Firstly apologies for not writing a proper blog entry for 3 months, but hopefully you have received our updates and link letter in the meantime.
Our last couple of months in Tanzania were very busy as we were handing over our work to colleagues as well as saying our farewells. Christine’s main focus was a very big fundraising event to raise money for a recording studio which we hope to develop in Dodoma. The studio will be a huge benefit for the local youth choirs and will also be a source of income for the youth office where Christine works, where we are really struggling for funds. The event took place at the end of October and was a great event involving several choirs performing together with speeches from various important people. The guest of honour was the Chief Justice of Tanzania, Augustino Ramadhani, who contributed generously towards the project. In total we raised around £4,000 and together with funds we raised previously we now have around £5,000 towards the studio. We thank God for this encouraging start, but please pray for the project as we continue to work towards our target of £20,000.
Early November saw St John’s very first Graduation which was a wonderful celebration of three years of hard work by students and staff. The event went well and kick started the new academic year which had been delayed due to the General elections which passed peacefully. Paul managed to hand over all responsibilities and see the new timetable into action with a few days to spare before our flight. We had a small leaving party with some of our closest friends before we left which was a wonderful time of sharing together, though sad to say goodbye for the next 6 months. The picture at the top shows members of Revival choir giving us a leaving present, and this picture shows Christine feeding cake to the university chaplain, Bishop Ntiruka at our leaving party (a Tanzanian tradition!)
We arrived back in the UK at the end of November, probably at the coldest and snowiest time. We have spent the last month travelling, firstly to CMS house for a debrief, and then to London for a medical at interhealth. We made the most of this and had a few days in London which was a great time – the highlight was building a snowman in St. James’ Park! After this we went up to Manchester and spent a couple of weeks with Christine’s mum. During this time we were able to visit 2 of our link churches – the Avenue Methodist, Sale and Christ the King, Kettering. It was lovely to see friends again, and we very much look forward to visiting all our other supporting churches over the next few months.
For Christmas week we went up to the Lake District where we stayed in a big old farmhouse with all of Paul’s family. We are now in St. Austell where we will be for our remaining 5 months in the UK. We are renting a little house here as we have good tenants in our own house. It is nice to be settled, to catch up with friends and to get involved with our church here again.
As well as visiting our supporters we also hope to do some networking and fundraising whilst we are back in the UK. Paul is planning to send back to Tanzania a shipping container (or two?) and so is busy calling on all the contacts he can in the hope of finding schools, universities or businesses having a clean out. We’re primarily looking for good quality second hand computers, university level text books and scientific apparatus in quantity but so far we’ve yet to strike gold. Please contact us if you think you may be able to help (or know someone else who can).
Christine is trying to raise funds for a number of projects including the recording studio, the small loans project for youth groups, seminars in youth bible study and seminars in music and worship. If anyone has any ideas of organisations she could approach, or if anyone would like to do some fundraising for us (maybe through your church youth group or music group) please let us know.
We’re really sorry we will not be able to visit all our individual friends we would like to see during the 6 months we are here. However, we do welcome visitors here in St. Austell, and we would love to see you.
Please pray for us over the next few months as we settle back into life in the UK, travel around our link churches, and for the boys in school.
Lots of love and blessings,
Paul, Christine, Daniel & Isaac.xxx