News from Bishop Musk North Africa Oct 2014

 

MuskNews: “Please pray for us!”

 October 2014                            

1             Thank you for your prayers!

 

: we live in a very frightening world at the moment, don’t we? At the end of September, Hilary and I attended a gathering of clergy and spouses from around our Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East that met in Luxor, Egypt. It was a humbling and enriching experience with six bishops consulting with clergy/spouses of expatriate English-speaking churches in Cyprus, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Yemen and hearing about the reality of the regional challenges from Arabic-speaking Iraqi, Jordanian, Egyptian and Sudanese clergy. Sadly clergy from Palestine, Syria, Libya, Algeria, Iran and Ethiopia were unable to attend for personal, political or financial reasons. Though sometimes comprising only one or two Anglican churches per country, we cover a very diverse region which is embroiled in overwhelming conflict and struggling to assist millions of refugees. The topic in focus at the conference was “Love your neighbour.”

: we arrived back in Tunis in the middle of August to a much-changed St George’s! Many of our friends who were associated with the African Development Bank have left the country to return to the bank’s headquarters in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. On the day after our return, Rev Emil informed me that he had been offered sponsorship for the education of his four school-age children in Lebanon. He therefore wanted to cancel a trip with speaking engagements in Australia and move directly back to Lebanon (his home country) in order to settle his family in and prepare his children for school. We therefore said farewell to Rev Emil and his family at the beginning of September after their nine years work with St George’s.

 

2             St George’s, Tunis

: Pastor Kwame, whose wife works for the African Development Bank is still with us – just. His wife is waiting to hear when she will be moved back to Abidjan – we expect the transition to be made sometime in November/December.

: we were visited for two weeks in mid-September by Rev David and his wife Bassma, from Egypt. It was lovely having this Egyptian couple staying with us. Rev David is a deacon, currently leading a church plant in Sadat City, Egypt and lecturing in the Alexandria School of Theology. Bishop Mouneer sent him to visit us for us together to explore whether David might come and replace Rev Emil here in giving leadership to the Arabic-speaking congregation at St George’s. We are in a process of evaluation now. However, the earliest David could come would be January of 2015.

: we are very much looking forward to the arrival at the end of October of Rev Dr Peter Knight and his wife Christine. With Rev Justin having left in May, Rev Emil in September and Pastor Kwame (most likely) in November, I really need some help! Especially with all the extra responsibility of trying to push forward the St Cyprian Centre project. For the latter we are seeking to recruit a local, Tunisian manager to liaise with all the different parties who seem to be necessarily involved in the obtaining of permissions and licences. Thank you for your prayers for this. We first put our proposed plans to the city authorities in January and now in October we find ourselves embroiled in all kinds of processes and requirements, complicated because of the two commercial shops that use part of one of the current buildings on site that needs to be knocked down, partly because the title deed to the property on which the church stands is in the name of the British Crown (so needing British Embassy agreement, permission, representation to get anything at all done!), partly because there does not seem to be any clearly defined pathway/process but demands for certain documents and then, on presentation of these, demands for more/others!

: most Sundays there are visitors in church, with a few of them staying in-country for a period. This is a great encouragement.

: in the meantime we are necessarily strongly involved with the Arabic-speaking congregation as well as the English-speaking congregation – which is lovely, but stretching.

Oct14 Baptising a little one at Emmanuel St George

3             North Africa Episcopal Area

: Hilary and I managed a short but full and fascinating trip to Algiers at the end of August. It was wonderful to see the growth in the life of the congregation and the care being taken of the church building under Rev Hamdy’s good leadership. It was a most humbling experience to confirm three mature, Algerian, potential church leaders in the Friday service – a brilliant FIRST for us in that country! Rev Hamdy also kindly took us in his car to visit Tipaza, a lovely site of Roman remains down the coast from Algiers.

: we continue to pray for the signing of a good agreement between the Diocese and the British Government that will sort out ownership and use of the buildings on the site of Holy Trinity, Algiers. The result of such an agreement will hopefully be to allow us to renovate the church, to accommodate on site the minister of the church, and to have some facilities for outreach in the local community.

: Tripoli remains a very risky place.  The church thrives giving support to Indians, Pakistanis, some Africans and a few Westerners working in the country. We pray for their daily safety and effective ministry. Sadly, none of the clergy and spouses currently in Tripoli could leave the country to join the clergy and spouses gathering in Luxor. Meanwhile, Rev Ayo’s wife, who is an asylum migrant in Italy, gave birth to their second son there. Rev Samuel and Hony will remain in Egypt, working in retirement on various projects that Bishop Mouneer has requested for them to be involved in.

Bishop Bill in Ageria celebrating Communion

4             Personal touch!

: Our world… These certainly are difficult days in our world … our conference in Luxor, Egypt was so meaningful as we met with others ministering in such places as Beirut, Jordan, Cairo, Ethiopia where they are inundated with refugees and at a loss to know how to best help. Nabil  told us that friends working with Syrian refugees in Beirut had never before come across so many who were as open to the Gospel as these refugees.

: our lovely friends, Bishop Grant and Wendy, are seeing such fruit in Gambella, Ethiopia, as they have thousands of refugees, all ‘Christian,’ who have been fighting each other in South Sudan, some of whom now want to worship together as a united body. Grant feels overwhelmed at times by the volume of human suffering.

: Wendy has started an education programme amongst the women and the number of child funerals literally went from 250 one year to 0 the next! It is so encouraging! She trains the Mothers’ Union leaders who go to their villages, get the coffee brewing to draw the women in and then teach them about basic hygiene especially so that little children do not get sick from contaminated water. Praise the Lord for all these little lives saved!

: we had such a wonderful time worshipping together and studying God’s Word; looking into the Gospel of John and other subjects all on the theme of ‘who is my neighbour?’ We had some really challenging and meaningful discussions together. Of course, the setting by the Nile was so inspiring too!

: TunisiaWe are encouraged by the growing Tunisian church; we are still praying for consolidation and more grace and community. We still pray with some women on Saturdays before the meeting, time permitting. One week a few arrived out of the blue from Nabeul, a 1½ hour journey away. It was such a blessing to be able to share and pray together with them as they have a very small fellowship. I was so humbled the other week as we had a small group of women who had shared their needs and when I suggested we pray they asked me, ‘How?’ ie how should they hold their hands, heads, etc. Such beautiful simplicity of faith and God is working in their lives and answering prayer! More are coming seeking Jesus, many are reading, searching, whereas before it was nearly all from dreams and visions. Please pray for the young believers to finish their degrees and find work as just finishing a degree without strong support from their families is a big challenge and of course unemployment in Tunisia is very high. The parliamentary elections are on the 23rd October and people are at a loss about who to vote for with so many standing for election, most of whom are inexperienced and relying on ‘words’ to inspire trust! We had the ‘iid recently where each family slaughters a sheep in remembrance of God’s provision of a sacrifice for Abraham. It just brings to mind the Lamb of God; praying for many to meet Him in these days.

: Youth… We still have about 14 young people at church and have now established a rota to make sure that they are being challenged and have interesting exploratory lessons on Sundays! All our old Youth team have left or are leaving! We also have a new Youth Band combo!! It was brilliant to combine the flute, violin, keyboard and voices of before with the newly apprenticed drums, bass and guitars for the first time last Sunday! Unbelievable! And it is such good experience for them all! I hope one of them will become the worship leader soon, now we have lost our lovely worship leader, Nicole. It is such a privilege to work with teenagers here in Tunisia! Many will go on to be leaders in some field I am sure!

: Algiers… We had a lovely time visiting Rev Hamdy and Holy Trinity in Algiers, meeting some wonderful Kabyle believers and enjoying the Kabyle version of couscous! Also I had a lovely chat with a Zambian student, Juliet, who is in charge of the worship there. She wanted advice on how to engender more commitment from her team! I was able to share a seminar we did together here in Tunis; she ran it the other week with her team and found it a real blessing. Her long-time boyfriend Tadiwa is going back to Zimbabwe now to do his internship and they will probably not see each other for two years! We have a lovely Zambian student, Natalie, in our music team here who is in the same position with her long-time Zimbabwean boyfriend, Talent, who has gone to Korea to do his Masters. They all need such grace and patience!

: Family… Our amazing news is that Aaron has been on four hospital Challenge Days and has been introduced, initially to minute quantities and then gradually increasing quantities, of baked egg and baked dairy! This was a very stressful, truly challenging and exhausting time for Rach and Aars, but in a strictly controlled environment. You can see the results in the photos below!! Amazing!! A whole new world of pastries has opened up for Aaron! Rachel is slowly increasing the amounts of the baked products in his food, but always makes sure to bake them when he is at school as the egg in the atmosphere can still cause a severe reaction. He has more Challenge Days ahead now! Thank you so much for your prayers! He is beginning to fill out a bit now!

Sam, our eldest grandson (just 15) was interviewed by the Malibu Surfers’ News as he launched his second app game, ‘Zap Those Cows!’ It really is fun!! zapping cows, while avoiding poisonous mushrooms, exploding sheep and bombs! He cannot sell the game so it is free to download but there is an option to donate to a couple of charities, one of which is the Anaphylaxis Campaign (fyi: www.anaphylaxis.org.uk) as Sam was so moved by the limitations in Aaron’s diet when he and Rach went to Malibu for a visit in August. Rachel’s partner, Darren, took part in the Great North Run and raised a fair amount for the Anaphylaxis charity.

Nin and Simon took part in the ‘Nut’s Challenge’ in Dorking at the end of the summer to raise money for the Rainbow Trust (fyi: http://rainbowtrust.org.uk/.) which supports families of children with life threatening or terminal diseases (the charity Nin currently works for). It seemed to be mostly about getting very, very muddy!! Up and down, in and out but all in MUD!! I’d rather be on the other side of the camera!

Sarah and family have settled into their new house and Sarah, in her truly efficient manner, has not given herself a break until everything is painted and finished to her satisfaction!! The results are great but hopefully she will have had a bit of a rest here in Tunis with us! What a treat to see her and Olivia and Holly!! Bill had to play the parts of Kristoff and Hans (from the film ‘Frozen’) with Olivia (Queen Elsa) at every opportunity!!

: thank you all for your prayers in these uncertain days!

5             Prayers please for

: folk in Tunis on staff at St George’s – Bill, Kwame, Balqis, Souad, Mohsen and Chedly plus their families.

: Peter and Christine Knight as they join us and settle in.

: David and Bassma as we all consider if they should join us to give leadership to the Arabic-speaking congregation.

: Rev Vasihar and his wife Malini plus Rev Ayo and Reader Crimson – all in Tripoli; Rosemary (Rev Ayo’s wife) with sons Joshua and Nathaniel in Italy.

: Rev Hamdy plus the various African students making up the majority of the congregation in Algiers; plus newly arrived students; plus Algerian members of the church.

: Aaron as he and his mother seek a positive way forward with a recommended specialist over Aaron’s serious allergies, plus others in our extended family facing difficult days.

: movement forward with building permission plus funding for our St Cyprian Centre (Legacy Project) in Tunis; especially the appointment of a good project manager.

: protection and growth of national believers in North Africa; especially the congregation at St George’s directed at the moment by myself with assistance from Sadak.

: the impact of the work of members of the Africa Development Bank throughout the continent of Africa; their settling back into headquarters in Abidjan.

: pastoral care of the many folk who are here in Tunisia with mission communities or as students and who attend St George’s.

: pastoral care within the growing Tunisian churches and for deep spiritual growth and maturity; for mature local pastors to emerge.

: our diocesan and primate, Bishop Mouneer and his wife Nancy in their significant and busy lives.

: wisdom for Grant and Wendy LeMarquand in Ethiopia – Grant is Assistant Bishop for the Horn of Africa.

: the general situation in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, the Arab Gulf, Yemen, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Jordan – and in the current shaking of several of those nations, for God’s Spirit to be unleashed in a wonderful way.

Many blessings to you all and lots of love

Bill & Hilary

 Bill & Hilary Musk are mission partners with I.C.S. (Intercontinental Church Society: registered charity no. 1072584). If would like to contribute financially to their support, please go to www.ics-uk.org and follow the link to “Make a donation”, then select “Tunis­–St George’s–Musk” from the drop-down list. Thank you.

6             Contact details

 Bill & Hilary Musk

St George’s Church

5 rue Ahmed Beyrem

1006 Bab Souika

Tunis, Tunisia

Phone in our flat: +216 71 335493

Mobile (Bill):           +216 23447439

Mobile (Hilary): +216 23446739

Email: billamusk@gmail.com

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