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.]
Family and Life
- Harper visited the village for the first time ever yesterday. We’d been waiting on her to get some vaccinations before we took her out. So yesterday, on our way back to Geita from Mwanza (where we dropped my sister off at the airport), we went to Mwakiwasha village to take a peak at the experimental farm I’ve got there, and to work out some calendar dates with church leaders. Harper doesn’t do so well in new places (opposite of Baylor who gets bored wearing the same clothes for an hour, much less sitting at home all day), but she came around by the end of the day. It really meant a lot to the mamas at Mwakiwasha that Christie came and brought the newest baby to greet them.
- Baylor is mostly potty-trained now. By mostly I mean that she tells us when she has to tee-tee (can’t use pee-pee, because that’s the Swahili word for candy) and then goes in the potty. By mostly, however, I do NOT mean that she poops in the potty, because she’s only ever done that once or twice — even though I promised her pee-pee to eat.* Any advice?
- Brittney, my baby sister, left Tanzania on Sunday after having been with us for 3 1/2 months and drinking a whole lot of my coffee. There were a lot of tears at the airport. At one point Baylor looked at Brittney and asked, “Are you mad at me?” She doesn’t quite understand tears yet, I suppose. We already miss Brittney a lot. Speaking of tears, I walked past Brittney’s (empty) room last night and it made me cry a little.
- Also making me cry lately… I’ve started studying Kisukuma, my second African language. It’s been a little frustrating because I don’t feel like I have much time to devote to a new language if I want to stay on top of the other work I need to be doing (which is all currently in Kiswahili). I suppose it will be quite some time before I’m really able to use my Kisukuma.
- Our family is now living by ourselves for the first time since July 2011. The last 9 months have been crazy. Things will be slow for the next week. Then…
- Terry Harville (known as “T” by the ladies**) will arrive on May 16th to spend a couple of weeks with us. He’s going to do a bit of agriculture work with me in the village, as well as tag along for some other work. We’ll probably also watch Nacho Libre at least once and cure some ham while he’s here. And he’s got to see some lions, right?
- Five summer interns will arrive on June 20th to spend seven weeks with Team Geita. They’ll be learning Swahili while studying culture and missions, and accompanying us in order to help with our work. Christie and I will be hosting a couple of guys named Bryan and Nik. I’m sure you’ll hear more about the interns later. [They should make for good blog fodder.]
Evangelism and Discipleship
- I’m currently preparing 3-day seminar on group Bible studies in church maturation and evangelism. And I’m trying to do a really good job in it,*** because I plan to teach it in several areas, and to representatives of at least ten churches. I hope to teach it even to a lot more churches and people than that, using it in town to help other churches (of other denominations, even). The first of these seminars will be July 17-19, hosted by the church at Mwakiwasha. Please be praying even now for my time with those churches.
- Other than that, as far as “church” work goes, I’m visiting churches and teaching a little. But the bulk of my teaching doesn’t begin until after farm work slows down a little (for me and for the locals, all of whom are farmers).
Development and Service
- My experimental farm at Mwakiwasha is going great. Both corn and beans are doing well, and some of the local farmers have even started their own experiments with mulch on small sections of their farms.
- My first chicken vaccination project in the village will begin on May 22-23 in Mwakiwasha village. [We’ve done some vaccinations for neighbors for the sake of research and relationship building, but this will be my first work with chickens in the villages. Even so, it will be really small scale, as I’m calling it a trial and haven’t yet talked with the proper government officials about doing something larger.] We’ve already begun announcing the 23rd as the date for vaccinations, so local families will remember to leave their chickens inside that morning. That way we can vaccinate each chicken as it exits the building, eliminating both 1) double vaccinations and 2) the chasing of chickens.
- I’m learning how to harvest rice May 29-30. I’ve heard it’s an itchy job, but am still looking forward to it.
- I’m taking a Permaculture Design Course during June 4-15. For those of you not familiar with the word permaculture, the dictionary describes it as “the development of agricultural ecosystems intended to be sustainable and self-sufficient.” Basically, I want to learn better how to design spaces in which all the individual systems present (families, various livestock, large farms, kitchen gardens, etc) can interact with one another in a better way. At the end of the two-week course, I will be a certified permaculture designer and teacher. What do you think about that?
- There has been some progress made towards obtaining a small piece of land on which to begin an actual demonstration farm in Geita (different from the experimental plot in Mwakiwasha). If that does indeed come through before July, we should be able to begin, with the help of interns, planting trees for living fences and building chicken and goat houses.
- We’re happy to announce that all of our finances are currently taken care of, provided all pledges result in actual moneys. Missionaries often can’t say this. Thank you to all of you who are helping us work in Tanzania.
- A ladies’ Bible class in Andalusia, Alabama donated $1050 to go towards the demonstration farm, which will help us greatly in purchasing farm tools, building supplies, and even livestock.
Thank you so much for your continued interest and support. I want to ask you, please, to take a moment and pray for our family and for the work I’ve mentioned above. Seriously, right now. Thanks a bunch.