Montag, 10. Oktober 2016

Spreading the gospel

Just one last morning prayer, just one last breakfast with our friends and of we went... back to Ifakara. Well, actually we did not go there straight away. First we were invited by pastor Samuel to come and visit his parish in Mtimbira. Just a bit more than 100 members this tiny and rather young congregation stand their ground Iman area that is either roman-catholic or muslim. To reach out there church is always open to everyone passing bye, the do open-door activities, invite by supporting the community of Mtimira and most all attract people by the wonderful choir they have - they so much need some basic musical equipment to reach out a bit further. As there is a high fluctuation of inhabitants in Mtimbira they never know wether or not they can rely on the support of those, they have just welcomed in their congregation, yesterday. Because of that extremely low number of congregants Mtimbira Lutheran Parish face severe financial struggles. Nevertheless their worship is full of praise and faith. 

After a delicious supper with pastor Samuels family we went on to Ifakara. In the evening we were invited in Genroses house for dinner. Genrose has been treasurer in Tumaini the last 14, was guest at Eva's and now got appointed head-treasurer of diocese. It was a pleasant "meet again" and a special joy to see her newborn son Nathan for the first time. I would love to share a picture of this little chap... but as I don't want to spoil Miriam's joy to be the first to show his picture to our co- committee-member Angelika you unfortunately will have to wait until we are back home.

So let's call it a day now... I definitely need some sleep no

Here I am to worship

Sunday 9th October was all about great worship and meeting Kipinga parish, which is located only a few miles from Malinyi/ Lugala/Tumaini. After an exciting weak we decided not to attend the early 7am service (I don't even dare to invite our congregation to a service that early) but to go to Kipinga at 10am. To everybody who complains his pastor preaches to long I recommend to visit a Tanzanian service - I stopped looking st my watch after 35 minutes. Though I didn't understand a word, the power and enthusiasm were impressive. The pastor (sry I forgot the name) was speaking softly ... THAN LOUD AGAIN... fast one moment and very careful the next ... exciting to watch all together. The definitive highlight was the presentation of the two church choirs. While the first is all acapella with real powerful voices the second-main - choir is accompanied by a little band. The songs, the rhythm, the dancing... all this was so full of joy it would be lovely to welcome these choirs in Freising one day. After singing and dancing we had a well attended meeting with the congregation. Next to plain facts as number of church members, Sunday attendance etc. ir was most enlightening to hear about our different blessings, challenges as well as future plans. Though some financial support is as welcome as in any African congregation Kipinga would much more value to be supported/ counceled in how to use the resources they have best. So a mutual meeting of choirs and pastors is as appreciated as a meeting with agricultural experts. 

After the meeting Henning had the chance to accompany pastor Esau at two visits of elder congregants and share communion with them. After that right home to Tumaini ... not in the Land Cruiser but on a pikipiki (motorbike) which was quite fun for Henning as well as for the students who welcomed him with great joy and laughter.

To call it a day we had to go through a very sad yet very touching farewell ceremony in the guest-house. It has just been 4 days but being with the students, the staff, headmaster ... all and everybody in Tumaini, made us feel like we were part of their community for years. Asante sana Tumaini- thank you so much for all your hospitality, your friendship and support. Most certainly it is not the last time we've met, but now it's your turn to come and visit us. I hope we can make you feel as welcome as we did here. May God bless you. 

Lugala Hospital

8. Oktober 

Due to a extremely tight schedule I will not report about this day now. Our visit in Lugala hospital was an excellent impression what successful development-aid can look like. 

Samstag, 8. Oktober 2016

Visiting Tanga parish

7. Oktober 

Question: how many passengers do fit in a big Toyota SUV? Well including the driver and one guy in the front, 4more passengers squeezed in the second row and six in the back, that makes 12... and a very joyful ride on one of these "good Tanzanian roads" Doctor Peter and some of his co-workers picked us up in the morning to bring us to Tanga parish about an hours drive from Tumaini. Tanga is one of the younger and smaller congregations in UKD with 5 "streets" (area to small to be called a village). 
 Though located in a wonderful landscape the church, the estate and the whole village is in an appalling state.  The loo is a hole in the ground covered by a fence and  the roof as well as the walls of the church need some work to be done.we were heartily welcomed by pastor, his evangelists and church elders. Nevertheless to me the congregation to me seemed to be extremely blessed- if not in a financial then in a social way.  There seems to be a extremely good amount of mutual care and responsibility. The chain is always as strong as its weakest link, so the community takes care of those who struggle- cultivating their fields etc. 

Main issue it is to keep the parish activities going as long as possible- regarding the tiny funds they have. Of course partnership to them first of all means to be financially supported (as a parish - independently from the diocese) - so there were several hints were they think our money could be invested best. But getting on in our talks we already widened our horizon by telling one another about our own parishes, their riches and struggles. After a good Tanzanian supper with loads of rice and the obligatory chicken we waited for Doctor Peter to pick us up again ... and waited and waited ... as the sun was about to go down around 6 David hired a local driver and his "car" to get us home. Thank goodness we made it. This "car" had neither bumpers nor seat belts, one door couldn't be closed, nor the windows, the lamp indicating there is sth wrong with the engine was on all the time and each time we had to go over one of the multitude bumps and whole I feared to completely ruin the fuel tank.
But hey: here we are. We made it!

Tumaini - in swahili this means hope

First of all - I don't not why, maybe all the mosquitoes are on vacation, but I have not been bitten so far. Regarding the holes in my mosquito-net this comes close to a miracle. 
The first night in our home -for me -was surprisingly pleasant. Not for Eva yet who looked a bit tired the next morning. The sounds of wild nature around us kept her up all night. Tumaini definitely is in the middle of nowhere - a very beautiful nowhere, nevertheless. 
Our day begann at 7am with a morning prayer beautifully led two students. Assembly afterwards gave us the chance not only to address the students (and apply mambo hayo for the first time: great success) but to give them the presents we bought as well. It was so good to see we just bought the right things- just the same day the boys had to try their new balls and jerseys. Talking to David and his stuff gave us a great insight in Tanzanian educational system as well as in the work and life at Tumaini Lutheran Seminary. Besides the compulsory subjects (mathematics, English,chemics, biology, physics, kisuaheli and civics) Tumaini also educates students in Biblical studies, history and geography. Last year 100% of year 2 AND year 4 students passed their examinations and 70% went to higher education. What a success. 
The major problem for Tumaini is that its main budget comes in via school funds - this is hardly enough to keep the school going. Without the donation from the international partners, salaries couldn't be payed, the buildings cannot be maintained and necessary school- material cannot be purchased. To rise the fees is not an option for already now it is a burden to the families they hardly manage to handle. To lower the running cost David has bought 65 acres of land to grow rise, bananas and vegetables. To ensure the safety of his students he is planing to build a fence around the compound - it is clear that David is a headmaster with a big vision and a clear concept of what to do.
 After the meeting we had a guided tour around the compound that gave us a good impression of school life in Tumaini - the dininghall (supposed to be done this october), the classrooms, dormitories, the kitchen and of course the bible school. All together it shows that Tumaini is on an extraordinary high level when it comes to education but still needs much support in environmental and structural issues. 

In the evening we were able to meet the students that are supported by our deanery. Having such a good education they all have big dreams about their future (we've got future doctors, lawyers and engineers with us) - May God bless you on your way to success, my friends.

Freitag, 7. Oktober 2016

Up and down the road

5th of October

[there is another post: Tansania my love- which I can't publish at the moment]

After a adventurous day yesterday and a peaceful night in Ifakara the first highlight of our day was the meeting with Bishop Mtenji and the staff of the diocese office. Eva was more than happy to meet her old friend Genrose again. So far we all know her as the treasurer of Tumaini Lutheran Seminary, so it was a big surprise to us, she was appointed the head- treasurer of the Diocese just 3 days ago. Next week we will be invited at her home so we get the chance to see her little baby daughter. 
The assembly with Bishop Mtenji and his staff was very enlightening. Ulanga Kilombero Diocese is the youngest Diocese of Tansania, yet growing the fastest. It is an compound of 25 parishes including 116 preaching points. While our church in Germany is financed by church taxes which will be passed on to the congregations in Tanzania the parishes as well as the diocese is run by the donations given at the services. With this money the diocese as well runs to school - Tumaini is one of those. Each parish is lead not only by the. Pastor as well by several 

Next to the Bishop we met his assistant(Moses), the treasures, the general secretary (Philorian) and the appointed pastor (Wilson) for youth and higher education. Wilson told us of the importance of modern education in Tanzania as for many years education first of all meant to equip children of rural areas with everything they need to become a farmer. That is why the general synode of KKKT advices each diocese to have at least 2 schools they support. Besides that youth work is to meet youngsters in youth groups, on festivals, special youth services and other events. 

From Ifakara we went straight to Tumaini. Well not exactly straight as the road is more like a very bumpy rollercoaster. The further we got from Ifakara the worst and our driver Makari was rushing through the little villages with 80kmh. We crossed the Kilombero on the local ferry and head on to Malinyi first and later on to Tumaini. As David (the headmaster of Tumaini) has been traveling with us all the way from Ifakara we already have had lots of time to get to know him. So arriving in Tumaini we felt home right away. Three students- Ester, Lilian and Faraiah - looked after us the evening and it was great fun they taught me a very important word in Swahili which I just ever after since then: MAMBO HAYO- which means Great, super, epic. David and Pastor Fadhili spent the evening with us and it was great fun learning him German, while we tried to cope with Swahili. All together a splendid day. 

Sonntag, 2. Oktober 2016

Up and away

 Our journey began with a lovely service held by our vice dean Dorothe Löser. As God stayed true to Jacob and guided him on his journey to foreign countries he will stay at our side on our trip to Tanzania. To remind us of this, even when we face unexpected challenges Dorothe gave us a little wooden heart to carry with us. Boarding them was rather unspectacular... but then ... wow... the A380!!! What a plane. That's what comfort is all about. A telly, a HUGE music library, games... how am I expected to get any sleep with so much entertainment? Well I keep you up to date. Food is ready. Lamb curry!!! Yum!