Waterholes and weddings!

Steve and Ruth Lancaster,

This post by Steve and Ruth Lancaster was originally published at Life in the Lancs Lane

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!