Thursday, 15 December 2011

Happy Christmas to You all!

Dear friends,

This is just a brief post to wish you all a very happy and blessed Christmas. We thank you all for your prayers, encouragement and financial support over the past year and we pray that God blesses you all in 2012.

This Christmas is very different to last year - instead of building snowmen we will spend some time on the beach and on safari. Christmas day itself we will be at home with friends visiting from St. Austell.

We praise God that our English choir, which had become very small, has grown once again and we were invited to sing at the Cathedral "Carols by Candlelight" service last week. This video shows a little of that service.
video
We have also made a DVD of a selection of home videos made over the last 6 months which we have sent to some of you. If anyone else would like a copy please let us know.

With much love and blessings,

Christine, Paul, Daniel and Isaac.xxx

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Graduations and gatherings

Dear Friends,
Oh dear it’s nearly 2 months since the last blog – sorry! We have been very busy!

In October we attended the CMS partners in mission conference in Nairobi. It was a great event with representatives from many different parts of Africa. It was a good time for fellowship and sharing with other mission partners. This picture shows Paul in one of the meetings.
One of the highlights was the kids programme led by a wonderful group of young Kenyans who took the children from 8am to 9pm every day! The children absolutely loved it. They had great fun and some great teaching too. They were a small group of just 7 children but they all got on very well with each other and their leaders. Here are the boys with friend James and leader Shaun (“the sheep”!)

The new semester at the University is into full swing now and Paul is stuck into teaching his courses in laboratory Physics and educational media and technology. Thankfully after years of waiting for the infrastructure Paul has managed to start some e-learning activities with a trial group of 50 students from one of his courses. The analysis of this trial will form the dissertation of Paul’s masters but he is also excited by opportunities to develop more e-learning at the university in the future. We recently got dressed up once more for the second ever graduation ceremony of the university. It was a day of great celebrations but tinged with sadness as one of Paul’s Physics students who was due to graduate tragically died in a bus accident 2 weeks before. He was awarded his degree posthumously.

Paul managed to attend another graduation earlier in October at St John’s Secondary, Kilimatinde where he used to teach. It was great to be a part of the celebrations and to meet up with old friends including Festo the Headmaster who is now in the UK – see later.

Though the previous person we selected was unable to take up the position, we have now employed a new project officer at Christine’s work called Justine, shown in this picture. It is great to have him with us. He is enthusiastic and hard working and will do a good job.  He will be working with Christine on all the projects of the youth office though his main role is running the small loans project. We have just begun this project in a new diocese, the diocese of Mpwapwa, and this picture shows Christine with the diocese loans committee at a recent seminar there.
We also recently held a successful seminar on youth bible study together with a meeting of the youth leaders from nearly all the dioceses (of which there are 26) across Tanzania. You can read more about this on my youth office blog http://Tanzaniaanglicanyouth.blogspot.com  Thank you to everyone who has been making donations for my work and making these projects possible. If you are able to make a contribution please see my just giving pages which can be accessed through the youth office blog. We will soon be having elections for a new committee of TAYO (the Tanzania Anglican youth Organisation) – please pray that the right people will be selected and also that God continues to provide the resources we need to keep our work going.

Christine has also been busy with the Kikuyu Gospel Singers. We recently held a very successful event to launch the new choir which has only been going since February, and to raise funds to buy new instruments for the choir. We were also invited to represent our diocese at an event of the neighbouring diocese of the Rift Valley in Manyoni and had a wonderful weekend there. This picture shows us (in the yellow shirts) during a procession through the town on the final day of the event. Christine has also recently been elected as “Katibu” (secretary) of the choir – a big job – in Tanzania the Katibu is the person who does everything! Please pray for us as we continue to grow and develop.
The boys are very happy and enjoying life and school. They are also very much enjoying their cat, Vanilla, pictured here with Isaac (due to the many requests for more pictures!) The weather is getting very hot now so they are particularly enjoying swimming and the paddling pool in the garden.  We had a lovely visit from our friends the Aylings from Dar recently and (for all the CTK crowd) here is a picture of the boys with the Ayling children on lion rock in Dodoma.

Finally we are very happy that our dear friends Festo from Kilimatinde and Grace from St. Austell were married last week. We can’t wait to see them when the return to Tanzania in January. Congratulations Mr. And Mrs Kanungha!

Monday, 19 September 2011

Go-goes galore

Dear  friends,
Thank you for your messages, prayers and encouragement which we really appreciate. You are all a great blessing to us.

We continue to enjoy life here in Tanzania. Vanilla is growing bigger rapidly, and as next door’s cat had tiny kittens on Sunday, Isaac has now decided we can no longer call Vanilla a kitten!

Daniel turned 8 on Sunday and had a lovely party at the local pizzeria/ crazy golf course (one of the few exciting places to go in Dodoma!) with 10 friends. The party had a “Gogo” theme. Though the Gogo is the name of the local tribe here in Dodoma the theme was based on a craze which many of you may be familiar with, of little plastic collectable figures called Gogos. They were introduced to the boys by their cousins when we were back in the UK. This picture shows the boys with the cake in the shape of Daniel’s favourite Gogo, with Gogo figures on top. Daniel and Isaac both recently participated in leading their class assemblies at school and did very well. Below is a video of Daniel’s assembly. Daniel is narrator.
video

The interviews for the project officer at Christine’s office went well and we have selected Geofrey Njama for the job. He will start at the beginning of October. He is an ex-student of St. John’s who we know very well as he helped us to run the English choir, so we also look forward to having him back to sing. Christine is currently busy planning a music and worship seminar for choir leaders from four dioceses in the central zone of the Anglican Church. We hope that the seminar will help choir leaders to develop their musical skills but also to develop an understanding of worship and how to write songs with a meaningful message. Please pray for this seminar which will take place in 2 weeks time. When Geofrey starts work we will also get going on the next phase of the small loans project. We need to choose a diocese to take part in this project so please pray that we select the right one. Last week we held a big event for choirs from 4 dioceses from the central zone of Tanzania. This picture shows a choir in traditional Gogo dress (this time the local tribe, not the toy!)

I have started a new blog specifically about my work and the projects that we are running, together with a Just Giving page which enables you to make contributions towards these projects. http://tanzaniaanglicanyouth.blogspot.com and http://www.justgiving.com/ACT-youth-projects Please have a look at these and please consider making a donation if you are able as we are surviving on a steady trickle of small donations. We are really grateful for those of you who have helped with my work, as much of what I am doing now would otherwise be impossible.

The diocesan youth event in which we participated with Kikuyu Gospel Singers went really well. 53 choirs participated in all over 3 days. It was held in a small village and the whole choir stayed in one small mud brick house. It was a great event and the choir is now known in the diocese, and since then we have had many invitations to participate in services and evangelistic meetings in other churches. We praise God for the way the choir has grown and developed from a difficult beginning earlier in the year. This picture shows Christine on stage with the choir.

Paul is gearing up for the new academic year -finishing off the prospectus, working on the timetable and preparing his e-learning study. This is the final part of his seemingly eternal Masters course and involves piloting a small e-learning initiative at the University replacing face to face seminars with on-line asynchronous discussion (bit like a more academic form of facebook), before analysing its impact. What with that and teaching 3 courses in the coming semester Paul’s quite busy at present but fairly content and leaving the question of “how will it all get done?” to God.

We also recently went to the “nane nane” agricultural show – an annual event here in Dodoma. It is a great event where people can learn new and efficient ways of growing fruit and vegetables and keeping livestock. There are also wild animals on show, including a lion. This picture shows the boys with their friend Prince on a display tractor.

Thank you all once more for all your support in so many ways and please keep praying as we are constantly aware that apart from God we can do nothing.

Much Love,
Paul, Christine, Daniel and Isaac

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Cats, Containers and Chameleons

Dear friends,
On looking through our photos we realised we should have written a blog earlier – and there were many more we could have included! So be prepared for a long picture show this entry!

The boys have just started back at school after a month’s break. Isaac has now entered standard 1 and is very excited to be in the “big school” with Daniel who is now in standard 3. They enjoyed their holiday and had fun playing with friends. This picture shows them with neighbours Ema, K and P.
We had a lovely walk one evening up “lion rock,” one of the biggest hills in Dodoma with our new aussie neighbours, the Buchanans. This shows us near the top looking down over Dodoma.
Christine also took the boys for our regular holiday visit to Kilimatinde where we were able to relax for a few days with friends. This shows our friend Ema with his daughter Janeth (our God-daughter) in their new house which he has been hard at work building. It is coming on well but he still needs a roof which is always the difficult part both in terms of cost and expertise.
Monday this week was a very exciting day. Firstly the boys went back to school and into their new classes. Secondly we gained a new member of the family, Vanilla, a lovely kitten who you can see in this picture. Thirdly, the container which we have been waiting for finally arrived safely at the university. These pictures show the container being unloaded outside the main admin block at the university. So far everything seems to be in order and unbroken! We brought computers, books, lab equipment and furniture for the university which have all been well received. We also fitted in a few boxes of our own stuff and were all very happy to see it arrive – toys for the boys, a bike and a hammock for Paul, and a comfy deck chair and a ton of conditioner for Christine!
We’re at the end of the university year now with students already starting to leave after their exams. Staff are still busy marking, planning for the new year and developing research projects. Paul hopes to complete a few holiday jobs including supervising the laboratory air extraction system and bench resurfacing, building a projection and sound system for the main hall and (once more) painting out the badminton court.
Please continue to pray for Christine’s work. She is now receiving lots of applications for the job of youth projects officer to work alongside her. Please pray that we will find the right person and that the plans for various projects come together. Christine’s Swahili choir, Kikuyu Gospel Singers is doing well and was recently selected to be part of the diocese “tamasha” which is an event for youth choirs throughout the diocese – it is quite a privilege to be selected especially as we are such a new choir. Please pray for us as we go there next week. This picture shows Christine with the choir
Sadly we recently said goodbye to our good friends the Cousleys who have moved to Uganda to continue their work with MAF (Mission Aviation Fellowship) The boys were particularly sad to see the Cousley boys, Joshua and Benjamin leave as they have been great friends over the last 3 years. Shortly before they left they came for a sleepover – this picture shows them all watching a DVD on the little sofa underneath Isaac’s new bed! We also said goodbye last week to Neville and Elspeth (our previous Aussie Neighbours!) who have been living next door since we arrived in Dodoma back in 2007 and are now returning to Australia. We were very sad to see them go.
As well as the goodbyes we were very happy to welcome the Aylings, good friends from “Christ the King” church in Kettering where we worshipped from 1996-2000 before going to Kilimatinde, and who still support us as a link church. The Aylings will be living in Dar-es-Salaam and working for MAF. In the last week of the school holidays we were able to spend a lovely few days with them in Dar, mostly playing on the beach. This picture shows Daniel and Isaac with their 3 children Jack, Harry and Robyn.
Our garden is flourishing and our bananas, papaya and passion are doing particularly well. This picture shows a chameleon trying to disguise itself as a banana.
With lots of love and blessings,
Paul, Christine, Daniel, Isaac and Vanilla.xxx

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Back in the URTZ

Dear Friends,
We have now been back in Dodoma for about a month and are feeling very settled and at home. We had a shaky start as after a great flight we broke down in the car around 3 hours from Dodoma and had to be towed home by a petrol tanker! But we got there safely and 2 weeks later our car was finally roadworthy again. It has been wonderful to catch up with friends, to get back into routine and to settle back into our home.
Thank you all for your encouragement, hospitality and friendship whilst we were back in the UK. We had a great time and it was wonderful to see so many of our family and old friends and to make some new friends.
Christine is back to a very quiet office. Beatrice who she worked with over the last few years is now studying at the university so Christine is on her own, though hopes to be able to employ someone else very soon. Thanks to everyone who made generous contributions to the work of the youth office whilst we were back in the UK, Christine is now planning several projects such as a continuation of the small loans scheme for youth groups, seminars in music and worship and training in youth bible study, so it is a busy but exciting time. There is still a lot of fundraising to do for the recording studio project but even this is well on the way. Please pray that we find the right person to work alongside Christine and that the funding continues to come in so that we are able to support him/her.

Paul was thrust straight back into the thick of it on his return to the university as due to staff changes and sickness the Physics laboratory courses had collapsed. With the help of Mr Mwaka who stepped down stairs from Biology to help out, things are now ticking over well and Saimon the lab scientists is due to return shortly after an improvement in his health – an answer to prayer. Paul has also been teaching on the Physics Teaching Methods and Special Relativity courses but still finds that he has plenty of spare time having not as yet taken back the responsibilities of timetable and database coordination. Please pray that Paul seeks God’s will in what responsibilities to take on this year. There are many new possible exciting opportunities and projects both academically, administratively and pastorally as well as existing areas of need. At the moment he’s not rushing into anything.
Thanks to everyone who bought a CD of the University’s English choir we managed to return with a lovely keyboard which is a real boost to the worship in the English service. The English choir is still very small after so many members graduated last year but they struggled on in our absence and we are now trying to build it up again. Please pray for new members and growth of the choir particularly in the new university year which starts in October.

Christine also continues to sing with the Swahili choir of the local parish congregation. Sadly Revival choir split after a number of problems, so Christine now sings with “Kikuyu Gospel Singers” with many members of Revival and many new members. Please pray for the development of this new choir and pray that the remaining issues following the split are resolved quickly and peacefully.
The boys have enjoyed the month in school and have now broken up for their long holidays, and will start back again in August. Isaac was proud to be captain of the lions team in the nursery and reception sports day and Daniel took part in the end of year assembly singing in sign language with his class, as you can see in the pictures above. We have new next door neighbours, mission partners from CMS Australia who have four children, including a boy in each of Daniel and Isaac’s classes, so they are all very happy.
We were able to visit Kilimatinde a couple of weeks ago where we went to a fundraising event to raise money to wire up the church and vicarage as electricity will be coming to the village later this year which is very exciting. Meanwhile the electricity supply here in Dodoma is very erratic at the moment as a big hydroelectric power station has had to close down due to water shortages. We are therefore having power-rationing here with regular 12 hour power cuts. The university has invested in a large backup generator for when there are cuts during working hours which hopefully will mean that Paul’s lab sessions will be undisturbed but unfortunately it does not cover the staff houses so candles and torches are still in regular use at home and we are aiming to get a gas cooker very soon!
With much love and blessings,
Christine, Paul, Daniel and Isaac.xxx

Thursday, 12 May 2011

Containers and Cheerios

Dear All,
Just a quick last post before we head off back to Tanzania on the 24th of May.
With a lot of help from St Austell Besom and staff of Plymouth University the container was filled and sealed on Tuesday. With over 50 computers, over 600 books and nearly 100 boxes of apparatus it was quite an undertaking and we are very grateful for all those who donated things, space, their time or their labour.
Less than two weeks now remain with one official link visit still to do and many people to say goodbye to. Please pray for us as we tie off loose ends, travel, and settle back into our life back in Tanzania.
Thankyou for your ongoing support and may God bless you all.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

3 weeks left!

Dear friends,

3 weeks to go! 3 weeks today we fly to Dar-es-Salaam and then straight on to Dodoma and back to life as usual! We have been really blessed during our time here by the interest so many people have shown in our work and by the way so many people are praying for us and keen to support us. Please pray for us as we prepare to travel and as we adjust back to life in Tanzania, especially for the boys as they cope with another transition. They have thoroughly enjoyed their time in the UK but are now looking forward to going back and seeing their friends again.


We have been continuing to visit all of our link churches around the country and it has been wonderful to see you all and get to know you. Thank you all for your warm welcomes, encouragement and support. These pictures show lunchtime after the service at Chilcompton, and Paul preaching in the evening service at Saltford.

The next week will also be very busy as Paul is finalising the container which will be sent to Tanzania on 10th May. He has managed to collect books, computers, lab equipment, furniture and lots of other things from various generous donors. All of this is now being collected together at Plymouth university who, as well as donating equipment, have agreed to allow us to store it until the container comes next week. Please pray for Paul as he collects all the equipment this week, and pray that all the contacts he has who have promised items or assitance will do so and that everything will come together, and for the safe and trouble free arrival of the container in Tanzania.


One of the boys' aims when coming to the UK was to see some castles, so a visit to Granny and Granpy in Cardiff was a great opportunity for this. They had a wonderful time. Here they are at Caerphilly castle.


We have also enjoyed receiving several visitors - thanks to everyone who has taken the trouble to come and see us - we really appreciate it as it's lovely to catch up. This picture shows our friend Rachel enjoying an afternoon on the beach with the boys.





During Holy week we went to Spring Harvest in Minehead with our good friends the Groths, for a wonderful time of relaxation and refreshment which was much needed during this busy final month in the UK. We had a great time and the boys loved their group the "Whizz Kids".
At the end of March Isaac turned 5 and as usual wanted a big party with all his new friends. Here he is in his new Buzz Lightyear costume with his favourite girlfriend, Stella.

With much love to you all. God bless
Paul, Christine, Daniel and Isaac.xxx

































































Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Visits and visitors and the joys of Cornwall

Dear Friends,

We are still enjoying life here in the UK, though are missing Tanzania too. We have had a wonderful time visting churches and friends and family, and receiving lots of visitors too.(including cousins Thomas and Adam, and Christine's mum, shown on these pictures) It is great to catch up with you all. Thanks to everyone who has taken the time to come and see us and to everyone who has been so welcoming on our visits to you. Thanks to all our friends in St. Austell too. We really value our time with you. We are now past the half way mark as we plan to return to Tanzania in late May. We are enjoying the spring weather, the daffodils and the opportunities to walk on the coast path and enjoy some of the beautiful areas around St. Austell.












We are keeping ourselves busy as we are still trying to find equipment to send back to the university in a container. Things are coming in slowly but it is looking possible so please if you know of any sources of equipment such as computers (not too old), university level books, lab equipment, musical equipment please let us know. Christine is also looking for funds for some of her projects, particularly the recording studio project and the small loans project and has been searching for various trusts and organisations who may be able to help. We are very grateful to everyone who has helped us with donations for this so far. Please pray for God's provision for our work.
We are also looking to boost our own financial support through CMS so that we are able to continue serving in Tanzania for the next 3 years. We are so grateful to all of you who support us as individuals or through your churches. If you don't already, please consider whether you or your church are able to support us in this way. Please again pray that God will provide all that we need.

The boys continue to enjoy life at school. Daniel has been learning about Jamaica this term, and Isaac about Australia. This picture is of Isaac telling the tale of "Sheila and the 3 Kangaroos" at their school performance. (some resemblance to Goldilocks and the 3 bears) They also love their swimming lessons. This is Daniel with his teacher, Ross.













We have a busy 2 weekends ahead visiting link churches in the Bath area and then will be looking forward to Easter and the chance to spend some time with Paul's parents before going to Spring Harvest with some good friends.










With much love and God's blessings,
Paul, Christine, Daniel and Isaac.xxx

Thursday, 3 February 2011

The Chill, Churches and Cornish Cycling










Dear Friends,
We are now gradually acclimatising to the cold of the UK, though the boys did enjoy a trip to the tropical dome at the Eden Project which really felt like home! Here they are with Grandma at the “Baobab bar” – definitely a taste of Tanzania! Since the end of December we have been settled in St. Austell in a lovely little cottage which we are renting as we have very good tenants in our own home. We are very happy here and it has been wonderful to get involved with our church here again and to catch up with old friends. We have started attending a house-group and Christine has re-joined the worship group. Paul has been helping out with the “Besom” Project run by the church to practically support local people in need. We have also been enjoying the beauty of Cornwall and doing some walking on the coast.

A few weeks ago we attended the CMS Partners in Mission conference at Clanfield near Oxford. It was a wonderful chance to meet other mission partners and to relax, learn, worship and pray together. This picture shows Christine at the conference. Unfortunately this coincided with the boys’ first week at school so we left them at home in the capable hands of Granny and Granpy. They are going to a local C of E school here in St. Austell. Daniel found it hard to settle for the first few weeks but they are now both doing well and making a few friends. They have also started swimming lessons which they are thoroughly enjoying. Daniel has been getting lots of swimming badges and Isaac was delighted last week as on the same day he could suddenly both swim and cycle without help.

We have had a few more very enjoyable visits to link churches. We are very grateful to you all for your continued support and for the great welcome we receive wherever we go. We look forward to meeting many more of you over the next few months. This picture shows us with the wonderful mission team at Hart Plain Church near Portsmouth.

Whilst here in the UK we are also trying to find some support for some of our work. Paul is trying to collect equipment for the university to send back in a container. He is particularly looking for computers (2nd hand but not more than a few years old), university level books and laboratory equipment. If you know of a school, college or company who are clearing out old equipment please let us know, or get in touch for more information. Christine is also trying to raise funds for some of the youth projects, including the recording studio project. For this project she is also looking for donations of studio equipment or electric instruments, which must be of good quality. If you are able to help in any way we would be grateful.

Also if anyone would like to buy or is able to sell our CD to raise money for the studio project, or our English choir CD we would be grateful. Please get in touch

With lots of love and blessings,
Christine, Paul, Daniel and Isaac.xxx