Friday, January 8, 2016
“Every new friend is a new adventure… the start of more memories.” — Patrick Lindsay
Shaban in his home village near Singida today, but he is leaving around noon to drive back to Mwanza where he will spend tonight and then drive back to Bunda tomorrow. He needs to get here in time to get the car serviced (oil change, filters, etc.) before he drives our guest, Maddie Powell, and Bishop Monto into the bush to the church at Kariakakari on Sunday. Maddie (see picture at the right) is working on a Master’s Thesis about the Methodist Church in East Africa and is spending eight days with us interviewing me, Bishop Monto, Bishop Festo, and other members and leaders about the Methodist Church in Tanzania. She is also gathering as much printed information as she can as there is virtually nothing extant regarding the Methodist Church and its entrance and expansion in East Africa. She is not taking sides, so this is not to be a judgmental piece but rather informative allowing the reader to draw his or her own conclusions. She is young, bright, vibrant, and a delight to have as a guest. She will probably continue her studies with a Ph.D. that will combine anthropology and religion which sounds intriguing. She was recommended to us by Dr. Dana Robert, my professor of missiology at Boston University School of Theology. I mentioned to Maddie on the drive back from Mwanza that at first I did not want to take a course in missions and never planned to even go on a mission trip. Maddie told me that Dr. Robert had already told her about me and my reluctance to study missions, and now, here I am being studied about our mission. God works in mysterious ways only to us—I’m pretty sure God knows what He is doing. Today is the day for my interview which will be taped and possibly videoed. Bishop Monto is coming tomorrow for his interview, and Bishop Festo will be interviewed next Tuesday. Sunday, of course, will be a real Tanzanian Methodist Church experience with a drive of over an hour over bad roads, a church service of several hours, and probably a meal, too. There is no better way to learn about our church than to experience one with its choir, embedded liturgy, and sermon in Swahili. Maddie has been studying Swahili for six years and speaks it better than any of us, so is in a perfect position to really experience a religious service as it was meant to be experienced without having to stop for translation. We’ve had younger guests and older guests, but we have never had a guest who has already been to Tanzania twice (a couple of months on Zanzibar and three weeks in Arusha) and who speaks, reads, and writes the language so much better than even some of the Tanzanians. Our dog, Sissie, has adopted her as another mother and just jumps in her lap to be petted—which is high praise indeed. We are blessed to have Maddie here.