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

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Consider it Pure Joy ... even Half-a-Haircut and Half-cooked Muffins

I can't believe another week has whizzed by! A "Back-to-School" week last week for us and many of you as well! Suddenly thrown into the equation of life are complicated car pool schedules, early rising for 7:15am departures, homework, music practice, packed lunches... As for the packed lunches, we are really missing the amazing variety and quick ease of making lunches in England! It's taking a while to think far enough ahead (especially with the power situation) and think of possible options! For Amisadai this week, it was the start of secondary school - another milestone reached and I wonder how it's possible! I will let her tell you more about that and her other exiting news on her own blog!

You may remember a blog post we wrote last year after visiting Pastor Kayuli and his lovely family and their church in Malya. (Catch up on it here!) We are looking forward to starting the beekeeping project with them in the new year. Well, on Saturday, Pastor Kayuli and his wife, Shukuru ("thankfulness") came to visit us here in Mwanza. I continue to be amazed at the way this couple prayerfully and joyfully persevere in all they do despite the hardship. This man finds it difficult to walk and even just to feed himself after his serious accident some years back, but he and his wife have moved out of their home, to a single small room (about 10x12ft) with no beds and just a few plastic chairs in order to establish a new church in a new village. Truly, they are joyful, thankful people, finding it pure joy to serve God and their community.

Taking a look at our beans
We took them out to see our "shamba" (crops growing) and showed them a bit of what we are doing with the agricultural project. But they were keen to see our hives of bees down there! It was exciting to talk with them about the plans to start the beekeeping project, which we will be helped with by a wonderful man coming out periodically from Bees Abroad in the UK. We hope to have a group of about ten people in Malya, learning how to keep bees and harvest and market honey. We will also be working with the Mamas Group in Malya, teaching them how to make various value-added products with the beeswax and honey.

Bees busy at work in the hive

On Sunday, we were delighted to be back with the church at Mkuyuni with Bishop Charles. We arrived a bit late for the 7am start of the first service which Tim preached at. We were served delicious sweet chai and chapatis for a short rest during the adult Sunday School. Again in the second service, it was wonderful to be part of the lively worship, so much colour and energetic singing and dancing! Tim preached again and the second service finished around 1:30pm. We joined a number of people from the church afterwards for a meal together, with conversation revolving mainly around the upcoming national election.
Progress on the church building at Mkuyuni

Now as another week begins, I am trying to keep in mind the example and inspiration of Pastor Kayuli and Shukuru and also remember our recent reading as a family from James chapter 1 about counting it pure joy when we meet trials of various kinds...  because I am aware I am getting disgruntled with my puny trials of electricity cuts! Since we arrived back four weeks ago, power has been very sporadic, but recently getting worse. As I write now on Tuesday, we haven't had any since Sunday. But perhaps more than the actual cut of power, it is the constant on/off/on/off which seems to play games with my mind! Always wondering whether it will come on or go off, whether I should risk putting bread or biscuits in the oven, whether plan A will work for dinner, whether the computer battery will last, whether we should empty the freezer ...

We had to laugh at the end of last week. The power had gone out early, just before I put the muffins in the oven and then we didn't have power all day. Usually that means that it will come on in the evening. I hoped it would come on in time to blend up the soup for dinner. But it didn't so I went for Plan B. The girls went to bed and it still hadn't come on (indignation at the injustice here!). Then it suddenly came on at 8:30pm. So I sprang into action, put the muffins in the oven, whipped up two more batches for company coming the next day. But before I could whizz my Plan A soup, the power cut back out. (Again, serious indignation at the injustice.) Before I could carry on my tirade too long, the power popped back on. Muffins saved! Soup blended! Next batch of muffins in. I got the clippers and Tim sat down for a haircut. The power cut again. (Incredulous indignation at the injustice.) The evening progressed like that in an unbelievably frustrating fashion. I thought Tim was going to end up with half a haircut and look most peculiar eating his half cooked muffins for breakfast the next morning!

Now, as I post, after enjoying a lovely candlelit evening with friends come over for a (Plan B) meal cooked slowly over the single-burner, I confess I am finding the return of the power pure joy! Yes, it came back on at 10pm! With much of the contents of my freezer once again defrosted (the meat survived at the bottom and was rescued by kind friends with a cold freezer) my fridge warm and smelly and my computer battery dead, it was pure joy to stop worrying about it all and have a warm shower!


  1. great to read about the pastors and churches, Praise The Lord. Soul Survivor was great Amisadai, we had cooking challenges too with far too much rain and not enough shelter. Was great fun and so blessed for all who went. Big love and blessings to you all.

    1. Thanks, Geoff! Amisadai was sorry to miss Soul Survivor! It sounded awesome, despite the rain! She says "Hi" to all at Taste!

  2. you totally need a gas oven rachel....pole bwana for your trials....tough lessons x

    1. Would be wonderful, Amy! And a generator!! But then, would I learn patience and perseverance ... or at least have opportunity to practice??!

  3. Oh wow! Only just got round to reading this. what trials indeed. But it must be said you can write a very good story about it. If it weren't true I would be laughing out loud. As it is, I just groan inwardly and marvel at the patience and perseverance He is building in you.
    As you know, I have had a few tiny trials of my own...but they do pale besides yours. Definitely think He's after my growth in patience and perseverance too.
    Bless you Rachel. Love to you all. Ellen xx

    1. Thanks, Ellen! But don't think that your trials pale next to ours at all. I just wrote about them! And hindsight is always a good thing :) Rx


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