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Prayer for missions can save lives of Missionaries: One Sunday evening after supper, another missionary and myself were sharing our experiences of 2 mission stations in Tanzania where we had been for Sunday liturgy. While we were sharing we heard sounds of panic coming from some religious sisters who had come to us for help. With screaming and gasping they told us “Fathers, help us, some people are throwing stones at our convent”. We let them inside of the rectory and tried to pacify them. Later we took our torches and two logs which we had kept to kill poisonous snakes and went to the convent to observe the situation. 

After observing for a while we decided to go around the convent to assess the situation. The convent was surrounded by tall corn, but in between the cornfield there was a pathway/shortcut, to the village market. We followed it half way but returned to the rectory after not finding anybody or seeing anything unusual.

After listening and consoling the sisters for a while we took them to the convent and assured them that we would keep watch during the night. As they went inside and locked the doors we returned to the rectory and continued our sharing, but remained vigilant in regards to the situation at the convent.

After half an hour we heard the sound of shootings and cries of people from the village market. While we were about to come out of the rectory with our torches and logs we heard the hissing sounds of our neighbors, “Fathers, switch on the generator, (villagers used kerosene lamps but parishes had a few solar bulbs and a diesel generator for late meetings and seminars), keep open the doors and come out quickly, let us run and hide ourselves for lives. Dacoits have come. Certainly they will come to the rectory. Hurry up”. After starting the generator we rushed with our neighbors into the darkness. We hid ourselves among the banana plants and watched the situation, continuing to hear the shoutings, cries and running of people from the village market.

After another half an hour we heard the sound of people going away from the market, so we cautiously came out of the bushes and one from our group rushed to the market to find out information. He returned with the news that 2 watchmen were shot and killed, that every shop in the market was stolen from and that the watchmen were made to carry the loot.

After Mass on the following day, we went around the convent through the corn field and to our surprise saw the cigarette buds and crushed corn plants where the intruders were sitting. We realized that we had actually passed through that place during the previous night. The intruders could have easily done anything to us: beat us, take us as hostages or shoot us, for we had nothing even to defend ourselves or resist being overtaken. No doubt, it is only God who saved and spared our lives. 

I firmly believe that it is because of the prayers of many, even if we may not know them, that we missionaries are saved and protected miraculously and daily throughout the world. Sincere THANKS for your prayer support for missions and missionaries. God bless you all. 

-Fr. Zach, MST

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