As I type the thunder is echoing off the hills behind us and the rain is drumming heavily on our tin roof, and all around is either verdant green or muddy red! A week ago, as Tony and I attempted to tackle the fourth fairway of the local golf course, we were forced to abandon our game due to thunder, lightening and driving rain; in fact the rain seemed to be ‘driving’ with more effect than we were! Needless to say we got an absolute soaking! And then a few weeks ago, the New Year celebrations here in Morogoro were dampened as the outdoor market was deluged; the rickety old wooden shacks and stalls were marooned in waist-deep water! It seems as though the rainy season is well under way although, with weather patterns across Africa becoming unpredictable, we’re not sure whether it’s the ‘long rains’ come early or the ‘short rains’ come late!
|Celebrating with the Lancasters at New Year|
Despite the fact it was only a brief visit we managed to pack a lot in (travelling between Newark, Carlisle, Elgin, Nairn and Bicester), and yet our time didn’t feel too squashed. We wandered the beaches of Nairn, revelled in the frost of Elgin on Christmas Day, meandered through the frozen forests of Culbin and then, in complete contrast, jostled our way through the crowded streets of London, watched The Hobbit in Bicester cinema – and ate rather a lot of food at various family gatherings!
|Twins! But which one is Ruth?|
|The machete sharpener!|
And as the New Year begins it’s also back to work, serving the pastors of the Africa Inland Church here in eastern Tanzania, and helping out at the home of the Institute of Bible & Ministry at Sanga Sanga. And do you know what? It’s amazing how normal it all feels! And that’s because this is where we’re meant to be doing for this chapter of life. That being said – it also feels rather daunting as we enter our second full year here in Morogoro as things are going to get busier and more involved. I am trying to set aside Jan/Feb as study months for my teaching sessions for the year ahead. I’ve been set the task of looking at the person and role of the Holy Spirit; both exciting and of course daunting! I’ve also been asked to preach in Swahili once a month (from March) at the ‘back-garden’ church featured in last months blog, and from April onwards I’ll also be taking on the role of unit leader for the northern part of eastern Tanzania (more info next time). Ruth is planning her English classes for the next few months, wrestling with the accounts and working on how to raise funds for the next phase of construction at Sanga.
|The site where the conference hall |
will be built
Praise & Prayer Points:
- We’re praising God for a wonderful two weeks back in UK with family – loved it!
- We’re thanking God that Ruth was able to get good medical care exactly when she needed it and we’re also grateful for a 7th wedding anniversary on 19th Jan!
- Please pray for Ruth as she continues to look for a language helper and as she prepares for new English classes (beginning 26th Jan);
- Please pray for me as I knuckle down to preparing for my teaching on the Holy Spirit, firstly in English and then translating into Swahili.
- And finally, please pray the words of Eph 1:17-19 for us as we head into this year, that “God would give us the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that we may know Him better. Pray also that the eyes of our hearts may be enlightened in order that we may know the hope to which He has called us, the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints, and His incomparably great power for us who believe.”
Steve & Ruth
Random photos of the month:
|Guess what the nephew got for Christmas!|