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

Monday, 5 May 2014

Love for Kids with Albinism and Compassion for Kids in Need

I have blogged before about the great work that Under the Same Sun (UTSS) is doing here in Mwanza to help kids with albinism (Rich Life Under the Same Son). This Sunday we were at a service at Beacon Ministry Christian Centre which is pastored by an amazing man, Valentine Mbuke, who is actively involved with helping so many in this area, including those with albinism and also the street boys. But it was a special Sunday this week, as the founder of UTSS, Peter Ash was visiting from Canada ... from Langley, B.C. Canada! He came with a team of others, including a few from Langley ... sometimes the world seems so small!

Peter Ash (right)
It was a privilege to meet Peter, who himself has albinism, and over the past five years has done incredible work as an advocate for people with albinism, people often in very real danger and also facing terrible discrimination here in Tanzania. You can find out more about him and the work he and others do with UTSS on their website here.

We arrived at the church at 8am, too late for Sunday school, but in time for the service. Following the first service in which Peter shared, we had time for a brief chat with the visiting team before they left and we returned to the second service in which Tim was preaching on extending the love of God. It was a real Tanzanian Sunday ... lots of singing and dancing and we finished the service 6 1/2 hours later at 2:30pm ... with a third service about to start! We all stopped for an amazing lunch, provided by the church, for EVERYONE! It was wonderful; all the kids ... those with albinism, all the street boys (all who had been bussed in specially), the whole congregation and us! And there was no "high" table (which is usual here) ... but everyone equal together, mixed and mingling! As Pastor Mbuke said "today there will be no high table, no low table or middle tables. We are ALL on the high tables!" It was a wonderful picture of the love of God extended to all without discrimination or hierarchy. I enjoyed sitting next to a lovely girl of eighteen called Elizabeti, whose goal was to become a doctor. She was truly an overcomer!
Tim preaching on the love of God

Lunch Line-up (another multitude!)

Chakula kitamu sana!
The previous Sunday, we went to a church on the edge of the city in a place called Nyakato, pastored by Elihuruma Swai, the Director of Projects and Development for the TAG Diocese. We were warmly welcomed there and Tim preached on Isaiah 42, impressing them all with his good Swahili! After the service, I was particularly interested to hear about the bees that Pastor Swai is accumulating to start a bee project, something I would like to get going on when we move into our new house! We were also all interested to see how well the shoe project is going (run with Compassion, who works with the church to help meet the needs of children from poor families). There are five boys working there, learning the art of making shoes ... and doing a very good job! When someone discovered it was Louisa's birthday, they made these beautiful shoes just for her! They also have a knitting machine on which others are making school uniform sweaters to sell.

Louisa watching her shoe being finished!

Boys on the job!
And in between these Sundays, as you know we had the "multitudes" conference, during which time we enjoyed having Andrew with us for the week from Iringa! In the little spare time we had with him, we were able to take him up for the view at the Dancing Rocks.

The Dancing Rocks

Andrew couldn't shift the rock!
And lastly, we can share the excellent news that our good friend and colleague, Jesca, who we trained to take over the stoves project in Iringa, is now MARRIED! We were so very sorry to miss the occasion at the weekend, but so happy to see and hear about their wonderful day! And we were so happy that Ezekiel and Mendriad were able to go to the wedding! We pray God's blessing on Frank and Jesca as they begin their married life!

Jesca and Frank with the EI Iringa Team

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