Monday, 28 January 2008

Dear all,
Thank you for all your prayers – its great to know there are people back home praying for us. We have just had one answer to prayer in that we think we now have a tenant for our house back in the UK which will mean that we will be a little more secure financially.
We had a wonderful holiday in Bagamoyo as can be seen from the pictures. The kids loved the beach and pool and we managed to all keep ourselves from frying to a crisp in the scorchingly hot weather (sorry if this makes you all jealous back in the wet and cold UK but there are some advantages to living in an equatorial climate).
We have been busy in other ways too: Paul has been helping the english and chemistry departments in their exam marking and is busily preparing for the new term. He was also invited to speak to a group of pastors on Christian Unity at the weekend. The talk went down well and it was encouraging to see church leaders from a variety of denominations within a local area coming together to see how they can support each other.
It was good to see Amani Shabani today who has recently managed to re-establish relations with his parents (see earlier entry). He is now planning to make a CD of Christian songs he has written and has asked Christine to be part of the backing group.
Daniel is looking forward to starting nursery school on Monday from 9 til 12 each day and Isaac will be joining his ex-pat toddler group. Christine is hoping to also start a local toddler group at home for Tanzanian mums and tots – something new to Tanzania.

Please pray:
n Praise God for answered prayer and pray that the new tenancy goes ahead smoothly
n That Daniel will settle quickly into his school and make new friends
n For the local church leaders group – that they may be encouraged to work together under a common purpose
n For all who are supporting us in our mission both prayerfully and financially

Sunday, 13 January 2008

Dear all,

Sorry for the long break since the last blog entry and thank you to all those who have been asking when the next one is coming! Its good to know you are enjoying reading it! Sorry we have been a bit slack in taking photos recently too. We will take more for next time!

Paul has been very busy preparing for his teaching in the new semester as well as collecting & downloading materials for the faculty of education electronic library, preaching at morning prayers, invigilating university exams and spending our Christmas money on wood, pipe, chain, cement, sand, gravel, rope and tools for building the adventure playground he’s designed for our back garden!

We had a difficult few days the week before last as Daniel managed to get malaria. He was very poorly to start with especially as he was delayed starting his medication due to the local doctor diagnosing the flu! However once he had started his medication and many of you back home started praying for him he recovered very quickly apart from being very tired for a few days. He has also been having a difficult time settling in but during this last week he has suddenly become much happier and has been really enjoying his new Tanzanian friends. It his great to see his happy face again. Thank you to all of you who have been praying for him.

Isaac continues to enjoy life and is becoming very Tanzanian! His favourite foods are beans with rice or ugali (a stodgy maize dish) and chips mayai (chip omelette!) – real Tanzanian staples! He loves the local children and stands on the step shouting until they come to play with him (this usually involves them pushing him around on his new bike).

Christine has been working hard entertaining the entire population of small children in the area who love to play with the boys (and their toys!) and continues to enjoy the choir. This week she will also be starting a music group of students from the university who want to learn English songs. We have an English service at the church following the Swahili service which we usually attend. At present the music is pretty awful as nobody really knows any of the songs. The plan is to start up a group which will lead the worship at these services.

We are also hoping to start an Alpha course through the church. We heard from some missionary friends elsewhere in Tanzania that the course has been translated into Swahili and they have been using it with great success in their church. We are still in the early stages of planning this but the vicar seems very interested in the idea.

At the end of the week we are planning to go to Bagamoyo on the coast for a few days break before term begins for Paul and Daniel and we all get very busy! Daniel is very excited at the prospect of swimming in a warm sea! Isaac has been missing the beach so will be very happy.

Due to the miracles of modern technology we can get free phone calls over the internet using skype. Our skype name is SalamansTz. We have also bought a webcam so should even be able to do video calls with anyone who’s interested.
Today we had a visit from our good friend John Lupaa now Bishop of the Dicoese of the Rift Valley - it was good to chat over some dinner and even though we are no longer in that diocese I'm sure we will still work together alot over the coming years.

Please pray:
n For continued health and protection especially for the boys
n For our holiday that it be a time of relaxation and refreshment
n For the college and its students during the current exams
n That Paul will be ready for the start of term on the 4th of Feb
n For the English service music group – that they may worship God faithfully and draw people to this service
n For John Lupaa as he leads the Diocese of the Rift Valley at a crucial stage in its history

Tuesday, 1 January 2008

Dear all,

Heri za mwaka mpya (happy new year)

It seems a lot more than a week and a bit since our last blog entry. First there was Christmas day – we managed to wake the boys and open stockings before going to the 7:30 am service after which we opened more presents, (including the bikes which were a real hit) and had dinner with a group of staff and students.
It was nice to be able to the share the festivities with new friends, however it was even better to meet up with old friends in Kilimatinde on boxing day.
We stayed there for 4 days and had a very relaxing and fun time and were very well looked after in the guest house by mama Pulo and Teresia. We spent a lot of time with Choir Masada and met up with Festo, Allan and Agnes Sallum and family, Ernest and Ester Ndahani and family and John Lupaa, the new bishop of the Rift Valley, to name a few whom people will know.
The boys had a great time playing with various friends’ children and are keen to go back and visit again. It will be a nice place for us to go for breaks.
We were back home for new years eve which was a quiet celebration with our neighbours and then 7.30 in church again on New Years Day!

Paul is busy preparing lectures for the “teaching methods in science” course which he will start teaching in the new semester in February and is also now starting to do some preaching during daily worship.

Daniel has a long break now before starting pre-school properly on 28th Jan. He is getting more confident now and is happy to play with the local children, but it will be a challenge to stop him getting bored over the next few weeks. Isaac is very settled and happy to play with anyone now.

We are beginning to settle into church life now and Christine is enjoying singing with the Revival choir. We have also started taking it in turns to go to a little housegroup at our neighbours house on Sunday nights with missionaries from the university and from town.

Please pray:
n That the new year will bring opportunities for us to serve God using the gifts He has given us
n For the village of Kilimatinde and the Diocese of the Rift Valley, that recent changes under the new bishop will lead to spiritual, practical and economic growth
n For Rev Allan Sallum and his family (now vicar of Kilimatinde) and for choir Masada in their work in Kilimatinde and surrounding villages.
n For Christine, Daniel and Isaac over the next few weeks before school starts, that they will have an enjoyable time and develop new friendships and relationships.
n For Paul as he begins preparing for the new course and preaching