Hi <<First Name>>
In 2012, before we left Australia, we explained that our first three years in Tanzania would be set aside especially for listening, learning and exploring. St John’s University has been our starting place for this, with the expectation that we would be here for our first term (2013-2015). Aside from learning language and culture, we had two goals: to work with the student fellowships at St John's, and to get a sense of the university ministry scene in Tanzania in order to figure out what shape things might take in our subsequent terms.
Throughout this time, and especially in the last few months, we have been engaged in a lot of consultation and prayer seeking to discern what place God might have for us longer term. We are now able to share that this semester will be our final one as Assistant Chaplains at St John’s, and that we will be moving to work with TAFES. TAFES is the Tanzanian arm of the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students (IFES), which will be most familiar to Australians as AFES (ES, CU, EU, etc).
Let us quickly put to rest two possible questions about why we are making this move:
- Our leaving St John's is not because of a lack of things to do here; indeed, the need for campus ministry is great and, under the new Vice-Chancellor, those opportunities will only increase.
- We are not leaving St John's because it has been a difficult placement; on the contrary, St John's has been a wonderful starting place where we have had many unique opportunities, especially in freedom to network and to dedicate time to language study.
We continue to enjoy many warm relationships with St John's people, and we are leaving with the blessing of the Vice-Chancellor Dr Emmanuel Mbennah, our mentor Canon Alfred Sebahene, and our boss Bishop Francis Ntiruka.The Vice-Chancellor in particular has encouraged us to pursue God’s calling even while he is disappointed that this is somewhere other than St John's.
Our first contact with TAFES was during our short visit in 2010, and we have continued to connect with them since arriving in Dodoma. We see this move to work full-time with them as the natural continuation of God's leading over the last five years. The time we've spent getting to know TAFES has confirmed that their character and direction as an organisation are a fantastic fit for us and our gifts. We'll be the first CMS Australia people to partner with an IFES group in Africa.
The St John's academic year finishes at the end of July, and we expect to be in Australia to begin our six-month home assignment in December, so in the intervening months we'll be able to have an orientation period with TAFES and settle into Dar es Salaam where we expect to live.
We will write more about TAFES and our role there in the next email, but don't hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions about the move.