Thursday, October 22, 2015

Very Dirty Work

So Kibidula is in the process of selling off the remaining sheep here as the sheep program has been officially closed for many, many months.  ( I don't remember the exact date the decision was made.  It may be a year now.) 
So we have been hauling in loads of sheep to town for market each week.  We are down to about 200 sheep now. 
A load of sheep was ordered to be delivered today.  Doug also needed to go to Iringa to do bank work.  To try to reduce costs, we combined the trips somewhat.  I drove him and the sheep to town.  He then took a bus to Iringa (much cheaper than fuel and mileage costs).  I dropped him at the bus stand first and then headed to the place to unload sheep. 
There were two ladies in the house, and I didn't ask either to help me unload the sheep. 
I backed up the truck, took off the one board, and let down the tailgate.  The sheep had decided the truck seemed like the safest place to be and were not coming out on their own.  This is normal.
I had already moved the one piece of slab board that acts as a gate to the pen area.  I have been involved in sheep unloading before, but I prefer to watch instead of participate for a variety of reasons.  The main one is that I don't like the way I smell afterwards if I help.  It can be stinky work, especially after they have ridden cramped in the truck for about an hour.
Well, today I was alone.  I grabbed one of the sheep by the hind leg and proceeded to coax it out.  Something went wrong.  She came out, but decided the courtyard looked more promising than the pen.  Off she went. 

Courtyard with the gate open

I immediately went to the courtyard gate and closed it so I didn't have sheep running all over town.
Then I tried to encourage the sheep back.  She was not encouraged at all.  Pendo, the young lady of the house helped me encourage her for a while, but again she just wouldn't take our encouragement. 
I went back to the truck and decided to move it a little to improve my chances of success. 
Well, I don't remember the order, but soon there were five sheep in the pen and three running around the courtyard.  Two more to go, and I was determined not to have two more in the courtyard.  I was hoping if I got enough in the pen, the others would miss their friends.  It was number nine's turn.  It wasn't going well.  She thought the other side of the fence looked better.  It would have been funny to watch us, I am sure.  Somehow, I managed to wrestle her back into the pen.  Number ten refused to go in, and that sheep is strong!  I had her a few times and almost lost her completely.  It was a battle of the wills, and I was extremely determined by this point.  I ended up on the ground (in you know what!) but refused to let another sheep in the courtyard.  I was yelling "no, no, no!" and refusing to give up.  I wrestled her back into the pen.  I looked at the three "get-aways" and decided to move the truck to be between them and the watch dog, which was loving all the excitement.  Dina (the lady of the house) was trying to keep the dog quiet at this point.  He wasn't helping, much.  After moving the truck, I went behind the three run-aways and explained to them that the other 7 seemed very content in the pen and perhaps they would like to join them.  (I had been trying to convince them all that the penned in area seemed nice.)  They were hesitant and started to bolt the wrong direction, but finally they started moving very slowly in the right direction.  They got up to a tied-up calf and seemed content there.  No, that wasn't good enough.  More encouragement was needed.  Then it happened.  They were encouraged - FINALLY!  They took off like a lightening bolt headed for the opening in the pen.  One, two, three!  YES!
Inside the pen
  Dina and I closed the slab board fence piece and assessed the damage to my skin and clothes.  Oh, what a mess I was.  My skirt, my new shirt, my feet my hands.  I never did look at my face.  I probably should.  I still needed to do a little work in town, running errands, and now I was covered in POOP!  I was wearing a very light denim skirt and pink shirt!  Poop really shows on such clothes. 
Dina suggested a little soap and water.  We tried to at least reduce the amount on my hands, arms, and shirt.  We were washing my clothes on my body.  We were all three laughing a lot.  My skirt was too much, so I borrowed a kitenge wrap and just covered up my skirt.  Dina thought I looked very Tanzanian then.

They aren't as innocent as they look
1 Peter 2:25  For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.

I remember praying and asking God for help in unloading the sheep.  I don't know if I was precise enough with my request.  I am certainly thankful for the help in getting them in the pen even if it wasn't the way I had planned.  I got some exercise, and several of us got a good dose of "medicine".  Laughter is good medicine, right?

Oh, and I learned that the sheep don't smell so bad in the dry season.  I am so thankful for that!
So even though I was quite soiled, I didn't smell it.  I hope nobody else did.
I hope that there are days when as Jesus shines through me, my life is fragrant like a nice flower.  But today, I had to settle for something a little less attractive.  I praise the Lord for a good attitude in it all.  It sure did make me wonder if the holy angels ever laugh.

 I know we did!  God is faithful, and He knows what trials I need in my life to "clean me up" inside and out.  I am trusting Him.  I also learned, some things require more than one person - like delivering sheep.  Truly - TWO ARE BETTER THAN ONE!  Ecclesiastes 4:9-10  Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour.  For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up.  Okay.  I had better go check my soaking clothes.  One just never knows what the day will hold. 

Friday, October 2, 2015

Running in circles

God is faithful.  Things have been very challenging around here since we have had three missionary families leave in the last year and a half.  The work load has not decreased, only the workers. 
We are very thankful for the Katsma couple coming this year.  Candi has been helping at both the primary school and the agriculture school.  She has also been doing some crafts and sewing classes for the missionary children.  David has been helpful in lots of areas, especially in mechanical areas.  Unfortunately we have a vehicle that continues to have challenge after challenge which has been keeping him really busy.  He has helped get other vehicles back up to good standards.  He is always willing to help out in many areas.  He has helped with many needed trips to town, plumbing challenges and other things.
Even with this, we are still back-logged on many, many things.  We need prayers.  We have been praying to the Lord of the harvest to send forth laborers.  When Jean-Luc left this June, he left the accounting, treasurer, publishing and agriculture director positions.  Doug took over treasurer, we have someone that has taken accounting, agriculture leader was given to another, and I was asked to do the publishing work.  Still we have so much to do.  There are many building projects that need attention.  We have a new water tower that needs to be built, the new office building is mostly built, the new press building will need to be started soon, and we want to get the chapel finished.  I am sure there are other jobs that I don't even know of. 
Jason has been so busy working all over campus.  He has been helping the agriculture school add on new fields.  The avocado fields are growing and growing.  Doug has been all over campus this week trying to help out with needs at the wellness center, get the motorcycle fixed, getting administrative tasks done, installing solar components, delivering things and on and on.
Me?  I should have kept my diary up.  I have been so busy, I haven't even done that!  The publishing department keeps me hopping.  This week we have been dealing with container loads of books starting their journeys.  That involved lots of last minute emails back and forth, lots of details to arrange and payment.  Then we decided to do a one-page advertisement for the Bible studies, tracts, and evangelism school in the Sabbath School quarterly.  The deadline for that was "right now!"  So that took some effort.  We had to come up with what it should say and design it.  Then we have it translated and edited.  Then to get it back into a format that was compatible with publisher.  We did get it to them, but I haven't gotten any feedback!  God really blessed.  I told the translator to just translate it and not to work about the layout.  I knew with the new wording, it would probably be a mess.  Well, she ignored my directions and put it back in the format I sent it in AND made a whole new design with the same words and a few extra.  I liked her design better.  I just had to take her design and put it in a single color and black and white, and into a different file format (more work than it might sound like!) 
I have spent a lot of time working on future publishing works.  Trying to find files, getting files ready for translators, etc.
Lots and lots of books are getting into the hands of people.  I did the book inventory for the office, and had to adjust my inventory because people kept buying books!  That is a good thing!
We are very thankful for some help that is coming soon.  The Taft brothers and two of the Bange boys are coming in November.  Doug has lots of jobs he is hoping to have them help with.  Jason is also making a list!  It will be wonderful to have some young, strong, smart men around campus to help out in many ways!  We only have them for two months, but we plan to make the best of it!
There is another family that may be coming.  My understanding is that his expertise is in administration.  That might free up Doug to do some of his other duties.  We just won't know until all comes together though. 
The Wellness Center has three health guests right now.  Ashery is back helping, and we have a medical student here learning for a month also.  Doug will be going to Eden Valley Foster Care Mission for a week to do a crash course there.  Then Kori will follow up the next month to help them go out into the village doing practical application.
AND it rained!  We got our first rain of the season Wednesday.  It rained a little today also.  I didn't realize I would get excited about seeing a mud puddle, but I did!
That sure takes a little of the fire hazard down.  YEAH!
God has blessed us very much!  Thank you for all the prayers and support.