MID FEBRUARY 2019
• I received shocking news from Kenya on 29th January, that my pastor, who had been my pastor and that of my ‘family’ for well over 20 years, passed away that morning after an emergency operation that went wrong. Please pray for my home-church community. The burial service is to be on 23rd February.
A question came to mind while I was teaching at the bible school I am at in Tanzania. I eventually got to ask it to one of my fellow teachers. He had been a student here almost 30 years ago: "Are things still as they were then, or have they changed much, particularly on the side of students?" It turns out that was the right question to ask! In those days, I was told, students were happy because they could earn money working for the school. Let’s of young people wanted to come to study at the school – that was the time the missionaries were still running things. “Lots of people wanted to study here because there were white people here . . . we were seven in my class,” he explained. “How come if so many people want to study, you were just seven?” I asked? “They came for the wrong reasons, then they would be chased away for bad behaviour,” was his answer.
The main difference explained to me, was that in those days the students were “not allowed to be spiritual.” If you were ‘spiritual’ then, you could be chased away. What is it to be spiritual? I asked. “Prayer. Prayer wasn’t allowed then,” was the answer. I wondered what he meant . . . and then he explained: “in those days if a student wanted to pray out loud for a long time, he could be chased away from school. That’s why discipline was poor. Students got away with things. Nowadays, students themselves run the prayers, they sometimes go on for a long time. Nowadays you couldn’t get away with secretly drinking alcohol or sexual immorality. The prayers find you out . . .” I think the use of the word ‘prayer’ in Africa should be researched in detail – it seems to be as much about ‘feeling’ God as about ‘communicating with’ Him.
One of the choirs at the congregation I visited in Tanzania on 27th January 2019.
Myself with fellow teachers (crouching) and some of our students, visiting a nearby waterfall.
My class members at the bible school (two students are absent)
My book review of a book entitled: The Mission of Development: Religion and TechnoPolitics in Asia has just been published, see here.
Please make a note in your diaries . . . there will be two celebrations in the UK to give thanks to God for 30 years of missionary service in Africa (by then it will be more than 31!). These will be in Andover, on 2nd November 2019, and in Norwich, on 30th November 2019, both days are Saturdays. Details pending . . . WELCOME.
BE PREPARED! My next novel, entitled To Africa in Love, should be out next month. I will let you know as soon as copies are available over the web. This is an exciting travel drama, which is also a romance (of sorts).