I crawl out of bed 20 minutes before sunrise. There’s an 8-cup French press waiting for me in the kitchen — which is promptly filled with coffee. And then slowly emptied as I spend time with my Bible and prayer list. Some mornings I open the book up to a random page and read; on others I’ve already got a text marked for use in a 3-column study. Every morning I review a bit of the Sermon on the Mount.
Usually I have an hour before Baylor and Mama Baylor enter the living room, where I’m sitting at a makeshift office in one corner. I generally write something every morning, most of it ending up in a file marked “just thinking” and never used for anything. I usually have something set aside there in the “just thinking” folder to be proofread and posted on the blog. So I do that. Then I read some — email and Christian blogs I like to frequent, and those of our family and friends. Occasionally I check the news, but rarely find anything that makes me glad I checked.
And that is the way I begin every morning. I post this, not so much because I think you’ll enjoy reading about my mornings — actually I doubt any of you do. But when writing our April work report, I included a sentence about our house finally feeling like home. Then I started wondering why it feels like home. What’s changed? Is it just that we’ve been there a certain amount of time? That’s not it — we were in a little cabin at language school for twice as long as we’ve been in our house. And I’m sure we’ve stayed as many nights in the Miller’s home in Mwanza as we have in our house in Geita.
No, home to me has something to do with patterns and certainties, with expectations and comfort and security. One thing that makes our house my home is that I can get up every morning and have some time to myself with a Bible and a prayer list… in the same place, with the same coffee and the same mug.
But that’s not all. Home is also home because Christie and Baylor enter the room every morning. And I sing the same made-up, yet uncreative, “good morning” song to Baylor every day. And she smiles her same smile, and her mother gets a kiss on the cheek, as we discuss Baylor’s sleep through the night and early morning. And we end every night in similar fashion as we sing songs together after Baylor reads a book (she’s very advanced for her age); and then she’s off to bed, leaving Christie and I a few hours to be together.
And there are other things. But I write this to say that we are at home in Geita now, and it’s amazing to think it will be home for the next 8 or 9 years. And that Baylor will have so many of her firsts in this house, and in this yard, and in this family. I’ll spend over 3000 mornings reading the Bible in that corner of our living room. And for as many nights, Christie and I will share the hours between Baylor’s bedtime and our own. We praise God for giving us a place to call home, and even more for making it feel that way.
I know Geita, and this world, is not my true home — believe me, I’m reminded of it every single day. But it’s nice to have one place that feels like home. I don’t think it’s so much about being comfortable on this earth, and grasping firmly to the things of this world. It’s more about having one little “kingdom place” on earth that’s as close to heaven as I can experience in this life. And that, for me, is my home.
And now, an abbreviated form of our April work report. If you’d like to be added to the actual work report email list, comment below with the words “subscribe work report.”
Family and Life
- Our teammates, Carson and Holly McNeal, just returned from the states with new baby Jude. Baylor’s happy to have a friend, and we’re really glad to have our teammates back.
- Baylor turned five months on May 4. She’s now able to sit up and play, and can hold herself up on all fours. She seems disappointed she can’t crawl yet — but she’s trying really hard.
- Baylor and Jude are now both legal residents of Tanzania. We had to visit the Office of Immigration every day this week, but as of five minutes before closing yesterday, the kids officially have the status of dependents on their parents’ work permits.
Evangelism and Discipleship
- We started one Bible study group last month, and it’s going really well. We average 12 adults and a bunch of kids, though all but the oldest kids go out and play during study. Edward is facilitating the group, and is doing a great job of taking us through our Discovery Bible Study each week. We’re in Genesis right now, and everyone seems to be enjoying our study and really taking to heart what we’re learning. They’re also actively telling others each week what they’ve learned. Please pray for that Bible study group — that they will continue to be drawn to God, and will be obedient to his word.
- I’m meeting with Edward each week for a one-on-one time of mentoring and going over our study for that week. Pray that God continues to bless Edward in facilitating our group and in being discipled himself.
- There are two more Bible study groups scheduled to begin this month. Please be praying for Sumbu and Oscar, who are my contacts within those groups and will likely be the facilitators of those studies.
- On April 12, I was invited to a meeting in Kahama, a 3-hour drive to the south, concerning development work. I met with representatives from two other NGOs, and we discussed strategies and plans for development projects in our area of Tanzania. One of these groups (DELIRA) has been at work in Tanzania for several years now, and was able to share from their experiences both successes and failures. I talked a bit about my desires to be education-based, sustainable, and reproducible, and they seemed very interested in what I had to say. I was invited to another meeting in May at DELIRA’s main office in Angara, in which I’ll actually get to see some of their projects in the field (including a fish farm). I’m excited about this relationship, especially what I can learn from DELIRA.
- I was also able in April to visit a grassroots chicken project in Kakola, about 75 kilometers away (1 1/2 hours). They are raising about 300 chicks at a time, and have an egg contract with a nearby gold mine. I was able to interview the guys who actually do all the work, and was able to learn a great deal.
- As mentioned in our last work report, we’re trying to raise the funds to order a Landcruiser 78 series through MATS International. We are attempting to raise$14,000 in the next several months. We sent out fundraising letters about two weeks ago (and still have a few more to get out). If you might be able to help with this, or your church or Sunday school class might be willing to take up a one-time offering towards that amount, please email us and let us know.
Blessings on you as you seek to live in your right relationship with God and with those around you. May he be glorified. And may God grant you a “kingdom place” to call home.
See the March work report here.