Newsletter #12 July 2006
A voice cries out: ‘In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, Make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain.
Then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all people shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.’’ Isaiah 40. 3-5
Two weeks ago we were blessed by the visit from our home parish, St. Thomas, by Sherry and Tom Wade and Ann Burr. They came for Msalato’s graduation, bearing gifts for us and for the graduates. The time with them was all too short, but even then the chance to reconnect with the life of St. Thomas and the goings on in Columbus, GA, were truly heartwarming. Tom was a little weary as he had just come off Kilimanjaro--called the highest free standing mountain in the world (it takes off from the plain and goes straight up) and also the highest mountain amateurs (I will let Tom define what is meant by this) can climb. Congratulations to Tom, Travis, Ryan, and Joe!
Sherry and Ann meanwhile toured Ngorongoro Crater and then went to Morogoro and went into the field with Pastor Hafermann to evangelize a Maasai village. Then they came to Dodoma. We met Tom on Thursday, and Friday Martin took Tom, Sherry, and Ann to Mvumi Hospital. Tom had brought two boxes of medicines, courtesy of Sherring Plough (MAP). These were gratefully received by Dr. Simon Walton, a missionary from the UK, who runs an AIDS project and works at Mvumi.
The drugs were immediately taken to the pharmacy and loaded onto the pharmacy computer. We toured the hospital to get an idea of the condition of the facility and the needs. On the way back from Mvumi we stopped at the home of the Reverend Moses Montoya, Dean of the Cathedral for the Diocese of Central Tanganyika. He and his wife, Ruth, will be coming to Columbus in September. Moses will do the Turley Internship in Clinical Pastoral Education, working both at St. Francis Hospital and St. Thomas Church. This visit was a chance to introduce Moses and Ruth to some of the St. Thomas congregation.
The following day we visited a church in a rural area not too far from the hospital. Daniel Mazengo, a graduate of Msalato last year, had invited Sandra to preach. This was the feast day of the Nativity of John the Baptist. Sandra’s sermon went well, and led into the 30 baptisms she performed (yes, THIRTY, from babes to elders.) There was also a tree planting and a fund raiser as a part of the festivities. Please see the video of the day as it imparts a blessed experience that can’t be expressed in words (www.mccannmission.org).
The following day, Sunday, June 25th, was graduation. Thirteen three-year students from the English class, 28 two-year students from the Kiswahili class, and 11 one-year students in the English secretarial class graduated. Bishop Jeremiah Taama of the Diocese of Kajiado in Kenya gave the graduation speech and the students took notice of his advice. Some were seen squirming in their seats. A dinner followed for students, their families, and faculty.
Tom, Sherry, and Ann left the next day. We send greetings to all at St. Thomas. We bask in the warmth and friendship that they brought. Only a few days later we sent off the Reverend Doctor Paul Elliott and his wife Beverley. Paul came to Msalato from St. Michaels and All Angels in Stone Mountain to teach for two months. He is an inspired teacher and he gave freely of his time and talent to teach classes in theology as well as to lead a retreat for students and faculty. He was disappointed that the 1400 theology books he had placed on the container in Atlanta did not arrive during his stay. His pastor wife Beverley from St. Bart’s came to spend the last few days here before returning to the states via Iona and Lindisfarne. Not only did we share a duplex, affectionately known as “the paper house” due to the thickness of the walls, but we shared meals and fellowship. We are still eagerly awaiting the container as it is in Dar-es-Salaam and is about to clear customs. The last port fees and paperwork should be finished soon.
All these experiences allow us to reflect on our blessings. Where ever we are, what ever we do, we have God to thank for the blessed moments together. There is a life in the Spirit that transcends the mundane, that takes us to the ones we know, love, and care about more than we can say. We are so thankful for these brief visits.
We celebrate the election of Katharine Jefferts Schori as Presiding Bishop electperhaps another example of how the Lord prepares a way, making mountains low and lifting valleys up. She has a vision for the Millennium Development Goals and for the unique role the Anglican Church has in Africa. When we get past the gender issues, hopefully soon, we pray she will have an impact on some of the more down to earth issues in Africa. On a smaller, but no less important, scale, the coming together of our friends’ trip to Africa had all the signs of a way prepared, for truly we felt the glory of the Lord being revealed among us during their short stay.
We continue to ask for your prayerssurely it must be the reason we can continue with joy in the midst of what often seems to be overwhelming poverty and odds. Just the thought of our names being lifted up each week at St Thomas is a cause for weeping.
Peace and joy to all of you,
Sandy and Martin