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Bishop Mhogolo leaving for Canada

Bishop Mhogolo with Al Carter and Steve Bouser

We received an e-mail from Bishop Mdimi Mhogolo, Bishop of Central Tanganyika yesterday.  He is in Canada and will leave on Sunday for New York and on Monday he returns to Dar es Salaam, a journey that we too will soon make.  He was most gracious in this thanks for the hospitality he received here but also the friendship that was offered to him by those of you who  met him at Penick Village and those who came to see him at our homes.  Also, Bishop Marble and The Rev. Leon Spencer gave of their Easter holiday time to welcome him to Greensboro.  Bishop Mhogolo said he enjoyed every minute whilst with us.  How  lovely to hear old English. 

We stopped in to see Steve Bouser at The Pilot yesterday to talk about an article for the paper about the children’s art that we brought back from the Bishop Stanway Primary School last summer.   The pictures are currently being matted and framed professionally to be included in two art shows that Jessie is having, one at St. Mary Magdalene’s in Seven Lakes and the other in New York.  When talking to Steve he commented on how much he had enjoyed having dinner with the bishop and that what impressed him the most was his radiating  joy and his laughter knowing that life is very hard in Tanzania especially for the bishop’s people.    He has 260 parishes and within each parish many churches and there are no assisting bishops or Bishop Suffragans.   It is nothing for him to confirm 900 people at a time.  Obvioulsy it takes some time and can go on for days!

Early this morning I returned to an old book by Maya Angelou, “Wouldn’t Take Nothing For My Journey Now.”  In the little essay entitled “Passports to Understanding” she encouraged Americans to see other lands and experience other cultures.  She writes that travel cannot prevent bigotry, “but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try to understand each other, we may even become friends.” 

Having spent the past two summers in Tanzania with plans to return in July we totally agree with Ms. Angelou.  These people are our friends.  Bishop Mhogolo is now our friend.  The world grows smaller and the heart grows larger and one hopes for a growing understanding of God’s people around the world.

He was an easy house guest ~ he helped clear the table, washed the breakfast dishes, stripped his bed on the last day and made life easy.  And I even got to iron a bishop’s purple shirt. 

Again thank you for your love and support,

Tally and Jessie

This is more of a postscript and words from Sandy McCann.  She has always been interested in stories in the Bible about lepers.  She believes they are God’s Holy People  “for surely they already know a lot about crucifixion.”  From these Bible stories she learned inclusion, compassion and gratitude.  She made it clear that this was not a “saintly trip of self-sacrifice” but one she needed to make, HAD to make and she concluded it was the most wonderful week of her life. 

In the case of the lepers, who sinned, they or their parents?  Neither, of course, but God’s love and compassion is made manifest through them.    Now one hopes they can experience resurrection as promised by God.

Scroll down to see the joyful pictures.

We wish that Sandy McCann could write the commentary for these pictures just posted by Jessie, the techno-crat of the team!  The experience of spending Holy Week in a Hombolo Village which houses a hospice for lepers was one of deep profundity for Sandy and I will not attempt to put words into her mouth.  She is back at Msalato Theological College where she lives and teaches and I am sure as she has time to process and write about her week we too will have more to share with you.  

For my part, I have just stared at them in total amazement and admiration.  Sandy has e-mailed that it was not about herself ~ not an “oh, look at me at a Leper Colony.”  I suspect the depth of the experience is still churning around in her soul and will do so for the rest of her life.  When we first met Sandy she told us that ever since as a very young child when she read a biography about Albert Schweitzer she knew she wanted to be a medical missionary.  Priesthood was never in the picture.    She became a doctor and later went to seminary to get some theology courses under her belt.  Later she was advised to get an MDiv and to be ordained so that she could baptize, marry, and bury the people and also so she could share the Good News of Jesus Christ.  

What strikes me as I look at the pictures over and over is the joy on the faces of the lepers and on Sandy’s face.  We would love to have your feelings and comments.

Tally and Jessie

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