25 January, 2013
Msiwe na wasiwasi mkisema, “Tutakula nini?” au “Tutakunywa nini?” au “Tutavaa nini?”… Baba yenu wa mbingui anafahamu kwamba mnahitaji yote hayo. Lakini uta futeni kwanza Ufalme wa mbinguni na haki yake, na haya yote mtaongezewa. Kwa hiyo msihangaike kuhusu kesho, kwa sababu kesho itajihangaika yenyewe. Kila siku ina shida zake za kutosha.
Do not worry, saying, “What shall we eat?” or “What shall we drink?” or “What shall we wear?”… for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
– Matthew 6:31-34
Blessed feast of St Gregory the Theologian!
Greetings from Bukoba, Tanzania where Daphne and I are visiting our friends and fellow missionaries Felice Stewart and Maria Roeber. Since arriving in East Africa in October we have been able to spend very little time with these dear people, and it is very good to be with them briefly.
Much has happened since we wrote last. We’ve been so busy keeping up with events, we’ve had little time to update you. So here goes:
Local doctors in Mwanza have advised Daphne to deliver our firstborn child somewhere other than Mwanza, as the city lacks facilities that might be necessary with a first pregnancy. We have acted on this advice and spent several days last week in Kampala, Uganda where we located an excellent hospital and have been taken on as clients by a British midwife. The midwife’s attitude and philosophy towards childbirth is exactly what Daphne and I are looking for. She partners with a very good OB/ GYN who will be available in case of emergency, and the hospital has suitable facilities in case either mother or child have difficulties with the birth. We feel very good about this.
Our Archbishop, Metropolitan Jeronymos of Mwanza, has affirmed and encouraged the plan to deliver in Kampala, and we plan to move temporarily to Kampala on the first of March this year. The baby is due on the eighteenth. We have also contracted a short-term lease on a very nice house which is within our budget.
We are especially encouraged that we will have company. Maria and Felice are both winding up their terms of missionary service at the end of February, and plan to stay with us in Kampala before they leave East Africa. Maria, an accomplished labor & delivery nurse, has agreed to act as Daphne’s doula. If there are complications with labor and delivery, our friends’ presence will be essential in caring for mother and child. If everything goes smoothly, they will be available to help Daphne in the first weeks after delivery while I am busy with errands getting birth certificates, US and Canadian passports, and the other documents necessary for us to return home to Tanzania as a family.
To briefly answer some commonly asked questions:
– We will tell you the baby’s gender and name after the baby is born. At this time we can confirm that a healthy human child is growing in Daphne’s womb, with no anticipated complications and a due date of March 18th, 2013.
Shortly after our last update in late November, Daphne and I began negotiations to rent an apartment on level ground very close to our Archdiocese offices. It is a two-bedroom apartment in a complex with several other tenants, and is a little bit bigger than our old place up on the hill. After nearly eight weeks in limbo, we moved in to the new place on Wednesday, the ninth of January. It will take a great deal of time and effort to get basic furnishings such as an oven, a bed, some shelving & wardrobe space, a kitchen counter, a washing machine, a small sofa, a few chairs, etc but we have begun work on this. Our goal is to have the apartment furnished enough by mid April that we can bring our baby home into some reasonable comfort.
We’ve been working hard, no question. Since our honeymoon seven months ago, Daphne and I have been living in a state of near-constant stress, exhaustion, and transience. We are absolutely wiped out, but the hard work of survival has been so overwhelming that we have spent very little time on the tasks outlined in our job descriptions. I have barely been at the office in Mwanza. We did help to host a short-term team from Finland and OCMC in December, who taught catechism in villages around the town of Magu two hours away from Mwanza. They did great, and it was beautiful to be with them, but I also had to be in Mwanza for negotiations on our new apartment, at being needed in two places at once was complicated.
Daphne has begun Kiswahili language lessons in Mwanza. So far she is doing well, learning a lot, and enjoys both her instructor and her classmate. As time permits, I hope to also take advanced Kiswahili lessons at the same school.
God is good. God is with us. At home in Mwanza, we are surrounded by a loving community in a beautiful neighborhood, supported by gracious Church leadership. Our Archbishop has affirmed that, since we intend to make our home permanently in his Archdiocese, getting established well is worth the effort. He has affirmed that my top priority is to care for Daphne and provide for our child, and that Daphne’s top priority is to make a comfortable home here where our family can thrive in the decades to come.
We’re feeling pretty useless a lot of the time. I am aching to get back to work in the office. This week in Bukoba all the priests of the Archdiocese are gathered with their Archbishop for meetings. I have seen many familiar and beloved faces, and my heart is burning to be back in the parishes with the clergy, supporting their good service to our holy God. It’s not time for that yet. We need to be settled first, and that will take time. We understand this, and our leadership affirms it. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t frustrating.
We are safe in the hands of a loving Father. In the midst of uncertainty, Christ commands us to forsake anxiety and instead pursue the kingdom and righteousness of God. This is hard to do.
By your holy prayers and great love, we are not anxious. We are doing very well indeed. And we are excited about the future. Thank you for your love, friendship, and prayers which sustain us. Thank you also for your faithful financial support which allows us to build our lives in this good place. Keep up the good work.
By your prayers in Christ,
James and Daphne Hargrave