We get lots of bad news here about the deaths of children we knew, neighbors, increases in prices, friends and staff with malaria, attacks on the church, and problems with the power, internet, and the stuff of daily life. So, we do rejoice and cherish (see quote above) every bit of good news that we get. Some of you may remember that a few years ago I was betrayed by a man of the church that I liked and trusted, and it depressed me for a long, long time. Recently, he sent word that he had reformed, asked my forgiveness and invited me to see the new church and school he had started in Mugumu. The map at the right shows the location of Mugumu relative to Bunda and the Serengeti National Park. Bunda is on the left of the map where the large yellow roads meet just at the western tip of the Serengeti National Park. The blue areas are Lake Victoria. You can see that Mugumu is close to the park and about a two-hour drive on bad roads from here. Mugumu is so close to the park the some of its citizens have been killed by lions and elephants. It is quite a ways off the beaten path and remote enough to be a good place to get away from the temptations of the larger communities. Because of its location, Mugumu is where Bishop Ndege of the Mennonite Church set up his offices after spending three days of retreat here at our mission. Well, once burned, twice shy, as they say, so I didn’t rush out to see the church and school. I told the Evangelist who had hurt me that I would send Bishop Festo out to see him and check everything out. If he came back with a glowing report, then I would travel out to Mugumu and to start to help Evangelist Collins in small ways. If everything is as it should be, Karen will train the teachers in the Montessori method and prepare a box of teaching materials for them. We will need some financial help for this from the One Book Foundation or anyone who can help out with $300 for the materials and workshop here. But back to the good news. Bishop Festo went out last Friday and spent the weekend there. Yesterday, he came back here and reported that everything was indeed as it should be. The Evangelist was contrite and sincerely sorry and wanted to get a new start which is why he went so far out in the bush. He has another very good woman Evangelist (lay pastor) to help him and a certified teacher to run the preschool. The school has the rather unwieldy name “St. Bishop Wiggins Charles Care Academy.” Happily, no one has to say the name, they just call it “the school” and let it go at that. Bishop Festo also brought me a folder full of documents with the teacher’s certificate, the names of the 70 students, and other credentials—all kosher. I think I am beginning to understand the joy of the father in the prodigal son story when his errant son returned home. I had really liked the Evangelist, but he had fallen in with some bad church people who are no longer affiliated with our church. I will be traveling out to see the school when the weather allows as we are just now beginning the really wet rainy season and the roads wash out often. That he turned his life around and is working in union with some other very good people is good news indeed. That he has started educating and feeding 70 orphans a day is also blessed news.
This will make nine preschools attached to our churches from none just three years ago, and it makes the eleventh new church since we came here. Qualifies as good news, don’t you think?