Dear Ministry Partners,
We returned safely to our home in Morogoro Tanzania on June 16th. We had several re-entry meetings, received several guests who welcomed us back, did a deep cleaning of our shelves and closets and began to unpack and get settled in. Only two and a half weeks later, on the 4th of July, we greeted a work team of 22 people from Brad’s home church, Ben Davis Christian Church in Indianapolis.
They worked on scraping, replacing and painting ceiling boards in the main entrance, kitchen, living and dining rooms. Another team painted about 90 furring strips. Then they put up the furring strips to cover the joints between the sheets of ceiling board. The ceiling looks very nice, white and uniform. The ceiling had been continually damaged by a leaky roof for over 5 years. Roof repairs back in August 09 held tight during rainy season, so it was safe to finally replace and repair the ceiling boards.
The work team also fixed toilets, sinks, hot water supply line, built closets and shelves, repaired a couch (after breaking it) and sewed curtains for several offices and the new meeting room. Another team sanded and prepared the new meeting room walls for painting, which was completed after they left. Still others helped with filing papers, moving an office, moving furniture and of course cleaning up all the construction mess before they left.
They also blessed us and saved us a lot of money on shipping expenses, or allowed us to get some things we wouldn’t have otherwise. Each person limited himself to one piece of checked luggage. Then for their second piece of free checked luggage, each person carried a trunk or bag for us that we had packed and left in the church basement back in April. They only had to pay $60 for one piece of excess baggage. It is nice to have been able to bring back things like new bedding and towels to help in the preparations of sending Bradley and Morrie off to boarding school.
After doing three loads of laundry a day while the team was here, Tammie’s washing machine totally broke down the night before the work team left, flooding the laundry room; the machine already required manual advancing twice during each cycle. The work team surprised us with a gift that we used toward buying a new washing machine; a bigger, heavier duty washing machine. We were able to take advantage of a trip to Kenya, right after the work team left, to purchase the machine over $100 cheaper than here in Tanzania for the same machine, and it has a one year warranty.
As much as we appreciated all the free labor and creativity to repair and remodel our house, even more precious were the fellowship, making new friends, deepening old friendships, and watching them as they adapted to the inconvenient and unpredictable life in Africa. We had a great time hosting them, and we hope they had a great time seeing Africa for the first time and learning more about the ministry of PBT. Certain Bible passages just seem to come to life more in Africa; those on patience, perseverance, goats, eating new foods, poverty, happiness, faith, working together, etc.
Since we couldn’t host all of them in our home, especially with it being the primary construction zone, we put them in a guest house about 1 mile away, the same place the translators stay every August during the training course. You would expect a guest house that costs only $4 a night to add some unique flavor to the adventure, and this guest house didn’t disappoint. But overall, it was safe and adequately comfortable for most everyone.
On the weekend, most of the team visited the nearby game park. A few others got to attend a Scripture Dedication ceremony about 6 hours drive away with Brad. And one went to see Mount Kilimanjaro; disappointingly he could only see the clouds hovering around Africa’s tallest mountain though.
Just two days after the work team flew back to their comfortable and familiar surroundings of Indy, we drove to a retreat near Nairobi, Kenya. It took us 19 hours over two days to drive there, and about 18 hours and two days to drive home (lots of road construction right now in Kenya!) But we still enjoyed the two day retreat which was sponsored and paid for by an organization (CHN) in Kingsport, TN. They brought a team of hair dressers, masseuse, medical doctors, chiropractor, physical therapist, manicurists, youth leaders, song leaders etc. They took care of our joint and muscle issues, and Morrie got a new hairstyle. We were also able to visit RVA, the school she and Bradley will be attending in Kenya later this month; it was the first time Morrie was able to see the campus in person, and Dad and Yuda too. The school was only a 30 minute drive away from where the retreat was being hosted.
We’re still unpacking some of the luggage the work team brought and trying to get things back in place after moving everything out of the way for all the ceiling and closet construction. Tammie has the kitchen and family room settled, but we’re still working on the office and toiletries since it requires also going through all the stuff that was stored and going through old files and papers; there were 7 bags of stuff being thrown out sitting next to the front door this morning: files and old VHS videos!
The kids are focusing heavily on getting the last few home school assignments done so Tammie can complete their final grade reports. Plus all Bradley and Morries clothes and other items have to have name tags attached to them. Tammie has begun the process of organizing the All Africa Mission Conference which will be held in Kenya July 2011. Brad is communicating with a university in Holland where he would like to enroll in a PhD program as he begins training to be a Translation Consultant; we’ll have more on that in later news.