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

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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

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

What is the Office of Foreign Missions?

Member Organization Forward in Faith

Member Organization Forward in Faith

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 such 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 seven 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 October thru December of 2009 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 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. Many missions to Africa were 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.” OFM encourages all faithful Anglicans to work together and partner together to continue to carry out that Great Commission in Africa.

As an Atheist I Truly Believe Africa Needs God

From The Times  (The Times on line)  December 27, 2008

“Missionaries, not aid money, are the solution to Africa’s biggest problem – the crushing passivity of the people’s mindset”

“Before Christmas I returned, after 45 years, to the country that as a boy I

Malawi and Its Neighbors

Malawi and Its Neighbors

knew as Nyasaland. Today it’s Malawi, and The Times Christmas Appeal includes a small British charity working there. Pump Aid helps rural communities to install a simple pump, letting people keep their village wells sealed and clean. I went to see this work.

It inspired me, renewing my flagging faith in development charities. But travelling in Malawi refreshed another belief, too: one I’ve been trying to banish all my life, but an observation I’ve been unable to avoid since my African childhood. It confounds my ideological beliefs, stubbornly refuses to fit my world view, and has embarrassed my growing belief that there is no God.

Now a confirmed atheist, I’ve become convinced of the enormous contribution that Christian evangelism makes in Africa: sharply distinct from the work of secular NGOs, government projects and international aid efforts. These alone will not do. Education and training alone will not do. In Africa Christianity changes people’s hearts. It brings a spiritual transformation. The rebirth is real. The change is good.

I used to avoid this truth by applauding – as you can – the practical work of mission churches in Africa. It’s a pity, I would say, that salvation is part of the package, but Christians black and white, working in Africa, do heal the sick, do teach people to read and write; and only the severest kind of secularist could see a mission hospital or school and say the world would be better without it. I would allow that if faith was needed to motivate missionaries to help, then, fine: but what counted was the help, not the faith.

But this doesn’t fit the facts. Faith does more than support the missionary; it is also transferred to his flock. This is the effect that matters so immensely, and which I cannot help observing.

First, then, the observation. We had friends who were missionaries, and as a child I stayed often with them; I also stayed, alone with my little brother, in a traditional rural African village. In the city we had working for us Africans who had converted and were strong believers. The Christians were always different. Far from having cowed or confined its converts, their faith appeared to have liberated and relaxed them. There was a liveliness, a curiosity, an engagement with the world – a directness in their dealings with others – that seemed to be missing in traditional African life. They stood tall.

At 24, travelling by land across the continent reinforced this impression. From Algiers to Niger, Nigeria, Cameroon and the Central African Republic, then right through the Congo to Rwanda, Tanzania and Kenya, four student friends and I drove our old Land Rover to Nairobi.

We slept under the stars, so it was important as we reached the more populated and lawless parts of the sub-Sahara that every day we find somewhere safe by nightfall. Often near a mission.

Whenever we entered a territory worked by missionaries, we had to acknowledge that something changed in the faces of the people we passed and spoke to: something in their eyes, the way they approached you direct, man-to-man, without looking down or away. They had not become more deferential towards strangers – in some ways less so – but more open.

This time in Malawi it was the same. I met no missionaries. You do not encounter missionaries in the lobbies of expensive hotels discussing development strategy documents, as you do with the big NGOs. But instead I noticed that a handful of the most impressive African members of the Pump Aid team (largely from Zimbabwe) were, privately, strong Christians. “Privately” because the charity is entirely secular and I never heard any of its team so much as mention religion while working in the villages. But I picked up the Christian references in our conversations. One, I saw, was studying a devotional textbook in the car. One, on Sunday, went off to church at dawn for a two-hour service.

It would suit me to believe that their honesty, diligence and optimism in their work was unconnected with personal faith. Their work was secular, but surely affected by what they were. What they were was, in turn, influenced by a conception of man’s place in the Universe that Christianity had taught.

There’s long been a fashion among Western academic sociologists for placing tribal value systems within a ring fence, beyond critiques founded in our own culture: “theirs” and therefore best for “them”; authentic and of intrinsically equal worth to ours.

I don’t follow this. I observe that tribal belief is no more peaceable than ours; and that it suppresses individuality. People think collectively; first in terms of the community, extended family and tribe. This rural-traditional mindset feeds into the “big man” and gangster politics of the African city: the exaggerated respect for a swaggering leader, and the (literal) inability to understand the whole idea of loyal opposition.

Anxiety – fear of evil spirits, of ancestors, of nature and the wild, of a tribal hierarchy, of quite everyday things – strikes deep into the whole structure of rural African thought. Every man has his place and, call it fear or respect, a great weight grinds down the individual spirit, stunting curiosity. People won’t take the initiative, won’t take things into their own hands or on their own shoulders.

How can I, as someone with a foot in both camps, explain? When the philosophical tourist moves from one world view to another he finds – at the very moment of passing into the new – that he loses the language to describe the landscape to the old. But let me try an example: the answer given by Sir Edmund Hillary to the question: Why climb the mountain? “Because it’s there,” he said.

To the rural African mind, this is an explanation of why one would not climb the mountain. It’s… well, there. Just there. Why interfere? Nothing to be done about it, or with it. Hillary’s further explanation – that nobody else had climbed it – would stand as a second reason for passivity.

Those who want Africa to walk tall amid 21st-century global competition must not kid themselves that providing the material means or even the knowhow that accompanies what we call development will make the change. A whole belief system must first be supplanted.

And I’m afraid it has to be supplanted by another. Removing Christian evangelism from the African equation may leave the continent at the mercy of a malign fusion of Nike, the witch doctor, the mobile phone and the machete.”

Matthew Parris

Developing Arrangements for the Next Trip

The shape of the next mission trip is starting to form.  It looks like the next trip may have two parts, one in northern Tanzania; the other in western Uganda.  However – further developments may adjust such plans.
Rt Rev Boniface Kwangu, Diocesan Bishop

Part One.  The Anglican Bishop of the Diocese of Victoria-Nyanza (DVN), Rt Rev Boniface Kwangu, has asked for a second teaching trip to Mwanza.  Fr Francis will teach advanced courses to the men he taught basic courses to in 2008.  He will also teach basic courses to new clergy students from Bishop Kwangu’s diocese and possibly to clergy from the neighboring Diocese of Lweru, under its bishop, Rt Rev Jackton Lugumira.  Fr Francis will teach clergy from both dioceses at the DVN Bible College on the southern shore of Lake Victoria.  This will be the third trip to Tanzania for Fr Francis.  He visited Tanzania in 2007 and in 2008.
Rt Rev Jackson Nzerebende
Part Two.  Then, Fr Francis will travel across Lake Victoria, thru Kampala Uganda, to the Anglican Diocese of South Rwenzori, in the Mountains of the Moon area.  The diocesan bishop, Rt Rev Jackson Nzerebende Tembo, heard about the teaching ministry of OFM and had a long standing need to present ministry education to clergy in his diocese who had not been able to receive such training.  Bishop Fick of the Missionary Society of St John approved working to establish this new partnership and hopes to send Fr Francis to Uganda if details can be worked out.

Our hope is to go to Africa later this year for an extended time in order to accomplish both goals on the costs of one trip, making the most of donated dollars in economically hard times.  Such a trip is estimated to cost $6500.  If the work were done in two trips, it would cost over $10,000.  Can you help? Will you pray for the success of this teaching trip?  Can you send financial support even in hard times?

Please send donations to Office of Foreign Missions, 18401 Canal Rd, Clinton Township MI 48038.  Please make checks out to OFM and note in the remark column – Africa 2009.  Each donation will be individually receipted.  All dollars donated will be used to fund this next trip.

Office of Foreign Missions.  Missionary Society of St John, Forward in Faith.  Fr Francis Wardega.  Jambofrfrancis@yahoo.com.  USA-248-345-2651

Need For Prayer

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

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

Prayer:

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

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

AMEN.

April 2009: In Memoriam

On April 10, 2009, Good Friday evening, Mary Theresa Wardega died.  It was fitting that she passed away on that day.  Mary had attended Good Friday Services at the church where she belonged for 58 years.  That night she had eaten traditional Polish food and cheered on her beloved Cleveland Indians – to another loss.  As she prepared for bed, she died.

Mary Wardega had lived her whole life as a woman of God.  She prayed in the morning – she prayed at night.  She had been an active part of her church for her whole life.  As a young woman, she sang in many choirs.  We heard her sing her favorites – Ave Maria and Panis Angelicus – well into her senior years.  Later, she served as a leader in the many church activities of her five children.  As a senior, she served as a leader in the different seniors’ organizations and led a ministry group for those who were grieving the loss of a spouse.

But for her whole life, she prayed.  She sat on the edge of her bed, folded her hands, closed her eyes, and she prayed.  She said that she had a lot to pray for – a husband and five children.  She never wavered in her prayer, despite difficulties in church and issues in the lives of her children.

What is her legacy?  What does she leave behind.

First and foremost, she bequeathed a faith in God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Next, she left a legacy of hard work and education.  She taught that the two were related, not with her words, but with her actions.  Next, she left a legacy of family and friends.  Her husband Frank, was her lifelong companion in good times and in hard times.  She taught acceptance of family and friends, even when they did things she disagreed with. She successfully maintained both her relationships and her Christian moral values.  Lastly, as a lifelong fan of the Cleveland Indians, she made sure that all knew that she was one of Grady’s Ladies, a fan of Cleveland Indians center fielder Grady Sizemore.

Other details to know.  Mary Wardega was born in Poland in 1920 and became a naturalized American citizen in her early thirties.  She won a scholarship to college but was not allowed to take it because women in her family were “only” going to get married and have children.  Note her legacy of education.  She was one of seven children of Walter and Julia Nagielski.  For many years, she worked as a dental assistant.

Part of her Godly life was to support many good Christian causes.  Many organizations benefitted from her generous heart on a regular basis.  One of those organizations which benefitted from that generosity was the Office of Foreign Missions.  She had been a monthly donor since the beginning.  I will remember her deeply as I return to Africa later this year.

Mary T. Wardega

Mary T. Wardega

As her son, I miss her.  I respect her.  I will remember her always.  I will remember her not as an old woman who sat in her lift chair and watched game shows and baseball games.  I will remember her as a vibrant woman,  who lived life to the fullest as a Christian, and whose legacy as listed above set an example for her children and descendants.  May I do the same.  Fr Francis Wardega, Anglican Priest, Canon Missioner to Africa, Son.

Preparing to Go to Africa

January is the month that we start to prepare for the next mission trip.  How do we prepare?

We prepare first in prayer.
We prepare second in exercise.
We prepare third in study.
Lastly, we share the vision so others may be a part of this glorious work.

Our first prayer was in thanksgiving for the graces of the last trip to

Class in Dodoma

Class in Dodoma

Tanzania in Aug-Sept of 2008.  God blessed that trip with success both in Mwanza and in Dodoma, in Tanzania.   We all are grateful to God.

Our second prayer is for the guidance, direction and plan of the Father for what comes next.  So far, OFM has two invitations.  We think a third invitation is coming.  Please see the other articles for further details on these invitations.

The need is so great that we hope to send two priests to Africa this year.

There are many factors affecting the Anglican Church in Africa.  The poverty and need for education are apparent.  But of growing importance is faithfulness to the Holy Scriptures, and how that is lived out in worship, belief and practice.

This is a worldwide struggle between those who would set aside Gospel values and those who would seek to maintain Scriptural values for living.   To navigate the morass of who believes what, who teaches what, and who has been influenced by money from revisionist churches in the west, requires prayer and discernment.  Much prayer is needed.

Another factor is the switch from colonial practices to a postcolonial relationship.  Colonial practices included western funding of African needs, sometimes with strings attached.  Post-colonial ministry is partnering with African leaders and churches to further Gospel work on that continent, without lessening the contribution of African church leaders who hold ultimate responsibility and decision making authority.  Here again, much prayer is needed.

The second part of preparation is exercise – physical.  Where OFM works in Africa requires a hardy and healthy body.  The temperatures are exceedingly hot in many places.  Distances are great.  Conditions are primitive.  How does a missioner get ready physically?

This missioner walks.

The goal is to walk two miles, five times a week, at a brisk pace.  On a treadmill, that works out to 35 minutes for two miles, carefully observing one’s heart rate.  In an enclosed mall in the winter, that means three laps around the upper level, walking into every side alcove, all at a brisk pace.

As a diabetic, that means doing all possible to lower sugar counts to acceptable levels.  It also means getting a physical exam, getting a dental check-up, and assuring that eyeglass prescription is current and that there is a second set of glasses for the trip.

Shots for Africa Travel

Shots for Africa Travel

And did I mention updating necessary inoculations?  Shots include yellow fever, typhus, typhoid, tetanus, meningitis, hepatitis A & B, polio, and the ever-present malaria protection.  Ouch, yes.  But I take all shots required and recommended.

The third part of preparation is in study.

Who are the people we will serve?  What is their history – both secular and church history?  What are their needs that we can help with? What are their strengths and weaknesses?  Such work is done through research and through communication.

Then lesson plans need to be written or old plans revised.  We do not teach scripture to those who are knowledgeable about Scripture.  We do teach Ethos of Ordained Ministry to those whose perception of ordained ministry is different than the rest of the historical Christian church.

Lastly, we invite you to be a part of this valuable mission work.  Make it yours.

This ministry has been successful for going on nine years.  There is a blessed legacy of its work found in many places in Kenya and in Tanzania.  That legacy grows with every mission-teaching trip.

We invite you to be a part of this work in prayer.  We invite you to add this work to your daily prayer list.  We invite churches to pray on Sunday for God’s direction, God’s empowerment, and God’s blessing on this work.

We invite you to be a part of this work through financial support.  The financial support of this work has historically been through small donations, some on a monthly basis, from individuals, from clergy, from parishes, and from dioceses.

Most of the clergy members of MSJ support this work with a little each month.  Most of the parishes of MSJ support this ministry with a little bit every month.  MSJ sets the example.  It is not one man’s work.  It is all our work.

This work has also been so blessed by financial support from people of other faith expressions, Roman Catholic, Anglican Province of America, Reformed Episcopal Church, Charismatic Episcopal, Baptist, Lutheran, Methodist, etc.  The work while basically Christian, crosses denominational lines – it is truly both Anglican and trans-denominational.

Not all are called to leave home and travel to foreign lands for Gospel work.  Yet the Great Commission is an invitation for all to be a part of the mission work of the Gospel.  The Great Commission is an invitation to you.

Please pray first.  Then help financially.  Join with the men of a homeless shelter in Oscoda, Michigan, who send their support.  Join with a young girl preparing to become a missionary herself, who has supported this ministry on a monthly basis.  Join with ten widows on limited income who each send in $10 a month.  Join with parishes that send in $25 and $50 a month to be a part of this work.

Please send financial support, checks made out to OFM.  Send to OFM, St John the Apostle Church, 18401 Canal Rd, Clinton Township MI 48038.  Each donation will be individually acknowledged.

Asante sana – Swahili for thanks so much.

Mungu akubariki – God bless you.

Fr francis Wardega
Canon Missioner for Africa
248-345-2651
jambofrfrancis@yahoo.com

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