Saturday, August 21, 2010

Maasai Pastors, MOROGORO

A new experience for us was having Maasai tribesmen at our conference. We were able to recognize them by the large holes in their earlobes.

Maasai tribes live in rural areas around Morogoro. The Maasai are known for owning herds of cattle (they think that they own all the cattle in the world) and for their colorful, red garments.

Some of the Maasai men, still wearing their red garments, have moved to towns and cities to do security work, with the goal of going back to their rural home and cattle.

Some of these traditional tribesmen have come to Christ and become pastors.

The pastors are sorting out their traditional beliefs and their devotion to Christ. Their familiar red-draped fabric, beads, and enlarged earlobes are traded for suits and ties. But often they go back to their culture dress; we thought that their dress was interesting. The Maasai we encountered wore short or long pants under their familiar red, draped fabric. But other Africans explained to us that the Maasai traditional clothing leaves them “practically naked,” when they drape only one cloth around their shoulder in the most traditional way.

We did not address their attire but a more significant issue - the marriage. Their major shift in thinking is what they confessed to be a mistreatment and neglect of their wives. Their sincerity showed through the intensity of their listening and speaking.

This conference was the first conference arranged by ALARM that the Maasai pastors had attended, opening the door for them to attend many more. The Maasai pastors were so enthusiastic about the conference that they asked ALARM to come to their villages to teach.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Daniel and his daughter, MOROGORO

Daniel’s daughter attended the conference with Daniel and his wife. She was the most well-behaved child we have ever had. Daniel treasures this little girl .... but her birth did not have an easy start. Daniel had gone into deep debt trying to buy a bigger house. Then, his wife had their daughter prematurely. He was unable to pay the bills along with his already existing debt; he ended up going to prison. Daniel testified to the group about how much the lesson on money meant to him and he committed to live according to God’s plan for finances.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Rhett and Megan O'Briant, Living Well Team in MOROGORO

When travelling on a short-term mission trip, the people on the team can make an enormous amount of difference in the outcome and enjoyment. Rhett and Megan O’Briant accompanied us two years ago to Zambia. We appreciated their teaching skills and support overall to the mission effort. On this trip, we expanded their teaching role and the Africans loved them. Even though they are younger than most of those who attended, they were well received because of their openness and candor about their own marriage. Their willingness to do whatever was needed, from operating the video camera to carrying luggage through airports, endeared them to us forever.
Rhett and Megan at the Bethel Church with Nickson Kallinga, the pastor
Rhett and Megan use a visual aid, two large hearts and smaller hearts for each particpant. They are using the hearts to demonstrate what happens to our hearts when damaging patterns of communcation exist in our marriages.

They end with showing how God can heal those hearts through forgiveness.
From the O’Briant’s: “The participants came with an unmatched desire to learn and leave with a commitment not only to improve their marriages, but also to create marriage ministries within their churches. God’s hand was in each detail along the way.”

Monday, August 16, 2010

Group Discussions

These pastors and their wives enjoyed getting to know each other as they discussed a case study about a pastor who put the priority of his ministry before his wife and children. These couples strongly identified with the pastor in the case study - a man who spent six out of seven evenings in church ministry and was not involved with his family. Their priorities changed, putting theri marriage and children above ministry, but most of all, putting their relationship with God first. Many of them realized for the first time that the activity of ministry is different than their personal relationship to the Lord.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

MOROGORO Conference - Group Photo

Group Picture of Family Enrichment Conference
Presented in partnership between Living Well and ALARM
Photo includes Anna Kiwovele (left end, second row) and Justin Kiwovele (left end, front row), country directors for ALARM; Ed and Donna Edwards, Megan and Rhett O'Briant, Living Well team

A Teacher's Delight

As teachers, we love to have a group who sits attentively, takes notes, and enjoys learning. These African pastors and their wives will sit in hard chairs all day long and come back the next day, ready to do it again.
Having a toddler on her back, was no deterent for this Tanzanian woman. She faithfully took notes, even in such an uncomfortable position.
Ed Edward, Living Well, gives one of his visual lessons, while Justin Kiwovele, ALARM Tanzania Director, translates to these Tanzanian pastors and wives.