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This may not look like our halls of ivy but for the students at MTC it is a miracle.  These young men and women are the hope of Tanzania.  They are well educated and will be respected by the village people and all whom they serve.

Today I received an e-mail from Alex Mshoka whom Jessie and I have personally sponsored for 3 years and who was in my first class there.  He will graduate in June and it makes me sad that I might not see him again as he doesn’t yet know where the bishop will send him.  I hope the village will be close enough that we might visit him.  He calls me Bibi (grandmother) in Kiswahili.  Of course he asked for prayers saying that he has a lot to accomplish before graduation.   I’ll tell you, these pictures have made my heart sing today.

Well now I was able to get this picture converted from Sandy’s email photo to my computer ~ huge for me, and thanks to Anna Franklin Smith who worked with me yesterday.  Now I will try to retrieve the picture of the new dorm.

As several checks came in to Karimu last week,  I wrote to Sandy that I never expected to get so excited about money.  She said that since it was not for me, nor did it give me any power, plus knowing what good it would do for others, that it was okay for me to be excited!  Because of you, we have been able to give $3,500 to assist with the renovation of the student dorms which were about as dismal as anything I had ever seen.  That amount is a drop in the bucket but drops eventually fill up the bucket and even make it overflow.  Her church in Columbus, GA gave $25,000 in 2009 to renovate the faculty housing that were all but falling down.  Our good friend, Tom Davenport in Wyoming, working with his diocese has just been awarded a $50,000 grant.  When Jessie and I went out there in December 2008 (just after my last Sunday at Emmanuel) Tom picked up the ball and his church, Saint Andrew’s in Pinedale, started their own fund-raising organization, so the money does not come to Karimu, but we are all working toward the same goal.   Can you imagine what this means to a little school in a far-off country?  Sandy said that to Americans it would look like a “nothing place, a blip by the side of the road.”   What really grabbed me in her message were these words:  “God is really up to something here and He has graciously allowed us to be a part of it.”  I believe that with all my heart.  And I hope and pray that you too will feel humbled and privileged to be a part of this.

I too am working on a grant to provide food for the students this next school year.  Please pray their hearts will be open to help us again.

Always with gratitude and love,

Tally

 

I occassionally look at Oprah especially during the cold afternoons of winter.  Yesterday her guest was Debbie Reynolds who is now 78 if you can believe it.  There were clips of her singing and dancing with Gene Kelly in her first movie,  “Singing in the Rain.”  She was 17 years old.  Sandy wrote this morning that they had about an hour of soft rain last night and that things were greening up around the college and the birds were singing their praises.  I have two-left feet but I think I would be singing and dancing in the rain too, a la Debbie and Gene.  A gentle rain is so much better than a downpour which just runs off the hard sun-baked soil.  In spite of my imagining a lush green campus the news is still NOT GOOD.  In their newspaper yesterday it said that the water in the  lake that supplies electricity for the Diocese of Central Tanganyika would only last until April.  They are used to having no electricity and can live without it at the school except that also means no internet.  I know it is necessary for Sandy because of the work she does.   

She also wrote that Alex Mshoka, the student that Jessie and I have been sponsorning  for 3 years came to the school yesterday looking awful.  Thank goodness it was a toothache and not starvation.  Venuce, one of my other students (2 years ago) who visited Virginia last year is sick with malaria.  She said he looks half dead.  And so the saga goes on.  And so do the prayers.

On Sunday morning I almost didn’t open my e-mail before going to church and I was prepared to read recent e-mails from Sandy and Moses about the drought to the people at St. Mary Magdalene’s.   Sandy wrote:  “I am writing this to the sound of rain drops falling outside our window.  It is not a hard rain but if it would continue it would be fine.  If for a second or two it sounds like it has stopped, I catch my breath and try to be very still, listening very hard to make sure that it’s my hearing and not the rain having stopped. And then crying:  Come on God, please don’t stop.”

Later George Chibwale said to her:  “Sandy, when we see rain, we see food.”  She went on to say:  “I think of all the times I have thought of rain as something that would ruin my hair doo, get my feet wet, my good shoes muddy, cause cancellations, ruin outdoor parties and weddings ~ haven’t you ever prayed that it would NOT rain and spoil my outing?”   I was reminded of the nursery rhyme:  “Rain, rain go away, little Johnny wants to play, come again another day.” 

I see everything through different eyes now.   I pray for rain for them every day.   We had a Victory Garden when I was growing up (oh yes, I am THAT old) but I don’t remember praying for rain or thinking about rain as food.  It’s going to be a tough year for them but they never lose hope.  Keep praying.

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