So Pastor Amani is on a plane right now carrying him, first to Dubai and then home to Dar es Salaam. Well…almost home. From Dar it is still a seven hour bus ride to Mbeya. But every minute that passes now gets him closer to his wife Blandina and his three- year-old son Israel. In these last few weeks Israel has begun to doubt that Daddy is really coming home. He has scolded Daddy when he has Skyped home. Won’t Israel be in for a surprise on Wednesday night?
Pastor Amani has made it. He graduated on Friday with his Master’s Degree in Sacred Theology from Gettysburg Theological Seminary and his thesis had an impressive title about marriage and reconciliation in Tanzania-traditional methods for modern times. It was quite a feat to take all the classes and write a 130 page plus master’s thesis in a year and a half. Yes, it was! He had to do it in a language not his own.
Today he is homeward bound, after two parties, and repacking his suitcases several times yesterday afternoon. He will take home memories, stories, the love and friendship from so many Christian communities, a family connection (he has become our middle son after all!) and a great start to the next chapter in his life.
We actually said good-bye to him rather quickly this morning because we know we will see him on his own turf in about a month and a half. So it was just like dropping him off at seminary after a weekend with us, which we have done so many times in the past 18 months. “See you soon,” we said. Only this time, it will take thousands of miles to see him again. And this time, he will pick us up and take care of us in turn like we have tried to do in a year and a half. This visit and this time together, we will get the full picture: Amani and Blandina and Israel and lots of other people that are important to him.
Lord, keep him safe on his journey home. He is important to us.