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

Saturday, 18 November 2017

The Warm Heart of Africa

They call it the “warm heart of Africa.” A small, land-locked country stretching along a beautiful lake, otherwise known as Malawi. I went there to represent Mwanza in our nine-membered Emmanuel International team (representing Uganda, Tanzania, Malawi and the UK and Canada). I can wholeheartedly agree with the country nickname, after the warm welcome we all received.
Meetings on the veranda!
Brought together by Richard McGowan (Director of EI Canada), we were hosted and wonderfully looked after in Zomba by Paul and Helen Jones (Country Directors for Malawi). We had a week of sharing ideas together as we worked to draw together a framework for proposal writing. During the week, we were also able to have some field visits to see different projects they are working on in Malawi. It was very encouraging to see and hear so much of what each of the different countries are doing and exciting to explore how we can work better together. Here are some photos from some of our field visits!
CA Maize growing as part of a solar irrigation project
A Community Womens group (Promise) showing their educational khangas

The Promise women

Teaching food processing and nutritious cooking

A women's village savings and loans group

A tree nursery incorporated in the Watershed Project

Mamas in Dar es Salaam

The last few days before returning home, I was staying with the Nkone family and meeting again with the Upendo wa Mama group at the UTSS (Under the Same Sun) office. It is such a privilege to be with these women! Together for just two days, we made some beautiful recycled paper jewellery and learned how to sew embroidered gift cards! One afternoon was spent discussing training they would like to receive from a local small industries development organization. They will be attending training in various food processing skills all through next week. There was also opportunity to pray with one mama deeply struggling with issues in her difficult life and see God work miraculously in her.
Varnishing the beads

Making cards

 Meanwhile in Mwanza...

Meanwhile, Tim has been amazing looking after everything at home! He is now wrapping up this semester's teaching at the Bible College. On Thursday, he, Peter and Pastor Mbuke were interviewing candidates to take on roles within our team; we are really thrilled to be getting another agricultural trainer and beekeeping assistant working with us! Tim and the girls went to Nyamililo Church last Sunday and were warmly welcomed. This is a church with which we are assisting in a conservation agriculture project. Tim preached from Luke 17:11-19 when Jesus healed ten lepers, talking about how the work of Jesus touches people physically, touches the community, as well as transforming people spiritually. The agriculture project has progressed well from last year with the  blessing of good rains this year. The church demonstration plot is growing maize, ground nuts and pigeon peas. Tim was pleased to see Pastor Tito had protected the plot with a fence to keep the animals out - something we don't very often see!
Church Demonstration Plot
The church was delighted to see Amisadai - they had prayed for her in her illness. After enjoying lunch, they stayed to chat to people - there was mutual language learning as they learned Kisukuma while those they were with learned English! Amisadai went to talk with a young woman who had led one of the choirs singing in the service. This beautiful young woman in her early twenties, full of the life of God, has lost three pregnancies at 6 months. Please join us in praying that Jesus would touch her physically so that she and her husband could be blessed with a child. Tim and the girls left later that afternoon touched by the kindness of the church, eager to return again soon!

So we have to say, we find Tanzania to be a pretty warm heart of Africa too!
Nyamililio Church

Pastor Tito

Sunday, 5 November 2017

Pests, a Permit and a new Upendo wa Mama

The rains have started! After the drought which preceded the recent dry season, this is cause for rejoicing! Farmers are now putting their conservation agriculture "classroom" training into practice as they plant. We are now working with farmers in 7 communities with around 130 farmers. So as you can imagine, Peter, our CA project manager is very busy! And there is always a new challenge ... and right now, the challenge is this ...


These pests are proving to be a real problem in one village. The whole village has been plagued by these bugs which burrow deep into the root of the maize plant. By the time the plant breaks through the soil, the damage is already done. For these farmers who can only afford to plant once, to see a whole crop destroyed before it even comes out of the soil is devastating. We are praying for more consistent rain which we think will strengthen future plants against the pest.

There is so much going on at the moment, it is getting rather difficult to keep up on the blog! But here are a few highlights!

Dar es Salaam

We were in Dar es Salaam all together the other weekend with Victory Christian Church. Staying by the Indian Ocean was beautiful! Tim was teaching at the Bible School on the Saturday and then preaching for the church services on the Sunday.

Sunday morning service at VCC

A Work and Residence Permit

Tim and the girls returned home to Mwanza on the Sunday night and I stayed on with Pastor Huruma and the family to begin working with a lovely group of women with albinism. I am thrilled to say that finally after a long and complicated procedure, with the generous help of Under the Same Sun, I now finally have a visa! It arrived just in the perfect nick of time this week, as I was about to fly out to Malawi! In the midst of a very busy and rather crazy week, Tim helped by taking my passport into Immigration and getting it stamped with my residence permit the day before I left! While still serving with the TAG church, this visa will enable me to volunteer alongside UTSS to help with their work with women with albinism. What a privilege!

It is wonderful to be working alongside the great team at UTSS. Rahab, who helps particularly with the women's group, travelled to Canada a year or so ago and as well as attending King's Community Church in Langley, also shared a meal at my parents!

New Upendo wa Mama

I was so delighted to finally meet these ten women in Dar es Salaam after waiting so long! All of them either have albinism or have children with albinism and are wanting to establish their group for support and income-generating. Their stories as similar to those of the mamas in Mwanza. They have chosen to also be called Upendo wa Mama (Mother's Love). In our days together, as we made the beads out of strips of old paper, we started reading Genesis about how God brings light and order into the darkness and chaos. We read about being created beautifully in the image of God for a purpose. It is a life-changing message. And my prayer is that as these women work together and grow, they would be a living demonstration to others of this truth.

Making beads together