The nights are cold now, but the days are still beautifully warm and sunny with clear blue skies. How different it will be when I arrive in Melbourne early next Thursday morning! The weather will be just one of many adjustments I will have to make as I prepare for life back in the ‘West’. Seven years seems to have gone by very quickly and I wonder what God has got ahead for me. It’s been a life-changing experience and I think I will return as a more mature and confident person than when I left New Zealand. I thank God for all my experiences here.
The last month has been one of final visits to rural parishes, farewell celebrations, revision, exams and marking - including an excursion to Bagamoyo with the Diploma three students who wanted a weekend away together before they went their separate ways. Bagamoyo is an historic town on the east coast just north of Dar es Salaam and it was a wonderful experience for all of us. Someone's generosity meant I could pay for a bus to take 14 students and four staff. The students were able to find accommodation and food for the weekend and we were given the name of an excellent guide. On Saturday morning we toured and saw evidence of Arabic, German and British occupation, and in the afternoon we swam which was a whole new experience for most of the students who had never seen the sea and were surprised to find it tasted salty! To see the students’ enjoyment was like watching a child experience an ice cream for the first time.
Saying goodbye to these students was a painful experience. We started at MTC together in February 2011 and now we have finished together. Please join me in prayer for them as they wait for ordination and placement in their first parish. Five of them are young women and the diocese can be a challenging place for women pastors, but they are going out certain of God’s call on their lives. I admire them so much.
I leave Msalato on June 24 and fly out of Dar es Salaam on the 25th. On my way home I will spend a month in Australia visiting two of my daughters and other members of my family and friends and will arrive in New Zealand at the end of July. I will then be preparing for debrief and deputation (visiting churches) and, most importantly, waiting for the birth of my first granddaughter at the end of August.
Mungu awabariki sana wote.
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