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

Sunday, 4 January 2015

Christmas on a Gas Burner

We have just said goodbye to the wonderful Andy and Angela Sharpe who came up from Iringa to spend some time with us over Christmas holidays. We do so miss them and it was great to be back together again! They arrived on the 28th and we seemed to have a different celebration of some kind every day!

Christmas on a gas burner
On the 29th we decided to have a second "Christmas" together, crackers and party hats, roast chicken, roast potatoes, stuffing, bread sauce, cranberry sauce, red cabbage and carrots... etc.! We went out for coffee in the morning planning to come back for a late lunch after which we would later enjoy afternoon tea and start the Christmas cake. Well, that was Plan A.
Morning coffee out
To my great chagrin, the power went out just after I put the chicken and potatoes in the oven. We were all hopeful, positive and convinced it was just a minor blip and would come back on. So we left the oven door shut while waiting for the power to come back on. That was Plan B. We had some snacks and waited. And waited. We played some games. We decided to reverse the order and start with afternoon tea so went ahead with tea and Christmas cake. After 5pm, with the kitchen getting dark and the chicken and potatoes now cold in the oven, I gave up and lit the gas ring. This was Plan C. It was time to try Christmas dinner on a single gas burner ... one thing at a time! Andy sliced up the chicken (it had done fairly well on a very long, decreasing heat) which I fried. I scooped out the stuffing from the dish and shaped it into little pancakes and fried them. The potatoes were sliced up and sautéed. The veggies were cooked, the sauces were heated and the gravy was made. Crackers were pulled with a bang and it was finally a lovely candlelight Christmas lunch at 7pm! I figure I should write a book on Christmas Cooking when Camping.

"Roasties" on the gas
Amisadai did a great job icing the cake this year!
A Birthday
After our first two attempts at main meals were frustrated by electricity cuts (we'd had a pizza palava with power cuts on the first evening) it was good to take the opportunity of Amisadai's birthday to go out for a meal on the third night. Surely now we would all eat according to Plan A at the right time. But even that was a bit of laugh as both Andy and Tim's meals were forgotten ... they ended up eating well after the rest of us, but with hunger enjoyed it all the more!
Birthday pizza
It was a great end to a great day celebrating our lovely 11 year old daughter! As well as a Narnia Risk game, we went swimming in ridiculously chilly weather for Mwanza ... a great sacrifice of love on mine and Angela's part! But exciting (for me) that day was the HOT water shower at home afterwards! A guy had been working on getting an instant heater shower installed ... (slowed somewhat by the power cuts!) and we are so thankful now to have a hot shower!

New Year's Eve
Next we were celebrating New Year's Eve ... we managed to convince Tim and Andy to stay up till midnight ... does it get more exciting than Canasta? We had numerous efforts with varying degrees of success to Skype various family and friends. This can be fairly entertaining if you don't get frustrated. The delays and constant "hello ... hello ... are you there?..." make for strange conversation! But we all have such great family and friends and we are so thankful! It was great to start 2015 with Andy and Angela ... and Joseph, who joined us outside to pop poppers and laugh with us at the sparklers which failed to sparkle!
Happy New Year!
2015 New Year's Day

We celebrated the start of the New Year with BMCC church. We love this church which is so incredibly active in sharing the love of God with everyone, and it was an honour to share this time with them and for Tim to preach. They had invited the kids with albinism, the street kids and also new pastors planting churches in unreached areas for a special service and lunch. After the tragic news this week in Mwanza about yet another child with albinism assumed murdered for body parts, it was both moving and encouraging to see all the kids up at the front singing, many with smiles! It was a long 5 hour service so we were more than ready for the big lunch afterwards at 2:30pm! Such huge pots of rice pilau!

Children from Lakeview School singing

Full Monty
Andy and Angela left on Friday, but not until Louisa and Tim had cooked up their favourite ... a full English breakfast (or Full Monty as we like to call it!). This is a real treat here as we don't normally get things like bacon and sausages and baked beans, but with all the stops pulled out, we enjoyed it!

It has been a good week of fun and treats! We are so thankful for Andy and Angela ... in more ways than one! Andy also came with his water engineer hat on to check out our basement flooding situation. With more rather large rains over Christmas, the water levels are now worse than before. So we paddle, slosh and mop. And have now moved out Tim's books which were starting to curl with the damp on the shelves!

Andy and the girls investigate the water problem

We are thankful for the past year of 2014. We are thankful for good friends. And thankful for a year ahead of us, for the joy and challenge it is to serve a God with Plan A.

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