Thursday, 27 March 2008

Dear All,

Thank you all for your continued support. HERI ZA PASAKA (literally Easter blessings) to you all.
There were three bank holidays here straddling the Easter weekend and so we took the opportunity to travel to Kilimatinde and beyond to Singida after being invited by the church to share in their Easter celebrations. Despite some scary driving conditions in the rain on dirt tracks the trip was very enjoyable even for the boys. We managed to project the recently finished video of Masada on to the wall of the church in Kilimatinde which both amazed and entertained half the village who came to watch. We also had a very enjoyable picnic on the shore of one of the large lakes in Singida with friends old & new.

We’ve now had two sessions of the Alpha course at our house which has gone well although many of the people seem to have some faith already and so it’s very difficult to judge what impact it is having. However these are still early days and we are trusting God that he will bless what we’re doing in ways we may not expect.

Christine & Isaac’s toddler group is going well with new members coming each week although sometimes erratically. Daniel’s enjoying school and likes entertaining friends at home especially now that the climbing frame in the garden is near completion.
Paul is frantically trying to get the play area in a semi finished state before Isaac’s second birthday party this Sunday when all his friends both Tanzanian and International will descend upon us with parents in tow.

Church life has been a struggle with choir commitments and little in the way of Sunday school at the university church such that the Boys were not getting much from church. We have now, however, started going to the cathedral service in town on alternate Sundays which has a good English language Sunday school that the boys enjoy.

Paul was glad to get a few lectures behind him before the Easter break and is now busy preparing for further lectures, redrafting next years courses for TCU approval (still no news on the Physics course) and writing exams for the end of the year.

Next week Christine will be starting the third in the series of distance learning courses in Christian development and microfinance which she started back in the UK. Hopefully this will prove very useful in the future as there seem to be many opportunities to get involved in this sort of work with the church in Dodoma.

We now have internet access in our home so emailing will be much easier and if you have skype we can talk at leisure!

Please pray:
n Continue to pray that the Physics course is approved by the TCU so that it is able to start next academic year.
n Pray for Christine as she begins studying next week that she is able to balance her time between all her various commitments and time with the family
n Pray that Alpha continues to be a blessing to all who attend
n Pray for Isaac on his birthday, that he has a lovely day with all his friends
n Pray for Daniel that he will continue to develop friendships and feel more at home here.
n Pray for the parish of Singida, especially Rev. Mlowezi, that God blesses their work in the town.

Rev Mlowezi is pictured here on the left with Rev Deo a visiting preacher and ex teacher at Kilimatinde

Monday, 3 March 2008

Dear all,
There’s been a lot happening over the last few weeks, beginning with a weekend away in Kilimatinde 3 weeks ago.
We spent most of our time there helping choir Masada to make a video of one of their songs which was great fun. We are now busy editing it and if it produces good results we will continue to record other songs with them to make a marketable DVD.
This week the university chapel was honoured to host the elections of the new archbishop of Tanzania. The elections went smoothly and a new archibishop was chosen who will begin his role in May this year. In the evening we were invited to a big farewell do for the retiring archbishop Donald Mtetemela at which Christine sang with choir revival. It was a great event though extremely long as is always the case for such parties, finishing after 1am.

The Alpha course now has a full quota of people and we even have several on the waiting list for the next course! It is due to start on Monday 10th March. Thank you to those who have made contributions towards the cost of running the course. We are still looking for more funding to cover our costs.

The English language music group is growing slowly and surely and we have led the singing in the Sunday morning English service for the last 2 weeks which has been greatly appreciated by many. We have a keen core of regulars some of whom can be seen in the picture but are still looking for new members.

Paul has been quite busy with his work mainly within the education department, leading seminars and preparing for the lectures (to over 400 students) that he will deliver in a week or so’s time. Preparations for next years’ Physics course are still ongoing although we are still waiting for confirmation from the TCU (The body that authorises university courses in Tanzania) that it can go ahead. This depends on the quality of the paperwork we have sent them and a forthcoming inspection of the laboratories. We’re also still on the lookout for suitable books, apparatus and computers that people are throwing out in the UK that could be shipped here. Please contact us if your workplace is doing a clearout.

Daniel is happier at present than he has been recently, partly as he has a new best friend at school called Timo, who is from Germany, although communication can still be difficult. Isaac is still entertaining all the local people and enjoying all his friends. He is speaking much more (both English and Swahili) and still loves helping. He can be seen here helping our neighbours to collect water! The Tanzanian toddler group has had rather low numbers recently although everyone still seems interested. They probably just need reminding regularly.

Please pray:

n Give thanks that so many have signed up for the alpha course and pray for the course as it begins on the 10th that many people will come to know Jesus.
n Give thanks for the English language music group and pray that it will continue to grow and be a blessing in the worship at the English service.
n Pray that the Physics course is approved by the JCU so that it is able to start next academic year.
n Pray that the local toddler group grows and is a blessing to all who come.
n Pray for the Anglican church of Tanzania during the transition between archbishops.