Friday, November 23, 2012

Back at Dakawa Teacher's College

The reason Allen and I traveled all the way to Morogoro was to visit the Christians studying at a Teacher's college about an hour to the north of the town.  I had first visited them in August and since then I had wanted to come and encourage them once again.
To see the students we first have to get permission from the staff at the college. While they are nice people, it has been a trial getting through to them and  working this trip out. But we managed it and this morning Allen and I have a good visit with our brethren.
After signing in at the first gate, signing in at the second gate we were then directed to the Admin. block where Mr. Milton was waiting for us. He was in a meeting so he asked us to wait - in the mean time some of the students came up and greeted us.  We managed to get through everything the faculty asked us to do and we were able to visit with our dear brethren.
We had a very good study that was followed but questions and then general discussion. I taught on how the church is the original - all others that have come after it are copies. While copies might look good, they will not be as good as the original. They made us feel very welcome and asked us to come again.  We agreed and plan to go back tomorrow and then again meet with them on Sunday.
Please pray for these young Christians.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Morogoro trip

Allen and I started a work trip today to Morogoro, a town in the center of the country about 12 hours drive from Arusha. It's not that far, but the two lane road goes through EVERY village, so you just get up to some sped and you have to slow down. The traffic police have just got some new speed cameras that they LOVE to use!

We are going to meet with some Christians who attend a teachers college here - to study with them, encourage them and to see how we can help.

I had to ask permission to see these students from the Dean of Students and we have arranged to go there at 11.00 tomorrow morning. I am really looking forward to it. Last time I was there we had a terrific meeting.

We left early this morning and Mt. Kilimanjaro was just beautiful! We drove right under it.

Allen and I had a good trip, we say lots of interesting things including hippos in the Wami river.

We arrived at Mama Pierina's very tried and happy to be here.

I'll let you know how we go tomorrow.


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Mungi and Alice's Wedding

Last Saturday was a big day for us here in Arusha. It marked the wedding of Reginald Mungi and Alice Shao, two faithful members of the Philips church of Christ. We were all very excited about this as it was the first wedding of church members here.

Reginald and Alice had asked the church to organize the service and for me to officiate (a real honour to me). They wanted their respective families to see more of the church.

There was going to be far more people than could fit into our little building at Philips, so they hired the Arusha Community church building (which is available for such occasion). The wedding was planned to start at 3.00 pm. I was so pleased to see that most of the brethren were there for the start time (getting to services on time is a problem for many). Unfortunately, as the start time drew closer the members were the ONLY ones present. The groom was no where to be seen, neither was the bride OR the other guests!
Reginald (on left) with his grooms men.

At 3.30 the groom, his best man and the little grooms man arrived, but still no other guests. 15 minutes later we heard the sounds of the "brass band" and they arrived behind the brides car - we knew then that things were going to go ahead. The other guests started to arrive and at 4.00 the beautiful bride stepped out of the car and slowly made her way up the stairs towards the building serenaded by the "brass band".

Brother Mbise from the Nkoaranga congregation was the M.C. for the service and did a wonderful job - welcoming the groom and bride in, greeting the parents and leading some wonderful songs. When he started the first song the "brass band" started playing, but Mbise stopped and respectfully asked them not to play. In that building we were almost deafened by the trumpet and trombone and they only got a few notes out! So the singing was a cappella and beautiful.

Preacher Cam.

I was asked to "preach"the wedding, so I gave a short sermon and then we went on the the wedding ceremony. It was a simple affair, the bride looked beautiful and demure, the groom simply glowed with happiness.

After the exchanging of vows and rings the couple, the families and the preacher was "crowned" the something that looked like a necklace. No one could tell me the significance of this.

The couple lead a procession out of the building, again to the accompaniment of the "brass band" and made their way to the car and headed off for photos to be taken. Just after they drove off the sky opened and it pour with rain - perfect timing.

We were told the reception was going to be at 6.30, so noting the lack of promptness for the wedding service we were in no rush to get their "early". We got their on time and found the party was well and truly on it's way. Apparently you are not late to the party - also there were about 300 more people at the reception that did not show at the wedding!

It was a merry time with a lot of speeches (in Swahili) and a lot of laughter. Although we were far away from the proceedings, everything was videotaped and broadcast on screens, so we didn't miss out on anything.

The "wedding cake" was made of about 8 separate cakes and important groups were asked to come up for a cake for that group. Anne and I were asked to come up to receive the cake for the church (we shared in it on Sunday, after services).

Then came the giving of gifts. Everyone with a gift was invited to come up front to give to the couple. So we went in a processions up with music playing loud. After we had given the gifts then the precision made its way to the buffet - gift giving, then you got fed!

We stayed till about 9.30 while the party was still on its way, but as we left the rain started bucketing down. I only hope the marques everyone was sitting under held up to it all.

We have been lucky enough to have Duane Cutter and Scott Everett staying with us and they were able to enjoy this happy occasion with us.

Friday, November 2, 2012

We all pray!

I wanted to share with you a very small incident that happened today that made me feel good about being here in Tanzania.

Anne and I had been out all morning and we ended up for a late lunch at a little cafe. Both of us ordered something light - soup of the day for Anne and a baguette for me. They came quickly and they looked good.

When the waiter had left us we bowed our heads to offer our thanks to the Lord for the food. When we had finished the waiter was standing beside us with a knife he had forgotten. He apologized but I told him not to worry, "we all pray".

And that was it!

Nothing really except the acceptance that here in Tanzania all (or certainly the vast majority) pray and it is not an unusual thing to do.

There are times when it is frustrating living here, other times when you just have to smile.

I bless the rains down in Africa!

The rain has started

It seems that in the weeks leading up to the rains, all Africa holds its breath. It gets hot. The winds start. The clouds start to build.

The talk of rain is on everyones lips. It doesn't matter if you are in the city or your talking with a farmer, all are looking for the rains. Because everyone knows if the rains don't come it will be a difficult year.

We were up on the mountain when they came, and boy did they come!

Brother Wilson Maturo had invited us to attend a send off (engagement party) for his wife's sister and by the time we headed up the mountain the Prado was full. Maturo was up with me in the seat of honour. His wife was in the back seat with Allen and Mbise. Right in the back were Brother Willy and his wife and the 2 grandmothers we there as well. I said the Prado was full.

We were a happy lot as we headed up.

Yesterday Arusha officially became a city and the president arrived to confirm that honour. As a result of his visit we are getting a lot of road works done all around - this is what we found as we went up the mountain. The dirt road had be roughly graded and I soon had to shift into 4X4.

No worries, while the 10 tonne truck ahead of us was struggling the mighty Prada laboured on without breaking out a sweat, so up we went.

That's when the rains started - the African rains!

It bucketed down!

The loose road started to become mud and I had to shift into low range. Still all was well until we came upon a truck stopped in the middle of the road. I knew I could not get around it, I would have ended up in the gutter, so there was nothing to do but wait. As it turned out there were two large trucks further up the road completely bogged!

So we waited about 1 1/2 hours until the wonderful rain stopped. When it started to ease we saw that the truck ahead of us carried other people heading for the send off - they piled out of the truck obviously intending to walk the rest of the way.

I wasn't able to move the Prado forward - the mud now was too slick. And couldn't back down, I would soon be off the road. Fortunately there was a side track to the right and just behind us. With a little work I was able to get onto that and turn around.

It was getting late and I could see getting down the mountain would be a challenge, but still people wanted to go to the send off. Allen stayed with me and the others went on by foot to the celebrations.

We made it down OK but anther route and rejoiced over the rains.

Now the next morning everything is fresh - it has been raining all night!

And the flying ants are out - this is Africa.