It was quiet humbling sitting in the lounge room of a young family being served lunch after church last Sunday. Mama Justin and Baba Justine invited us to share lunch with them in their small house located up an unformed track about 100 metres off the main road. We had enjoyed a good service where about 13 adults attended for Holy Communion. My son, Glen, together with the young elder Christopher, led the service. The singing was rich once again without any musical instruments. I tried singing as best I could without really knowing what I was singing. The church was very rustic. I was singing away when a very old man came in and sat at the desk with me. He walked with a limp and had managed to arrive at church unassisted. It was special sitting next to him – the two oldest men in the service! Over lunch with Baba Justin, together with the local pastor and my family, we discussed the challenges of the church in Tanzania. It was sobering to say the least.
After lunch Baba Justin shared with me the struggle they were having as a family with no water. They had to walk some distance to get water out of a small cattle dam and carry it back. He wanted me to buy him a water tank to solve their problems. This is life for the majority of Tanzanians living in the Musoma district where Glen and Dom serve. I find it incredibly difficult to deal with the opulence of life in Sydney compared to life here for many thousands of people. Yet the giving of these people is humbling. Not only were we given a delicious rice meal and chai, I was also given a live chicken by Baba Justin to take home … to Australia!
Our time in Africa is fast coming to an end – as I write three days to go. We have suffered sickness for over two thirds of our stay with fever, head colds and aches and pains. We better understand the struggles of the people who live here and the little resources they have to fight fever and sickness. I also feel we have a more informed understanding of the struggling church. I met briefly with the outgoing denominational leader. He retires this weekend. He has been a wonderful leader and the church has been blessed by his faithful service. To be truthful, it has been a hard period for him and he is looking forward to resting in retirement a little before assisting somewhere else in ministry. I love Africa and its people and have been blessed mixing with them and learning from them in the struggles of life. It has been ever so special too spending time with family and bonding with my grandsons and sharing in deep conversations with Glen and Dom. I will miss them and Africa too!