Saturday, September 30, 2006

Gaining Confidence

My 6 month anniversary passed without incident. So much so that I nearly made it through the day without realizing it was here. That is possibly because so much has been going on.

September brought some sad news. The Delaughter family is no longer going to be working with us. This means the CMF Tanzania Urban Team is me, and the hopefully soon to arrive Kendra. A little stressful to say the least. Kendra is an amazing gal who has been raising support to work with our team for 3 years and also to work as our Field Business Administrator. Her roles are huge on our team, but the support is not coming in. I need her partnership as I start this ministry. The team needs her partnership as Scott has been filling in as FBA and not able to do what his heart came here to do. We need Kendra. Anyone interested in supporting her email me!

A work team of 7 arrived sunday night to work with Scott and Annelle. Annelle had to make an unexpected trip to the States a week ago last wednesday. Gary and Judy came down and the three of us are helping Scott to care for his team. It says a lot about Annelle, that it takes three of us to replace what she would have done! My job is mostly relational, getting the little odd jobs done, and cooking. Cooking for 12 is fun, but there are some allergies on this team which make it a little more difficult. Thankfully, the CMF staff don't have any allergies. On the work team we have one who is diabetic, one who can't have any sodium nitrate, and one who can't have sugar, wheat or dairy! Yikes! Find a menu that accomodates all of those, that is easy to cook for a large group! No casseroles this week!

This week was also our bi-annual team meeting. This meeting is to review the goals from the last year, and set goals for the next year. As well as to talk about any issues the team needs to discuss. I have a love-hate relationship with these meetings. It is exciting to review what has been accomplished and also exciting to dream about the next year, but I really detest meetings of any kind...hence comes the love-hate relationship.

I signed a lease on a house yesterday. With all of the changes that have taken place on our team I thought it necessary to move closer to the rest of the team (they all live on the NW side of Arusha) and the office (also on the NW side of Arusha.) I live on the SE side. Traffic, bad drivers, increased work outside of the home etc. all pointed in the direction of moving. Also, there is the potential of 2 college gals coming to stay for 5-6 months in January, and I don't have room for them in my apt. The great news is that I found a house that can house us all, and future teams, that rents for less than half the rent of my apartment! I was thrilled and jumped on the opportunity. Needless to say I didn't think of how busy times are this month. Another team arrives for two weeks a week from tomorrow. I will help Scott with that team as well. Kendra will be here for the month of October too. She doesn't have the support to come and stay, but we really needed her here, so she is coming for the month. We also hope that in her time here she will get a better glimpse and vision about what she is doing and be able to better communicate to her supporters...and gain the support she needs to get here. (Sidenote: if you are interested in supporting a very much needed part of our team here, email me, I will get you all of the details.)

The house, comes with a little work. This leads to my point of gaining confidence. I managed to hire a fundi (worker) to put grills in the windows and doors (to prevent unwanted intruders) all by myself! In Swahili! I was thrilled. This is not to say that I am fluent. We did use some hand gestures, and laughed a bit, but he was patient and talked slow enough and enunciated so I could understand him! I was elated. As for the grills in the windows, this is commonplace, even the Tanzanians have them here. It takes some getting used to, you feel like you are in a jail by having bars in the windows and and extra gate with bars padlocked outside your door, but after a while you stop noticing these things!

Things left of the list before moving:
  • Buy a generator (did I mention the power is out 12 hours a day now.)
  • Stay on top of the fundi to make sure the job gets finished in time.
  • Find guard dogs. (big scary looking ones that are sweet and kind to me are preferred :)
  • Find guards.
  • Transfer my contract with the security company from the apartment to the house.
  • Find curtains. (the house has many windows, which is nice, but not at night!)
  • Find some guys to move the stuff.
  • Pack my stuff.

Not a lot, I suppose, just a lot of other things going on to get in the way.

Other than that, not too much else to report. The goals are set for Urban ministry for 2007. I should be slated to start in late January early February 2007. It is a little overwhelming to think of starting this ministry by myself. Did I mention there is a quality gal who has become a dear friend and partner in ministry that is raising support in the states! She would love to come ASAP, and I would love for her to be here ASAP, so if you are interested in supporting her, drop me an email!


Monday, September 18, 2006

Hakuna Maji. Hakuna Umeme.

Peek a boo!

Blog Title Translation: There is no water. There is no power.

In my apartment that is.

I guess I had it coming. I have been quite fortunate when it came to the power rations, however, today was my day, and it all came crashing down. No power. No big deal. Add in no becomes a bigger deal. I should not complain, I have been here 6 months and have had very few probablems, and these are common for many people I know...just thought I would put the word out there...I am not immune to the no water, no power bug that comes through Arusha and its surrounding areas.

On a less griping note (where is the gripe-smacker when you need it!) I had an incredible weekend. A friend had a guest, who needed (as if we ever NEED) to go on safari, so I took inventory of what I had left of my paycheck and decided that I needed to go as well. We made it cheap by not hiring a tour company, and just drove my car, so we just had to pay for park admission and gas. IT WAS INCREDIBLE! I have never experienced something so spectacular in my life, aside from assisting a dear gal with 2 of her childbirth experiences! I put a few (very few, internet is slow today) photos on the flickr site (link to the right). Here are a few for your viewing pleasure. The animals were so close, it was incredibly cool, but a bit creapy as well! In one picture, you can see the elephant, rather large I might say, crossing the road in front of my car, and you can tell how close it is by the fact that you can see the edge of my hood in the bottom right hand corner.

enough for now. your dirt covered friend must head to bed. no water to shower. maybe tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

If anyone has been reading my blog lately, i realize that the last several entries are quite somber...down right near to depressing...but I have got Good News for YOU!

Today, I plugged my ipod in to charge it. It I received the video ipod as a gift for my birthday just before heading to Africa. My brother recommended it, and I thought he was crazy (still working on the honesty here!) but I must admit, he was right. I use it DAILY! I use it at the gym, in the car, in traffic...on the bus to Nairobi. If this thing lasts for the next four years it will be a miracle! I really should write Mac and see if they want me to be their spokesperson, cause I have really become a fan of the ipod and itunes. I don't usually let products take up this much space on my blog...

Well, it seems, that itunes has just gotten better! THEY HAVE MOVIES! Yep. Now I can not only pay to download the latest television shows, audio books and music, but the latest movies as well! What a joy! I should buy stock in Mac. if I had the money maybe I would, but it seems like my spare money goes to purchasing music instead...and I have a feeling that now that there are movies, I will have to put myself on an itunes budget!

Did I mention they have gift cards? this is a smart company.

My heart resounds...

O Lord my God, Light of the blind, and Strength of the weak; yea also Light of those that see, and Strength of the strong: hearken unto my soul, and hear it crying out of the depths.
- - Augustine

Seasons of grief...

I have a friend, who is incredibly honest with her supporters and challenges me to be honest as well. In a few days, I will mark my 6 month anniversary. WOW! I greet this day with excitment, but also with sadness, as it means that it has been six months since I have seen my family. I didn't see them all that often when I lived in America, but I am learning, that, just knowing I can see them makes all of the difference.

So I have found, in recent weeks that there are seasons in the cultural adjustment process. Seasons of great Joy, and seasons of grieving. Right now it is safe to say that I am in a season of grieving. I can't just call up mom for a mexican meal, or even just call my brother in the middle of the night to tell him I care about him. I can't plan a last minute trip to sit on the beach with dad in Florida. I grieve the late nights at the howard house and the weekly trips to Kokomo to visit the Hoshaws. I grieve worshipping at E91, common ground and NCC, and I grieve missing Della pounce in my door on her way to school when I interned at NCC. I grieve so many things...I grieve thursday night girl nights, womens bible studies, and so much more.

I am told that these seasons come and go. No matter how long I am here, I will have seasons of grief. The good part, is that I am promised seasons of Joy as well.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

How's that for honesty...

It was a big weekend. Probably the biggest since I have been here. And I survived. I would love to say that I conquered, but I am very well aware that I did not. For those of you thinking about the mission field or moving away from family, when you tell yourself it won't be a big deal to miss an're wrong.

I told myself that missing the wedding this past weekend wouldn't be so bad...after all, my brother and his wife have been legally married for over a year, and I went to the official "I Do's" at the courthouse, knowing I would miss the "wedding." I didn't think it would be so hard. I didn't realize that I would cry each day in the week before. I didn't think I would miss family so much. Basically, I didn't think.

But I did survive the weekend. I have three great girlfriends who joined me on a trip to Nairobi. We had big plans, eating at Java House, going to a movie and shopping. We did all three, had some laughs, and had some difficult moments as well. I will point out that I did have a real "american" donut (it was actually called and american donut!) and I had a burrito! I spoke english the whole weekend, and often times had to remind myself that I was in Africa! I would even go to say that I experienced some reverse culture shock over the weekend.

As much as I tried to hide the fact that my heart was breaking inside, I think they knew, that although my physical being was with them, my mind and heart were elsewhere. I had to force myself to keep from calculating the time and wondering, "what are they up to now?" But as friends often do, they stuck by me, and didn't push or pry, just let me be. I thank God for such friendships.

I have said it before, and I will probably say it a hundred more times. The hardest part for me in being here is missing out on big events. I missed the wedding. Who knows when my big brother will have kids, but most likely, I won't meet them in their infancy, unless I am lucky enough that they are born while I am on furlough, but I have to remember that that is part of the life I have chosen, albiet the hard part. I will miss graduations, anniversaries, promotions, job changes, etc. It didn't seem to bother me to miss these things when I lived near my family, now it kills me to think about missing them. I can handle the days without electricity. I can handle weird food. I can handle not being respected because I am a woman. I can handle the bug bites and the dust. Sometimes I wonder how long I can handle being separated from family, and I wonder, how long o Lord, until I will see them again.