Government and paperwork issues

Many times we wish all the paperwork and permits needed to live and work in other countries wouldn’t be necessary. The visa durations seem so short and we’d rather spend that money on ‘more important things’. Not to mention the days and days of time it takes in the office preparing and printing and signing papers, then the hours spent in government offices. That has been a portion of Tim’s job assignment here in Mbeya town. And yes, I think he’s the perfect person for it as he does so well with public relations. But his spiritual energy wishes to delete the need for it all.

But since our new president things have gotten even more complicated. Things we thought were established since our early years here in the country suddenly weren’t sufficient. We got used to unpleasant surprises and difficulties. But in the last month things have gotten significantly worse. A team of top officials showed up in Ivuna a week ago, asking many hard questions and requesting lots of records of the water program, English school etc. They scheduled a meeting in town with Tim and Noel four days later where they were supposed to hand in all the records. Here is the report from that meeting, which ended up being an eight hour long interrogation.

( Report by Matthew Kauffman) After a visit from a group of officials from the Regional (similar to the State government level in the USA) Immigration office of Songwe, Tim Zeiset and Noel Ornelas were summoned to appear at their office. The meeting was attended by a significant representation of multiple branches of the regional government. The brothers were interrogated and accused of violating Tanzanian law, especially as relates to our organizational structure, constitution and many of the activities we have been engaged in since the beginning of our time in Tanzania. After attempting to reason with them on the basis that we have made every reasonable effort to be legal and open with the government, it became rather obvious that they had already concluded to leave us no room for explanation or successful resolution. They ordered us to stop all activity in the Ivuna area immediately and clear out of that local area within the next month. There is a possibility that we can start from scratch to establish ourselves again in the legal system of the national and regional government. This could take several months or multiple years. Please pray for us as we continue discussions with the government which could have far reaching affects, not only in Ivuna, but also in the Mbeya and Ngara regions where we have other families living and working. Depending on your prayers, your brothers and sisters (totaling 9 families and 6 single workers) serving our Lord in Tanzania. (end of report)

None of us were quite prepared for the the strength of their disapproval. None of us know what the long term implications will be. The immediate implications are that we’re shutting down the clinic and the water program in Ivuna. Beings they gave a month, the missionaries there are planning on spending most of that month there continuing on with Bible classes and preaching before moving out.

*pray for so much wisdom for our men to make decisions on how to best handle this and what to do to regain government approval.

*pray for the dear Ornelas family and Rebecca and Trudy, who are in the various stages of ministry in the village and leaving is very difficult.

*pray that ultimately God’s plan would be fulfilled. We don’t know what all that includes. Perhaps He has another plan other then ours.

*pray for this village. The sick people now without their nurses, the motherless babies without their weekly cans of milk. The hundreds of people without their daily clean buckets of water. The young men in need of discipleship. The new converts.  Pray for each one in the church to stand strong! BBBD1FD7-FD0C-45E4-B05D-52C8545EF7E3

Thank you for your prayer support!

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Random life notes…

These days it seems the pressures and busyness are pressing unusually hard. We squeeze each time together as a family for all it’s specialness as they’ve been pretty rare between travels and visitors. In December I took a quick trip to the states for my brothers wedding and a family reunion (which I don’t ever plan on doing again as life without my children was unbearable) Home is, in fact, where I belong and where I love to be!

Immediately upon my return Tim left for Nairobi, Kenya for a pastor’s conference along with the pastor of the Deeper Life church we attend. They also visited the CBF mission in Kenya and had a sweet time of fellowship with the missionaries there. Many hours of bus travel later Tim arrived home. And we were a family again!

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This is our first evening together as a family for nearly a month! The sun shone that evening which is not it’s normal habit, beings it’s January and the month of continuous rains. So we walked down to the river and had a picnic,  keeping our eyes on the ominous collection of gray clouds staring at us. Sure enough, the chocolate cookies were barely in all the little tummies before the down pour began and we raced to the house. Oh well, at least we had a picnic. 😊

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After having our town houses in the Jakaranda area for many years, we’re now planning on moving to another area of town. This picture shows the apartments that are being built by Samuel Kauffman and where we hope to make our future home. There’s much more room to expand, more room for translation offices etc. So in a few weeks we hope to be settling in!

We’ve been facing a lot of government pressures, which I’ll write more about in another post, but for now pray that our hearts could be at peace with whatever God allows. The government is still on his shoulders and we know he can give us favor in the eyes of the officials. God is the one in charge of moving His kingdom forward and so we wait and trust. Thank you for praying!

 

Gladness

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Three months ago she came. After her mother abandoned her once again and went back to her life of prostitution. She came a child with no demands. Not a whine or complaint. She never told me she’s hungry like my other children do many times a day, it seems. She’s a toddler but was completely lacking the normal toddler habits of whining and throwing fits. Instead she was impeccably obedient, except for peeing her pants, which is only a result of her insecurities.

Her demands were few because she hasn’t had anyone to care enough about her to give her a safe place of expression. Instead of getting grumpy when she was tired, she found a corner to curl up and sleep. She appreciated food when it was given to her and begged eagerly with her eyes, but had no idea that any child should be able to ask for something to eat. Her life was expressionless and emotionless.

Till she resorted to using angry scowls and body language to get her point across. Standing still as a statue staring at the bread on the counter, with a scowl of displeasure because one of the other children happened to be eating bread.

Slowly, very slowly we made progress. Sometimes she went without if she insisted on the silent treatment instead of asking sweetly for whatever she was wanting. But soon she was asking politely and sweetly.

And she started whining. And telling me she’s tired (which quickly became her only phrase to use when she wanted attention even if she just had a nap!) She cries much easier and comes to me for comfort.

One thing I am learning is that I have to pick one battle at a time, and expect it to take weeks for her to learn.  And that love and patience pays off.  I’ve been humbled how God had to use her to teach me how to love. I’ve always wanted to help abandoned children, of course it would be easy to love them! Not so. My own flesh became painfully obvious and sweet Gladness sometimes had to take the brunt of my impatience. Which always means, with a child such as her who has suffered so much rejection, that I have to win her heart all over again.

But the sweet child that she is, she’s always won again. And together, we both keep learning.

“Never look at an emotionally needy child and their unlovely behavior as a battle between her and yourself. Rather look at it as the two of you together fighting against a dysfunctional, painful history.”  end of quote

So rather then thinking, ‘this child is against me’ because of her lack of response, I need to remember that she is only battling thru the emotional and social results of a childhood gone wrong.

And love makes all the difference.

We have no idea how long we have her. But in the months or years she’s here, we’re committed to making a difference in the life of one abandoned child. Gladness.

 

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“Thou hast put gladness in my heart…” Psalm 4:7

A weekend in Ivuna

Hello everyone!

We just spent a weekend in Ivuna, holding preaching meetings in Sante village with dear Pastor Karoso and the Ivuna church. It was an encouraging time together.

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It was a thrill for our family to be in our home village again. In so many ways we taste of the goodness of God in our lives and I couldn’t help but reflect back to how ill and emotionally burnt out I was a few years ago. And the tremendous amount of healing God has graciously given me. Tim and I rejoice together.

In the last few months Tim has put a lot of effort into restoring our grass roof house, which was threatening to be eaten down by termites. His efforts paid off and its beautiful! For years this room was our haven and it’s really special to have it back!

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The children were so excited to be in Ivuna again. Especially with Charlie the monkey to play with.

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It was good to see Gladi interact with her people. She’s very attached to her brother and was delighted to greet her grandma. All these connections are very important in her life in order to keep her connected to her culture. Her mother still hasn’t returned or even visited her, so we have no idea what to expect in Gladi’s future.

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Keep praying for Ivuna and it’s people. It’s amazing to see God’s work in this place and the faithful warriors God is using there. Every soul redeemed is like one snatched from the fire… such a drunken, godless place it is.

Welcome to our family blog

We love writing at our house, and in an effort to keep our friends and family updated on our life across the sea, we’ve started a blog.   We are excited to use this as a way to inspire and encourage, and share what God is doing here in Tanzania, in our lives and in the lives of those we love and minister to.