Oakies in Tanzania!

Oak Hall visitors and painting project

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

One of highlights of life here in Morogoro is the Book Club that I (Ruth) attend every month.  Half a dozen Christian ladies get together to discuss whatever book we are currently studying.  Right now we are reading through Sally Breedlove’s book ‘Choosing Rest’.  It’s subheading is, “Cultivating a Sunday heart in a Monday world.”

Rest is an interesting concept for missionaries when there can be many demands on our time.  We can often feel the pressure to ‘redeem the time’ for the sake of those who are supporting us financially.  And, frankly, sometimes there is just so much to do.  But rest is vital if we are to be here for the long haul.  It’s sometimes difficult to get the balance right.  2017 has been an exceptionally busy year for us and we are looking forward to a rest.  But first, what have we been doing since we last wrote….?

August—Oak Hall in Tanzania!

Steve and I have been connected with Oak Hall Expeditions for over 10 years and Oak Hall has also been a generous supporter of Sanga Sanga Retreat Centre.  So it was a real pleasure to host the first Oak Hall trip to Tanzania!  Twenty-four intrepid souls came for a taste of mission and culture.  The trip started with a hiccup as fog in Amsterdam meant the group missed its connection and ended up coming on 2 separate flights much later than expected.  Good job our Oak Hall training and experiences in Africa have taught us to be flexible!

The group was based at Sanga Sanga Retreat Centre for 10 days.  They threw themselves gladly into some practical work on 2 of those days, painting the outside of the conference centre and working on the hydroponics project.  Evenings were special times, spent around the campfire as we gathered for worship and Bible study, gazing at the stars above.  We took them to visit a nearby Maasai village where they tried some Maasai dancing; we visited a local NGO which trains ‘hero’ rats to sniff out landmines and TB (fascinating—visit apopo.org); we enjoyed a mountain hike in the Ulugurus and we had a day on safari where we saw everything including lion!

Worshipping at AICT Kiloka

But the real highlights for the group were the visits we made to  AICT Dakawa and AICT Kiloka, small village churches.  At Dakawa, as soon as the choir began to sing and dance our group jumped up to join in too!  It was amazing and surprisingly emotional—two sets of people, different in language, culture, appearance and economic status, but united in enjoying praising God.  The British aren’t so stiff-upper lipped after all!  At Kiloka we sang a couple of songs to the church (with actions!) and received a very warm welcome and gifts of rice and bananas.  It was fascinating to watch our group’s reactions and see it all through their eyes, as if for the first time.

Ruth’s birthday coincided with the visit to AICT Dakawa and she was presented with a kanga

We ended the trip on the coast for a couple of days, including a day on a tropical island enjoying the golden sands and warm waters of the Indian Ocean—and all getting completely soaked on choppy seas on the way back!  All in all, it was a successful trip, tiring but rewarding, and we look forward, God willing, to hosting another group next year!  If you’re interested contact Oak Hall!


AICT Magambua

We travelled deep into rural Tanzania in September for a pastors’ seminar.  Magambua is in an area where the people group are classed as ‘unreached’.  Steve was again teaching on the subject of leadership with moral integrity.  We stayed with an AIM missionary couple , fellow birding enthusiasts!  Numbers attending the conference were lower than expected but they still enjoyed some lively discussion on the topic!  At the end of the conference we took an extra day in Magambua to rest and enjoy some bird watching.  I saw 21 new birds!

October—AIM Tanzania Conference & Iringa

Bob Hunt, Steve’s former All Nations tutor

AIM has quite a number of missionaries in different parts of Tanzania and our annual conference is the opportunity to get together and catch up.  Steve, myself and Cath were responsible for organising this year’s conference but in spite of that it all went very smoothly!  Bob Hunt, Steve’s former tutor at All Nations, came to do the Bible teaching, leading us through the Gospel of John on some of the journeys of Jesus.  After conference Bob came back to Morogoro with us for a couple of days and it was good to be able to show him a little of our lives here and, of course, Sanga Sanga.

Steve has just retuned from Iringa where he has been teaching at the last of this year’s regional seminars.  If this were Steve writing you would now get a series of stats—numbers of kilometres driven, hours on the road, numbers of sessions taught etc!  Suffice to say, however, that 138 pastors, evangelists and their wives have received teaching on godly leadership this year.  Let’s pray that God will use them to shape His church into a model for the world to follow.

Thanks, as always, for your support and prayers for us.  Every blessing,

Steve & Ruth

Diary Dates & Prayer Requests:

  • 5 Nov             Steve preaching at AICT Dumila
  • 14-17 Nov      Evangelists’ plenary seminar at Sanga Sanga
  • 19 Nov           Steve preaching at AICT Mbezi Beach, Dar
  • 20-24 Nov      Ruth teaching English course for Intermediates
  • 15 Dec           Travel to Dar/UK for Christmas break

– Praise God for the completion of this year’s regional pastors’ seminars and pray that God will raise up humble leaders.  We are thankful for the many kilometers driven safely and for the people who have received this year’s teaching.

– Praise God for a successful Oak Hall trip, after months of planning.  Pray that those who came will be open to God’s calling on their lives to serve him however he chooses.

– Pray for Steve in his Unit Leader duties—he will be travelling to visit various members of the unit over the next few weeks.

– We are planning a short break in the UK over Christmas and New Year.  It will be Ruth’s parents’ diamond wedding anniversary on Boxing Day.  Pray for safe travels and for a good time with family in Carlisle, Bicester, Newark, Nairn and Elgin!  We return to Tanzania via Kenya on 8th January.

One of our Oak Hall guests has a close encounter with a ‘hero’ rat!