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.
Noel, Jessica, Lorelai, Claude, Arabella, & Juliette Stafford