Sorry for the lack of any update over the last few weeks, simply put it has been hectic. Time does not stop, the minutes flow into hours, the hours into days and the days into weeks. It does not but a few hours ago I was thinking ‘my goodness it’s May’ and now here I sit closer to the end of our time here that the beginning. I am well, settled into the rhythm of life learning more about Tanzania Culture, God and serving him in a foreign community. My health has been fantastic without any major issues, with the runs being the most exciting thing I have suffered.
The team are fantastic God has been so good with us all to the point where the people I live and work with every day feel like family. One of the highlights of the trip for me personally has been watching the Holy Spirit sanctify and work in every single person in the time that we have been here, the difference in some people’s faith since that first week in April when we arrived has been supernatural. It’s not that anyone’s faith was not sincere or in a strong place it is just the visible difference. The beauty of it is that most people do not even realise. It is my prayer that
‘The God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give them a Spirit of Wisdom and of Revelation in the Knowledge of him, having the eyes of their hearts enlightened ’
( Ephesians 115-18 I have rearranged it in the plural )
The Last Few Weeks
In all honesty the last few weeks have been a blare, without going back to my own personal journal I could hardly tell you what we as a team have been up to. The 21st of May was our Peak in terms of time being here. Having less ahead than we had behind, to mark the occasion we headed on our long anticipated Safari, which I would struggle to find the words to describe it.
We set off early on Thursday Morning with our Driver called Gallon, he was fantastic and really added to the whole experience. The journey from Musoma to the Serengeti is about four hours but once we got underway it was hard to take any notice of time, the route is stunning, it wasn’t long until the tarmac had ran out and we where rallying on dirt tracks; all I could think was ‘This is the Real Tanzania’ journey past so many different people who were just going about their business, friendly enough to wave at the intrigued tourist gapping out of the window (Me). The Tanzania countryside is breathtaking round every corner and over every bump in the road is a view that leaves you breathless.
Our journey would lead us to a small town in the planes just before the Serengeti called Robunda where we had been booked into a tourist campsite; we arrived at lunch and after sitting down to eat a feed I headed up to the view point on top of the main building. To stand somewhere and look around 360 degrees, from horizon to horizon all you can see is grassland, you feel small, you feel insignificant and you get a feel of just how big and Powerful God is. The highlight of our time on the campsite has to be getting up at 5.30am and slowly watching the Sun creep over the Horizon and with it the darkness of the night fleeing the incoming rush of light from the Sun.
We entered the Serengeti at about 8am it was an amazing time. I could write more than I am going to, but I have so much else to write about I don’t want to waste words and space. We seen everything we could have wanted to see in the few hours we had there, Lions Male and Female, in a tree relaxing and roaming through the grass and even sitting on top of Rocks planted in the middle of the plains. We where able to see Giraffes roaming among the trees, Hippos wallowing in the river, Cheetahs chilling in the Sun, Ostriches, Zebra Antelope and evening some buffalos. The only animal that had evaded our binoculars roaming the horizon had been an Elephant, no matter where we went, or who we asked no one had seen any. However heading to the Serena Hotel for lunch and a swim in a pool we were not to be disappointed. We started our journey home at about 3pm local time, I found myself saying a quick prayer on the way out of the park that we would catch some elephants the likelihood of which to me seemed limited, but no sooner had I said amen in my head that we turned a corner onto the last stretch of road on the way out than to the left there was a family of elephants crossing the road. With a thud of the breaks we turned and took in the wonder of such a beast. What a couple of days, we had rested well and seen every animal we could possibly want to see.
School, Church and Goat sheds
We have been working hard over the last few weeks both with pratical Labour and building relationships in the areas where we have been working. Boys/girls Group in Songembelle has been going very well, With each group making progress in different ways. Church in Songembelle is also enjoyable if not a struggle sometimes due to the different ways of doing things and the slight Issue of it being in Kiswahili.
We have been working at a Primary school in a village just down the road in an area called Niabangye (Not how you spell it) If you have read my other blogs then you will know that the school has over 1300 pupils on it grounds on any day, it is a school that is stretched to capacity in terms of classroom space, and teaching personal but yet it is a school with teachers that are passionate about their work, teachers who want to make a difference in the lives of their pupils, who understand the importance of education and the difference it can make in anyone’s futures. It is this heart and passionate from within the 30 teachers that gave us a desire to do something for them, that gave us a desire to make a difference. For us as a team to do something for the teachers would ripple to the pupils so we set out to build them a new toilet because the one they had been using was nearly full. The toilet is well underway, since Andrew ( in country leader) returned from his break in the UK we have made great progress, the lintels are on the pit and the concrete floor has been put in, doorframes fitted and the walls are slowly climbing up. The first water tank at the school has been finished, and we will soon have enough money to build a second one. Our Work in CamaJorjay has progessed well and both goat sheds should be finished soon. So it would seem that everything is great and in so many ways it is;
Trusting God to use You
The crux of the matter is that at the start of the trip we budgeted for all the we wanted to do and in the perfect world, we would be able to do everything we wanted to do within that Budget, however as most of you will know from everyday life, budgets are a hard thing to keep to. The truth is no different here, a few of our projects have ran over budget here but the great thing is we where able to complete them.
Last week we stopped to assess our budget and found our reserves where running low, as you may have noticed we had already started fundraising for additional work, so we where unwilling to launch another campaign for more money and equally as unwilling to commandeer anymore that had been raised for the water tank at the school. We resolved to be as frugal as we could with the money we had left, and to be fervent in prayer. Trusting that God would supply for all that he would want us to do; A week later and I can testify that God answers prayer and provides for the needs of the people who are seeking to build his kingdom.
On Monday night after a long days work Andrew summoned all of Team Twendee for a meeting in the kitchen down stairs. It was unexpected, for some reason raising the question in my mind of what is wrong. We settled down and Andrew explained that he had been in contact with ‘Go Mad’ in the UK, after some more talk he declared that they had reviewed our fundraising which was now sitting at over £3000 pounds from across different sources. From the moment the words had been uttered to the moment my mind grasped the total felt like eternity and could only be meet with a joyful laughter. Thank you so much to everyone who has donated your support means so much, it means that we can increase access to clean water for over 1300 pupils, it means that we can put a floor into a church that wants to seek Gods kingdom come and it means that We can finish all the we hoped to do while her.
- Pray for Claire and Deborah the two in country staff who are currently resting in the UK, they are due back this weekend (13th June), that their individual journeys would be uneventful. That when they get back here they will be refreshed and excited for the challenges ahead.
- Pray for both Teams (6 months and 3 Months) that coming into these last two weeks that we would have the same energy and desire that consumed us at the start of the trip, that we would continue to seek more of God. Pray that we would also want to get to know more about each other, that for every individual when we return to the UK and start our next chapters that God would be the thing we are known for.
- Pray for the Diocese of Mara, who have just elected a new Bishop. Pray that the transition would be smooth and he would be a man who seeks God. That the church would continue to meet the practical needs of the community around it as well as seeking to bring people into relationship with god and make disciples.
- For me personally. Pray that in the last week weeks I would lead the team well, that God would grant me decisions and patience in the midst of tiredness. That I would get to know more about him and that my Love for him would Grow, Pray that the Holy Spirit would really work in me and transform me. That when I return this summer before starting training for the ministry that I would have a clear idea of what it is that God wants me to do over my summer months, that I would waste them with idleness but seek to do more for him.
Yours In Christ