Pasaka, Swahili for Easter, is the biggest day of the year for Tanzanian Christians. It's a 4 day national holiday that everyone celebrates with lots of food and lots of sitting in church. Tanzanians love long church services.
Some time ago a Tanzanian Christian, Yohanna, decided he wanted to teach others about Jesus. So in his hometown of Kasilo, about a two hour drive from Geita, he began to share his faith. Introduced to our teammate Calvin by a mutual friend, he asked if he would mind coming out occasionally to help him teach. Calvin did so and a relationship with the village of Kasilo and the Geita Team was established. The Groens were just leaving to go home on furlough when Yohanna called and said that several people had decided they wanted to be baptized on Easter. He wanted to know if since Calvin was leaving, Brett might be wiling to come and teach on baptism to the new believers.
So yesterday we headed out at 7am to spend the day at the village of Kasilo. Upon our arrival a little after 9:00 we were greeted heartily and served a big plate of rice and beans. I actually really like rice and beans (Brett hates beans) but even for me, eating them not hungry at 9:30 in the morning wasn't especially appetizing. Baylor, however, a rice and beans fiend, was delighted.
After Yohanna pulled out a guy's wisdom tooth (seriously), we headed to the meeting area under a couple tarps. We had some good worship time and after Brett's lesson we headed to the "river." By river I mean large puddle of stagnant water in the middle of some rice paddies. But hey, I didn't have to get in it. It was great to participate in such an event. Eleven people dedicated their lives to Christ. My favorite moment was when a teenage boy who a bit afraid of the water was dunked three times because he kept trying to not go under. The water being only about three feet deep I wasn't too worried about him; he came through it happy and proud.
After the baptisms we headed back to the meeting place. We sang and Yohanna taught a little more for the new believers. We were then served our second helping of rice and beans. They really are quite tasty.
While Brett spent time talking with the men about agriculture and Bibles, I half talked with the women and half kept an eye on Baylor playing with the other kids. One time she managed to get all the way into someone else's house before I got to her. The girl can run. The occupants of that house were quite amused by their visitor.
Around 3:00 we had communion together and then we headed home. Baylor was asleep within minutes. Playing in the village always wears her out. Just as we were getting back to Geita we were stopped by a bunch of cows. This is a common occurrence but I thought it was funny with the giant Coca Cola billboard in the background. Tanzania often seems to be caught in the middle of tradition and modernity.
I hope your Easter was as happy as ours.