We live in Mwanza, Tanzania, serving with Emmanuel International helping local churches in physical and spiritual ministry.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

"Please not a live chicken!"

Two blogs in one day must be a record! But here now we have a guest blogger! The following is submitted by Greg Whittick, the pastor of Tadley Community Church, adapted from what he wrote for the Basingstoke Community Church Focus Magazine. He was here with our other Tadley friends in October, and this is what he had to say about their time with us here in Tanzania!

“Please don’t let it be a live chicken!” I prayed silently as the pastor of the village church announced that they had a gift for us. Fortunately when the gift was paraded in it was a beautiful wooden carving, and some khangas (decorated cotton sheets) rather than poultry. I was left humbled by the generosity and hospitality of these subsistence farmers who do not even have a reliable water supply, let alone mains electricity. I was also struck by the paradox of a place which lacked most of what we regard as the necessities of life, but which had three massive mobile phone masts and an accompanying generator.

Ellie, Greg, Hugh and Lyn receiving their gift
Five of us from Tadley were in Tanzania visiting the three Tadley families who are based there, starting with Martin and Esther Shaw who live and work in Dar-es-Salaam. From Dar, we travelled five hours inland to Morogoro where Matt & Amy Dixon and their children are based.
From Morogoro we travelled another six hours to Iringa where the Monger family live and work. There we swapped stories of life at home and in Tanzania, visited various projects, gave out Bibles in one village, ran a seminar at a Bible College, and spent time with the Mongers. They are running three village-based projects to introduce fuel-efficient stoves that have a range of benefits including reducing lung and eye disease, improving diet, lessening deforestation, and helping girls to be in school. We spent two days and nights in Kimande where we met some of the people Tim and Rachel work with, spoke in two of their churches, and were touched by the generous hospitality they extended to us in their homes.

Greg (right) with Lyn, Ellie and Hugh in Mendriad's home
We also managed to spend an evening at the wrong party, having been invited to Jesca’s (Tim’s assistant) graduation party.  After spending an hour and a half at a party where everybody made us welcome, shook our hands, took our photos, and gave us drinks, we were surprised when the graduate who arrived wasn’t Jesca!  We then went and spent a couple of hours at the right party, celebrating with Jesca and her family and enjoying eating some of the eight chickens we had earlier transported (alive) from Ikuka. On returning, the host of the first party was very keen for us to rejoin it, an invitation we politely declined.

Squashed in the back of the land cruiser with eight live chickens!
Yes, there were some squeals and not all from the chickens!
We were also hugely impressed by the way the whole Monger family was involved in the projects, and by the way in which they have adapted from a Western life to living in villages with limited fresh water, no electricity, and the various inconveniences and dangers they cheerfully face on a daily basis.

Tim and Rachel have integrated the gospel with projects that make a significant difference to people’s lives: it was so good to see stove-making and disciple-making happening together. We also met up again with some young men whom we previously met a couple of years earlier, and it was encouraging to see the way they had grown in godliness, stature and confidence in the intervening period. The challenge for us now is to see how God is leading us to incorporate these principles into our life and mission back at home!


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