Monday, September 23, 2013

Since my last blog post...

Since my last blog post...we have been very busy. We took a family vacation to a campsite in another city in Tanzania. We went for 2 reasons. Firstly, we needed some time out of the city with our family. The place we went to had space for us to run around and explore and plenty of bugs to keep us interested and on our toes! :) Thankfully not many of the bugs entered into the room we were staying in. We also went there because we are going to be having a language course there and we wanted to check out the facilities since I am coordinating with the leaders who are not in Tanzania. 
Since my last blog post...Shelbyanne had her 8th birthday, and Donovan had his 4th birthday. They had great birthdays and were very blessed by the gifts sent from family back home. Thank you all so much! Now that Donovan is 4 he is ready to turn 5. At least he knows the order that it goes in. He loved his birthday so much he is ready for the next one. :) 
Since my last blog post...the kids all started school. Snelbyanne is in grade 3. Emily is in Grade 1. Donovan is going to a Tanzanian pre-school near our home. They are all enjoying school. However waking up in the morning is hard to get used to again. I am helping in the Library at the girls school 2 days a week teaching grades K-5 their library skills. I love getting to know the kids and being a part of their lives as well as getting to know their parents. 
Since my last blog post...we have hosted a workshop here for learning about doing People Group Assessments (PGA). PGA is the first steps of getting people into the tribes here in Tanzania. We are excited that this process is starting. We had a great time hosting a good friend of ours for the week of the workshop. I am excited that his wife will be coming in November for a language course and I will get to hang out with her. Someday we will have to get our families together. The kids were together in childcare when we were in training, but they don't remember each other, which I can understand because it was 5 years ago!
Since my last blog post...I have continued on with my work of learning the language and culture, preparing resident permit documents, creating Philosophy documents for our work here in TZ, welcoming new families, preparing to welcome more new co-workers next year, translating children's church materials for the kids at our church, helping coordinate for a language course that will be in TZ in November, but most importantly being a wife and mom of 3 very energetic kids. I am so thankful we are here doing what we are doing. 
Thanks to all of you who are a part of this ministry here through prayer or through finances! We are so blessed by you all and look forward to the day we get to see you again and give you all big hugs!

Ways to pray for us right now...

  • As you can see by what I am doing right now we are quite busy. Pray that we don't get ahead of what God is doing just to get things checked off our lists!
  • Pray for our kids, that we are raising them to know the Lord and have the characteristics of Christ to those around them. 
  • Pray for our language to progress to the next level. Once we reach it we are able to stop formal language study and be able to continue with more of our other Service Team responsibilities more. We will be lifetime language learners of Swahili, but reaching this next level means we are able to communicate on a wide range of topics including cultural issues with a high level of understanding. 
  • Pray for 3 of our co-workers who are having babies within the next few months. 
  • Pray for God to be preparing the way for us to send missionaries into the tribes to share His Story with them in their tribal language!

This is our church.
Betty, Donovan, Emily, and I sang
"How Great Thou Art" at church one Sunday,

in Swahili!
"Roho Mungu, Nashangaa Kabisa..."
This is where we went for a little
family vacation over the school break!
Large Spider
Centipede being eaten by ants

Rob was the bug hunter one morning
when we had lots of unexpected visitors. 
This is where the kids sat watching Daddy while
he was killing bugs and feeding them to the ants. 
Look what I can do!
Donovan dressed up as Men In Black
to celebrate the start of the school Year!
The girls got in on the dress-up action
with their little Green Lantern brother!
Shelbyanne was a pirate Hans Solo!
Donovan's first day of Preschool for this year.
He loves his school.
He even gets to go swimming once a week. 
Shelbyanne on her first day of Grade 3!!!
Emily on her first day of Grade 1!

Happy 4th Birthday Donovan!

Donovan was super excited to receive mail
of his very own. He was with me when we
picked it up from the post office. 

Eating birthday cake!

Rob and Joel, who came here for a workshop from where
he and his family live. It was a blast having him
hang out with us for a week. Come Back Soon!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

There’s a buzzing in my ear…

I have traveled outside of the city we live in to coach some of our new co-workers through their first steps into the Tanzanian culture and language, Swahili. In the city I live in there is constant noise coming into my ears, from the sounds of my family, our dog, the calls to prayer that happen throughout the day, the traffic that drives by our house all day, to the books, music, sermons or Swahili that I listen to while I cook and wash the dishes. My ears are usually full of sounds.
It is only now, that I have come to this natural, quiet place do I hear that there is a constant buzzing in my ears. I wonder if it is my body’s way of filtering out all the sounds I hear each day. Or just something that is there all the time and I just don’t notice till I am at a place where things are quiet and sounds are even quiet.
I can hear the small things clearly; the rustle of the wind, the birds calling to each other, the bees buzzing around me, the rustle of the brush near me where a lizard just passed (I refuse to think it is a snake…but it could be that too. I am in Africa!) It is very refreshing.
Is this how I hear the Holy Spirit? He is with me all the time speaking into my life. When things are busy I don’t listen as well as I do when things are still and quiet and I can hear him constantly. I desire to hear Him all the time. I want to be sensitive to his still small voice even amongst the noise and busyness of life! Lord, 
help me to Listen Furiously!!!

Enjoy some photos below. They are not in the correct order of when they happened, but are all recent. 

Our co-workers learning Swahili at the campsite this month!
I dressed up one day
when they were learning
the names of articles of clothing.
The kids outside our church love looking
at their reflection in our car.
We invited my friend Lucy and her
husband over to celebrate her birthday!
Shelbyanne, Lucy , and I were preparing
the materials for Phase 1 of language study
for our co-workers.
We celebrated Rob's 35th birthday June 13th!
Shelbyanne wanted to give him one of our rabbits
for his birthday!
Notice anything funny about this picture?
This kid cracks me up sometimes!
Shelbyanne - Grade 2
Emily - Kindergarten

Shelbyanne loves babies.
Here she is holding our
house owner's baby.
This was at Emily's class's
assembly and awards ceremony.
Safari ants that pass our cabin to get
food from the nearby tree.
They are huge and bite hard!
I am standing by the man made
waterfalls that provide us with water
at the campsite I am staying at. 
Donovan and one of the Masai guards
at the shopping center.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Happy 6th Birthday Emily!

 March 30th we celebrated Emily's 6th Birthday. We had a party at our house. It rained all morning that day so we played indoor games and were able to go outside towards the end of the party. We were all blessed by the people who came and spent time with us celebrating Emily. 
Emily is the Mama Cat trying to figure out
which kittens are hers by listening for the meows. 
Emily is about to pin(tape) the tail on the bunny.
They had such a blast with this game.
All the kids wanted to do it.
Even out Pastor wanted to give this game a try!
Happy Birthday to You Emily.
Bring on the cake.
She asked for a chocolate cake with chocolate icing.
To me that means Texas Sheet Cake.
I know they thought at some point the sparkler
was going to pop. It was a big sparkler
in the shape of the number 6.
It was really cool. Emily loved it.
Emily got to cut her cake with her own engraved cake knife,
like she does every year! 
We were able to purchase a used trampoline from a dear missionary family that moved back to the US. We gave it to Emily for her birthday so that we could all start enjoying the exercise. :) The party ended with our pastor and his son jumping on the trampoline.
Joy filled my heart as I heard our pastor laughing like a child as he jumped.
Cool thing...Since that Day I have not once heard Emily say, "This is my trampoline!" I love and appreciate her generous heart! 

Sunday, March 3, 2013

The Wedding

Here is a description of some of the things that happened at the wedding we had at our house a week ago. I have done it through pictures so you can enjoy looking at what we experienced. 

This is where they set up the wedding.
We have a concrete slab in our yard
that the kids run around and play on.
It was perfect for hosting a wedding. 
Emily is swinging while Stevie, the pastor's son, pushed her. 
Rob and our Pastor were taking the cold sodas to the tables for decoration. They were not opened and drunk until the wedding reception was almost completely finished. They were hot by this time. 
The girls with their friend, Nuru. 
The event area was ready. The crowd had gathered. All we were waiting for was the bride. She showed up at 4:30pm, looking absolutely beautiful and humble (not smiling and bowing her head) in the traditional African way. 
I couldn't help snapping this picture.
I have no idea what they were talking about
but they looked like they had everything worked out. :)
These are three of the faithful ladies of our church.
It was wonderful to have them there supporting the newlyweds. 
This is the Best Man, the ring bearer, and the Groom!
The way all the colors of the clothes
and the decorations matched was so cool!
The men were waiting for the bride to enter.
This is a rare moment in an African wedding. I think this is one of the few smiles I saw from the bride the whole day. As a bride you should seem very solemn and sad out of respect for your parents. You don't show that you are happy to leave their home. Our pastor said that she did a very good job of acting in the traditional way. Many women today, especially in the big city, act very differently. They smile a lot and do not bow like they should. 
Here comes the bride...walking very, very slowly.
Then the men join them...walking very, very slowly.
It was quite hot that day. The matron of honor removed sweat from the bride's face many times during the festivities. I even caught the Best man doing the same for the groom. They took their jobs very seriously, which seemed to be to serve the Bride and Groom in any way possible.

In this picture the bride's uncle is giving her away on behalf of her family.
This was interesting because her father was there as well.
This picture was taken after they entered, but before they sat down. Our pastor did a lot of talking that day.
 I am happy to say that I understood some of it.  
The Vows.
The Rings.
The bride bowed both to give his ring...
and to receive her ring out of respect.
This was the only time he kissed her.
It was on the cheek and very fast.
I think he was teased about it later by the pastor. :)
This is another lady from our church who sang songs for them. 
During the ceremony.
The sun had gone down enough
so that the shade was in a perfect position. 
I prepared the marriage license paperwork
so that they could sign them during the ceremony.
the bride signing the papers.
The kids did an amazing job that day considering it was all happening in Swahili, they were hungry, and the thought of cake was constantly on D's mind. 
Cutting the cake.
As the pastor said, "You are now husband and wife, you may kiss the bride!" Or whatever he said in the cultural way. The groom took her shoulders and pulled her a little forcefully into his arms and kissed her cheek. I think. Maybe it was just a hug. I couldn't tell. Everybody laughed and cheered at this, so I am guessing he did it right!
He didn't forget the other side. 
And off they go...well, just to our guest room for a short break before returning for the reception which almost immediately followed the service. 
This was the lovely cake.
Unfortunately it was left out unattended for a while and little fingers that will remain nameless, D, wondered inside and did only a little damage. They didn't even notice the damage like we would have. Rob did a great job of fixing it.  
The kids with some of their friends from chruch!
The wedding party returned...walking very, very slowly.
The reception had begun and the MC
walked everyone through what to do. 
Lots happened at the reception. One thing I found interesting was that the ladies, and gentlemen, of the bride's family got up and started doing a dance together. 
Bringing the cake. See, no one noticed the fixed finger marks.
Donovan with his friend watching the cake come in and asking from a distance, "Mommy, can I have some cake too?"
The bride and groom cut the cake then took a few minutes to feed each other a bite, along with the wedding party, the parents/family members, and the pastor and his wife. 

The bride bowed when she served cake to her new husband and family. 
Another celebration dance including everyone. 
Then the wedding party left...very very slowly!
The married couple entering the house in front of all the guests.
I guess that is like getting in the car and driving off together.
The couple asked if they could stay in our guest room that night, so we said yes.  I am glad they did, I didn't get a picture of us together the night before.
This was taken the next day when all that was left to do was
to take down the tent and pick up the trash.