We lady folk were invited to the town of Namanyere to attend a women’s conference. I don’t usually leave my husband and children for five days, but this time Tim really wanted me to go. I took Kasia of course, and Amy as in her opinion she wasn’t sure she would survive as the only female in the house for five days! She might have been able to help keep them fed, but beings she’s only 8, I opted to take her along. We traveled 8 hours by bus, a rather rattly description of a bus it was, but we made it.
We stayed at the pastor’s house and walked the mile back and forth every morning and evening. The schedule was full of wonderful teaching and preaching by Deeper Life pastor’s wives, (and a few sessions by Beka, Trudy and I) discussion times, sharing times…and resting times as we waited for the food to be cooked. None of the dear ladies wanted to miss the sessions in order to cook, so we sat and visited while they cooked and stewed over massive fires and pots.
Ugali waiting to be served.
Meeting a wee little chocolate cherub. There’s nothing cuter!
Enjoying our rice and beans with so many sweet ladies and children.
Amy helping the other girls wash piles of dirty dishes
Kasia and I, with beloved Ikupa and a new friend we met at the conference. Mama Laxson is the only Christian woman in her village. She said goodbye to everyone on the last evening with tears streaming down her cheeks, so grateful for Christian fellowship and friendship.
Even though we had a lovely time, five days is long enough to be gone from my hubby and sons. They were feeling rather hungry by that time and grateful for someone to cook for them again. =) We’ve had a busy few weeks finishing up school and end of term things… another school term is behind us. All of the children are delighted with the prospect of having a few months off, and scamper outside as soon as they can in the morning. We’re keeping some summer things going, like math flash cards, creative writing etc. Just enough to give us a bit of time together every morning. Without that I start missing my children and the daily interaction of the school room.
Chips and chicken kabobs to celebrate the end of the school term
Judson was part of the Art and Craft fair this year again. The turnout wasn’t nearly as good as last year and he was disappointed at the lack of sales. His expectations had been really high! He took it like a man and packed his paintings away to try again at sales another day.
Having a special outing at Maua Café.
And evening supper outing with Beka and Trudy. Only a few more weeks and we’ll be saying goodbye to them as well. They waited a year and a half to see if Ivuna would open up again, meanwhile keeping busy with helping in Kiwira and holding health and Bible classes in many parts of Mbeya town. Now it’s time for their furlough, and they’re heading back to the states with a one way ticket. It’s been nearly 7 years of working with these dear girls!
Here’s the tiniest person in the household. The tiniest person with the biggest opinions! She is putting all our child training knowledge to the test and making us scramble for more. Her traumatic entry into the world indeed mirrors her rocky personality, but she’s also so extremely sweet and teachable. She sleeps thru the night now and often has her morning porridge before demanding a morning feeding. And for the last four meal times she hasn’t thrown a screaming tantrum when it was time to hold hands and pray, but rather obediently held our hands and put her head down. Whew, what a break through!
She surprises us daily with how much she understands. She loves to do the Swahili greeting of placing her hand on an adults head and greeting ‘Shikamoo’, but so far she only says the adult’s response, “baa” (marahaba). She imitates many words and once again we’re experiencing the wonder of watching a child learn how to express herself. It’s so much fun! She’s decided to be a late walker like most of the rest of the children, but I’m really looking forward to when she decides to walk as the cement floors are so cold.
The cold dry season is here. Constantly blue sunny skies and chilly mornings. The temps drop to 42 degrees almost every night which feels really cold in an unheated cement house. The dust is starting to swirl on the road and the months of waiting for rain have begun. The garden has been put to sleep, but we’re keeping the strawberries, a few patches of grass, and a few flowers alive by watering them.
Work and ministry related things have been a kaleidoscope of different things. Tim has been busy with office work a lot, especially with all the difficulties in getting work permits etc. which has taken endless hours of work. He does the mission financial records and works with the two translators he has employed, plus oversees the print shop. Every week there’s instruction class for three new believers, *Samweli, Jeshua, and *Mama Vanessa who are wanting to be baptized. There’s also a young men’s discipleship class with *Bazi, *Kevin, Samweli, Judson, and Jeshua. Sometimes Tim joins the SALT group that meets here every week and is mostly a very busy man.
*Mama Vanessa is a young neighbor lady who started coming to church here a few months ago and started opening up about her life. She has a long difficult history, but amazingly is still living with her husband. He is abusive and seemingly has demonic forces at work in his life, giving her a lot of grief. She came to the end of herself the week all her money she needed to buy vegetables to sell was stolen. She came one morning intent on making her peace with God and after giving us her painful life story, knelt on the floor and cried and prayed, confessing her sins and asking Jesus to be Lord of her life. She is a truly transformed person. There is no greater joy! She is currently very busy with working at a rice hulling mill in town, so I don’t see her much. Pray that she could stay faithful and be a shining testimony to her family.
*Bazi is the Ivuna chief’s son and is currently living here in town while going to high school. He is a sincere Christian, valiantly fighting the battles of youth. He helps with preaching at the Kiwira church services and also here in Isyesye.
*Kevin is not from Ivuna, although it seems like he is as he went to school there for four years and that is where the Ornelas’ got to know him and where he gave his life to Jesus. He is currently living here in Isyesye and is employed in the print shop and training to take care of the Maji ya Uzima students (Lamp and Light Bible courses)
As many of you know, we’ve had very unstable status here in the country. We had been planning to renew Tim’s 3 month business visa for the last possible time and then leave for Kenya in October….when randomly one morning Tim checked our work permit status online. It had once again been deferred a few weeks ago. To our surprise it was now in the ACCEPTED list. We very reservedly rejoiced. Mwaweza, one of the translators, traveled up to Dodoma to pick up the permit and we didn’t really believe it was real till he called and said he has it in hand.
So the deep down feeling that God still wants us here was actually something real…and not just our whims and desires?
The next step is applying for the actual resident permit, which usually is immediately approved based on the approved work permit. But things have changed and Tim worked for quite a few days to iron out gliches and new procedures. Currently all the paperwork and the application is submitted and we wait the outcome. The last year has had so many inconsistent ups and downs, kind of like bobbing on the waves of a restless shore line, that we’ve learned to let go and smile at whatever outcome. It’s amazing to see God work things out….after going thru so many impossibilities. If we actually get our resident permit we will have no question whatsoever that God wants us here still.
We do hope for the permission to sleep here, beings we now have the permission to work here! =)
And now it’s time to make hamburgers and apple pie for Judson’s 13th birthday!
Blessings to all of you! We love you and thank God for our dear church and family so far away!