The miracle is that this one village has three tribes living within its boundaries. As far as I know, this is the only place where this phenomenon occurs. And they are not tribes particularly fond of each other. The population is one third Sukuma, one third Taturu, and one third Masaai (Their actual proper tribal names are Wasukuma, Wataturu, and Wamasaai) . We spent ten days sharing God’ word among these three tribes. At the end of the week we invited all those who had indicated they had trusted Christ to come to meetings together for the next few days. We had arranged with the village chairman and the school teacher to meet in the school building. When Fred and I entered the doors, there were about 75 people there. The room was distinctly divided into thirds, those dressed in “shabby western style clothes” (Sukuma) were on the left, those dressed in red checked kitenge (Masaai) were in the middle, and those dressed in blue checked kitenge (Taturu). We decided right then that unity might be an issue (yes we are rocket scientists!). After “not so brief” greetings, I began to ask each one what tribe they were from, as if I did not know. Then I told them I was from the Cherokee Indian tribe (I am, at least partially). Then I added that once I became a believer in Jesus Christ I was put in a new tribe, the “tribe of Judah” (which is Jesus’ tribe). I explained to them that if they had truly put their trust in Christ they too were now in His tribe for eternity. The next few days we taught and re-taught on the theme of unity in the body of Christ. By the third day we noticed something interesting and refreshing. They had by then completely co-mingled. Part of that was because whenever we would ask them to read from the Bibles we had given them, we noticed that only about half of them could read. So those that could read would go over to those who could not and help them to understand. It was really remarkable to see how God used that to create unity and by the end of the week you could not distinguish any divisions. The clothing scheme was completely mixed! The next trip over there we had a baptism service. The only problem was there was no water in the creeks or ponds and no baptismal pools behind the pulpit of their church building (oh yeah, I forgot, they did not have a church building). What we did find is they had a new septic tank installed in the school yard, but it was still under construction and did not have a lid on it. It was just a concrete box about eight feet long, four feet wide and four feet deep. So we asked a man who had a 55 gallon drum and a cart how much it would cost for him to get water from the well (hand pump) and haul it here. It would take about six trips he said at $5.00 per trip - a real bargain! So we fill up the septic tank, Robert Cheyo jumps down in the tank, preaches a sermon about being baptized into the the One body (1 Cor 1:10-13, 12:13) and Fred and I start lowering Sukuma, Taturu, and Masaai into the tank one by one. Getting them out was tougher once they were soaking wet. But what a day that was - “risen to walk in newness of life”!   The church at Magalata now has a building (notice all the trees!)


Tuesday, February 10, 2004

BAPTISM