It was a massive difference - they were rich enough to give the Bishop a goat as a thank you for coming and confirming the candidates. At Mtumba, the church was very big, made of concrete blocks instead of mud bricks. The parish is big - 4 congregations and a total of 2852 people. The first hour and a half seemed to be greeting and introducing people - several parishes were joining together for the 440-strong congregation. 400 were presetn. 65 candidates were confirmed! Because we were about 4 hours late, there was no time for prayer for healing at the end, which was disappointing. Basically we had been treated like royalty - given a rousing and warm welcome, introduced and allowed to say a few words, been given a gift of a kanga (wrap-around fabric like a sarong or lava lava.) and then had to sit through hours of confirmation service . It was helpful to think "This is not all about me, this is about the 65 confirmation candidates and celebrating their big day."
That evening, we returned to Bishop Given's Dodoma house and were given a meal at 10pm! This is a hazard of staying with people who are so hospitable! Both Bishop Given's mother and Lilian's mother were there this time and still there were enough beds for us 5 team members. Robert and Rachel Kereopa from Wellington joined in the confirmation services in DCT and helped us pray for the sick in those very big services. It was great to have the extra hands on deck for the prayer time. It was frustrating to only be able to pray for about 4 people each and then everything was over and we were given the equivalent of a Christmas dinner! They only eat rice at Christmas time as it is so expensive, but we have eaten it almost every day since we have been here.
On the final day there were two confirmation services in the DCT area. The last one was at Ihuma. 300 were present. Robert, Rachel, Ian and I sang a waiata of "Wairua Tapu", which was well-received.This church has 3006 people!
Now I am sitting in Perth airport, waiting the 7 hours between flights. We have travelled from Dodoma to Dar Es Salaam, from Dar to Johannesburg and then to Perth. Now it is Perth to home! Hurrah! There is nothing like one's own bed and I am looking forward to it!