When we left St John's University in Tanzania in August we were grateful for our 60 kg luggage allowance! The end of year exams had been delayed by three days because it was impossible to see the new moon (which defines the end of Ramadan), and Cliff's forty two students sat his exam only hours before our departure. We sat in airport lounges and transit hotels marking scripts and wondering if God intended for us to return.
We both felt a lot had been achieved but there was still much to be done. A trust had been set up to seek and manage funding to improve living conditions on the campus for students, including a boundary fence, but that was just the first step - now we have to find some donors! Policies had been approved to encourage Christian conduct among the staff but these had yet to be implemented. And Staff had been encouraged to seek research funding but they would require considerable support. Both students and staff had encouraged us to return and, with the appointment of a new Vice Chancellor (following the sad death of Professor Mwaluko last year), we were excited about the possibilities.
We traveled home via the UK and had the opportunity to chat to family and friends, often while steering a canal barge! We were also able to renew contacts with the UK Friends of St John's and the Association of Commonwealth Universities. Both these organisations provide important support to St John's and these brief meetings resulted in significant developments. We give thanks to God for the opportune timing of these meetings.
We returned to NZ on October 2 still uncertain about if or when we might return. Our support to travel and remain in Tanzania comes from our ability to rent our home, and we wanted confirmation that our vision and contribution were in accordance with the leading of the new Vice Chancellor.
I suppose I shouldn't be surprised but it still amazes me how fast things fall into place when God is in control. Within ten days of our arrival we received a very warm and positive response from the Vice Chancellor, our existing tenants told us they were keen to remain in our home, and the travel agent has confirmed available flights which will enable us to travel and return to spend Christmas with our family. So after a very brief stay in NZ we are preparing to make our way back for the new semester.
We would value your prayers for our travel and the opportunities that await us, for the Vice Chancellor as he takes up the leadership of the University and for the financial management and support of St John's as it seeks to develop Christian leadership in Tanzania.
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