Sunday, 22 February 2009

Babies and bananas

Dear all,

The University is relatively empty at present with students enjoying an inter-semester break along with many staff. Paul is still active though, having spent time off around Christmas, and is now working on exam results, timetables, course outlines and Physics practicals. He is still finding space to work on his masters course and the workshop/shed he is building is near completion.

In January we became God-parents to twins Joshua and Jospehine, pictured here with their parents. Their dad is an electrician here at the university. The second picture shows Josephine feeding cake to Isaac, a Tanzanian tradition! Please pray for them as they grow and develop.

Christine has now started work with TAYO (Tanzania Anglican Youth Organisation) at the head office of the Anglican Church, though the start has been rather more of a challenge than expected. The plan was that she would be assisting a Tanzanian project officer who has been in post for a few months before Christmas, having had all the work of TAYO handed over to him by a USPG mission partner who has now returned to the UK. However, this project officer did not return to work after Christmas so Christine has been on her own trying to keep the office running with little knowledge of what needs to be done, and little support. However, she is now getting to grips with the work and is excited about some of the projects she will be involved with. Initially, alongside the general running of the department and its activities, the main project is a small loans project for youth choirs in 2 dioceses to help them with income generation projects to develop their groups. We do need to employ a new youth co-ordinator for TAYO. Please pray that we find a good and reliable person to fill this role and who Christine can work alongside easily. Please pray for Christine as she gets used to the work and that her work permit will be processed quickly.

We had a long gap in the rains after an encouraging start and people were worried that there would not be enough for the crops. However, the last few weeks we have seen good, continuous rains, and though the crops will not be as good as they might have been had the gap not occurred, they should be sufficient. Our garden is flourishing, and our banana tree is doing very well.

Daniel is now back at school and loving it and Isaac gets on very well with our new house help Rosie while Lidia is on maternity leave. Each week they go to “Childrens Church” run by Michaela a 9 year old friend who plans all sorts of activities for the kids and occasional adult who come along. Michaela and her brothers Schuyler and Zachary are children of Jeff and Wendy an american pentecostal missionary couple here in Dodoma who are great friends of ours (and the boys).

Sadly the Alpha course has not taken off. We have arranged to start it on a couple of occasions and people have not turned up. We are not sure why but need to think of a better way to approach it. Please pray for guidance on this and for the plans to start an English language alpha for students.

Tragically, Leon, the youngest son (2 years) of our parish vicar died a couple of weeks ago after falling in a hand dug well outside their house after heavy rains. It has been a very sad and difficult time for the family and the church. We were both able to attend the funeral and other services which were very moving occasions. Please pray for the family including their other two children.

Last week we had a weekend break in Kilimatinde together with our American neighbour, Brandon. We had a lovely weekend just meeting up with friends. This shows us at the Kilimatinde guest house with our good friend Daniel and his wife Teresia, and another friend of theirs. We may look a bit tired as we had just had a very energetic walk down to the valley where Daniel lives and back up again. The road we used to drive on regularly to the valley is now impassable in most vehicles.

This picture is taken from Radio Hill overlooking Dodoma. The hill lies above the dam where we often go for picnics, which you may have seen in several photos before. The views there are wonderful and it is a lovely spot for a quiet Sunday afternoon walk.

Revival Choir’s shop is doing very well. We have a new shop-keeper, one of our choir members, who is honest and reliable and we have started to make a good profit (though the last couple of weeks have been poor as the students have not been around). In March we have a month of visits to different churches around Dodoma each Sunday, and one weekend in Kilimatinde. Please pray that these visits will be a success and that we are able to share in fellowship with and encourage the churches we visit as well as reaching people with God’s word.
With love
Paul, Christine, Daniel & Isaac