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.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Baptism and rain

Today we were at Rusesa village church, about 30 minutes drive from Kasulu. Our very good friends Ian and Frankie from Painswick are staying with us for a fortnight and today they certainly had the full Tanzanian experience. The service was to start at 10am, but as our "breakfast" of fried chicken and chapatis was a bit slow arriving the service had to start 3/4 hour late! All was as usual with various church choirs singing and dancing to backing tracks - played through ear blasting loud speakers, run off a generator in the corner of the church. There was then a baptism of 22 children and 2 adults. I "did" half of them, trying to bring a sense of sacrament with rather dirty looking water in a plastic washing up bowl Unfortunately several of the babies, when they looked into this strange white face, started screaming loudly and in the stress of the occasion I got my "Father, Son and Holy Spirit" in Swahili muddled up!
I was to preach and I have sweated over the sermon in Swahili for the past 10 days, until it was prepared in full and practiced many times. However just after the baptism it started to RAIN!! - the noise on the tin roof of the church was so loud, and the microphone was broken, so there was no way anything could be heard. It was decided the choirs should sing until the rain eased off, but after an hour and a quarter of loud songs the rain was still going strong. I tried to preach a bit but no one could hear at all, and in the end the pastor read my sermon!! We then had another meal of chicken, this time with rice and beans. Having left home at 8.30 am we got back just after 4.30 pm. It puts a different spin on the phrase " we went to church"!! As always the hospitality of the local people is overwhelming.

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