On 2nd January Steve will be travelling to Senegal, where he and Gill lived and worked from 1990 to 2001 at the WEC run school for missionaries’ children. While there he will participate in the team conference, which is held every year at this time. WEC Senegal has several teams working in different parts of the country, doing both urban and rural evangelism and church planting among several people groups. Other team members are involved in running an orphanage for street children, teaching English, youth work, sports ministry, administration, guest house management and leadership responsibilities. Steve is very much looking forward to renewing fellowship with the members of WEC Senegal.
The conference will be held at Bourofaye Christian School, where Steve and Gill used to teach. In the photo you can see the children, missionary staff and local African staff.
Steve will teach seminars on child protection, and also do one of the devotional talks. After the conference he will stay on at the school to spend time with the staff and children, participating in the various activities going on, and also assisting them in addressing any issues where help is sought.
Please pray for Steve as he prepares for this visit. We know from our time overseas that a visitor can bring enormous encouragement. Pray also for the following points:
- That the seminars he gives will be effective, well understood and useful for all ministries and situations involving children.
- For his devotional talk, for the Holy Spirit to enable him as he prepares and delivers this.
- That his presence will be a help and an encouragement, both to colleagues that he has know for many years, and for those he has not met before.
- For wisdom in areas where he needs to give advice.
- For good health and safe travel. We praise the Lord that there is no Ebola in Senegal at this time.
- For Gill as she holds the fort at home.
Rob and Sharon
At the Special Church Meeting held on Monday 1st December it was agreed, by majority vote, that Rob be called to join the staff at Corsham Baptist Church as a pastor. Rob and his wife, Sharon, have accepted the offer and Rob will commence his ministry with us in April 2015. We give grateful thanks and praise to God for guiding us during this church plant process and would ask that you continue to pray for the fledgling work in the Rudloe community.
The offering at the Nativity service will be donated the the Corsham Food Bank. The offering at the ‘Carols by Candlelight’ service will go to Tearfund in support of their work in combating Ebola. If you wish to gift-aid your offering, please put it into one of the white gift-aid envelopes (available on the table at the church entrance), and fill in the appropriate details.
Ladies’ Christmas Meal
This will be held Monday night, 15th December at 7.30pm. We will have home-made soup and pudding. Cost is £3 per person. Please sign up on the sheet at the back so we have an idea of numbers for catering purposes or speak to Anne Holmes or Kathy Larkman. Thank you.
Church Directory 2015
If you would like to be entered in the booklet, please complete the blue form at the back and place in the box or leave in the office. Please do not enter information that you do not want published in the directory. If you are already in the directory and all your details remain unchanged, there is no need to complete a form.
We are continuing with our regular prayer meetings for gospel expansion in Corsham and surrounding areas. The meetings take place in The Hut from 8.30-9.30am on Saturday mornings. We would encourage people to attend this meeting and everyone is welcome!
Life in the Lancs Lane
Steve and Ruth, our missionaries in Tanzania, have compiled another interesting and information-packed newsletter for December. There are paper copies on the table at the back or you can visit their blog at http://www.lancsintanz.blogspot.co.uk/
The midweek service on Wednesday 17th Dec will be the annual carol service, starting at the usual time of 2pm, followed by tea and cake. Please speak to Eric for more info.
Questions and Cake!
Vicky is organising some dates when housegroups will get together over “questions and cake” – the December date has been cancelled and so the next one will be on Wednesday 14th January. 7.45pm start and 9.15pm finish. Please speak to Vicky for more details.
Christmas Services 2014 at CBC
17th Dec 2pm – carol service
21st Dec 6pm – carols by candlelight
24th Dec 6pm – Christmas eve, with communion
25th Dec 10am – Christmas day family worship service
There are A6 fliers on the table to hand out to neighbours, friends and family!
The town Christmas card is also available to take away.
Don’t forget the Carol Service down the High Street on Tuesday 16th December at 6.45pm!!
Monday: Young mums’ bible study, 10am; Ladies’ supper, 7.30pm
Wednesday: Morning prayer, 7.15am; Carol Service 2pm
Thursday: Mums ‘n Tots, 10am; Debt Advice Centre 7.30pm
Friday: Debt Advice Centre, 9.30am
Saturday: Prayer for gospel expansion in and around Corsham, 8.30am, the Hut
2014 is fast drawing to a close and this time next week (18th) we’ll be on a plane UK-bound for 2 weeks of holiday and catching up with family! It’s been a year of adjusting and learning; a year of grappling with Tanzanian culture and a year of new experiences – most of them good ones!
|Meeting in the pump house at Sanga Sanga
Since our last newsletter we have attended two pastors’ conferences – one at Sanga Sanga and the other in Lindi, a 12 hour drive away in the south of the country. The conference at Sanga Sanga was well attended with over 70 pastors and their wives coming from all over the diocese. We all crammed into the very first building put up on the Sanga site, which is essentially the pump house! We look forward to the day when our conference hall is built and we can welcome even bigger groups of pastors for Bible training, fellowship and respite – no pressure Matt Dixon! More details about that next month.
The Lindi conference was the last of 8 this year. As well as Tanzanian pastors and evangelists, it was good to meet up with some of our AIM colleagues who are based in various locations near Lindi, some on TIMO and post-TIMO teams. Lindi is right on the coast and was picture-postcard pretty in some ways but boy, was it hot and sticky! In future Steve will be following the example of the Tanzanians and taking a ‘preacher’s flannel’ with him to mop his dripping brow! He taught three sessions in Swahili and was encouraged to receive good feedback on his pronunciation. That seminar brought to a close his preaching this year on the subject of ‘Miraculous Movements’ and in the first few months of next year he’ll be preparing talks for the 2015 calendar of seminars.
|The newlyweds shimmy down the aisle
In the last few weeks we’ve had a couple of interesting and very different cultural experiences; a baptism and a wedding. Tanzanian weddings aren’t known to be brief affairs and we braced ourselves for a long day. The service was due to start at 2pm and we were assured in advance by the pastor that it would start on time. When we arrived at 2.30pm the church was still only a quarter full, the bridegroom was sitting outside in his car (making the most of the AC) and the bride had not yet arrived! When things eventually got underway we were interested and slightly amused to see all the members of the wedding party dance down the aisle – the groom, his best man, the bridesmaids and the bride – imagine that in the UK! The bride came in by herself, sashaying demurely halfway up the aisle where she waited for her groom to come and meet her, he looking rather self-conscious as he shimmied down towards her! He lifted up her veil and the two of them continued up the aisle together. There was a real atmosphere of celebration and of course the music and singing was full on! Needless to say, at the end of the service the whole wedding party shimmied back down the aisle!
In many respects the service resembled a western one, with traditional vows and giving of rings. We noticed that many guests drifted in throughout the service but nobody took offence at their lateness. Oddly, the groom’s parents arrived towards the end of the whole service, long after the vows had been said, perhaps due to the traffic chaos in Dar.
The wedding reception was a long, loud affair with lots more dancing! Although we had only met the groom once before, Steve was called upon to open the proceedings in prayer – talk about lastminute.com! The MC did a great job at keeping things going but even so, the food wasn’t served until 10pm – mysteriously lots of guests arrived just before that time! After that came the grand presentation of wedding gifts! First went the two families, dancing and holding their gifts aloft, followed by friends and other guests, including us, yes, shimmying all the way! We then shimmied right out the door as by that time it was 10.30pm and that was enough for us!! Although it was a long day, it was on the whole a good experience, similar to a UK wedding but a whole lot louder!
|The baptism site complete with car washing
Last month Steve was invited to preach at a baptismal service in a village where 15 people were being baptised. We gathered, not around a neat and tidy baptismal pool at the front of a church, but around a large watering hole used by the Maasai to water their cattle! Although there were no cattle present at the time, there was ample evidence of them having been there! A couple of Maasai women were busy washing their ankle jewellery and a local guy backed his car up to the water’s edge and proceeded to wash it inside and out! The pastor conducting the service was most concerned about getting bacteria in his feet as he stood waist deep in the water with the squelching mud reaching mid-shin, and the last lady to be baptised refused to go right under – despite the pastor’s best efforts in trying to force her under, with both hands on her shoulders!! Then it was back to the ‘church’ – or should I say the back garden of someone’s house, where a couple of large tarpaulins had been tied together and erected as a make-shift shelter. Somehow over 80 people managed to sit underneath it for the duration of the four-hour service, of which only 35 minutes was Steve’s contribution! He managed to preach in Swahili on the subject of discipleship, and what the Bible has to say on what it means to be a genuine disciple of Christ: are we really following Christ? Are we living our lives with Him at the centre? Are we bearing fruit and pointing others to Christ? Distractions included numerous chickens running around the place; the crowing of cockerels, the loud and crackly sound system and a number of breast-feeding mothers on the front row!! The service was followed by a rice and bean feast, and yet a few more ‘thank you’ speeches, and at 4pm everyone began to drift off to their homes. All in all, a long day but an interesting cultural experience!
Last month we mentioned boils. Ruth still continues to suffer with them, having had several in her ears and one on her leg which turned into an abscess. Thankfully we were able to see a doctor in Dar who, rather than lance the wretched thing, prescribed ointment to apply inside her nostrils as apparently that’s where the bacteria causing the boils reside – who knew?! Please pray that the ointment will be effective and that the boils become a thing of the past.
We wish you a joyful and blessed Christmas as you celebrate the Saviour’s birth. Thank you so much for all your support, prayers, cards, gifts and emails to us this year. We’re sorry that our fleeting visit to the UK doesn’t allow us time to visit you all – that will have to wait until home assignment in 2016!
With every blessing
Steve and Ruth
Prayer and praise:
– Praise God for safety in the hundreds of miles we’ve travelled in Tanzania this year.
– Pray for a good time with family this Christmas.
– Pray for good health and respite from boils!
– Pray for Ruth as she begins to prepare another English course for the New Year.
– Praise God for a good year of settling in to Morogoro and the ministry we’ve been involved with.
Random photos of the month: