Jessie wrote of the rainy season which thus far has not amounted to much. They had four measly days of rain in November and nothing since. There is always hope among the people as their season lasts from November to March. We will pray for pictures from Sandy of a new landscape there in a few months. She and her husband Martin will leave soon for two weeks in China to visit their daughters and then she will return to the United States for a few days at Virginia Seminary before returning to Tanzania. Jessie and I hope to go to Virginia to see her and to also see our 4 Tanzanian students who will be doing urban ministry through the seminary. None of them has ever flown (Jessie and I gave them an orientation before we left on what to expect on an airline). They had wondered about bathrooms and food. Do pray for them as they are excited but quite nervous about flying. We are told that the seminary will provide them with warm clothing as it will be cold in January and they are not equipped for cold weather. Stephen Mnumbi is one of our students who is being sponsored by two churches in Wyoming. He is being flown by the parishioners to Pinedale, Wyoming for a few days. He will encounter lots of snow and temperatures way below zero. You may remember that Jessie and I went there right after Christmas 2008 and it was 33 below zero. The good people of Wyoming will present Stephen with cowboy boots and a proper cowboy hat not to mention warm clothes to fight the bitter cold. But imagine the excitement that he has for seeing snow for the first time and the vastness of the landscape in Wyoming. Jessie and I know the people of those two churches and we know how warmly welcomed he will be. Our good friend in Wyoming, Tom Davenport has taken our projects on with great intensity and has made things happen. All of this began with journals that Jessie wrote from Dodoma during our first summer there furthered by our going there last winter and showing our pictures and telling our story.

Another project that came to our attention this year was the schools’ desire to present each graduating priest with a bicycle. The priests often serve several villages and it’s either done on foot or on bicycle if they are lucky enough to own one. We heard last week that one of our students rode his bike for 5 hours on dirt roads to get home to plant his crops. 5 HOURS! The goal was for $1700 for 7 bicycles. Wyoming sent $1,000. In the next few days I ran into Emmanuelites in Fresh Market and in the ABC store (yes we like our wine) and suddenly I had $550 for bicycles. One person wanted to honor her grandchildren at Christmastime with a gift of $300. Another just wanted to help and wrote out a check for $250. My dentist gave me $100 and the next day another check came for $100 from a friend in Maryland. Suddenly we had $1750 and it is already on its way to Africa for the needed bicycles. I’m amazed at the generosity and goodness of God’s people.

On another happy note, a check for $3,500 came from the diocese of North Carolina in response to a grant request that we submitted to the MDG Committee awhile back. We knew that they had approved it along with 8 others, however it had to pass the Global Mission Committee guidelines. We felt fairly confident but since it was our first attempt of getting a grant we or at least I was holding my breath and praying. The check was not only “in the mail” it arrived yesterday! This will be used to teach English to the priest’s wives; not one of them speaks English and English is now the official language of Tanzania. The priests are the lifelines to their villages. They not only preach the Good News but they are the health educators (malaria nets, clean water, AIDS prevention, etc) as well as the person to stress to the villagers that they must send their children to primary school. The pastor’s wife has an immediate bully pulpit because of her husband. These priests are future bishops. If the women are educated they will be invited to international meetings on AIDS, malaria, peace, etc and if they are able to speak English they will be able to understand lectures and participate in discussions, debates and decision-making. Statistics have repeatedly shown that only countries with gender equality prosper economically.

God has given to Jessie and me a new focus for our lives which is especially meaningful to me as I was forced to leave parish ministry. God opened up a much larger world. My comfort zone is daily challenged. Gratitude hardly seems a strong enough word to say how thankful we are for all of you who have and who continue to support our efforts in Tanzania. Looking starvation and dying poverty in the face does something to our own souls and countenance. Someone wrote to us of our sacrifices and we both said it is not a sacrifice, it is a privilege. We consider this a God-gift and you have helped us to make our dreams for these people a hopeful reality. With yours’ and God’s help we will carry on. We have a possible huge project on the books dealing with transportation to the Bishop Stanway Primary School. Currently they use public transport which is NEVER dependable. A committee is looking into the purchase of a school bus. We are awaiting the consensus of the committee.

Blessings to you all as we rapidly approach the manger in Bethlehem.
Tally and Jessie

Assembling the new bikes for the ordinands

Assembling the new baiskeli Sept 12, 2006

Principal Matonya giving thanks for the gift of pastor’s transport June 20, 2008 MTC