“God did not leave himself without witness, for he did good by giving you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness.” (Paul’s words at Lystra, recorded in Acts 14:17)
“Thank you LORD!” That’s what the Christians of Kondoa have been exclaiming every day. Thank you, every one of you who prayed for rain to fall in abundance. Almost every day we have a massive thunderstorm, with sheets of rain drenching you instantly if you get caught out. The bridge is still holding, while the chocolate waters swirl below. Crops are thriving. Peter has worked long and hard with hoe and slasher in our large garden area, while all who pass by give different advice on when the crops will be ready. The roof of our house has sprung several leaks, and there are discussions whether the whole ceiling should be replaced. We nod enthusiastically, as the roof is filled with bats, pigeons and lizards.
We have a small number of students at Kondoa Bible School this year. The girls’ sewing class has had to be postponed until June because of lack of sponsorship and new first year students for the Two year Bible course have been put on hold until August to align course starting times. That leaves 13 Three year course students (only one female!) and six Two Year course students who are halfway through their course. There is very little available money for maintenance of buildings and repairs of desks and chairs. However, the teaching staff is enthusiastic and the students are really happy to be back. Because of the bad roads caused by the rain, and sickness in some families, they are actually just dribbling back now.
We’ve had a break and we did get away to Dodoma for two days (!) for Christmas. It was so good to stay with Richard and Christine Kanungha, friends from long ago. Richard is now a Canon and in charge of a large church in Chamwino, Dodoma. The services were amazing – great music, preaching, and fellowship. Several of the older members of the congregation remembered us from Makole days in the 80’s and 90’s when Chamwino was part of our parish. While in Dodoma, we got the CMS vehicle sorted out with two new tyres and shock absorbers, so that was good.
During the holidays, Peter translated into Swahili a small book on Grief and has permission from the original publisher to print 200 copies here in Tanzania. Right now, a member of staff is proof-reading it. There are few practical books like that available in Swahili, and nothing on grief so please pray for the completion of this project. Chris enjoyed a research project on Music of the Bible, and did some song writing as well.
This year’s Bible School timetable includes Peter’s continuing teaching of ”Worship” and Chris’ teaching of English, as well as a new subject for KBS – that of “Kufundisha,” basically ‘how to teach.’ Chris (known here as Mama Pendo) is enjoying the challenge of that and learning heaps too – seeing how important it is throughout the Bible and relating that to our situation here.
Our lovely Bible School cook, Mama Tembo, woke up two days ago with no voice, but no other symptoms of a cold. Yesterday afternoon, four of us decided to pray for healing for her. After each of us had prayed, Mama Tembo started praising God, still in a whisper, then remembered and confessed that she had disobeyed God the day before her voice had disappeared. She had not done what God had asked of her and instead had been gossiping with others. As she repented before God, her voice slowly returned, just a crackle at first, but getter stronger and stronger. Praise You, Lord! This was very meaningful for her, for she knows that God wants her to be a spokeswoman for him, and He has high standards!
This coming weekend, Peter and I have been invited to Kidoka village again. Peter will be preaching in the service which will include the commissioning of Sarah Mwaluko, one of last year’s graduates, to be the Catechist of the Parish. We look forward to that but not to the travel. The roads are in a shocking state, we hear. Students travelling back to Bible School have had to get off the bus with all the other passengers and push it out of big holes and up the hills. Others had to wade through some water where a bridge had been washed away and board another bus to reach Kondoa. Every day is an adventure here.
Please remember to pray for Peter (known as Mkuu – Chief!). There are so many decisions every day and problems that land in his lap. Pray for finance to become available for the Bible School, so we can get repairs done and also prepare for future plans for the School. Pray for all the teaching staff, for vital and Spirit-filled teaching. Pray too for safety on the roads, especially in the wet season. Even here in the town, we very nearly got swiped off the road and into the ditch by a screaming motorbike! But we sleep well and are in good health and are so thankful for that.
Finally, it is time to share this bit of news that has been mooted by Bishop Given for a couple of months now. He has asked that Peter be ordained, and after a lot of prayer and discussion, we agreed. It is certainly not something that Peter has sought, but after digging our toes in for a while, we realised that this is a door that God has opened and we should be ready to go through. The ordination is set for June 19, here in Kondoa.