Toothbrushes for All--Thank You St John's
Precious Children of Mundemu Village
Newsletter # 14
For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich. (the kenosis of Jesus) II Corinthians 8.9
Since the last newsletter it has not been a good month. A few weeks ago we picked up four stranded day workers after dark (not a good idea) and Sandra’s purse with camera, Tanzanian license, house/car keys, and money disappeared. This past Sunday night, thieves made a visit to our house and to the home of neighboring missionaries from New Zealand. These people were very determined, using bolt-cutters to cut the screens and the thin metal bars on our windows. By the grace of God, neighbor Kate awakened around two and opened the curtain, frightening away the man cutting their screen. I awakened at 2.20 AM to do some work and turned on our lights, apparently while they were cutting through our kitchen-window bars. The next morning we found that both our chained bike and spare tire were missing and that several pieces of metal from the window bars were on the kitchen-door steps. It is very scary to think of what could have happened, but we thank God that both Kate and I awakened and that all of us are safe. Now we are busy ordering new thicker metal bars and getting some new locks and bars for our doors.
Besides the above which we are learning to cope with, we have an outing in the lives of missionaries here that we would like to share with you. About once a month all the missionaries in DCT meet at the Bishop’s house for Bible study and fellowship. This includes missionaries from UK, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, and the U.S. The past three months Bishop Mhogolo has developed the theme of Missionary Call by examining the call of Moses, the call of Jeremiah, and the call of Jesus (if such be the case). He prepares rigorously for these and presents them in layman’s language with a theological basis to his points. He is aware of the ups and downs that missionaries of all ages go through. We feel blessed by his insight into scripture and the experiences missionaries face in Tanzania. In the Call of Jesus Bible study we explored the meaning of Misseo Deo and the above passage from 2nd Corinthians. This idea, kenosis, emptying oneself, transcends poverty in the literal sense (see also Phil. 2.5-11.) We are aware that by Tanzanian standards we lead extravagant life styles with a car and computers. Everyday when Sandra walks across the campus with a laptop on her shoulder she is aware that her students in their lifetime will never be able to afford such. Despite these financial differences that may never be bridged, the realms of spiritual poverty are just as real and need the grace of our Lord. These are some of the themes and ideas we touched on at the Bible study. They are hard to convey but they are real in our lives and yours too.
We have had visits from two Virginians. One was Jen Kimball, an Episcopal priest from Ashland, VA. She graduated one year after Sandra and mainly came to visit the Rt. Rev. Jacob Chimaledya, the new Bishop Coadjutor of neighboring Diocese of Mpwapwa. Also from Virginia came Buck Blanchard. He is the new Missioner for World Mission for the Diocese of Virginia. Buck brought a load of goodies, including blankets and toothbrushes for all the students, from St. John’s, West Point, where Sandra’s classmate, Beth Palmer, is the rector. It is good to know that the Diocese of Virginia is supporting a strong interest in mission.
Last Friday we went with Buck Blanchard and other participants to visit a site for a Carpenter’s Kids project. This is a program launched by Bishop Catherine Roskam last year when she was here at Sandra’s ordination to the priesthood. The idea of the program is to equip AID’s orphans with a school uniform, shoes, school supplies, and morning porridge so they can attend primary school which is otherwise free. Fifty students in each of the parishes are to be supported at the cost of $50 per year for a minimum of five years. The hope is to link on a parish to parish basis 200 parishes in NYC to those here. So far 12 parishes here are enrolled and 7 are funded. The purpose of this visit to one of the functioning program sites was to see if Virginia Diocese might be interested in joining the sponsoring on a parish to parish basis. Needless to say this is a massive undertaking and will need the prayers of all churches. The program director here is Rev. Noah Msimba who went with us, has the tools, mind, spirit and compassion to make it work. Perhaps we can say more after Bishop Mhogolo visits NYC’s Annual Diocesan Council this November to try and recruit more parishes. We will add some pictures to our website www.mccannmission.org.
Lynn Alexander, wife of Bishop Neil, is now in Tanzania visiting with their beautiful daughter Kelly. Kelly, if we haven’t mentioned it, is teaching at Canon Andrea Mwaka, the diocesan international school here in Dodoma. Lynn will open the new Guest House at Msalato given by the clergy of the Atlanta Diocese following the House Blessing on Saturday, October 28th. She and Sandra will then return to Atlanta together on Sunday, October 29.
Sandra will be busy in the next few months. Now she is beginning to pack for departure and will return to Tanzania January 24th. Purpose of the extended visit is to work in the role of Communications Director for Msalato Theological College to further develop relationships with Sewanee, General, Episcopal Divinity, and Virginia Theological Seminaries as well as with several churches. She will be speaking to mission classes and administrators about ways to be companions in theological education. She will have Thanksgiving with our daughters and son-in-law in Boston. Martin will return to Columbus for December and Christmas.
Should time run out this year and not allow another newsletter, we wish all of you a Holy Advent Season and the best of the year to come.
Peace and Joy,
Sandra and Martin