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4 December 2011

Dear Friends,

It is 4:37 p.m. on this 2nd Sunday of Advent. The days between now and Christmas will be busy. As I write there are two Charismatic Youth Ministers preaching/teaching in church. I am close enough that I can hear Arnold who is the leader, Stefano is his assistant. I will go to church when they begin the intercessions and healing ceremony. As I told you last year when we had them here there are many people slain in the spirit and a lot who have problems with the devil and in some cases possession by the devil. The latter people sometimes need to be prayed for for several days before they are exorcised. Tomorrow we begin a 4-day seminar for youth at our Center Church of Gasuma. It is only 10 miles from here but can be an hour’s trip as our once beautiful gravel road is now very badly deteriorated. At least it is passable.

I cannot say that our original 10-mile road to our Center Church at Ng’wainasi is still good. After finishing my 8:30 a.m. Mass here at Nkololo I headed for Ng’wasinasi. For the first time in several years I did not get there. I got thru about 7 miles of pot-holed mud road only to find that our almost daily rains had wrecked havoc on our road. We live in hilly country so water comes down the road with a lot of force and has cut some deep ditches along the road and sometimes across them. I had a hoe and shovel along and we tried to cut down the edge of one of the ditches that we would have to cross. Then I walked ahead and there was another impassible ditch. People on bicycles said that the big flat section over the next two hills was very muddy. That is not just plain mud, but “mbuga” mud. Extremely slippery and sticky.

We won’t be able to get to that Center by car for some time so we will pray in one of our big outstations at Ng’wumatondo just 5 miles from here. That may become inaccessible soon as people made rice paddies and that diverted the river and sent it across our road. Such is climate change here. Even getting to Mwanza is going to be difficult. We had expected to have a black top road going by Old Maswa this year, constructed by a Chinese Company. However, money problems came up so they went home leaving a temporary road that was not made to withstand rain. What a mess.

Anyway, I have a great garden and 100s of flowers and lots of bushes and trees that are doing great! What really is occupying my mind now is our major project, Songambele Hospital. I don’t like to talk business in my newsletters but this project is a big part of my life so I will continue to share with you our ups and downs and progress or lack of it. As I mentioned in past newsletters, I am trying my best but am still struggling to get lots of information together, which is needed for our grant writers to complete the grant request, I have almost depleted funds that I need for education, salaries and everyday needs. Our prayers continue to be, that since God owns all of the money in the world He will find us worthy enough to share it with us.

We will start a Nkololo Center-wide, 9-day Divine Mercy Novena beginning on the 3rd Sunday of Advent. We welcome you to join us with whatever prayers you pray in time of great need. I am in a bind because I have a great team of permanent workers that receive salaries every month and workers that I will need when we finally get grant funding to begin our hospital. I have to keep them busy so I keep building, using funds that I received during my yearly church visits. However, there simply is not enough to keep the education program going, salaries, and maintenance. I realize that I am just one of many that is having a hard time making ends meets.

We have had several unexpected major expenses. One of them being the importation of two containers with hospital beds and mattresses and two microscopes. They have been sitting at the Tanzania Episcopal Conference Center in Dar es Salaam for over 5 months waiting for the government to pay the duty on our duty-free items. Don’t ask me how that works. But until the duty is paid the containers don’t move. We thought that it would not be expensive going through what we call the TEC. Not so. I had to pay thousands of dollars that I really needed badly for other work.

Happy to say I have some good news. The World Bank is financing the electrification of Nkololo town. What a great break for us. The cost of putting up poles, wire, transformers, etc. would have wiped me out. Ordinarily one has to pay to have electricity brought to your home or business.

However, there turned out to be a catch. They had designated 4 transformers, wiring, etc. for the church, living area and hospital and also a 4th transformer, poles etc for a water well for the hospital. We planned to put the well under our grant request for the hospital. The company that is doing the electrification told us that they could not put in the poles, wire, transformer etc. until we had a definite well site and had a well digger. If we did not have it, they would return the equipment to the company. We had to hire people to look for water. A miracle! Using their electrical equipment they found a spot on the church property that looked good. Now we have to get the well diggers, who will also install a submersible pump. That might mean anywhere from fifteen thousand dollars and up. We just don’t know. I do know that it was not in my budget but in the grant request which we do not yet have. However, we cannot pass up a chance to get free poles, wiring and a transformer all of which would have been many thousands of dollars. Our hope is that our efforts will be accepted by the company and the World Bank officials.

I have just been called to go to church for the faith healing so must get about my Father’s work. I’ll be praying for others. Please pray for me that I keep moving forward to save bodies and souls!

A Blessed Christmas season to all.

Really, I would not mind getting an email from you, I would appreciate having better communications.

Emails are really few and far between. One request I have is that if you have any attachments, please copy and paste them into the body of the letter as I have a terrible problem opening attachments.

Love and prayers to all,

Fr. Paul

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