So I am home ! scary thought to consider were the last three months have went, It feels like I have blinked and never left Ireland, before I start waffling I want to thank everyone who supported us in anyway. Whether you supported us financially/prayerfully it was very much appreciated; We as a team achieved so much, but this would have been impossible without the support of every individual we are connected to as a team without you and your support we would not have been able to do what we set out to do.
Last Few Weeks in Tanzania
I remember at the start of June thinking ‘we go home this month’ and being amazing at where the last 6 weeks had went, sitting looking back and thinking ‘we have done a lot’ but yet overawed by what we had still to do. The church roof was finished, the boys and girls groups were doing well, We had ran out of money and then ended up with more than enough. So since my last update we had raised enough money thanks to people back home not only to finish off all our projects that had been running but also to do even more.
Most of the work and effort in our time left went into finishing of the toilets, we had got all the basics in place, a pit for the waste to go into, a floor and walls that were slowly creeping up. Once the walls where nearly finished we started working on the trusses for the roof, compared to the Church roof this was completed in one morning with ease. Once the walls where finished with the help of Andrew we were able to get the trusses in place, then we got one of locals helpers (Phillipo) to put the roof sheeting on. Believe it or not there was more work to do once the roof had went on, we had to build the walls right up to cover the gap between the roof and the walls, getting creative with some of the bricks to make sure they fitted into the remaining space. Thankfully we finished off the toilet during our last week ( some people even got to use it )
It is a powerful thing to stand back and look and see something real in front of you that will benefit so many people in the coming years, that didn’t even exist 6 weeks before. A toilet block that was only there because of the Providence of God, that 3 weeks prior to we where not even sure we would get to finish it. That was such a challenging time for us, but it was a time when God taught us the lesson of ‘The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food in due season. You open your hand; you satisfy the desire of every living thing‘ (Pslam 145:15-16) At a time when we were in danger in thinking to much of ourselves and what we were doing God brought us back to planet earth and brought us to him. It is a beautiful thing to pray for resources and Trust that God will give you enough for what he wants you to do, but then you end up with more than enough to do more than you ever dreamed you would do !
As well as working on the toilet we finishing off our various other projects; Goat sheds, starting the second water tank for the school. We had an amazing last couple of weeks spending our time wisely and thankfully getting everything to where we needed it to be. One of the blessings was that we were able to buy goats for the sheds we had built due to the extra money we had raised, a goat may not sound like much to you or me. You might think that it would provide milk for a family, which it will; or even meet at the end of its life which it will. the reality is that the simple purchase of a goat for a family can provide them a means to escape the reality of poverty they live in, it can provide them with a steady income throughout the year and then when the goat starts to breed and produce young the family gets an income from selling the kids and other families will start to be blessed.
As well as practical work, it was a time for celebration and goodbyes. The amount of Goodbyes and celebrations we had through the last few two weeks I would say where the best and Worst things we had to do. The first big event we had was our goodbye service in Songambele we were joined by over 100 people from across the area, had a traditional african feed of rice and beans before heading into the now finished church to celebration and Give our thanks to the God who provides. it was a beautiful and Long service, with choirs singing and people praying and speeches being given but it was fantastic to be finishing our time with them in the building when we had started it under the trees 12 weeks before dreaming about giving them a roof and a floor. My prayer is that Songambele would continue to grow and bless the area it is working in. We also spend sometime with Yohanna and his family who had us around for lunch, that was amazing and such a blessed time.
One of my favourite moments over our last few weeks in Tanzania was the party we had at eagle lodge for all the ‘Go Make a Difference Staff’ who had been such a blessing to us over the last 3 months (Freddy, Samson, Phillipo, Pendo and Maria with all of their families) we had the best time, playing games and reminiscing about times spent together laughing, crying and working. We even had some speeches from us to them, and From Phillpo on behalf of their work and thanking us for what we had done.
The Hardest goodbyes
The hardest goodbyes that I had to say were to the people I had spend the last 3 months living with, not just my own team but the 6 month team and GoMad staff in country, people who had become like family and one by one where soon to Leave. Sam and Kate were first to go the Friday before everyone else, they were heading off on their safari and then to Zanzibar for a few weeks. Our last weekend was spent like every other, only this time with the added emphasis of finality, Our final morning in Rehema, our final afternoon in town and our final last minute rush to the beach before getting the dalla dalla home. Sunday would be our last service (for now) at Songambele church before heading home for one last light lunch and packing. We headed to tembo beach that afternoon before one last trip to After Lux hotel. The meal that evening felt like the last supper, it was a strange thing to know that the following morning people you had spent every minute of the last three months with would be leaving due to slightly different travel arrangements and heading home.
I found it quite hard to comprehend where the time had went, but even in those few seconds of thought as I looked around the table at tall the different characters that God had brought together in Musoma Tanzania I knew certain things for a fact, that we had made friends for life rooted in the Love of Christ and that God had done wonderful things in the lives of every individual who was sitting around that table; As they went home and settled back into life in the UK he would continue to. From that first week of getting to know people to that last morning of saying Goodbye I had been profoundly challenged in my own faith as I had seen God work in the lives of others. As I have seen ‘Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. (Philippians 2:12-13 )’ come to life in the people I was living with. After the Buzz of Sunday evening, getting packed and having the day ahead explained to them, sitting up and chatting Playing Card game to the small hours of the morning, Monday morning soon came about and with it came our last Goodbyes in Tanzania as most of the house got up that morning packed their bags into the different landrovers and headed to the Kenyan border. As the cars pulled out of the driveway the reality of the situation dawned on me that this really was the end of our time. There were 5 members of our team left, We spend the day relaxing and waiting for our turn.
So on Tuesday morning it was our turn to get up and go, the journey home was stretched over two days and took in 5 different countries for me. Thankfully we had no issues and safe travels throughout even with a 15 hour bus Journey through Kenya, which is a country with such beauty and one I want to spend more time in. I arrived home on thursday morning to be greeted by the sight of Mum, Dad and my oldest brother standing there in belfast city airport and I cannot say how good it was to see them after three months and to spend time catching up on everything that had went on in their lives
the End !
Again I want to thank everyone for everything they have done for me over the last few months, for taking time out to pray for me or support me and the team financially. One of the biggest blessing was from the people who took time out to communicate with me an updating me on life back home. For now I am taking time to rest and settle back into life in the UK/Ireland before Heading to Dublin to start training and studying for Church of Ireland, exciting times
Until Next Time