The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace.
As we are an inner-city church, it is common for us to have interstate and international guests – some for one day and others become temporary members due to an extended stay. Our small congregation is part of a larger international community through them. People of diverse backgrounds who live throughout the greater Brisbane area form the congregation. While most are Australian born, many come from various parts of the world and give our congregation an international flavour.
Emma Msaky from Tanzania is one such person. Emma is a geologist who came from Tanzania to Brisbane in 2006–08 to undertake a PhD in palynology – the palaeontology of spores – and made St Andrew's her spiritual home during this time. We learned that she and her sisters wanted to set up a medical dispensary near their childhood home outside of Moshi in the foothills of Mt Kilimanjaro. Without such a dispensary, sick people had to walk up to a day to seek medical treatment. Since Emma returned to Tanzania, they have built the dispensary in stages. St Andrew's has raised money to assist them as they work on this project. In 2009, congregation members Owen and Shiron Dixon travelled to Tanzania and stayed with Emma and her family and saw the beginnings of the dispensary project. No recent photos of the dispensary are on hand, but the dispensary facilities are in use and enhancement continues. Her latest project is building a fence for the dispensary.
A hymnbook written in Swahili is in a display cabinet in the church. The book was a gift from Emma. Her husband and three children remained in Dar Es Salam while she completed her studies in Brisbane. Emma added Swahili to the languages in which John 3:16 was read at our congregation's Pentecost service; she also read the passage in Norwegian one year, as she had undertaken her master studies in Norway and had to present her thesis in Norwegian!
Carmen Ost, our Office Coordinator, was baptised into the congregation as a baby in 1988. Since then she has been a part of Sunday school, as both a student and later a teacher, attended City Cats (at one time a youth group of the congregation) and served as an acolyte. Carmen is in the church office on Thursdays, but she remotely monitors the emails and phone messages. If Carmen doesn’t know the answer to your question, she knows someone who does!