Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Elections, Evangelists and Enjoyment

Dear friends,
Playing Golf
The year is going by very quickly and we are now approaching the rains again with the weather hotting up rapidly. We have had a busy time since our last blog beginning with a very enjoyable visit from Christine's old school friend Rachel. We had a lovely time camping in various parts of the country and showing Rachel some of our life in Dodoma.

With Rachel

We recently had national elections in Tanzania, which for the first time ever were hotly contested as the opposition party really stood a chance of winning. The ruling party did, however, get into power again and Tanzania has a new president John Magufuli. We praise God that though the elections were controversial they were peaceful. Please pray for the government of Tanzania under its new leadership.

Please pray for the university which is working itself out of long term financial troubles that have not been helped by the government's decision to delay the opening of all colleges and universities until after the election. This has made for a longer than usual break when Paul was able to take a little time off as well as finding time to devote to things that have been "on the back burner" such as e-learning developments and his research. With just a few days now before the majority of our students return, Paul is very much back in work mode with the timetable to complete as well as new courses to teach and maybe some new responsibilities. In all the busyness and changes, please pray that the university is able to live up to its aim of being a centre of excellence for developing humankind holistically to learn to serve.
Daniel's Birthday

In September we celebrated Daniel's 12th birthday with a "Narnia" party. He also began secondary school this year, a relatively easy transition here as he is continuing in the same school with the same class. He is very much enjoying the challenges of secondary school and is doing really well. He has also joined an after school Christian discussion group which he is enjoying. Isaac is also doing well at school and continues to be very keen on his music. He came second place in the school talent show this year and has been helping to lead worship at the cathedral. At the moment the university English church is having a break during the long university break.

Music School

Christine has been very busy at work and we praise God for a very fruitful time. In August we held our annual music and worship school which was a huge success and blessing as always. The picture shows Godlove, one of our previous students, who along with former student Leonard, helped with some teaching this year.
Evangelists Training in Tunduru
It is wonderful to see the fruits of our work in this way. In September we carried out the second of our training courses for lay evangelists in Tunduru, Southern Tanzania. It was an amazing course with over 100 evangelists being trained and carrying out evangelism in the local area. You can read more about these projects on my work blog http://actmission.blogspot.com 

ACT Amani FM Research Team
We are also in the process of developing an Anglican Church radio station. With the help of some funds from FEBA UK we carried out research amongst local communities to determine the priorities of the radio station. The picture shows 2 of our research team with the "ACT AMANI FM" T-Shirts. Please pray as we try to get a license for the radio and search for funding to make it possible.

With Christine's family
Christine is currently having a short visit to the UK to see her mum. The picture shows us enjoying an autumn walk with Christine's mum, sister and nephews.

Welcoming Mama Welby
Kikuyu Gospel Singers, Christine's Swahili choir was involved with the welcome of the wife of the archbishop of Canterbury "Mama Welby" when she came to Tanzania as the guest of honour at a Mother's Union conference. This picture shows her being welcomed as her car approaches the conference centre. We were also involved in singing at a community health event singing songs which we wrote a couple of years ago to raise awareness about various health issues. We continue to sing at various churches in the area and to hold prayer events at our local church. Please pray for this work.

Son of Justine and Salome
With Grace and family
We recently visited Justine, who Christine used to work with in the Youth department of the Anglican church, and his wife Salome who have just had a baby boy, shown in the picture below. We also had a lovely weekend recently with Grace and Festo in Kilimatinde and met their new baby, William. This picture is in Kilimatinde with some of their family and friends.

With love from
Christine, Paul, Daniel and Isaac.xxx

Monday, 29 June 2015

Servers, Singida and Seminars

Much has happened since we wrote our last blog. The container finally arrived at St. John's shortly after, to much rejoicing. This picture shows the container after it was opened and before the hard work of unpacking, cataloging, testing and distributing it all which is still partly ongoing. The need for these items such as the computers was highlighted recently when in the middle of Paul's course on educational media and technology, which takes place 
largely on-line using the university's Moodle system, the server on which it was based suffered a fatal hardware fault and needed to be replaced with another which had come from England in a previous container. 

The picture shows Mr Kungura, Paul's friend and colleague doing emergency surgery on the servers before getting the system back up and running.
This semester Paul has been catching up from when we were away, teaching extra courses to the usual which has kept him busy but he has also found some time to work on getting a smartboard from the container working, writing some software for student examinations processing, 
getting stuck in to some electronics research together with an Indian lecturer from a neighbouring university and writing some presentation papers for an upcoming research conference. 

The picture shows the Physics lab in full swing during a practical session.
In March Christine went on a ladies retreat at the local catholic centre. This picture shows the group of missionary ladies and some of our Tanzanian friends who are involved in various forms of ministry here in Dodoma. It was a lovely relaxing and refreshing weekend. 

At the end of March Isaac turned 9 with a "minecraft" themed birthday party as those in the know will see from the cake!  We had a lovely time celebrating with him. 

Isaac has also been enjoying using his talents with his guitar and singing, helping us lead worship at our English service and also leading at a couple of services at Dodoma Cathedral which were led by the school. The picture shows one of these services. 

During the school Easter break we were able to have a short holiday on the beach in Bagamoyo, near Dar-es-Salaam, which was a lovely break. 

Christine and the boys also had a trip to Singida to visit our dear friend Musa Njagamba and his lovely family who can be seen in these pictures.

The English choir is going strong. We have new choir robes, and also managed to buy a new sound system for the chapel with the proceeds from the CDs we sold in the UK. A few weeks ago we were invited to sing at a service at UDOM, another university in Dodoma which was a great time of fellowship. We also recently had our "graduation" party for those choir members who will be graduating from the university and leaving us this year - an annual event which is always a great celebration but a sad time too. 
The picture shows us with the 3 graduating members this year. Though the choir is doing well, the English congregation, is shrinking significantly and we would value your prayers, that God would show us how to go forward in the future.

Kikuyu Gospel Singers (Swahili choir) is also doing some good work. The pictures show our open air mission event which we held in April this year in the local community - a wonderful time of outreach to the local community. Also we have recently recorded our second CD which is now in the process of editing and finishing.

At work, Christine organised the annual conference of diocesan mission and evangelism coordinators in May which was a great success and a great encouragement to all who attended. A few weeks ago was the annual week of prayer and evangelism of the Anglican Church of Tanzania during which Christians across the country joined together in prayer for the church, the community, the country and the world as well as planning many seminars, missions and prayer vigils. Christine is also busy with plans for the development of an Anglican Church radio station. Please pray for the development of this project.

With love
Christine, Paul, Daniel and Isaac. xxx

Monday, 23 February 2015

New Year, New Bosses, New Opportunities

Dear all,

We’re glad to be back in Tanzania again and settled back into our home, work and school environments. We’d had a great time in the UK visiting many of you and enjoying what the UK had to offer but it’s good to be back home, to see friends again and to not be living out of suitcases any more. 

Our last few weeks in the UK were spent enjoying Christmas and New Year with family around the country, and even seeing some snow in Derby, much to the boys delight, as they were able to tick off one of the final items on their "to do in England" list and build a snowman. We also had a final week in St. Austell to say our final farewells to all our wonderful friends there and to load the container and send it on it's way to Tanzania.

We’d like to thank all of you who helped in ways both large and small toward the container project. It was packed and left the UK a few days before we did, thanks to help from friends in the Besom Project St Austell and is now in Dar-es-Salaam whilst the clearing process is being completed. Your prayers for this please – we are looking forward to its arrival any day now but are aware that things can very easily go wrong at this stage.

Paul got back to the university as the first semester was closing and so has had a very gentle workload so far being mainly occupied with project marking, third year project supervision and the occasional visit from a school group. The photo shows a group of girls from Queen Esther School in Mpwapwa who came to do some laboratory practice at the university last week. It was good to meet the new Vice Chancellor Prof. Mbennah who started his position while we were back in the UK and during a difficult time for the university. He seems to be a Godly man with a vision for the university and we welcome your prayers as the university starts its next chapter under new management.

Paul is now planning for the forthcoming semester, which will be a busy one, but is also excitedly looking at a few other opportunities to start something new at the start of our new term of service to be hopefully revealed in future posts.

Christine is back into the swing of things at work and enjoying working with the new General Secretary Dr. Johnson Chinyon'gole who again began in post whilst we were away.  She is busy developing plans for the coming year for the mission and evangelism department, including seminars, conferences, training of evangelists and training of worship leaders. Please pray for God’s blessing on this work and especially for the funds and resources we need to make these projects possible.

Both Kikuyu Gospel Singers and the University English Choir continue to go well despite some turnover of members in our absence and we are enjoying fellowship with them again. In January we were also involved with a video recording for our friend Amani Shabani who is a wonderful evangelist and musician and the picture shows the boys dancing with him for the video.

The boys are glad to be back at school after a good break and are loving their new teachers at Canon Andrea Mwaka School. Here is a picture of them in their new school uniforms. Our household has also been swelled recently by the arrival of four guinea pigs. The pressure was on for Paul to build a hutch in time before our friends the Madindas, from whom they came, left to travel to the UK. The boys are loving the novelty of feeding and looking after George, Ginger, Prince and Shadow and will hopefully keep it up once the novelty wears off.

Shortly after we returned we managed to find time to visit our great friends the Kanunghas in Kilimatinde. It was great to see a very active Zephaniah and to get chances to chat and catch up with Grace and Festo as well as to meet up with other friends there.

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