Hebrews 10:23 - "Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful."
“We can get caught up in the challenges or we can celebrate where God is taking us and what God is doing."
Since the last post, the days up at the Village have consisted primarily of preschool visitations with a hand full of energetic and vivacious children, home visits for lunch before naps, cuddles in-between and some play when gifted the time. I have also continued Moringa Oleifera educational meetings with the mamas as part of the more holistic addition to their program and work with their physiologist. These gathering with the mums and staff has left them full of further ideas on future harvesting and in the now, anticipating using the leaf power in their meals. Thankfully this will be possible, as this past Friday they received a delivery in each home to add to their meals each day and incorporate into the holistic approach we have been discussing. This first delivery will last them approx 2-3 months and provide incredible nutrients they have not been receiving from their food nor are able to get from food alone. It will also be used as a medicinal aid in the lives of those who have HIV, nutrient deficiencies and neurological disorders. Thank you to those who have supported, your donations were an asset in the purchasing of Moringa to provide for these mamas and get them started in using. The purchase also supported a local children’s village who harvests the product to sustain their children’s home. How great it would be to see various villages supporting once another in such a way and linking arms and in their diversity complementing one another. The funds will go directly to support the family from the village who markets it. Overall, the mamas and staff are excited and thankful for the new found information and now ability to begin to implement.
Music and song at circle time
Each week the Physical Therapy ‘power couple team’ from Canada have continued to visit the children’s homes where they have worked with the children and their mums. From assessments to exercises, to suggestions and advice. All visits have gone very well. In four weeks, progress has been visible with 2 of the children. This past Friday was their final day with us but as we say goodbye we were thankful for the information and guidance shared, as their time and volunteering to begin to partner with SOS last minute has been a true blessing. Now with exercises for the mamas to continue to do and a connection to their sending organization, the next team will arrive in July to touch base, re evaluate and likely continue a more quality, ongoing physical therapy program. In the mean time, the staff and mamas are encouraged and further equipped.
This past weekend, ki-swahili bibles were distributed to the 7 Christ following homes, all which were donated to each house in the village by supporters to this ministry I have stepped into here in Mwanza. This was something the lead here was desiring to have provided at some point yet had not been able to purchase at this time with the center still in its beginning stages making finances tighter without as many child sponsors, as well as with the village not having a complete christian foundation, it is unfortunately not a pressing priority to work into their budget. With that in mind and the navigating that comes with, I am thankful to say that with the help of donors and supporters from the states, we have been able to provide these bibles and a few other story book puzzles to leave off as a gift. This way there is not question nor time wasted in them having this vital tool and truth at hand. I know the kids are thrilled to have their own book about 'Yesu,' Jesus.
In addition to the happenings through the weeks since the last update, I had the privilege of joining the first worship service in the new building of the church plant here in Mwanza where I spent a handful of weekends last year while in town. It was a special time in the village to be part of the transition and see what God has been and is doing in these steps of the process this church plant and ministries advancing. It has also been a joy to also attend the church of the family in the children’s village I spend the my time with. Various other children from the village often attend this church too and I have had the complete enjoyment to attend with many of the children and also attend separately with the one family mentioned. Following chapel one afternoon we were able to share a special outing. We went to the beach for further play and have quality bonding. This was a day I will never forget as it held a multitude of sweet moments, freeing experiences seen first hand, moments of pure laughter and cherished care free encounters. The sounds of laughter filling the windy air, little faces filled of elation and joy, the hope filled peace was mutually shared and couldn't have been traded for the world. It was a gift. It was short, sweet and as the day ended concluded, I was overcome by the simplicity and significance it carried. I saw Heaven’s heart and was let into a deeper view, desire and experience of the Kingdom of God. Honored to share this time with these kiddos.
Church on the Hill
'Smile!' Face plant hugs and kisses are the best.
Cheers to Family Time
Since my pervious housemate who was renting one of the other rooms in the compound has returned to Canada, I have had two other housemates arrive in the guest house. Although we did not communicate much in their arrival, over time found them to be a great source of encouragement and fellowship in passing. Both sharing my faith and finding to be Americans from Arizona serving though their business and experiences here in Mwanza for the first time. They have turned out to be helpful and immensely beneficial in my stay these past few weeks, from sharing wisdom, safety and survival tips and even equipping me with the necessities that I didn’t pack due to believing I could rough it in more ways than others may. After last visit, I knew there was a lot that I didn’t need and could do without however in all truth would helpful and nice to have accessible. After coming down with some stomach trouble, getting no more than 3.5 hours of sleep a night for much of my time here and finding my room exceptionally full of active and hungry critters a few nights, I gave in to their generous offer to lend me some help as they literally had near everything I ‘needed’. From life straws to bug spray, as I raid my room and take revenge on those who have been attempting to eat me alive, mosquito nets and even a small treat of fresh ground coffee to last couple days, I would say they have been timely, appreciated and God sends. Thankful that God knows exactly what we need and will do anything He has to and use anyone in order to meet His gracious desires. Nothing is haphazard.
It was about three weeks ago now, I was able to visit the hospital which is the largest in the area, serving to be the primary hospital people living locally come and others travel a great distance away to seek medical care at. One of the youngest children who is was 4 months old when I first arrived has been in and out of the hospital since. Myself and the lead and one of the mamas helping to care for her and her mum during their stay went for a visit to bring essentials and to pray. This experience was not easy. Entering into such a hospital was difficult, heart wrenching on many levels and left me speechless. In this, I found desire to stay, to pray and to want to be with those suffering, especially those babies and children who are left alone. I left with my smallness of ability profound. It is fairly easy to walk into such a place filled with overcrowding, suffering, pain, sickness, disease, death; an atmosphere filled with much hopelessness and begin to be overwhelmed and forgetful of a greater hope and help. As a Christian, I know I must be reminded and take heart of a greater source, presence, love and possibly in the midst. As I was here taking all of this in while time limited to allowance to stay. The best thing I could do was pray for the presence of God, the prince of peace, greatest comforter and call on Jesus the miracle worker and master physician. This place, this room full of children, they needed something man could not provide alone. Since then as couple weeks have passed, the baby has returned back to her home with mom and has been stable for a few days. Praises to God!
Time has not paused, in about 2 days I will be facing the most challenging event yet since arriving, having to say goodbyes once again to new friends, past friends and my favorite little friends who were and are the primary object to my heart call to return to this land. Sunday I will be traveling to Kenya to get on a near 25 hour air bound ride back to California unsure of when we will be together again. This thought and preparation of this experience to come doesn't come easy or without immense challenge and levels of sadness. I know once again all well I am leaving a great deal of my heart here with them. An absolute honor and in the same an increasing ache. The space between and distance is far from desired and easy to accept. Anyone with loved ones any distance, miles, time zones or even oceans away can likely empathize with the surrender involved. Even more is this increased when the loved ones are unwell, suffering and even fighting for their lives. No matter the age or relation, it is never desired. Though I know it is the next step in the partnerships here and I continue to press in being reminded of God’s sovereign hand and care regardless of my proximity and geographical reach. Nothing can separate us from the Love of Christ. Near or far, Christ will continue to be our bridge, our connection and where we unite. He is God, He is their Father and He is closer than we know. Preparing to leave places me back in the spot of realizing my smallness amongst His omnipotence and provides and increasing awareness of our need of Him. I am further encouraged for the time here thus far, connections being made and past relationships grown as the the doors have continued to open and the hand, leading and favor of God continually made known in the bitter, the sweet, the joy and the not so joyous.
Two of a few verses and stories I am reminded of are of those followers in the bible finding wonder working power revealed in Jesus amidst the seemingly impossible and hope finding center on His world and name alone. I am stretched to take hold of and trust in these once again applying them to the now, to today for the sake of the situations and needs present, doing so with confidence.
Mark 4:37-41: “A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”
Job 42:2: “I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted.”
Zechariah 4:6: “Not by might nor by power but by my Spirit, says the Lord Almighty.”
Please continue to pray for God's complete will to come to fruition in the renaming days here as well as in the months to follow. All who have contributed, prayed, encouraged, petitioned for breakthroughs and miracles and to those been a holistic support along the way, I thank you. You are a gift and blessing which I am thankful to have as part of this ministry as I have responded to the call back to Mwanza Tanzania these last 2 months. Asante na Barikiwa sana!