March 2014 Newsletter
At TCC, March has been a month of frequent rains and blessings from our Father. With the deluges, the grass is growing, flowers and trees are blooming, but the mosquitoes are also proliferating and malaria is on the rise. Children, adults and the elderly are also frequently seen with severe eye infections and partial or total blindness. Though we rarely see blind individuals in the US, many without sight in Africa beg in public places (as did Bartimaeus in Mark 10), or we often watch as “a little child leads them” along the roads.
The diseases mentioned above plus diarrheal and malnutrition problems were frequent complaints at the mobile clinic that was also held this month by TCC personnel. One young Maasai widow with whom we had been studying the Bible showed up and told us that she was ready to give her life to Jesus. After trudging a long distance to the mobile clinic, carrying her 18-month old child who cannot walk and was sick with diarrhea, she had her son treated and then waited all day until the clinic was finished. Showing great determination, she and her son then rode back down the mountain with us, where she was baptized in the portable baptistery set up behind our house. As we gave her a small amount of money to help her get a ride part of the way home, how much we admired her and how thankful we were that she had decided to give her life to the Great Physician! This great lady’s husband died after the birth of their last baby, leaving the woman to feed and raise six children. If any of you want to assist these lovely folks who are in genuine need, please let us know. Also, we are thrilled to report that one of our guards with whom we had been studying (Goddie) gave his life to Jesus and was baptized this month, along with two Maasai women who have been visiting the Monduli Juu church and attended the Women’s Day there.
Home Bible study at Monduli Juu
Baptism of Goddie and some Masaai women at TCC
In other news, we are happy that construction of the new TCC Labor and Delivery Department is progressing nicely. Construction is scheduled to be finished in August. Also, after 3 years of protracted negotiations, it seems that the best location for the proposed Christian secondary school is the 5.2 acres of land situated adjacent to the clinic. In this location, the school (Alpha Omega Christian Secondary School) will have easy access to the clinic so that students and faculty can receive health care, and Tanzania Christian Services, Inc. will be the only stakeholder in the venture. A joint venture using government land had many advantages and several government officials were supportive, but the contractual details proved to be too complicated. Thanks to all of you who have prayed and given to see this accomplished! Hopefully construction on the school (AOCSS) can commence in August, 2014. Perhaps some of you have interest in partnering with us in the school project. Donations of any size, shape, or sort would be appreciated. More info regarding the school will be coming later!
Lastly, we loved having James Strother, who is a nuclear chemist and med tech, to visit and work with us for 2 weeks and assist us in the lab.
James Strouther with patient at TCC mobile clinic lab
And how glad we were when our wonderful RN, Jo Jo Elliot returned from language school! These 5 and a half years in African missions have taught us what an adventure it is to serve people’s health needs while sharing the love of Jesus in cultures outside our own. We are now taking a break to visit our families in the US and hopefully will be present for the birth of our second granddaughter! Thank you, God, for those precious girls Eden Grace Smelser (6 mos. old, Josiah and Sarah’s first) and now Everette Baker White (our daughter Lauren Smelser White and husband Jason’s first), due May 3!
Munguawabariki na tunawapenda (God bless you and we love you),
Danny and Nancy Smelser
(a.k.a. “Babuu” and “Bibi”—Swahili for Grandfather and Grandmother)