The response to yesterday’s blog was encouraging and lifted my spirits as so many agreed and some even posted pictures of that stanza being shown on the big screens at their churches where they sang the hymn. I do believe in radical obedience to Christ and will practice it as long as I still have breath and will hope at the same time that more and more will also answer His call to love, forgiveness, caring, and welcoming strangers.
On the home front, Edina’s brother died on Monday after suffering for over five years with AIDS, and she left yesterday for the funeral in a city the other side of Mwanza. I gave her bus money and money to help with food for the funeral. Even though his death is a release from his suffering, Edina’s eyes were still filled with tears as she spoke to me. The pain of loss is never eased no matter what the circumstances, and we are praying for her courage and comfort.
Shaban only has to get three windows installed in his new house and he can move his family in next month. It is a very nice house built with concrete bricks and a rust-proof blue metal roof. The whole family is excited about that new adventure. He is also working on metal tables for Karen’s school storage to keep the termites from destroying the books and is doing that today. Yesterday, he went to Musoma to get our monthly money from the bank which was full to the brim with people getting money for Christmas. He also was able to send Pete the money to fix the teeth of the two boys who will soon be able to smile proudly. Pete was effusive in his thanks, but, as usual, we just wish we could do more. Shaban also paid Social Security for all our workers and made sure our monthly internet bill was paid as well. In the U.S., the errands that he ran would have taken an hour or two at most, but here, it was an all-day affair. He helps us so much in so many ways.
Juliana is still showing up on time and doing her work outside and is now living in a house away from her family with just she and Charlini living there which is a good thing. We are still working on getting Charlini into a boarding school, but it may be summer before we can make that happen. And speaking of next summer, my son Chris, his wife Brenda, and my sister Penny are working on plans to come visit which makes us all very happy.
We will also be hosting a woman from Boston University who is working on her Master’s Thesis based on the Methodist church in Tanzania and surrounding countries. She will be with us for about ten days beginning January 10th, and I am looking forward to visiting with her and taking her to see some of our churches. Don’t know how much help we’ll be, but we will do whatever we can to assist her. Here, we welcome strangers from other countries, other faiths, other races, and whose politics differ from ours. It is what we have been called to do, and just to remind you once again:
Truly He taught us to love one another;
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother;
And in His name all oppression shall cease.
Amen and Merry Christmas to you all (y’all in most cases).