During Suzanne’s and Roger’s visit in 2007, the people of the church repeatedly said that a new church building was where they most wanted help. Although the Global Missions Committee felt that improving the water system was a more urgent need for their funding, out of respect for the wishes of the village, the committee donated $5000 toward the new church building. They also secured a $10,000 Mustard Seed grant through the Diocese of Virginia for the church building. With generous support from other American donors, and excellent leadership from Father Erasto Ndahani, the parish priest, Mwitikira built a large new church to replace their much smaller, crumbling older building. In 2013, the Global Missions Committee secured a United Thank Offering grant of $7000 from the National Church, to add solar polar to the church and the parish house which houses the library. Not only greatly enhancing the worship possibilities for the parish, the new church is a great asset for the Diocese of Central Tanganyika, serving as the site for large meetings and trainings for clergy, catechists, and choirs. The old church is now used for a church-run kindergarten for 75 children with two teachers as well as the Art Center, started by St. Paul’s parishioner, Trudy Bryan.
- St. Paul’s has provided funds to improve the solar power system in the village health center.
- St. Paul’s members have helped secure donated medical supplies, mosquito nets for the birthing beds, and, as a donation from Bishop Shannon Johnston, a microscope to be used in diagnosing malaria. As a result of the donation of the microscope, the government assigned two laboratory technicians to the village. Each Carpenter’s Kid family receives two large mosquito nets.
- Through a St. Paul’s connection, a pediatrician made two trips to Mwitikira to assist in the health center.
- In response to two years of severe droughts, St. Paul’s provided about $20,000 each year in emergency food assistance. Two St. Paul’s youth who had been to Mwitikira, Natalie Davis and Si Wofford, organized a drive through their schools, family, and friends for assistance the first year. Villagers repeatedly thanked St. Paul’s with many saying they literally could not have survived the famine without our assistance.
“Mwitikira is a place of much love and happiness. Every Sunday the village gathers for church. There they pray, often for up to five hours. They pray for us, St. Paul’s, and all people in need. This really pulls on my heartstrings. The people of Mwitikira, who have very little, pray for those in need. But regardless, their faith in God and their uplifting spirit is greater than any other I have seen. Love, life, and laughter—that is what Mwitikira means to me.”—Si Wofford, St. Paul’s youth
St. Paul’s visitors realized that no one had access to books except for some Bibles in homes and a few textbooks in schools. St. Paul’s youth organized a book drive and visitors transported about 150 books to Mwitikira. Suzanne met with the Books for Africa group in Dodoma, told them about the enthusiastic response to the books collected by the youth, and was given a surprise donation of 4000 books appropriate for young children through secondary school. The village built shelves and established a library in the parish house, the first public lending library in all of DCT. St. Paul’s visitors brought cards and book pockets so lending could be managed. In 2012 with funds from the UTO grant, solar lights were added. St. Paul’s provides funds for a villager to act as librarian. Janet Edmundson catalogued all the books when she visited leaving a computer record that could be updated.
“I visited Mwitikira in July 2010 to help catalogue the books that had been purchased and donated. Fr. Erasto told me that in April (about the time I decided to go to Mwitikira) the village had decided to form a library committee because they felt the need to COUNT AND RECORD all the books in the library. I realized that was why I was sent there to fill that need. It was hard to say all the goodbyes because they really made me feel like a good friend who had come to visit.”—Janet Edmundson, St. Paul’s parishioner
Trudy Bryan, a visitor from St. Paul's, believed that her contribution to Mwitikira would be providing opportunities for children and adults to enjoy art. Trudy brought over large quantities of paints, crayons, markers, chalk, brushes, paper, and other art supplies and introduced children and adults to these materials. Most children had never seen a crayon nor had paper enough to draw on. She helped several adults learn how to guide the art program after she left the village. Through Trudy’s commitment, the Art Center continues in the old church.