Today is a sunny day after many days of rain. The roads are flooded in many areas around the city. Lots of people live in low-lying areas where the waters enter into their homes or damage the structure of their homes and they are worried about the walls caving in or coming down. The rains have washed away pavement from the roads so there are lots of potholes and in some places sides of the roads have washed away. This makes traffic really backed up and driving not very fun.
Every way out of our neighborhood is bad.
However, the sun brings hope that the rains are moving on and the waters are evaporating. As I sit here writing this I can hear the cars splashing by on the muddy roads by my house. I am thankful for the cooler weather that the rains did bring. I am not so happy with the thousands of tadpoles that were born in our yard and are now growing into croaking frogs. They get loud here!
I feel like I should update you a bit on our lives here in Tanzania since it has been so long since my last post. Our organization, New Tribes Mission, focuses on church planting primarily in tribal people groups who have not yet heard the Gospel. While we were in training Rob and I both felt called to be on the support team for those who were heading out to the tribes to learn the tribal language, prepare lessons, tell them the story from Creation to the Cross, teach literacy if needed, and plant a church. We came to Tanzania with that focus. We were the first ones in Tanzania for NTM, so we had a lot of ground-breaking to do. Since arriving here over 3 years ago we have been learning the national language of Tanzania which is Swahili, welcoming our coworkers (6 families and a teacher), and working together with them to meet NTM's goal of planting tribal churches.
My first ministry is to my family, Rob and the kids. I have to admit I am a work in progress. Some days are easy and things go so well. But those days are few and far between. I want to be Super Wife/Mom and be able to support my husband well, follow through with all the ideas that I have for us, and get all the projects done that are in my mind. But, I know how unrealistic that is, so I am not hard on myself when I just can't do it all. I am looking right now for some structure in our family devotion time. I want that to be something that we are consistent with. Even though it is hard for me in my personal life, I want to instill that into my kids and hopefully with being consistent with them I will be more consistent myself. I am also starting to form my thoughts on "chores". The kids help out around the house, but I would like to establish a system to help them remember the things they need to do each day. I am totally open to ideas and help on these 2 areas.
My next ministry is to my team and the local Tanzanian community. Rob and I both wear many hats here. Almost everyone on our team are still in their formal NCLA, National Culture and Language Acquisition, time including us. I just had a language evaluation and am pleased to say that I am ALMOST where I need to be to stop formally studying and just do life with those around me. To get there I need to develop a few more relationships, do some life and ethnographic interviewing, and do a lot more listening to Tanzanians talking to other Tanzanians. This just requires TIME. My time is split right now between NCLA and my ministry responsibilities. I am the NCLA Coach for all my co-workers who are also in NCLA. I am on the Service Team, which is the support team for all the NTM folks in Tanzania. I am also a part of the E2 team which is the team that prepares for new arrivals, welcomes them into the country, helps them with their transition to life here, coaches them through NCLA, and supports them in their first season of life in country. One other ministry I have is to the Library at my girls' school. I volunteer one day a week there to support the Librarian, and I get to teach library skills to grades K-2. It is such a blessing to be there and be involved in the lives of those precious students.
Needless to say, there are very few dull moments. I love my life here. I want to go deeper into Swahili so that I am able to disciple other women and to share on a deeper level about my faith and my Hope in our Father. Please be in prayer for me and my family that even though there are a lot of things well-deserving of our time, that we will focus on the things that will Glorify God and draw us closer to Him!
Below are some pictures of life here. I have not posted for a while so I have put lots of pictures on here! :) Enjoy!
This first set of pictures are of the flooded streets and our yard.
The kids had a sleepover in mommy's and daddy's bed when mom
traveled for 1 night for a NCLA visit to the South of Tanzania.
These are pictures of our family trip/NCLA visit to our coworkers
in the south of Tanzania.
We Loved all the Christmas presents and we love receiving packages. Thanks to all our family and friends who took so much time to send us packages in the mail and with Rob when he was back in the States for meetings in January/February!
Our Emily turned 7 and had a joint birthday party with one of her friends from class. It was a great party with crafts, games, food, clowns, a store, and CAKE!!!
The kids had fun finding their Easter baskets Easter Morning. Then we went to our church and celebrated together with service and a wonderful meal after church.
Shelbyanne loves to be in pictures and to take pictures. She is a budding model/photographer.
Our team went to an orphanage that is connected to our co-workers' church. We had a great day with the kids there. We toured around, we played, we sang, Rob taught the kids a lesson in Swahili, and we had a great time getting to know the people there.
We went to a local festival here where we made a new friend.
Emily lost her first tooth!
We went to the theater to see a movie. A few days later Rob dressed Donovan up like one of the main characters. Can you guess who he is? (Answer below picture)
Mr. Peabody and Sherman