Transitions…

May 27, 2013 in Life, Wycliffe, Mark, Africa, Front, Tanzania by Mark

The last few months have been a busy time for us, hence the lack of blog posts! In March we flew to our head office in Dar es Salaam, where I was part of a committee discussing how our Uganda-Tanzania Branch is governed. While that doesn’t sound very exciting, the meetings were actually very interesting and we made some good progress towards thinking through how staff from various countries and cultures can all give input in to policy, and how this might work in practice.

In Dar es Salaam we were also asked by our branch leadership to consider moving in to new assignments next year, and to bring forward our planned time in the UK and the US so that we would be back in Tanzania to start our new jobs in early-2014. So on arriving back in Mpanda we concentrated on handing our work over to our colleagues, particularly Isaack who will be taking on much of the day to day running of the office that I have been responsible for.

Then, as we were in the middle of packing up our house, we received the sad news that my grandfather had passed away, aged 87. As we were close to leaving Mpanda we looked into the possibility of finishing packing up our house and handing over things in the office in the next 3 days in order to travel across the country and fly to the UK in time for the funeral! After a crazy week of packing, saying goodbyes and a lot of travelling, we were very happy to be able to attend Grampy’s funeral, which was a special occasion.

James

Saying goodbye to friends – James

Onde

Onde

Mama Pendo

Mama Pendo

Mzee Boniface

Mzee Boniface

Leaving our home

Leaving our home

The long road from Mpanda to Dar es Salaam

The long road from Mpanda to Dar es Salaam

My family, dressed up for Grampy's funeral

My family, dressed up for Grampy’s funeral

After just a few days in the UK I flew back to Tanzania again last week to finish off a few things that I didn’t have time to do before we left. I’m now in Mbeya in southwest Tanzania, conducting some research into how the Nyiha people use their newly translated Scriptures, and what lessons could be learned for Bible translation projects in other parts of the country.

A family in the village of Wasa who work hard to teach and promote literacy in their Nyiha language

A family in the village of Wasa who work hard to teach and promote literacy in their Nyiha language

On Wednesday I then plan to take the train from Mbeya to Dar es Salaam, transporting all of our belongings that we packed up in Mpanda, so that they are ready and waiting for us when we find a house in Dar next year! I have never taken the train before in Tanzania, but hear that, if you’re not in too much of a hurry, it’s a great experience. I have just over a week scheduled in Dar es Salaam before flying back to the UK, so I’m hoping that will be long enough to account for any train delays!

Several of our colleagues have also left Mpanda for various reasons in the last few weeks, so the team will be smaller for the next few months. We are glad that we are leaving behind a very capable and motivated team however, and I will be sitting down with Isaack in the next few days to discuss the direction the project could take over the coming months. There are many possibilities for how the team could continue to build on the foundation that has been laid, so we would appreciate your prayers for wisdom as we plan ahead.

For us personally the next few months should involve flying to the US (in mid-June), spending time with friends and family, and taking time to relax and rest. We’ll also be keeping busy communicating with our churches and supporters about what is happening here in Tanzania, with Laura possibly taking some further training too and me hopefully writing the dissertation that will complete my MA in Bible and Mission.

While the last few weeks have been a bit of a whirlwind, we are grateful for how the plans have fallen into place, and very much look forward to what may lie ahead over the coming months, particularly as we have the opportunity to catch up with many friends and family in the UK and the US. Living a life that involves so much travel and transition can be challenging at times, but we are also aware of the huge blessing it is to be able to spend time with so many wonderful people, and to experience many incredible places…

Looking out over beautiful Mbeya

Looking out over beautiful Mbeya

Looking out over beautiful Mbeya