McCann Mission Today
Newsletter #13
August 2006


Newsletter #13

Virtue is not the sign of a Christian.  Joy is.  –Madeleine L’Engle

We are back to reading Forward-Day by Day on a regular basis.  This excerpt was a part of one of the reflections of why there is so much suffering in the world.  It was an odd twist to reflecting on the trial of Jesus before Pilate in Matthew 27:11-23.  However it struck a resonate note with us and sent us out into the day in an upbeat fashion.  Does this happen to you?  Frequently we pray.  Genesis is the beginning of each new day—Right.

The past six weeks since our St. Thomas friends left has been busy.  The long awaited container arrived on July 14th.  We had decided to unload it at Msalato because of the theology books and the availability of storage space at the college.  It was a wise choice as the library was not in use, and it was an ideal place to store and sort.  Monica Tuppa, the college financial officer, arranged for almost twenty men to help in the unloading.  By the end of the day the contents of the 40 x 8 x 8 foot container were placed in the library, mostly the reading room but other rooms and nooks as well.  Dickson Chilangoni, Principal, was thrilled with the 1400 theological books acquired and sent by Rev. Dr. Paul Elliott of Stone Mountain, GA.  Sorry Paul, you missed the arrival by 17 days.  The books are contemporary, of high quality, and include several sets of reference texts.  Sandra and two recently graduated students, Darius Sudayi and Daudi Seyingwe, did most of the sorting of these.

The college office now feels quite uptown with the new photocopy/printer/fax machine which Charlie Roper worked so hard to obtain.  The office personnel have never seen anything quite like it.  They marvel at clear copies and the fact that we can now print by pushing a button in our offices.  The boxes of accompanying paper are a huge gift as well.

Martin was happy the get two first class microtomes donated by The Medical Center, Columbus, GA.  These were wondrously saved from the scrap heap by Rachel Lewis, a technologist who used to work with Martin.  Many other technologists donated books and gadgets to be used at Mackay House Health Center or the Laboratory School at Mvumi Hospital.  The next week or so was taken up with sorting and distributing the contents.


The bulk of the medical supplies went to Mvumi Hospital, and it took their rather large truck three loads over the next week.  The main items were an infant incubator, several centrifuges, numerous operating room packs, Foley catheters, gloves, syringes, bed pads, orthopedic plaster, and crutches.  Peter Mnyangulu, the hospital administrator, was most appreciative. 


Dr. Emanuel Mringo, Dentist at Mackay House Heath Clinic, was thankful for the dental chair and also the dental books donated by the Rev’d. Bill Coombs.  Dr. Alpha Chomola, Doctor in Charge at Mackay House was appreciative of the items for the clinic and the laboratory there.  We are working to improve microbiology and several donations will be of use.   Mr. Chibanhila, administrator at Hombolo Leprosy Hospital, was happy to receive an exam table, centrifuge, and other items, although this donation was small in comparison to the needs of the hospital.


This task began in the spring of 2005 when Bishop Mhogolo first toured MedShare in Atlanta.  Bishop Alexander supported the effort from the onset.  We and the theological college and the diocesan medical facilities are grateful for the generosity of the Diocese of Atlanta for both the funding of the filling of the container as well as the shipping and the customs fees.  Also there were several individuals who donated items on a personal level that came with the shipment.  Some people in Dodoma have been seen in Cusseta and Auburn baseball shirts!!!  The Tide fans (I saw an Alabama shirt the other day) will be angry.


Also during July, this Diocese had a visit from a group of 13 (7 teens from one youth group) from the Diocese of New York City.  They were an outgrowth of the visit last summer by Bishop Catherine Roskam and her vision to set up a program for AIDS orphans.  Carpenter’s Kids is the result and the hope is to link each of the almost two hundred parishes in New York to the 200 parishes in DCT.  The goal is to screen families, find those in need, and fund them with school uniforms, shoes, and a daily meal allowance.  So far about 20 parishes are up and running with the project.  The group from New York was lead by Archdeacon Rev. Michael Kendall and Rev. Duncan Burke.  On their site visit, they reviewed projects at Mvumi and Nala, Bishop Mhogolo’s home village.  The logistics of this program are enormous, but progress is being made.  Pray that the momentum thus far shown will continue.  The relationships that may grow out of this will be remarkable. 


The college is also quickly establishing a relationship with an American family, the Steffensen’s from Springfield, Virginia, who arrived in late June.  Leslie just completed a Master’s Degree in Theology at Virginia and is teaching at the college.  Kirk is a Lieutenant Commander in the Naval Reserves with a background in Nuclear Physics who is teaching science and computers at the international school.  He has also helped greatly with the computers and internet on campus.  Their three pre-and adolescent children, Charlotte, Henry, and Greg go each day with Dad to the international school.  This young family has shown great coping ability in the transition.  For one thing their car has not yet been cleared from the port of Dar nor has their container of things they thought they couldn’t leave home without arrived!  The Steffensen’s presence has brought new life and joy to the campus.


In early August, Sandra journeyed to Butere, Kenya, to attend a theology conference sponsored by AICMAR (African Institute for Contemporary Mission and Research) along with the principal, Dickson Chilongani.  Dr. Chilongani presented a paper entitled, Prosperity Gospel in Africa: A Response from the Book of Job. This institute was organized six years ago and is already attracting the best and brightest scholars in Africa to their annual theology conference.  This year’s theme was The Gospel and the Contemporary Challenges of African Cultural Heritage.  The keynote speaker was the famous Professor Kwame Bediako of Ghana who spoke passionately for the need for Africans to become topnotch scholars so as to interpret the scriptures through the lens of their own culture and world views.  Each speaker reflected deeply on the insidious enduring legacy of the colonization of the mind, a phrase coined by theologian and author Robert Schreiter. 


Butere is less than two hours from Maseno, Kenya, where we did our “missionary internship,” so Sandra had a mini-reunion with Drs. Nan and Gerry Hardison at St Philip’s Theological College.  It was a blessed gift of time to catch up with dear friends and to see the enormous progress that has occurred there in the two years since we’ve been gone.  What they have accomplished there against all odds is truly an inspiration.


Sandra has recently assumed the position of Communications Director for the college.  This means she is traveling more and teaching less although she continues to share the chaplaincy for the college and adjacent girls’ school and to teach spirituality to the degree classes.  One of the fallouts of this new position is that Sandra will be coming back to the states in November to attend Diocesan Council, to do presentations in the diocese, and to follow-up on Bishop Mhogolo’s and Dr. Chilongani’s visits to several seminaries.  If any of you would like to have Sandra come to your church, let us know, and she will try to accommodate as many requests as possible.


While most days we do not feel virtuous (and some days anything but), still we find we are filled with joy living and working among and with the people here.  Madeline’s words quoted in the introduction help affirm that maybe we are on the right track!  We pray that your well is also filled with deep joy even when the surface water is not fit for smooth sailing.


                                                                                    With much love and joy,

                                                                                     Sandy and Martin