Saturday, July 28, 2007

Laura Campbell-Preston Student Retreat 2007

BBC played host to 24 students from the Laura Campbell-Preston Charitable Trust in Tanzania for one week from 8th to 14th July 2007. LCP Trust sponsors more than 60 students in Tanzania through secondary and tertiary education. The students are from disadvantaged backgrounds and are often facing difficulties in paying fees for school. Allan McKinnon (Principal at BBC) and David Macha (Pastor at St Margaret's Anglican Church, Moshi) are responsible for overseeing the distribution of the funds raised annually by Mr and Mrs Robert Campbell-Preston. This kind and generous couple lost their daughter in a tragic accident back in 1996 and have set up the trust in her name.

The purpose of the retreat was

1. To bring the community of LCP students together in a sense of unity
2. To assist the students in their studies with a focus on Maths and English in particular
3. To get to know the students a little better and to share in their lives in a deeper way

Two professional teachers from the UK joined Allan (Mike Mackison and Ewan Carmichael) to ensure that the Maths programme was well covered. David worked with three Tanzanian teachers to teach English. BBC were also able to offer an extra-curricula activity in their new computer lab which was a major bonus to the students.

We had busy days, starting at 7am with morning prayers and devotions, followed immediately by classes through until 3pm! There was of course breaks for tea and lunch but the students responded well. The high ration of teachers to students was a huge encouragement for the students who are more used to sharing their teacher with 50, 60 or even 70 other students! The individual tuition helped many students to take great strides of progress in the week that we spent together.

One rule for the week was that ONLY ENGLISH should be spoken. Pastor Macha was very keen on this aspect and had to administer extra classes to a few who were caught out slipping back to Swahili! This was all in good spirits and the whole week was a huge success.

In the afternoons we managed to do a few activities together with the students. There were games of volleyball, outings the local waterfalls and adventure playgrounds, as well as the highlight for many; visiting Kilimanjaro International Airport. We had a wonderful afternnon there and the students were able to see so many aircraft come and go. For many of them this was the very first time to see a Jumbo Jet, or any other kind of areoplane for that matter.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Training for Life

One of the programmes that are keeping us busy these days at BBC is the Training for Life course. 24 students are enrolled in this course which Allan has been more involved in recently. He has not been teaching his usual Bible subjects all the same but has turned his hand to being an art teacher! Yes, he was asked to take a class entitled 'Learn how to draw'. The lessons covered about 12 hours of class work so there was a limit to what could be done, that is over and above the limitations immediately imposed by the teacher who was appointed to teach!

The students thoroughly enjoyed the course all the same and as well as learning the basic techniques of contouring, sketching, shading and observation they even managed to learn to draw a horse, a frog, a lion, a landscape, and a portrait.

The highlights of the course for us at BBC have been that Navigators were well received in their Bible overview course and that while Allan was preaching in Pasua church a couple of Sundays past, one of the students called Daniel made a commitment of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ! We praise God that the time invested in the lives of the TFL students is bearing fruit. Allan was asked this weekend if he could teach them some more of the Bible in the evenings! Pray for God to do greater things in the lives of the students.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Recruitment Drive for Students in Central TZ

William and I had a good trip for about one week in late March in an endeavour to promote the work of BBC among the churches of Kanisa la Biblia, the primary church group which we serve in Tanzania.
We were well received in six different centres and we were encouraged to hear of mauch interest in joining BBC. Many are struggling with issues of finance as they worry about how to sustain their families while they study away from home for three months. Others have pastoral concerns for the congregations they serve that they may not be able to survive without their leaders.
Destination Kahama...
Kahama, Shinyanga was the intended final destination for our safari in north central Tanzania. Kahama is a fast growing town owing to the increasing interest of the mining companies in searching out gold and precious stones.
In the area of the town there are two rural churches, each about 13km north and south of the centre. The third church we visited in the vicinity takes its village name from the middle name of the Father of the Nation, Julius Kambarage Nyerere.
The Lord’s servants in Kahama are so used to being visited in passing when missionaries visit that their first question when we arrived was, ‘So where are you going?’ When we said we have arrived at our destination they were overjoyed. We had three short days with them but full of blessing.
Town church packed...
Permanent Christmas decorations and a 30 strong choir brought cheer and blessing to the day’s seminar in Katesh town church where 80 people gathered. Others came and went for the duration & William, Leonce and Allan taught the Word in succession from Mark 12, Phil 1 & Col 1.
It was great to see the growth in this church which 8 years ago consisted in 13 people gathered in a front room.
Recruits for BBC 2007 were immediately forthcoming and the church agreed to help sponsor them in their fees and fares.
Ron & Maria Cunningham have had considerable input at Katesh.
Making inroads past Singida...
The roads infrastructure in mainland Tanzania is still seriously under-developed. Only last month a washed out bridge left 900 HGV lorries stranded in the middle of Singida Region. The Sekenke pass weaves its way up the steep Rift Valley wall but many trucks fail to make ascent or descent on its treacherous slopes and usually block or restrict other vehicles for hours, days or weeks.
Gladly, we were able to pass but not without slippery mud, dense fog, potholes, deep mud trenches and ruts attempting to thwart out progress. Highlight among the hazards was a 1 hr wait while flash flooding attempted to destroy a bridge ahead of us. We were thankful that it subsided so quickly or we may have had to spend a night in the car. Walking through the flood on foot after it seemed safe allowed the Land Rover to be guided through to the other side in safety.

Women's seminar success

During the week running up to Easter we are able to provide a series of lectures and seminars for some women from surrounding churches. The seminar title was best translated "Beautiful Women" and focused their attention on the inner beauty of which the Bible speaks.
About 24 women attended during the week and although they did not all manage every day they all were greatly enthusiastic about its outcome and blessing for their lives. Mrs Upendo Mmari, an optician working in a local hospital's eye department was able to conduct the main teaching slots. In the later part of the afternoon Mr Allan McKinnon and Mr William Rea shared responsibilty in leading Bible study in the lives of some beautiful women from the past. Naomi, Hannah, Huldah, and Mary Magdelene were the women whose walk with God was of great importance in the lives of God's people.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

BBC Bulletin - First Edition

We have decided to publish BBC Bulletins at least twice per year and these will be distributed in hard copies to those on our prayer lists and contact lists. For those of you who prefer the electronic version we have made it available to you through the blogspot in *.pdf format. Simply click on the link below for your own copy of the first edition. The files tend to be about 1.5Mb and may be a little slow to download, so be patient! Full permission is granted for the free distribution of these news bulletins provided the source is acknowledged and the Lord exalted. If you prefer to receive a hard copy and are not on our contacts list leave your address in the comment box and we'll be in touch.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Looking back and forward

2006 happenings

One of the highlights of the year was the part time Preacher’s Course offered every weekend in July. This gave an opportunity for those in full time employment to study the principles for the interpretation and application of the Bible as Jesus demonstrated it in Mark’s Gospel. Magdalena was the first female student to attend a course and she saw this as an answer to her prayers. She had just been given the responsibility for taking devotions in the girl’s hostel at a nearby vocational school, where she is the matron.

Another significant event was the hosting of the Training for Life course, that is aimed at equipping 6th Form school leavers with life skills, which are needed in the real world of the 21st century. They studied subjects such as personal finance and money management, health (including AIDS), relationships and business acumen. A Navigator team from UK conducted an overview of the Bible. They also learnt basic computing and then spent a month in community work. Finally, they climbed Mt Kilimanjaro to test leadership, team work, stamina and courage. It was interesting to observe two of the girls vigorously debating HIV issues with the porters and guides en route. Many of them have gone to Higher Education and will become future leaders of this country.

BBC had its official opening on 26th August 2006 with Mrs Anna Mkapa, the wife of the former President of Tanzania, as the guest of honour. It was a great day of celebration as we rejoiced in what God has achieved in the life of the College. Term started soon after this for the students and at the end of the course, on 25th November we held our first ever Graduation Ceremony.

The future – 2007 and beyond

The development of BBC depends on a number of things; for which we value your prayers and practical support.

1. People needs.
In time, BBC must be staffed throughout by competent Tanzanians, who are equipped to lead and serve the College in the days ahead. We are actively looking for suitable men and women to be developed and trained to be permanent members of staff. Posts to be filled include principal and lecturers, dean of students, administrative staff and the like. One big question is the need to make BBC economically viable too, so that it can operate without depending on donations for the long term.

2. Building needs.
a. Phase 2b

i. Currently we need to construct a laundry cum washing up area for the kitchen to meet the requirements of the students and staff. This will have water heated by solar power. Plans have been drawn up and the cost estimated at £9,000.
ii. Another essential item is a water tower for the 2x 15,000 litre tanks to be positioned. The cost will be around £5,000. The borehole works well, when electricity is available, but our existing storage is totally inadequate.
iii. There is a window of opportunity now open to purchase, for our Computer Lab, some 20-25 second-hand computers from a Dutch NGO. ‘Obsolete’ computers are imported by them from hi-tech companies in the Netherlands. The cost of the hardware, antenna for Internet connection, cabling, Uninterrupted Power Source (UPS) is estimated at £10,000. The benefit of having such equipment is immeasurable for the future of our course work, the student’s technological education and research; and the opportunity to teach local Tanzanians IT skills for the 21st century.
b. Phase 3
We will need to construct five or six apartment style units to house married students and their families, plus staff houses for short term teachers. We have in mind, say, two storey semi detached units, thus housing four families in each block. Estimated costs are £25,000 per block and they will be needed within the next 2 years.
c. Land
A four acre plot of land for a second campus and sports field is available nearby for around £10,000, which would be worthwhile purchasing soon, before the price goes up or it is sold to another client.
A dedicated games area is vital for the health and exercise of the students. Football, volleyball and table tennis are basic requirements for sports facilities.