John Rowse – December Update

Dear Friends at BPPC,

I am in Songea in the south of Tanzania, at the end of six weeks of seminars with Anglicans of the Diocese of Ruvuma. Please be praying for them all now. We can thank the Lord for an entirely safe tour covering most of the diocese including every deanery and almost all parishes along Lake Nyasa from Lituhi down to Ng’ombo near the Mozambique border.

The Gospel Taking Root

We can thank Him especially for a delightful openness to the gospel in one of the most strongly Anglo-catholic dioceses in the country. In each place except Mbamba Bay they wanted me to go to more centres which meant spending one or two days instead of four for each seminar. In spite of that, it was clear from at least the more vocal folk that almost all of them, in the end, were persuaded of justification by faith alone. In most places they also began, at least, to see what this meant for their magical thinking about baptism and the Lord’s supper, and their view of pastors as mediators or ‘priests’, and especially “masses” for the dead. In one place I was asked if the “padre” was right to heed an incredible request from villagers. They had concluded that long-standing conflict in their villages was caused by ancestors being unhappy with them. And so they asked the church “priest” to conduct a mass for those ancestors, in the hope that it might make them happy with the villagers again.

Heading for Home

After the long drive back to Mbeya, I will have a little work with Lutherans there, and hopefully with Moravian theological students, too. Then I fly to Dar es Salaam. I will try to help an old Indian Christian lady who has a ministry to men on the street, and then I preach to a mainly expatriate church, Dar Christian Fellowship, Sunday, December 22 before (that afternoon) beginning the long flights back to Melbourne, arriving Christmas Eve. I can’t wait to get back to Kay and nice peanut butter (in that order, of course!).

Thanks for your continued prayerful support over this year.