Thursday, February 26, 2015

2014 Year in Review

Heri ya Mwaka Mpya! Happy New Year!  

I can’t believe we are already 2 months into 2015.  As I reflect on all that happened in 2014 it is a bit overwhelming.  I’m glad to know that we were a part of so many big changes this year, but when I think back, it was a lot of work too!  Here are some of ways our ministry and family moved forward last year; (if you have any questions about what something actually means, please let me know!  I will be glad to explain)

-Our e1 program to train and equip Tanzanians has been established with a core group of missionaries identified.

-Our e2 team which is in charge of culture and language acquisition is fully functional; we even had a handful of us graduate from the e2 program including Rob and I!

-Our people group assessment team took 3 trips this year, and included Tanzanians in order to train them to do this ministry in the future.

-Our Service Team, though short-handed did a great job of budgeting and accounting for the year, as well as organized several successful events for the whole team. (Workshops, Team Meetings, Retreats)

-We completed our first formal Risk Assessment for our ministry in Tanzania. Way to go Rob!
-We began renting an office, which is a big step forward. We also took on some local employees who identify with what our mission is doing and want to be a part of it.

It is very easy to get bogged down in the details of this work and miss what is actually happening, so I’d like to sum it up like this; We have taken huge steps forward in being able to communicate the gospel clearly.  Also, our team is gaining a clearer focus on training national believers so that we can come along side of them and reach tribal people groups with them.  Also, we are a couple big steps closer to having a prioritized list of which tribal areas we want to go into and in what order. 
We love being on this team and seeing God open doors and point us in certain directions.  We have seen Him clearly in so many ways in 2014, it is incredibly exciting to think of what might come in 2015!  We thank God for allowing us to be a part of this amazing ministry, and we thank God for all our supporters being such a big part of this team.

Our family enjoyed Christmas very much!  We attended a Christmas Eve service at church, and they somehow got all of us to sing up front at one point or another!  It was fun.  We have enjoyed having a lot more time to just play together at home, or visit with friends.  Also, all 3 kids have now learned how to ride a bike here in Tanzania.  Donovan finally got the hang of it, and he is a trip to watch now.  He’s a real daredevil sometimes! 

Last big piece of news is……WE HAVE PURCHASED OUR TICKETS to return to the States next June!!! We were trying to save $10,000 for the tickets, based on the fares we were finding.  After contacting our Mission’s travel agency, we were able to get tickets for half of that amount!!!  That means we’re not collecting or saving money for tickets anymore.  Maybe now we’ll start saving for a trip to Disney World!  (Anybody got any pointers on how to enjoy Disney World on a budget?) 
Below are some photos of the Ellis Family last year!!! Enjoy
January 2014 - Opening our Christmas package!!
Thanks so much Nana & Pawpaw, Pops & Baboo,
and Meme & Grandaddy!
February 2014 - Masai Day for Emily's class. She is the
one with the rainbow wrap.
February 2014 - Emily helped me carry
the dress up clothes we bought for $2 each
at the local market. 
March 2014 - Celebrating Emily's and Abigail's 7th birthdays
March 2014 - At the party!

March 2014 - We drove south to visit
some coworkers. Our car has never
quite recovered from the dirt roads!
March 2014 - We had a great time visiting with our friends!

March 2014 - The girls made a
new friend at the Nyama Choma
Festival which means
(Grilled Meat Festival)!
April 2014 - She and her friends worked
very hard and did an excellent job!
April 2014 - Shelbyanne participated in the talent show
last year. The girls danced to Frozen's "Let it Go". 

April 2014 - And the rains came Down!
When they did our yard flooded.  
May 2015 - Shelbyanne participated in the
"Beauty and the Beast" play production at school.
I was even able to help make some of the costumes. 
May 2014 - This is our new office
space! There are now 4 desks and
a cabinet for the printer.
May 2014 - The kids found the coolest butterfly at our house. 
June 2014 - We celebrated Rob's birthday
with Pineapple upside down cake!

June 2014 - Emily completed Grade 1
June 2014 - She had an Excellent teacher!
We miss you Miss Lovelett.

June 2014 - Rob successfully completed a Risk Assessment!
July 2014 - Emily had to say goodbye
one of her good friends.
July 2014 - A guy got 47 coconuts
from our trees! YumYum!
July 2014 - Then he showed Rob and our guard how to
make a basket with the leaves. So cool!
July 2014 - Lucy and I lead a 3 day language nurturer Swahili!
July 2014 - We had a great time together.  
August 2014  - We had a workshop/conference for our team.
During that time I visited my friend Zena's house.
She showed us her pigs. The kids loved it!
August 2014 - Me and my sweet babies in the mountains
in Tanzania!
August 2014 - We celebrated Shelbyanne's 9th Birthday!
August 2014 - Thanks Mrs. Dee for the Awesome birthday
cookie cake!
August 2014 - While at the conference we also got to do an
obstacle course that ended with a zip line!
September 2014 - Donovan is
working hard on his homework!
September 2014 - We celebrated Donovan's 5th birthday
at KFC!
September 2014 - While celebrating his birthday at school
Donovan participated in the Tanzanian tradition of
feeding cake to everyone with a fork.
September 2014 - Shelbyanne played football
(soccer) for the first time!
September 2014 - Mama's Girl! 
October 2014 - We went to a costume
party hosted by some of our friends.
Rob - Cowboy
Amy - Hawaiian Girl
Shelbyanne - Zombie
Emily - Bunny
Donovan - Bat
October 2014 - Rob and the kids cleared a space in the yard
 to begin building a fort. It's a work in progress.
November 2014 - We celebrated International Day at the
girl's school. The students at their school represent
over 40 different countries.
November 2014 - Several of the missionary ladies in our community and from surrounding areas were able to participate in a ladies retreat put on by Pure Joy International. Look them up! What an amazing ministry to missionary families all over the world. 
November 2014 - Vickie, the founder of Pure Joy International,
and I. She is an inspirational lady!
November 2014 - We were able to "be there" for Rob's brother,
Ryan's, retirement ceremony. It was so neat to be able to
be there through skype from places all over the world. 
December 2014 - Donovan learned to ride his bike!
December 2014 - I hosted a cookie exchange with
some of the 2nd grade Mamas from Emily's class.
December 2014 - The Pastor invited Rob to sing
Silent Night with his family at our Christmas Eve service.
December 2014 - The girls put
themselves in the "get along"
pants. (AKA...Rob's old
work pants.) Haha!
December 2014 - The Ellis Christmas picture