Monday, December 3, 2012

Ngorogoro Crater, Tanzania...

Well I know I've written all about the terrible parts of the trip, but we did have a few highlights as well. I thought I would share this one. On the way back to Mozambique, we spent one day driving around the Ngorogoro Crater in Tanzania. It is an extinct volcano, and inside the crater, wildlife is concentrated, because it is not easy to get out. You will be able to see from the pictures. It is the most beautiful setting and we were able to see animals that we had not seen before in the wild, such as cheetah and black rhino. It really was incredible.
The back side of a cheetah.

The front side of the cheetah.

A little oasis, full of hippos.

I love this picture, because is shows the full scope of things in the crater, the blue sky, the crater wall, open fields, the lake, and then forest with elephants of course. Everything in such a condensed area, it really causes you to marvel at God's creation.

This guy was one of the first animals we saw once we got down to the bottom of the crater. He just walked across the road right in front of us. He was huge and appeared to be quite healthy!

This is a view of the crater from the rim, before we descended.
A big heard of wildebeast and zebra grazing in the fields.

 I like this picture because the land cruiser looks quite small in comparison to the large male elephants crossing the plains.
Sunbathing lions.

The very rare and endangered black rhino.

A pod of hippos staying cool.

Thursday, November 29, 2012


Sorry it has taken so long to update you on the car situation and how the events all played out to us finally arriving back in Lichinga, but...of course things didn't go as planned. Well, after our car was supposed to be ready wednesday by noon, we were informed it would be ready at 3:00pm instead, so we took a taxi from our beach house to Mombasa city and all got out at the garage and had all our stuff put on the curb and we waited for them to bring out the car. Well, shortly, they came to tell us it would be 5:00pm before the car was done, so at about 6:00 here we are still waiting on the curb with out stuff...
Then shortly after 6:00pm, just as it is about to get dark, the wife of the mechanic, comes and tells us to come up to her house. She is an Indian Muslim lady(picture of her and her daughter, who took care of us) and doesn't speak the best English, but was pretty insistant we come up to her house. Well it was getting dark anyway and the curb wasn't too comfortable, so we went up to her house. Her family was so hospitable and they gave us water and snacks and the kids watched cartoons. It was getting later and later. Finally they told us the car wouldn't be done tonight, so we needed to spend the night in their apartment. A little strange, but what choice did we have. We spent the night, with the assurance the car would be ready by 5am, for us to leave very early to head back to Nairobi.
Well we wake up at 4:30am and wake up the kids, get everything packed up and at 5am, they tell us, well it will probably be little longer yet, so just stay for breakfast and it will be ready by 10am. So they make us breakfast and we chat some more and watch more cartoons. At 10am, they say well maybe after lunch, so why don't you just stay for lunch. So we eat chicken curry and rice for lunch. After lunch, they have a friend come over and give my mother in law and I henna tatoos as a gift, so we will remember them (how could we ever forget after all this).

 Then at 2pm, we find out that the car is still having problems and they are going to have to take it all apart again and start over. At this point, I was ready to cry. We were paying for an apartment in Nairobi, that we had already lost 3 days on, and we had things we needed to get done before we headed back to Mozambique. The family offered their car for us to drive around in Mombasa, so we suggested that they let us take their car back to Nairobi and then when our car was done, they could drive it to Nairobi and we would trade back there. Well they agreed. We were so thankful for all they did for us and this was just such a blessing. So, we all climb into their small(and I mean small) truck. We have 6 of us in the back seat with no air conditioning and if you have forgotten, Mombasa is extremely hot and humid. Luckily we started out late enough that the sun went down after a few hours. Kallen also started getting sick on the trip back and threw up a few times. Which is always nice in a crowded hot vehicle. Kallen also wet her pants on the trip, so Grandma had throw up, pee, and plenty of dirt on her when we arrived back at our apartment in Nairobi at 2am! But it was good to be back. Kallen continued to be sick and got so lethargic, we ended up taking her to the hospital friday morning. She underwent tons of tests, blood work, stool and urine sample, and we found she had a bacterial infection and we got her on antibiotics. But all of friday between doctor visits, tests, diagnosis, medications, we were at the hospital. Saturday, they did bring our car to Nairobi, running and looking good. We were glad to have it back. We still had to go buy a fan belt and get that put on, but should be no big deal. We thought we would do that monday, before we left. So, we had to withdraw from participating in the simply the story training, that we were originally scheduled to do, because there was no time left to get the fan belt put on. Monday, we took the car for the fan belt, they said it should take an hour at the most. Well of course, while replacing it, they found the tensioner was bad and so after spending more money on the car and another entire day carless, we are really thinking can anything else go wrong? Thankfully no, we left Kenya wednesday morning and the trip home was pretty smooth. Much better than the drive there. We drove 12-15 hour days and they were long, but we took paved roads and we had much more interesting scenery. We did however get stopped 5 x for speeding and got 3 speeding tickets. The cops in Tanzania are so frusterating. They shoot their radar guns right as you pass the speed marker and then they stop you for going anything over the limit. The speed limit was 50km an hour, kilometers, not miles, and Tim was driving, 53, 55, 60, 62, and 85(the only one truely deserved, but he didn't see the sign). But besides that, it went well. Thanks so much for all the prayers!

Despite all this, Tim was able to visit the oral Bible School near Mombasa. He really enjoyed this and it was incredible to see that some of the people attending the school, walk 12 kilometers each way to come to the school everyday. They do a week on and then a week off and during the year, each of them memorizes 210 Bible stories and learns how to observe, interpret, and apply each of them. They meet in the building below and have very little materials, but these people are committed to learning the Bible. It was exciting to see how something like this could possibly be done here in Mozambique.

Once we arrived back in Nairobi. We visited an elephant orphanage. Tim's parents had adopted a baby elephant as a gift for a friend, so we got to go in the evening and meet the baby elephant and see the other babies in the orphanage. We got to pet them, watch them being fed and play with them. The kids just loved it. It was so fun. They also got to pet rhinos.

All the baby elephants coming in from playing in the fields.

 This is the baby elephant they adopted. He is 6 months old, his mother was killed by poachers and then they took him here to raise and then they release them when they are old enough to be on their own. Each elephant has a worker, who cares for it, feeds it, and even sleeps with it. The blanket in the picture above, it a "surrogate mother". They bottle feed the babies through the blanket and then hang it in their rooms. The baby elephants hold on to the blanket with their trunks and even suck on them. They cover them with the blankets at night when they sleep.  

This was the youngest elephant in the orphanage at 4 months old, and his worker.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

More drama...

Well I think maybe God is testing me. I need to learn to be more flexible. We left on Saturday for Mombasa. We were estimating a 9 hour drive to our cottage in Diani Beach. Well about half way there, Tim noticed some strange vibrations with the clutch of our car. We just had the pressure bearing replaced on the clutch a few days before we left for Kenya. We had a Mozambiquian guy replace it for us, because they said we couldn't drive to Malawi on it, where we usually get our car repairs done. Well we don't know if he did something wrong or what, but about 30 kilometers out of town, the clutch seized up and Tim couldn't shift at all. Thankfully, Bramuel was already in Mombasa. We called him and after only an hour and a half of being stranded on the side of the highway in back to back traffic (8 white people standing on the side of the road trying to keep cool in the sweltering heat was great entertainment for the people stuck in traffic), Bramuel came and rescued us and towed our car to a garage in Mombasa. Of course it was Saturday afternoon and no one was open and wouldn't be open until Monday. But once again Bramuel came to our rescue and found a guy that would start working on it Sunday. And he even arranged transportation for us out to our cottage, which is about 30 kilometers past Mombasa. So on Monday, instead of visiting the oral Bible school with Bramuel, like planned, Tim spent the day in Mombasa running around finding car parts. He found 3 of them, but the other 2, he discovered he would have to order and they would take 4-6 weeks to arrive. Well we can't stay here for another 4 to 6 weeks waiting for the parts. So our mechanic tells us not to worry about it, he will "engineer" the parts we have and get it working. We aren't so sure what "engineer" the parts means, but we don't have a choice, except to hope and pray the car will get us back to Mozambique. The upside was we get to stay a couple extra days in such a beautiful setting. Thankfully the guy we rented it from, was very flexible and let us stay a couple extra days. We did go to the beach, once, and we won't be back. It was beautiful, but absolutely no breeze and blazing hot and humid. No big deal, just jump in the refreshing water and swim, after 5 minutes, Karis was stung 3 times by jelly fish. Apparently, November and December the jellyfish are in abundance. So, we will stick to our cottage and pool. And yesterday, while Tim was in Mombasa looking for parts, Kallen came down with a stomach bug and began throwing up and having diarreah, she is still not doing so hot. So, we are surviving, thanks to the pool and scenery, but I am struggling.... Today, Tim did get to attend the conference with Bramuel, which was great he could still work that in. The plan(of course I have no idea why we even make plans at this point) is Tim and Bramuel will spend the night here at our cottage. Tomorrow morning bright and early, they head out to visit the oral Bible school, they were supposed to have visited on Monday, and then we go pick up our car, which should be done by noon (not too sure about that) and head back to Nairobi. Doesn't sound too complicated, but I have come to realize, here, anything can be complicated....Please keep praying....Thanks.

Our cottage

The kids are loving the pool and in this heat and humidity, swim from about 7am to 6pm.

Karis' jellyfish stings. They must really hurt, because she is our toughest kids and rarely cries because of pain, but she was screaming in pain when it happened. We had no idea what was going on, because you couldn't see anything at first. She was just grabbing her shoulder and screaming it hurts! Locals came running and told us that the jellyfish were all over. If only they had mentioned that before we got in to swim!

Other than being covered by bug bites and heat rash, Jurnee is doing great and she loves the water!


Diani Beach.

Traeger enjoying the pool.

Kallen and grandma playing go fish. The kids have also loved having grandma and grandpa here. They are getting a great taste of life in Africa and it has been so nice to have extra help around with all the drama!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Trip to Kenya...

Wow. We have learned that it doesn't matter how much you prepare for travelling in Africa, you will never be prepared! We went into this trip with very low expectations, but believe it or not, they were not low enough. It was one of the toughest trips we have ever done. It started at the border of Mozambique and Tanzania. The border post was a little house with a man in it and that is it. We were there for 2 1/2 hours and we were the only ones there. The man wanted a copy of our car papers and Tim's passport, but of course they have no electricity and definitely not a copy machine. Thinking we were prepared we brought copies of the car papers and normally we carry copies of passports, but we couldn't find one. So they wanted to keep all of our original car papers. Well that could not happen because we had another border to cross and a lot of travelling to do. We miraculously found a copy of Tim's passport in the car. After 2 1/2 hours of sitting in the 90 degree heat, we were off. The first city we spent the night in was Songea. The hotel was decent and the food reasonable. We were fairly encouraged. The next day we made our way to Iringa. It was a long drive, and we were so ready to be at our next destination and rest. Well the place we stopped at was actually pretty nice, but they never had recieved our reservations, so we ended up having to stay in 2 separate rooms and we had out door toilets and showers and no electricity. So it was really more like camping. Jurnee was up the entire night, so we really didn't get any sleep. The next day, we had the shortest amount of kilometers to drive, so we thought well we would get into our hotel early and be able to rest and relax. That was not how it went. It took us 8 hours to drive 250 kilometers. The roads were absolutely terrible and it was 95 degrees and the senery was about as dull as possible. When we arrived at our hotel about 4pm that evening, the hotel didn't have electricity, it was so hot, and our room was so dark, we couldn't see anything. We were starving and ordered dinner right away, which wasn't ready until 7:30pm and it was dried up chicken that was terrible. The hotel also didn't have mosquito nets and we all got completely bitten up. The one bright point is that the man who owned the hotel told us the route we were going the next day, was not the way to go. He gave us directions to go around a different way on paved roads and the trip was so much better. We arrived in Moshi that afternoon. Although, the place we stayed, once again did not have electricity and no mosquito nets, we did get to see Mount Kilimanjaro, which was amazing. The next day, we also got to swim in some hot springs that were beautiful and a nice treat after the long journey! We left for Nairobi at about noon that day for the anticipated 4 hour trip. At the border we had another little set back. We got our visas and we were all set to cross, but when we registered the car, we found out that we needed a carnet, which is some paper having to do with the taxes on your car. If you don't have the carnet, you need to leave a deposit worth the value of your car. Of course, we didn't have 20 grand sitting around, so we sat there for 2 1/2 hours trying to convince them we wouldn't sell our car in Kenya. Finally after the kids were all crying and hungry and Jurnee looked so terrible covered in bug bites, they felt so bad for us and finally let us go. We praise God, that we were able to finally enter Kenya. The drive from there to Nairobi, was a piece of cake, with paved roads and well marked roads. Kenya on the bright side is great! It is by far the most "western" city we have been to in Africa. We are loving shopping and we can even buy tortilla chips! Tim has already attended a orality meeting with Bramuel and he has been to the doctor and been cleared that the problems he was having are NOT related to the heart. We are thankful for that. We also went on a safari, which was incredible. I posted pictures on facebook. Friday, we visit Rift Valley Academy and then Saturday we leave for Mombasa. We will attend a conference there with Bramuel and also Tim will be observing an oral Bible school. We are thankful for all the prayers that got us here safely! Here are some pictures.
Mount Kilimanjaro

The hot springs.

Jurnee's first swim.
I am not sure if you can see the many red spots all over Jurnee, but she is completely covered in bites.

This is the lovely senery we looked at for 8 hours from Iringa to Dodoma Tanzania in the the 95 degree heat.

This is the road at one point. We had to just stop for about 1/2 hour while a bulldozer plowed us a path to continue. It was really unbelievable.

The road once he plowed us through.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

October Update...

Here is a quick update on the past month. I (Tim) just got back from a 2 week trip to the coast. It was a 2 day journey for me but I had a great opportunity to teach OT and NT survey to a group of 6 pastors. It went really well, we covered a lot of material. Now we hope they can retain it and apply it. We gave the students two assignments at the end of our time. 1) the students together wrote a song which told the story of the Bible in a condensed version. 2) they will be taking the next 2 months teaching a passage or a book in the Bible in a sequential way. They normally just pull out a passage and use it without any context and it almost always comes from Psalms or from the Gospels. Now they will be forced to preach sequentially a certain story like Moses til the crossing of the Red Sea or the story of Abraham. I think it will be good for them.

We leave on friday for Kenya. The whole trip will take about a month. We are going to visit and observe an oral Bible school there, to see what it would take to start one here. I will also be doing some teaching and trainings with Bramuel (the guy Blythefield works with doing STS). We also be combining the trip with a little vacation. My parents are meeting us in Nairobi and will spend the 3 weeks with us there and then drive back to down to Mozambique with us and stay until the middle of January. We are excited to be able to spend the holidays with family! 

Growing up too fast!

Here is the group from Mocimboa. One person is missing.
A picture of the coast of the Indian Ocean at Mocimboa.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

September Update...

Just wanted to give you an update on the different teaching opportunities God has given Tim the past month. Most of you read in our newsletter about the teaching time in Itepela and Metangula on Lake Niassa. Tim was in Itepela for 4 days and in Metangula for 3 days and did teaching on marriage and family. It went really well and in Metangula, one man even brought his wife up in front in everyone and told her how much he appreciated her and loved her, which is something that is NEVER done here. It was such an encouragement to watch them put what they were learning into action. 
In the beginning of September, we also had a Simply The Story training here in Lichinga, that was done in Portuguese. If you don't remember, STS is a method of inductive Bible study that is done orally for people who cannot read or write or just learn better from an oral style of teaching. We had 25 people attend the 3 day course and through out the 3 days, each one of them was given a chance to share a story and put into practice what they were learning. We are anxious to see what happens now and if the people share their stories and take initiative to learn more stories.  
Also the past 3 saturdays, we spent in the village of Mapuje doing a parenting seminar. We had about 20 adults each week. Marriage and family is so difficult here because of different beliefs and traditions. It is difficult to even know how to approach the subject. We are only beginning to realize and coming to understand the complexities involved in family life here. It is so different from our traditional relationship with our husband or wife and kids. There really is very little "relationship" in their family life. It is only about having someone to take care of you--for the husband, someone to cook, do the laundry, etc.--for the wife, having someone to provide financially or materially. So we just start right from Genesis and show them directly from the Bible what God says about marriage and parenting. We don't want them thinking we are just giving them our "western" traditions, because we think we are better than them or know better than them. We just share exactly what God says about it in the Bible. They really do not invest at all into their children either. Children are important here, but only to carry on family lines and to have extra help in the fields and at home. We encourage them to read the Bible together as a family or listen to it on the solar powered mp3 players we provide, if they can't read it. We also emphasize the importantance of being an example to our children, in prayer, Church attendance, and just behavior in general. It is hard to change traditions that have been done for generations, but we just pray that God will produce fruit from the seeds planted.
Currently, Tim is in Mocimboa de Praia, on the coast of Mozambique, doing a two week course for 6 pastors, on Old and New Testament Survey. Please pray for him, for the teaching, safety in travel, and his health. He will return on the 16th of October. Then on the 27th of October, we all head to Kenya, where Tim will be doing a couple teachings, and we will be observing an oral Bible school, and visiting collegues. We will also be involved with a STS training there with another couple, who are missionaries from our home church just outside of Nairobi. Thanks for all your prayers and encouragement over the past month, we've really appreciated it!

The group in Metangula.

The STS training, here in Lichinga.

The whole STS group.

The group in Itepela.

This is harvest time here in Mozambique and everywhere you look there is corn. People are shucking, removing the kernals, pounding, or drying corn. Jurnee loves the empty dry corn cobs. They are a great toy and there are plenty to go around!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Fully Living...

The past few months have been full. Busy, but full of joy, and we feel blessed and grateful to be fully living here in Mozambique! In July we had our annual SIM spiritual life conference. Tim and I were in charge of planning the whole thing and we decided to do it on the lake. We had a team from Blythefield come to speak and lead worship. It was a great week. My parents came and my dad was the speaker for the week. His theme was "True North", talking about where we go in the midst of life's frusterations. Do we go south and grasp to worldly things or do we go north to God and find our significance and security in Him? We also had the Radaz family come to lead worship. They were so good. Worship is something we miss greatly here, so it was such a great exprience to have such talented people to lead us in worship in English! My mom and Jennifer Radaz helped out in the kitchen and preparing food, which was quite a task when you are preparing food for 30 people and all the cooking is done over charcoal. Here are some pictures from the conference.
The Radaz boys leading us in worship.

The lake.

The "kitchen"

My mom and Jennifer also gave all the ladies a pedicure!

The finished product.

We also had Beth Layton here as an intern for three months, she ran a kids program for us at the conference. Our kids really grew attached to her over the 3 months she was here.
Traeger and his friends waiting to play a game.

Our family in front of a huge baobab tree.

The Radaz family. We really enjoyed these guys. In the two weeks we had with them, we just really grew to love each of them. They were so great and we are so thankful for their willingness to serve us here.

Daddy and Jurnee swinging on the beach.

I just love it when you capture pure JOY!

My parents stayed for another 2 weeks after the conference and it was so nice to have them here and have them involved in our life here. It was also good for our SIM team to get to know them. My dad completed a list of more than 30 jobs around the house and my mom helped me redo all the flower beds and gardens in our compound. It was so great to get so much accomplished. The kids loved having grandma and grandpa around and they loved the 8 suitcases of goodies they brought for them. Yes, 8 bags of stuff. It really felt like Christmas and everyones birthday all at the same time. Jurnee turned 6 months old while they were here and they loved getting to know her and her growing personality. Here are some pictures.

Jurnee enjoyed grandma and grandpa

Jurnee loves animals, just not getting kissed by them.

Jurnee and grandpa

 Grandpa seemed to have the touch when it came to naptime.

All smiles!

We also were able to take part in 2 baptisms this past month. In all we participated in the baptism of 10 new believers. At this one, Travis Radaz, was baptised along with 4 other local Mozambicans.

This is another picture of pure joy!

The group of believers gathering before the baptism for worship.

My dad even got to participate along with Tim in this baptism of 5 local Mozambican believers. It was a great experience and priviledge for him.

Sunset at the the lake with a woman carrying firewood on her head.

On the way to drop my parents off at the airport in Malawi, we stayed a night at Liwonde game park. We saw TONS of elephants. We went on a boat ride down the Shire River and it felt like we were in a National Geographic magazine!

We also saw tons of crocs and hippos everywhere.

We saw two herds of Cape Buffalo.



Sable Antelope

A pod of hippos with elephants in the background.

baby elephant

We ran into this guy just driving through the park and we really were this close to him. We just rounded a corner and there he was.

I also wanted to give an update on up coming ministry opportunity we have in the next few months. We will be busy. Tim will be doing a lot of travelling so please pray for safety and that I will be able to have patience being home alone with the kids much of the time. Also pray for soft hearts for the recipients of the teaching, that God would work in their lives and reveal Himself to them. Here is the schedule:

Aug. 16-19: Marriage seminar in Itepela, a village about an hour and a half from Lichinga. (Tim is currently there right now doing this.)
August 24-26: Tim will be doing a teaching at a church in Metangula, a village along the lake.
September 3-6: We will be doing a Simply The Story training for the church leaders here in Portuguese.
Sept. 15, 22, 29: We will be doing a parenting seminar on three consecutive saturdays in Mapuje, a village about an hour from Lichinga.
October 1-12: Tim will be going to Pemba, a city on the coast of Mozambique, to teach a two week Bible course on Old and New Testament Survey for a Bible School there.
Then the end of October we will all be travelling to Kenya for about 3 weeks to visit an Oral Bible School and see what it would take to get one started here. Tim will also be doing some training and teaching at local churches while we are there.