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

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Saying Goodbye

“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” 
 A.A. Milne "Winnie the Pooh"
As the goodbyes begin, I can only be grateful for the lovely people that make these goodbyes so hard! We didn't realise how much we would end up saying goodbye when we came here, and it is never a nice thing to do. We have now said our goodbyes in Kimande and Itunundu. A farewell service and feast had been planned for Sunday afternoon in Kimande. It was lovely. At the church service, Mama Sungura (Christina) read a report on behalf of the group; as well as expressing their thanks to us, they gave a history of our time with them (reporting over 210 stoves made), thanking as well all the visitors that have come with us (Edwin and Margaret, Kate, Greg, Hugh, Lyn and Ellie and Gideon). They gave Acts 15:36 to us, "Sometime later Paul said to Barnabas, 'Let us go back and visit the believers in all the towns where we preached the word of the Lord and see how they are doing.'" So we know this won't be the last time we see them all! We have to go back! Then there was much singing and dancing (even with a generator so we could have loud music!). We were presented with gifts of rice and a khanga that was danced in and wrapped around us all amid much laughter, hugs, tears and dancing!  Ezekiel, Mendriad and Jesca were there with us which was great! And everyone stayed together to feast on rice and beans afterwards.

Mama Sungura reads the group letter
Presented with gifts
(Simoni, white shirt with the stick, recovering from his gunshot wound was able to join us!) 
And then on Monday, we had a final farewell meeting with the stoves group and Andrew was able to join us for that. We were able to thank the group for all their hard work and encourage them as they continue. There have been some difficulties in the group, but we were so pleased to see that they are sorting things out. Simoni led a Bible study, reading the first chapter of Joshua and charged the group to carry on after their Moses (Tim ) leaves them... but as Tim pointed out, he isn't planning to die soon! The group appreciated the fact that there will be hurdles to cross (like the River Jordan) but there is real determination to face them and move forward.

Farewell to the stoves group

The group is now advertising on their door!
"ANNOUNCEMENT! We are selling fuel-efficient stoves. 5000Ttsh"
With mobile numbers of group members to call!
A piece of chalk advertises the stoves on the mud of the stove house
It was strange leaving our little house; we left everything just as it was, as Jesca will now be using the house for the remainder of the project. So we just took our few personal belongings and swept the floor as we usually do and locked the door behind us. Goodbye.

Farewell to Pastor Castory's family
So now back in town, we have been finishing the term's schoolwork, tying up project work and now the packing up for moving has begun. And we have found Advent in the midst of it! And that is important! This week we caught up on our daily advent reading from our family Christmas book and Tim and I caught up on reading together "The Meaning is in the Waiting" by Paula Gooder. It is good to focus on what is important. We also decorated a large bit of tree we cut off in the garden with red bows and paper and cookie cut-outs; the advent calendar wall hanging is now hanging and the nativity scene is set.
I'll finish with a quote from our advent reading which encouraged me to readjust my eyes looking for those important glimmers of light.
"... it is through weaving light into the shade of our present world that he evokes wonder by the wisdom of his counsel (wonderful counsellor); shows the power of God in the world (mighty God); cares eternally just like a parent (everlasting father) and is the source of all well-being for God's people ( prince of peace). Jesus lived as wonderful counsellor, mighty God, everlasting father and prince of peace in the midst of our broken, despairing world, shining in the darkness and bringing hope.
It is this light shining in the darkness for which we wait and the season of advent calls us to readjust our eyes in that darkness so that we can see glimmers of the Light of the World, glowing and pointing us forwards to that ultimate time in the future when everything will be fulfilled and in the words of John Donne's prayer .. 'there will be no darkness or dazzling but one equal light.'"

The trees in Kimande are growing well!

1 comment:

  1. Yes, it is very hard saying goodbye to such good friends, but you can leave with a sense of a job well done, knowing that precious seeds have been sown which will continue to grow and bear fruit. Edwin & Margaret


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