Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Morogoro, Tanzania

Baba yetu uliye mbinguni,
jina lako litukuzwe.
Ufalmo wako uje.
Mapenzi yako yatimizwe
hapa duniani kama huko mbinguni
utupe leo riziki yetu. Utusamehe makosa yetu kama sisi tunavyowasamehe waliotukosea. Usitutie majaribuni, lakini utuokoe na yule mwavu. Kwa kuwa ufalme ni wako na nguvu na utukufu hata milele. Amin.

‘Our Father who is in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
‘Your kingdom come.
Your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
‘Give us this day our daily bread. ‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. ‘And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.’

We say this every morning before class during a short devotional time. This is the Lord's Prayer in Swahili and in English. About a month ago I asked you to pray that I would have friends here at the language school. I remember worrying so much about going off to Tanzania alone. A country I had never been before going to a school I'd never seen to be in class with people I'd never met for four months. What if I didn't make any friends? Will I be completely and terribly alone? "Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen." ~ Ephesians 3:20-21

God has answered your prayers abundantly. The community here is incredible. It is so diverse, loving, and encouraging. We have Catholic priests (Joby, Jackson, Prijo, and Shaju the Indian Fathers, Gideon from Ghana, and Michael from Indonesia) and sisters (Prerna from Northern India who I call 'Sista P!' and Cecilia from Nigeria), Lutherans from Iowa (Liz, Lu, and Kristen) and Finland (Leena & Erne), a family from Arkansas with Pioneer Bible Translators (Ben, Jennifer, Charis, Levi, Luke), and Presbyterian Koreans planting a church in a very small town in Western Tanzania (Qyn Hwan [Paul], Kim Sol Jeong [Jean], and David their son). Today actually was the first day I was able to find more information about the Koreans through conversing in Swahili since they do not know much English. It was exciting to get to know them a little after a month of just smiling. I'm also getting to know some of the teaching assistants, especially two Massai guys named Lemsanya & Kadeghe.

Our Massai guides and Swahili teachers up in the clouds: Kadeghe & Lemsanya

This is the other Ben from Arkansas.

So why did I worry? Why do you worry about things? Utupe leo riziki yetu - Give us today our daily sustenance, daily bread. Do not give us tomorrow's bread today, please don't do that! It will spoil. Just today. On Sunday I was joining Erne in an old sauna that some Finnish missionary built here at the school 20 years ago. Apparently saunas are a really big deal in Finland and they find it even necessary in a hot climate like Tanzania. Anyway, there I was sweating until my fingers were pruny with Erne, the Finnish Lutheran, and we were talking about how we shouldn't plan or worry about tomorrow because today's trouble is enough on its own. Then I suddenly thought, "If that were something I believed, wouldn't the most worry-free time of the day be the evening?" The day is over and there is nothing more to worry about since tomorrow has not arrived. Lord, give us the grace to live this way. I know I need that because my mind so easily moves toward the future.

Swahili has been great. I feel I've improved a lot and can carry on a very simple conversation as well as read kids books with the help of a dictionary. For some reason I really enjoy languages and even grammar...oops did I say that? Over the last week I read a story called, "Pilipili Hoho", which is about a boy who grows green bell pepper for a competition at school. One of the bell peppers, or pilipili hoho, grows to be the size of a watermelon and for some reason has legs. It's my first official book to be completed in Swahili and a delightful story. I got 80 new words from it that I'm now working on memorizing. My favorite verb is 'kutekenya' which means 'to tickle.'

Blessings to you. Thank you for praying and for allowing me the privilege of learning Swahili in such a beautiful place and with such beautiful people.

The mountain side is filled with villages and farms at a steep slope.

  1. Pray for continued diligence in my studies of Swahili.
  2. Pray for the seminars, conferences, and BTCP graduation that is happening in Kenya this month. I will be traveling next week for the graduation on the 13th as long as I have my passport. I gave it to the language school office when I arrived for visa purposes and haven't seen it yet. When I told the head teacher about that today, he seemed surprised. So pray I get my passport back and if I do, pray for safe travels.
  3. Pray for the student Bible study Ben and I started - for the gospel to be evident.