Dear Friends and Family,
Well, we have been in country now for just over 2 weeks. It feels like
a dream that we were in the States just over a month ago. So much has
happened and life is just so different here. Missionary friends of ours
were able to bring up our permit from Mwanza so that we could enter
Tanzania. Thanks again Andy! Our safari home was long
and dusty complete with a 2 hour delay due to a flat tire. We won’t
bore you with details but lets just say we are having to make some
significant re-adjustments in terms of what is required for a road trip
in Africa! We were a bit disappointed because we knew we would be
pulling into the village after dark and we didn’t think the neighborhood
kids would come running like they usually do when we have been away for
trip. But were we ever wrong! As soon as we got into the neighborhood,
all the kids came running and shouting and pounding on the car. They
were so excited to see us as we were to see them. It brought tears to
my eyes. Such a warm welcome. It was nice to know that we were missed.
Amy and Kim made a great spaghetti dinner for us the night we arrived and
we all slept soundly!
We have been slowly settling back in. It is taking time as it is so
dusty right now that almost everything that has been stored away
requires some cleaning. Jon had a few days at home before starting up
with work again. He has been enjoying getting back into doctoring here.
His first day at the clinic he was snake killer. Turned out to
harmless house snake but he wasn’t sure of that until after it’s demise.
He doesn’t seem to have missed a beat in terms of speaking Swahili
where as I find myself stumbling daily to try to say what I want to say.
I know it will come but it is a bit frustrating in the meantime.
Everywhere we have been in the last few weeks, people have asked us
about out time in the States. We are so blessed to be able to respond
by telling people that we had a great year. We have boasted in the Lord
about our churches, Hershey Christian School, our kids’ teachers and our
many friends and family who just blessed us right and left. Not
everyone has that kind of home assignment and we want to thank you from
the depths of our hearts for making ours so special.
On the home front, we came back to find the water pump out of commission
so we have been back to hauling water in buckets from the spigot out
back. Jon did install some new brighter solar lights so that is nice.
We haven’t been able to connect to email the last couple weeks, but Jon
went to the cell network office in town today and they seem to have
straightened it out.
We don’t seem to have had too much of a problem with mice and Anna, our
friend and house helper kept the house spic and span for us while we
were away. Our dogs were in poor shape as well and I almost cried every
time I looked at Tibo the first few days. He was just skin and bones
but after just two weeks of eating a good bit of meat everyday, he is
already looking better but still has a ways to go. The kids are
adjusting well. They all seem to feel like they are back home although
they felt at home in the U.S. too. They spend a good bit of time
outdoors each day playing with friends. They are all starting to pick
up Swahili again and so far they are making an effort and not getting
frustrated which is something we were concerned about. Thanks for your
prayers on their behalf.
In terms of the clinic, Jon was pleased overall with what he found
coming back. There were definitely some differences in the way things
were run, and some personnel issues, and price hikes that need to be
reviewed, but things seem to be smoothing out ok. Michael did a good
job running things, the accounts were in order, patients continue to
come from far and wide, and the MCH clinics continue faithfully. He
even did two more village health worker seminars while we were away!
Our Tanzanian friends have welcomed us back and are glad to see us. We,
too, are happy to be “home” again. But we do miss our loved ones
across the miles. We learned that several missionary families in
Dodoma where we go for supplies and fellowship left last year so we felt
a bit forlorn coming into town this weekend, feeling like we wouldn’t
have any friends around. But we were wrong. We certainly miss those
that have left but again, have been warmly welcomed back by those who
remain. In fact, one of my friends arranged a “girls night out” last
evening which was wonderful. And we have already met some new families
who have kids close in age to ours.
We have not yet started with home schooling as it is taking awhile to
get the house in order again. But my goal is to start next week.
Please pray for me and for Josh and Drew as we get going with school.
Liz Lampen, the young lady coming out to help with home schooling, is
scheduled to arrive in early November. Please pray for her as she is
raising support and preparing to come. There is a lot of paper work
involved and lots of logistics etc. We are so excited to have her come
to work with us in our home and in our community. If you would like to
make a financial contribution to her, either a one time gift or monthly,
you can write a check out to Africa Inland Mission and include a note
with it explaining that it goes to Liz Lampen’s support. Please do not
write her name on the check. Just knowing that she is going to be
helping me takes a big weight off of my shoulders in terms of not only
teaching our boys but just in giving more time to manage our home well.
I also hope I will have more time to visit with the local
work on my language skills. Please pray that the Lord will help us
figure out how best to divide the work according to our gifts and the
needs of Josh and Drew.
We covet your prayers as we continue to settle back in here. We will be
heading to Dar es Salaam in mid-October for our conference and will be
in touch again then. We thank you for your partnership in our ministry
here in Tanzania. May the Lord bless you and keep you.
Melissa, Jon and the kids