Orthodox Christian Mission Center’s Blog

August 23, 2011

Tanzania and James: St Jacob of Alaska 2011 Update

Dear friends,

Furaha na amani! Joy and peace!

And greetings from Tanzanian winter. It’s hovering around 18 degrees- 65 Fahrenheit- and although it’s the dry season we have had some small rainshowers. I’ve been reading about the extreme heat waves in North America. If you’re pitying me for having to endure Africa’s supposedly harsh and unforgiving climate, don’t!

Here in Mwanza we are making final preparations for receiving volunteers from the Finnish Orthodox Mission and OCMC who will participate in a rural youth seminar in Muleba District of Kagera Region. This is an annual event, taking place in a different deanery each year, and currently our major ministry with youth at an Archdiocesan level. Event planning in rural Tanzania is a little different from event planning in North America. It’s been fun.

In June, I was pleased to welcome two newcomers to the Archdiocese of Mwanza. OCMC Missionary Maria Roeber, a maternity nurse from Georgetown, arrived last month after more than two years of preparation. Maria hopes to help the Archdiocese of Mwanza develop its health care ministry, possibly by working at Resurrection Hospital in Bukoba or through other means. She is also helping OCMC to develop regional long-term health-care strategy elsewhere in East Africa. Maria is currently stationed in Bukoba town for her time of language and culture acquisition, and I have thoroughly enjoyed catching up with her in the past two weeks.

Meg Engelbach, an Intercultural Studies/ Linguistics student at Biola University in Southern California, is serving a summer internship here in the Archdiocese of Mwanza. She is living with a local family in Mwanza city, sharing in their life and learning from them. Meg is also learning Kiswahili and using her experience to help improve language-learning materials to better address East African linguaculture. God willing, Meg’s notes and suggestions will be of benefit to future OCMC missionaries as they learn language in this part of the world. I’ve enjoyed having Meg around, and am very impressed with her dedication and adaptability. It is my hope to continue to play a role in welcoming students and interns to share life with us here in Western Tanzania as they broaden their own experiences and make decisions about possible long-term missionary service in the future.

It’s been a good winter, and I’m looking forward to what lies ahead. I am grateful to each of you for your prayers, encouragement, and long-term commitment to financial support. I am here because of you. Stay in touch!

By your prayers in Christ,

James Hargrave

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