Graduation, Seminar, and Building Update

We Held a Graduation for the Students that Finished in September

As I said before, the students that completed Bible school in Sepember wanted to wait for me to return from America before celebrating their graduation, since I had to leave unexpectedly before the semester had finished. So last Saturday (April 30), we all gathered at the nearby village of Sagara to have the ceremony at a church that would be large enough to hold everyone. Over two hundred people came to celebrate with the seventeen students. There was much singing, I exhorted the students to continue in the things they had been taught, and Bishop William Mnyawi preached a sermon before we passed out diplomas and gifts. There has been strong relations made with these students, and we will continue to fellowship with them in the future. Several of them have shown interest in helping in the school in the future either as a translator or teacher.

I Taught a Bible Seminar in a Village Where Several Students are from

 
Since I last sent out a report, I travelled to the village of Pohama where I taught a Bible seminar. The seminar focused on Being a True Follower of Jesus. About a hundred people were in attendace the first two days of the seminar, and many more came on the last day, Sunday. They were very attentive and took detailed notes during the teaching. On Sunday, I came down suddenly with a stomach virus, so Jacob preached in my place.

We are Almost Finished with the First Dorm Building

 

Progress on the building has been going slower than I originally anticipated, but it is almost completed and should be done before I leave next week. The walls are built and the doors are installed. Now we need to install the windows, parge the walls, and paint. The restrooms probably wont be finished before I leave, but they will continue after I leave.

I am very excited as I see this vision that God has given come to pass before my eyes. We give Him all the glory.

Construction Has Begun

  
I have arrived safely in Tanzania and construction of the first building of the Bible school has begun. It will be a 520 sq. ft., four room dormitory to house students for the Bible school.

The blocks are being made on site by local workers that mix the cement with a shovel and pour it into a mold. Almost a thousand have been made already, and they will make five hundred more. It will take five days for the blocks to be hard enough for construction, which means the first batch will be ready on Monday when the construction team arrives. I am told that the process will go fairly quickly, and that the main walls should be completed in less than two weeks. We also have workers digging a septic tank 12′ deep for the two bathrooms we will construct.

  
I am very excited for what God is doing. I appreciate your prayers as the work continues.

The Bible School in Tanzania Is Moving Forward

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It has been a while since we gave an update on what is happening for our work in Tanzania. This short newsletter will explain what has happened since last time we made an update and will also lay out our next steps in our mission to teach the Bible to those that are hungry for it in Tanzania.

Matthew Derocher was in Tanzania in September teaching the Bible school students when he had to suddenly return to the US because of a family emergency. The students he was teaching were in their third and final year of Bible school. Jacob Gabrel, who was translating for Matthew and had already been teaching in the school, graduated previously under the teaching of Matthew. The class calendar only had a couple of weeks left at the time when Matthew had to return home, and so Jacob took over teaching Matthew’s classes for the remainder of the semester. The class consisted of seventeen students, who have now completed the required studies and have returned to their villages and churches to share what they have learned from the Gospel with others.

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As stated in a previous newsletter, up until this point we have been using borrowed buildings for the school. We had asked before for funds to buy land that we could build on, and we are pleased to announce that we have received what we needed and have bought about an acre of land near the church we had been barrowing.

On the 24th of March, Matthew Derocher will be returning to Singida, Tanzania to start development on the new land so we can take a new group of students in the near future. Though the plans may change when he reaches Tanzania and assesses what needs to be accomplished, our goal is to build a small dormitory in which we can house 12-16 new students in the fall while we continue to borrow a building for the classroom.

Thank you to everyone who has given thus far to this work. May God continue to bless you.

School is in Session!

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Things are going well here at the Bible school in Singida, Tanzania! The students are as eager as ever to study the Word, and many things have come together for us to have this semester where we will graduate a class of students. We give all the glory to Jesus!

I have been in Tanzania for two and a half weeks. The first week and a half was spent in preparation for the students to arrive. We started class this past Monday. Because of circumstances at their homes, not all of the students have come yet. Most of them should be here early next week.

We received $1,850 from a GoFundMe compaign for the purpose of buying beds and mattresses for the students. We have bought mattresses (though not as many as originally proposed, since not all the student body has returned), but for several reasons we did not buy bed frames. When we started the fundraising, I thought we were going to have use of two separate buildings to use for the semester, but when I arrived here, I found out that we would only have access to one building. This means that the beds rates would take up the largest portion of a 300-square-foot room that also needs to be used as a classroom and dining room. Also, there were other pressing needs that seemed more important to the comfort of the students, such as a roof for the building (when I arrived here it had none), and electricy so they could see at night and charge their phones. Besides that, we fell short of our fundraising goal of $3,000, and didn’t have enough funds to buy all the beds and mattresses we originally proposed.

We prepared our borrowed building to house the students

The building we are borrowing for this srmester is a church built by my translator and fellow teacher in the Bible school, Jacob Gabriel. Jacob started building it several months ago, and he was very eager for us the use it temporarily for school. There were some things that he was not able to get accomplished himself due to financial constraints, so we helped him with them. We put on a roof, poured a cement floor, and helped with other little details that needed to be done. What we put into the building is comparable to what we would have paid to rent a building, plus we were able to invest in a ministry, since the building is a church.

We built desks

The neighbors’ children testing out the desks.
The neighbors’ children testing out the desks.

A school needs desks. We bought lumber and assembled the desks ourselves. We built nine of them, and each one has an attached bench that can seat two or three students. These desks also double as tables during meal times. I estimate that we were able to save about $10 per desk by building them ourselves.

We bought a solar system

The students installing the solar panel.
The students installing the solar panel.

There are no power lines for us to connect to in the part of town we are in. If we did seek to get electricity from the power company where we are, the connection fees would have probably been more than what a solar system cost, since it would be a considerable distance for us to tie into a main line. And then, the local power company is so unreliable that it is better to have your own system versus continually facing brown and black outs.

We had one small solar light that I had brought with me from America, but it certainly wasn’t enough for our needs. The students were paying neighbors that had solar to charge their phones for them. So after a few days of that situation we bought a 100 watt solar panel, along with a battery and lights. It is more than satisfactory for all out electrical needs.

We built a kitchen shelter

 

This is how you build a kitchen for less than $50.
This is how you build a kitchen for less than $50.

The building we are using did not have a room to use for a kitchen, so we built a small shelter out of wood and sheet metal. It is very simple, but it keeps the sun off the cooks while they work and keeps the wind from blowing out the fire. We also bought various kitchen utensils that were needed.

The students have been taking care of providing food themselves. They brought corn and beans from their farms and have pooled together a little money for all the other culinary needs.

Overview of funds spent

Description Cost
Preparing dorm & classroom $748
9 desks $150
20 mattresses $350
100 watt solar system $300
Kitchen shelter $46
Kitchen supples $138
Delivery and transportation fees $88
Financial transfer fees $30
Total $1,850

Buy a Bed for a Bible School Student

Beds for Christian Bible School in Tanzania
The goal with this gofundme is to provide beds for 28 students active in biblical and ministerial education in the Singida region of Tanzania, Africa.

Missionary and Teacher Matt Derocher has been going twice a year to Tanzania since 2011 to teach the Bible and train people who have a desire to work in Christian ministry.

In April of 2014, seven students received diplomas for completing the course, and there are almost thirty more that are one semester away from graduating. There are at least thirty more people that have applied and several dozen that have shown interest for when we open registration again.


Our original location for the school was borrowed and we have now found a new location much closer to the homes of most of the students. This move is in the best interest of the students and the Bible school, but it also means we are starting completely over with furniture and other supplies–the most urgent need is beds.

14 Bunk Beds = $1750 ($125 each)
28 Mattresses = $700 ($25 each)
Delivery & Bank Fees = $550

Asante sana! (That’s Swahili for thank you very much.)