Iri and Kate Mato are both working for the Diocese of Kondoa, Tanzania. However, for this season Kate is based in New Zealand while Iri has returned to Africa - Kate is working from their daughter's home because of troublesome blood clots which prevent her from flying.
I often wonder why the Lord has stationed me back in New Zealand with Iri in Kondoa. I think it must be so that I can help our children with their little ones - this is indeed a blessing. Not being in Kondoa does, however, make working for the Bishop as Communications Director more difficult and I’m forever giving Iri messages for the office there.
Iri's news is that the students have returned from placement a little wiser, having had their eyes opened to the real work of village Pastors. They have shared with children's, youth and adult ministry, walked many kilometers evangelising, prayed with the sick and some have walked long distances to fetch water. Students are currently in Study Week with exam week to follow and are then on holiday for three weeks. Iri had hoped to come home during that break but Bishop has asked him to stay on as there are many visitors coming to the diocese. We’re hoping he can come home for three weeks maybe in July. It would be good for him and, for me!
The Bible School now has 20 students in their second year of theological studies. Iri and his team are working hard to develop students’ skills and knowledge and it was to this end that a former Msalato student, Daudi Chilemu, worked at the Bible School for two weeks of his parish holidays. He was a great encouragement to the students to whom he taught African Traditional Religion in a block course along with evening classes in English. Daudi was one of Kate’s first students at Msalato at a time when the extent of his English was, ‘ My name is Daudi. I comes from Vikonje.’ Now, he is completely fluent and hopes to continue his studies at St John’s University. We recall a time when Daudi and his wife used to sit under the trees breaking stones at $40 a truckload in order to feed and house their family. There are many stories of our students who have had difficult lives but now feel called by the Lord to serve him and help to extend his Kingdom. These servants who come to study leaving families behind must find it difficult and your prayers would bring them comfort and blessings.
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