Prayer Letter Nº 49
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The Tarlings’ Newsletter Nº 49 ~ May 2008

“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” Philippians12-13 (NIV)

A Time to work

With just a few weeks now until we leave Mpwapwa there is still much to do...

St. Luke's Chapel, Ving'haweThe new St. Luke’s Chapel should be all but completed and ready to be consecrated in the third week of May – the construction team have worked relentlessly since the beginning of the year to turn the skeleton of the Chapel into a living place of devotion and rest and once again breathe life into the very stones that Henry Morton Stanley once worshipped amongst.  They have not only met a formidable time target, but produced the Chapel to a very satisfactory standard of workmanship – the masons and carpenters have gained much experience which will stand them in good stead if they can repeat their efforts without Godfrey’s close supervision and oft practiced demolition of anything not up to their capabilities.

The Clinic itself is now under the process of hand over to the Diocese and a second Medical assistant is in place to at least cover the period until Dr. Lugwisha returns from his Assistant Medical Officer’s course in September.  It is not quite the same as having a qualified doctor to treat people, but we pray that people will not lose faith in St Luke’s in the interim until Lugwisha returns.  The biggest gap is of an Administrator, with nobody definite in the pipeline but a couple of vague possibilities, and Rachel continuing to sort out crises for now...   One of our recent visitors likened it a little to Hannah leaving young Samuel in the slightly uncertain hands of Eli – rather hard to do, with no doubt a few tears shed along the way.  Rachel is also continuing to do 1 day a week at St Luke’s to provide a skeleton Ultrasound and ECG service for the District at least while we are still here.  After that people will have to go without, or go on a 3 hour bus ride to Dodoma.  The rest of the time is devoted to packing / sorting out things to give away / sell, which is no mean task with fifteen years of accumulated treasures as well as building stores, clinic items and the like.  Tim continues with the Year 2 curriculum, perhaps even more intensively now Mum isn’t out quite so much!

The HIV Home Based Care project is running well under the able hands of the project manager, and many are being helped to live positively.  There are a frightening number of people infected, with a growing number of children surviving to later childhood being picked up.  May sees us launching a campaign for antenatal women and children to be tested – it is gradually becoming an accepted part of routine antenatal care, though the risk is still that the husband will beat his wife up or leave her if she is infected.Dr Rachel listens to a patient's Foetal Heart Rate

There is a minor ‘gold rush’ in town here, with about 5 or 6 groups of mainly Thai / Korean / Sri Lankan people buying up gem stones such as sapphires and Tanzanite being mined from Winza, one of the remoter areas of the District.  This has resulted in various changes in town– any reasonable house in our part of town is being rented for huge sums of money and longstanding tenants are being thrown out.  The price of non-staple foodstuffs has gone up enormously, and there has been a minor crime wave with petty theft being rife. The police have been given a new Land Rover on the strength of all this increased activity, and a unit of Conscription forces are based in Winza.  We wonder how long it will last and what profit it will really bring to the area.  It is certainly making it much harder for those without to survive.

A Time to Give Thanks

As we come to an end of our time here we reflect with great thanksgiving on the many changes we have seen during our time here, and the work we have been enabled to do.  We give thanks for the growth in ability of the church here, and the godly leaders who are being trained up.  We give thanks for all the lives who have been touched by the services provided at St Luke’s and for the help of many people in UK, USA and Australia in particular, who have enabled this work to go forward.  We give thanks for Godfrey being able to build many buildings which will last for many years into the future and enable the work of Churches and schools here in Tanzania.  We give thanks for the many friends we have gained, and the many things we have learned during our time here.

A Time to learn

+Simon Chiwanga shakes hands with Esther at their farewellEsther & Christopher were with us for their final time over the Easter Holidays, and were able to give their farewells in a Service of Thanksgiving and lunch function on their last day to which two of their Godmothers were able to come, before we all headed off for a couple of nights in Mikumi Game Park.  Unfortunately, Christopher contracted Chickenpox from Timothy almost as soon as he arrived in Tanzania, and though he was well enough to go straight back to school, Esther inevitably went down with it on the morning they were due back there – not brilliant timing as she comes up to her Common Entrance Exams (The Middle School equivalent of the 11+, though rather more to GCSE Standard!) – Thankfully her plaster cast from her latest broken arm was ready to come off the next day, so she didn’t have to suffer too many spots within!  She is now back at school.

Just before Easter we heard that Christopher having taken his 11+ last October had been awarded a place at Sir Thomas Rich’s (grammar) School in Gloucester as from this coming September, so it will mean this is the last term for both of them at DCPS.  They have both had some very happy and fruitful years there.

We also heard that Esther was successful in her Design & Technology Project which centred around a ‘Umoja ni Nguvu’ (Unity is Power) light design, which incorporates the idea of community with that of progress – the result being that she has gained a DT Scholarship to the Dean Close Senior School.

A Time to look forward

    So, what of the future...

Well, apart from settling EC&T into three new schools and a round of Mission Education visits to say our thank you(s) in person to our supporting Churches, that is something we are going to have to trust in God for.

Initially we will be based in Cheltenham as from 9th June, but beyond that all is as yet to unfold.

as ever for your prayers love and financial support, which enable our (and therefore your) partnership in the Gospel in Mpwapwa.

Pointers for Prayer

Give Praise for: -

 P    The life and witness of the Diocese as the first chapter closes, and a new chapter begins.

P    The progress made on various building works that will enable local Christians to take the Word of God to their neighbours.

P    The reasonable harvest which will give many families food security for this year.

P    Several good key members of staff who can share the workload of management.

Please pray for: -

^     Esther and Christopher in their final term at Dean Close Prep School, and Timothy here in Mpwapwa, in Home School Year 2.

^     The new chapel at St Luke’s carrying on the history of the site as a Christian witness to all.

^     Wisdom for whoever takes over St. Luke’s in managing a staff team with varied temperaments, abilities and objectives!  Pray for the right person to be found quickly.

^     Peace for each of us in a time of enormous changes in our lives, and stamina to finish our time here well

^     Wisdom in all the practical leave taking processes that need to be completed (home and building staff redundancies, furniture and other assets to be given away / sold)

^     All at Crosslinks HQ as they continue to work in the background supporting the work all around the world, taking God’s Word to God’s World.

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 Prayer Letter Nº 49

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