Tuesday 27th June

After a very full and inspiring time in the rural communities we arrived in Dar yesterday late afternoon after an eight hour drive.

We have enjoyed time today to reflect a little together and rest and relax.  We leave at midnight, arriving in the UK tomorrow afternoon. It’s a long journey – please pray for our travels. We look forward to seeing you soon.

Sylvie x

Friday 23rd June

After a long delay getting out, we arrived in Mpwapwa Diocese a day late which meant that our visit to the Compassion projects was delayed until tomorrow (Saturday), but we were quickly into Matongoro. We spent Sunday to Wednesday either in the villages we are already supporting or visiting the new villages we will be supporting, and have been staying in the house of the CCMP co-ordinator, Erasto Goima. Last Sunday we worshipped in Matongoro and Mark had the privilege of baptising five children in Swahili, and then six the next day under tarpaulins within an Iraqw community, who are similar to Massai.

The drought means that much of the maize and sunflower crops is very poor or non-existent, but where they have been able to dig wells or irrigate - especially in Matongoro as a result of the Church and Community Mobilisation Process –  they are growing tomatoes, Chinese lettuce and other vegetables.

Sarah and Sylvie spent time yesterday visiting three schools and developing links for Bishop Chavasse School, STEPS, Toddlers and Bumps & Babes, whilst Stephen and Mark met up with a group from St James’ Tunbridge Wells who are looking to partner with a CCMP project in the next Diocese.

We have been well looked after each day by Martin (who works for the Christian Council of Tanzania) and Amani (who is employed by the Diocese), but yesterday afternoon  drove down to Mpwapwa to meet with Archbishop Jacob and have a rest day. Today we are going to a retreat centre up in the mountains called Kiboriani.

Tomorrow we will be back in Matongoro where we will stay another night, going to church in Zoissa – one of the new villages - and visiting the three new villages we have not yet been to. Everywhere we go we are followed by people and hordes of children who are most intrigued to see Mzungi (white people).

Please keep praying for safety in all our travelling, especially on the roads; for health,; and for a better return journey.

Our continued prayers for our church family and thank you for all your support.

Every blessing

Stephen, Sylvie, Sarah and Mark

Friday 23rd June

We are enjoying breakfast at The Ark Hotel in Mpwapwa, where we arrived yesterday afternoon. We have kept well and Stephen and I have so enjoyed being back in Matongoro and other communities close by and further away.

We spent three days in fairly basic conditions so are enjoying the delights of western toilets and taps, electricity and Internet.  It make us so appreciate those things that we take for granted back in UK.

Our days have been full – with people joining us from breakfast to supper – so really looking forward to a day up Kiboriani mountain today before we set off to the Compassion projects tomorrow and then church in our new communities on Sunday.

Thanks so much for your prayers. Please pray for strength, continued good relationships and health, and safety in travel.

Sylvie x

Monday 19th June

Yesterday was really busy with Sunday services, Communion and baptisms.

Today has been an amazing day in a Massai village, meeting people and baptising six who have recently come to faith in a service held under a tarpaulin outside the huts.

We have gone back to the villages this evening and will be staying there for three days. The village we are staying in is very remote. It is on a plain which is completely surrounded by distant mountains. There is zero light pollution and I’ve never seen a night sky like it! It is amazing that we manage to find a phone signal; the signal reception is better than on holiday in Devon!!

There are a couple of slightly ‘funny tummies’ but not too bad and otherwise all well.

Mark

Sunday 18th June

We have just finished almost three hours in church. I baptised six children in Swahili and preached. Also had communion, and then had to shake everyone’s hands. Lots of dancing and singing and Praising the Lord.

Mark