Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Bye Bye Baba (Dad)

I am sad to say that my dad has returned home. Our African adventure is over....for now. We had the greatest time! Many people wanted to know if we went on safari or climbed Kilimanjaro but the truth is we just did not have time! But my dad really got to see the best of Africa...the hearts of the people. We spent time in the village, visited several orphanages, went to two different churches, attended a Young Life club and just really embraced the people of Arusha.

One day we visited the home of my friend Calvin’s grandfather. He is probably in his eighties and lives in this tiny mud hut no bigger than most our walk-in closets. With four of us in there, he couldn’t close the door. He was cooking his lunch (maize and veggies) on an open stove. He spoke very little english but it was one of our absolute favorite memories. We prayed over his house and just spent some time with him. It might seem awkward to sit with someone in silence when you dont speak the same language but it’s not. Jesus totally fills the gap.

Another one of my favorite memories was when Calvin and his friend Vincent cooked dinner for us. We hiked around the village to gather all of the ingredients...avocados, bananas, rice, tomatoes, peas....yummmm. Then we went home and the two boys in their young twenties prepared for us a delicious african meal. Just as we were about to sit and eat there was a blackout....TIA. So we lit some candles and gathered around the small table and feasted in the dark. In Africa, its typically better to be home before dark or at least don’t be traveling on foot. However, this night the dinner went a little later than expected and there was no easy way for a taxi to get to us so we had to walk home. This meant traversing through rocky dirt roads, crossing a river, and hiking a path all the way back to the main road via the the little light our cell phones could provide. After dinner we prayed for safety and off we went...But as soon as we stepped outside I felt like I was in a movie...it was not nearly as dark as I feared. The Lord had lit the sky so brightly with the moon and stars it was amazing. My little heart was so content and full of wonder. I looked around and Calvin and my dad were holding hands (a sign of friendship in Tanzania) Neema was on the shoulders of Calvin’s best friend Vincent and I was just taking it all in. It was a moment of God’s faithfulness and his beauty...not just the surroundings which were magnificent, but of the bonding in true brother and sisterhood...relationships forming that will last into the Kingdom. 

Neema, Vincent, me, and Calvin

On Dad’s second to last day we had the opportunity to go and hear our friend Jennifer give her testimony to a group of Tanzanians at New Life Bible College. We arrived around 10am and in the parking lot all we heard was a chorus of voices singing! By the sound of it i imagined it to be around 1,000 people. Brother Paul asked my dad if he was ready to see Angels singing...when we walked in it was only about 150 people but they were singing and dancing their little hearts out! I had chill bumps all over and I looked at Jennifer who had tears in her eyes....we both knew we had just entered into a Holy place. We made our way down front and I was just mesmerized by the praise and worship. Clapping, dancing, hands held high, heads bowed in reverence, eyes to the sky, hearts in complete surrender. I wish I could describe this experience better, but God was there and He is indescribable. At the end Neema (who has obviously been to African church with her relatives) shouted “Hallelujah!” and everyone laughed and shouted back “Amen!!!!” When she realized she got such a response she kept on shouting “Hallelujahhhhhh” and then they would say back “Amen!” This went on three or four times and it was so funny!! 

Anyway, my dad and I had many many incredible moments like the ones mentioned above but these were just a few highlights. I am so thankful that he got a true glimpse of why I love this place. He truly experienced the Holy Spirit and was moved by the hearts of those who have little yet give so much! 
This week I have started work at Lohada and boy do I have my work cut out for me! Today the all the adaptors were missing, the computer caught a virus and just keeps turning on and off, and the printer wouldn’t work. We could not find pants to fit one of the children so he just runs around holding his pants up, and two days ago a little boy about four years old was just dropped off at our gate. His feet are deformed as they did not develop properly and he has open wounds all over his head. But he is safe now and his tummy is full so we are thankful for that. We are understaffed and need volunteers desperately but where we are weak He is strong!

Thanks for reading!