My dear brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord.
We are writing to you from the Dodoma Orthodox Mission in Tanzania. With the blessing of His Grace Agathonikos of Arusha and Central Tanzania a short time ago, we were appointed to Dodoma city, which is the capital of the state, in order to establish a Church here and spread our faith in this part of the world. We are very happy to write to you, because despite all the difficulties, we can clearly see the hand of God. We are certain that it is His will for the missionary work here to be accomplished as well. The devil is always hovering near us watching his opportunity to spoil our plans, but our Lord does not allow him to bother us for long, and so, little by little, our Mission grows.
There is not a single Orthodox church in Dodoma. From the beginning, one of our main pursuits was to find a good plot of land to build our mission center. This was very difficult, because there are very few plots available for sale, which are very expensive indeed. However, with the magic Hand of God, the miracle happened, and we would like to share it with you so that we can all wholeheartedly praise and glorify our Triune God.
With the help of Mr. Nikos Mamakos, a Greek expatriate- permanent resident of Tanzania, we anxiously started searching for a plot of land by car. Together we found the first plot, which is 8 km outside the city center (approximately on its extension). The plot is large and very central, on the asphalt road; there is even a hill inside it. Once we saw it, we knew it was meant for us. Nikos promised to build himself a large cross with lighting on top, to shine at night. That was it. Immediately after checking for it in the land registry, we paid a deposit and made a deal to pay the rest in about 2 months’ time.
The strange thing, my brethren, is that we only had the money for the deposit, and now with deep hope in God, we pray that a good Christian will be found to help us. We are sure of this, for His love is infinite and He always grants His blessings upon His laborers. This is something we experienced in Malawi as well during our service in the Mission there. We always lived a miracle. Another good thing about this plot is that it already has two houses built inside, and we are buying it with them. I do hope we will soon rent out the house where we are currently living and move to our own place as soon as possible so that we can finally start our mission trips to the villages. Besides this first miracle, there is a second one that I would also like to talk to you about, which we still cannot believe. As we said before, it is no longer possible to find a plot of land in the heart of the capital, that is, right in the city center. And yet, once again, our Good God has given one to us. We met a Minister of the country who is a good man and wanted to help us. We talked to him about our faith and the work that has been done in Tanzania by our 3 bishops for 15 years now. He marveled at it and expressed his joy for that. We gave him books on the Orthodox Faith in English and talked to him about Mother Church, the Holy Orthodoxy, which is the only Truth. We pray for his soul, may God enlighten him to understand and believe. He has a good heart, which is why we asked him to act on our request and find us a small plot in the heart of the capital, only large enough for a modest churh building and a humble abode for the parish priest. And he found it for us. In two months’ time we will sign the contracts and it will be ours, and then we will look for a donor to build us a church there. If this is not a miracle, then what is it, my brethren? How could we not be moved and not cry out of gratitude? How could our hearts not overflow with praise and thanksgiving to our beloved Jesus? We hope God will give us a third miracle: a church on the Dodoma campus with hundreds of thousands of students.
My beloved brothers and sisters, now that Christmas is coming, let us make sure that our Christ is born in our own hearts as well. Amen!
Fr. Ermolaos Iatrou