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This past Friday, April 17th, Moses Matonya arrived in Pinehurst.  Tally and I picked him up from the airport, then Rev. Bob Brown of St. Mary Mag’s took him to lunch.  In the afternoon, we went to The O’Neal School for Moses to meet, John Elmore, Head of School, Dave Williamson, Head of the Middle School, and Lyn Cagle, Head Teacher who I met at a school function which began the collaboration.  Dave and Lyn took us on a tour of the school, then we had a meeting to discuss the plans for O’Neal working with the two schools in Tanzania.  We will begin with the younger children in Middle School and work up to the High School children.  Karimu bought a laptop for the Primary School in Tanzania which Moses will take back to them so that the children and Head Masters will be able to Skype each other.  Isn’t technology grand!

 

That evening, we had a party at my house to welcome Moses and to thank the faithful donors who have been contributing to KARIMU for the past 8 years.

On Saturday, the good people of St. Mary Magdalene’s church in Seven Lakes, had a beautiful luncheon for Moses.  Since Moses was going to be preaching at St. Luke’s on Sunday, this was their chance to strengthen their relationship and catch up on each other’s news.  We ate so much, I did not have to cook any dinner!

Sunday was an early start – we left at 7:00 and drove to Salisbury, NC.  Beautiful drive through green fields with a gentle rain falling.  (my favorite kind of weather).  for Moses, who lives in a draught prone area of Tanzania, the rain was a beautiful thing to see.  We arrived at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church where Moses preached and thanked the congregation for their continued support (five years now) providing food for the students of Msalato Theological College.  Moses told them that they have fed 300 students who have now graduated and become priests serving in many villages.

We discussed the on-going piglet projects which now involves 740 women.  New groups are waiting to be formed as the last groups repay their loans.  Because there is even more demand, we are sending an additional $1,200 to them to add to the existing pool so that more woman may participate this year.  At this rate, it won’t be long before we reach 1,000 women!  One group has had trouble.  They are in a small village, and the women who were not selected to form groups to raise pigs, cast a Witch spell on those who had piglets.  Those woman became frightened and were convinced their piglets would die.  The Pastor in that village is a woman, and she said Christians do not believe in witches or spells, and to prove that, she said she would take care of the piglets.  Naturally, they all survived and are doing well now.  Hopefully, those other women will eventually have pigs of their own to raise and not be jealous.  People are people no matter where…

Karimu is sponsoring two Theological Students at the college, two children in primary school (one family here is doing that).  St Luke’s is providing food, then there are the pig projects as well as other entrepreneurial projects for Pastor’s wives.  A motor bike to be bought for the college to run errands in Dodoma which is cheaper than using a car.  An emergency medical fund, funds for the gardens (vegetables) and other MDG projects.  Am sure I have forgotten some things, so Tally will follow up and add more of her thoughts.

The photos below are of Moses at St. Luke’s, then at St. Mary Mag’s luncheon, and last at The O’Neal School with Dave Williamson, Moses Matonya, John Elmore, and Lyn Cagle.

Tally and I are so happy to be returning to Tanzania come September!!!  Jessie

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To each of us is given the occasional burning bush or mountain top experience.  Sometimes we don’t even recognize it but other times we feel a deep shift deep in our soul.  I am not even sure we have to be attentive.  Most often they just happen and we are surprised but we know it is of God.

My husband Claude wanted to go to his home parish today. I didn’t. Something was pulling me to St. Thomas’ in Sanford or St. Mary Magdalene’s in Seven Lakes. Up until the last minute I didn’t know which way my car would go ~ north or south.  There was some freedom in going wherever the Spirit led me. To make a long story short, I went south to St. Mary Magdalene’s not knowing that they were celebrating their 30th anniversary, not long in the Episcopal Churches’ history in North Carolina.  Emmanuel is well over 100 years’ old and St. Thomas’ is even older. But this sweet-spirited mission church is committed to growth and to serving God by serving others.  What came as an even greater surprise was Father Bob’s sermon.  He spoke lovingly of  The Reverend Moses Matonya’s visit to St. Mary Magdalene’s last Sunday with his message of “love and thanksgiving.” Bob also read an e-mail to Jessie and me from Moses written when he reached Virginia Theological Seminary last Sunday evening. When he arrived they had already eaten their evening meal but Moses had in his possession a small gift given to him by someone at St. Mary Magdalene’s ~ something wrapped in blue paper that he clutched in his hand as he signed his book and as he talked at their Coffee and Contemplation time after the service.  None of us, other than the giver knew what was in the small package.  Moses wrote: “Thanks be to God because I have the cake I was given at the church I am eating it before I go to bed.”  He closed his e-mail with these words: “I truly enjoyed so much my stay with you. You have so nice hearts you ladies and God bless you richly. You will always remain in my heart and I will NEVER EVER forget the care and love you and your people (St. Mary Magdalene) gave me.”  Bob said that a simple gift of cake, wrapped in blue paper became Moses’ Sunday supper and that God’s grace transformed that tiny gift into an abundant meal of love.”  He went on: “Can’t you just see Moses’ smiling face as he ate his gift of love, and remembered with fondness and thanksgiving the people of St. Mary Magdalene Church? Can you have any doubt that God was smiling too? Can you ever doubt that God was well pleased?”  By then tears were coursing down my cheeks; Bob was crying and the congregation was in the same boat. We all felt the grace of Moses’ visit.  After the service Bob said to me that now that Moses has gone from this place that it is not unlike the lovely fragrance of incense after it has burned out when there is nothing left but ashes. That is the way we feel about Moses Matonya.  His loveliness is still here with us. I am deeply moved by his visit, his faith, his trust and his way of always finding reason to give God thanks.

I learned later this afternoon that due to heavy rains the young sister of Seche who cleaned, washed and baked bread for Jessie and me lost her home yesterday when it collapsed due to heavy rains.   Pendo which means love in Kiswahili has two small children and I want to help her in any way we can. She works for Sandy and Martin McCann.  If any of you readers would like to help don’t forget Karimu. We will see Sandy next week just before she returns to Tanzania.  We will give her what we have to aid this young and good family. Rain is fickled over there ~ it is not enough or it is too much. Even so I am sure Moses will give thanks to God.

Pendo's Little Girls

Moses may have parted the Red Sea but The Reverend Canon Moses Matonya, dean of Msalato Theological College in Tanzania came to Pinehurst, North Carolina and for 5 days shared with many of us his love for and his unfailing trust in God, in spite of living in a hard land with grueling poverty. I’ve tried to think of a word to adequately describe Moses ~ one really isn’t enough ~ but AUTHENTIC comes first to mind. There are others ~ loving, happy, intelligent, warm, man of God ~ the words are endless.

He had been in the U.S. once before with his wife Ruth. Then he stayed in an apartment in Georgia during his year there. This time, he has stayed in private homes and he commented on how nice it was for him to see how Americans live and never with any sound of envy or admonition that we have such an abundance of everything. I was embarrassed for him to see all the clothes in the guest room closet and Jessie said that maybe he didn’t know that I had other full closets! I have to tell you, this great man did the breakfast dishes each morning at my house.

To briefly sum up his time with us for those of you who did not meet him, he spoke at the Country Bookstore in Southern Pines and graciously signed his book: “Real Power: Jesus Christ’s Authority Over the Spirits.” Jessie and I have a few copies if any of you are interested in having one. We drove to Greensboro to meet with Bishop Chip Marble and The Reverend Leon Spencer who spent a great deal of his ministry in Africa. This was New Years’ Eve Day and Bp. Marble was very gracious to take us all to lunch at his favorite place on what was a day off for a bishop. He too is a great man whose passion is anti-racism and truth and reconciliation.

Moses saw the movie, Avatar in 3-D and liked it. I was afraid it would be too violent for him but it had a good message. He had already seen Invictus about Mandela.

Moses looked at a lot of football with Claude and tried to figure it out ~ he said he just about “got it.”

The Reverend Bob Brown, Vicar of St. Mary Magdalene’s hosted Moses on Saturday night and then we were all blessed by Moses’ preaching the next day at St. Mary Magdalenes. He later answered many questions at their “Conversation and Coffee Hour.”

Jessie and I put him on a plane later Sunday afternoon for Washington, DC where he will be the guest of Dean Ian Markham at Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria for 4 weeks. He will be translating his book from English into Kiswahili and having some respite from his work in Dodoma.

I for one still feel the warmth of his smile in my home and Jessie and I feel very connected with him, his family and his people. Pray God we can return next summer for what has given me a rich blessing and a new direction in life.
Oh yes, he ate black-eyed peas on New Years’ Day. Maybe a silly tradition, but one that I hope brings him good health and good fortune in 2010.

Thank you all who came out to meet him and to hear him preach. What a message he gave us all.

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