Wednesday, May 18, 2016

A Mountain of a Hike

This past weekend, we spent some time exploring the mountain that stands behind our house.  This is something we had wanted to do for awhile, but never seemed to get around to it with the busyness of normal life.  Thankfully, a friend volunteered to show us some of the paths and off we went on a 3-mile loop.

Although the going is steep at times, and the huffing and puffing was heavy on my part (we live in a mile high city and I blame the altitude, not my being out of shape...I am sure that had nothing to do with it....)...

The views were totally worth it, as we looked down over the city we call home.

David and the boys have already returned to play in a creek we came across on our walk...

And I look forward to many more walks and lots more exploring...and hopefully a little less huffing and puffing.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

When Ants Go Marching

The ants are marching through our backyard. Not just two by two, but hundreds upon hundreds upon hundreds.

And these aren't the nice little ants with the little one stopping to tie his shoe.  These are the get in their way, they will climb all over you and bite you till you run around like a crazy person variety of ants.

And how would we know what variety they are?  Well, because yesterday at different points, all three kids came running into the house, shedding clothes and dancing around like...well, like they had ants in their pants.

When I stripped Esther down, I noticed one biting the front of her overalls.  I went to pull it off and its body came off, while the head continued to bite and pinch for a good 10 minutes longer.  One had climbed into Caleb's hair and was biting so hard it was like removing a tick.  Like I said, no nice shoe-tying ants here.

I am not sure why the ants are marching through our backyard or where they are coming from or going to.  Still, I do know we are going to leave them alone as they march down, across the ground to get to where ever they are going.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Got Milk?

Ears strained, waiting to hear the low roar of a motorcycle around the early morning sounds of birds, chickens and cows. Shouts of “He's here!” meet Luka, our motorcycle riding milk man, as he pulls up to the gate. Greetings are exchanged and he pours out six liters of milk from his plastic containers into our large pot. Promises of meeting again the next week and off he goes to his next stop.

The pot is carried inside, placed on the stove and stirred constantly as the milk is brought up to a safe temperature for pasteurization. About 15-20 minutes later, it is poured through a fine strainer into plastic yogurt bottles we have recycled into milk jugs. Placed into a cool water bath, it is brought back done to room temperature before it goes in the fridge to be used throughout the week.

This is how we get milk most weeks. Not as easy as popping into the store for a quick trip to pick up a gallon of milk is it? (In all fairness, it is possible to get boxed milk at the local grocery store. Still, the boxed milk costs around three times the price of the fresh milk and is sometimes difficult to find.)

Much of life here in Tanzania is exemplified by the milk process. Rarely is anything quick or easy. Often simple tasks can devolve into complicated, tedious events that take much longer than you expected. Don't get me wrong, life is good and full and rich...but it takes a bit out of you each day as the process of living never ceases.

That is why it is so important for our family (and for many living in cross-cultural situations) to get away from “normal” life once and awhile. Life is draining and if we do not take the time to refill, we will find ourselves dry, barren and in the long run, no longer fit for service.

A major time of refilling for our family is a yearly retreat with our colleagues from throughout Tanzania. It is a time of refilling through spiritual renewal, fellowship and rest (can we say childcare??). This year our retreat is scheduled for the end of June and to say we (and many others) are looking forward to it is a mild understatement. (I think the first conversation I had with a friend here about looking forward to retreat was in February!)

This year, we have another reason that we are counting down the days to retreat...a team from our church in the States is coming to serve as the childcare team! The team will be hosting a day camp for around 55 missionary kids from many different countries. This vital ministry opportunity is priceless to our family as well as the other missionary families with whom we serve. This time is the only chance many of the kids will have to experience something like this for an entire year. Think, no summer camps, no dance teams, no VBS. The childcare provided at the retreat is a once in a year experience that refills kids and parents alike so they can continue to faithfully serve the needs of the Bibleless in Tanzania.

The next time you are at the store for milk or see that gallon of milk in the fridge, would you take a moment to think of us and the upcoming retreat? As you drink down a cool, glass of refreshing milk, would you say a prayer for our much needed refreshment?  Would you also pray for the details and logistics of the team preparing to come? (If you would like to directly partner with the team financially, you can do so here.)

Thank you in advance for your prayers! We look forward to seeing how God uses this retreat to refill and refresh our spirits in a much needed way.   
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