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NEWS END OF APRIL 2010



Dear Friends,

18 days in Tanzania proved, as always, a valuable time of ministering Godís word and serving the church. Because of rising costs in East Africa, I traveled by bus all the way instead of part by air.

My first 6-day stop was Mbulu. Every vehicle access to the Mbulu region is up extremely tortuous tacks that criss-cross steep slopes highly liable to soil erosion. So much so that on leaving Mbulu we chose to talk 4.5 hours down off the mountains, instead of 3 hours to the bus stop and then down the hill by bus.

The Irawq people who live on the highlands have deep traditions that keep many of them living in a life of incredibly poverty. Families live in homes in the middle of their fields, often on steep slopes of the mountains. People spend their days in their houses with their animals, the women cooking on pots resting on stones surrounding the cooking fire in dark and smoky kitchens. Children seem to be everywhere. Rev. Munde (a KIST graduate who has frequently assisted in ministry in Yala) and I walked between the homes of his church members and others sharing Godís word for up to 12 hours each day. This was followed by a night service attended by many youth from various churches.

While ministry opportunities were not so easy to come by in Dar es Salaam, I was able to meet with and to encourage those responsible for the Mennonite churchís new TEE (Theological Education by Extension) programme for its city pastors. It was good to explore this capital city of Tanzania, and to leave hopefully having been an encouragement to my missionary hosts. A 23 hour bus journey (including stops) brought me back from Dar to within a 25 minute walk from home on Saturday morning.

Since coming back to Ahono, I had a close shave with the police. I went with one of my children to visit and pray for an old man who had had a leg amputated. While there, we saw men running like the clappers outside the door. Right then the police had come to raid an illegal beer drinking party next door. I walked from the home, right up to a police van already full of prisoners. Fortunately we were not implicated!

Pray for the imminent opening of KIST and Yala and Siaya theological centres.

Best wishes,

Jim