It was a whirlwind trip. I knew going that my to-do list was long and involved. I had planned to have an extended trip there during the summer, but was only able to stay 2 weeks. So I left hoping and praying (yes, literally) to get the things done that needed to be done. I arrived on September 9 and left on September 30. Twenty-one days. I needed to be intentional. I needed to be organized. Most of all I needed God.
And let me tell you, God showed up. He is moving in a powerful way in Tanzania. There are even some things I had no idea we were going to do until He put them in front on me and asked. There are existing ministries that we will be able to come along side, and there other things that I have no idea how to do, but with the Lord’s blessing and guidance, we’re gonna do them.
I promised to tell all, so let’s get started. First of all, we finally have our house there in shape. It took a while, but everything is done and running smoothly (fingers crossed). This is where our long-term volunteers will live. It’s also where we live while we are there. This way we can cook and wash clothes. Hotels can get to be expensive (and a drag) after a while. The power was really unreliable and has been for a while – even more so than usual. So I broke down and bought a generator. Hopefully we won’t have to use it all that much, but it gives us a sense of security. Here is our house in Monduli.
We have three areas of focus in Monduli – Amani (peace), Upendo (love), and Rehema (mercy). Upendo Community Center will house a day care and, eventually, a community training center. We had discussed putting this project on hold because of some changes in volunteers, but while I was there, several people made it clear this it is an urgent need. This day care is specifically for families who cannot afford to pay for childcare and who cannot work without it. So we are moving forward with it. We will start with the day care part only. I was able to meet with one of the Monduli District Community Development officers. He gave us the go-ahead to find a location and get up and running “even as soon as today”. Once we are up and going, they will do site visits and tell us what we need to add or change. We looked at several possible sites and actually signed a lease on a small house to get us started. Unfortunately, after I returned home, the landlord decided to rent that house to someone willing to pay more. So we are praying and looking again. We are hoping to be able to open our day care in December.
Next up was Amani House, which is our residential program for women and girls in a crisis pregnancy. We located a house that will be perfect for this program. We also hired our first house mama. We will be doing some training for the house mamas, getting furniture made and getting the kitchen outfitted. Our lease starts on November 1, and we are hoping to be ready for residents sometime in December. A long term volunteer from New Zealand, Hannah Butler, will be in charge of getting this program set up and running. Hannah arrived in September as well. Eventually we will train a local woman to take over the management of this program. But for now, we are so blessed to have Hannah on out team. I’ll tell you more about her later.
Last, but definitely not least, is our Rehema Project. This program is our outreach to both the Maasai living up the mountain in Monduli Juu, as well as to locals living in Monduli town. So far, we’ve done some food and water filter distribution. We are hoping to add mosquito net distribution soon. We are also working on ways to transition our food distribution to a relational ministry model. This is really the most fun, because 1) it’s already up and going, and 2) it involves meeting and getting to know some amazing people. We had a fantastic meeting with the community leaders in Monduli Juu. I’ll write more about that later. Hint: Be careful asking questions unless you are ready for the answers. I have to confess that I was curious about where they would hold this meeting. This is where we met. Yes, it’s the middle of a field in a huge caldera. The men are seated to the right, and the women to the left. In Maasai culture, they would never sit together. The second picture shows Meliyo, one of the elders of this boma, addressing the group. Meliyo is an amazing leader and Maasai warrior who cares deeply for his people.
Besides our first house mama for Amani House (I’ll tell you more about her in a later post), we also hired two other full-time workers. First, we were fortunate to find Magreth Torongue, a young lady who recently completed her degree in Business Administration. Magreth speaks Swahili, English and Maa (the Maasai language) and is going to be an valuable member of our team there. She is currently doing some training at a day care in Arusha. Next, Tizo Joseph and his wife Beth have been working with the Rehema Project on a part-time/temporary basis for several months. They are the reason that the house repairs were finally completed. They have helped with so many things I couldn’t possibly list them all. I am so excited to announce that Tizo accepted the position of Mission Facilitator, starting on October 1. They have blessed our ministry tremendously and I know that they will continue to do so.
So this is just a brief look at some things that we accomplished this trip. I will tell you more details in future posts. Right now I want to leave you with a scripture that a precious friend sent me. She said she thought of me as she read it. I know that everything we are able to do in this ministry is through God’s power and will alone. All glory is His as well. I hope that you will continue to pray for this ministry.
“So we keep on praying for you, asking our God to enable you to live a life worthy of his call. May he give you the power to accomplish all the good things your faith prompts you to do.” — II Thessalonians 1:11