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

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

New Missionary Teacher

Nov 11 2010

Bishop Fick is pleased to announce the appointment of Nathan Dunlap (age 44) as missionary teacher for the Office of Foreign Missions, Missionary Society of St John, Diocese of All Saints.  Nathan will accompany Fr Francis on his next and last teaching trip to the Diocese of Victoria Nyanza in Tanzania, in January, 2011.

Nathan has been a postulant at Christ the King Anglican in Liberty Kentucky for several years.  He has completed his postulancy and will be ordained as a deacon in spring of 2011.  Nathan is married to Julie for twenty years and they have six children.  Their daughter, Anna, has served as a missionary in Haiti.

Nathan earned a B.S. from prestigious Berea College in Kentucky and studied overseas mission work at the Ministers Training Institute in Baker, Louisiana.  He was valedictorian of his graduating class of 40 missionaries.  He has three times served in Russia , once with his wife Julie and two of their children, Anna and Ethan.  In Russia, Nathan served as an assistant pastor, leading several home Bible studies and serving as music minister, at churches in Rezhev and Nelidovo (about 200 miles NW of Moscow) for 13 months.
Commissioning of Nathan Dunlap
Nathan and Julie and family live in Casey County, Kentucky.  In 1999 they purchased fifteen acres of rural land and began to build.  They first built a small guest house where they lived until they completed the main house.   They have developed a little “farmette” with gardens, a milk cow, and some chickens, providing sustenance for their family and neighbors.  That “farmette” will connect with his future African students, most of who have little “shambas” i.e. little farms, to help provide their own  sustenance.  Nathan was also instrumental in designing and physically building the new church building for Christ the King Anglican in Liberty, Kentucky.

To the MSJ mission ministry in Africa, Nathan brings a formal education as a Christian missionary, a lifetime of plain and simple living,  his own experience in the mission field, and a calling from God to do this, along with the support of his family.  We ask your support in prayer and in financial help as he prepares for his first trip to Africa.  Preparing for work in Africa for the first time has a cost – passport, immunizations, clothes and equipment, and initial airline travel.   Donations may be made out to Christ the King Anglican Church,  P O Box 213, Dunnville KY 42528;  please note “Nathan” on the memo line.

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

1st Dispatch

Dispatch One from East Africa, November 2009

Matt. 28:19-20  “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit,  teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the world. Amen.”

Most Christians recognize that quote from the Great Commission.  Part of verse 20, “teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you,” is one of the foundation Words of the Lord for OFM.  Another Word of the Lord that is part of the Scriptural foundation of OFM, is found  in Ephesians 4:12: “to equip the holy ones for the work of ministry, to build up the Body of Christ.”  That is what OFM does in Africa.  Not glamorous, not fancy, just basic ministry work.

God’s call sent me to Africa for the eighth time.  The journey went from Cleveland to New York City to Dubai on the Persian Gulf above Saudi Arabia, to Dar es Salaam on the Indian Ocean coast of Tanzania, to Mwanza in Tanzania on the shore of Lake Victoria, all by air, four flights.  The journey continued with an eight hour bus trip across the Kenyan border, to Rabour, to visit an old friend and examine the legacy of four teaching trips there several years ago.  Leave Cleveland on Sunday; arrive in Rabour on Wednesday.

After six days in Rabour, return to Mwanza and work under the authority of Anglican bishop, Rt Rev Boniface Kwangu, of the Diocese of Victoria Nyanza (DVN).

I will teach for two weeks to around twenty new clergy and lay leaders.  I will teach them about the beliefs, teachings and practices of the Faith; also introduce them to the ethos of ordained ministry, to liturgy, to sacraments, to preaching, and to Scripture.  Most of these adult students were ordained with little or no ministry education because of the immediate great needs there.  Our instruction is for the church leaders and teachers who will teach others.  The students soak up the instruction like a sponge.

I will also teach advanced topics to around twenty different students to whom I taught the basic subjects listed above , on my last trip to Mwanza.  Advanced topics include pastoral theology, and in depth instruction on the Trinity, on the Incarnation, and on Grace.  This will be a challenge for them – one they will work hard at and succeed.

Thanks be to God and thanks be to you for sending me on this work.   I pledge the most ministry to Him for His people and the most ministry to you for your donated dollar.  Please continue to pray for blessings, protection and sustenance for this work.  Please continue your financial support to keep this ministry alive.  I can be contacted in Africa at e-mail address:  jambofrfrancis@yahoo.com

Fr Francis Wardega
Canon Missioner to East Africa
Missionary Society of St John
Forward in Faith, Anglican Church

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

Tanzania: Dispatch Six

Bishop Mpango

New Challenges

The time with Bishop Chidawali has ended. There was a last celebration of the Liturgy at the cathedral of King of Kings. Following this the last distribution of things were made; lesson plans, books, and thank you notes with little girls. There were tearful good-byes, “please come again. Your visit was so good”. It brought hope and expectation that the future would indeed be better.

It was a long bus trip to Dar es Salaam. I arrived during rush hour and 98 degree weather. My stay was in a hotel there on the seventh floor – a hotel without a lift (elevator)! I won’t be staying there again. Now I transfer to the next task of ministry.

The next task is to pay an official church visit to the Diocese of Western Tanganyika, the biggest diocese in the Anglican Church of Tanzania, under the leadership of Bishop Gerard Mpango. The Bishop was in Dar and we met at dinner with his wife, Margaret. It was delightful. He has traveled extensively in the USA and Margaret went to school in Michigan. The purpose of the visit to the diocese is to become familiar with the bishop, the diocese and the the people there and for them to get a flavor of who we are in order to begin a long lasting, mutually supportive relationship.

Later I found myself on the flight to Kigoma on the southwest corner of Tanzania. It was a three hour flight. I arrived on the shore of Lake Tanganyika. Across the lake, in plain sight, is Congo (old Zaire). Further south along the border is Zambia (old Northern Rhodesia). It is a stable country. Their first president, Kenneth Kaunda, was one of the bright stars in a time of rising democratic African leaders that included Nyerere of Tanzania, Kenyatta of Kenya, Obote of Uganda and Nkrumah of Ghana. Further down the river you will find the country of Mali, which bears no relationship, other than a name, to the ancient historic African kingdom of Mali which was located in western Africa, above Nigeria. Then comes Mozambique, most famous now as the coastal country along the Indian Ocean which produces and bottles Coca-Cola for this part of Africa. Read the rest of this entry »

Tanzania: Dispatch One

Dodoma Church

Greetings from Tanzania!

The sixth Missionary Trip for the Office of Foreign Missions has begun! Fr. Francis has landed in Tanzania and is currently making his way to his start point of Dodoma which is in the center of the country. Bishop Daudi Chidawali met him at the airport and is traveling with him through the vast plateau plain in the center of the country. It is a slow, 8-10 hour journey at best.

Once settled in, Fr. Francis will begin his classes and work with the clergy and other leaders of Bishop Chidawali’s diocese. He will travel around the country, teaching throughout, living and eating with the people in their homes. All of this will be accomplished in a land where education is very hard to get. He will celebrate liturgy in little mud hut churches, preaching the Gospel and offering the Bread of Heaven and the Cup of Salvation.

God sends him. Bishop Fick and the people of the Missionary Society of St. John send him. The Communion of Christ the Redeemer sends him. Good Christian people send him. And the people there receive him and care for him.

Please pray for God’s blessings on this work. We ask for you to pray in your daily prayer. Please also pray in the Prayers of the People in your church on Sunday. This is a land where evil forces have much power – counteracted only by the power of our mighty God.

ChildrenThis trip is scheduled to last several weeks. We are so grateful for those who have already contributed to make this possible. For others, we solicit your donations also. There was a shortfall of approximately $475 to pay for this trip. Fr. Francis went over on faith that the donations will come in. Can you help? Send your donations to Office of Foreign Missions, 18401 Canal Rd., Clinton Township, MI 48038 USA.

Thank you so much