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News for middle of July 2002

Dear friends,

Bike to Wheelbarrow Standing poised on my bike ready to take off again, suddenly a hand belonging to the pusher of the wheelbarrow passing me on the narrow path entered my field of vision, stretched out in a greeting! A small fraction of a second was all the time I had to decide whether to ignore the hand at risk of causing offence, or to return the well meaning offer of greeting despite the fact that my body was already poised to continue my journey! I reached and responded to this warm companionable signal being extended to me, then proceeded to loose my balance and fall into the wheel barrow! I am not sure who was the more embarrassed at this sequence of events – myself or the friendly wheelbarrow pusher. Fortunately I emerged largely unscathed to continue my journey to our Malanga Bible class on that Monday morning! Moral of the story – don’t fall into wheelbarrows!

I have frequently observed that African people love having processions combined with singing and dancing. So on Thursday 27th June KIST Chapel took on the style of a 'prayer walk'. The whole student body and faculty walked around the campus while singing praises to God, stopping occasionally to pray in thanks for what God has done in our midst and asking for guidance and protection for the future. (Thanks to recent visitors Angela and Anne for having been a part of the inspiration of this).

Give thanks for some excellent discussions in my mentoring group here at KIST this term. Give thanks also for the dedication being shown by our YTC teacher this term, who is impressing all of us in YTC with his dedication. Attendance at YTC classes is rising.

We found a girl sitting on the side of the path on our way to church on Sunday. She was running away from difficult conditions at home and intended to walk about 20 miles to her grandmother's place, but got sick and tired on route. She came with us to church and was due to be returned to her home yesterday. Pray for Elaine, who is clearly not happy at her home.

I was asked to preach on Sunday at my home church. Unknown to the people my message was about grumbling. At the time of testimonies prior to my message, many people referred to the grumbling that had occurred at a recent funeral because a 'foreign' choir had denied our own choir the chance to sing. Give thanks to God that he had given me the right subject for that church at that time!

We continue to look for new accommodation. The most likely option at the moment appears to be two houses, one of which is quite large, which are at a scenic rural location next to a stream, forest and marshland! Birdwatchers and monkey lovers will love it! The problem with it is that in the rainy season there is a lot of mud to struggle through to reach the place.

Plans are being made for my time in Tanzania later this year. It looks as if I will have to do some travelling by bus. I have for a long time not had a great love for African public transport, which tends to be squeezed, dangerous and unpredictable - hence the love of my bicycle! Please pray for me in this prospect!

Give thanks that the new KIST Principal Don Smith has arrived and is settling in. Also that the children at my home are now all recovered from their various ailments. Pray for Jim and Nikki Collins from Norwich, due to visit me from the 26th of this month.