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.

Friday, 17 August 2012

Visitng the sick

all my students!
Moshi, and a gift of apples
I'm much better, after a couple of fairly rough days with malaria, and much of the week in bed.  The kindness and love of our local friends however has been quite wonderful, with visits, phone calls, gifts and prayers. It's occasions like this when we realise how much we have to learn from African cultures, and how society here so often has it right whereas we in the West have lost prirorities in our busy-ness and individualism.  Moshi, pictured here, is one of my close teaching colleagues in the College -a very bright young man (it's his daughter Rehema on the last blog update). He walked to see me with a gift of 3 beautiful apples - apples are not usually available here, and are expensive. I don't know where he managed to buy them in town but it was such a thoughtful gift. We had a very funny hour while he told me about local courting and marriage customs! We'd just put the tea cups away when a loud "hodi" at the door - to see that the whole diploma class of students had come to vist and pray with me.  These are the students I was teaching for the Summer course, and have now come back to start 2 years studying. They're all ministers already, and although their English is very new we're great friends. They sang, prayed and generally filled the house with love, support and big smiles. Just in case you think Alastair's shrunk the picture isn't of him (he's's still away) - but of David who's a great guy from New Zealand - here for 6 months  to teach English.
I hope for a quiet weekend with Becky, who will arrive today on the back of a motorbike from Shunga - the only available public transport from such rural places.

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