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
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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

Dispatch 3, 29 Nov 2009, 1st Sunday of Advent

The mission of OFM is to provide ministry education in places where such education is hard to get.  Classes have started in Geita, an African town around 100 kilometers south and west of Mwanza.  Geita contains the only working gold mine in Tanzania.  The gold mine is a big operation.

There are two Anglican churches in Geita itself, a larger one in the center of the city, a smaller one on the outskirts, and many other Anglican churches in the surrounding area.  I teach at the larger church in Geita, Christ the King, whose pastor is named Mathias.  He is the biggest supporter of the classes.  I currently stay with a local family.

The classes are held in the church itself.  High temperatures often drive us outside to under a large shade tree. Rain occasionally drives us back into the church.  There are 20 students, none of who speak any English, all who come from different Anglican churches in the area.  All students are evangelists, each pastoring a church under the infrequent and distant supervision of a priest-pastor.  From the data sheets I collected, the highest education level attained was 7th grade by the way we measure.  Only by grace, by some knowledge of Scripture, and by personal hard work do they succeed as pastors.

One day, I asked some questions of my students.  All 20 of them are lay people, evangelists and church teachers.   Priests rarely come to their churches. All the students normally lead Sunday services, doing a service of the Word.  In reality, they are the pastors. I asked each to describe the ministry at their church, how many members they had, and what was their average Sunday attendance.  These 18 people pastor over 2,500 people and collectively serve an average of 2,000 people on Sunday.  In one way, they may be big enough to qualify as a diocese in the new Anglican Province in North America!

An important moment occurred on Tuesday. I had perceived some feelings of inferiority among my students and I was asked, “Why is it that some parishes are pastored by priests and some parishes are pastored by evangelists?”   I thought – Oh this is an important question.  Lord, help me to give them your answer.

The reply, “In the Anglican Communion, the churches of most countries do not have evangelists in the same way as you do.  In those countries, almost every parish has a priest who is supposed to be the evangelist.  Here in Africa, you do not have enough priests for all parish churches because the education system cannot support the development of all those who might be called by God to be a priest.  Yet, God wants to provide ministry and leadership for his people.  In Lake Victoria, a boat without a rudder wanders aimlessly about, subject to every wind and wave, and cannot complete the journey.  A church without leadership and ministry is like a boat without a rudder on Lake Victoria.  So, God gives a gift to each parish without a priest; He gives them an evangelist to lead the church.”  They beamed.

Initially, class was very hard for them.  Translation makes progress slow.  Lack of ministry education makes most material new.  Prior bad teaching and bad assumptions means that they have to unlearn some things they thought they knew.  There were many misconceptions about Trinity, Virgin Birth, Dual nature of Christ, and others.  Changing such misconceptions is a big challenge, but they work at it.

The Holy Spirit moved mid-week. The students began to understand better.  They became more participative.  They thought and answered questions and discussed issues.  One lady evangelist witnessed to me how she thought that God had touched her life in the class and I was able to affirm that it was God.

Thursday, I met Rev Donat and nine other priests who were visiting from the Diocese of Gahini in Rwanda, and here in Geita for an evangelization crusade.  They must have talked to someone here because they asked if I would come to Rwanda and teach.  I gave them my card and asked them to contact me after I returned to America.

The ministry is working.  One week has been successfully completed.  The students have learned much new material about what the beliefs of the church are and what is ordained ministry.  Two more weeks of instruction will follow.

I congratulate the people of Christ Community Anglican Church in Liberty KY on the completion of the second phase of their building construction, doubling the size of their nave. Now God can fill it.  See pictures of the expanded church.  The link may be found on the MSJ website.

Thank you God.  Thank you people of God.  Your prayers and financial support are bearing fruit here in East Africa.  The teachers of God’s people are being taught.  Without you, all this does not happen.  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

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 2008 – Dispatch 4

Dispatch 4 From Dodoma Station Tanzania

Liturgy team, St Peter Anglican Church Igogo, Fr Richard & Fr Francis and others

Liturgy team, St Peter Anglican Church Igogo, Fr Richard & Fr Francis and others

Summer 2008 Fr Francis Wardega

This week was a time of transition. The work finished for this year in Mwanza. There was a journey to Dodoma. Then the work for this year began in Dodoma.

For this trip, the teaching work finished in Mwanza, Diocese of Victoria-Nyanza. It has been well received. The eleven clergy students saw their ministry transformed not just by new knowledge, but also by new

Bishop Boniface Kwangu

Bishop Boniface Kwangu

values and attitudes and deeper ways of thinking and evaluating. Renewed priesthood. All from the Scriptures. The men witnessed to that renewed priesthood as we celebrated the closing of class in worship and song. One spoke of how he didn’t know how much he didn’t know. Another spoke of a journey from a ministry of laws and rules to a ministry of love and service. Another spoke of loneliness as a priest alone in a distant village and how he now had brothers to work with. Many mobile phone numbers were exchanged and many pictures taken. Over and over again, “thank you for coming. Come again! Stay longer! We will tell our brothers!” Handshakes were replaced by hugs.

Other service in Mwanza. Assisting in the eight day diocesan spiritual revival – the first one in sixteen years, led by retired Bishop Alpha Mohamed and Lay Canon David Hodge, both former Muslims. New blessings, new healings, and new freedoms of “Roho Mtafitika” – the Holy Spirit. Parish visits to St John in Nyamanoro and to St Peter in Igogo. Both parishes are searching for twin parishes in America – to become friends with. Any St John’s Parish or St Peter’s Parish out there want a friend in Africa?

At the APA Synod in Belleville, a deacon from St Stephen in Louisville gave his own pectoral cross to bless a brother in Tanzania. Rev Captain Nestor Muheta, secretary to Bishop Kwangu, now sports a new pectoral cross and says thank you!

The work of renewal in this diocese continues. SOMA-UK has arrived in this diocese in Mwanza to further clergy knowledge of Anglican ministry. We all met together to share, plan and pray – Bishop Boniface, Bishop Alpha, Canon Hodge, SOMA Team (2 Anglican Priests and wives from England, two Anglican priests and wives from Uganda), and me. (SOMA – Sharing of Ministries Abroad – international Anglican Mission

Bishop Alpha Mohamed & Lay Canon David Hodge, ACT African Evangelistic Assoc

SOMA UK Team & Fr Francis

ministry)

Bus journey to Dodoma – 12 hours in the bus! Five hours on bumpy and dusty roads, the rest on paved roads. Many Africans on the bus wrapped themselves in special cloths they brought – wish I had known that – DUST! Arrive exhausted in Dodoma – met by Bp Chidawali and friends. Taken to hotel – a place of rest – very acceptable. Shower, eight hours sleep and morning devotions gave renewed strength! Met with Fr Elia, principal of Buigiri Bible School to plan course of instruction.

Class has started. Students included uneducated clergy and some others preparing for ordination and leadership and teaching. Seven full time students in the class, including the wife of a pastor who leads a church school and a young single woman who is preparing for a ministry in teaching. Initial classes went well and people were amazed at how much they learned. Their hope – my visit will give new life to the school. The school received with joy the donation from APA Holy Spirit Church in Alabama.

Thank you for your support. God and you make this possible. Please keep on supporting this mission. Please sustain this good ministry. It works!

Fr Francis Wardega Office of Foreign Missions

Missionary Priest in Africa 18401 Canal Rd

www.connectionkenya.wordpress.com Clinton Twp MI 48038

E-mail: jambofrfrancis@yahoo.com USA-248-345-2651

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