Retirement? What's that?
Andrew and Pam Lake from Tasmania have recently moved from Aleppo in Syria to Damascus to take up leadership of All Saints’ Community Church, an expatriate congregation.
For the past year, Australians Peter and Elizabeth Smart have been filling in at All Saints’. The Lakes wrote:
Retirement? What’s that?
After busy careers in education and Christian ministry, Peter and Elizabeth Smart took on a six-month locum at All Saints’ that has stretched out to a year... They have worked hard at encouraging the congregations in Damascus and Aleppo and also building good relationships with the diocese and with the French nuns who run the school where the Damascus church services are held.
Andrew and Pam are currently going through the extended process of getting residency visas to live and work in Syria.
Meanwhile, Nigel and Aino Lee-Jones from Launceston are working in Murgwanza, western Tanzania, as short-term volunteers with CMS for several months. Nigel is doing maintenance on buildings and equipment for the Diocese of Murgwanza, while at the same time training locals in basic techniques for these tasks, and Aino is teaching English to 19 Bible school students.
Unusually for this area, they include three female students, of whom they write:
Aino’s three women students are slowly gaining confidence – they are smiling, talking (super-quietly) and producing work. More time would help them develop even more.
They have also been on some trips into villages. Here is one story:
It’s a dark night, no moon, but the stars are out in all their glory. On the horizon there are flashes of lightning. Outside a church, 400 people sit or stand totally still for two hours, thoroughly absorbed in watching the ‘Jesus’ film. During the film a Tanzanian evangelist makes comments or challenges the audience.
At the end of the film, when the call is made, 20 people give their lives to Christ. Another 20-30 are prayed for.
The 20 who made a commitment are brought inside the church – no windows, no doors, no seats – and, by oil light, a pastor and an evangelist talk to them and arrange times to meet and disciple these new Christians.
This is what happens every time Liz Burns (CMS missionary colleague) and her team of dedicated evangelists go to the villages, starting out early and always arriving home very late.
From David Boyd, Secretary CMS Tasmania