Sunday, June 16, 2013

Our last Sunday in Tanzania. We begin with church at 8, as usual. The folks here dress up for church; that may mean the cleanest T-shirt, or the one without the rip in it, but they try to wear the best they have. So I tuck in my shirt and wear socks. I have a suit and tie, but I’d be the only person wearing one, so try to accommodate the culture.

Our own friend Ferdinand is the preacher of the morning, and he’s kind enough to announce the text (Phil 4) in English for us. That helps. The boys I’m sitting with are fidgety, but not absurdly so. I notice that we’ve grown accustomed to the level of disturbance that is normal here, and we’re inclined not to tell the kids to cool it unless they exceed it. Cultural contextualization. 🙂

At chai after church, I notice a man on the street outside, talking to a few of the kids through the fence. They tell me that he’s a regular around here; he often shows up drunk and seems to think he belongs inside. Ferdinand keeps an eye on him. The kids tell me his name is Gaga. I tell them I think his wife lives in America.

We have lunch with the Tumaini kids, rice and beans. Today will be special—a Sunday that is actually a day of rest. Nothing much scheduled after church. We’re planning sort of a week of camp this week, with teams, cheers, games, contests. Jon asks for a 4 pm meeting with the kids to fill them in on what’s planned, and he wants to do a skit practice before then, but otherwise it’s a quiet day. Most of us take naps, and several plan to call their fathers this Father’s Day, though they’ll have to wait until late in the evening to do so, with the 7-hour time difference.

Beth comes by to ask for our pizza order. She’s planning custom-made pizzas for supper; we can all choose as much as we want from a list of toppings. Now, that’s service. We gather at 6, and sure enough, half a pizza apiece, made to order.  We eat on Dan & Jana’s porch with Beth and the Gasses. (Dan & Jana, you’ll recall, are in Nairobi.) We all seem pretty well recovered from yesternight’s exhaustion, and several of us satisfy the Gasses’ request for a full account. Beth tells us that there actually are rhinos in Serengeti, but they’re in a protected place at a crater up near Arusha, which really requires several days to get to, see, and get back. So for our purposes, there are no rhinos in Serengeti. But everyone agrees that we had a spectacular day.

We’re done with supper just about in time to take house devotions with the kids, then have team devotions at the girls’ house. We have a good report from the Cameroon side, a definite answer  to prayer. And Tom Lamb has sent out the first report from the China team, which I read to the crew. They appreciate his description of the team members getting ready to teach in a strange culture.

Afterwards the team surprises me with a hand-made Father’s Day card and a bowl of mango chunks. They’re a good bunch, even if most of ‘em are too tall to be my kids.

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Dan Olinger

Chair, Division of Bible in the BJU School of Religion.

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