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communionOur day began at 6:30 when we awoke to prepare for our journey to the village of Handali about an hour and a half away on a rutted dirt road but with lovely mountains in the background captured by Jessie and her camera. Along with Sandy McCann who was to preach and celebrate the Holy Supper, we picked up Venuce Mazengo, one of my students from last year to translate the sermon into Wogogo and Kiswahili, and Magi Griffin (one neat woman) who is from Georgia and who works for the Diocese of Central Tanganyika. ┬áSandy’s gallant husband, Dr. Martin McCann did all of the driving and please notice in the photos, especially you altar guild experts, Martin decanting the communion wine during the service.

We were welcomed first into the home of the priest-to-be ordained next weekend, Ayubu, I think. My hearing deficit is a real problem here but I manage. Sandy had a wonderful sermon and as I listened to her preach on the gospel from Mark (not the same lectionary that we use) I wished that Jesus could put his fingers into my ears and help me to hear but I reminded myself that I am old and have heard the birds, babbling brooks, rushing wind and Mozart for many years and it’s enough to be thankful for. ┬áJessie and I are phenoms over here – old old Muzungus (white-skinned people) and honored and respected far more than we deserve.

The service was so much more than we are accustomed to – lots of music, singing and dancing – several collections (and we think we ask for a lot of donations!). The collections were for the 10 that were “made Christ’s own forever” in Holy Baptism. One collection was to defray the cost of the newly aquired electric keyboard, and then there was the regular alms given to God.

Baptism2Deacons have privileges here that we are not always granted in different parishes. Sandy was insistant that I baptize half of the children. I didn’t know the Kiswahili words but she told me to do it in English because it meant so much to the people. I looked into their dark faces gleaming with hope and trust in their Saviour and couldn’t help but wonder about their futures and in some mystical way I trusted God to “do his thing,” whatever that may be. I was allowed to be God’s helper and the rest is up to God.

BaptismJust like at home, many pictures were taken of the clergy with the newly baptized and then Jessie and I were gifted with two pottery vessels – enormous pots that we might not be able to bring home because of the sheer weight of the two pieces. They look Etruscan to me but were given with such love that it will be nearly impossible to leave them behind. When the service ended hours later we had yet another meal in the priest’s home. We got home at nearly 5:00 which was was about the time you were beginning the 10 o’clock service. God’s word is being preached all over the world at different times but he/she is a timeless God.

We are energized, exhausted, thankful and are going to hit the hay feeling it was a glorious day and one that we will not forget. How do we come home in heart and spirit after all of this?


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