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

Friday, 4 April 2014

Coming into Focus

Our focus is increasingly sharpening here as we look at Mwanza, ourselves and our role here in integral mission and development. When we arrived in January, it felt like we didn't really have a picture at all. Gradually parts of the picture have been added in, although much was remaining rather fuzzy! But over time things are coming into focus, and we feel now we are starting to see many parts of the picture more clearly. The next step will be zooming in on the relevant bits while always keeping the big picture in mind!

Events at the weekend helped us bring more into focus. We attended an exciting celebration welcoming the Archbishop of Tanzania to Mwanza, in honour of 75 years of the TAG Church. As part of the weekend events, there was a seminar over the two days encouraging people to get involved in starting development projects, which as you can imagine we found hugely encouraging and exciting! It was an excellent occasion (in Bishop Charles' new church building), but granted, a very full programme! Tim attended the Friday afternoon sessions which looked at how we integrate the meeting of different needs, the seen and the unseen.

All four of us were there bright and early at 9am on Saturday. The morning was set aside for seminars (on how to start and run development projects) and was to be followed by lunch ... which unfortunately didn't arrive before the Archbishop... so didn't happen! As the road was closed, everyone walked down the hill to receive the Archbishop at 1pm, and amidst much singing and trumpeting, all paraded back to the church and began the anniversary service. We were more than ready for the food when the service ended at 6:30pm after the Archbishop's 2-hour sermon! The girls did really well sitting still for such a long day!

Marching up the hill (the road was closed) with the Archbishop to the church building

Archbishop Barnabas Mtokambali
The next exciting event of the week was on Tuesday, when the girls had the opportunity to talk about their fundraising for the Lake Zone work on the Anne Diamond show on BBC Radio Berkshire. (Click here to find a link to it on the girls' SODIS Shake website). Most of you on facebook will no doubt have heard all about this as it was happening live on there! It was a much shorter interview than we were expecting; Amisadai was disappointed not to say all that she wanted to! But it was a great experience for them in the world of radio ... and hopefully raised some awareness and extra funds too! We are really grateful to the Braithwaite boys (from Tadley Community Church) and also Sophie Messer (from Aldermaston Primary School) who are championing our cause with their fundraising efforts! We are looking forward to our own Water Walk on Easter weekend and our SODIS Shake a few days before that. We are encouraging the churches here to join us and get involved too!

As I write this now, we are about 230km around the Lake from Mwanza, in Musoma. We have come to explore and take a little bit of time to relax and also to think... again sharpen our focus... on what we are doing. We went to explore the mouth of the Mara River, which supposedly is crocodile-infested, so we thought it would be a good adventure. But we didn't see a single croc! The man in the boat pointed up the river and said they were all hanging out up there but they'd be back in the morning!



The man in the boat
We headed back for dinner at our hotel; we had planned ahead, knowing how long it can take to order a meal here! So we came to enjoy our four servings of sausage pizza at 6:30pm, and we were amazed to see our food arrive straight away! ... only to realize something had gone wrong along the way and we had four sausages instead! So we ended up waiting over an hour for some pizza to arrive after all!

The non-pizza!
We thoroughly enjoyed much of today sitting in the relaxed and peaceful atmosphere of Rehema (Swahili for mercy), a cafĂ© and crafts workshop/shop which aims to raise sustainable income for women and children in difficult circumstances. It was started by an Australian missionary and runs in cooperation with the Anglican Diocese of Mara. A beautifully encouraging place to be ... and great burgers and coffee!

And now as we head back to Mwanza, seeing things come into focus, we are excited about the possibilities ahead!

Women working in the Rehema craft workshop
Rehema Craft Shop


Can we push this rock into the Lake?


Being silly waiting for the sun to set on the Lake!


Watching the sun set on the Lake. Great focus!
 




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