I was last in Tanzania in March, 2007. Kathy, Dale, and I came, and taught seminars and did evangelistic work. Tanzania is not the first place I did short-term foreign missions, but it is the place to which I have come most often and no place is more dear to me. Many years ago, Kathy and I gave very serious consideration to moving our family over here to work with the TZ 2000 mission team. They are some of God’s wonderful people!
I have been looking forward to the sights and sounds of this country, an enchantingly beautiful land. However, my greatest anticipation has been to see the people! Michael Hite and I have been here for less than a day, and the first half of that was in a jet lagged stupor. Yet, already I have seen Charles Heberth and Asher Mbasha. My first trip was 2003, and I have known each of them since then. I saw a man, Peter from Uganda, who is in the Master’s program. I met him at Monduli in 2006. I will see Charles Ogutu, David Bayi, Christopher Mwackabunge, Josephat Massawe, and many others I have not seen for years. These names and places probably mean little to most of you, but they are special to me because I have worked, worshipped, and spent time with them in the past. Their sacrifice and service to God has made their impression on me and many others. The work was still small and struggling when I first started coming, but now over 80 congregations have been established and a new school of preaching in Kenya is beginning from graduates at the Andrew Connelly school here. The Staffords, Gees, and Hochdorfs (from whose house I am typing this) are a great team, growing this work through the schools, congregations, and native preachers and members. It is so wonderful to see them again!
Heaven will be inexpressibly wonderful for many reasons. The reward, the rest, the glory and presence of God, the unmitigated joy, and the saints! What a glorious, endless day we will experience there! To visit with brothers and sisters throughout eternity, to share the thrill of fellowship that never gets interrupted by goodbyes–that will be glory! Trips like this serve as an additional reminder of the profound pleasure so much a part of living the Christian life and serving God in ministry.