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Africa Inland Mission
December 6, 2016 6:42 pm
Published in: Church Ministry

After we were moved from Tanzania to Nairobi, Kenya, our days were filled with International Office activities – Carol in finance, I in personnel matters. It’s a good thing I had an excellent secretary (Jean) to try to keep me on track!

As a Sunday or week-end ministry, I was able to help the Africa Inland Church in the work of the Kangemi church. I preached most Sundays and conducted communion service once a month. There was no African pastor at that time for the church and my involvement provided relief for the main Nairobi area church pastor at Ziwani. Often my “Tanzania Swahili” was the topic of much conversation because at that time “Kenya Swahili” was considered much inferior. More fun!

It was a great and joyful experience. There were about 4 local Africans who provided overall leadership and with them we developed plans for a more permanent church building. They prepared both the bread and the cup for the communion services; I just led the service and directed folks minds and thoughts to our Saviour and what was accomplished on the cross of Calvary.

81rumanawa2Forget that the “bread” was often dried crusts of regular bread. Forget that the “cup” was sometimes flat “Fanta” orange soda (because the reddish soda was not available). The Church of God, body of Christ, met together to remember with thankfulness our Lord’s sacrifice and the joy and hope of His return.

MUNGU ASIFIWE! (Swahili-God be praised!)

November 26, 2016 8:01 pm
Published in: Ministry Life

What about laughter in a parked, closed door, Land Rover? That may sound “golden”, BUT:

Our Land Rover was parked under the mango tree in the back yard. The windows were closed thinking it might rain. In fact, it was parked where it usually was overnight. But, this time, the door were unlocked.

My wife happened to go out the back door for something and heard the sound of laughing. Listening closely, she was able to hear the voices of 2 children (boys!!! – unnamed for this record). They were really having a great time.

What were they doing? Well, in the vehicle I kept a tin of hand cleanser for cleaning my hands when repairs had to be done on the engine – or change a tire. And, when the boys got into the car, our ‘docile’ kitty was taken in with them. And, two boys and a cat and a tin of hand cleanser made for an interesting mix to say the least!

Both the boys scooped out the cleanser, liberally applying it to the cat’s body. When the fur was well saturated, they rubbed more making it foam up into suds – and that tickled their fancy and started the laughter.

Found you!! The Land Rover door was opened and their laughter turned to apprehension. They were soundly rebuked, the cat rescued and their fun came to an end.

I now had the bedraggled cat in my hand. It just hung there sopping ‘wet’ and covered in cleanser suds. I knew I couldn’t let it lick itself clean so I got the water hose and hosed it down. It just hung there, as I hosed and rubbed until I got most of the offending cleanser off. Then, my wife gave me a towel which I used to dry its fur as much as possible.

The cat survived and lived a long life. The boys were ‘disciplined’ (don’t ask me how; I don’t remember) – and the loving kitty remained the boy’s (at least for one of them) friend for many days to come. For me, if it saw me pick up a water hose it quickly took off. So much for gratitude!

November 19, 2016 9:19 pm

“Bush-church” visitation was always a joy. When station duties allowed, or when communion was to be held at a church “out there”, we always made a point to visit, especially on Sundays for preaching and fellowship and encouragement. It was also “out there” that we learned much about Sukuma culture and customs.

Always when we visited, we were treated at least to sweet, milky tea, maybe with chapatis or maandazi – or boiled yams, peanuts or cassava root. The Sukuma used to say “one handed tea is poor man’s tea”. In other words, if you didn’t have something to hold in your hands besides the tea cup, you were in a poor man’s house!

On other days, especially on Sundays when a good number of folks attended the church meeting, a good!, full, African meal was served – ugali (mush), rice, ngoko (chicken) or beef – or sheep or goat! -, greens. Delicious! I would go back to Tanzania in a minute (if it didn’t cost so much!) to have one of those great Sukuma meals!

afvilAnd always, just before leaving to return to the mission station, a trip would be made to the kitchen – the “women’s” cooking hut – to thank the ladies who had prepared the meal. Sometimes, just as an expression of thanks, a gift of salt or sugar could be given.

After the meal, Carol and I made our way over to see the ladies who prepared65village the meal. Where we ate was on one side of the village compound; the kitchen hut was on the other side. We walked over, past the ash heap of the nighttime fire, past the cattle pen, skirted a dog sleeping near those ashes and greeted the ladies, thanked them for the great meal and talked a while.

As we turned to go and started walking back, the dog woke up. Thinking there was no problem we kept going. As we went past it, it jumped up with a growl and latched onto Carol’s arm puncturing the skin and drawing blood. The “man of the village”, a church elder, immediately came to her aid, beating off the dog and expressed his concern and regrets for what had happened.

But his next question floored her – and me. Holding on to the dog he asked, “Do you want me to kill it?” Of course not! But custom required that an animal (dog, cat, cow or whatever) that injured a guest should be killed to appease the person for the injury that drew the blood.

We recognized that the dog was surprised by our invading “its territory”; we were persons it didn’t know; we were brazenly walking toward it. It only attacked because of a perceived threat – and we were the threat!

65village2As we drove away to go home, the church elder again voiced his offer. Again we said, “Yaya, gutiho mhayo” (“No, there is no word”). He thanked us, no doubt relieved his guard dog would not be harmed. And for many days after the incident, whenever I saw him, he asked about Carol’s well-being.

And Carol still has a small scar in the crook of her arm!

November 15, 2016 4:26 pm
Published in: Family Life

She finally arrived!

I went to Tanganyika as a single young man and had only dated Carol a few 57capcbtimes before I left the USA in 1956. I has proposed by mail, sent her $$$ to purchase the engagement ring and the president of the Philadelphia Bible Institute put it on her finger. Now, she’s was here.

Where? The Field Council assigned her to the KolaNdoto station, to live with her future in-laws (my parents!!), pending whatever happens. I was 70 miles away at the Kijima station. Application was made to the Field Council to get married – it was APPROVED!

Now for the wedding plans. A date was set and arraignments made. Other 58wedding-4missionaries volunteered to do a lot of the work and were very helpful. She had flown out from the USA bringing her wedding gown (borrowed) with her. I went to a local Asian tailor to get a proper “wedding suit” made up for me.

The day arrived. My chosen best man and I scouted around to try and find flowers – unfortunately the rains were late that year and nothing seemed to have bloomed. We even went together to the local cemetery with the hopes that someone had passed away and maybe we could find flowers on the grave. Nothing!

But the wedding had to go on. The bride carried a white Bible with a sprig of58wedding-2 artificial flowers draped from it. While waiting for the bride to enter the church, which was packed with African Christians, the best man and I (in a back room) looked over a basketball magazine – pretending calm!

It was over. Dr. Bill gave her away; Alan and Zakayo (an African pastor) performed the ceremony; the reception was over; we were ready to leave on the Lake Victoria steamer for our honeymoon.

My Volkswagen was parked out front, ready for the get-away. Some enterprising missionary had jacked up both rear wheels and set them on cement bricks as a trick – but he didn’t know that we had arraigned for someone else to drive us down to the Lake Victoria steamer. More fun!

So we were off. We had a lay-over in Kenya and the British immigration official was a bit concerned about “these missionaries traveling together but with passports that gave different last names”! Of course we hadn’t had time to get them changed (nor did we have a copy of the Wedding Certificate yet!) – the US Consulate was over 500 miles away from where we were married. But he approved visas and stamped both of the passports.

On to Ogada station in Kenya for an overnight. Back to the steamer to continue the trip around the lake – to Entebbe, Uganda, on to Bukoba in Tanzania (Tanganyika then) and on to Mwanza, out to Kahunda to the Kinzers – and on to 58 further years of ministry. Kijima, Salawe, KolaNdoto, Mwanza, Nassa, Mwanza, Nairobi, Bristol (England), Laurel Springs (NJ), Front Royal (VA) and now retirement here in Minneola Florida.

And, without reservation, the children (Beth, Janice, Donna and Mark), sons-65bejadomkknin-law, daughter-in-law, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and the many friends and coworkers who have been part of our lives. All these have been special BLESSINGS from our God!


November 12, 2016 10:48 pm
Published in: Church Ministry


When we moved out to Salawe, there were about four little churches established by evangelists in the area. Because the whole area was surrounded by seasonal swamps, it had been difficult for either missionaries or African pastors to regularly visit those churches. After the Mission decided to establish a mission station in that area, there was much rejoicing that not only was a missionary coming but that there would be general overall guidance for those fledgling churches and church evangelists. My wife and I were the designated missionaries to move to the area.57evangsafari

We had a great time out there in Salawe. Our children spent most of their early life out there and remember those days fondly. In spite of poor or unfinished housing, lack of amenities, distance from town, isolation during the rains when the swamps precluded travel – we all survived, flourished and still think of that as home.

Getting established logistically was a bit difficult at first. Every item – gasoline, kerosene, lumber, cement, nails, food staples – everything! – had to come from town about 75 miles away. And, for about 8 months of the year those swamps were almost impassable.

Besides the busy-ness of the construction of station buildings, the opportunity to visit those small churches was a real joy. Working with some of the evangelists, we scouted out areas where there were no churches and worked with African village leadership to permit a church to be established. Every request we made met with approval. Surely the Lord had gone before us.

Sometimes the planting of those new churches necessitated a move by a Christian family from an established church so that the new church would have good leadership and counsel from the beginning. The Lord our God certainly blessed during the 8 years we were there. From that beginning of only those four little churches and no resident African pastor, when we left xxevangwkrsthere about 8 years later there was a resident African pastor for the area and, if I recall correctly, about a further eight churches started. Sure, some of them still were meeting “under the spreading mango tree”, but these fellowships of believers provided not only Biblical teaching/preaching but also mutual encouragement as Christians lived among others who clung to non-Biblical cultural practices.

I was able to get back to visit the area about 25 years later. The ministry of the Word of God, through His African servants, had greatly increased – there were now at least 36 churches and 6 trained and ordained pastors! Praise God! In spite of difficulties – isolation and famine for two years – the church had grown and many had accepted the Lord as Savior. In fact, when their “first missionary” (me!) visited them on this trip, the main church was crowded out by all the folks who came from each out-church to greet (and see!) this “mzungu” (European) who had come to live among them and had preached to them and encouraged them in their witness.salchurch

Yes, and for me it was a time of reigning in my thoughts. It was easy to bask in the recognition and praise they gave but that was wrong. It was the Lord who not only send our family out to live in the area but also He was the one who “built” His church through the faithful witness of many. To God be the Glory!

November 5, 2016 5:28 pm
Published in: Church Ministry

The day of evangelistic meetings in the villages was over. The team piled into the truck and we went to the home where another church evangelist lived. It was ‘way out there in the bush and as a new missionary I did not know what to expect. We were to spend the night there, leaving in the morning for another outreach into a new area. The local evangelist and his wife received us warmly. I was ushered into a fairly new grass-roofed hut where there was a small table and one chair. I had no idea where the rest of my African teammates ha been taken – but I had an idea! It was still “colonial Africa” and the protocol was that “whites” did not regularly associate with Africans. They did together whatever work they had to do but, when work was over, they separated, going their own way and didn’t mix.

After a long time of sitting there alone, the local evangelist came in, put on the table an unopened tin of sweetened condensed milk and an unopened box of Marie biscuits and immediately left. No utensils. I assumed a kettle of tea was to arrive and, possibly, another chair and occupant. So I sat – and sat – and sat. Nothing and no one came. It soon grew dark. The evangelist returned and saw the tin of condensed milk and the biscuits unopened. And he blew his stack! So out of character for an African, especially an evangelist. He said, “What I brought you wasn’t good enough for a white man. I guess you want some tea!” As I spluttered to answer he stormed out, taking the condensed milk with him and later sent his wife to bring me a pot of tea. That was the extent of supper. I slept that night “under the stars” and mosquito net in the back of the pickup.

In the morning I went back to the evangelist’s hut to greet everyone. He greeted me warmly and welcomed me in to eat a hearty meal with the rest of the team. I said nothing about the events of the preceding evening but learned later that the rest of the African team had heard and had roundly verbally chastised the local evangelist for his actions and expectations. For the rest of our two-week safari the team talked about this and the “ignorant” local evangelist.

In REFLECTION, the encouraging part is that the team highly approved of how I had handled it – I just “rolled”with it; did not mention it or rebuke the evangelist and even ate that morning meal together with all in a real sense of fellowship. Looking back, I say, “Thank you Lord for guarding MY response”. And, I believe my relationship with those team members during 25+ years of ministry with the African church, and also with that local evangelist whom I visited a number of times later, was built on that occurrence. And, again, I say, “Thank you Lord for controlling my tongue and actions”.

October 31, 2016 12:24 am
Published in: Ministry Life

The Jack Wytzen Evangelistic Team was visiting Tanzania. It was great to have them and meetings, both public and in secondary schools, were well attended and received. Many made professions of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. I was privileged to provide Team transportation to a number of venues.

After things had wound down, several Team members were able to rest and relax at our guest house in Mwanza. One of the team men stayed over for the Sunday service and I sat beside him to provide a running-translation of what was being said. He was not the speaker so he and I sat on one of the wooden benches along with the rest of the congregation – men on one side, women on the other!

81rumanawa2It was a Communion Sunday. The bread was passed and we all took a piece. In those days a Ryvita-type bread (cracker) was used for communion and as we sat waiting for the serving to be completed I saw him intently looking at the piece in his hand. Thinking that we was wondering what kind of bread (cracker) it was, I started to explain. He interrupted and said, “It’s not that. My piece had a weevil and it has gone inside”! Shaking his hand that held the piece he said, “And it won’t come out”!!!

I have no idea what he did. Maybe what all of us do – focus on the meaning, not on the item – and just trust. In any case later when I told the African pastor what had happened he was just mortified. “A thing like that should never happen to one who is our “mgeni” (guest)”. To us, an every-day experience. To a guest, such should not happen.

October 21, 2016 2:21 am
Published in: Ministry Life

Yes, it’s raining but not too hard. The main mbuga (swamp) has some water in it but not very deep. With the Land Rover we can safely make our way across. We better make a trip to town to get supplies because when the “long rains” come, there is no way we could get across. And travel will be curtailed for at least the following 4 months.

So we go. Shopping in the late morning hours after we arrive, lunch at the mission guest house, shopping in the early afternoon and, about 3 p.m. with the vehicle well loaded, we start for home about 70 miles away – so we should be there by sun-down.

BUT in the area above the swamp, to the east, it had rained hard while we were in town. All that water had flowed into the swamp filling it up to about a thigh-high depth. BUT, we had to get home. No way could we wait for it to go down. That might be months from now!

During the previous rains, loaded trucks had navigated the swamp leaving ruts where they had passed. Some had gotten stuck in the mud and had to be jacked up and dug out, leaving pits and depressions where they had been. Now I had to navigate across and I had no idea where those deep holes were.

xxlndrovmbugaAs in every situation like that, one does just now “plow across” unless they have a reasonable expectation of making it. Park the vehicle, get out and take off your shoes and socks, roll up your trousers and “feel out” the best way through the water and grass. And that I did.

Oops! I stepped into one of those holes. The water came up to my waist. Grabbing some of the stalks of  grass growing nearby, I knotted them together at the top end. Now, that would be the sign of an area to avoid. Across the swamp I went, stepping in holes, knotting grass and charting a way across.

Sopping wet, back at the Land Rover, I removed the fan-belt to keep the fan from turning. That would keep the fan from flooding the engine when it hits the water. Grease was smeared over the spark plug wires where they connected to the plugs. The same was done to the distributor cap. I had not yet been able to get the water-proofing kit that the British army used on its Land Rovers.

O.K., time to go! 4-wheel drive, low range, was engaged. First gear was engaged and I plowed in. My eyes were on those tied-together tufts of grass and I managed to avoid the holes. With a sigh of relief and thanks to God we rolled up and out on the other side, none the worse for the ordeal. In short order the fan belt was put back on and the final seven miles to home were uneventful. We arrived just as the sun was going down and the chickens were heading back into their coop. Carol whipped up a quick supper and by about 9 p.m. we were in bed. Another day. Another experience. Another evidence of God’s care.

And, in case you think this happened only once, we lived out in that area for over 7 years and each year during the rains had to experience a variation of this story. The roads across the swamps were never improved during our time living out there in Salawe.

October 13, 2016 4:02 am
Published in: Uncategorized

I guess because we are off to flood-ravaged North Carolina for a wedding, I need to get another post added. And, maybe, the following is appropriate.
Unless you are used to deciphering local language usage, you have no idea what the title to this blog means. Nor did I at the beginning.

We lived ‘way out there beyond the seasonal swamps. As soon as the rains stopped and the water in the swamps receded enough, we always planned a trip to town to get supplies. After all, it had been at least 4 or 5 months since were last there!

The 4-wheel drive Land Rover got its workout on those days. Rough travel, especially through water which you couldn’t see through because it was the color of chocolate, made the vehicle bounce and twist and turn as it churned its way across. And, as always, there were always local Africans who wanted to go to town also and as long as I had room I took them. On the other hand, the more of them I could take provided insurance – hands to push if I got the vehicle stuck in the mud!

salroadsAfter a long bouncy ride across the last swampy stretch, I turned around in my seat to make sure my passengers were okay. I asked them how they had fared and one piped up and said, “Tuli sitili”. I assumed it was that all were well and continued on to town.

Later I had occasion to ask what was meant. “We were strong and held on (for dear life, I am sure!)”. “Tuli” means “we are”. “Sitili” is the Sukuma dialect’s pronunciation of the English word, “steel”. So what I was told was that all the passengers were strong as steel (sitili) and had come through the ordeal with no problem.

October 1, 2016 9:34 pm
Published in: Family Life

I guess I need to start October off right – who knows when I will post again. So, from “family life”, here is a reflection. And don’t spend too much time trying to figure who that unnamed one is!

It was always fun when our children returned from their boarding school. Sometimes pressures of mission work took over but we always tried to have a special time together during their time home. Often that “special time” involved a safari or a camping trip to the Serengeti. The only problem with the Serengeti camping – I was the only one willing to get up at night to stoke the campfire we kept burning to keep the hyenas at bay and, maybe, also those lions which were roaring off in the distance.

During the day, while camping, we drove all over looking at the animals. This one time, we were surrounded by a troop of baboons – staring at us, walking all around; coming closer for a better look. One of our daughters, whose name will not be mentioned at this time, didn’t like them looking at her. They scared her ‘to death’! So as to prevent the baboon from seebaboon-jpging her, she lay down on the floor in the back of the Land Rover. That gave her confidence that she would survive! From then on, whenever we came across other baboons, she would protect herself that way saying “the bad-boons can’t see me now”!

Often, when the kids were going back to school in Kenya, we drove up taking the shortcut through the Serengeti – Ndabaka Gate entrance, to Seronera, to Lobo, to Kleins Camp, across the border and the Mara River to Keekorok, to Narok, to Kijabe. It was a great trip and we were able to view many animals on the way – kongoni, topi, grantis and thompson gazelles, impala, wart hog, hyena, zebra, buffalo, ostrich, sometimes lion. It seemed all this wildlife soon became “old hat” to the kids. “We’ve seen them all before”.

This one trip up to Kenya was no exception. Wildlife all over! The “old hat” attitude took over. We cleared Keekorok and drove onward across part of Masailand. As we drove into Narok some vestige of excitement became evident. After all, we were getting nearer to Kijabe!

Suddenly one of the children (again unnamed because we had only one son), shouted, “Look, look. A donkey!” After passing through all that wildlife, finally! An animal in a “civilized” area. PERSPECTIVE!