“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|
|Squashed in the back of the land cruiser with eight live chickens!|
Yes, there were some squeals and not all from the chickens!
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!