Dearest Friends and Family, May 1, 2012
It is a drop-dead gorgeous day here in East Africa as I type this letter to you. April was a very rainy month (badly needed in this dry region); now the grass, trees, flowers, and crops are all thriving and many people (including us) are thanking God. However, like the Old Testament Arameans who believed that Yahweh was a god of the hills, some local folks have been traveling to the mountains to offer sacrifices and pray for rain. Aren’t we privileged to know that God is the God of the valleys as well as the hills (I Kings 20: 28), and that we can talk to Him from any place? Interestingly, an African man once told an American missionary, “A rich man cannot pray for rain,“ explaining that all of us rich folks just go buy water and have it trucked in during a drought. But most of the world suffers agonizingly if watering holes dry up; the animals begin to die, and people starve as their crops on their small farm plots wither.
In addition to the refreshing rains, God encouraged us during April with several outstanding visitors. American medical students Michael White and Taylor Dodgson were wonderful help as they traveled to and worked at TCC during their spring break. Another guest we were honored to have was Michael Fortson, a missionary who from 1965-1971 served at Chimala, (in southern TZ) helping to build Chimala Mission Hospital. God used Michael, his wife and coworkers to bring over 1,000 people to Himself in that area. After several years in the US the Fortsons are returning to TZ to establish an orphanage.
More good news: is that another Christian baby (a Maasai lady) was delivered during April in the portable baptistery set up behind our guest house; some local Christians had been studying with her. A man also showing great interest in the Lord is 16-year-old Andrew, whom some of you are sending to a mechanic training program. Andrew’s mother Maria (herself a recent Christian) died last year (her husband was already deceased), leaving four children and 16-year old Andrew to take care of the family. Thanks to your aid, all the children have clothes, shoes, food, school supplies, and most are attending church. Studying the Bible on the clinic’s front porch with us each Saturday, Andrew seems serious about his commitment to the Lord and is thoughtfully considering becoming His disciple. Two other interested folks who have been attending the new Monduli Juu congregation we could not reach for Bible study due to very heavy rains and slick mud on the steep roads to that village.
Another prospective Christian is a lady who presented at the clinic in a hypertensive crisis and pulmonary edema; thanks to God’s kindness and her medicines she is now much improved, is coming to church with us and desires Bible study. With the rains we have also had an invasion of the Nairobi fly and had several severe cases of allergic dermatitis and eye infections in April caused by contact with that notorious insect. And, of course, flooding rains always bring the snakes to the surface; TCC and our house have been visited by several in the past month. To add extra excitement, elephants could be seen yesterday from the clinic’s front porch as they browsed on the nearby hillsides in the thick foliage.
In closing, we ask you to consider coming even for a month to Tanzania to share the Good News and reach out with Jesus’ hands to help the sick. Physicians and X-ray technicians are especially needed!
Tunawapenda sana (we love you much),
Danny and Nancy Smelser