Saturday, February 12, 2011

Africa Update #2 | From my Dad

Dear Friends and family,

Greetings in the Name of Christ.

I am at an internet cafe in downtown Mwanza.  We have made it through
our first full week of classes.  We have completed two courses so far.
"The Beliefs, Teachings, and Practices of the Historic Christian
Church",  What has been believed by all Christians, everywhere, for
all time.  And, "Introduction to Apostolic Ordained Ministry", a
course that examines the qualifications and duties of ordained
ministry along with the Ethos and Ethics of Christian Ministry.  I am
averaging about 25 students in class eah day.  The ones who live
farther away are staying in a simple dormitory on the compound, while
others come by bus from their homes.  As you know, Fr. Francis is
teaching in Geita, about 2 1/2 hours away.

Bishop Kwangu has decided it is best for me to stay at St. Dominic's
Catholic Pastoral Retreat House, which is run by the Catholic Church
of Tanzania.  The rooms and food are plain and simple, but very
sufficient and clean.  I am being spoiled with the availability of
(almost) hot water.  I am picked up each morning by the Bishop's
driver for a 20 minute drive to the class.

The weather has been pleasant and sunny.  About 80 at night and about
90 during the day.  It has rained twice since we are here.  This is
the "rainy season" which means everything is green and growing well.
I see many gardens throughout the city wherever people can find a spot
of ground to grow something.  I am told that later in the year
everything will be brown from the heat.

There does not seem to be any traffic rules to follow except drive on
the left side of the road and avoid getting hit.  Other than that, do
as you wish!  The African people seem to be very patient with this
system of traffic and I have not seen any accidents.

The students of my class are very involved, listening carefully and
asking many questions.  Their questions cover a broad variety of
subjects pertaining to Christian doctrines and ethics.  I have to rely
on the Holy Spirit's guidence to give them the best answers and
advice.  Sometimes progress is slow because of the many discussions,
but this is good.  It shows that they are thinking and leaning well.
As they say here in Tanzania, "the students are coming with the

My daily schedule is as follows:
6am - 8am  Devotions and preparation for the day's lessons.
9am - 4:30 pm  Class time.
11 am  Tea Break
2 pm  Lunch
5 pm - 9 pm  Back at the Retreat House
      Naps, walks, reading, study for next day lessons
7:30 pm  Supper
I have quiet evenings!

I ate my first fish head on Thursday for lunch.  It was not bad at
all, just a little difficult cracking open the bones to get the stuff
out.  Yes -- I did eat the eyes!  Don't you want to bea missionary
teacher too?!!

The people have been so kind to me.  I am humbled by their attitudes.
What they lack in knowledge or possessions, they make up for in
ethusiasm.  They are ordinary people doing the best they can with what
they have to care for their families and to do God's work.  The
African people work very hard and are very industrious.  The average
person makes less than one dollar a day.  As anywhere in the world,
there are problems to deal with in the churches and in regular
society.  But God is at work here and the Gospel is being spread by
these evangelists.  We are here to help equip them to do their work
better -- and they are grateful.

May the peace of Christ be with you.

Nathan Dunlap


My Dad teaching in Mwanza, Tanzania. 

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