Every international church experience is fairly interesting based on the different customs, emphasis points, and welcoming traditions. This past weekend, we attended a service at a rural Moshi church. Their customs and traditions were fascinating, but their offering was by far the most attention-grabbing part of the service. We will discuss the offering in more detail in the “Through Our Eyes” section this week.

We attended this particular church because we had some power tools to donate from Mosaic to a school sponsored by the church. The school teaches carpentry and tailoring skills to children with intellectual disabilities. Up until now, they have only been using hammers, screwdrivers, and were sanding by hand. Now they have a few power tools to speed up their carpentry projects. When we arrived at the church, we were greeted by several pastors. A few of the church members served us tea and roasted plantains and then we attended the church service. The service was good, but the most interesting part of the Lutheran services in Tanzania is the offering. In addition to giving money to the church, part of the offering included agricultural goods. Since not everyone has money to give directly to the church, people give grains, fruits, vegetables, or livestock as their offering. The donated food and live animals are then auctioned after the church service.

The auction was very interesting! There was so much going on; it was hard to keep track of what item sold for how much. At this particular auction, someone bought us a few items. One of the items purchased for us was a huge bunch of plantains that John could barely lift. The other item was a live duck.

We drove an hour back home with about 100 plantains and a live duck in the van! We had to ask our landlords how to cut the plantains off of the bunch. We gave them about a half of the plantains for helping. We gave one quarter of the plantains to a neighbor who sells produce on the street. We still have more plantains than we know what to do with. Does anyone have any good ideas for using 25 plantains?

As for the duck, we gave it to our interpreter for the day. He took time away from his family on Palm Sunday to assist us in getting to the church, so we thought he deserved something for his generosity.

Things are continuing to go well here. Along with the director of Building a Caring Community (BCC), we put together a three-year strategic plan. Rich and the director are presenting the strategic plan to the BCC Board of Directors next week. After that, we are presenting it to the staff. Hopefully everything goes well.

We are going to continue to learn everything we can for the next few weeks. Rich and Barb have about two more weeks to teach us everything we need to know for our work here. Hopefully, we can get a good idea of how the program runs and what our responsibilities will be before they leave. We are sure it won’t be a problem, but it will be a lot of work and many late nights!

We really want to go to a Maasai Lutheran Church for Easter Sunday. The Maasai are a native tribe that still remains very close to their cultural roots. They dress in their traditional clothes, practice many of their traditional rituals, and try to keep things outside of their culture at arm’s length to preserve their way of life. We are excited to tell everyone about the service! It should be a great experience!!


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