Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A still small voice & WATER!

Some of the children at our primary school
I started substitute teaching at the primary school here at Kibidula last week on Tuesday.  I started the day with a little bit of a sore throat.  I asked for prayers and was able to teach each day.  Sunday I lost my voice completely on and off!  This is an unusual experience for me.  I prayed and asked God to help me, and I taught anyhow Monday and Tuesday of this week.  The head teacher was afraid that I would lose my voice completely again for a week or more if I keep trying to use it.  God blessed though and I often had more voice by the end of classes than at the beginning, only to loose it again when I got home.

Standard 4 class - 6 girls and 5 boys in the 4th grade
And as I am having to whisper, I have talked to the students about "what kind of voice does God speak to us in?"  It is a still small voice.  just like they must be still and listen very much to hear me when I can not speak much, we must quiet ourselves to hear God's voice.  I am encouraging them and myself to take time to be quiet and listen for His still small voice.  He LOVES to direct us - now if we will only listen!

NOTHING TAKES GOD BY SURPRISE!  So God knew that I would have this issue right now, and He already had a solution in mind.  God brought to the school just in time to take my place a young man that needs work and enjoys teaching.  I will still teach the Bible class each day until the regular teacher returns, but that will take a lot of stress off my voice.  God is WONDERFUL!  So, I taught only two classes today and I am home to rest for a while.

It is amazing how many times in so many subjects I have had an opportunity to share spiritual things with the children.  History and Civics often have opportunities. All the subjects are important, but it is even more important that each child understands how it fits in with the Bible and God's plan for our redemption.  Bible class always gives many opportunities, too!  I hope that we are reaching their hearts and minds for Jesus!

Fletcher, the man that is volunteering from the states to assemble Kibidula's larger airplane, bought a new soccer ball for the school.  They were SO excited to get a new ball that would hold air.  I hope it lasts for a long time.  They all love to play so much during lunch and break times.  One of the children was kicking around a volleyball yesterday or the day before.  I asked him if he knew what kind of ball it was.  He said it was a volley ball, then he bounced it into the air at me.  I returned his bounce, and then soon a large crowd of students came and we were bouncing it to each other through the air.  Then another teacher joined us, and even another teacher.  The children enjoyed it so much, having the teachers out with them, playing, even for just a few minutes.  A couple of times I asked for the ball and would gently throw it to the new Russian student (1st grade) we have at school.  He is just now learning English.  He enjoyed being part of the play.  He is the only Caucasian child at the school.  That along with not knowing English (the school's language) or Swahili (the country's language) can make it seem a bit awkward for him.  All of the teachers are working to help him adjust and make him part of the school.  We are also praying very much for the characters of the children.  They are precious little people that all belong to God.  It is amazing to have 90 new children on my heart.
Many of the students from the primary school.

The school has been without water while the solar pump install continues.  There have been things that have come up that have delayed here and there.  Yesterday the tower was brought up into place and the cement was poured.  So hopefully, if all goes well today and tomorrow morning, we may have water at the school again tomorrow!  It was a lot of hard work for the men that were hauling cement down the hill for the tower base.  Then they would push their wheel barrows back up the steep hill.  Some of them worked barefoot!  Even Beltina was telling me how tired Douglas was in the afternoon.  They all worked very hard.  It was a LOT of cement hauling, and a very steep hill.  It is tricky for me to walk up or down the hill not carrying anything.  When we took the tower pieces down, I often slipped.  The height of the tower doesn't even reach the top of the hill that they had to climb and descend each time.  After the pipe is raised the solar panels will be even higher.

Since I started this blog entry, Doug and Jason hooked up the water pump and did a test with the solar panels on the ground instead of on the tower.  It is a VERY overcast day, and...  WE HAD WATER!  We were all elated!  The lines were hooked up and water was pumped up to the clinic.  The pipe is not hooked to the tank yet because we want to make sure everything is working.  It is.  The primary school students came over to see the new water system working.  They very much enjoyed testing the water. 

Primary students very happy about the new solar pump and water
We hope to have water coming out at the primary school tap by tomorrow if all goes well today.  Doug hopes to run enough water into the tank at the clinic to supply their needs for tomorrow.  Then he will finish the dangerous part of the install tomorrow (putting the panels way up high on the tower to expose them to the most sun, and to reduce the possibility of theft.)  Please pray for safety for him and the equipment.

Joshua gave the sermon this last week at church.  It was about Trusting God even during Troubles.  It was a simple and good message about things we can learn especially from the story of Joseph in Genesis.  The graduation for the Lay Evangelism school went well on Sunday, along with Doug's medical missionary training for them the last week.

The rainy season is almost completely gone.  We have not had rain for several days.  Today it did mist a little bit, and it is very windy and cloudy.  Soon there will be NO MORE RAIN for 6 months!  Yes - really NO RAIN.

I looked in the garden yesterday and I have little lettuce plants coming up.  I am SO EXCITED.  The pea plants, kohlrabi and kale look like they may also grow.

We have NO WORD on our container at the moment.

I am needing to get well, and the head teacher at the school started to have a sore throat today, too.  PLEASE pray for her.  If she gets sick, she looses her voice easily.  I hope to have more good news to report later this week.  God is faithful.

Yesterday at prayer meeting, I  looked around the room at the mix of people that were there.  There were people from Tanzania, Zambia, Switzerland, Canada, South Africa and the United States.  I feel so at-peace with these wonderful people that are in our lives.  It was wonderful.  There is no happier place than to be in the center of God's will.  No matter the struggles, the challenges, missing friends and family - it is the best place to be.  I praise Him for His marvelous grace and love!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Bees, Bugs, Cat, Drivers License, Funeral and Jack Hammers

This has been a rather lengthy week, it seems.  I am certainly tired and ready for Sabbath.  Bees, bugs, cat, drivers license, a funeral and jack hammers - what do these things have in common?  They are part of my life this week!

Our neighbor came over twice today with bee stings.  After the second time, I asked if I could help.  Her house had become infested with honey bees last night.  We were able to get most of them out and down to a workable amount, before I left.  We used baking soda and charcoal for her, and sugar water on a spoon to catch the bees.  There was a LOT of bees.  We should have counted as we got rid of them, but there really were too many.

I was so thankful that I didn't invite anyone over for any meals today.
Breakfast was red millet that is very inexpensive at the market.  I don't know if anyone eats it the way we tried to today.  After being picked through at least twice and sifted it was still very sandy.  It also has a very strange texture when cooked whole.  It really was not pleasant.
And lunch was even more interesting.  Our beans got infested with bugs.  Our helper sorted through them, but didn't do quite the job I had hoped for.  After they were cooked and we had eaten quite a few, I noticed some big issues.  There were bugs "in" some of the beans and then a few floaters, too.  

Quincy, the neighbor's cat.
The same neighbor with the bees has a cat.  His name is Quincy.  Since she had been gone all last week and two days this week, he has become lonely and started to visit us.  He is even becoming friends with the dog!  I hope he might help out with the mice issue.  Today he came over twice and walks right into the house talking the whole time.  Joshua was on the rug finishing his "eye-patch-time" and some home school spelling, and the cat made himself very at home on Joshua's back.  He is a sweet cat.

The owner of the language school that we attended for six weeks died last week.  Some of the Kibidula staff that was acquainted with them wanted to go to the funeral and I did, too.  So we made arrangements to go.  With us going to Iringa and past, some others wanted to start the process of getting our drivers licenses.  When Doug heard that he suggested I try also. 
So we left at 5:20 am on Tuesday and I returned home around 8 pm on Wednesday night.
Getting the drivers license is a multi-step process including the following: getting the Tax Identification Number (which I had;) filling out the application; taking the application to room #6, getting your picture taken, answering questions, and getting a slip to take to a bank to pay the first 10,000 TSH; going to the bank and waiting in long hot lines then paying; waiting three hours for the payment to register at the TRA office (I went to the funeral during the waiting time;) going back to the TRA office with the receipt and getting another bank payment slip for 3,000 TSH to take to the bank to pay; paying at the bank (over an hour in line this time;) going to the police station.  
Here we ran out of time.  We were not told at this time, but the computers were down.  We were just told that we needed to come back at 9 am the next day.  The man that we were dealing with was talking to me and finally he asked me if I was a Seventh-day Adventist.  I said I was and found out he was also.  We talked a bit about various things and I asked him if he could suggest a hotel that was without lice/bed bugs and at a decent price.  He really took my request to heart.  He made us wait.  Many of us were very tired from all the traveling, walking, waiting in lines and such.  He kept getting on his phone going into his office and telling us to wait.  After a while another man came and they walked us to a vehicle.  At our puzzled faces he said it is a free ride to the hotel for us.  It was a friend of his that he had called to get us in a large vehicle (since there were four of us at this time.)  He took us to a very secured (fenced and guarded) government school and hostel.  It was clean enough and at good prices.  The man that brought us made sure that we were very comfortable and pleased before he left us for the night. I could tell of more stories, but will stop at that.  We were very blessed to be taken care of so well.  I even had a private toilet in my room!

The next day we walked across town to the police station to be told that we needed to go to the TRA office first.  We walked back, and were told the opposite.  We walked back to the police station again and this time we talked to our "friend" again.  He told us that the computers were down and they didn't know for how long.  We spent the day waiting, making trips back to check on the computer status (and praying.)  At 3 pm miracles started happening.  We experienced something I haven't seen before in Tanzania.  I saw "rushing around."  There was a LOT of people waiting now at the police station for the computers to come up.  We had made many friends by now and were invited to sit in one of the officer's booths with him.  Another officer came to the door and told us to give him our papers and QUICKLY disappeared.  A while later someone rushed in and gave a big stack to one of us.  The officer behind the desk took them.  I helped him sort them out and match up our names on the sheets.  He stapled them together in order and then another person rushed them somewhere.  A while later we were told to "come, come!"  We went, went!  We got to the door of another booth, and were motioned through to the back office.  The lady there started calling out our names and handing us our papers ready to go to the next step.  We were elated!  That is SO unexpected for Africa!  People usually don't get in a hurry at all.  God was working in our behalf.  We made our exit quickly and one of us went to get in line at the bank.  We knew that we had to go back to the TRA office, then another payment at the bank and one more time to the TRA office.  Time was running out and another one hour wait at the bank would put us out of time.  We went to the office, and were blessed with a short line and got finished there in probably 5-10 minutes.  We hurried to the bank, and our person was almost to the front of the LONG line (another miracle.)  The payments of 10,000 TSH each were made and receipts were in hand.  Our fastest person ran back to the TRA office and we walked quickly that way.  Just as we entered the gate I got a call from our "runner" saying he needed some paperwork that I had.  I told him I was walking in the door.  I walked past a LONG line of people and entered the office where he was standing at the desk.  I handed over the papers and we were told that we were done, and the licenses could be picked up next week.  We had finished before the office had closed!  We were elated and praising God for moving mountains.  I asked our runner how he was able to get in so fast with such a line of people.  He said they were all outside the door, and he walked in the office (inside there is a small waiting room.)  The line then followed him in the office. The man behind the desk motioned him up.  God has a thousand ways to provide for us.  We were praising Him, praising Him as we walked back to the bus station to get a bus back toward Kibidula (another two plus hour trip.)  It was a GREAT ending to two long days of adventure.

Just a few of the MANY people at the funeral.
The funeral was full of both locals and people from all over the world.  It was amazing how many people were there.  It was a sad event, but we were thankful that we could be there for the family.
We had an unexpected ride to and from the funeral also.  We made new friends in both rides (people from the US, England and an Arabic man.)  
Doug using the jack hammer

Doug was busy at home working to get the base of the antenna tower out so it could be used to mount the solar panels for the new solar water pump for the primary school and clinic.  After working with sledge hammers, Jason mentioned something using a jack hammer would be better.  There had been some used here at Kibidula and the phone calls were started to search them out.  The jack hammers were found and after MUCH work to get them started, they were able to make much faster progress.  I was told that they spent more time in trying to start them than in using them.  Each time we had to start them again, it was character building (and tiring!)  We were able to finish with that this morning.  So after four days the base is free.  We hauled the base and tower parts down to the new location. 
More Ag students making a place for the new pipeline.
The agriculture students have been digging up the trench for laying the new pipe, up the valley wall through our orchard, to the up-campus main tank, to the primary school and the clinic.  They expect to be done this weekend. 
They cut through existing water lines at least three times.  Two of which effect our water supplies.  Isn't that exciting?
Some of the Ag students making a place for the new water line and our moved tower for the solar pump.

We also fitted another person with reading glasses this week.  He was very excited about getting them.
To top it off, we were able to dig out the massage table from one of the buildings at the clinic.  We have it mostly cleaned up and now in the living room (thanks to some big help from friends.)

Monday, April 9, 2012

More Pictures

Yellow-headed Dwarf Day Gecko in Dar es Salaam

A big dead bug.  My size 9 shoe as a reference.
Some of our view as we road to Kibidula through on of the parks.
What we DON'T want to happen when our container comes. 
Mud houses along the highway
Arriving at the Mafinga market after our ride from Dar
Two of many monkeys looking over our fence at our new house.
Red-headed agama at language school
One of many BIG millipedes.  This one with orange/red stripes.
Giant millipede with green stripes
A hair-brush type flower from a tree at camp.
My cropping disappeared when I emailed this.  There is a really nice bird in this picture.
The children going to fetch water from the river and bring it back to their village.
One of many beautiful flowers in my yard.
The view from tower one of part of our yard at Kibidula.
Doug working on removing one of the two antennas from our house.
My vodacom internet bundle expires tomorrow.  We use the other service because it usually works faster and is cheaper.  So I have some megabytes to use up today, so I am uploading some pictures.  I hope you enjoy them. 

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Speaking at a local church and more.

The crew from Kibidula put up the frame and roof for this One-Day Church last year and now we were speaking in it.

Tamara speaking in the church
Children playing in the dirt while the adults listen to the messages.
I have several things to report this week including updating our website with our current pledges, a new link for online donations, newsletter requests, financial expense report info, and our activities this week including our speaking appointment yesterday.  God is wonderful!

I have updated the website to have an online donation link under the donations/support page for those who are interested in donating via credit card.

I have added a section on the right-hand side of each page with our currently monthly “pledges.”

This last week I sent out a request for email address for those that want to be added to the Kibidula Newsletter mailing list.  I have received 33 responses.  If you did not get the request, and are interested in receiving it, please contact me with the email address to which you would like it sent.  Right now our goal is to send it out once a quarter and possibility with special project updates.

I also looked over our funds and expenditures and typed up a report and request for people to pray about being partners with us in making this a success.  I sent it to those for whom I had email addresses and thought might be interested to know or participate.  If you would like a copy of that email, again, just contact me via the contact page or my current email address and I will send that to you also.  There are people that want to know, and I just don’t know which ones they are!

Yesterday was a very overcast day, and we are thankful for that!  We were invited to speak at a church outside of Kibidula.  They were having a special “guests’ day” and we estimate over 200 people came out for the entire day.  We arrived about 9 am and left about 5 pm.  The “one day church” was packed full and people were lined up outside the windows and doors to listen to the messages.  Doug and I both gave presentations along with two other members of Kibidula.  The church had acquired a sound system for the day and had speakers (along with the generator to run them) outside so everyone would be able to listen to the messages.  The last meeting we held outside.

We encouraged people in their walk with our wonderful Savoir and Lord, Jesus Christ.  We talked some on health and how God wants to bless us with health for our happiness and for our spiritual health, also.
It was good that it wasn’t a super sunny day or it would have been most stuffy with the packed church and very hot standing outside in the hot sun.  God blessed in many, many ways.

There were many people that were encouraged by what they heard (including me!)  It was a wonderful, wonderful blessed day. 

We have been talking and working on how to move forward more with the medical missionary work in practice here at Kibidula more.  We are still working out details but we are getting some very exciting feedback, suggestions and HELP.  I will report more on that soon, as things finalize out. 

We continue to look forward to our container and the teaching and missionary supplies on it (and my stuff too.)

Doug also completed the wiring in all except two rooms that are not ready for one of the teachers.  He completed the prototype for the solar lights he will be installing on various staff members' houses (so each has at least one light.)  He removed one of the big antennas from our house so the tower can be moved and used for the solar panel on the solar water pump for the clinic and primary school  That solar pump install is his priority this week.

We also received emails with pledges for month support this last week.  That is very encouraging.

Thank you to everyone for all the prayers, support and encouragement.  Thank you also for the emails of what is going on outside of our little world here.

Monday, April 2, 2012


Okay, I have been told that I am not sharing enough pictures. 

The first picture is of our new garden place getting its first tiny transplants.

The second picture is Joshua doing his type of outreach, coloring with the son of the man who was getting a massage because he had hurt his back.

The third picture is of Joshua with many new friends at church.

The fourth picture is the 4th grade class at the Primary school here at Kibidula.  This was the day I substitute taught.  We had just finished science class and they were getting ready to leave.

The fifth picture is of one of the smallest butterflies I have ever seen

And my last picture for today is the bark of a huge eucalyptus tree.  I think it is so pretty. <<...>> <<...>> <<...>> <<...>> <<...>> <<...>>