Krismasi Greetings December 11, 2005
Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; then the lame shall leap like a deer, and the tongue of the speechless sing for joy. For waters shall break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert; the burning sand shall become a pool, and the thirsty ground springs of water; the haunt of jackals shall become a swamp, the grass shall become reeds and rushes. NRS Isaiah 35:5-7
We are happily home in Georgia for the holidays. The chill in the air still has special meaning for our Christmas. Without rain since March, it was hot and sticky when we left Tanzania on December 2nd. The students at Msalato Theological College had finished their first semester exams and were going home for the long summer holiday. They were earnestly praying for the rains to begin. They will go back to their farms to hoe the soil and to plant maize and millet, the two main staples of the region. Christmas time in Tanzania is literally HO(E), HO(E), HO(E)! The northern hemisphere’s images for Advent center on The Light breaking forth into darkness. For those south of the equator, the images center on Living Water breaking forth into dry land. Rain in the right amount and at the right time are truly a matter of eat or famine.
Our time in Columbus is unfortunately fairly short. We will be in NY, NY, for a week beginning December 22nd to have Christmas with our daughter Elizabeth and husband, Wilson Rickerson. Elizabeth is a medical intern at Beth Israel Hospital and is working nights over the holidays. We hope she has a “light” night on December 24th, so she can enjoy the dinner the rest of us, including daughter Catherine, will cook for her. Martin will return to Tanzania to pick up his laboratory practice on January 4th. Sandra will not return until February, but she plans to take courses at Virginia Theological Seminary during the January term.
During our Georgia stay Martin is in the process of filling a container at MedShare International in Atlanta. This is an organization that gathers donated medical supplies and equipment and sends them overseas. The enormous cost of shipping has been graciously provided by the Diocese of Atlanta. Bishop Neil Alexander also is adding theological texts and teaching materials to the container. Generous friends are donating computers and other goods of various kinds. The Rev’d Canon Charles Roper, who many of you know as our former rector of St. Thomas, has done most of the coordinating with the diocesan office and MedShare to make the shipment a reality. Charlie has worked tirelessly on our behalf, including doing a display and talk at the Annual Diocesan Council meeting in Atlanta in early November. Our Tanzanian Bishop, Mdimi Mhogolo, was the guest of honor at this event and was presented with a $16,000.00 check from the clergy of the Atlanta Diocese to build a guest house at Msalato Theological College.
When we think of all our blessings, we are brought to tears over your generosity and interest in our work…it is more than one could ask. The internet is now a reality at Msalato Theological College. We wish you could have seen the students’ reaction. One of the pastor students, a man retired from the army, said to me, Teacher, now we are a real college! I asked them to type their final essay which was no mean feat for students who have never typed. The space bar was for the most part ignored, but their diligence and pride in their creations is worthy of report.
This will be a special Christmas for us, and we pray that it will be likewise for all of you. The Spirit has moved graciously in our lives and we are grateful. May this be a glorious Holiday Season in your lives as well as a happy and healthy 2006. If you just happen to be in Tanzania any time in the near future, do drop in!
God rest ye merry,
Sandy and Martin
You can see about us at www.mccannmission.org.