Our trip to Tanzania was a gift from God. The leadership in Tanzania had approached us about coming about 6 months ago. They asked us to come and help them look at the program they have set up for integration – a program we call e2. They have 4 new families arriving soon and wanted to see how they could improve what they have going. When they first asked us our response was, “Are you sure?”. We were willing to come, but were unsure of how much we had to offer. Our program here is going really well, but we still feel quite new at it all and it seemed crazy to be consulting others on their program. Finally we agreed to come with the understanding that we were all just learning and that we would be happy to share what God has taught us over the past few years, but that we still had a lot to learn. Then we began praying. Praying that God would help the time to be profitable for all there and that he would give us wisdom beyond what we felt like we had. God answered those prays in amazing ways. Our time there was so precious to us. We were amazed at the attitude of the team there as they were wanting to learn and not afraid to face the weaknesses they saw in their program. We left the meetings feeling very excited for where they were at as a team and excited for all that they were envisioning for the new families who were coming. I know there will be struggles and set backs and there are still some hard things for the team to wrestle through, but God is working and where God is working, great things will happen!
I was expecting this trip to be tiring, but it was anything but that. God just blessed us over and over again on this trip. Here are just a few of them…
- He provided the funds for us to travel together as a family in ways only he could have. The timing was perfect on reduced prices for other travel we had just at the time we were looking at tickets for Tanzania. The tickets were also half the price we originally thought they would be. All of this made it clear to us that God want us to go together as a family.
- The boys did amazing at each during the 14 hours of flying. We ended up with spare seats next to us on half the flights and the boys both slept for portions of the flight and entertained themselves well for others. We even had 1 ten hour flight without movies for them since the plane was older, but even on this flight they did amazing.
- We had a full week of meetings with the team there and I was unsure how we would work it with the kids. There was a teenage girl who was on break from school who came to watch them. She did so great with the boys which really made our meetings more enjoyable for me.
- I was uncertain how much we would have to offer the team there in Tanazania as we still feel quite new at what we do as well, however God just directed each moment and there were a lot of great things that came out of our time together.
- We got the opportunity to share their their team about two subjects that are very important to us, families in ministry and loving the church. It was so great to be able discuss those topics together.
- We ate dinner with a different family each night. Yet at each place we went the boys had some new friends to play with.
- We connected with many different families and got to hear their stories of the challenges they have faced as they transitioned and adapted to a different way of life. Each person and story becomes more real as you hear it face to face. What a blessing to be able to hear what God has done, but to also be able to hear the hard things of each journey and to share those burdens even just for an evening together. The process of adapting to another culture involves incredible heartache that only those who have gone through the process can even start to understand.
- The boys got to experience ministry with us
- We had some close friends from training who are now in Tanzania. Their family has kids who are the same ages as our kids. When we left training we never thought our kids would be able to see each other again and here we were able to connect together as families again.
- We planned a few days of vacation with them at a rain forest reserve. The time was great.
- We took the kids to a local water park for the day. We were the only family in the park for the first 3 hours we were there. Which meant we went where ever we wanted and did whatever we wanted with no lines to wait in.
- We arrived back just in time for Christmas and even though we were tired from our travels, we were able to jump into Christmas and didn’t have to miss out on anything.