So in the middle of January, where can you find 70 degree weather, Spanish moss hanging from the trees, and alligators lounging on muddy banks? The answer, Gainesville Florida. But you know what else you can find there? A group of students who love Jesus and are making a difference on their campus, and in this world, and in the middle of Tanzania! Two weekends ago I had the privilege of taking a weekend trip to Gainesville to visit with a student organization at the University of Florida called HOPE. If you remember, it was from this school, and this organization, that the short term team of five college students came out to serve with us in Magambua the summer of 2008.
Here’s an excerpt from the HOPE blog:

“HOPE is a student-run organization at the University of Florida that exists for the sole purpose of seeing lives saved and communities changed as a result of our efforts. We intend to fulfill this bold vision by raising funds to support the work of a rural medical clinic in Magambua, Tanzania, Africa, and then by going and working in that clinic ourselves. By focusing on one clinic in one community, we hope to see with our own eyes and touch with our own hands those Tanzanians whom our money and time are saving. The reason for the name HOPE is that we, as an organization and as individuals, have been radically changed by the hope given us by the person of Jesus Christ. Because of this hope, we are compelled to offer HOPE to others: not just physically and emotionally, but spiritually as well.
All the support that we raise is given directly to Africa Inland Mission (AIM) to support the medical clinic in purchasing supplies to treat the Tanzanians.”

During the weekend I was in Florida, HOPE had a fund raising concert that I shared at. What a blast it was! They had a great turnout with a 150 some students, local student bands, a T-shirt sale, and a used books drive…. all to raise money to support the medical ministry among the Sandawe people.

I also just had a blast hanging out with fun college students all weekend! It was also a joy to reconnect with two of the five students who had been to Magambua, to catch up a bit with their lives and how the Lord is leading them.

The T-shirts the group just made say ‘Tumaini means hope’, written underneath an acacia tree. It made me think of all the MCH clinics we run in Swahili under acacia trees out in these remote villages in the Tanzanian bush. These college students, fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, are part of the great work that God is doing in offering hope to the poor, a hope found in Jesus! They are a huge encouragement to me, and I count it a joy, privilege, and blast to be partnering with them!