Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Update from the Hargraves - all of them

Dear friends,

Furaha na amani! Joy and peace!

Greetings and blessed Lent to you from Kampala, Uganda!

Over the past month, Daphne and I have begun our new life as parents to Peter Henry. We have also said farewell to our dear friends and fellow long-term Missionaries Felice Stewart and Maria Roeber.

It took over a month for our son to be issued a passport, which meant that we weren't able to go back to Tanzania immediately after his birth. This enforced maternity/ paternity leave has been a blessing. As we begin to figure out how to be parents, we have been in a comfortable, low-stress environment surrounded by a loving community here in Kampala.

As soon as the three of us got back from the hospital following Peter Henry's birth, I had to go downtown nearly every day for a week to deal with our son's birth registration and passport applications. Leaving Daphne and the baby at home was painful, but Maria and Felice took good care of them. I have childhood friends living just around the corner who ensured that we stayed well-fed.

After the first week of errands, thankfully, the passport application process simply involved waiting, and so Daphne and I had time to figure out how to feed and care for our son while also eating and even sleeping a little bit. It was very tough at first, but we seem to have hit a stride by now.

On Monday April 22nd my mother flies in, and will help us with the journey back home to Mwanza before she goes on to a conference in Kenya. Grandma Ellen is looking forward to meeting the first Hargrave grandbaby, and we're grateful for her aid as we bring Peter Henry to live in our small, temporary home.

God willing, we'll arrive in Mwanza on Lazarus Saturday, and Peter Henry may be churched on Palm Sunday. The date for his baptism is not yet set, but it will likely be in June.

What's next?

Well, there's plenty of work waiting for me at our offices of the Holy Archdiocese of Mwanza. Daphne is eager to return to Kiswahili language study as soon as she can. We're still trying to set up plumbing in our house in order to be able to wash diapers on a somewhat reliable schedule. Our house's poor plumbing, along with the difficulty we've had in hiring a reliable plumber, has been a major headache since we moved in four months ago.

You may know that our present Church infrastructure in Mwanza consists of a small house with a tiny chapel and three little offices. Bigger facilities are under construction, though, and some time this year we hope to see St Nicholas Orthodox Cathedral consecrated.

The missionary activity of the Church continues. Shortly before departing for Uganda at the end of February, Daphne and I were invited to visit Ukerewe, the largest island in Lake Victoria, where a donor from Romania is building an Orthodox secondary school and church. Our friend Anastasios introduced us to a local chairman (a minor civil officer in Tanzanian society) who was reading an Orthodox Christian catechism and eagerly plied us with questions. The next morning, at his his invitation and with the blessing of His Eminence Metropolitan Jeronymos, we prayed a Typika service with the whole family.

The biggest "next," of course, is beginning to raise a family out here. Our son belongs to a peculiar tribe known as "Missionary Kid" (MK). I'm one myself, having been raised in Kenya by Protestant missionary parents. I couldn't have dreamed of a better childhood, and am very excited to begin raising our own MK here on the mission field. To give you some idea: Peter Henry was born in Uganda to a Canadian mother and a Floridian father from Kenya. He was delivered by a Ugandan physician assisted by an English midwife and an American nurse. He will probably grow up in Tanzania, bilingual in Kiswahili and English (both the Southern and Canadian dialects), with dual citizenship and able to feel equally at home in British Columbia, Tanzania, or the American South.

Prayer and Support

Children are very important here. Raising children ourselves will help us fit in to Tanzanian culture. We are excited about the opportunities God will give us to proclaim the good news of the Resurrection of Christ with our whole lives as a growing family. We beg your prayers, that we do not neglect these opportunities. And we beg your prayers especially as we embark on the beautiful and terrifying project of parenthood. Pray especially for little Peter Henry.

Our expenses are growing as our family grows. We are not salaried by the Church in Tanzania. Rather, all of our financial needs are cared for by you- congregations, families, and individuals committed to regular giving. Our "average" supporter gives about forty dollars each month, and we need about twenty-five more "average" supporters to make up the deficit in our current budget.

About one-third of our support comes from people giving $10 - $25/ month. Another third of our support comes from folks giving around $50/ month, and the rest is from donors who are able to give $100/ month or more. The smallest pledges are just as important as the largest gifts. 

If you'd like to find your place in this support team, committed to regular monthly gifts of $40 or any amount, you can call the Orthodox Christian Mission Center at 1-877-GO-FORTH or 1-904-829-5132 and ask for the Finance department. You can go to www.ocmc.org/thehargravefamily and click on "Support This Missionary Ministry." Or you can write a check to Orthodox Christian Mission Center with "M:Hargrave" in the memo line, and send it to OCMC, 220 Mason Manatee Way, St Augustine, FL 32086 USA.

Most importantly, we ask for your continued prayers. Our son was born the morning of Forgiveness Sunday, March 17th, and this has been a Lent like no other. Our good God cares for us through your holy prayers, and your encouragement and love gives us a glimpse of the Resurrection ahead. Thank you.

By your prayers in Christ,

James, Daphne and Peter Henry Hargrave

PS To see some pictures of our growing family and departing colleagues, you can go to the following link: http://flic.kr/s/aHsjELZwjQ


Friday, January 25, 2013

Update from the Hargraves


Bishop Innocent addressing Clergy
(taken  from James' Facebook page)
Dear friends,

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:

Baby!

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.

Home!

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.

Work!

...?

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


James Hargrave
Orthodox Church in Tanzania
Holy Archdiocese of Mwanza
PO Box 1113
Mwanza, Tanzania

+255 682 51 36 91 (Tanzania)

http://www.ocmc.org/missionaries/missionaries.aspx

Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year!

Fr. James and I hope that each and everyone has a 2013 full of Blessings and Love.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Update From Romania

Greetings from Cluj this most blessed and beautiful of days.

 As you already know, the St. Dimitrie Program is dedicated to helping the Romanian Orthodox Church to develop programs in the Church to combat addictions and alcoholism in the parishes. We also have some projects around Cluj where we assist the medical community as well.

 Today we went out to visit our group at the long term care psychiatric hospital in Borsa, and took them out some Christmas packages. The packets had some oranges, chocolate and other goodies in them. We have been taking a recovery program to this hospital for several years. In addition to the addictions counseling and 12 Step AA support groups, a priest goes along with us to help the patients who want to go to confession or to talk about their spiritual problems privately. Today there were about 20 people in our meeting.

 We had a couple of new guys in the group, one young one and an older fellow. They both had been drinking this morning before the group. You might be asking, "how is it possible for people in a psychiatric hospital to be drinking at 8 o'clock in the morning". Well, it's because in this place there are 200 patients with only 16 nurses and 6 doctors for all 3 shifts. It is sort of a chaotic place, or at least seems that way at times. They do have two psychologists and four social workers, one of which also helps to organize our groups. She is actually becoming a pretty good counselor, but she has duties other than the 25 or so patients in our group to look after.

 While out there today I had a discussion with the director of the hospital about how we could improve things. It was an old conversation, one that we have had many times. It goes something like this: "There is no money for new staff, the state has no funds for development, the doctors over medicate patients because it is the only tool they have in their tool box, and there are no community based programs for reintegration....and even if there were, in Romania there is not much to reintegrate back into." The economic crisis has put a stop on development over here, and in places where it is much needed.

 I did say that I would try to find some funds so that the St. Dimitrie Program could hire another staff member to dedicate to Borsa. It would cost us about $6,000/ year for salary, health insurance and taxes. Our current budget simply does not allow us to hire another staff member. If any one is interested helping with this the information for donations is at the bottom of this posting.

In closing, I have a very nice story about today. One of my current staff members, a "peer counselor" called Rici, asked one of the guys who was drinking this morning if he "would like to stop drinking for keeps". It touched me because I had asked Rici that very question several years ago, when we were first starting our program in Savadisla. He has been in 12 Step recovery now for nearly 10 years.

 God bless you, and have a great day!!

 In His Love, One day at a time, Floyd & Ancuta Frantz

We do thank you for your interest in our work, for your support, and most of all for your prayers. If you would like to help support our work here in Romania please mark your donation "St. Dimitrie/Romania" and send it to OCMC at: OCMC 220 Mason Manatee Way St. Augustine, Fl. 32086 You can email me at: floydfrantz@gmail.com Thank you again for your blessings and for your prayers!!

Monday, December 17, 2012

New Patriarch in Antioch!

Taken from here.
Youhanna al-Yaziji was elected on Monday the new Greek Orthodox Patriarch of the Levant and Antioch. He will succeed late Patriarch Ignatius IV Hazim, who passed away on December 5. He will be known as Patriarch Youhanna X. The election was made after a meeting of 20 archbishops at Our Lady of Balamand Monastery on Monday morning. Born in Latakia, Syria in 1955, Yaziji earned his school and university education in Syria. He earned a degree in theology in 1978 from the St. John of Damascus Faculty of Theology at the Balamand University and a doctorate in theology in 1983 from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece. He was appointed a deacon in 1979 and a priest in 1983 and in 1981 he took up teaching liturgy at St. John of Damascus Faculty of Theology at the Balamand University. He assumed the position of dean of the faculty from 1988-1991 and 2001-2005. He became the head of the Our Lady of Balamand Monastery from 2001 to 2005. In 2008 he was elected as the Metropolitan of western and central Europe. AXIOS!AXIOS!AXIOS!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

November update from Romania

Greetings from Cluj this most blessed and beautiful of days. It has been a few weeks since I last wrote, and so today I wanted to get you caught up on our activities here in Romania. It has seriously been a busy time since I last wrote you. After finishing the addictions conferences with Fr. George and Fr. Iulian, I went back to Cluj for for a few days to get caught up at the day-center. While there a priest, Fr. Ioan Simion, asked me if I would help him to start a counseling program a prison in Cluj. Of course I agreed, and will be meeting with the administration of the prison either in December of January to make the detailed plans. We have an approval from the national prison system to enter and teach about addictions in essentially all of the prisons in Romania, so this should not be a problem. It is just in getting the time to do it. The past 3 weeks I have been living in a small village called "Miclauseni". Metropolitan Teofan, of Iasi, asked me to help do a 28 day treatment program for some "special guests". We will be finishing up next week, and then I will be back in Cluj for a few weeks. Perhaps I should say, "hopefully for a few months". It was such a treat going to Divine Liturgy this morning at the monastery located next to the center we are staying at. We are using the small chapel, as the big church is too expensive to heat in the winter (and it is cold over here right now) so they change over to the chapel. The villagers simply filled the place up. It was very nice, and I am always amazed at the reverence of the village people here in Romania. They are really very poor, and maybe that makes their reverence more obvious. Rather than using poverty as an excuse for self pity or to blame God for their condition, they find comfort in their religion and relationship with God. They are inspiring to me. One last note, Irina, the young lady that was injured in the accident I told you about in my last email, left the hospital last week. She will enter into long term rehabilitation therapy next week as she is still not walking. She has had three surgeries to date. Please do pray for her full recovery, and for her spiritual well being as she lives through this most difficult of times in her young life. If you have any prayers lists, living or fallen asleep, please do feel free to send them over. We are having daily Divine Liturgy at the monastery and we have a prayer list going for the sick, deceased, and the living. I will close for now by wishing you a most blessed and Christ filled day. May our good and loving Lord give you every good thing from His heavenly treasures, joy, peace and a sense of his divine love for us all. It is there for us all the time, all we need to do is to reach out and take it. And I do thank you for your interest in our work, please do keep us in your prayers, we all need them. In His Love, One Day at a Time, Floyd & Ancuta Frantz, OCMC Missionaries to Romania As as a final note, please remember that as OCMC missionaries we are 100 % reliant upon your financial support to continue our work through OCMC. Please consider a small gift so that we can continue to do our Lord's work. If you can make such a donation, send it to: OCMC 220 Mason Manatee Way St. Augustine, Fl. 32086 and please mark the donation "STDIMITRIE/ROMANIA so that we can use the funds directly for the St. Dimitrie Program.

Friday, November 23, 2012

The Hargraves are expecting!

With Deacon James Nicholas, Felice Stewart, and Maria Roeber in Bukoba

Dear friends,
 
Basi, ninyi si wageni tena, wala si watu wa nje; ninyi ni raia pamoja na watu wa Mungu, na ni watu wa jamaa ya Mungu.
 
So then you are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.
- Ephesians 2:19
 
Greetings from Mwanza, Tanzania. This is James writing.
 
We're expecting!
 
Among the many prayers at our wedding, Father Michael and Father David petitioned God for Daphne and me to "rejoice in the beholding of sons and daughters." It is clear that this prayer was heard.
 
God willing, we look forward to rejoicing in the beholding of our firstborn child this March. We are due around the 21st of the month. We have hoped and prayed for children, and it's exciting to be given such a good gift so very soon. Our child is in good health and is growing rapidly.
 
We're homeless!
 
At the beginning of this month, we were received joyfully into the home where I had lived since January of 2011. My local Tanzanian family was thrilled to meet Daphne, and have been taking very good care of us.
 
But the house- like most homes in Mwanza city- is perched high above the nearest proper road. The only way to reach it is by climbing a steep slope of uneven granite boulders which can get pretty slick when there's mud or sand on them. Pregnancy is giving Daphne sciatica in her hips, and her joints are getting more and more loose and unbalanced.
 
Daphne really wanted to make it work. She'd hoped that she'd get used to the physical strain of the climb to the house. But it's getting worse, not easier, as the pregnancy progresses. By the end of last week, it was obvious that we had to move out immediately.
 
(Daphne's asked me to clarify that her sciatica is not nearly as bad as what affects some women. I'll take her word for it. As long as she's on level ground, she's fine. But when she's scaling mountains, it gets pretty awful.)
 
God is good!
 
We are temporarily staying in the guest room of a lovely house with a friend who has welcomed us warmly. This all came together at the very last minute—we left our old house for good on Friday morning and were invited to stay here about 5pm the same day. God has taken good care of me for years, and by your prayers, we are confident that he will continue to provide for us.
 
But we kind of wish he'd let us know what's ahead more than two hours in advance...
 
Finding housing in Mwanza city is no small task. You may recall that I spent three months living in a guest house in 2010, while I hunted for a place to live. We expect it to be just as tough this time round. Please pray for us.
 
Monday was our first visit with our OB/ GYN in Mwanza. He comes highly recommended, and we like him. We have been advised that this city has good medical facilities for women to give birth if it's not their first pregnancy and there are no known complications. But a first pregnancy carries enough unknowns that if complications do turn up, we might not be able to get what we need here.
 
This means that, God willing, our child will likely be born either in Uganda, Kenya, or the city of Dar es Salaam here in Tanzania. We have investigated some of these options and will continue evaluating. We are confident that we can have a safe and healthy delivery for mother and child in any of these locations. Each has its own advantages and drawbacks.
 
Since our arrival, we have spent time in Bukoba town with fellow OCMC Missionaries Felice Stewart and Maria Roeber. Deacon James Nicholas, our Missionary Director at OCMC, paid us a visit last week. We enjoyed being with everyone in Bukoba, as well as welcoming Deacon James here in Mwanza.
 
Things are as busy as ever at the Church offices. We're preparing to receive a short-term team from Finland and OCMC in a few weeks. Many other things are also in the works. I have spent virtually no time "back at work" yet, as the priorities of finding a home and a place for our child to be born have taken obvious precedence.
 
God is taking good care of us. Daphne and I are thrilled to be here in the Orthodox Church of Mwanza and Western Tanzania, and have been received warmly by His Eminence, Metropolitan Jeronymos as well as Church leadership, fellow missionaries, and the local community. I'm delighted to be chanting regular services--morning and evening, every day- in the Kiswahili language at the Archbishop's chapel. We are present on the mission field where we've been called, and we have each other.
 
I'm doing my best to care for my bride, and feel woefully inadequate. But Daphne is doing well anyway. She is tough, courageous, and positive. I am in awe. If I were in her shoes I'd be a useless mess.
 
Nevertheless, we are under a tremendous amount of stress right now. We have each other, we have the Church, we have a good local network of support, and we have the fervent intercessions of the saints. We have Christ our God, who was born while His mother was traveling, with no home or even room in which to give birth.
 
I've thought about the Nativity of Christ many times. This is the first time I've considered how physically and emotionally overwhelming it might have been for the Mother of God to be uprooted from home in the final weeks of her pregnancy, and how scary it must have been to give birth in a manger. 
 
This is the first time I've considered the terrifying weight of responsibility on the shoulders of St. Joseph the Betrothed. How helpless he might have felt, charged with the care of a pregnant woman but without a home or even a room for the baby to be born. 
 
We sure are in good company. God is with us. Although we feel like strangers and sojourners at this moment, we know that we truly are at home in his household.
 
This letter is already very long, and I haven't told you the half of what's been going on. The past six weeks have been packed. I'd like to tell you more. So much has been fun, encouraging, exciting, and memorable. But I've said enough for now.
 
We know you are praying for us. Keep up the good work.
 
By your prayers in Christ,
 
James and Daphne Hargrave



James Hargrave
Orthodox Church in Tanzania
Holy Archdiocese of Mwanza
PO Box 1113
Mwanza, Tanzania

+255 682 51 36 91 (Tanzania)

htttp://jhargrave.ocmc.org