Nine years seems to be a significant time frame in Paul’s life.
After nine years working at Morogoro Bible College in Tanzania, he returned to the UK for nine years, until February 2015 when he moved again to Tanzania. Paul has no idea whether or not he will stay for nine years! He now lives in Mpanda in the wild west and works with the Diocese of Lake Rukwa.
Formed in 2010, the diocese covers an area three times the size of Wales but has fewer than 30 parishes. Bishop Mathayo Kasagara has made evangelism a major priority and there are encouraging signs of church growth. New churches are being planted and people are turning to Christ.
The diocese faces many challenges, one of which is a lack of trained leaders. This is where Paul comes in: he runs a course to provide foundational training for lay leaders of local churches, in what Bishop Mathayo has called a Mobile Bible School. The 10-week course is taught in two-week blocks, in between which the students return to their ministry situations. Paul also tries to help with the administration of the diocese.
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The talk turned to money and suddenly faces became more serious. Smiles disappeared, worry lines were evident.
It has been the same wherever I’ve been, from the former refugee area in the north of the Diocese of Lake Rukwa, to the shores of Lake Tanganyika and the highlands in the troubled south. Over the last three weekends I have been travelling with a team, visiting a number of our churches, giving the news that there is no money. There’s never any money. We are, after all, in one of the poorest areas of one of the poorest countries in the world.
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