Helen and Alastair - some background

Helen and Alastair - some background : We have always hoped to return to Africa once more before we're too old (perhaps we already are!). Alastair first went to Africa in 1974 as a junior doctor, working for the Church of Scotland in a small hospital in Transkei, South Africa. I met Alastair there in 1982, were married in 1984 and continued in Transkei until 1988. From there we went to Kenya, as employees of the Church of Scotland, where Alastair ran Chogoria Hospital. We left in 1995, with Alec, Peter and Becky to establish the children's schooling and our work in Britain. Here Alastair found himself as consultant in Breast cancer surgery, and Helen initially trained and worked as a GP before "evolving" to full time ordained ministry. Alec is now married to Ruth, and they have baby Zach; Pete is in his final year of medicine in Edinburgh, and Becky half way through nurse training in Oxford.

The Diocese of Western Tanganyika is a partner of Gloucester diocese. The plan is for Helen to join the teaching staff of the Bible College, teaching those preparing for ministry. Alastair will teach English to the students at the college, as well as doing some surgery at the church-run hospitals, and helping with project management in the Diocese.
We will keep you updated on our plans over the next few months and will greatly value your prayer support. Our current prayer requests - and thanks to God of course - will be posted on the side bar.

Monday, 4 June 2012

Ordination weekend

Women crocheting ties for their husbands cassocks
Baby Raphael - born at the College!

Sunday was ordination day for the new deacons, all of whom have completed 3 years at college. 14 were ordained here, and 5 others will be ordained in other Dioceses. The service was full of joy and celebration, and predictably lasted over 4 hours. We've spent much of the weekend at various events eating rice and chicken. On Friday there was a big end of year do at college with certificates and prizes for students. My role in the preparations was (as the only owner of a car) to drive around the various markets while we bought large sacks of bananas, tomatoes, meat and chicken. Buying chicken here is rather different from Sainsburies - choose your chickens live, tie legs together, place in back of car (I then miss out the next stages thankfully!) - and eat fried for supper. Then use toothpick enthusastically.
College now quiet, with most of the students travelling home today. There's lots to do though in preparation for the next course coming in, exam papers to mark and finances to sort out. I'll also be busy in the library organising all the books I've brought from England. We're both going to concentrate on our Swahili for the next fortnight, with lessons every afternoon. Alastair is now regularly visiting Shunga hospital and is on call for them for any emergencies, though for the next couple of days is at an HIV training seminar. 
Ordination ceremony - the pastor's wives in front!

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