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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.

2010 – What is the Office of Foreign Missions?

Class Picture

Class Picture Geita Tanzania

OFM is an Anglican ministry that provides ministry education for clergy and church leaders at places in Africa where such education is hard to get. OFM usually goes to the more primitive areas since ministry education is more readily available in the larger cities. OFM serves Anglicans, separated Anglicans, and other churches in Africa. Since the year 2000, OFM and its teacher have worked in Kenya and Tanzania on eight mission trips, all 5-6 weeks each, to provide Anglican ministry education to clergy and church leaders from many tribes and churches. The next mission trip is scheduled for the second half of 2010 and may include Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda. Discussions are ongoing.

OFM serves under the authority of Rt Rev Frederick G. Fick, head of the Missionary Society of St John (MSJ). MSJ is a member of the Missionary Diocese of All Saints,  Forward in Faith – North America, and the Anglican Church in North America. An Anglican church lives out the Faith of the ancient catholic (universal) Church, as preserved in the historic Creeds and maintained in the apostolic constitution of Christ’s Church from the beginning.

OFM is a postcolonial ministry. It does not provide huge sums of money to the African churches. It does not train African churches and leaders to be dependent on American money, leadership, and ideas. Instead, it serves under the leadership of African bishops who invite teachers from OFM to come and serve in their diocese. Its legacy in Africa is seen in a better educated clergy and church leadership.

Mission ministry to Africa has suffered because of the struggles of the Anglican Church. Some missions to Africa have been declined by faithful African Anglicans because they were connected to theological positions that the Africans did not support. Making conditions worse, the missions of faithful Anglicans were hampered by lack of funds. Yet, all knew that there was much work to be done.

OFM believes that there is work a plenty for all mission ministries and seeks to carry out the Great Commission of Matthew 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.”

Kids in Africa

Kids in Africa

OFM encourages all faithful Anglicans to work together and partner together to continue to carry out that Great Commission in Africa.

Christmas Greetings !

Christmas Eve, 2009

Jesus is coming.  Majilio (Advent) is ending.    

It is time to celebrate Kuzaliwa (Christmas).  Let us exalt the Messiah!

Please accept holyday greetings from America.

We pray the blessings of the season upon you and your family.  Please pass my greetings on to others as appropriate.  You are remembered on this day and during this season.

We remember again the prophecies of the Old Testament foretelling the birth of the Messiah.  He came.

Let us also remember the prophecies of the New Testament, foretelling how He will come again, in power and majesty and glory!  He will come again.

May you receive Christmas blessings.

In His service, always

Fr Francis and Patricia Wardega
Missionary Society of St John
Anglican Church in America

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 Two from East Africa, Nov 13 2009

 

Jambo!  My first mission trip was in the summer of 2000 when I traveled to Kenya under Bishop Weeks and Hugh Kaiser.  Over the years, I have made many friends there, among them a young man, now ordained a priest, serving in Nairobi.  We have kept in touch via e-mail, occasional phone calls, and now Facebook.

This trip, I traveled across the border from Tanzania to Kenya to visit these friends.  Crossing an African border at 10 PM at night required departing from the bus, leaving Tanzania through its immigration station there, walking 100 meters across no mans land in the dark, and entering Kenya, without a Kenyan visa!  The visa was procured upon arrival after the border officials sweated me a bit. .

As I shared with many old friends in Kenya, I heard many phrases – “You taught us new things we never knew” and “Becoming a priest became a calling from God, not another job” and “We are different because of your teaching – still different after so many years.”  In one place I was told that there are now ten babies named Francis, Patricia, or Mary.  And one cow named Francis too.

There were many questions.  “How is Patricia?” and “How is Bishop Fick?” and “How is Bishop Weeks and Hugh Kaiser?”  There was much good remembering stories of the past.

These visits gave me time to acclimate to temperature and time differences before starting the main ministry in Tanzania this trip.  The original plan for the main ministry was to teach two weeks to new students, and one week to old students, all in the Tanzanian Diocese of Victoria Nyanza on Lake Victoria.  When the Bishop sent out the invitations, he expected 15 new students but over 50 signed up.   Evidently, the old students talked about their initial experiences in the classes and encouraged new students to enroll.

So, the plan will be changed.  All classes scheduled for old students this trip will be cancelled.  Instead, I will teach two groups of new students, splitting the total group of new students in half, and splitting the total time too.  Why is this important to the African church?

In many Anglican Dioceses in Africa, their statistics say something like this:  45 priests; 93 churches.  What does this mean?  It means that ordained priests serve only 45 churches.  Evangelists lead the remainder of the churches.  These evangelists are young men, on fire for the Lord, passionate in their ministry of the Word, but uneducated in parish ministry, uneducated in life, uneducated in school subjects, and doing the best that they can.  Over the years, many evangelists go on to ordination.

Such men are hungry for pastoral training.  They are excited by the opportunities to learn basic Christian teachings, ethos of ordained ministry, liturgy, sacrament, Scripture and preaching.  They have realized that parish ministry is more than an altar call. Matthew 28:20 “teaching them to observe all that I commanded you.”  Ephesians 4:12 “to equip the saints for the work of the ministry, for building up the body of Christ.”

The Bishop is excited.  The new students are excited.  I am excited too.

Logistical obstacles will be overcome.  More food will be purchased.  We will work longer hours.  And the legacy of the teaching done by OFM will take deep, deep root in the present and future of this diocese.  The work will not be spectacular healing services that will fill soccer stadiums; but it will be basic, personal teaching for young church leaders who will make a difference here. The Bishop has entrusted his young men, the future of the diocese, to this ministry.

Thank you so much to all of you who are praying – keep praying!  More teachers are needed here in Africa!  Also, thank you so much to all of you who donated money to make this trip possible, and are still donating money to keep the ministry alive.  You know who you are.  We could never be grateful enough.

Tonight, I will rest, listening to BBC News on my new little worldwide radio, a gift from a supporting parish.  Tomorrow I will visit other old friends.  Sunday, I will celebrate liturgy in a little, rural, Anglican church.  Next week, I will return to Mwanza in Tanzania, and begin the main ministry.

Mungu arabariki! May God bless you.

Fr Francis Wardega
Missionary Priest in Africa
Missionary Society of St John

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

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