Saturday, 19 April 2008

Brides, Birthdays & Alpha away days

Dear All,
God’s still keeping us busy and blessed at work, Church and through our family.
The end of the first academic year for St John’s University of Tanzania draws near and despite all that has to be done in that short time such (lectures, exams, marking, teaching practices) it is incredible to see how God has made the seemingly impossible possible that we should have got to this point. The University is still incredibly under-resourced under-staffed and suffering first year teething problems. With an extra 1000 students joining us in September, more than doubling its size, we will no doubt be continuing to rely on God’s grace to survive.

Christine continues to be very involved with Revival choir (the Tanzanian group) and after encouraging them to introduce times of bible study, worship and prayer, we have started including this in each of our rehearsals. We have had some amazing times together which is really encouraging for the young Christians in the group and those who have not yet made a commitment to Christ. It is also great for Christine to have a group with which she can share in fellowship. Christine is also teaching choir members English once a week. Most have very little English having never been to secondary school, but are keen to learn! We are also planning a “tamasha” – a big sort of concert/ fundraising event to which the local MP has agreed to come as guest of honour. It promises to be a very big event to which we will be inviting various other choirs and singers who are quite well known in Tanzania. Much prayer is needed for it to be a success.

Recent events in our diary have included the wedding of Patrick John (an ex student of Paul’s) which was a great event to catch up with Kilimatinde folk despite it being held here in Dodoma.
Isaac’s Birthday was great fun. Presents were opened before Church and then we managed to ensure that the chain bridge in the playground was finished with an hour to spare before 20 children of a variety of nationalities descended on us with a few parents in tow. Isaac’s Tanzanian friends took a little while to understand the concept of ‘pass the parcel’ but soon joined in all the games and were delighted with their party bags.

Today was our Alpha away day which we held at the Cathedral. It was a great success and it culminated in a time of prayer when the presence of the Holy Spirit was experienced in power by all, some possibly for the first time. It has been encouraging to see God blessing this course despite initial apprehensions however we are already starting to think about how the current members can help to draw people to future courses.

Daniel is looking forward to the start of his new term on Monday, after a 2 week break which has been fun, though sometimes a little boring for him, especially as most of his school friends have been on holiday. He is generally much happier now and enjoying life. His photo was featured in the Thomas the Tank Engine magazaine which was very exciting for him.

Christine is now 2 weeks into her distance course in Christian microfinance which is really interesting. It is all done over email and gives the chance to interact with missionaries and development workers all over the world.

This picture shows our local dam – a “beauty spot” we have discovered which is good for walks and picnics!

We have some sad news for those who have contacts with Kilimatinde. We just heard yesterday that Canon Sospeter Ndahani, who we knew well as the head of the Bible School in Kilimatinde , died unexpectedly from malaria. We had not seen him for some time as he had moved to Kongwa Theological College before we came back to Dodoma however the news came as quite a surprise.

Please pray for:
n The university, staff and students, as the academic year starts to draw to a close
n Revival Choir as they plan the ‘tamasha’ and as they grow in numbers and faith
n The alpha course – that those on the current course become strengthened in their faith and empowered in their work for the Lord. Also that God may prepare those people who are right to attend the next course
n For the family of Canon Sospeter Ndahani, that they might be comforted in this time of grief