July 23, 1967

Dear Mom and Dad,

…I’m out on the bike everyday teaching religion. Monday to Thursday I go to four Wa-Arusha communities, one each day. On Friday and Saturday I have two Massai villages, one each day. Sunday, I celebrate Mass with one of the established communities, who work on a large government farm not too far from here in the direction of Arusha. These are Catholics from all over Tanzania who come to this area for work. Usually they aren’t permanent residents. They work here for a time and then go back to where they came from.

The work of teaching religion gets more exciting and challenging as we go along. In one of the Maasai places, we began to teach the New Testament three weeks ago. In the Old Testament the Maasai were very much at home and had many of their own stories to tell us, which were very much like many of the people in the Bible. David, for example, who killed a lion to protect his herds and went onto become a great warrior. Since their life is so much like what the nomadic, pastoral life of the Jews must have been, the Maasai can identify with them very easily. This is a tremendous help to us in establishing a basis of trust, and provides many opportunities to show them concretely that we come not to destroy their life as it is but rather to enrich it.

The New Testament is a real shock to them, the fact of the Virgin birth, and the time Jesus stood up before the elders in the temple while still a child and spoke to them. It is quite an experience to present the New Testament to people who have never heard a thing about it before.



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