness. May God help us shine His light into that darkness. Please say a special prayer for Tanzania as they are in a slow transition period. They are working toward a more literate society; but it takes a long time to effect the level of change needed.
     We love and appreciate every one of you, our supporters! Thank you for giving us this opportunity, and thank you MORE for remembering us and the people of Tanzania in your prayers.

JS
     
     
Email:n4js@netscape.net

Tanzania cell:+255-074-294-8790

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Mailing address:
Noel & Jessica Stafford
PO Box 14041
Arusha, Tanzania
East Africa
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