Here are some of the highlights of our last six months in Tanzania. We’ll also mention a few day-to-day activities which serve as representations of our fuller lives.
Family and Life
- Baylor will be three years old next month (that’s when the “terrible twos” end, right?), and Harper is now crawling like crazy, her knees and shins constantly stained red from our impossible-to-completely-clean concrete floors.
- Christie is applying to graduate schools which have extension/online degrees in ESL/TESOL. This degree will go a long way in enhancing Christie’s ability to work in international missions both here in Tanzania and any other place we may find ourselves in the future. Continue reading
I studied permaculture for the last two weeks under a New Hampshire instructor named Steve Whitman (who did indeed appear the part of a permaculture instructor from New Hampshire). For those of you not familiar with the term, permaculture is a word coined by a guy named Bill Mollison from Australia. It comes from the words permanent and agriculture. Continue reading
Yesterday morning we vaccinated nearly 800 chickens. And I learned something interesting:
No matter how athletic, agile, or elegant one may normally be, it is impossible to appear graceful while chasing a chicken. Continue reading
I might as well start with the most interesting photo, though I won’t actually tell you about the spitting cobra until later in the post (skip to there, I suppose, if you’re anxious)….
I spent a couple of days this last week in Mwakiwasha village. [You guys are familiar with Mwakiwasha village; we did a couple of photo tours there a while back: mwanza to mwakiwasha and a visit in mwakiwasha village.] The whole family went out Monday, mostly just to greet everyone, though we also worked out some dates for vaccinating chickens, harvesting rice, and having the interns stay a few days. It was Harper’s first village visit ever, and our friends were very happy to meet her.
Yesterday, though, my visit was for some farm work. Continue reading
As is usually the case, I’m not including our full work report here at aliens and strangers because 1) it’s a little long and 2) I’d rather have a little more narrative (or rambling) on the blog. So the blog work report and the email work report are always just a little bit different, folks. [If you want to subscribe to the full version of our work report, let me know in the comments; I'll send it to you by email.]
Have you ever wondered why Usain Bolt can run so fast? Have you ever wanted to take part in an African circumcision ceremony (if so, I’m wondering why)? Have you ever suspected that farming is the worst mistake the human race has ever made? Then grab a cup of coffee, my friend…. Continue reading
The last week has been crazy busy. I slept in six different beds in six nights. Only one was missing a mosquito net, only one was missing a pillow, and only one was missing a sheet for cover. Five of the six, however, were missing my wife. [Guess which bed I liked the most?]
I was in Musoma studying an approach to agriculture and living called permaculture. I’m sure I’ll be writing a few posts about permaculture later, but for now I’ll point you to some reading material that might be useful or interesting:
Because of my travels, aliens and strangers was a little different this past week — though I did manage to get a few posts scheduled to publish before I left town. I’m not sure next week is gonna’ be a great deal better, but I’ll try. We’re leaving Saturday for Rwanda, where Christie will be attending a women’s retreat, and I’ll be preparing a few team documents and doing some sermon writing while keeping Baylor in a house that belongs to some missionary friends of ours.
So I may be scarce over the next ten days, especially in the comments section (not sure if we’ll have internet at all while in Rwanda). Bare with me, though, and your life will be filled with rainbows and kittens. Promise.
I’ll be digging in the garden this week. So my mind has turned of late to agriculture. Here are a few of my favorite quotes on the subject:
“The farmer is the only man in our economy who buys everything at retail, sells everything at wholesale, and pays the freight both ways.” – John F. Kennedy
“Italians come to ruin most generally in three ways, women, gambling, and farming. My family chose the slowest one.” — Pope John XXIII
“Life on a farm is a school of patience; you can’t hurry the crops or make an ox in two days.” — Henri Alain
“Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil and you’re a thousand miles from the corn field.” — Dwight Eisenhower
“There are three easy ways of losing money – racing is the quickest, women the most pleasant, and farming the most certain.” — Lord Amherst
“Farmers only worry during the growing season, but towns people worry all the time.” – Edgar Watson Howe
“There are only three things that can kill a farmer: lightning, rolling over in a tractor, and old age.” – Bill Bryson
And one more:
“For as the soil makes the sprout come up
and a garden causes seeds to grow,
so the Sovereign Lord will make righteousness and praise
spring up before all nations.” — Isaiah 61:11
A few thoughts:
- The nation of Israel was to be on display to all the nations of the world as a people of righteousness and praise. The church today serves the same function: to be an expression of right relationship with God to all other cultures and communities.
- We tend to think of Christianity first and foremost as an individual and private endeavor. Biblical writers seem to look first (and most often) at the larger, more communal picture. Our view seems to stem from plain old human selfishness tainted by American individualism.
- Another product of our American individualism is the idea that we possess within ourselves the power to accomplish all things. In this text, though, we learn it is God’s responsibility to bring righteousness and praise in his church. He grows them in us much as vegetables grow in a garden.