Thursday, November 13, 2014

Kirando - September

Doug and Ashery were in Kirando helping Pastor Twakaniki with a three-week evangelism effort in September while Joshua and I were in Haneti and Mbeya. 
They did the health expo and health outreach several days each week.  They had 779 people come through the health expo.  There were 36 baptisms.  They also got to play ambulance for a medical emergency while there.  They made lots of new friends, especially with the local police.

FIRE, FIRE, FIRE - This is not a drill!

(I found this post in my draft folder.   I wrote it a few months ago.)
The brown landscape of Kibidula is already several months into the dry season.  It will still be a few more months before we can expect the rains.  What does that mean?  It means that the grass is now so dry, and the winds are often quite strong.  This is perfect time for wildfires.
Kibidula has several firebreaks around campus to help control if there are any unexpected fires.  Even with these, there is a lot of danger during this season.
Several weeks ago, it was time to burn off the areas where tree holes had been dug (or will be dug) to plant several thousands more avocado trees. 
Sometimes we forget to communicate with each other that there is a control burn on campus.  This particular Tuesday Beltina was concerned when she saw a lot of smoke from a very nearby valley.  Doug and a couple of others quickly took off to see what was going on.  Me, I made a phone call to the director to find out if there were any controlled burns going on.  The answer was affirmative.
Sure enough, the field just a short distance from us was being burned to prepare it for planting in the rainy season.  After a few afternoon chores, Joshua wanted to go see it.  We walked up there and talked with some of the staff working the fire.  The wind was taking the smoke directly to our house, so there was no point going home to breath the smoke.  We made the best of it by helping a little here and there and visiting while the fire made it's way across the big area.
At times there would be a lot of excited, loud voices, and we knew that somewhere along the edges some fire must have gotten out of the designated area.  Lots of people would scurry to get it under control.
We had to have a permit to do the burning.  I don't know what all that entails, but we are very close to the forestry area where they grow pines for lumber.  I learned that it was only good through Thursday so we had to get the burning done.
I don't remember what time it was, but soon the leader of the fire brigade came very excited and said there was a fire on another area of Kibidula.  Joshua heard "end of the runway."  Our fire wasn't far from the runway, so I thought perhaps some embers had gotten over there.  Well, to come to find out, it was on the opposite end, a long way from where we were.  It had started right by a walking path also.  Most people believed it was started by someone.
Many acres got burned.  It took bunches and bunches of us and the water truck to get it out.  I didn't get to go right away, because they needed some people to stay and keep the fire close to our house under control, too.  After a long time when the fire by our house was all done around the edges, the rest of the guys said we could go.  Doug was coming back for tools and water and we caught a ride with him.
We had seen the smoke of the wildfire from where we were earlier, and it was quite disturbing.  It was a huge area burning.  By the time we got there, most of the fire was out, except an area in a valley.  It has mostly burned all around it though, and they felt that it was safe to leave it.
We got back home to find out that there was no water!  We were filthy and there was no water to wash hands or body.
Doug went and got some water from the tank by the farm house and we washed up.
We went to bed tired (but clean!)
One hour after getting to bed, the phone rang.  We were so tempted to ignore it.  It was our neighbor saying there was a fire by his house.  It was 10 pm!  I looked out and could see the red glow.
We started calling people and getting dressed.  It was from the first fire of the day.  There were enough smoldering logs that it had jumped into the area beyond the fire break and was creeping its way toward the farm house and our house.  It was in an area of a lot of cut down trees and it was a lot harder to deal with than the grass fires.  We needed water, and we couldn't get the tank-truck where the fire was.
I had just thought that day, "Why do I have so many buckets?"  I had bought some more a few weeks before for food storage.  I had more than I really needed at the time, so I had about 9 empty buckets sitting around.  TODAY - we needed them.  Doug went to the house and got all the empty buckets and we started searching for water.  Some were able to get water from a spring by one end of the fire.  Others were going up and down the burned field getting water from a neighbor's tank, and my group headed down across logs and debris and found a place where we could pull out some very muddy water in the shallow inlet to the pond (I think!)  It was pitch dark, after all and we were using flashlights to walk back and forth over all kinds of down trees and stuff to get the water back to the fire line.
I don't even know how many people were at the fire.  All of us breathed too much smoke.  There were a few injuries, of course.  Not the least of them were when Doug got into some loose sand on the motorcycle trying to speed back to get some tools to fight fire.  He really messed up his arm, hip and ankle.  The elbow are and hip looked the worse.  He was limping for many days.  Actually he was limping the last time I saw him 2 1/2 weeks ago. It will be another two weeks before I see him.  That is another story.
We got back to bed at 1 pm.  Doug went to get at least a little water so we could wash up a little.
 The next morning, Doug headed to the bathroom to try to get washed up from all the fires of the previous day.  Just before he got in the bath, I got the call.
Doug has just been talking to Fletcher about the warning call "FIRE, FIRE, FIRE - THIS IS NOT A DRILL" from his days of being in the planes in the US Navy.
Well, after just hearing him say that that morning or the day before - I didn't resist.  I popped my head in the bathroom and gave a calm but stern "FIRE, FIRE, FIRE - THIS IS NOT A DRILL!"
He didn't smile.
The wildfire at the end of the runway sprang up again (or was set again.)
Lots of phone calls were made and the students from the agriculture and evangelism school along with staff were out and on duty in a hurry.  We had it under control just before lunch.
Then after lunch, they did the controlled burn just across the road from our house.  The fire got so hot that it was too hot to stand even inside our gate!  IT WAS A HUGE FIRE.  There was a lot of brush from when they cleared out the area before the holes got dug.  That fire went well.
Then Thursday there was another controlled burn on the other end of Kibidula that we helped with.
There was so little grass because of the sheep that we had a hard time getting that fire to take and continue.
Jason found a big puff adder though.  Doug disposed of him.  It was a big one and he was taking a liking to Jason it seemed.
Joshua had been lamenting that he hadn't gotten to fight any fires.  I think it was last or the year before, maybe...  there was a call of a fire close to the area where the wildfire broke out by the runway but on the village side.  The water truck had already been out and was going for a refill.  We got the call and a bunch of us headed that way.  By the time we got there, the people had given up on it because it had burned the area that they were concerned about already and they were just going to let it burn itself out.  Joshua was so disappointed.
Then at Mago, the same thing happened.  There was a fire, but by the time Joshua and I got there, all the excitement was over.
He got his share of excitement this time!  I personally think excitement is "over-rated!"

I am so thankful for God's protection and a great team of people we work with.
Thank you everyone for all your prayers.  There is never a dull moment around here.

(We have now been informed that some of the fires were set by a local man that is wanting to graze his cattle on our land.  We now have a full time guard patrolling the area to prevent any more fires this season.  So far, that has ended the "wild fires."  I think Joshua has one good picture of controlled burn that was across the road from our house on his blog.)

Class, efforts and health expos - many baptized (July-September)

Things have been busy (as usual.)  The one month of medical missionary training to start the five month evangelism course started in July.  We had the extra blessing of Julie B. coming to teach music during that time to the students (and to some of us missionaries.)
She brought some donated instruments, also.  I am THOROUGHLY enjoying the guitar and violin that she brought.  Several have been able to use the autoharp also.  We are still struggling with the recorders, though.  I think we have a teacher lined up to help us with that if we can just make the time and be home long enough to get a few lessons.
Music is such a blessing!
We have a great group of students this session.  Doug and the boys were off at effort in Ukemele for part of the month.  They did health lessons, health expo and helped as needed.  There were 25 people that were to get baptized at that effort, but Joshua thinks it was actually 21 that did. 

Not too long after they returned from that I was asked to go to Zimbabwe to help with a medical missionary session there.  I will post about that separately.

While I was gone to Zimbabwe, Doug and the boys assisted the students in four more health expos as the students assisted in the evangelism efforts in the nearby villages with the Czech group.  This group comes once a year to work with the local church to do outreach and evangelism.  They use many of the students and staff of Kibidula to help with the work.  None of this work can any one person receive all the credit - it all belongs to God!

There were 152 people that came through the health expo at the two nearby villages.  There were 17 baptisms there this last weekend.  Then Doug took the pastor to another village where one of Kibidula's lay evangelist is working and 6 more were baptized!  It is so exciting to see people giving their lives to Jesus. 

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Taking the students to Ruaha

I was given the privilege to drive the 12 students and 2 teachers to the national park for the annual Ruaha trip.  I was the driver so I didn't take as many pictures as I might have had I not needed to keep my eyes on the road and hands on the wheel.  God blessed and we saw so many of His magnificent creatures!  I so long for heaven when all of God's creatures will live in harmony again without fear and death.  I hope you enjoy the pictures. 

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Mbeya Health-Evangelism Meetings

From the Haneti meetings, Joshua and I spent Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday at home, and started our travels to the next evangelism meeting in Mbeya.  The big difference is that instead of having a supportive teaching session, we had the main teaching session! 
Just after finishing our first evening's talk.  It was a full house.

The meetings were supposed to be two weeks consecutive, but because of challenges and a conflict in an unexpected set of special meetings, it was reduced to one week.

After the meetings another evening
We were also limited by the local police and location to only do health outreach and the meetings during a short window of time each day. 
There were many challenges, but we had many people come for testing and also the lessons.
Joshua reading the Bible texts for the "call" portion.
Joshua is a big attractant for people, especially children.  There were numerous children every day and evening wanting to see or hear Joshua.  For a American child to speak Swahili well draws a lot of attention.  He was a trooper translating for me for all the various messages and helping in other ways.  I pray that God used this for His glory to bring more people to hear the words of Life.
Our hosts while we stayed in Mbeya.  They took great care of us.

It has been one full month since I have seen my husband.  As these meetings are ending, so his are ending also.  We will all travel back and be home very soon.

Goats visiting at the church between services. 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Chibwa - Little Dog

Have you read or listened to the Jungle Doctor books?  There are stories about a doctor that lived and worked in Tanzania.  The audio books are GREAT!  In listening to the books, we hear many words in Swahili and also the local tribal language Gogo (or Kigogo.)  The doctor must have mainly worked with the Gogo people. 
Second stop.  Time to walk.
It was a lot of fun for us, in a way, to be in Haneti because this was Gogo territory.  Joshua remembered a few Gogo words and that made the people laugh and laugh.  To hear a white person speak Swahili is often a surprise to them.  To hear a white child do the same is a big surprise.  But to hear us say something in Gogo, that was too much for many of them.
Chibwa was the name for a little dog in one of the books (Jungle Doctor On the Hop, I think.) 

Off on the trail to find our dog
On my previous post I mentioned a little female puppy that we kept from being mishandled after church the very day after arriving.  Well, she is ours now. 
We just kept thinking about her over and over.  We started praying that if God wanted us to have her, He would make it happen.  We also asked Him to close the door if we were not to have her.
Getting her was an all day ordeal! 
The little herds-boy that had her didn't speak English, or Swahili.  We didn't see him again either.  We were told that he lived a long way away from the church.  Two Thursdays after seeing her, Emanuel (Elizabeth's husband) and two church members started off with us in Emanuel's car to find "our dog."  We had been asked if we couldn't get a different dog instead.  We were told that she was so small and thin.  There were many other dogs that would be better for us.  We told them, we really wanted this dog if possible.  We also said that if we couldn't get her, we would be willing to look at a different dog.
We set off.  On the way to the church, we saw the boy's older brother and two puppies.  They asked if either of them was the puppy.  Neither was our Chibwa.  We had only seen her once and didn't really remember too much of how she looked, but we knew those were not her.  The boy said the puppy was still at home for the day.  We drove to a hut close to a trail.  I had no idea we were getting ready to take a LONG hike on the hot dusty trails.  That is exactly what we did.  We walked and walked through the long dry trails. 
Another home on our walk to find Chibwa
We were told, "This is the place," as we came upon an area that was stacked high with a thorn-bush fence.  The people don't have normal fences.  They take cut thorn bushes and stack it high and around the area and use that as corrals.  In the middle of the thorn-bush-corral was a stick structure.  I asked if this was for animals or people.  You could see all the way through the building.  As we approached, I was told it was for people.
"Look.  You can see the beds."
Chibwa's old home
 Sure enough.  This was a home!  Wow.  This is where those boys and their parents live?  They live in the middle of a corral of animals like this.  There isn't any water nearby. 
There are beds in there. 
The dog and the boy weren't there.  The mother was there, but she was hiding under a cloth and said she was sick.  Later I was told that she was just afraid when she heard us coming and though maybe we were the government coming to take her or someone away.  (The last day of testing, the man brought his wife to the health testing.  God has a reason for all of our adventures!)
The lady hiding under a cloth.
She told us that we had to go through her husband.  We walked away and back to the road. 
off again
We went a different path and came to another set of mud huts.  There we talked with some very friendly people with a nice big boy puppy.  He "gave" us this dog. 
If we understood everything, the man with our puppy wanted this dog, but the owner wouldn't give it to him.  He said we could have him and if we wanted to trade the man for our dog, he was okay with that. 

The trade-in puppy
 Joshua and I were just hoping that we would end up with the right puppy.  Trying to explain what she looked like or what she didn't look like was challenging.

Many phone calls were made to the man on his cell phone.  He was excited about getting his longed for dog.  He was on his way.  Well, "on his way" can mean a long way off sometimes.  After waiting for maybe an hour or so, we had to leave.  Our meetings were to start in 30 minutes and we hadn't had lunch yet. 
Home decor African style while we wait
We had started this adventure at 11 am.  It was now 1:30 pm.
I was told that they would work it all out.
We had been searching for something to kill fleas.  She was covered with them when we first saw her.  We had spent time going around town looking for something.  God finally sent us to the right person who had bought some sevin dust.  She took Joshua to a place to get some.  We had it before we even knew if we would get the dog!
During our health testing time, we kept getting calls from the man.  We were busy and not able to communicate well with him. Then he was at the site, but no dog.  We tried to get him in contact with our contacts who had the other puppy.  Finally they must have gotten together.
At the very end of our health teaching time, I saw the car pull up and Emanuel and another of the guys that were searching for the dog got out.  I finished my session, and Joshua asked if he could go find the news.  I gave him permission.
He came running back saying "It's her!  It's her!  Do you want to come see her."
I ran with him and sure enough.  There she was.  And she was ours.
We just got her.  "It's her! It's her!"

The first thing I did was dust her down well to get rid of the fleas!  Then we took her back to the hostel.  WE WERE SO EXCITED!

First night with us.
The man that had the bigger puppy said they feed their dogs, but the owner of our dog didn't feed theirs.  She was a skinny thing.
Going for a walk our first full day together.
She didn't quite know what to think about drinking water out of a bowl or eating out of a bowl for that matter.  She wouldn't touch bread, rice, peanut butter or many other things we offered her.  She liked Ugali, and was always searching for some chicken poop to eat.
She did eat some avocado.
Last night I found out she likes fruit!  I wouldn't have guessed that!
She has been with us almost constantly since we got her Thursday.
Don't forget me!
When I was finishing packing Sunday morning, she climbed up on one of the bags.  That was a first.  I guess she knew something was going on, and she didn't want to be left behind.
Taking her on the bus trip from Dodoma to Iringa was interesting.  She actually did very well.  She didn't have any accidents.  People have very different attitudes towards dogs here than in the United States.  I was so thankful that the hotel didn't give us any challenges also!

We hope she likes her new home we are taking her to today!
Chibwa (pronounced chee-bwa.)
She has adjusted to hotel life quite well.

Haneti Effort and a little dog

Most of our "team" outside the church the first Sabbath
Haneti village area
Friday, July 5th, Joshua and I said "good-bye" to Doug and got on a bus to answer the call for assistance for an evangelism effort north of Dodoma.  We had gotten an informal invitation while working in Dodoma in June.  The official letter arrived very shortly after we got home from those meetings.  There was already a conflict in schedules for us.  We were also invited to Kirando.  We prayed about it and decided to spit up our family and team and have two people in each place.
After about six hours on the bus, we met up with Elizabeth and her husband in Dodoma.  Then they drove the last 100 km as quickly as the roads would allow to arrive shortly before sunset Friday night at the hostel where we stayed.   The trip was a bit scary.  We came VERY near crashing when a huge truck came roaring around a corner on our side of the dirt road.  God was with us and Elizabeth's husband took the car down into the ditch and back out without letting us get smashed by the big truck.  It was only by God's grace we didn't get killed before the meetings ever started.
Testing blood pressures and checking BMI
The hostel was the Catholic run housing for young ladies attending the secondary school in Haneti.  The two "sisters" that ran the place were very nice and we enjoyed our time with them very much.
The two sisters and Elizabeth (our team leader.)
They told me that they had picked out the best available room for Joshua and me.  They brought us in to a large room with two single beds with unusual foam for padding.  There was a pillow for each.  There was a table and two chairs.  The room had a DC LED light.  I had been drinking lots of water and said I really needed to use the facilities, and I saw that there was one there off the room but there was no door and people were coming and going out of our room.  Oh yeah, we had no door on our room.  It was the kitchen, or pantry area also.  So they had put up two sheets to partition our sleeping area off from that busy room.  When I said I really needed the toilet, but there was no door, they showed me that there was a second one just to the right.   It had a door!
Home away from home

YES - this one has a door!

Termites working hard to repair the tunnel above the bathroom door.
Joshua was very nervous about our room in the beginning.  I wasn't nervous, but the first few days are always an adjustment.  Here we were, with people that we didn't know, in a new place, and without Doug, also.
It was a good thing that I take earplugs and eye-masks on trips.  I really needed them for this trip.

Sheet curtain/door to separate our room from the kitchen

It is the dry season in Haneti.  The dust and wind are formidable.  There is a large Mus1im population there along with the Masai people.  There is a rather large Catholic influence there also.  Water is a challenge for the people.  There are actually several water pipes where water is pumped to the site where people can get it.  At some of the locations they have to pay for it by the bucket.  There were always cows, chickens, donkeys, sheep or goats around it seemed.  I don't know if I have ever seen so many donkeys in one place before.  They are used to haul all kinds of things, but especially water.  Many people take water for granted.  Living here, one learns quickly just how important it is.
Inside the little church the last day of our meetings

Health teaching was to start the very day after arriving.  God blessed and people seemed very interested.  The church there in Haneti isn't finished yet.  There are open places for the windows and on one end of the church.  There are between 20-25 church members there.  The children had Sabbath School out under a tamarind tree.  The benches are in need of repair, also.  I was thankful for all the fresh air in the church, though.
Children's Sabbath School class under the tree
After church there was a small puppy being a bit mishandled by some children just outside the church.  We went to its rescue.  It was actually a she.  She belonged to the herds-boy that was watching the calves close by.  There were several puppies.  This little girl warmed-up to us and was following us around shortly.  Someone mentioned something about if we wanted the puppy.  The idea grew on us and we did end up getting her a few days before the meetings were over. 
First evening for teaching at the wide open area.
The main meetings started on Sunday out in a wide open place by one of the water pipes.  The dust and wind were a huge challenge especially in the beginning.  It is a big challenge trying to teach when you can't even see because of the dirt blowing in your face.  They tried to clean up the area and wet it down several times.  It got better and better.  Each time a herd of cows, sheep or goats would go by though, the dust would become a cloud around us.  Joshua and I enjoyed watching the mother goats and sheep come home each evening and the babies coming out running and crying to meet them.  I don't know of many things more cute than baby goats.
We were to do health testing from 2-3pm.  Another person was to give the "Family Life" teachings from 3-4pm.  Then I was to teach from 4-5pm.  Then the main message was to be from 5-6 pm.  After a couple of days we also started a 7-8pm session out by the village area close to the hostel with the projector after dark.  I would teach another session on health and they would follow that up with some other things. They would nail a white sheet to the outside wall of a mud brick hut.  We would hook up the generator.  Four stools would be found for us.  One was used for the projector, one for the laptop and two for out seats.  Joshua did a good job translating for me at all the meetings and many other times.
At the end of the meetings seven people followed their Lord and Savior in baptism.
God is good.

Carrying water Tanzania style

Working animals

Visiting with the local health officials and clinic

Setting up the meeting site

Main meeting time
We were asked to speak at the Haneti Secondary School and give a talk on health and to encourage the students and staff.  That was a great privilege.
Haneti Secondary School
Teaching, sharing and encouraging staff and students

The pastor of the area has already invited us to participate in another set of meetings next year.  He wanted us to go to another set in January in Dar, but our schedule is already over-booked for January.
The work is big, and the laborers are few.  We are praying that we can get some of our students do to the mobile work more and more and we can get more and more people trained.

A typical mud hut for this area.

Another type of simple house

Joshua and the big boabab

Village life around Haneti

Lots of animals at the meeting site each evening
Heavy fire wood carried by the ladies

At our health testing site
Simple pleasures

Joshua and his new little Mus1im friend

 We are thankful for all the blessing of working for our Lord, wherever that takes us.