Our reason for being in Nairobi was two-fold. We had been invited to attend AIM’s leadership conference and Ruth needed to have another medical check-up to discuss the blood clot issue that happened nearly 12 months ago now. Thankfully the detailed blood tests that were carried out revealed nothing sinister and the Doc was able to give a definite ‘thumbs up’ with no further appointments needed until next July. Ruth left armed with a further 12 months' supply of medication due to the fact that we’re unable to obtain it as easily here in Tanzania. As an aside, our walking route from the AIM guesthouse to the hospital is normally an ordinary journey of about ten minutes, but we’re learning that here in Africa, there is often no such thing as an ordinary journey! As we rounded a bend we were rather shocked to come across a bloodied dead body in a ditch running alongside the pavement of the main road next to the hospital! It would seem he was the victim of a hit-and-run accident during the night and yet here he was hours later, still lying there, just yards away from a group of policemen directing the queuing traffic during the 9am rush-hour!
The leadership conference went well and it was great to meet up with some familiar AIM faces, some of whom I had interviewed during my time with AIM in the UK. The highlight for us both was listening to some quality Bible teaching from our friend and pastor Eddie Larkman, and it was great to be able to meet with others to sing and pray in a language we actually understood! Thirty four sessions were packed into five days and the subjects covered included strategic planning, courage and leadership, values and alignment, changes in vision, and the art of listening and affirming, as well as a focussed look at what is happening in the various regions in which AIM is working. Our International Director emphasised the need for AIM to reaffirm its original priority of being a mission agency primarily involved in reaching the unreached of Africa with the good news of Christ. At this point in time there are still 2070+ unreached people groups here in Africa (primarily in the north) totalling over 708 million people who’ve never had the chance to hear the life-giving message of the cross.
|Retreat House official opening|
|Tony Sargent did the honours|
The Babati Milestone! It took us over 9 hours to drive the 430 miles from Morogoro to Babati through some varied and stunning scenery. We drove through part of the African Rift Valley, past Tanzania’s third highest mountain (Mt Hanang standing at 11,381ft), through a land of baobab trees and rock outcrops, over roads where carts and cows competed with lorries and buses, and where people wandered around wrapped up in blankets due to the cold! What made it even more memorable were the numerous rumble strips and road humps that put the shock absorbers through their paces!
|Babati AIC church|
|Pastors getting stuck into the Word!|
|Pastor John, who cycled 12 miles |
on a borrowed bike each day of the conference!
During the three-day conference I was very aware that a number of you were lifting me up in prayer and I felt that God answered those prayers by enabling me to speak on three occasions for 90 minutes each, and to my surprise, without too many stumbles and corrections! And although I am still far from being a fluent Swahili speaker it was a huge milestone for me – one which I actually enjoyed! Basing the three talks on a book about discipleship amongst Muslims in Africa I focussed on what it means to be a disciple of Christ and looked at the way in which Jesus discipled his followers. We also looked at the importance of prayer when reaching out to such people in our communities, and using the principles in the book, challenged some of the ways in which many churches undertake evangelism and discipleship. I was also given an extra session where I focussed on the basics of prayer and was so encouraged to see the pastors enthusiastically working through the Bible-study exercise that I had prepared for them. After eleven months of on-going preparation, it was great to be doing what I came here to do: “preparing God’s people for works of service so that the body of Christ may be built up” - and I hope that these pastors went away challenged and inspired, and not just entertained listening to an Englishman trying to speak their language!
|At least someone enjoyed|
Dates for the Diary: July & August
9th–23rd July: Holiday time with Ma & Pa Lancs here in Tanz
11th July: Our 1 year anniversary in Tanzania!
5th–9th Aug: AIC Pastor training conference in Magambua
20th Aug: Ruth’s birthday!
26th-30th Aug: AIC Pastor training conference in Iringa
Random photo of the month:
|Pick up thy bed and ride!|