Saturday, January 26, 2013

The Coffee Plantation and Lodge

On both Thursday and Friday mornings, I attended morning devo at CBI (Chimala Bible Institute), aka the "preachers' training school".  On Thursday, we had a great lesson over Matt. 21-24.  This was Part 1 of a 3 part lesson.  I sure hope I am able to attend the next two lessons.

On Friday, CBI has a praise devo where they sing songs of praise in both English and Swahili.  The majority of those present are men and I am telling you what....the singing is something wonderful to hear, esp. when they are singing in Swahili.  I could listen all day  .It really lifts you up and starts your day off right.

This is one of the largest classes of students at CBI for many years with 30 students, I believe.
This morning, all of the missionaries here at Chimala got together for a day of relaxation.  We took a trip to a Coffee Plantation and Lodge about 90 minutes from Chimala.  I had planned to take pictures of the entire team to introduce to you, however, 3 of our member could not make the trip.  I will introduce you to those who were there.
Sitting in the very front right is Garry Hill, the Director of CBI.  Next on the right in the red shirt is Chad Wagner, the on-site Administrator.  Three of his daughters are sitting at the end of the table, Chandra, Mikaela, and Laura.  Renee, his wife; Anna, his eldest daughter and Jonah, his youngest were unable to come with us because Jonah was feeling ill.  Bill and Cyndi Stinson are sitting on the left of the table.  Bill is the state-side administrator of Chimala.  He and Cyndi have lived at Chimala for the past 6 years until just this last few months.  I am not sure if you can see him, but there is a man sitting just behind Bill.  Randy Carroll is here visiting from NYA Church of Christ.
We are also very happy to have learned of two other families who will be joining our team this summer.  We spent a few hours together today getting to know each other better and discussing current plans at Chimala.  It was a very nice time, but we did miss those who were not with us.
Below are a few pictures of the lodge for you to see.  It is a very nice place upon the mountain.

This is a coffee plant and below is a close up of the beans.  This plant was loaded with beans.
During the rainy season, not only do the crops flourish, but also the trees and flowering plants.  Many are new to me and are very beautiful. 

Tomorrow is Sunday, a day we set aside to Praise and Worship God.  However, my prayer is that we all remember that we are to study His Word and Praise Him daily.  Each day is a blessing from God and each day we are to live our lives in a way which brings Glory and Honor to God.  

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Chosi A (aka "the bat church")

It seems like I have been here much longer than 4 days.  My days have been filled with getting the house I will be living in in living conditions.  I do have help with the yard and house.  I showed you pictures of the outside of the house on my last post, but I did not introduce you to the man who keeps it looking nice. 

This is Hamisi (pronouced Ha-me'-see).  The mission provides security for the mission during the evening, nights and weekends.  Hamisi will be my security/yard man during the day Monday thru Friday.  I have been told he is the best yard man.  So far, I have found him to be very helpful and willing to do anything I need.  His English is pretty good, so he helps me communicate to others at times.  And he runs errands for me when needed.  When I begin going to the hospital or out to villages, it will be very comforting to know he is watching my house.

I also have help with my house work and cooking.  This is Tausi (pronouced Ty-oo'-see).  She will also be at my house for a few hours each day Monday thru Friday.  She will perform light cleaning duties and cook for me.  This will be helpful so that I can spend more time at the hospital or villages without having to do these duties myself.  This week she has worked really hard beside me helping me deep clean.  As I mentioned earlier, this house has not been lived in in a long time.

An interesting tradition here in Tanzania is that when a woman has her first child, she is then called "mama (child's name)".  So Tausi's first borns' first name is "Achillece"  or "Achi" for short.  This means Tausi is also called "mama Achi" (pronouced mama a'-che).  So she wanted to call me "mama Bethanie", but I told her Cheryl will be fine.  Cheryl is hard to pronounce here, so I am commonly called "Cheri".  I can live with that.

OK, I know, you are wondering about the title of this here is the story.  Tonight we went to Wednesday church service with the "Chosi A" congregation.  This church has two nick names.  One is the "bat church".  This is because the building is full of, well, bats!  All during the service, they chatter and fly about.  Also, as many of you probably know, where there are bats, there is also a distintive smell.  It is a little hard to concentrate on the service until you become accustom to all the bat activity and smell.

The other nickname for this congregation is "the watoto congregation".  "Watoto" means children.  As you can see by the picture of the congragation, the children out number the adults about 4 to 1.  That is if you don't count us (the americans). 

The american above is Randy Carroll from the NYA church of Christ.  He is visiting the mission for 3 weeks. He preached a great sermon on "How we should pray".  He plans to bring a youth group from NYA next summer to visit.  I am so happy to have more visitors to see what the mission is all about.  His interpreter is Menard.  Menard is a very important person at the mission.  He is over the shop workers and is very valuable help to all the missionaries. 
 This little guy came to visit me on Tuesday.  I am sure he just wanted to say "Karibu" (pronounced care-ree'-boo) which means welcome.  He is a little gecko.  They often dart up, down and across the walls.  Cute little guys.  There are other visitors which are not so nice.  On Tuesday, the men were mowing and one of the other missionaries had two unwanted visitors.  I am not going to show pictures although we have them.  He had two green mamba snakes which were killed by the locals.  One was outside, but the other had made it inside.   Green mambas are very poisonous.  I have instructed Hamisi that he MUST keep them away from my house.  I sure hope he takes that assignment seriouly!
Here is my thought for the day.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Beauty of Tanzania

I am here!  It has been a long wait to get here.  Wow!  I thought it would only take about 10-12 weeks to get my residency for Tanzania and I would be back here in no time.  Well, as many of you know, that "no time" turned into almost 7 months!  Boy is it good to be back in Africa!

The trip from OKC to Chimala Mission is no quick trip.  I left OKC around noon on Thursday and arrived at the Mission on Saturday evening at 5pm (which is 8am OKC time).  Long trip, but so worth it. 

It is the rainy season here and so everything is really green and beautiful.  Of course, I think it is beautiful even during the dry season when things were brown.  I have a small house, 2br and 2 bath.  It is going to be awesome!  I will post pics of the outside, but give me a little more time to get settled before I post pics of the inside.

This is the front of my house 
And this is the back !
This is the view from the back of my house.  You cannot tell in this picture, but there are mountains back there.  This direction is south, and my house faces north.

On Sunday, I attended church at a village called Uturo (pronounced oo-too-ro).  I wish I had taken some pics of the village, but I didn't.  They have their crops in and they have used all available space.  The crops are all around each little house.  There is only a small space around the house for doing the household chores like laundry.  It was amazing.

I do have several pics of the church I would like to share.
This is a picture of all who attended church on Sunday morning.  The preacher, Issac, graduated last year from the Chimala Bible Institute and is working hard to grow this church and it shows.  Last year when he graduated and arrived in Uturo there were only 8 people present at church.
Garry Hill preached on Sunday.  He is the Director of the Chimala Bible Institute which is on the Chimala Mission training men in Biblical Studies.  His interpreter is Ezekial.  Ezekial speaks 13 different languages fluently.  Wow!  I am lucky to speak English properly.  I am hopefully, though, to learn Swahili and speak it well.

I love the children.  They are so beautiful and innocent.  Not to say, I don't love the parents!  I just really love the children. 
This little guy was so loving to his mom.  He was laughing and giving her kisses for about the first hour of church.  After that he was sleepy and a little cranky.
These two little guys watched me like hawks throughout the morning.
I titled this post "The Beauty of Tanzania", but I have only shown you an "itty-bitty snippet".  There is so much more.  And, of course, there will be things that don't look so beautiful as we go along.  But I pray you will take this journey with me.  My prayer is that I will be able to be an example of the light which comes from knowing God.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

"Leaving....On a Jet Plane"

Well, it looks like I am finally on my way!  I am all set to leave for Chimala, Tanzania, East Africa TOMORROW MORNING!  I am so excited to be going back.  I am afraid living back in the USA for almost 8 months has made me spoiled again.  We really are fortunate to live in America, so thank God every day for being blessed to live in this country.

Anyway, I leave in the morning from OKC to Dulles, to Zurich, Switzerland to Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania.  This will take two days traveling.  I will leave at 11:45am on Jan. 17 and arrive in Tanzania at 9pm on Jan. 19.  I do not particularly like being on cramped planes for that long or for sitting that long, but it must be done.  I will travel from here to Dulles by myself, but will be joined there by 3 others who will travel the rest of the way with me.  I am so glad to have travel companions because you know......misery loves company....and company to visit with and share with often makes the unpleasant much more enjoyable.

While I am excited and blessed to be able to go into the mission field, I do feel sad to leave family and friends behind.  Many of you are not aware, but my mom has had 5 knee surgeries in the last 5 months.  It has been a blessing in disguise to be here to help her during this time.  Anyway we are blessed that her last surgery went very well and she is now on her way to recovery.  I just became a grandmother for the second time.  It is difficult at times to think about missing them growing up.  Babies and kids are so fun and lovable.  I will miss my dad, daughter, my sister, my brother and my nieces and nephews, but I will talk with them often. 

I would like to share with you something special which my sister, Brenda and my niece, Jenna did for me.  They made me a very special bag for carrying my nursing supplies in.  It is too cute to explain, so instead I will show you pictures of it.  To me, this is so loving and thoughtful and will help me to smile and think about them each and every time I use it...which will be very often!


Isn't this just the greatest thing?  I love it!


Sunday, January 6, 2013

Another travel date bites the dust...

Well as most of you know, I have been busy over the past two weeks preparing to leave for Tanzania today.  I found a wonderful home for Mocha.  He is with a family who have two children and they are spoiling him even more than I had.  I do miss him, but am so happy to have found a good home for him.  I have packed, unpacked, and repacked trying to get down from 4 suitcases to 3.  I have to pay $200 for suitcases over 2.  Bob, who I was traveling with, was going to take one of mine and I wanted to only have 2 more for me to take....but it didn't matter what I took out or how I rearranged, I still have 4 - 50 pound bags. 

I have sold my little car I purchased for a small fee and cleaned up the spare bedroom where I have been living for the past 6 months.  And, lo and behold, I received a phone call on Thursday morning informing me that once again I had to delay my plans.  The Tanzanian Immigration office still does not have my residency permit ready.  Now they are promising it for next week, so I have rescheduled my departure for January 17th.  I think I will refuse to unpack the items I have packed!

Now for the "Silver Lining".  Most of you are aware that my mother has been having great diffuculties after surgury for a broken knee cap.  This delay in my departure means I will be able to  help her for a little longer which is great!  And, we are expecting a new grandbaby any day now, and so I will be here to meet her when she arrives.  So, even tho' I was dissappointed to have the delay again, I am happy to have a reason to stay a little while longer. 

I just finished reading "Crazy Love" by Francis Chan yesterday.  It is a great read.  No, it is not a romance novel, it is a book about God's Love for us and the attitudes of today's Christains.  I have now begun another Francis Chan book entitled "The Forgotten God".  So far, I would say I will enjoy this one every bit as much.  He made me re-evaluate myself and re-think alot about my actions.  I don't know about you, but I need someone to make me do this.  Anyway, I recommend everyone pick them up and read them.

For the next few days, I will continue to finish up some last minute details and spend more time with my family.  I love you all and appreciate your continued support.  May God be your first priority in 2013.