Congratulations, It’s a Boy! Monkeys, Mayhem and Meetings

26 01 2013

Out for my morning run  I came across a young man painting corn on corn stalks.  Or at least that is what it looked like.  He had a crude straw brush and was dipping it in a 3 gallon bucket and then painting the substance on the corn itself, of course, still in the husk.  Harvest time is coming but is a few more weeks away.  The substance had no color.  Curious, I stopped and began the Tanzanian tradition of greetings.  We say the equivalent of good morning, how are you?  How was your waking up?  How is your family? These greetings are very important and there are hundreds of optional greetings you can learn.  And if you want to belong you must learn at least a few dozen.  I have finally mastered enough to make a tolerable showing for myself.

I asked the young man what he is doing and in my limited understanding, I understand he is painting on some substance to ward off some insect or creature. I get him to show me the contents of the bucket and find it is pili pili juice.  Or as we would say in America, Jalapeno peppers juice.  They are hot and tasty here and Mama James keeps some hidden behind the cardboard wall covering in her home.  At dinner she pulls one out of a hole in the wall and I cut it up and season whatever I like and then she hides it again.

I can’t quite figure out what in the world this young man is warding off. Later I learn it is monkeys.  They come down from the hill above and feast on the corn but do NOT like the pili pili.  We have to protect our corn here and it is not from the normal pest of insects and worms.  Just a month back some elephants got in the corn a few kilometers away and when a local farmer went to shoo them one of the elephants attacked and killed him by stepping on his chest.  Elephants are fierce creatures and fear no one.  They are a great danger when you confront one and it is best just to get out of the area.  Quick.  Monkeys, baboons, rats and mice, however, are mostly just thieves.  Once they find food someplace and have success securing it there is no end of their attempts to steal.  So you have to address the issue quickly.  Evidently addressing issues was the order of the day.

Today James was asked to come and summon me to meet with Babu.  This is a strange request.  Babu is the patriarchal leader of our shamba.  A shamba is a parcel of land that belongs to a family and is farmed.  It usually has between three and eight houses and the families in each house divide up the farming responsibilities.  They share life together and make decisions together.  If Babu chooses to he has final say on most decisions. I sensed something was up as I had never been summoned. I have been called to bring medicine, to greet a visitor or come to a meal.  But never summoned.  I sensed something was up in my spirit.  Upon arriving I found out that James, my translator and faithful brother had no idea what this was about.  I was handed a crudely written paper with the words lease on it.  This was a bit of a surprise as I have recently built a house on some land the family had given me and no mention of a lease was involved.

We were told to sit in one room and wait for Babu and then moved to a circle of chairs outside.  Evidently, there were going to be more people in the meeting.  It turns out that the meeting was held in anticipation of possible problems.  I was told I was now part of the family.  I was welcomed and was going to be treated as a son of Babu.  Babu had a brother that was causing some issue wanting to sell some land and Babu forbid it.  They anticipated some sort of action to be taken by the brother and wanted to make sure that I was protected so they were in effect adopting me legally.  Now legally here has several levels and meanings.  While there is a government and procedures for adoptions they don’t really consider that salient.  We are talking tribal issues. So a paper was drawn up “legally”  leasing me the land and declaring that the lease was for no sum of money.  But that I could live there as long as I choose with their blessings.  I was their friend and considered a son and had all the rights of a son.

Afterwards there was a bit of controversy as James was declared the host of the meeting.  Now remember James nor I knew anything of this meeting.  But because he translated for me he was responsible.  That is particularly funny since most of the meeting was in a tribal language that even James does not understand.  At the end of the meeting Babu suggested that James now serve them goat.  This was quite a shocker as first of all preparing a goat would take a day or twos planning, 80000 schillings and a goat!  Negotiations ensued.  As you might imagine James was a bit perplexed and perhaps upset.  I felt a little awkward as I am the only one that can financially fix this situation and even then I need a day or twos notice.

We are pulled aside and it is determined that since the family forgot that James would need time  (huh?) to pull this together he could just buy them a soda.  Yes that is what they decided.  So to me the meeting was hastily called due to the emergency nature of the crisis and they were offering James a cheap and easy way out while still covering decorum.  Then they decided that the sodas were not even necessary that he could just give the group 30,000 schillings and they would get their own sodas.  I am laughing and James is objecting.  We negotiated and finally gave them a sum much less than the one requested.

I am trying to learn about the culture and don’t pretend to have it all understood.  We were all avoiding problems and perhaps mayhem today.  Some with peppers, some with words scribbled on notebook paper.  But one thing is sure, we anticipate problems and we deal with them in a way unique to Africa.  At the end of the day, once again, God has shown His great love for me in a most unusual way.  I have a wonderful and loving family in America.  I have many great brothers and sister that are my family in Christ.  And now, I also have an African family, and I am the adopted son of Babu.  Perhaps I am becoming a child of Africa, I know I am a child of God.


New Opportunities In Africa

24 01 2013

I am very excited to share with you three opportunities for ministries her in Tanzania and Kenya.

Opportunity One: As many of you who watch me on Facebook know I was sick and had to go to the hospital.  It is the same one I visited for a sick worker several weeks back and learned that the hospitals here, and in fact most of the third world, don’t provide anything but medical treatment.  What is wrong with that you ask?  No food, no water, just a bed, blanket and medicine.  If you begin to grow week because you live too far from family to have a caregiver come and stay with you and feed you and get you water, they pop an iv in and try to keep you going till you are over the illness then you are OUT!

I was alarmed to learn that this is all they can afford and they admit that many are in great jeopardy of malnutrition and severe dehydration.  They are staffed by nuns and have a very clean neat facility and routinely watch patients needlessly suffer.

During my visit I got Dr. Panga to agree to call me on day two if no one had shown up for a patient.  I believe that meeting the needs of these sick people does two things.  Opens the doors for the Gospel and fulfills Jesus clear command to visit the sick and help the poor.

Opportunity Two:  I am returning to Nairobi to again reconnect with the persecuted Muslims that some of you provided housing for last quarter.  We were able to house over 19 people over four families.  Some were living on the streets having been kicked out after coming to Christ in countries like Somalia  Sudan and Ethiopia.  I am returning and they have twelve more in need that last time I talked.  We took almost a thousand dollars last time and met with the believers and they told me to tell you, they loved you and that you may have literally saved their lives.  I am asking you to contribute again.   I have pledged 200.00 so far and hope to exceed last years donation.

Opportunity Three: Now that I have a house in Usa River I am starting a fellowship with believers that we have lead to the Lord through repentance.  I have been reaching out to the alcohol brewers in the area.  They are despised by their families and live in filth.  Few are allowed contact with their family and seldom even get a decent meal.  I have felt that the passages about the love feast in the NT and the statements from Jesus about having a feast and not inviting your friends who can repay but rather the poor that can never repay to come, provide a new direction in reaching these men for Christ.

So what do we do. For Opportunity One We need funding for some cooking utensils and food so I can cook and take food to the Hospital for the sick.  It won’t take much just a few hundred.  I can probably keep it going after this initial expenditure from my budget but we will see.  God will provide.

For Number Two we simply need funding.  I would like to raise some additional funds and literally save the lives of people who are on fire to reach the Muslim world for Christ.  The brothers who serve these people live from day to day hiding and struggling for the Kingdom.  We cannot sit and let them risk their lives for Jesus and simply do nothing.  Will you help.

Number Three.  very simple.  We are just needing some additional funding for food and utensils.  Frankly One and Three can work together.  That is another reason they are perfect.  Food is cheap here and taste minimal.  I am confident that once I begin the ladies in my new house church will take up much of the cooking and I can take my translator and motor bike and minister.  We just need a 75.00 stove and some pots and pan. (I can’t cook over a charcoal fire).

That’s it for now.  You can go to Kingdom Driven Ministries and go to donate and give to Glenn Roseberry.  You may earmark it if you have a heart for a particular ministry.  I will comply.  God bless you in your giving.  I love you and appreciate you. Lets advance the Kingdom in obedience to Jesus direct command to help the poor,

From Point A to Point B

2 01 2013

From Point A to Point B

Traveling with Glenn in Africa

I left Usa River late in the afternoon rejoicing for the opportunity of praying with three Masai to come to Jesus.  Now I have much to do as my schedule is packed.  Errands, in Arusha then off to travel for two days to Dar Es Salaam. Including a stop in Bagamoyo where I have my largest scheduled seminar on Discipleship and Luke 10 Evangelism, spreading the Gospel of the Kingdom.  Come with me on a journey, you will learn about the culture the people my challenges and my frailties.  I have many.

2012-12-29 09.29.53

I travel to Arusha to fulfill my promise to pay for some printing done in Kenya.  I arrive too  late to do all I need to do and have to spend the night.  So begins my journey the next day.  We will call it day one.  If you have already read my story about the Western Union skip to the end of Day 1 read the last paragraph or so and proceed.  For the rest of you. Day 1 is a doozey!

Day 1.  First, I have promises to keep,  And miles to go before I sleep.

Went to first western Union, hitherto referred to as WU.   I need to pay for some printing I had done in Kenya.  After a long wait the teller finally arrives and tells me I not only need my passport, but also the passport of the receiver. This is erroneous and I have been told this before. I inform her that I send money all the time and that her info is incorrect. In fact it is against the law for me to carry around someone else’s passport. She is not moved. Onto WU number two. After 15 minutes the teller suggested I go to another WU she forgot her password. Could not get into the system. Went to one at the AIC center, a highly secure facility of international trade. Scanned in, bags checked, ID verified finally entered. Despite their ads they are NOT open on Saturday. Next, I head to a recommended bank after getting explicit directions on exactly where to go. Warning, Africans have almost never even seen a map and can take you somewhere and are generous enough to drop all their plans and go. That is how wonderful they are. However, they don’t have a clue how to give directions and even if someone tells you the wrong way his peers standing right there  would never risk embarrassing him by telling you he is wrong.  So yes, I head out with incorrect directions. After a few minutes, I do the opposite of their directions and notice my destination a block from where they told me, in reverse. I enter fill out the paperwork and then they inform me I am number 70 in line. I leave and start looking on my own. The next two locations I go to tell me the system is down. The next one has only 20 people in line and two clerks. But no forms to send money. I tell them this, but they laugh at me and tell me I just did not look at the right place. So they escort me to the table where the forms are, with a smirk on their face, ready to help the poor ill informed Muzungu. No forms. They begin a search involving 5 employees. Since they have no system for organizing forms they can be anywhere. They finally give up and tell me to go someplace else. Just as I am about to give up, a clerk looks again and I am awarded with one of the last 4 forms in the bank. I suggest they order more right away and they smile. It will not happen till all are gone trust me. It is the African way. I fill out the form and get in line. Right away people come in fill out forms and then squeeze in front of me. I protest. They say they are with the guy in front of me. I motion to security but as usual they will do nothing. A girl comes in and gets in front of the guy that just broke line in front of me. He is distressed. I inform him that she is with the guy in front of the line and that I think I know the guy at the head of the line and think I may be with him. He begins to panic. Before I could make my pretend advance another guy comes up to the guy I was pretending to go up to and they talk and he takes over the front of the line. At this point they have waited on three customers but I have fallen behind three more. When the gentleman who broke line sees the person in front of him almost done he rushes the counter, convinced I am going to force my way next. The whole concepts of lines and taking turns is pretty foreign in the third world. I am blessed to be in Africa, in India, they will fight over a bus one seat when there are 5 empty. Finally, I get to the window and send my funds, then the clerk starts explaining the fees. Except by his explanation, he is going to pay me a fee. He even gives me a form to sign so he can refund me 14000 shillings. I tell him I think he is making a mistake and that I should be paying him a fee.  He begins to be confused and after a consultation with other staff members  they agree I owe the WU fee not the teller. You see in Africa, they mostly give out cash.  They seldom take case to be sent to someone else.  So after 3.5 hours from the original attempt I remitted my funds. Business for companies in Africa must be fun. My favorite, short verse comes to mind. John 3:30. He must increase I must decrease. But in reality, I must die to myself because this stuff will kill you. It is better to let Christ live in you. He can handle these things and love everyone in spite of their frailties. I know it is true because He puts up with me!

As I leave for Moshi, the next big city on my stop, I simply have to stop and rest for a bit about half way.  I pull over my motor cycle and sit down under a tree.  After about 4 minutes another motor cycle rider, an African, stops to see if I am OK?  I tell him I am and he smiles and welcomes me to Tanzania.  Ten minutes later another rider, the same comments and then he leaves, satisfied I am ok.  Later a car stops to check on me.  You have to understand how great the Tanzanian people are.  They love visitors and believe that visitors are one of the highest forms of blessing.  The further away a visitor travels to see them the greater the blessing.  I am inundated with offers to come stay in their homes and share a meal.  This would multiply their blessing from the Lord. I just can’t do it very often.  But these people are the most generous and kind people to strangers I have ever met.  I am humbled by their continued grace towards me.  This truth stands in sharp contrast to the warnings I am always getting from Americans and Africans alike that I am in great danger when traveling.  Nothing could be further from my experience.  God is Good, and Tanzanians are awesome.

It rains, I stop and put on my jacket.  It stops raining and gets hot so I stop and take off my jacket.  It rains and I stop and put on my jacket and now it is raining steady.  As I approach the outskirts of Moshi I go through a few police stopping points.  They are all busy until I get into the city proper.  In the pouring rain they motion that I should pull over for questioning.  I assure you they don’t really want to do anything put practice their English and welcome me to Tanzania.  As I come to a stop, I tell the police man that I can’t believe he want to talk to a guy on a motor bike in the pouring rain.  He informs me that it is a wonderful day.  Of course it is.  To me it is raining and silly to stop me.  To him it is a blessing that he can’t pass up.  He ask me my business, where I am coming from and where I am going.  Constantly saying, karibu, the Kiswahili word for welcome.  Two other army men come over and inform me they are happy.  They mean they are happy to get to talk to me.  I understand but simply tell them I am happy too.  We are getting soaked to the skin as they smile and constantly welcome me to Tanzania.  I finally shake everyone’s hand and tell them I must go.  They welcome me again and laugh telling me good bye.  I finally enter the town and pass the place where I normally stay.

I have found out since my last stay that they were overcharging me almost triple.  I love those guys they call themselves the Green Christian Hostel.  And the fellowship is good.  Being cheated by being charged three or four times the advertised rate online is a topic I will deal with when I see the owner again when it is NOT raining.  I go to a few places and they are all out of my budget range.  Finally, a African, at a business that calls itself a hotel but in fact has no rooms gives me a location.  Many businesses here have signs that have absolutely nothing to do with their business.  I have gone in restaurants that only cut hair and grocery stores that only sell cell phones.  Signs cost money and so if one changes business models or tenants the signs typically don’t change.

I arrive at the suggested hotel and it is lovely, cheap and the staff is memorized that a Mzungu is staying there. I love it there but mostly they cater to Africans.  So I am a welcomed and unexpected blessing.  So the entire staff has to get a glimpse of me and welcome me.  They all want to practice their English and so checking in can be quite burdensome if you are tired.  I endure the questions and thank them for their welcome.  It stops raining and now I am in a hotel room in the middle of the afternoon and it is a beautiful day.  I could be traveling but the weather around the mountains is so unpredictable I get soaked all the time.  I am tired of being tired so I just relax.
I go for a wonderful meal at an Indian restaurant across the street where upon finding out I am a missionary they all want bibles.  A common request.   I do some questioning and find out they all have bibles except one and I tell her I will bring her a Kiswahili bible the next time I am in town. She is delighted and I have a wonderful and ridiculously inexpensive meal.  Later I sleep like a baby.  Tune in for Day 2.