Dearest Friends and Family, Wed., 31 August, 2011
How hard it is to believe that another month has gone! As you know, East Africa is suffering a severe drought, we along with everyone else. Several folks around us have been blowing hollowed-out cow horns in the mornings, evenings, and into the night to make noises and scare away elephants from the local water reservoirs. Almost daily in the clinic we see severely dehydrated children and adults, victims of vomiting, diarrhea, typhoid, and malnutrition; when we pass the grossly contaminated water holes that are being frequented by elephants, other animals, and humans, it is easy to see why the World Health Organization claims water-borne diseases are responsible for a vast number of deaths that occur daily throughout the world. Often teaching people to “chemsha maji ”(boil their water) to kill parasites, viruses, and harmful bacteria, at the same time we realize that this is difficult to accomplish in developing nations; first people must find water and carry it to their homes; then they must gather enough wood to build a fire and keep it going until the water they have found boils for one minute. What a luxury in the US to turn on a faucet and have clean water issue forth! Lord, help us give thanks!
On to happier news: three weeks ago on a Sunday we were thrilled as eight folks with whom we and some of the African Christians had been studying were baptized into Jesus. Traveling to their local reservoir, we took the portable baptistery and set it up on the edge of this small, muddy lake. Although the area was filthy from animal and human use, those becoming Christians did not think their neighbors would appreciate their marching into the community’s “maji” to be baptized, so we formed a “bucket brigade” to fill the baptistery and immerse these precious souls in the cold, dirty water. In addition, two days ago we had another Bible study at the same Maasai “boma” from which came seven of the eight new Christians. Another woman who has attended the clinic, studies, and church, said she also wants to give her life to Jesus and be baptized into Him. After learning in Acts 8 how many of the early Christians left Jerusalem following persecution, but “went everywhere preaching the Word,” these new disciples decided to ask their neighbors if we can all meet at their boma for Bible study next week. Along the way back to TCC we picked up three sick folks and many Maasai children on their long walk to school. Our ears were ringing as the kids sang (as loudly as possible) that “Daniel’s God is the true God.”
All these incidents show us that the Holy Spirit is working diligently in this area, convicting people of their great need for Jesus. When we moved here in 2008 there was just one congregation in the area; now there are four, each averaging weekly from 8-50 people. Thanks to you who have given liberally so that we could be a part of God’s work in Tanzania! Though we get discouraged at times with Africa’s incessant problems, we know being a tiny cog in God’s great wheel of spreading the Good News of Jesus all over this earth is one of the most exciting things life can offer. As Rick Nobles often says, “To the world you may just be one person, but to one person you may be the world.” Thanks to you who have made all the difference to the Africans; this AM one of our patients w/ AIDS and Kaposi’s Sarcoma (the cancer sometimes accompanying AIDS) passed into eternity. After her husband’s death she became a Christian following Bible studies w/ several of you. Pls. pray for the family: their 5 sons are now orphans.
Tunakupenda kila wakati (We love you all the time),
Danny and Nancy Smelser