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A beautiful scene

A beautiful scene – Baba Asia walking with his 2-year old little boy Bekam, as the two of them were coming home from church. Baba Asia had been my enemy for at least five years – he hated me and he hated everything about me – but recently he became my ally and even more recently my brother in Christ. In the midst of all of the death and sorrow that is a part of our lives here, I see God so at work as He draws even the most unlovable towards Him.

Simply unthinkable

I certainly never thought I would be spending the night tonight in our "retirement house". In fact, I didn't even plan to be here in Kising'a at all! According to the schedule, right now Emmanueli and I were supposed to be in the little village of Taweta hundreds of miles away in the Morogoro region and tomorrow we were supposed to participate in the grand opening of our latest new school. But three nights ago when Emmanueli and I were in the village of Bukimau, Godfrey called to say the mechanics had given up and neither Hewa nor Yatima were going to be drivable any time soon.

Flies on the wall

How I wish all of you could have been "flies on the wall" at our leadership conference this morning.

I didn't quote the words from Isaiah ...

I don't sit in cafes very much. First of all, we don't have a lot of them here in Tanzania -- our mgahawas are more places to eat and go -- the food is cheap, a buck or two a plate, and you're not really paying for the atmosphere, and so you normally come in order to keep hunger at bay and you leave pretty much as quickly as you can, and Godfrey & Emmanueli and I do a lot of that when we're traveling.

Neema indeed!

I remember the morning they had first come to see me. It was the same morning that Dif, the daughter of my friend Elizabeth, had come to tell me that her mom had lost consciousness and I knew Elizabeth was going to die.

Among those who had come that particular morning was a mother, with her grandmother, aunt and cousin – and a small child wrapped up in a cloth. Just looking at the child’s color I knew there was a big problem. Her skin was a sickly light brown color and her lips were gray as were her fingernails. And she had been slipping in and out of consciousness.

Treasures

Sixty thousand shillings -- it's not much more than thirty five dollars these days -- and yet, in many respects in this place and at this time, it is truly an unbelievable amount of money. It is without a doubt a tremendous amount of money for the pastor of a small congregation of believers in the little village of Taweta. A incredible amount of money for that pastor to bring to Anyisile, and together with the elders of the church, to say that we have taken up an offering and want to bring this money, as our offering unto God, for the building of the school for the children of this village.

Christmas has come early to Madisi this year

Idda danced a little jig while she sang a song about God’s goodness and how God’s grace had saved her. Her face beamed. The words in her song were her own and they just flowed spontaneously and sincerely and joyfully from within her. What was remarkable about her little dance and song is that it was just a few months ago that Idda was paralyzed on one-half of her body and she had completely lost her ability to communicate. Dr. Leena told me that it was most likely encephalitis.

... and then to see Neema

Where had Neema gone? We were out visiting the sick in Mwefu village, and following up on those who had just started taking ARVs, but Neema wasn’t there at her house. Neema has been part of our lives for eight months now, and not once have I gone to her home and not found her bed-ridden, in real pain with TB, sores, swollen legs and anything and everything else that goes along with merciless AIDS. When the doctors and nurses had come for a "training day" to explain how to take the ARV medication and how to stay healthy, I sent Jovinus with my little car to go get her.

Three hundred trees!!

Fruit! Fruit of any kind – avacados, oranges, guavas! Fruit is so welcomed, and so needed, by my friends in these villages who are living with HIV/AIDS. For some, when they have lost all appetite for food, they often can be coaxed back into eating with a little fruit, and so it’s been my habit when I go visiting people whenever I see fruit for sale I always buy whatever I can find so I have some just in case I need it for someone. And for those who are getting better, especially for the children, fruit gives that added nutrition and vitamins that help make the medicines effective.

The little black plastic bag

Soon after I walked through the door into their little home, I recognized the little black plastic bag, now scrunched up with only a very little milk powder remaining in it. Where could they have possibly gotten that bag from?

I had been teaching in the classroom that morning when I recognized a familiar face at the window. It was Chesco from the village of Ikaning’ombe. He was bringing me news that there was a two-week old baby in that village who hadn’t nursed since she had been born. Please come ….