This past week a group of 17 of us returned from a 2 week trip to Tanzania. The bulk of our time was spent at Neema Village, an orphanage in Arusha, Tanzania that cares for close to 50 kids. We held babies, fed toddlers, read with the big kids, and we built them a new playground. So many of you were involved with us going. The Called to Light helped to fund our trip, you indulged our fundraising activities, prayed for us, and you donated 17 full suitcases of baby items for us to deliver to their ministry. On behalf of our team, I wanted to say Thank You!! And I wanted to share with you some of my highlights from the trip. I encourage you to ask others about their experience as well.
I love the intergenerational component to this trip. We had 4 teenagers, 1 college student, 5 young adults, 2 of our shepherds and their spouses, and 3 of us in our 30s or 40s. We worked side by side, the teenagers put on a Newlywed game for the married couples (the Baurs won), and Hayli White was heard repeatedly calling Kent Smith, “Kent baby” or “Kent honey.”
I loved watching our team love on the kids. From Beth Riley waking up every day at 6:00 to be there to get the infants up, dressed, and fed, to Kent and Joan being called Bibi Joan and Babu Kent all week by the kids who know and love them from past years, to the much needed energy of the teenagers who quickly and easily captured the hearts of the kids, each person loved on the kids and experienced the love of God through them.
I got the honor of preaching for the church in Arusha. But the main event was listening to Mark Baur teach the church, which is considering installing elders for the first time, about servant leadership. It was profound and Spirit-led and it was just what the church leaders needed to hear.
I could go on and on about how each individual on our team loved like Jesus loved. (Melanie Sullivan made bows for all the older girls at Neema, Angelica White ministered as much to the staff as she did to the kids, Karissa Nicholson had a positive attitude about everything even the more difficult experiences, Courtney Baur and Kristen Ball loved on the kids that were more challenging and not as easy to care for, Barry Riley and Travis Ball used their handiwork gifts to bless the ministry in many ways, etc...). In short, I could not be more proud of those I served with. They encouraged me, blessed others and actively loved God. Neema is a special place. God is at work there. Our team got to be a part of what God was doing there and because of it, we were extremely blessed.