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, 14 February 2014

Every little helps

A new church roof for Kabanga
 We are well back into the routines and busyness of life and work. Alastair has had a heavy week with long days and some difficult surgery, and continues to be aware of the very basic facilities in which he works. College term has begun for me, with 51 residential students, and I am struggling to keep on top of teaching a full tiimetable.
On our first Sunday back we had a very special church visit, to Kabanga which is 10 km from town.
Proud grandparents.
The village people, who currently worship in a tiny old chapel, with 2/3 of the congregation needing to be outside,  have been slowly building a new church for many years, progressing as they have a little money or materials. We were able to bring them the message that Christian friends in UK - a gift from St Mary's Painswick -  are able to help them complete the roof. This led to wonderful celebration, dancing and singing (and an extra impromptu hour or so of service!)
Another day we visited the family of Cosmas, one of my final year students, in a very rural village. Their house, which had walls made of home made bricks, an earth floor and some basic wooden furniture was spotlessly clean and prepared for us. It was very moving to sit and drink tea with them and receive their generous hospitality. Cosmas' father in the picture is a church elder, and loves to sing hymns and read in church, but he needs glasses. Thanks to friends who have brought supplies of Poundland reading specs we are able to help him. Also, they were thrilled to receive jerseys for their twin grandchildren, thanks to the dedicated knitting project of our daughter in law's Granny and her friends in her sheltered housing in Norfolk.

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