Dear Friends —
Christmas in Tanzania is far different than it is here. There is no Santa and the kids don’t get presents. There are no Christmas trees and I have never heard if Christmas songs are sung there. They do bring in some flowers from their yard and try to have a little nicer dinner with family and friends than the usual rice, potatoes and bananas. The seasons are reversed and it is summer there. I have been there 5 times and have never seen any type of a pine tree. When we brought Tanzanian people here, they were so impressed with the blue spruce trees we have in our yard.
January 12, Gloria Becker, her sister Deb Gerner, my grandson, Luke Johnson and I will leave for Meru for about 2 weeks to experience their love of us and our partnership. You can’t imagine what this partnership has meant to them. Knowing that we care and can help with some money from time to time is huge over there. They know that they are not struggling alone anymore but have us to help them. Prayers for one another are the basis of this partnership.
Last January I sent some money to Adoration and Mulala as my medical bills were so high that even though these churches are in our will, I wondered at that time, if there would be anything left. Pastor Nnko and their partnership committee decided to buy some cows and gave them to the poorest families in the village. The idea is that the first calf of each of these cows must be given to another poor family and on and on. They are calling it Mama Sandy’s Heifer Project. While we are there Pastor Nnko would like us to meet some of these families and it will be another opportunity to help them with a gift of some money.
The other exciting reason we are going, is to be present at the service which consecrates Pastor Elias Kitoi Nasari as the second Bishop of the Diocese of Meru following Bishop Paulo Akyoo, who was bishop for 22 years since the Diocese was formed. Pastor Elias has been my dear friend for many years and I was blessed to stay in his home in Tanzania in 2002. He has preached at Adoration many times and even won the pie eating contest at our church picnic one year. He, however, calls it the “pie sucking contest” as it was chocolate pudding with whipped cream on top and his son, Emmanuel got second place. We still laugh about that.
Please remember these wonderful Christian people who have nothing, but thank God for everything, in your daily prayers. Please pray for good leadership and strength and wisdom for Pastor Elias in his new role as Askofu or Bishop. Mulala is Pastor Elias’s home parish, so he will always look over our partnership and be sure that all is well with it. Wishing you all a most Blessed Christmas and we will have stories to share when we get home. Please also pray for a “safe safari” for our little group.
Bwana Yesu Asifiwe!