A new record!!

I’ve enjoyed a lovely relaxing week since our return from Kigali – reading, resting and orientating mum to Murgwanza. Tomorrow we begin home schooling again. I have a pile of new resources and fresh ideas – pray that it goes well.

Today being Sunday was a full day as usual. Rob and I attended a village church in Murukurazo (another village starting with M). We left the boys at home with mum (aka Bibi) as they are not so good at long services in strange places. Lucky we did as today our service broke the 4 hour mark…a new record for us in Tanzania. It was a really exciting and vibrant service, there was much singing and dancing and spontaneous worship. Despite not understanding a lot of what was going on, we certainly got the vibe that these people really love God.

Rob took a back seat today and let me take the wazungu spot. I introduced us in Swahili and despite the giggles at my pronunciations I think they appreciated the effort. Then with the assistance of Iga translating, I shared with them from Deuteronomy.  Iga is a colleague from the nursing school who is part of the congregation. He is also very involved in the choir and LOVES to sing and dance I used the same passage I spoke on at our commissioning service - Deuteronomy 10:12-22.  In this passage Moses is speaking to the Israelites about what God expects from them. Basically the message was to respect the Lord, walk in His ways, love Him, serve Him and obey His commands. I spoke about whether we are here in Tanzania, or back in Australia this is what we try to do each day. I encouraged them also, to live this way. It is much harder to speak from the heart when you have to keep stopping to wait for the translation. They have made us promise to return two more times before we leave in January. My hope is to be able to next time share with them in Swahili, but I think it may be more like Swanglish!!

After the service there was much greeting, more blessings, singing and the offertory auction where we received a bag of potatoes that were bought for us. It’s so embarrassing when they buy for us when we have so much. Rob and I are never quick enough to outbid and give to the pastor or evangelist. However James or Ephraim will benefit from our gift as I will pass on the potatoes to them. Finally at 3 o'clock we went to lunch at a nearby home. There was a visiting Pastor from Mwanza (who had preached the main sermon) there also. This Pastor is very keen to have some wazungu missionaries come and work with him in his church in Mwanza. He has also invited Rob and I to visit his church in Mwanza when we are next there and he promised he would preach in English….it is very tempting. Then again he also asked if I could match up my three sons with his three daughters. When I asked how old they were he told me the eldest was 20….perhaps not such a good match. So then he offered his 10 year old daughter, he told me she could speak English….great I said so can my 10 year old son!!! I haven’t actually shared this info with Mitchell yet.

On our return to Murgwanza the Sunday afternoon ultimate Frisbee game was just about to begin. After a quick change and some good old Aussie wolf type whistles from Rob we managed to russle up a few more players. We couldn’t quite field a wazungu versus Murgwanza team but we still had a good time. Many of the locals have promised to return tomorrow with more locals, so we have sent the Woman craft girls home tonight to practice their catching and throwing as today they played like a bunch of skirts!!!

Yesterday I helped out with the chai and devotion for Liz’s boys (and some girls). These are secondary school students that Liz helps financially with their education, tuition and other needs. They then come on a Saturday to work off their debt. Yesterday there were 54 students working around Murgwanza cutting grass, chopping firewood, building fences, digging shambas and other such jobs. At 1130 they stop for chai and we take the opportunity to share a short devotion with them. After I shared they stood and sang us a couple of songs in Swahili. I love it when they sing unaccompanied with just their voices and hand clapping to accompany them. I then announced to them that Mama Saskia had arrived and that she was a maths teacher and ready to help. There was much murmuring of excitement as they ALL struggle with a maths syllabus that is too hard and textbooks with errors and no teachers to teach them. They are welcome to come for tutoring on Wednesday at 5pm at Liz’s office….not sure how many will come. I think we will also arrange some individual sessions for some of the boys we have special relationships with.

So tomorrow the holiday is over and it’s back to home schooling again. The nursing students are back on clinical so no teaching for the moment. Once mum is settled with her maths tutoring I will pick up some English again. I am still helping George with his English - he is studying hard in preparation for starting nursing school in September. I had a long chat with George the other day about his life and his family. It is very hard when there are many children to feed and no money coming in. George is the eldest of 8 children however the 4th born has died already. George is 21 and the only one to have completed secondary school. He has two brothers aged 19 and 17, neither of whom have been to secondary school as there was no money to pay for them. Then he has three sisters  each in Primary School then the youngest is just 2. I asked if his sisters would go to secondary school and he said probably not as there is no money. George hopes that once he has completed his nursing and working as a nurse he can help his sisters to go to secondary school. However, George like many Tanzanians, is not good at saving. Usually, he spends his monthly pay the day he gets it then struggles to get through the rest of the month and provide his basic needs. He invariably ends up needing an advance on his pay for the next month. Rob and I have tried and tried to encourage him to budget and save, but this is a foreign concept here.

Next Saturday is Oli's 6th birthday, finally my baby is growing up, but I am still waiting for him to 'grow out of' so many bad behaviours!! We are having a party on Saturday afternoon with all the other wazungu (at Oli's request). This weekend we made a paper mache pinata, Mitch and I did the first layer on Friday afternoon and the Klein girls came to help complete it yesterday. Did I mention that I HATE craft...but when there is no Westfield down the hill, one must do their best!!

That’s all for now, I must get these kids off to bed. Pray for our home schooling please.

 

Time Difference

If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.~

John F. Kennedy
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