Sunday, September 8, 2013

Year 2

Back in Dar and teaching at HOPAC for year 2!

I totally had the mindset that coming back to Tanzania would be pretty easy.  I know the place, the school, the curriculum , my kids and I have so many wonderful friends to reunite with.  It was definitely easier to come back knowing all those things but shame on me for thinking it would be a cake walk.  Shame on me for thinking I didn't need help from HIM right away.  

This year there are new challenges.   I had such a wonderful summer and am transitioning back into life in Dar not life in CT.  I have 27 Grade 1 students I have to teach, not 22.  I am coaching U-18 girls football this year and although I can play I don't feel equipped to coach U-18.   I have wonderful but new housemates and now I am considered a veteran and am trying to do my best to help them get settled and feel welcomed.  I am not going to see my friends, family and nephews grow up for a year.   Trying to balance serving and ME time. Despite all these challenges I do have confidence that THIS IS WHERE I AM SUPPOSED TO BE, THIS IS WHERE HE WANTS ME, AND HE IS WITH ME THROUGH IT ALL!

I was reading Psalms 23 and was reminded of all that He provides and will provide me with this year.  

The Lord is my shepherd;
    I have all that I need.
He lets me rest in green meadows;
    he leads me beside peaceful streams.
    He renews my strength.
He guides me along right paths,
    bringing honor to his name.
Even when I walk
    through the darkest valley,[a]
I will not be afraid,
    for you are close beside me.
Your rod and your staff
    protect and comfort me.
You prepare a feast for me
    in the presence of my enemies.
You honor me by anointing my head with oil.
    My cup overflows with blessings.
Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me
    all the days of my life,
and I will live in the house of the Lord
    forever.

So thankful for this daily truth.   

I have been listening to this song as well!  
BE ENCOURAGED!  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hILaSh78yHQ

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Zambezi Gorge Swing

     Over Easter break 5 of my friends and I went on an adventure to Zambia.  We took a 3 day train, 4 ish hour taxi ride, and 9 hour bus ride to get to Victoria Falls.  If Vic Falls is not on your bucket list, you better change that because it is AMAZING! While there we did lots of fun activities.  One had a big impact on me, the Gorge Swing.  I had researched it months before we went and it was the BIG daring challenge I was going to take while in Zambia.  When the day arrived the nerves were there, but I was trying to just focus on the excitement I would feel.  I mean I jumped out of a plane, I should be able to swing off of a cliff....  The experience of doing the Gorge Swing was exciting and fulfilling in so many ways.  Lots of lessons were taken away form this.

















1) Trust the speaker, who has earned the trust by what he has shown.  His voice is sure, clear, strong, and under control.

Kulu was the man who "guided" us off the cliff and gave us commands before we stepped off.  He was the perfect person
for this job.

Lamentations 3:22-23 The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease.  Great is His faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.






2) Listen. Don't dwell on it.  Just obey.  3-2-1- STEP... then it is exhilarating! 

Stepping up to the edge is so scary and you think, 'How am I ever going to step off?!  There is no way!'    I literally just listened to Kulu's voice and my body just did what he said, STEP, and it was such an awesome ride!

Psalm 28:7 The Lord is my strength and my shield.  I trust him with all my heart.  He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy.
I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.



3) It would have be harder to step if you had
 doubted and faltered the first time. 

Both times I did the swing, yes I did it twice, there was no hesitation.  Don't get me wrong I was freaking out and my mind was say NO WAY this is going to happen.  It would have been more challenging if faltered.

Proverbs 24:10  If you falter in a time of trouble, how small is your strength!





4) Yet He firmly and kindly assures and guides those who falter...lifts the chin, asks them to look  in his eyes, and leads them through, nudges even. 

I saw a boy getting ready to go and he was very hesitant.  He was not listening to the commands and was very scared.  Kulu pulled him back off the edge and coached him until he was ready to go, and he did go!

Psalms 37: 23-24  The Lord directs the steps of the godly.  He delights in every detail of their lives.  Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand.




5) He treats each one differently, as they need.

Kulu dealt with each of my friends differently when we were getting ready to step off the cliff.

Psalms 139:13  You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mothers womb.









6) The first moments after the step are the scariest, and most exhilarating.  Then it is JOY.  JOY to see the creation around you and to know you stepped!

I was screaming like a little girl after I stepped.  My stomach dropped and it was such a crazy but addicting feeling!  Once I started swimming I was in awe of the beauty around me and was filled with excitement that I DID IT!  This moment reminded me a lot of the step to come to Africa.  It was very scary to take that step and unsettling but it has been so rewarding and fulfilling.

Psalms 1:1-3  Oh the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked... But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night.



7) During those scary moments you can't go back.  You already stepped in faith. It is out of your hands and in the hands of what and who you have trusted.  

I was glad we did the swing last.  I was able to trust more and more the staff and the equipment with every activity we did before the swing.  They are a great company!

1 Thessalonians 5:23-24  Now may the God of peace make you holy in every way, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again.  God will make this happen, for he who calls you is faithful.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Back in Action

After a wonderful time back home in CT,  I was excited to get back to TZ.

Here are some updates since I've been back.

Getting back to Dar was great, even though it is CRAZY hot!  I was happy to be home and to go back to work to see my kiddos.  One student even blessed me with a huge dead bug one day.  He was so excited and proud of his gift to me.  I was a little shocked at first but you know, it came from the heart.  They had a really good few weeks back so thank you everyone for your prayers.  I think they may have  even grown up a little bit over break!

Kurisini

We went to Kurisini on Sunday!  I was so excited to see all the kids.  AHHH!  They all came running to the car it was so amazing.  I was missing three of the younger boys, Frankie, Cha Cha, and Ahimisi.  There was an opening at Agape Children's Village, in Morogoro TZ so the three boys went there.  I was so excited that they were able to go to Agape, it is a great place run by Christians and is well supported.  As always, it was so fun spending time with the kids.  Zawadi was still smiling and so full of energy and spunk.  Love her :)

While I was home my third cousins were given money from their grandfather.  They were allowed to keep half for themselves but the other half had to be donated to an organization.  I had a chance to visit with my cousins Chris and Jeff while I was home.  I had told them about Kurisini and the kids there.  They decided to go shopping and buy some awesome stuff for the kids!  I was blown away and so thankful that they decided to help the kids at Kurisini.  They bought them so many goodies!!   I am so proud of them!

Sadly, this past Tuesday there was fire in one of the buildings at Kurisini, where all the younger boys sleep.   They think it was an electrical fire from wires that were sticking out of the wall.  Very unsafe and definitely a problem.  The place was burnt to a crisp.  I was in shock when we walked through it.  Thankfully no one was hurt but the kids lost all of their clothes, beds, and some school books.  HOPAC is doing a clothing collection to try to help but the building has to be completely torn down, and rebuilt.  Unfortunately, they are not sure how much money, if any, they will get from the government to rebuild.  This fire really opened my eyes to a lot of underlying and bigger problems at Kurisini.  I feel lost at how to help in some situations and I am just praying for wisdom on what to do next.

Morogoro

We had a day off because of a holiday so Ali, Winson, Aika and I decided to go visit Frankie, Cha Cha, and Ahimisi at Agape Children's Village in Morgoro, TZ.  Agape was started by a Christian family from Germany. It is their mission field and they are privately supported.  Agape was about a three and a half hour drive from Dar.  It was nice to get out of Dar and drive where there was no traffic and beautiful mountains.  We got to Agape and Frankie was standing at the fence and as soon as he saw Ali he came running.  It was so beautiful.  Ahimisi came running too when he saw us with a HUGE smile on his face.  It made me sooo happy to see all the boys.  The facilities at Agape are great.  They have a beautiful backdrop of the mountains.  I was impressed to see that the children were doing chores in the garden and washing the dogs.  There are about 30 kids at Agape.  They all have their own bunk and mosquito net.  The facilities were clean.  I loved seeing how the older kids helped the younger ones and really loved them.  The Mama's watching over them gave them discipline and boundaries.  This id different from Kurisini where the kids run around and deal with things on their own.  I could see a positive change in the boys.  All three were clean and in the right type of clothing, not girls clothing.  They were very talkative and not falling asleep from malnutrition.  The boys are given milk and vegetables, compared to mostly ugali and beans at Kurisini.  THEY ARE DOING SO GREAT!!!  I am so thankful that they are at Agape.  The woman in charge of Agape now, Christina, is also looking into placing a few of the other kids at Kurisini in different orphanages.  Paul, who is extremely intelligent and most likely has cerebral palsy, is not given the attention he needs at Kurisini.  They think he is dumb because he is physically challenged.  There is a high possibility he will be moved to an orphanage that accommodates children with his needs.  Christina is also looking into a place for Imani, who is deaf.  All super exciting news!!!  The trip to Morogoro was so incredible on so many levels.  It is great to see how God is loving these children through other individuals.

All in All the first three weeks back have been SUPER!


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

STUFFED WITH THANKSGIVING

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.  
2 Cor 8:9

I am utterly overwhelmed by all that I have to be thankful for this year.  I don't even know where to start.  I feel I won't even be able to write down all the things that have been poured out into my life this year but here goes:

I am THANKFUL for my family.  The support they have given me throughout my life and especially in getting to TZ is tremendous.
I am THANKFUL for my friends new and old.  The emails, the dance parties, the hugs, the  many many fun times, and all the love they show towards me.
I am THANKFUL for my exuberant and crazy class.  Did you see them rapping.....?!
I am THANKFUL for the opportunity to teach at HOPAC.
I am THANKFUL that I have two wonderful nephews that I get to love on.  The cutest ever!
I am THANKFUL for the cross.
I am THANKFUL that HE never gave up on me.   :)
I am THANKFUL for my relationship with Jesus Christ.
I am THANKFUL for soft pretzels.  YUM YUM
I am THANKFUL for the way HE provides.
I am THANKFUL for a cool breeze.
I am THANKFUL for beautiful African colors.
I am THANKFUL for the children at Kurisini.
I am THANKFUL for grace and forgiveness.
I am THANKFUL for Christmas music, even when it's Max singing Chestnuts Roasting on an open fire...
I am THANKFUL for artisans.
I am THANKFUL for everyone who helped get me to Tanzania!  You all rock!
I am THANKFUL for being creative and sewing totally awesome items.  I love Fabric!
I am THANKFUL for Chumbe Island.  GO!
I am THANKFUL that I get to go home at Christmas and hug all my super amazing family and friends!!

I can go on for days but I will stop here.  Life is Good.  God is Good.  Everyone in my life is freaking ridiculously awesome!

Go hug 5 people and tell them why you are thankful for them!! DO IT!
Love you all!!


However, He has given each one of us a splendid gift, through the generosity of Christ.
Eph 4:7

Sunday, October 14, 2012

So you know how God is just hilarious sometimes.  The way he speaks to you and puts things in your life that you were just wondering about or questioning that day!!  Well Saturday morning my devotion was about having a desire or goal for the year.  I couldn't really think of anything specific.  I mean, yes I am living here and I have a new job and I work at that everyday, but I couldn't really think of one.  So anyway, the day goes by and I was talking to the roommies about Max's half marathon.  We got to talking about the one at Kilimanjaro and BAM, a goal for the year!  HELLLOOO MCFLY! hahaha  I was like God, you are so funny.  I actually think HE wants me to train for this.  It is going to be crazy hard for me but another reason to depend on HIM.  So Silly that God of ours.  

Max Zietz, thank you for the inspiration!  You are my hero :)  The race is not until March 3 so I have lots of time to train.  This is definitely something I never considered doing.  I actually thought people who ran 1/2 marathons and marathons were a bit crazy!  I just never saw the appeal.  My roommate Rose and I are going to tackle this.  Maybe we can round up some other peeps to join in running for 2 hours....Woohoo!!  

http://www.kilimanjaromarathon.com

Check it out!!

IMANI

IMANI means FAITH in Kiswahili.  The word imani and I have a strong relationship.   Faith in HIM is what brought me to Africa.  Faith in HIM sustains me while I am here.   Faith in HIM is what I depend on for my future.   You gotta have faith people!

Walk By Faith BY: Jeremy Camp

Would I believe you when you would say 
Your hand will guide my every way 
Will I receive the words You say 
Every moment of every day 


Well I will walk by faith 
Even when I cannot see 
Well because this broken road 
Prepares Your will for me 

Help me to win my endless fears 
You've been so faithful for all my years 
With one breath You make me new 
Your grace covers all I do 

Well I'm broken- but I still see Your face 
Well You've spoken- pouring Your words of grace 


Well hallelujah, hallelu 
(I will walk by faith) 
Well hallelujah, hallelu 
(I will walk by faith) 

I will walk, I will walk, I will walk by faith 
I will, I will, I will walk by faith

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Mr. Cockroach


So after a long week I go home, make some tea, and am reading to go relax for a little bit.  Well someone had different plans for me, and that someone is Mr. Cockroach.  I have heard of cockroach siting’s but luckily I hadn’t had one, until NOW!  I am walking to my room, down a long hallway, my room is the last one at then end of the hallway, and all of a sudden a GINORMOUS cockroach jumps at me!  Actually, I saw it from down the hall.  Anyway, it was big, the size of a small mouse, AND it has wings!!  I was so grossed out!  I followed it as it scurried down the hall, climbing up walls and onto my roommate’s door.  As I see Mr. Cockroach chilling on my roommate’s door I start to realize that my door is OPEN!  Now it was decision time, do I run past the cockroach and maybe it will jump at me or do I let him make his way down to my room and into my bedroom…?  I decided to go Mission Impossible-esc down the hall.  I jumped and dodged and crawled and did an amazing spin move, finally I made it to my room and closed the door, where I was met by a little gecko, but he was cute.  Back to the roach!  So now I had to Mission Impossible my butt back to the other end of the hall.  In 2 seconds flat I had made it back.  Now it was a waiting game…  tick tock tick tock.  The roach climbed down from my roommate’s door and was back on the move.  He tried to get out of one of the doors but unfortunately it was closed.  He then made a move towards the kitchen opening where I was standing.  I relocated and watched as he went into the closet.  I kept looking for our gardener so I could call him in to destroy this creature but no luck.  Then my prayers had been answered! Out of her stepped my hero, Rose!  I think I scared her when I yelled her name before she even got out of her room, but she so bravely went into the closet and stepped on Mr. Cockroach.  I went to get her a bag to clean it up and all of sudden, HE STARTED MOVING AGAIN!   I freaked and ran onto a chair!  Rose was determined.  I think she may have tried a few more times to squish him.  Finally, a large running shoe did the trick.  Mr. Cockroaches’ life came to an end.  Thank the Lord!   Now I feel like there are bugs crawling on me, I kind of want to throw up because it was huge and gross, but I am so thankful for Rose.  She Rocks!!!!