Thursday, August 21, 2008

Fr Francis In Tanzania


From Station Mwanza in Tanzania                                                 

Fr Francis Wardega


For many, mission ministry has a sort of exotic glamour to it.  Such work includes large crowds, healing services, hospitals built, schools visited, and similar events.  Such work is very good and very blessed.  This ministry is different.  We teach.  We teach the teachers.  We teach the preachers.  We teach the leaders.  We teach the ones who had no real prior opportunity to learn.  There are many such people in Africa. 


The bulk of the work is done daily.  The schedule: teach 9 am to 7 pm.  Teach ministry subjects to the depth that they are useful to the leaders of the parish. Do this every day, less an occasional rest day.  The students quickly adapt to the schedule. They write down more notes than is needed.  They listen and ask insightful questions.  This is a two-week investment in a life that bears fruit in a parish for the next twenty to thirty years.  Not glamorous – just effective.


This week, we finished up the class on Ordained Ministry and moved into Fundamentals of Sacred Scripture.  Then we ended with Sacramental Theology.  These eleven students are different.  They have absorbed so much.  They talk about different things.  They have a whole new and deeper appreciation of the Bible and their personal Bible.  Everyone preached once and was affirmed and critiqued.  They want more.  “Can you stay for three months?”  Sorry.  They were very proud to pose for their class picture.


As available, I go to local churches to meet the people there and celebrate the liturgy.  Last Sunday, I visited St John in Nyamanoro.  I preached in both Sunday liturgies.  Each service had a 25 person choir, a different choir for each service.  They worship with contemporary African worship music, choreographed.  It is Motown gone Jesus!  Such music keeps the young people in the Anglican Church instead of being attracted to other, more seeker friendly churches.


The work this trip will soon be finished in this diocese, until next year.  Next on the schedule is a ten hour bus journey toDodoma, the national capital in the center of the country where I will be working with Bishop Daudi Chidawali again.  I will be teaching at his Bible College in Buigiri where I taught last year.


One unusual experience.  I was invited to dine with Bishop Kwangu and a visiting bishop.  As we sat and talked, I realized that somehow, many red fire ants crawling on me.  I tried to be a good guest as long as I could but the others noticed my discomfort.  I ended up trying to stand still while two Anglican bishops and one bishop’s wife killed so many ants that were feasting on me!  That was my lesson in humility that day.


Thank you for your support.  God and you make this possible.  Please keep on supporting this mission.  Please sustain this good ministry.  It works!


Fr Francis Wardega                                                       

Office of Foreign Missions

Missionary Priest in Africa  

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