Thanks to the support of many people my wife and I were in Tanzania, Africa for 3 weeks, including Christmas and New Year’s Day. We went on a pastoral visit to Pastors and Congregations.

We brought resources to benefit those we visited, including Bibles, that were from people who wanted to express the love of God in a tangible way.

It seemed to us that though people are people everywhere, the culture we live in has virtually nothing in common with the culture we visited. How hospitality is expressed, eating times, food, the way the local economy works, how believers worship God, and significant differences in infrastructure shaped a setting in which we had no real frame of reference.

Still, we focussed on our intended mission to encourage believers in their faith through words, deeds and sharing gifts. That part was achieved with reasonable success. What we received, however, was beyond what we could have imagined. We experienced these wonderful children of God as faithful, collegial, humble, and full of the Spirit of God. They became for us more like family than merely mutual believers!

As I prepared at home before beginning this spiritual adventure I was led by God to make the theme of my preaching, “Jesus is real”, “Yesu ni halisi” in Swahili. “Jesus is not an idea. Jesus is not a feeling. Jesus is not history. Jesus is real,” I preached. Among the Pastors it was such a delight to talk about the Gospel in its simplest, most powerful terms. The Gospel is about Jesus, serving Jesus. Together we warned against false teaching, tempting lies and preachers who serve evil rather than the Saviour.

Our friends, whom we had known at a distance, became a part of our family and I find my heart is now intertwined with theirs. God is love.

Our family has expanded by four