My survey trip to Tanzania with Mark ☺
Okay, so with every big trip there is usually always something that is forgotten or that goes awry in some way. For me this trip was no different. Two months ago when Mark, Avant’s Church Planting Director, and I started planning this trip and booked it we lost one small detail in the woodwork. On the morning of the twentieth, when I went to check in, I found out what that minor detail was. Upon booking Mark’s ticket as well as mine we just used one credit card, Mark’s. Neither one of us gave it a second thought until at the ticket counter they said they wanted to see it for security verification purposes- but Mark was not flying at the same time as me. At this point I said sorry I did not have it. Fortunately Kansas City International is only ten to fifteen minutes away from Avant headquarters. After a short time and being taken unaware, the card was delivered and I was on my way.
Traveling cross culturally is always an adventure! My route to Tanzania was through the Netherlands instead of the United Kingdom. I had a four-hour layover in Amsterdam. While traveling I enjoy people watching to see what’s going on or not going on in other cultures. I found out that in Sweden, for guys, stovepipe jeans are in style and that it is also still really cool to have a mullet. I walked into the men’s rest room and of course found it full of men, as one would expect. However, I was a bit surprised to find a female airport employee in one of the stalls cleaning the toilet and mopping the floor, not the least bit concerned about what was going on around her.
Less than twenty four hours before leaving for Africa I found out that Burt, my father-in-law, was also traveling on business to Marseilles, France and that he had a short layover in Amsterdam as well. We were able to get together for about forty five minutes and catch up a bit which was very nice. Traveling east long distances is always a bit disorienting as the further you go the longer you get to relive a certain amount of time again. Not really, but for those who enjoy reading science fiction I suppose that is about as close to time travel as we can get. For me, on this trip, it was nine hours total which can be hard on sleeping patterns.
May 22, 23 2010
Saturday morning after breakfast Mark and I started our rounds of meeting many people, all of whom Mark knew. We stayed the evening at the S.I.M (Serving In Mission) compound where Mark knew people. After Mark introduced me to many old friends and coworkers, he took me out to learn a bit about Nairobi. The next morning we got up and visited the I.C.F, International Community Fellowship Church, where we again found more of Mark’s friends, to whom I was soon introduced. Nairobi is a very young, (one hundred years old) and interesting city with a unique history.
May 24, 2010
We are now preparing to go to Arusha, Tanznania where Stephanie and I will stage the first two of our six year commitment. We do not have a vehicle so we will do like most of the locals do and a small handful of tourists and ex patriots, we will ride the shuttle bus. After paying our fare and waiting for the bus to arrive we loaded up and started off. Stuffed like sardines in a twenty six passenger bus we got as comfortable as possible then we proceeded to bump along, literally. We had a two hundred seventy three kilometer drive, roughly two hundred miles. On this particular trip we bounced along over alternating dirt and tarmac or asphalt roads. We stopped at the border for Kenya and Tanzania to take care of all the exit and entry paperwork and visa’s which took about an hour. Another hour or so down the road and during a break I was talking to two guys that were on the bus with us and it turns out that they are veterinarians from Modesto CA, cool huh? After six and a half hours total we finally arrived at Arusha, Tanzania. We had made arrangements to stay at a Swedish guesthouse, which was part of a Swedish run ministry called Radio Habari Maalum, Kiswahili for (radio good teacher). After getting settled into the guest house we called our contact, letting him know that we had arrived. Once our contact arrived at our guest house I got to know him as Samson. Samson is a native of Rwanda and is serving in ministry in Tanzania with his wife and children. Simon will for the next five days be our host and driver.
May 25, 2010
We woke up to a wonderful mist much like you would find in the Seattle area during the winter. Along with this mist and cool weather was an overcast sky, all was welcome after the previous day of cramped confines on a very warm and dusty bus. Samson picked us up and we then proceeded to a Danish school that teaches Kiswahili. This will be the school that our team and Stephanie and I all will attend to start our venture in Tanzania. Cuthbert, our guide at the school, showed us around the entire campus and answered all of our questions concerning the school. I like what I see and feel that there could be no better language school in Tanzania. Samson spent the rest of the day showing us around various parts of Arusha.
May 26, 2010
Samson, Mark and I had a meeting scheduled with David from Africa Inland Mission. David is a great guy and I look forward to spending some time with him during the first several months in Africa. We also met Scott and Susie, a couple who knows Kevin and Marcia, some friends from Pennsylvania. All of the folks at AIM are great and it will be a joy sharing a small part of our lives with them in Arusha before moving out into the bush. After our meetings with the AIM crew we were back in Arusha learning about the town and finding out what things cost so we can build our living budgets.
May 27, 2010
After breakfast our day started with a meeting with Paul, of the A.I.C Church. This man is a wonderful brother in our Lord. He’s a jovial man, excited about what God wants to do in the western region. There are few churches there and Paul is excited about partnering with us to establish the church in a largely unreached area. This particular area is very dark spiritually. After visiting in depth with Nancy, of Mount Meru University in Arusha, we found out why. The country of Tanzania was the key piece of the East Africa slave trade. There were several routes that the slavers used to bring captured people out to Zanzibar where they would be auctioned off, then loaded on ships for their final destinations. Many of the villages today exist because that is where the slavers would overnight, etc and over time they became established towns with roads connecting them. It is along these routes, that there is a very depressed and dark feeling. It is also in some of these areas that we are looking at as potential ministry points. We finished out the day with a meeting where Paul, Samson, Mark and I all went to the head office for Compassion in Tanzania. Here we met with Joseph. This was an especially neat meeting because when we initially tried to meet Joseph we were told that he was traveling and would not be in Arusha. Joseph was indeed traveling, however returned early from his prior engagement. Joseph is another wonderful brother in our Lord. Joseph is just a couple years older than me and full of love for life and what God is doing with orphans in Tanzania through their organization. We finished out the day excited about what God has in store for us with potential partnerships with these men and their organizations.
May 28, 2010
We took this last day in Arusha to finish looking around; getting to know the city a little better. We also continued to compile many notes concerning various living expenses etc.
May 29, 2010
After a light breakfast, Mark and I got back on the bus to Nairobi. Mark and I are very excited about ministry opportunities here in Tanzania. We were not able to go to the western region for several reasons but with our meeting with Paul, who lives there, we feel like we have all the info we need for now. Our next step is for Stephanie and I to finish our fund raising and, once we are fully funded, we will move to Arusha to start our language and cultural acquisition. We have still been planning on making this move around the first of October. After consulting with the language school we may need to move this date up several days. We may need to move up our departure date from the States to September 28th or so, due to classes starting on October the 4th.
Please continue to pray for us in these ways.
1. For our financial, prayer and ministry support team to finish coming together
2. For the arrival of Peanut, that he/she will be healthy and ready to travel ☺
3. Spiritual preparation for Stephanie and I as we prepare to go.
4. For good planning in all areas of our life Spiritual, Emotional and physical as we put things in storage, and say good byes to family and friends.
5. Wisdom, Discernment and Understanding as we pack and prepare for our departure.
6. That my eyes would be open to the many steps involved with infrastructure building for our team in Tanzania.
7. Men of peace that the Lord would bring into our lives to help us get established and integrated into whatever communities we live in and work out of.
8. For the right housing opportunity to come along for Stephanie and I as we will be housing the team members and their families temporarily as they move into Tanzania and get settled.
9. Contacts, contacts, contacts
10. A vehicle suitable for both personal and ministry while in Tanzania
11. Strength, Courage, Persistence, Patience, Boldness
12. A continued focus on what we are doing and why we are doing it, that we may not be discouraged or distracted.
To God Be The Glory, May the Gospel go forth into all corners of the world that our Heavenly Father may be known and praised.