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During the Holy week of 2012, from Chicago, I visited 3 MST Missions in Tanzania to celebrate Holy Week with them. The distance between the Missions are very far away. I flew almost 5 hours in a small aero plane of 12 seats and 4 hours’ drive to our first Mission – Mpanda.

Since I had left Tanzania in 2003, after doing mission ministries there for 10 years, I had no chance to use Swahili, the language of Tanzania. To my surprise I was able to speak Swahili fluently from the airport which gave me confidence to try to lead Holy Week liturgies including the Homilies in Swahili. Is it not amazing to be able to speak a language fluently after 9 years?! So I was able to help MST Pastors for the Holy Week liturgies which was an exciting and enriching experience for me.

In the early morning, after the Easter liturgies, we set out to our next mission which was 1156 kms away and took 2 days by bus. By the evening of the first day, we covered almost half of the way and rested with Don Bosco Missionaries. 

Smoky Bus: On the second day we had to wait 3 and a half hours to get our connecting bus to Songea where MST Pastors were waiting for us since noon.

As we passed the half way point of the trip, we saw smoke coming just behind us, inside the bus. Though the driver and fellow passengers saw it, they seemed to be very calm and the driver went on driving in full speed. As we proceeded the smoke started to come out from the engine also. At this point the driver pulled the bus to the side and stopped it and everybody started to get out. While we were hurrying up to get out, the passenger behind me said: “Get out soon, otherwise you will become like us!” To be humorous, even in the face of danger, is a blessing of few.

As we got out of the bus, thanks be to God, a mini bus came by and the driver agreed to take 3 of us only and waited for us to get our luggage from the bus. The city was 50kms away. It was certainly providential and an affirmation of Rom 8:28.

Chengena - Songea Mission: We reached Songea by 7pm where Frs. Soby, Jose & Biju were waiting for us. Chengena mission is about 60 kms. away from Songea city and we reached there safely by 9 pm after 2 days of journeying by bus. Since there was scarcity of light (they depend on solar) and water (they fetch water from far by jeep) young priests decided to have an open bath in the moon light which reminded me of a phrase by one of the Founders of the Mission League (a pious association started in Kerala- India to promote Mission Spirit among Catholic children): "A Missionary has to have triple Masters: Master of Availability, Adaptability and Accountability.”

-Fr. Zach MST

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