Bishop Bill Musk
St George’s Church,
5 rue Ahmed Beyrem,
1006 Bab Souika,
Phone in our flat: +216 71 335493
Mobile (Bill): +216 23447439
Mobile (Hilary) +216 23446739
The Chaplaincy in Libya, PO box 6626 Tripoli, Libya, Tel 218 21 4449302(office), 218 21 3335290(church), 218 21 4449344(fax) Libya
The Chaplaincy in Algiers. Holy Trinity Church, 6 Avenue Souidani Boudjemnaa, Algiers. Tel : + 213 (21) 60 4363 e-mail: email@example.com
MuskNews: “Please pray for us!”
Thank you for your prayers!
: the last couple of months seem to have been spiced with some special services at St George’s Tunis.
: nearly 400 people turned up for our outdoors Easter Day service. It was wonderful to gather in the garden and share fellowship and give praise in the heart of Tunis on such a significant day in the church’s calendar. Our youth band, our student band and our adult band all accompanied singing. Sunday School and older youth made presentations. One of our members who is a senior employee in the Africa Development Bank spoke and there were some testimonies as to what it means to people today that Jesus Christ is risen from the dead. There was plenty of lively singing – and dancing! Afterwards, we just about managed to feed everyone!
: due to my illness in February and our inability to obtain visas to visit Tripoli, Libya, I brought Rev Ayo and his wife Rosemary and young son Joshua to Tunis in order, on Bishop Mouneer’s behalf, to ordain him priest. We had a joyful celebration; the questions asked of the priest-elect I always find so searching and humbling. Rev Ayo and family stayed in Tunis for a week before returning to Tripoli to continue working under Rev Vasihar’s leadership as part of the ordained team at Christ the King.
: two of the women who are part of our Arabic-speaking congregation at St George’s came to me with a vision for inviting believers from around the country to come for a time of fellowship together, hosted at our church, on a Saturday morning. With the blessing of Rev Emil, the leaders of the various church fellowships in Tunis and elsewhere, they set about planning this event. In late April nearly 200 (including children) came together for a two-hour service of fellowship, praise and prayer in our church followed by couscous and tajine – food organised and produced and served by Hilary and Souad with the gracious help of two dear visitors who were staying with us at that time! The service was lay-led and fellowship-members – not leaders – spoke on various Bible passages. Worship was led by a group of Tunisian believers, drawn from various church groups in Tunis, who have gotten to know one another over the past few years, and have written and popularised various worship songs in Arabic. Our hearts were full of praise for the day in which some folk came from as far away as Gafsa in the far south – for them to know they are part of a large, and lively and growing Body of Christ in this country. There was a recognition of difference as participants included Pentecostals and Catholics, Adventists and Reformed Church and Anglicans and more. It was wonderful to witness and I was so proud of the two young women who dreamed it up and worked hard to bring the day to fulfilment.
: Rev Hamdy in Algiers has managed to get some helpful signage made and erected so that Holy Trinity, Algiers is a little bit more in peoples’ faces! He has used the Holy Week and Easter period to introduce an alternative, more “traditional”-based liturgy to attract folk who do not belong to the student community. Meanwhile, he has provided great pastoral support to the students who form the greater part of the regular Friday congregation at Holy Trinity.
: we thank God for the team at Christ the King, Tripoli. They are especially praying that the vacant, long disused building sitting next to the church site might be made available to them – for housing for clergy, and for guests, for some kind of education or community outreach work.
: in all three countries, security is a huge and delicate issue and what a difference a day can make!
: we have had a very eventful, busy couple of months! Our first lovely experience was entertaining Sarah, Andrew and Olivia here in March! Actually I think it was rather us who were entertained by a talented Olivia! We had a few days away in Hammamet enjoying the peace and cleanliness there! We walked around the marina and enjoyed endless ice creams! Olivia enjoyed the very active tortoise who wanders around our garden here in Tunis and eventually managed to persuade Mamma the cat that she was not like the other children here who torment her endlessly! Her catch phrase was ‘Can I do softly, softly with Mamma?’
: Bill and I grabbed a couple of nights away for my birthday in the cork oak forests of Ain Draham in the northern Khroumirie mountains. This is famous for the hunting of wild boar; the walls of the hotel (old hunting lodge) were plastered with photos of burly hunters with their prey, plus rifles, heads and all sorts of things! We enjoyed wild boar cutlets! We had some delightful walks, one of which reminded of us of walking in the woodlands of the North Downs! The air was so clean and clear and we saw some wonderful birds and some wild boar hoof-prints!
: this was followed not long after by a visit from Rachel and Aaron. We organized a special trip south. Aaron and I enjoyed what Rachel called ‘the most raucous game of chess she had ever witnessed’ on the train down to Gabes! Praise the Lord that Rachel’s head is still gradually improving so she was able to survive the 4x4 trip into the desert, with little more than bad headaches, but still more healing is needed! We visited some of the Star Wars sites and troglodyte dwellings; Rachel has posted some photos on Facebook. We enjoyed camping(!?) in a tent hotel in an oasis, paddling in hot springs, camel riding in the desert, staying in a troglodyte hotel in Matmata. Matmata was fascinating and one can understand how, before the building of modern houses there, it looked like a lunar landscape full of craters as everyone dug down and then into the rock for their dwellings. Nana’s highlight was feeding a baby camel! Mamma the cat was also a great hit with Aaron!
: just previous to Rachel and Aaron’s visit, I had been persuaded to exhibit some photos for the first time ever alongside two friends who were exhibiting oil paintings and fibre-art. It was a mad rush to get it all ready especially as my computer decided to go on strike just as I was printing the photos! I chose to exhibit some 20 x 20cm flower photos, many of them very close up/abstract, plus some larger interiors of the Roman ruins at Oudhna. I printed them matt and then had them laminated onto wood and mounted onto black wooden backgrounds. I would never have had the confidence to do this without the help, advice and encouragement of many friends! Thank you! The response was really positive; I sold seven pieces and have had promises of more purchases! I had to use ladders and easels to display the work but it was effective!
: we are enjoying a visit from Colin and Julia who were looking after the clergy in Gambella when we visited Ethiopia two years ago; it is nice to be able to return their hospitality! We had fun cleaning and chopping about 35 kilos of vegetables for the lunch after the Tunisian fellowship time last Saturday! All in all we purchased 66 kilos of food that filled two suitcases on two journeys to the market by Souad and me!
: I realize that I have written about some wonderful breaks, but honestly, we have been working hard the rest of the time!! The Youth band has now decided they can begin to lead a whole service once a month, which is a great leap of confidence. They then realized that this actually meant two services on a Sunday involving arriving at church at 7.45am and staying until 12.00 noon! Undaunted, they are keen to continue in May! I really can’t believe I lead a Youth Band when I am four times their age!
: the joint meeting of believers from all over the country was such a blessing and such a miracle! We have been studying Ephesians in our women’s Bible Study, looking particularly one week at 4:3, ‘Make every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.’ We were considering how we might do this practically here in Tunisia and discussing how unity does not mean uniformity, but means being family. We prayed specifically for God to bless the lone believers in isolated spots and to bring back into the family those who had been hurt in their churches and were not going anywhere.
: God used this verse to inspire B and B to suggest the idea of the meeting; it was such a beautiful vision! Here in Tunisia some of the leaders have a rather chequered history and do not really trust one another, so for this to come from the ‘sheep’ rather than the ‘shepherds’ was quite appropriate. Some isolated believers came and were tremendously encouraged to meet such a big family! Please continue to pray for trust, love and unity to grow stronger from the ground up! One of the girls from our Bible Study, a really lively and effervescent 22 year old whose name means ‘Hope’, has had a very hard time with her family, who found her Bible. She was beaten. She has also lost her job because of her faith. She needs a new job urgently. Please pray for these young people, most of whom are in their early twenties, a very formative time in their lives.
: we are looking forward to Nicola and Simon’s visit at the beginning of May, then a visit to Egypt for synod, followed by Helen, Sam and Ben’s visit here in half term. Please continue to pray for things to get ‘finished’ here, as the constant micro-managing is what tends to drain and discourage Bill! He is a brilliant delegator and loves to trust people to do what they have said they will do, but that doesn’t seem to work here! We praise God for work that is getting done: eg, transforming work in the cellar, redecorating the Sunday School rooms to African taste, pushing ahead the Legacy Project! We are currently redecorating the church and have just had a well dug in the garden! A man and a boy came with a very long screw and did the work, one in bare feet and the other in slippers! Our replica Roman baptismal font has also been repaired beautifully by professional mosaicists(?!). We still need to get a screen hanging from the ceiling in church onto which to project songs and liturgy in such a way that all can see at all times!
: thank you all so much for your prayers, they mean so much to us! Please enjoy the following photos!
Prayers please for
: folk in Tunis on staff at St George’s – Bill, Kwame, Emil, Khaled, Souad, Mohsen and Chedly plus their families.
: Rev Vasihar and his wife Malini with Rev Gus and his wife Marliese, plus Rev Ayo and his wife Rosemary and son Joshua, plus Reader Crimson, plus Rev Samuel and his wife Hony – all in Tripoli.
: Rev Hamdy plus the various African students making up the majority of the congregation in Algiers. We need solutions to property issues to do with the church and another building on the church site plus some immediate repairs to the fabric of the church – along with the development of ministry on a wider basis than the students alone could manage.
: pastoral ministry amongst different groups of people at St George’s.
: provision of a ministry mentoring/leadership training/outreach centre on the church site in Tunis – our “legacy project”. If you would like to receive a short powerpoint presentation on the Legacy Project, please send me a request by email and I will get one to you.
: protection and growth of national believers in North Africa; especially the congregation led at St George’s by Rev Emil with assistance from Sadak.
: the impact of the work of members of the Africa Development Bank throughout the continent of Africa; pastoral care of such folk in Tunis.
: pastoral care of the many folk who are here in Tunisia with “companies” and who attend St George’s.
: our diocesan and primate, Bishop Mouneer and his wife Nancy in their significant and busy lives.
: wisdom for Grant and Wendy LeMarquand in Ethiopia – Grant is Assistant Bishop for the Horn of Africa.
: the general situation in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, the Arab Gulf, Yemen, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Jordan – where not?!? and in the current shaking of several of those nations, for God’s Spirit to be unleashed in a wonderful way.
A few pictures follow.
Many blessings to you all and lots of love.
Bill & Hilary
Bill & Hilary Musk are mission partners with I.C.S. (Intercontinental Church Society: registered charity no. 1072584). If you would like to contribute financially to their support, please go to www.ics-uk.org and follow the link to “Make a donation”, then select “Tunis–St George’s–Musk” from the drop-down list. Thank you.
Children singing at our Easter Day outdoor service
Beatific angel, Jon, sitting on tombstone in Easter drama! Unfortunately, his halo kept slipping!
Rev Ayo’s ordination as priest
Bill with Ayo, Rosemary and Joshua, now back in Tripoli
Erecting a sign outside Holy Trinity, Algiers
Another sign showing the way into Holy Trinity, Algiers
Creche decorated to bright African taste! We are making curtains to match! Such fun!
Preparation for the re-decorating of the church (not bright blue green and yellow!)
Man and boy digging our well
The pole and screw they used!