Dispatch Four: Mission Station, Emirates Airport, Dubai, Persian Gulf

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The last week in Tanzania was very busy. Fr Francis was teaching at Christ the King Anglican Church, for 16 evangelist pastors in the center of Geita, Tanzania. Brother Nathan was teaching to around 25 evangelist pastors in Mwanza, at Nyakatto Bible College. Fr Francis finished on Friday, Feb 18. Brother Nathan finished on Monday Feb 21.
At the direction of the Archdeacon of Geita, an exam was administered to the students at Christ the King and only those who passed the exam would successfully pass the course. The students worked hard to prepare for the exam. Their efforts were rewarded when all students passed the exam with a grade of “B” or higher. They rejoiced and celebrated.
Bishop Kwangu and his wife Mama Mary, and Brother Nathan traveled to Geita on late Saturday in order to be a part of a graduation liturgy on Sunday. The Bishop celebrated the liturgy and Brother Nathan preached the sermon, a word of encouragement on responding to the love of God and his plan. The congregation applauded the sermon.
Certificates of Achievement were awarded to the students in Geita. The Bishop congratulated each student and awarded the certificates. Later, gifts were give to Fr Francis, Brother Nathan, and to Bishop Fick, Father General of the Missionary Society, who sent Fr Francis and Brother Nathan to teach in Tanzania. The congregation danced in praise of the Lord and everyone stayed for a festive luncheon after the liturgy. After the luncheon, Bishop Kwangu, his wife, Fr Francis, and Brother Nathan returned to Mwanza to complete the teaching there.
On Monday, Brother Nathan completed the teaching at Nyakatto Bible College. The students sang and praised the Lord and celebrated, thanking Brother Nathan. Tuesday, Fr Francis and Brother Nathan had dinner at the Bishop’s residence where Bishop Kwangu thanked all who made the teaching possible, and asked Brother Nathan that teachers come again next year. He especially liked how two teachers made concurrent classes in Mwanza and Geita possible and hoped that concurrent classes would be possible next year.
Then, the long journey home began on Wednesday with a flight from Mwanza to Dar es Salaam on the coast of the Indian Ocean. We are now in Dubai, on the Persian Gulf, awaiting our flight from Dubai to New York City, a flight that takes fourteen hours.
It is very important that all who helped support this trip in prayer and finances know how grateful the people of the Diocese of Victoria Nyanza are to you. It is important that all who helped support this trip in prayer and finances know how this program is working. It is working well.
Three years ago, over forty churches which were led by evangelists held services that were essentially free form services, with readings selected by the pastors. Now, the evangelists vest in a white alb and a cross. They use the readings of the day as assigned in their Anglican Prayerbook. The service takes the form of Morning Prayer and when a priest visits, includes Holy Communion. The sermons are an expression of the readings of the day and the people are taught the basics of the faith, as experienced in the Anglican Church. The ministry and teaching is deeper and more detailed. More churches have been started and more buildings are being constructed. This ministry contributes mightily to the growth of the Gospel, to the growth of Christianity and to the growth of the Anglican Church in Tanzania.
Thank you People of God (Watu wa Mungu) in America for your support of the teaching ministry in Tanzania. We have always worked hard to provide the most ministry for your donated dollars.
As always, we are grateful to God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, (Mungu, Baba, Mwana, kwa Roho Mtakatifu).
Asante sana! (thank you very much)
Fr Francis and Brother Nathan Dunlap

Dispatch Three: Feb 17 2011

Mission Station Geita, Christ the King Church
Mission Station, Mwamza, Nyakatto Bible College

Song sung before a class in Mwanza:

Ndiyo Dhamana, Yesu Wangu

Ndiyo dhamana, Yesu wangu, Hunipa furaha za Mbingu;
Mrithi wa wokovu wake Nimezawa kwa Roho yake.

Habari njema, raha yangu, Yesu ndiye Mwokozi wangu,
Habari njema, raha yangu, Yesu ndiye Mwokozi wangu.

 

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Saturday night, Fr Francis checked in with Nathan.  Voice answered & Fr Francis responded.  Then he realized that it wasn’t Nathan.  He stopped and said – “let me start over again – Bishop, how may I help you?!”  Bp Kwangu was visiting Nathan and they played a good joke on Fr Francis! They laughed very hard.

Sunday, Feb 13, Nathan preached at the installation of his translator, Rev Danson, as pastor of the local church.  The Bishop presided there and food was shared after the liturgy.  Pastor Danson’s wife teaches at a school on an island in Lake Victoria.  She leaves early Monday morning, takes a three hour ferry to the island, and teaches and stays there until Friday evening, when she returns home.

Pastor Danson is a good translator for Nathan.  He has a church education so he knows the proper Swahili for the ideas and things of church.  He is young and energetic and connects well with Nathan.  They work well together.

Fr Francis was not scheduled to preach that Sunday, but received call early Sunday morning, Pastor Mathias could not be at church for 10 AM service – could Fr Francis lead the service with a lay reader and could he preach – service was morning prayer in Swahili.  Yes, he could.

It was an exciting experience – he was the priest for a congregation of 350-400 people, choir of 50 people who sang and danced and praised God, sent around 75 children out to Sunday School, preached, prayed forgiveness after confession, blessed the offerings, and prayed the blessing at the end of the service.  Preached on Luke 15: 11-35, There was a man who had two sons.  Africanized the story.   They loved it!  Especially when he described the man who raised pigs, who hired the wayward son, as a mzungu (white man)!  Service was good, for them and for him.  The lay reader, one of his students, did most of the Swahili parts, Fr Francis did the priestly things.

After the service, the church takes the food that was donated as part of the tithes and offerings, and auctions it off for money.  Some of the bidding was “for the preacher” meaning that the food would be purchased and then go to the preacher!  Fr Francis got maize (corn), makate (bread), and embe (mango).

The song listed above is  the Swahili version of “Blessed Assurance, Jesus is Mine.”  Words in Swahili, melody the same as ours.

Sunday afternoon, Fr Francis had to produce Class Attendance certificates for the Geita students group so he went to  his translator’s family’s copy shop, and prepared the certificate for the students – for approval by the pastor.  He used his flash drive on the African computer, and caught a virus on the flash drive!  Ugh!!!  When he returned to his room, the he scanned the flash drive with his anti-virus software from his computer – it killed 27 viruses!!!  He reformatted the flash drive and then did a full scan of his whole computer.  All okay at this stage.

Monday, both Fr Francis and Nathan started the same lesson plan, Fundamentals of Sacred Scripture.

Students in Geita absorbed the material like a sponge does water- challenged at every turn – meeting the challenge at every turn.  They applauded God many times during the first day of classes on Scripture.

Brother Nathan is teaching the same lesson to his students and experiencing the same responses.  A few of his students never made it to class Monday because there was a strike by transportation workers in Mwanza and traffic was snarled through the city.

There is an element to day to day work in teaching for several consecutive weeks.  It is not the exciting work of saving souls at crusades and filling stadiums for worship services, but teaching those who do go evangelize and do teach the people of God and do lead parishes, to do it better.   The work is good.  The legacy is long term.  Improved ministry in Kenya has demonstrated that legacy.  The student who became a bishop in Kenya has demonstrated that legacy.  It will be the same in Tanzania.  In both Mwanza and Geita, there were good teaching days, day after day after day.

Our students are bonding with their teachers.  Mangoes and bananas are finding their way to our desk.  As the teacher arrives in the morning, the students wait to greet them and then carry their bags.  We are called “mwalimu” which means teacher, a very honored title in Tanzania as the first president of the land, Julius Nyerere, was called “mwalimu.”  There are secret conversations about a gift to the teacher.  The Bishop is coming to Geita for a big service on Sunday where the students will be given certificates if they passed the class.

Thursday in Geita, the church was hit with thunderstorms, lightning and torrential sheets of rain, making such a noise on the metal roof that class was stopped for over an hour.  The biggest difficulty occurred when the flock of goats running to escape the storm, poured through the sheltered front door of the church and scattered among the pew benches!  It took us a while to shoo them out of the church! Ah! Life in Africa!

Fr Francis and Brother Nathan are so grateful for the prayers and financial donations which sent us to teach here in Tanzania.  Our students are even more grateful and hope that teachers will come again in the future.

Asante sana!  (thank you very much)

Fr Francis and Brother Nathan Dunlap

Dispatch Two: Mission Station Geita, Tanzania, and Mission Station, Nyakatto Bible College in Mwanza

Song sung before 1st class in Geita:

Bwana Mungu Nashangaa Kabisa

Bwana Mungu Nashangaa Kabisa
Nikitazama kama vilivyo
Nyota, nguru, vitu vingi vyote
Viumbwavyo kwa uwezo wako

Roho yangu na ikuimbie
Jinsi wewe ulivyo Mkuu
Roho yangu na ikuimbie
Jinsi wewe ulivyo Mkuu

Bishop Kwangu and his wife Mary took Fr Francis and Brother Nathan southwest across the bay and through the valleys for around 100 kilometers to the town of Geita, where Fr Francis was to teach for two weeks at Christ the King Anglican Church in the center of the town.  It has been decided that Geita will become a separate diocese in the future and the teaching fosters that goal.

Geita has many churches and few clergy.   Most of the churches are led by evangelists, commissioned to lead the churches and the Sunday services.  They do much more than just preach the Word;  they lead the congregations; they are the pastors.  Most are not formally trained but do the best they can.  In the past, OFM teaching has been highly successful in such areas.

Bishop Kwangu and his wife and Brother Nathan returned to Mwanza to carry on the teaching of the evangelists back there, leaving Fr Francis in Geita.

Fr. Francis teaching his sutdents in the "outside classroom"

The schedule in Geita:  classes every day, Monday through Friday, 8 AM to 5 PM.  Rest day on Saturday.  Worship at all three services on Sunday, 8 AM, 10 AM and 4 PM, usually preaching or teaching.

Over twenty students were expected, but only thirteen showed up initially.  The second day, three more students arrived and one student was never seen again.  Travel is not easy for the poor people of Tanzania.  They are interesting people.

Students

Who are the students?  All lay people in parish ministry, mostly evangelists, who lead a congregation, and some choir leaders (an important ministry) . Their occupations were interesting:  two miners, three farmers, a fisherman, a tailor, a bicycle taxi driver, a first grade school teacher, two singers, and a business woman.  Ten men and five women.  Ten new students and five who also attended in 2009.  One person attended but did not complete, bible college in Nyakatto where Brother Nathan is teaching, and the rest attained primary grade five or primary grade seven, except for one man who never attended a day of school in his life.  No high school students or graduates.  Very attentive and participative.  They write many notes in their study books.  There are no students who wear glasses.  No one in Nathans class wear glasses either.

We had an exercise to teach each of the commandments.  There was confusion – they used an alternate numbering system than we do.  They all taught.  Their knowledge is colored by prior teachings.  The teacher on the commandment to keep holy the Sabbath taught that you could not do any thing on the Sunday Sabbath that made you sweat.  The class all agreed.  Local churches will be empty this Sunday 🙂

Fr Francis has missed a day of teaching – sick with stomach distress.  Such ailment is a part of life in Africa.  The treatment – treat it right away – take appropriate medicines quickly – so it does not drag on for days.  Medicines include pink bismuth tablets, Immodium D, and ciproflaxin.  He was down for 36 hours.

Electricity is a problem here in Geita.  We have lost power every day, some days, twice, most times for a long time. We have been without power in Geita for more than half the time.  Mwanza also loses power but not as frequently, and for shorter times, and at different times. We suspect rolling blackouts

Oh, by the way, the song printed above which was sung at the first class is the Swahili rendition of “How Great Thou Art” using Swahili words but the same melody that we know.  Try it out.

Going on at the same time as classes in Geita were other classes at Nyakatto Bible School in Mwanza, taught by Brother Nathan Dunlap.  He taught a large group in the big classroom there, his students numbering around twenty-two.  Nathan was assisted by his interpreter, Pastor Danson, a young energetic priest, recent graduate of St John Seminary in Dodoma.  Years before, Pastor Danson had worked with Fr Francis on his first trip to Mwanza.   After some searching around, Nathan was billeted at St Dominic Catholic Conference Center in Mwanza.  The Conference Center is run by Dominican Sisters under the Catholic Diocese of Mwanza.  What a blessing – hot showers, community  cafeteria, real toilets – not so in Geita!

Nathan with his students in Mwanza

Nathan’s students had many questions about the beliefs, teachings and practices of the Church.  Sometimes, they had learned incorrect things about what the Church taught.  Sometimes they understood things differently even when it was correctly taught.  The combination of lecture and seminar style teaching works well in Africa.  There are blackboards in the classroom, but they are made of a type of slate that requires a wire brush to erase the writing on the board.  OFM uses dry erasable white boards, approximately 18” x 24” to help teach the information.

Nathan responded to a question on applying Scripture to daily life and was surprised when they all stood and applauded when he finished.

Thursday was an intense day of teaching for Fr Francis in Geita.  He finished the teaching on the beliefs, teachings and practices but not before having to visit divorce and remarriage, birth control, and inter-communion.  He hesitated to speak with knowledge and authority because the policies of the Anglican Church of Tanzania were not known to him or the students.  Pastor Mathias came in and helped with his knowledge of the teachings of the Anglican Church of Tanzania.  Evangelical Anglican African theology has some different viewpoints.  It is good that Fr Francis did not speak on those subjects.  Yup!

The lack of electric power was a continuing hindrance to the teaching program in both venues.  The high temperatures were also a continuing problem.  But teaching continued unabated.

Saturday is a day of rest.  Sunday is for worship and fellowship.

We are so grateful to all of you who supported this teaching trip to Africa.  The students are also grateful.  Things are going well and we always pray blessings on our benefactors in class.

Asante sana!  (thank you very much)

Fr Francis and Nathan Dunlap

Tanzania dispatch one

Dispatch One:  Mission Station City of Mwanza, on the shore of Lake Victoria   Feb 03 2011

Our journey to Mwanza.  First,  Dar es Salaam, the city of peace, welcomed two missionary teachers from the MSJ and the MDAS.  The temperature was hot, upper eighties and nineties.  The city was crowded.  The traffic was slow.  But, like Paul in the Mediterranean, we traveled on.  No shipwreck, no chains, no tossing things out of the plane.  Nine thousand miles traveled at 35,000 feet in the air.  Safe arrival in the mega-city of Dar es Salaam, on the coast of the Indian Ocean.

On the journey.  Lines to wait in.  People to watch.  Many languages.  Different styles of dress.  Made friends with some folks from Chile – they did not understand our English and we did not understand their Espanol, but we communicated.  Prayed with some Nigerian Catholics, Ibo Tribe, for safe travel back to their homeland.  They made the sign of the cross in the same way as we do.

Brother Nathan and I, talked much on what and how and why and where and who and what if.  Western, Eastern, Anglican theology, authors, spirituality.  Put away the clothes for the cold weather – short sleeves are the uniform of the day.  Got long sleeved shirt back out again as the planes were  well air conditioned.

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Nathan met our taxi driver in Dar es Salaam who has served us for six years, Edison.  Edison and Nathan exchanged contact information for future ministry trips.

 

Flight to Mwanza.  Dar es Salaam was hot. Mwanza was cooler.  It is rainy season – low temperatures in the seventies, maybe even high sixties.  Nathan and I met with diocesan bishop, Rt Rev Boniface Kwangu.  His plan, Nathan teach in Mwanza, at Nyakato Bible School, all new students, teaching lesson plans starting with Course 101.  Fr Francis travel to Geita, several hours away, and teach former students, advanced lesson plans.  Fr Francis will rejoin Nathan on Feb 21 for closing meeting with the bishop and journey back to the USA.

Nathan made arrangements for interpreters, for housing, for financing, and for sustenance.  He learns well.  Bishop Kwangu recognized the future and acted accordingly.

We rested in Dubai.  We rested in Dar es Salaam.  It was good to arrive rested in Mwanza on Thursday because we start teaching on Friday!

So, the work has started.  Teaching simultaneously in two locations.  Your prayers and financial support  has birthed classes in two areas, concurrently.  The OFM ministry grows.  Thank you God.  Thank you God’s people.

Fr Francis Wardega

Br Nathan Dunlap

Dispatch 6, 17 Dec 2009, Thursday of the 3rd Week of Advent

Well, thanks be to God.  This mission teaching trip is ending and seems to have been a holy success.  Let me begin by responding to some questions.

How do I get home?  I left Geita on the afternoon of Sunday, Dec 13 2009, after the liturgy celebrated by Bishop Boniface Kwangu.  By heavy duty 4-wheel drive SUV, we traveled 100 kilometers to the ferry that crosses a small bay off of Lake Victoria.  The ferry took us to Mwanza, the 2nd largest city in Tanzania.  During this part of the trip, Bishop Kwangu asked many questions, first about the teaching and the students, and then about the Missionary Society and the status of the Anglican Church in America.  Upon arrival in Mwanza, I stayed at St Dominic’s Catholic Conference Center.

On Monday, I visited the office of Precision Airlines, the local air carrier in Tanzania.  My original flight had been cancelled and new flights scheduled.  I had to arrange to fly to Dar es Salaam in order to make my Emirates flight out of Dar. Tuesday, I flew to Dar and stayed overnight at a Lutheran Church hostel next door to Azania Cathedral, the Lutheran Center of Tanzania.  Azania is the ancient Greek name for this area of the East African coast.

Wednesday, I flew to Dubai, on the Persian Gulf.  Thursday I will fly to JFK airport in New York City, clear customs, and catch a Delta flight back to Cleveland, and especially to Patricia. I will arrive Thursday evening.

What do I eat in Tanzania?  I eat everything offered; to not do so would be discourteous.

What is generally offered for breakfast is untoasted white bread (mkate) with margerine & jelly, hard boiled eggs (yai), boiled sweet potato or cassava root (both delicious), and chapati (like pita bread).  I take coffee (kahawa); the Africans take tea (chai), heavily sweetened with raw sugar and lightened with milk.  Not all those selections are served every day but two or three are.  There is no decaf coffee where I go.

Lunch (served 1:00 PM) and dinner (served 8:00 PM) are about the same.  They include a selection from boiled white potatoes (Irish potatoes), or rice (wali) or boiled bananas (ndizi) or ugale (no American name), a pasty bread used for dipping and collecting bits of the other food, in place of forks and spoons.  Assorted greens, beans (like pork & beans – no pork) are usually offered.  And lastly, boiled chicken (kuukuu), or boiled tilapia fish (samaki) still whole with the head, or roasted beef chunks (nyama), one or two selections.  Not much variety but sufficient for sustenance, and usually tasty without being so exotic that it would discourage an American from trying.  I usually drink bottled water (maji); occasionally soft drinks are provided.

How do I take the heat?  After a week or two, I am more accommodated to it, but in many places it is hot.  I sweat – a lot.

Have you seen any lions?  No.  In my trips, I do not come as a tourist.  I travel on donated money, given to support the ministry.  I come, I work, and I leave and return home.

These are personal questions often asked of me.  The more important focus is the students and the legacy of the classes.  We have re-visited people and places where we taught over the last almost ten years to examine what is the legacy.  The legacy of this education is alive and well.

Students from years ago still remember the four qualities of the best pastors – personal holiness and integrity, servant’s heart, leader like Jesus led, and professionalism. They speak of their efforts to live out these values.  I saw prayer books (BCP) we provided years ago, still in use, with well-used bookmarks for liturgy, lectionary, psalms, and morning devotions.

I heard stories of first experiences and continuing experiences of the use of ashes on Ash Wednesday, foot washings on Maundy Thursday (Amri), and processions on Palm Sunday (Mitende).  I heard stories of clergy we trained now being accepted into local Christian ministers associations and becoming valued contributors to the work, thus showing both their new confidence and their new competency.   I heard stories of the old students working hard to receive more education.  I heard stories of new parishes starting, existing parishes growing, and increases in sacramental ministry.

The investment by God and you over the last ten years is continuing to bear great fruit in East Africa.  It is a holy legacy.

The ministry of OFM is to provide ministry education in places where such education is hard to get.  The Gospel command is teach the teachers so that they may teach the saints, the people!

The teaching has been completed for now here in Geita.  Your prayers and donations made a big difference here.  These twenty pastors will change the nature of church in these rural areas.  They will become seed for sowing in God’s kingdom here in Tanzania.  Thank you God.  Thank you people of God.

Your prayers and financial support continue to bear great fruit here in East Africa.   Without you, all this does not happen.  We are grateful for those who supported this trip and we are grateful to the monthly donors who keep this ministry alive.  This ministry, the students in Africa, and the rural church in Africa, all rely on you and all thank you. Without such support from you, this ministry dies.

Asante sana!  (Thank you!)

Fr Francis Wardega MSJ

Mission Station, Emirates Flight 203, Somewhere over Iran

Dispatch 5, 13 Dec 2009 3rd Sunday of Advent

The ministry of OFM is to provide ministry education in places where such education is hard to get.  The teaching has been completed for now here in Geita.  It was hard work for all concerned.  The class members thought that the whole Anglican Church believed, practiced and taught as they did.  They were wrong.  They discovered the need and desire to learn more in order to serve God and His people in the best way possible, now and in the future.  So they wanted to learn.  It was a huge challenge.

Learning was not easy.  The need to translate all instruction into Swahili slowed the process down.  The interpreter was an 18-year-old recent high school graduate whose Swahili vocabulary did not extend into church matters. So many words were a struggle. The students worked so hard at writing down everything that was said, that I often had to tell them put your pens down and listen.  Students with a seventh grade education were learning college level material.

Some things they caught at the first mention.  They understood that Moses himself did not personally write the first five books of the Bible.  They understood that others wrote in the spirit of Moses and God was all the greater for working through many people rather than one.  They spontaneously applauded God when they realized that.  It was a Holy Spirit moment.

They struggled to comprehend that the ministry of the prophet was to announce God’s Word, not to predict the future as they always had been taught.  But they learned that and accepted that.  Thank you Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel.

What was hardest for them to comprehend was not really important, the concept of dating events in Scripture, B.C. and A.D.  Their Swahili Bibles listed such dates in a routine manner.  They asked what it meant.  It took me a half hour to repeatedly explain the meaning and I do not think that most understood completely. Why is it that for B.C., the numbers get smaller as the dates get closer to the birth of Jesus and for A.D., the dates get larger as you get farther away from the birth of Jesus? There was no answer to that question.

They finished proudly.  They looked good for the class picture. Note in the picture below how some proudly displayed their Bibles.  Each student was thrilled to receive a copy of the class picture.  Remember that they lived at the church for three weeks, sleeping on mats on the floor, having to cook their own food, and having to clean the church.

On the last class day, one by one, they proudly came forward and received their Certificates of Ministry Education, from the area Anglican coordinator, Fr Mathias.  Guests and other Anglican pastors came.  Speeches were made.  The students will put their certificates in a frame and display them proudly in the sitting room of their huts.

They went home different than they came.  What they knew before had been significantly supplemented.  They went home with a new determination to do the best for God and his people and had faith that they could now do such things better.  They went home with a desire to continue to learn.  They were all pressuring Father Mathias for more training and more education.  The seeds that had been planted and nurtured were now sprouting.  New knowledge, new attitudes, new confidence.

Geita is a place of contrasts – contemporary and ancient.  I saw large Mercedes cargo trucks for the gold mines and followed by donkey carts for firewood.  There was electric power but it failed almost every day, sometimes for several days at a time. There were crowded roads with buses, trucks, and cars, but mostly there were bicycles – even bicycle taxis.  The battle between progress and traditional ways is happening.  For the pastors, they must learn much more in order to serve God and his people of the next 25 years.

Every Sunday in Africa, I preached at the liturgy in a local church.  So the people in several churches here in Africa heard about the Missionary Society of St John, Bishop Fick, and your support of ministry education in Africa.  I assisted Fr Mathias, the pastor.

Your prayers and donations made a big difference here.  These twenty pastors will change the nature of church in these rural areas.  They will become seed for sowing in God’s kingdom here in Tanzania.  Thank you God.  Thank you people of God.  Your prayers and financial support are bearing great fruit here in East Africa.  The teachers of God’s people are being taught.  Without you, all this does not happen.  We are grateful for those who supported this trip and we are grateful to the monthly donors who keep this ministry alive.  This ministry, the students in Africa, and the rural church in Africa, all rely on you and all thank you. Without such support from you, this ministry dies.

Asante sana!  (Thank you!)

Fr Francis Wardega MSJ

Mission Station Geita, Republic of Tanzania

Dispatch 4, 6 Dec 2009 2nd Sunday of Advent

The ministry of OFM is to provide ministry education in places where such education is hard to get.  The ministry is very effective but not glamorous. The teaching day starts at 9 AM after breakfast.  Whenever we begin a session, we sing a hymn from the Swahili hymnbook and a class member prays in Swahili.  We end each session in a similar way. The usual schedule is listed below:

8:00 AM                        Breakfast

9:00 AM                        Class

11:00 AM                         Tea

11:30 AM                        Class

1:30 PM                        Lunch

2:30 PM                        Class

4:00 PM                        Tea

4:30 PM                        Class

6:00 PM                        Dinner

We usually meet in the church with little table-desks for each student.  See the pictures. Often noise or heat forces us to move, usually outside, under a tree.  One time, my chair was placed uncomfortably near a pile of goat manure. It was not a quality comment on the teaching by one of the students, but something that the Africans just do not notice.  I noticed!  Sometimes rain then forces us back into the church.  Students take copious notes, page after page.  See the picture of one of the student’s class notebook.

It is interesting and ironic to be teaching about the beauty, grace, and details of liturgy and then hear the Muslim call to prayer being sung throughout the town.  Muslims are a small minority here but their money gives them some influence in the town.  I have seen very little of the town because of the daily schedule of teaching.

The students have grown to love learning.  After class, they talk and compare notes to make sure they have all information and understand it all. They are working extra hard now because there is an examination for record coming.  Feelings of being second-class citizens of the church are disappearing rapidly.  The pastor here, who coordinates all the Anglican churches in the Geita area, is thrilled with all that is happening here, and already talking about next year.  Local pastors have also visited me from the Assembly of God Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church, and the African Inland Church. All three pastors had heard of the classes from others in the town, asked for copies of the lesson plans, and inquired about me coming to teach in their churches.

Your prayers and donations are making a difference here.  These twenty pastors will change the nature of church in these rural areas.  They will become seed for sowing in God’s kingdom here in Tanzania.  Thank you God.  Thank you people of God.  Your prayers and financial support are bearing great fruit here in East Africa.  The teachers of God’s people are being taught.  Without you, all this does not happen.  We are grateful for those who supported this trip and we are grateful to the monthly donors who keep this ministry alive.  This ministry, the students in Africa, the rural church in Africa all rely on you and all thank you. Asante sana!

Fr Francis Wardega MSJ

Mission Station Geita, Republic of Tanzania

Need For Prayer

africa_mapIn the turbulent times of the Anglican Church, mission ministry in Africa has suffered.  African churches are most often Scripturally faithful.  Their faithfulness puts the Africans at odds with those parts of the Anglican Church which are not Scripturally faithful, but revisionist in their application of the Gospel message.  Without financial support from revisionist Anglican churches, African churches suffer.  Bible colleges close.  Ministry to the poor, to those orphaned, and to victims of HIV/Aids, suffers.  In many cases, financial aid from revisionist churches comes with conditions that African churches find unfaithful as they see it.

So, times are hard, again.  OFM cannot replace those lost dollars.  OFM tries to help Africans themselves to do what needs to be done, through education of church leaders.  We ask you to pray for the work of OFM, which suffers in these times of economic hardship.

Prayer:

O God of unchangeable power and eternal light, look favorably on that wonderful and sacred mystery of your Church, especially your mission ministry of OFM.  By the effectual working of your providence, carry out in tranquility your plan for salvation; let the whole world see and know that things which were cast down are now being raised up , and things which had grown old are being made new, and that all things are being brought to their perfection by Him through whom all things were made, your Son Jesus Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

AMEN.

Dispatch # 5

Dispatch 5 – Last Dispatch for this trip  From Station Dar es Salaam in Tanzania

Summer 2008 Fr Francis Wardega
I am at the airport, awaiting the flight that will begin my journey back to home in Michigan. The work here is finished for this trip. We heard so much, “Please come back. This was so good. Stay longer.”
Dodoma Class Picture

Dodoma Class Picture

The work finished with five days of teaching at Buigiri Bible School. The plan was that I would ride back and forth in Bp Chidawali’s Toyota Hiace minivan. The plan fell apart when the minivan fell apart. I ended up making the journey to/from the school in what is called a “dolla-dolla” a small bus. A small crowded bus with all seats and the aisle full.

My Bus

My Bus

A small crowded bus with all seats and the aisle full that often included people and chickens and ducks! Thank God cows were so big that they required two tickets! Because the law prohibits standing in the aisle, the people doing so would sit on the floor whenever we were stopped at a police checkpoint.

Classes ran much better than the minivan. There were seven full time students, one child, and one frequent drop in student. Their names were Timoth, Rhoda (and her five year old son, Nicodemus), Leticia, Aloyce, Japheth, Sospeter, Enoch, and Eliah.

Final Exam Taking

Final Exam Taking

Who were they? One person described himself as a part time priest and a part time peasant. (In Tanzania, every July 7 is a holiday called Peasants’ Day) Another person was a carpenter. Most lived in simple mud and stick huts with dirt floors, no electricity, and cooked outside over an open fire.

Buigiri School

Buigiri School

Their Anglican faith was the bright light in their life. They learned the basic beliefs and practices and teachings of the historic Anglican Christian Church. They had many misconceptions. They also learned of the ethos of ordained ministry and how that is different from that of an independent minister. Their excitement grew every day. They sensed what was happening – they were learning new things and understanding them. It was making a differencein their thinking. The class on ordained ministry was especially moving to the priests, life changing. They were eager to return to the their parishes and deaneries and pass on what they had learned.

On Sunday Aug 31, I celebrated the liturgy and preached at Christ the King Cathedral in Dodoma, with Bishop Chidawali.

Bishop Chidawali

Bishop Chidawali

Actually, the Holy Spirit celebrated. In very clear ways, the Holy Spirit affirmed the complete love of the Father for the people there, poor, hot, struggling, people of God. It was glorious. Music here was different than in Mwanza – a different rhythm, mainly in minor keys, almost a mournful, wailing tone.

There was much contact with local Anglicans who were vitally interested in the details of the Jerusalem GAFCON gathering and in the details of the Lambreth Conference. We talked long about the future of the Anglican Communion and possible steps that they could take as faithful Anglicans in a diocese where the bishop was not faithful.
I would be remiss if I did not pass on to all of you who have supported this ministry and this mission trip the profound thanks and grateful hearts of the people who have been served here. Everyplace I have been told – pass on to the ones who sent you here how grateful we are to them and how much we appreciate what they have done for us. What we have learned will be immediately used and will have a long lasting affect on our churches and our people. Thank you so much!
Thank you for your support. God and you make this possible. Please keep on supporting this mission. Please sustain this good ministry. It works! Let us go in peace to love and serve the Lord!
Fr Francis Wardega Office of Foreign Missions
Missionary Priest in Africa 18401 Canal Rd
E-mail: jambofrfrancis@yahoo.com USA-248-345-2651

An African Model for Mission

Africa

As the nations of Africa move into the 21st century, a new desire among the people there is rising. For centuries Africa has become, willingly or unwillingly, dependent on Europe and America. Now however, colonialism and the old missionary style must end. There is a new movement to rediscover the strength and conviction that gave rise to some of the first civilizations of the world. The following are some of the quotes that have been the most helpful as the Office of Foreign Missions has developed its ethos.

 

Three Self-Policy: Henry Venn, Church Mission Society, 1850. Venn thought that 19th century European missionary style represented only a temporary historical phase. The transition would come through “Three Self” policy, in which the African Christian church should be built on principles of self-government, self-support, and self-propagation. The result would be a “native church under native pastors and a native episcopate.” (From The Next Christendom: The Coming of Global Christianity by Philip Jenkins)

Independence: Bishop Joshua Ayoo Koyo of Kenya realized long ago that “those outside of Africa who would teach [his] people to depend on them for finances would bring about the death of initiative and hard work in [his] diocese.”

 

Nelson Mandela

Continental Renewal: Nelson Mandela,

the first African President of South Africa wrote:”Africa is beyond bemoaning the past for its problems. The task of undoing that past is ours, with the support of those willing to join us in a continental renewal. We have a new generation of leaders who know that we must take responsibility for our own destiny, that we will uplift ourselves only by our own efforts in partnership with those who wish us well.


African Renaissance: Current South African President Thebo Mbeki originally coined the term “African Renaissance:. He called upon African people and African nations themselves to solve the many problems troubling Africa. It continues to be a key part of the post-apartheid intellectual agenda.

In his “I am an African” speech in May 1996, following the adoption of a new constitution, Mbeki proclaimed, “I am born of a people who are heroes and heroines.”

“They are patient because history is on their side; the masses do not despair because today the weather is bad. Nor do they turn triumphalist when, tomorrow, the sun shines. Whatever the circumstances they have lived through and because of that experience, they are determined to define for themselves who they are and who they should be.”

In April 1997, Mbeki listed the elements that would eventually be seen to comprise the African Renaissance: social cohesion, democracy, economic rebuilding and growth, and the establishing of Africa as a significant player in geo-political affairs.