There are occasions when I need to spend some time thinking about how to begin these little epistles. Other times the words just seem to jump off the keyboard. And then there is a third category; how to arrange different items to share with you. It is this third category that is testing me this month.
There are many topics which emerged from my recent trip to the Konde Diocese in Tanzania to share with you. The little article on page nine is just the beginning.
In thinking about my experiences during the trip, two topics have bubbled up to the top of my thinking that I will be sharing with you over the course of the next year. They are fairly simple concepts, but sometimes hard to implement. They both revolve around the topic of how people speak to each other.
As I traveled around the Konde Diocese and listened to, or participated in conversations, it became obvious that the level of intelligent discussion, careful use of language and respectful treatment of your conversation partner is very high.
During the trip we had a couple of sensitive issues to raise, and I was struck by the care with which these conversations were held, and how following the end of the discussion, there remained our authentic friendship and affection for each other. This is because of what holds our partnership together: the fact that God has called us together in covenant, and to quote St. Paul, “nothing separates us from the love of God in Christ Jesus.”
That is an example for us to follow as we work through any topic that comes before us. In fact I think there is an adult Sunday School class brewing here. Stay tuned.
Related to this is what I learned about how our Tanzanian friends are so easily able to speak about their faith to other people. They have a comfortable, friendly style in sharing their faith that is impressive. One reason this is so is because they know what to talk about and how to talk about it. On this topic we can learn a lot from them. I was told that our companion congregation has grown mainly because of this person-to-person interaction. Yes, there is more than one Sunday School class here, perhaps a series of classes.
CLIFTON D. ESHBACH