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

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