Back from Safari – Update on Ikengeza

Well, we’re just getting back from safari… having seen many animals and exotic sights. More to come on that… until then, here is an update on Ikengeza…
6-21-10 / John: Just to add to a bit of what Sarah has already told you about our visit to Ikengeza… The preaching points we visited are listed below, along with their respective evangelists. Some are within a few city blocks of Ikengeza, while others (like the Masai village) are a few miles away. Evangelists are licensed to preach and conduct funerals, but are not allowed to officiate at weddings or preside at holy communion.
1. Ikengeza. Anania Kadege is the pastor. He oversees all preaching points.
2. Mgiha (Masai village). Rhoda Mbembati is the evangelist.
3. Myowela. Idan Mblibila is the evangelist. They gave us a chicken.
4. Chimdindi. Christopher Mbilinyi is the evangelist. They gave us Masai crafts and a goat.
5. Mseke. Daniel Nziku is the evangelist. They gave us food to eat and bottles of pop.
6. Miyomboni. SimonMsibwa is the evangelist. They gave us a chicken.
7. Mawindi (did not visit, due to road closure).

Our host pastors were Anania Kadege (pastor of Ikengeza parish), Huruma Bimbiga (pastor at the Lutheran Cathedral in Iringa and also our translator), Ombeni Ulime (head of the Theological Education by Extension Dept.) and Donald Kiwanga (pastor of the North District, of which Ikengeza is a part of).

Now for a bit of Swahili: The way to say “Holy Cross Church” in Kiswahili is Kanisa la Msalaba Mtakatifu Minnesota, Americani. Everywhere we go we see these birds that look like a crow wearing a tuxedo. In Swahili they are called kunguru. When we visited the Masai village at Mgiha I was a stung by a swarm of wasps. We had come upon an abandoned Anglican church, so I wanted to take a picture inside. Needless to say, there were still a few members worshipping there (the wasp family!). I was stung twice and screamed like a baby (I’m sure our new friends, the stoic Masai warriors, were wondering about this guy). Our guide kept saying, “pore sore,” which means “I’m very sorry.” So, I thought the word for wasp was pore sore. It’s really “nyu ki.”

Receiving gifts: At Chimdindi, we received several Masai gifts including a warrior’s club, which is called a kirungu. There was also jewelry, a beaded pastor’s cross, a decorative canteen, a men’s bracelet and an expensive beaded bowl for holy communion. We also received from Ikengeza baskets, wood carvings, many live animals and baskets of eggs. We donated the animals to the parsonage, since they would never clear customs! In the village on the last day we were presented with fabric to be worn around the waist or as a sash. They are bright yellow cangas, with a blessing in Swahili on them. I was presented with a dark blue one with a giraffe print and no words, so it is called a kitange. This is a status symbol for leaders as the giraffe (twiga) is the national symbol of Tanzania.

Needs of the Ikengeza Parish: At closing worship, Pastor Anainia presented us with a formal letter showing their gratitude and outlining their goals for the future: ongoing building needs, famine relief, water program, sponsoring more students, and a motorcycle to get around to the remote preaching points. A motorcycle for the most remote preaching point in the Masai village will cost $1,600,000 Tanzania Shillings, which amounts to about…$1,142 USD.

This was a wonderful way build on our relationship beyond the sending of funds to actually meet our sister congregation and its people. They were so welcoming and glad to see us. Our hearts overflowed with joy at the love they showed us. The Body of Christ does indeed have broad shoulders! They stretch across the sea as we are in ministry bega kwa bega (shoulder to shoulder).

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One Comment on “Back from Safari – Update on Ikengeza”

  1. Jan Oleson Says:

    Thank you for your updates. It is such a blessing to hear from you. We pray that you will recover quickly from the wasp stings and that you will all remain healthy. May God continue to bless you and watch over you as you trust Him and honor Him in all you do.


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