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, 26 October 2012

In Mpwpapwa

Hi all, I'm quite the lone traveller though feeling a bit old for such crazy adventures on my own. The bus journey from Kasulu is 17 hours - straight through. 2 stops for loos and to very quickly buy food from vendors by the road. You only get into the loo queue if you run from the bus. Fluid restriction is essential! I had a seat beside two very large African ladies ("traditional build"!) - so only had about a third of  a seat to myself, and this added to the heat, though it helped me feel quite safe and padded - and I didn't feel the many bumps too much. I've spent 2 days at the provincial theological college in Kongwa, and had the opportunity to teach all of one day which was great - and then helped various students with their research projects. The next day I preached in chapel and felt very much part of it all. I then travelled on to Mpwapwa where I'm staying in a  very basic little guest house - which wasn't too bad until the water went off! I'm here at the invitation of the Diocese to speak at their big 3 day synod which happens every 3 years. I am THE speaker for the meeting which is a huge, somewhat scary privilege. Today I spoke about the mission of the church, and tomorrow have 2 hours on Women's ministry.
Mpwapwa is a dusty little town, no sign of a tar road, just lots of dusty sand and a few basic shops. It's incredibly hot and dry with vast areas of barren land and completely dry river beds. The occasional baobab tree - all very different from Kasulu where the rains have started and all is green. I'm sitting in a funny little hut with 3 dodgy old computers - the town's only "internet cafe" - but it's fun to be in touch with the rest of the world from a place like this and makes one in awe again of the changes in technology in the last few years.
I start the journey back tomorrow and will arrive on Monday.

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