Love's Champion

Archive for December, 2011

Going East Pt. 2

by on Dec.31, 2011, under Mission Stuff, Uncategorized

So we made it.  It was long (big surprise) but I felt lots of energy throughout.  We said a sad goodbye to my family at the San Antonio airport on Wednesday.  We checked all of our six 50 lb. bags and settled to some peaceful reading.  From SA we flew to Chicago on a four hour flight only to wait for a 4 hour layover.  Although our next plane was almost an hour and half late we still made it to London (6 hours) on time because of a handy 120 mph tail wind.  We met up with Ryan, Stacey, Vickie, Alex, and the kids and found stuff to do while we waited during our 9 hour layover.

We pulled into Dar Es Salaam on the morning of the 30th.  And began the visa and baggage retrieval process.  We were bummed to find that we were missing 2 of our bags and 2 more belonging to someone else.  When packing one does not really pack things that are easily missed.  Most of the time, as with us, we packed only the things we would need and with one of our 68 liter totes missing it was nearly a quarter of the things we brought.  Sonja was able to find the bag in the airport before she caught the connecting flight to Moshi, where we’ll be living.

Ryan, Alex and I raced out of the airport with 26 pieces of luggage in an attempt to catch our bus that would take us to Moshi.  Traffic combined with long lines at the visa desk made it so that we missed our bus.  Another was procured and charges for the extra baggage was argued.  Eventually we were able to board the bus and we settled in for what was supposed to be a 7 hour trip.  True to form we didn’t make it in 7 hours.  We sat on the “Happy Nation” cramped bus for over 10 hours before we pulled into Moshi.  We busied ourselves with watching the Tanzanian soap operas or looking out the window.  By the time we arrived it was dark and our ride was late.  When we were finally able to load everything up we and were driving away someone snatched a bag (not ours) out of the truck.  Very sad.  We tried to find the person but to no avail.

We met up with our dearest friend, Dawn, who has spent the last 3 months seeing the deaf hear and the blind receive their site in Pemba just down the road in Mozambique.  She is staying with us for the next 3 weeks before she heads back home to California.  We stayed up late catching up and sharing stories.

Today we slept in and got a slow start on the day which is what is recommended when you go 3 days without sleep.  Ryan and Stacey showed us where we are going be living and showed us around town.  It was a great mini-tour of Moshi.  Right now we are staying in a fellow missionaries house until the finishing touches can be put on the shanty we will be living in.  We are still waiting to hear the status of our missing luggage.  We were very disappointing upon opening our luggage to find it mangled and everywhere.  I had spent hours weighing, organizing, inventorying, and packing our plastic totes.  What I think happened is someone somewhere dumped 3 of our 4 totes into a big pile, went through it and dumped it all back in.  What resulted was everything in disarray and mangled.  At some point we’ll do a full inventory and see what is missing.

For now we are looking forward to a fun New Years Eve party Tanzanian style with tacos, brownies and fun!

Please pray for us when you find a moment for…

-  Grace and favor with learning Swahili.  I have the goal of being conversationally fluent by the time we leave in 8 months.

- Grace and ease with setting up our new house.  I want it to be a safe refuge for Sonja, somewhere she’s feels comfortable and at home.

- Grace and wisdom as we set our hand to the plow.  There is much to be done but we want to work the ground that God directs us to.

-  Grace and love to be our sword and shield as we interact with fellow missionaries, our friends, and the nationals.  We desire to emulate humility, love, and Christ.

I’m so incredibly excited to be back.  I’ve never been to Tanzania before but I’m overjoyed at being back in Africa.  Where most of you would feel horribly uncomfortable and miserable in a third-world nation I feel 100% at home and peaceful.  It’s in America that I feel miserable although I’m working on that.  =)  The bus ride, long and draining as it was, was so wonderful for me.  Smelling the sweet pungency of the Tanzanian air.  Seeing the mud huts with their black skinned residents.  The cook fires and the silhouetted mountains.  The people, the poverty, the joy and sorrow.  It was all the mark of coming home.  We are finally here and we are happy.

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Bon Voyage!

by on Dec.28, 2011, under Life, Mission Stuff, Uncategorized

So here we sit. After all the planning, strategizing, praying, thinking, and chaos, we’re here in the airport. We have spent a wonderful 3 weeks in Texas with our closest friends and family.
After the aforementioned trip across half the nation we had some resting to do. Sonja read a LOT! I spent time with my dearest friends, Steven, Jordan and Andrew. We got to enjoy the simplicity of family dinners, movie nights, and sleeping in.
When we were thinking of our time in Texas we thought 3 weeks would be so long to spend doing nothing. Little did we realize how much planning, packing and organizing was needed. There was so much that it really did feel like a full time job most days. But it was good work.
Our friend Jordan who helped us move our things from California stayed for a week and it was joy to spend it with him and Steven. We stayed up late, talked, adventured, and enjoyed each other’s company.
When he left we began planning for Christmas and trying to get in as many dinners, lunches, and outings with friends and family. Sonja’s extended family live in Boerne, a Texas town only a ½ hour away from Kerrville, where my parents live. We had the joy of visiting with them on several occasions and spending super fun Christmas Eve with them.
Christmas rolled around and we were more than blessed by my parents with gifts and useful things for our trip. It was such a sweet, sweet time.
It has been sad to say goodbye to our families, close friends, our favorite pooches, and all the things that we enjoy about our good country. But we are ready.

We have been blessed financially as we have neared the end of our time here. We have nearly raised all the money we need. A few unexpected expenses have popped up but the largest of them has been taken care of.
More than all that we feel full of joy and expectation. The Lord has paved such an easy road in front of us. We feel His grace, favor and love on everything we touch.
We are so thankful for everyone who has helped us along the way. From Sonja’s family in Sonora who shared their house, food, and personal space with us to the people who helped us move. Raleigh and Cody for everything you did to get us on the road. Jordan for being the studliest stud there ever was and driving with us on our journey and helping with whatever I needed. Our Bethel live-streaming group who we were blessed to gather with on Sundays and who sent us out with everything we needed. Our taco night family whom we missed the moment we left. You guys will make us miss Sonora. Thank you for your love. Jof who always had an answer for me and a place to have a guys night. We’re thankful for our dear friends Tyler and Christine who are constant affirmers and encouragers. It is a joy to run with you guys. We’ll see you in the nations or in Texas. =) We are so grateful to our friends, new and old here in Texas who have given to us, bought our books or art and made time for us. My best friend Steven has made our time here so much more sweet. Thank you for your help, love, encouragement, heretical companionship and loyalty. And lastly my family. We are humbled and grateful for all you have done for us. We would not be where we are without your love, support, advice, and generosity. You embody servant hood. We are so indebted to you.
And to everyone else who we didn’t mention. You know who you are. We are here because of your support. What follows will be a victory report of our work together. We’ll see you on the other side!

Bon voyage!

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Going East Pt. 1

by on Dec.11, 2011, under Life, Mission Stuff, Uncategorized

It’s been just over a week since we packed up and left Sonora.  Several things were weighing heavy on my mind as we looked forward towards the move.  The first was how we were going to get our motorhome off Sonja’s parents property.  We had a heck of a time trying to get it up.  There was much time spent with boards, tow straps and clutch roasting.  It wasn’t fun.  To get it down we had to do the same thing or take it down the very steep driveway.  The driveway was so steep I was concerned that there wasn’t enough traction and we would slide off the cliff and down to the road about 15 feet below.  After thinking it through we were able to lower the motorhome with a tow rope to a safe spot and we made it down the driveway just fine.  Phew!

We loaded up the moving truck and said some sad goodbyes to the last of our Sonora friends and Sonja’s family.  Sonja, myself, and the dogs were in the motorhome and our great friend Jordan drove our moving truck towing the Samurai.  We made it to Bakersfield that night and got a good nights sleep.  We left early on Sunday and put a lot of miles on the road and got through LA narrowly escaping a massive traffic congestion.  At one point we thought that the gas tank on the motorhome was leaking gasoline but I realized I just overfilled the tank and it was overflowing a little.  Another phew.

We got in later than we expected to Picacho Peak State Park where we stayed on Sunday night.  We wanted to get an earlier start the next day so we left before it was light.  We were treated to a beautiful sunrise as we got on the road.  We weren’t on the road more than 20 minutes when traffic came to a grinding halt.  All of the I-10 was stopped and didn’t move for more than a car length for the first 45 minutes.  They wound up shutting down all 3 lanes of East bound I-10 and funneling everyone off and onto a frontage road.  As we drove on we saw the reason for the 2 1/2 hour delay.  A six vehicle pile up that looked nothing like cars.  It was bad.

At that point we tried to step on it as this was going to be our longest day and we were already almost 3 hours behind.  At our next gas stop we switched around and Sonja drove the motorhome for the first time and I drove the moving truck to give Jordan a break.  As soon as we got on the road it began to snow in New Mexico.  It started with flurries and moved into blizzard.  I looked back to check on Sonja and the whole motorhome was tipping sideways because of the strong wind.  We pulled over and switched back driving positions and the weather only worsened.  From blizzard we moved to whiteout and began to see cars and trucks pulled over on the side of the road.  We decided that some forward progress was better than none at all so we just slowed down and kept going.  We began to see tire tracks that lead off the road and then mud tracks as people had spun out and went in the ditch and were able to drive out.  Then we began to see cars in the ditches, flipped over and on their sides.  The wind battered the motorhome around and I was blown all over the road.  Before long the roads began to ice up and when the wind hit the motorhome would slide over into the shoulder.  It was the most demanding driving I have ever done.  After several hours of that both the motorhome and the moving truck were encased in about an inch and a half of solid ice.  The Samurai looked like an ice cube on wheels.  We eventually got out of the worst of the snow but the wind kept on.  We had lost another couple hours in the storm and were way behind schedule.  We drove on through the madness of El Paso and somehow stayed in the storm for the rest of the night.  It wasn’t as bad as the icy roads but the snow and wind persisted.  We lost count of the cars that were off the side of the road, the trailers flipped, and the all the car carnage.

At some point around 10:00pm, after 15+ hours on the road, we realized that it would take us another 5-6 hours with current weather conditions to reach where I had planned for us to stay for the night.  We called it a night and picked an rv place in the next town.  Sonja made dinner and we fell into bed cold and exhausted around midnight.

We started early the next day and made our way towards our last stop in Kerrville!  The roads were covered in snow and it was challenging at times to tell where the highway went.  The beauty was absolutely breathtaking as the sun rose over the rugged hills of Western Texas.  Everything was covered in what looked like a big white blanket.  Whenever a semi would be brave enough to pass us it was kick up so much powdery snow that I couldn’t see the road for a good 20 seconds.  But for the most part there were no cars out.  We soon found out why as we began to see cars on the side of the road and flipped again like in New Mexico.  There were entire rows of cars parked on the side of the road waiting out the storm that blew through during the night.  Again we stayed slow and steady and eventually the roads began to clear and we could drive a little faster.

We pulled into Kerrville in the afternoon on Tuesday.  The ice took some time melt and we needed a little time to thaw ourselves.  My family and our dearest friend Steven welcomed us warmly and helped unload the truck right then.

Since then we have been resting up.  I didn’t realize how tired I had been but we are getting good sleep and enjoying the last few days with our friend Jordan.  He leaves tomorrow to return to Sonora, we will miss him so much.  He was such a massive help on this trip, I am not sure how I could have done it without him.  Very soon we will begin to make the last of our goodbyes and we will be off, further East.  For now we are here and we are happy.  We’re planning the rest of our trip, spending time with family, and getting things ready for the hop across the pond.

Thank you for praying for us.  Please continue to remember us in your prayers as we prepare, heart and mind, for leaving the states.


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