We arose at 6am, had a delicious breakfast and loaded up the bus for a 7:30am start. After bustling our way th
rough early morning rush hour traffic, we finally left the city of Nairobi and headed for the Kenyan/Tanzanian border. We soon hit the roadworks - kilometres of "off-road" driving - travelling along bumpy dirt roads beside the main highway which is being re-aligned and re-sealed by Chinese and Japanese roading companies from Nairobi through to Arusha. The students were on a "high" however and I never heard one grumble or complaint - no doubt helped by Mr Wilson teaching them chants and organising a Tanzanian Idol competition along the way. Shrieks of delight were periodically heard as we passed African animals and wildlife including meerkats, lizards, zebra, giraffes, bats, camels and donkeys. Sam Jacques parted with his lunch in the later part of the trip but thankfully warned us of his imminent "throwup" and all was contained! We finally arrived in Moshi at 5pm, a 9.5 hour journey.
Further surprises awaited us as we arrived at our new guest house - a beautiful 10-room double storey building just off the main Moshi highway. The gated complex has a lovely front lawn with tables and chairs and Coca Cola umbrellas. Needless to say, everyone was very thrilled with their accommodation. We were met by Josephine Shoo, Glorious' wife and Cassandra Hart, a young New Zealand woman teaching in the Fountain of Hope school. After a shower and change of clothes, we had a superb outdoor meal followed by a devotional time where we gave thanks to God for safe travel, wonderful fellowship with each other and the provision of a wonderful guest house. Then it was off to bed for a good night's sleep.
Saturday 4th July
Many of us were woken up by very enthusiastic singing and chanting at 4am from somewhere across the road but thankfully it abruptly stopped about 4:30am allowing further sleeping time. We later found out it was coming from an Army camp nearby, not the local Muslims, Hindus or Christians! After morning devotions and prayers, we had another great breakfast of sausages and scrambled eggs. The purple "porridge" was unlike any porridge in NZ - we think it was made from red kidney beans - not that popular among the students! After tidying our rooms we headed off for the New Life Foundation welcome.
This year, a 10-member brass band fired up at the entrance to the school and orphanage and this sent our team wild! The students were provided a fanfare - probably the first in their life! We were then met by about 30 boys and girls performing dances and singing songs welcoming us after which we assembled on a stage in front of the school along with local and national dignitaries including the District Commissioner and Government politician, local pastors, bishops and school principals. Pastor Glorious Shoo then welcomed the team and spoke highly of Hebron Christian College and the support the school community had given the orphanage with financial gifts, team visits and the yearly teacher scholarship. The District Commissioner endorsed his comments stating our school's support for the poor and needy of Tanzania had reached the highest levels of Government and was highly appreciated and welcomed.
After further dancing and songs by the New Life Foundation children, it was the time for the Hebron team to perform. We performed our haka and Maori songs with great gusto and these were received with great excitement.
The girls then performed their dance and every eye was fixed on the girls and Emily performing her ballet moves. We then gave our gifts to the staff and children of the orphanage - soft toys made by Year 8 and 9 students, 1,000 toothbrushes and toothpaste, about 30 classroom wallcharts on various education topics, 4 boxes of new clothing and an encyclopaedia set.
The team then distributed a lollipop to each child and these were quickly unwrapped and put in the appropriate facial opening! The welcome finished with another dance by NLF girls which the Hebron team, including adults joined in on.
Our team returned to the guest house absolutely stoked! Excitement was still running high after a late lunch when they went downtown to look at some African curio shops. The students were quickly surrounded by street hawkers selling their wares and had to learn how to deal with their incessant pestering and develop some strong bargaining skills. The day finished with a dinner, devotional time and an early night in preparation for an early start for a 7:30am church service. Another great day in Africa - all the team are happy, healthy and hearty, loving their time in Africa and looking forward to new exploits in God.
Sunday 5th July
We had a "full on" day today...two churches in the morning and a crusade in the late afternoon/early evening. The first church service was at a church Glorious Shoo has recently planted near the city centre. The congregation wa small but the Spirit of God was very evident in the church. After the Maori culture songs, Leah Bennett played her violin (rarely seen in Tanzania) and the song, Jesus Joy of Man's Desire touched the hearts of all who heard her. The girls' dance was performed on the narrowest of stage but it came off well with no broken bones! The drama continues to open the heart of those who watch it and laid a good foundation for my sermon "Jesus, Show Us the Way to God"
The second service was at the El Shaddai Church, a church where Hebron mission teams have previously performed. The congregational singing was typically loud and enthusiastic, supported by gifted musicians and a choir. The Kapahaka items, the dance, Leah's violin and finally the drama were performed in front of a capacity crowd. I preached a short salvation message and 3 people responded by coming forward to the front of the church for prayer.
We then returned to the hostel for lunch, a short rest and then off to Himo, about 30mins from Moshi for a crusade. A crowd of about 200 watched the Kapahaka item and 4 puppet songs/dramas. A local pastor gave the sermon and a large number of people came forward for salvation and for healing. We all gathered round them and prayed for as many as we could circulate amongst. With darkness coming swiftly upon us, we jumped into the small bus and back home for a late dinner, devotional time and bed. Another superb day in Africa with everyone still bubbling with excitement and keen to serve the Lord in far away places.
Monday 6th July
Monday was Safari Day so an early breakfast and departure by 7:30am was the order of the day. The trip to Manyara National Park,the first of two National Parks to visit took about 4 hours including a short break in Arusha. We travelled through the park in
8-seater vans with pop-up tops allowing one to stand up an view the surroundings. It wasn't long before we came across a group on monkeys, then a group of zebras and up to 15 giraffes.
Other animals sighted were gazelles, Dikdiks, mongoose, hippopotumus, impalas and elephants. The hippos were a little hard to see spending most of their time submerged and the viewing area being so far away from the action. The elephants were amazing, walking right past our vehicles and throwing dust on themselves. After leaving the park about 5:30pm, we travelled towards Ngorongora National Park which we will be viewing tomorrow. We are accommodated overnight in a quaint but tidy and clean hotel called the Giraffe Executive Inn. A blackout occurred just as we were unpacking but eventually came back about an hour later alowing us to have a meal in the restaurant and an early departure to bed. Another great day which everyone enjoyed immensely.
Tuesday 7th July
Our second day "on safari" started with a 6am rise and a breakfast of scrambled eggs and cucumber...an interesting combination. After a team photo outside the "hotel" we headed off for the Ngorongoro National Park, actually a huge crater formed by volcanic eruption thousands of years ago. After paying the obligatory entry fee and filling out comprehensive entry forms (you have to get use to this in Africa...form filling requiring useless and irrelevant information), we headed into the Park. After driving up the side of the crater rim for about 30 mins, we descended down a rocky, bumpy and dusty road to the crater floor where we started to see huge herds of zebra and wildebeests. Further along the dusty road we came across warthogs, hyenas, Thomson gazelle, a rhinoceros, impalas and emus. Then we came across 3 lions - a male and three lionesses. Naturally, every one was delighted and cameras were clicking in each van for some time especially when the male lion decided to mate with one of his lady friends! After settling everyone down, we travelled to the muddy pond where about 30 hippos were dozing in the water.
It was obviously siesta time as there was little movement apart from a stork walking over their backs picking at their nits. Then it was lunchtime. We drove to a picnic spot where our box lunches were opened and devoured and the toilet block was visited by the needy. We headed for the exit and came across 4 elephants, two very old ones with huge tusks. It took about half hour to drive up the crater rim and another 20 mins to arrive back at the Park entrance where we stopped for further form-filling. And would you believe ...while sitting in my all-female-student van with Jacky, Daisy, Leah, Anneliese and Dawn, a baboon jumped through the side window and landed on Jacky's lap! The van instantly filled with shrieks from stressed females but the situation was salvaged when Jacky, overcoming her fear of having her face ripped off (her father had warned her of this before leaving for Africa), threw her newly-purchased Masai blanket over the baboon who promptly leapt out of the window! Stress gave way to ongoing laughter and the incident was recounted on numerous occasions on the 5-hour trip back to Moshi.
Wednesday 8th July
A sleep in was the order of the day after two tiring days visiting the National Parks of Tanzania. At 10 o'clock we travelled to the Amani Centre, a home for street boys. The team performed the Maori songs and haka for the 40+ children then let the puppeteers take over. This was thoroughly enjoyed by the boys (and staff) and there was much clapping at the end of each performance. We then packed up and returned to the NLF school and orphanage to visit the homes of very poor Tanzanians who, because of their severe poverty, had children enrolled in the NLF school and orphanage.
Group 1 which Debbie Gill and I accompanied visited the auntie of Esther Arborgasti, an orphan now being cared for at the New Life Foundation. Esther's parents had died of HIV/Aids and her auntie was also widowed by this disease. I was personally thrilled to see Esther so healthy and happy as she was afflicted with HIV/Aids herself and was dying when the 2007 team met her. After the NLF staff prayed for her, she was totally healed and completely cured. Three medical checks on three occasions confirmed the absence
of the disease. Esther's aunt warmly welcomed us and invited us into her mud and stick dirt-floor house. The students were amazed to learn she had built the house on her own by carrying water from a distant river to make mud out of the earth and slap it between the woven stick walls. A loudly bellowing cow in a "cage" next to her kitchen (a fire on the ground) did not actually belong to her but she looked after it for a man who allowed her to use the cow manure for her garden instead of paying her money! She was absolutely thrilled to receive our big bag of food and gift of money the students had donated. We finished our visit by praying for her and her family of 5 children.
Pesa Wilson and Kay Lawson took Group 2 to the home of Christina and Innocent, both students at the New Life Foundation. Innocent is actually the cousin of Christina and was taken into the family after his father died and mother became mentally ill. To get to the house they had to walk along a narrow rutted dirt road surrounded by coffee trees, maize, beans and sunflowers. The children's mother met the group and was delighted to accept the groceries and money donated by the Hebron students. Small gifts were also given to the children. The students also prayed for Christina's sick grandmother living nearby then prayed for the whole family before leaving.
Group 3, led by Rodd Jacques, met a father raising his children on his own - his family life had devastated when he was addicted to drugs and his wife committed suicide. Serious poverty and a complete lose of self esteem had robbed his family of everyday comforts and having to live "from hand to mouth". Furthermore, his only daughter had died in poverty. The handing over of food and toys for the children caused him to weep on several occasions. The group talked later of ways of helping such a man, lifting him out of poverty and despair and possibly providing him with work and a small but regular income. In other words "being Jesus with skin on"!
4 o'clock saw the team heading off to Himo for another afternoon at their crusade. The drama team was called onto the very rickety stage and performed their drama, "The Tale of Two Kingdoms". This was well received by the crowd of about 200. During the Praise and Worship time, our students danced and played with the children in the crowd. A woman preacher gave a fiery sermon and then called people forward for salvation. About 30 people responded and the team gathered around them, laid hands on them and prayed for them. Then about 40 people came forward for healing ministry, and once again the students boldly laid hands on them, praying for their total healing. As darkness fell, we headed back to our guest house for dinner and a well deserved rest. After an evening devotion where each students shared how Africa had impacted on them, the team headed off to bed for a good sleep.
Thursday 9th July
The day started off at 7:30am with Devotions at the Fountain of Hope Nursery and primary school. One group went to the nursery where they taught the 5-7yr olds simple Gospel songs, Bible verses and stories. Most of the team attended the Primary devotions and enjoyed a lovely worship time led by one of the orphans (African children really know how to sing tunefully and with good volume). Dawn then taught a Christian concept using an illusion followed by Angel who told a simple but effective story with a Gospel message. Pesa Wilson and a group of students led the children in the song "Father Abraham" after which I preached on Luke 5:1-11, challenging the children to launch out into the deep and put their trust in God to do great things. We then divided into our 3 groups and undertook our second social visit to poor families.
Group 1 visited the family of Daniel Massawe, the same family I visited in 2006 during a NLF Conference. It was very interesting seeing the changes that had taken place in the last 3 years. Daniel's father works at the Fountain of Hope as a night watchman & security guard and also helps raise funds for the family growing and selling bananas and avocados (very large in Africa and very delicious) on their small plot of land. The family is Christian and worship at a local
church. They showed us their new stick and mud house (Mr Massawe was nailing the roof on it when I visited in 2006), their pig and 2 goats. We gave them our gifts of food and household supplies that had been bought with donated money from the team and they were very appreciative. They, in turn, went out to the banana plantation and cut off a huge clump (bunch?) of green but almost ripe bananas and gave them to us along with a bag of avocados. We then gathered around Mum and Dad and their five children and prayed God's blessing on them and increased prosperity. It was a very enjoyable visit and gave us all further insight into life and conditions in Africa. Fried bananas have now been added to the breakfast menu tomorrow morning!
Group 2 visited Ishmael's family home with Mary Mahene as our interpreter. Ishmael's mother is on her own after converting from Islam and being thrown out of her family. The church is currently paying the rent for her. When team members found that she makes money by crocheting little doilies and blankets, they were delighted to be able to support her by buying all that she had ready for sale. She asked the team to pray for her specifically for healing for a serious medical complaint, which they did. Later she showed the team where she walks to collect her drinking water at a communal water channel. Before they left the team said they wanted to honour her by performing a haka and singing a song of worship. She was really delighted with that. The students did so well managing the haka with only 3 guys and 5 girls, and having to take on unfamiliar parts. She sent the team off with an orange and an avocado each.
Group 3 (Mr Jacques, Sam, Bronson, Jessica, Daisy, Amy, Leah and Dawn) visited Peter's family. Peter was one of seven children. They lived together with Peter's oldest sister and three children. Mathias (Peter's father) was overwhelmed by the team's presence as were the team. He very much appreciated the offering of food and the Kapahaka the team performed. Mathias' wife had passed away soon after
Peter's birth. His oldest daughter has taken over the mothering role. Baba Mathias, due to the economic situation, struggles to find continuous and steady work to support his family (including his grandchildren) as a driver or a general labourer. The team members felt their love for the team members and for God as they took pleasure in the tea they generously provided for them. While enjoying the tea they discovered that Mathias was an elder in a small AOG church (whose Pastor met the team) and that the whole family were born again believers. Despite their lack of necessities of life, their faith was strong and they were happy and content.
The team returned to the guest house, had lunch and 2 hours relaxation before heading off to the afternoon crusade, this time in Moshi township, not far from the guest house. A communication slip up between the crusade organiser and the invited American preacher meant our planned performances were reduced down to the National Anthem and the kapahaka but the students rose to the occasion and performed both items with determination and grunt! This was followed by a time of praise and worship of which Africans are very good at.
Dance is usually part of their praise and worship and our team did not hold back and danced like African among the 1,000+ worshippers (spot the blue shirts among the throng) . After a time of ministry, we returned home to the guest house to shower, eat dinner, have some free time and hit the beds in preparation for another early morning start.
This mission, like others, continues to be a great success. The students are growing in enthusiasm and excitement by the day, they are gaining more and more confidence in their performances and are becoming bold in their faith, keen to minister and pray for people. There is great unity among us all and we know God commands a blessing when his people live and work in unity. Please continue to pray for God's guidance, protection and spiritual blessing on us as we work for the Kingdom of God, bringing in the harvest.
Friday 10th July
Today's report could be very short...I am typing in torchlight at Pastor Glorious Shoo's family home in Machame, about 40 min from our guest house. Electricity is being rationed and it's Machame's turn to have a power blackout for the next 4 or 5 hours. The computer battery is fading fast so I might have to send off a briefer than normal report. Thankfully I'm using a Vodafone cellphone USB stick so thankfully the internet connection should not be affected by the blackout.
Devotions at the nursery and school were again taken by the mission team. The team at the nursery did very well and Mrs Gill reports the children were far more organised, confident and successful in reaching the young children. The larger group at the primary school acted out the story of Noah, Kay Lawson taught a memory verse, Kirsten did an illusion and Dawn preached a wonderful message encouraging children to follow their God dreams and not to be put off by others and their opinions.
We then went to another street boys home ...Immanuel Centre. This home is a Christian home and boys stay in this home until they are trained to enter the adult world of work. We performed the National Anthem, the Kapahaka and some puppets to the boys. Pesa Wilson preached a short message based on his upbringing in Samoa, telling the boys that lack of opportunities in one's childhood does not need to hold one back in adulthood and with God's help, all things are possible. They en
joyed our presence very much indeed. Some of the team later went out and bought 20 mosquito nets for the beds that did not have them.
After lunch we readied ourselves for our overnight stay at Machame then went to the crusade at Himo where we performed the rest of our puppets and the National Anthem. We then got on the bus to go to Machame.
At Machame we have just had a lovely Indian meal and a drink made of cinnamon, cloves, black pepper and ginger- not to everyone's taste but I enjoyed it! Well, must go, the battery's getting flat and we're about to get ready for bed. All healthy, hearty and happy.
Saturday 11th July
Our "retreat" at Machame was more a day of rest & relaxation, recharging our batteries for the coming week of ministry. Everyone slept well and woke to a lovely breakfast of boiled eggs, spicy spring rolls a and fried dumpling type cake. Around about 10 o'clock we set off for a walk further up the slopes of Mt.Kilimanjaro finally ending up at a Lutheran church Pastor Glorious used to attend up to the age of 17 years before he went to Bible College. We then walked up to the cemetery where we visited his father's grave and various other relatives including his brother whose daughter, Camelia, whom he has adopted as his own. Pastor Glorious then took us past the cemetery to
caves where people hid during times of tribal fighting. Some locals brought a ladder which helped us to scale the heights and enter the caves for a look around. We then walked back to his mother's house for a lunch, another free time period before clambering into our coaster (smallish bus that just fits all of us) and head back to the guest house for showers, dinner, a devotional time and bed.
Sunday 12th July
Sunday morning has come around again and its time for church. This Sunday, we split into two groups - one group featuring all the puppeteers went to the ICC Church in Moshi township at 7:30am and then to El Shaddai Church in Malisita at 10:00am.
The puppet team went to ICC which is set up in an open courtyard with a tarpaulin overhead. It started with a time of
worship led by a beautiful African girl called Jane. The team then performed the puppet songs and a script. This was enjoyed by the church who sang along to the puppet songs. The National Anthem was sung and danced and then Mr Jacques preached a message challenging African men to be strong Christian role models, followed by a time of prayer. After coffee, bread and apricot jam we headed to El Shaddai church. El Shaddai is up a long dirt driveway surrounded by corn and sunflowers. Again worship was uniquely African and a pleasure to be part of. The children were especially delighted with the puppets and the entire church stood for the NZ National Anthem. Mr Jacques preached about the role of Christian men. The service finished with a request for the haka - African people love the haka! After performing the haka many children came forward and a repeat performance was done with them. Small team numbers did not cause any reduction in volume and the haka was admirably performed to the delight of the congregation. The team was a real credit to the school and themselves adapting their items as the situation required. It was very humbling to be so warmly received by both churches.
I took the other group made up of the drama members to a Masai Church and because of its remoteness, only arriving there at 11:00am. The late start gave us a chance to further learn the NZ National Anthem and to practise it with only half the team. The church was half full with children sitting on one side of the church and adults on the other side. Being a Masai church, the music was different to the normal Swahili services and the singing was only accompanied by the beat from an animal skin covered drum. At one point, most of the Hebron students (and some adults) were dancing to the song at the front of the church, marching around in a large circle. The team performed the NZ National Anthem, the Kapaha
ka and the drama in a most successful manner and this was filled with some firey preaching from Mr Pesa Wilson. At the end of the service, team members prayed for about 10 people who came forward for ministry then went out of the church shaking hands with every adult and every child that was in the service. The visit to this church showed the team how God was reaching out to people groups all over the world, using faithful pastors to set up churches in unchurched areas and "bring in the harvest"
After the service finished, we trundled back to the guest house for a late (3:00pm) lunch after which we returned to the Fountain of Hope School & Orphanage where the students (and adults) mixed with the children and played soccer, cricket, basketball, blowing bubbles, learning Kapahaka and generally just getting to know each other. IT was almost dark before we got the last student on the bus to return to the guest house with many asking if they can return the following day.
After dinner we had our daily devotion time where one of the FoH secondary girls gave her testimony of being orphaned at the age of about 10 years with both parents dying of HIV/Aids. The girl has now become a Christian and is wanting to become a doctor in adult life.
Another great day in Africa - the weather is warm, the sun is shining (unlike Auckland, we are told) and we are all in good spirits and thoroughly enjoying our time in Tanzania.
Monday 13th July (written by Chelsea Gill & Emily Stephens)
Today was amazing. Woke up to loud banging on the door at 6am and "are you awake" which we proceeded yell "yes" but carried on sleeping. Eventually we dragged ourselves to the shower and down to a once again fantastic breakfast- toast, cereal and unlimited coffee/hot chocolate. Then off to take devotions at the orphanage. We split into three groups led by the adults and each took a different age group.
Our group, consisting of Mama Gill, Emily, Chelsea, Jacky, Hannah, Annelies, Jackson and
Len took the primary children who amazed us with their singing skills. Of course Mama Gill's group consistently amazes and satisfies their crowd.
Mamma Lawson's team (including Mr Wilson and Mr Matthews) had the secondary school this morning. They arrived back from holiday yesterday. The worship was shared between the two groups. After that Valentina impressed with her illusion using a paper tearing technique to talk about salvation. Then we taught a memory verse getting the students doing things like standing on one leg and later removing parts of the verse that we had written out on paper, to challenge them to remember all the words. They responded quite quickly so we will check tomorrow to make sure that they do know it. The preaching slot fell to Mr Matthews. He coped admirably. Michael is going to have a shot at it tomorrow.
Baba Jacques group (including Amy, Daisy, Dawn, Bronson, Jessica, Leah and Sam) had the nursery who they found adorable. They did songs, memory verse and performed a skit.
We piled into the bus yet again and headed to the Fountain of Zoe (the baby orphanage). We had to get into flattering green bibs and stylish red jandals as to not infect the babies. We got told a bit about each of the babies backgrounds, which in most cases was heart breaking.
Chelsea got to meet her sponsor child Eric. His father was a drug addict and because of his father's situation, his mother committed suicide. Eric was only 4months old at the time. His family struggles with poverty, his father is recovering and occasionally comes and visits Eric. After the introductions it was cuddle time!!! The babies were adorable and the team enjoyed interacting with those lovely souls. Separation was a struggle but lunch was calling!!
We arrived back to our ever-food-smelling mission house for a quick lunch of samosas, amazing dumpling savoury thingie-ma-gingies, egg-potato-mash balls and ice cream and as always fresh summer fruits.
After another satisfying meal we drove up to Stefano Moshi Memorial University to perform. However... (dun dun dunnnn) there was a communications misunderstanding and the students were either on holiday or in exams. So we got a tour of the campus and drove home.
Since we now had a free afternoon, most of the team went to play at the orphanage. We played soccer, blew bubbles, and showed them Maori string games. Emily and Chelsea and Bronson taught the orphanage girls ballet. And the other girls shared their photo books, which were very popular, and had a good old chinwag with the kids. Unfortunately Mr Jacques had a slight mishap and tore his calf muscle but not completely, prayers for a quick recovery would be appreciated.
We arrived home from the orphanage at 7 and had a lovely dinner of rice, saucy lamb stew thing, salad and fresh fruit. We then had a girl from Fountain of Hope called Christine, share her testimony with us. She told us about God's protection over her through horrible situations and about how she became a Christian and what God is doing through her life now.
On Saturday night Mr Matthews challenged us to encourage one another so there were a lot of compliments flying around the bus today and a really nice atmosphere in the house.
Tuesday 14th July
Devotions with the nursery and primary schools at the Fountain of Hope were, again, the order of the day for the Hebron Mission Team. The students are getting very confident now and the team adults are reducing their input as the student take on more responsibility and give things a go. In my team, Angel Liu gave an excellent testimony to the secondary students and this was followed by Michael Lawson preaching on the way the Flood story applies to our lives today - pushing through difficulties and opposition to achieve God's purposes in our lives and rescuing others in the process. Another pair using puppets, Jackson Pollock and Emily Stephens veered of their planned storyline and created a new narrative as they went, including Bible verses and life application.
The team then ran the Intermediate and Secondary PE lessons for the morning. Warm up games included Back to the Bunks, Bob Down Tiggy and Rob the Nest. Mr Wilson taught the students how to play Touch Rugby but progress was slow with so many participating and the knowledge of rugby so poor in African nations. The teachers reported there was great enjoyment, excellent learning and some tired bodies at the end of the programme.
The team returned to the Fountain of Hope (FoH) after lunch to teach the students our Maori songs and haka, stick games and string games. The FoH children participated enthusiastically and learnt the words and actions so quickly. They then performed for us and they did very well indeed, especially the boys with their haka, which the Tanzanians love.
After dinner, we returned to the FoH and set up a laptop and data projector to show Hebron Highlight videos and the 2007 Hebron Mission video. The Hebron staff and students, while waiting for things to start, j
umped up and started dancing to some of the puppet music and this expanded to just about everyone dancing in the moonlight. Eventually we got underway but a faulty in the DVD player in the laptop meant that only the Highlight video and the 2005 Mission video could be played but these were enjoyed very much. We hope to go back to the FoH and show them the 2007 Mission video and the film "Happy Feet".
Then it was home to the guest house and into bed early to restore the batteries for another day in Africa. I heard from my wife that the temperature was 7 degrees in Auckland yesterday…it was about 27 degrees here today, cloudless and sunny! Dubai is going to be hotter...43 degrees forecast this week!!! Ouch!!!
The Hebron students have fallen in love with Africa and the people of Tanzania. Everyone is so friendly and cheerful. Our students have learnt to greet everyone with "Jambo" or "Habari" and always get a friendly response and/or wave. One student (Dawn Chen) greeted everyone so much that she even waved to a cow the other day while being transported on the bus!!! The children at the FoH are firstly very reticent but soon warm to the Hebron students and enjoy the company of the Hebron students greatly. We would love to bring them back to NZ with us, especially the babies. Well, time for bed. Kwahere.
Wednesday 15th July
This morning was a sleep-in time, up at 7 o'clock instead of 6 o'clock. After breakfast, we planned out our tabloid sports programme and headed off to the Fountain of Hope orphanage and school. The team set up their activities with minimal equipment and waited for the students to emerge from their classrooms. Thirteen age-based teams were formed and sent to one of 14 activities run by Hebron students or adults
and these included: Balloon Basketball, Days of the Week, Skittles, Cat 'n Mouse, Tunnel Ball, Over & Under, Ball in the Bucket, Water Relay, Indian Chairs, Slalom Soccer, Netball Goal Shooting, French Cricket, Skipping, Running Relays & Hand Games. 15 minutes was spent at each activity and the FoH teams enjoyed participating at every one. Look at these photos to see the fun they are having.
Before returning to the guest house, the girls walked off to the secondary girls' dormitory to have a look around. The boys bussed to the secondary boys' dormitory, about 5 min drive from the FoH. The girls had made a considerable effort to spruce up their quarters and had also put on display all their Christmas, Birthday and other cards on their beds. It was quite an eye-opener for our girls and female staff to see how little these girls owned and how much they valued they saw each item. The boys quarters were very small with 6 bunks in one room, the size of which would be smaller than most of our children's rooms in NZ. The photo of some of the girls includes Mary Mahene, the teacher that came to NZ under the Hebron Scholarship programme.
The team returned from the tabloid sports quite tired and a little dusty (the African red dust gets into everything) but we were all revived after a lunch and drink. Then it was off to Sanya Juu, about 40 mins drive north of Moshi for a crusade run by the local pastors' mission committee. (Tanzanian churches are very outreaching, regularly running crusades to win people to Christ. In fact, one pastor told me there were 5 crusades running simultaneously in his area!) Under
the "shadow" of Mt.Kilimanjaro (see photo), the team performed the Maori items followed on by the drama team with the "Tales of Two Kingdoms" mime with a running commentary in Swahili as there were many Muslims in the crowd who had no/little Bible knowledge and needed some help interpreting the mime. The crowd almost doubled when we hit the stage. Pastor Glorious preached after the mime and 7 people came forward for
salvation and more came for prayer for healing.
Last week when we visited the Emmanuel Boys Home we discovered that they didn't have enough mosquito nets, and those they did have were in poor condition. All up, they needed 15 new nets. The team talked about it later and decided to pool our money and replace the mosquito nets for them. Kay Lawson purchased the nets at a local shop at a discounted price when the shopkeeper was told of our act of kindness. This meant that we were able to buy not just the 15 they needed, but 5 extra nets as well. It felt so good to be able to serve them in such a practical way, and they were very appreciative of our gift. Goudy, one of the care givers at Emmanuel, and one of the young men who lives in the home, accepted the mosquito nets and plaque from Kay.
Thursday 16th July
The 7:30am devotion at the Fountain of Hope was taken by Pastor Glorious Shoo this morning and he spoke about the gift of prophecy, liking it to the sinews and ligaments holding our bones together. He encouraged each student to prophesy over one another in order strengthen, encourage and comfort the body of Christ. FoH & Hebron students approached different ones and prophesied words of encouragement over each other. Meanwhile the nursery group sang songs with the 5-7 year olds, told stories and preached simple sermons.
After devotions, some students played sport on the upper field while Leah Bennett introduced recorders to about 40 FoH students wanting to learn how to play them. Leah had even produced a little "How To" booklet to go with each recorder. The learning of one note after another finally allowed the participants to play simple melodies (with a few strange noises here and there). One boy, an accomplished musician who cannot read music, not only played the Tanzanian National Anthem on his recorder but also picked up Leah's violin and quickly was able to play a recognisable tune on that. His name is Victor and he is destined for a great future in the world of music.
At about 11am we drove to Kibo Secondary School, close to our guest house, and performed the National Anthem, Dance, Maori songs, puppets and then the drama. I preached on the passage from Isaiah 53: He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. I used actors from the drama to illustrate the points made by Isaiah predicting Jesus death and resurrection 2,000 years before it happened. Even though there were many Muslims in the school, I felt compelled to tell the students that Jesus fulfilled Isaiah's prophecy and He declared He was the Way, the Truth and the Life and no one could come to the Father but through Jesus. After praying, I asked students wanting to give their life to God to leave their seats and come to the front. Nothing happened for a while then one girl stood up and came forward, then another until finally 27 students made this life-changing eternal decision. The Hebron students gathered around them and prayed after which Fountain of Hope staff collected their names for follow-up visits. The Deputy Principal thanked the students and myself for everything and invited us back to the school at anytime! We all praised God on the bus for a fruitful morning's ministry.
After lunch we headed back to Sanya Juu for another performance at the crusade. The students performed the New Zealand National Anthem and the Dance. Pastor Shoo preached a simple message on God's plan of salvation and the fact that it cannot be bought or earned but was a free gift. Annie (a FoH orphan) translated the sermon into English (see photo). At the appeal about 30-40 people came forward for salvation and healing ministry. Our students gathered around them, laid hands on them and prayed for them. Quite a number went onto the stage and testified of God's healing touch on their lives. Again, there was much joyful singing in the bus on the way back to the guest house as we rejoiced in God's blessing on the crusade with many won for Christ and healings taking place.
Another Fountain of Hope girl, Jane, came and gave us her testimony during our evening devotions. Jane and her two sisters were conceived out of wedlock to a mentally unstable mother who would desert the children leaving them alone and neglected.
They were eventually cared for by their grandmother. A pastor's wife found 8 year old Jane and arranged for her to be taken into the FoH where her life began to change for the better. Jane became a Christian, was filled with the Holy Spirit and felt the love of God in her heart. Jane is now almost 17 years old and desires to be a lawyer with an American sponsor prepared to pay her total law school fees. God has also blessed Jane with a magnificent voice - she sang to us unaccompanied and blessed us all. We ended the night gathering around Jane and praying for God's continued guidance and blessing in her life.
We are now preparing for the last two days in Tanzania. We have so many more things we would love to do but time will not permit. The mission to this point has been a great success - all the students are thrilled they made the decision to come on the mission and testify to God working amazingly in their life while here. God is good...all the time!
Friday 17th July
It is hard for everyone to believe we have only one more day to go before heading off to Kenya for our flight to Dubai. The time in Africa has flown - needless to say because we have been very busy performing and what we have seen, done and experienced has been so unique and special. Every team adult and student has had a very happy and memorable time in Africa and they will leave this immense continent with a great love of the people and their culture. But, more than that, they will leave knowing they have performed God's will for their life - sharing the good news of God the Father and Jesus His Son. Undoubtedly, hundreds of lives have been changed because these 20 students, 4 parents and the principal of a Christian school in Auckland, New Zealand willingly gave up their work and school holidays, raised the funds and committed themselves to the task in hand. We all know God's hand has been upon us in so many ways and we have seen His love and power during our time in Tanzania.
We spent the morning running the last of the student morning devotion programmes. The 10 drama team members went to the nursery (5-7 yr olds) and performed the drama to them. They may not have pick up all the spiritual concepts and storyline but they were fully attentive and absorbed by the drama. After the drama, we had a time of mixing with these children, many of whom are orphans, and they clung to us as if we were their parents. Sam Jacques had a novel way of hugging 3 boys at the same time (see photo). The rest of the team shared in the primary and secondary devotions at the FoH.
The girls then gave an orphan a most memorable birthday celebration. They burst into the class of Alice, an orphan who had just turned 16 on the day. They gave her a signed birthday card, some gifts and balloons and sang her "Happy Birthday". Alice was overcome with joy at the girls' care for her and during a speech by Alice's girlfriend, there were many tears in many eyes in the classroom.
We then drove down to central Moshi and did a little shopping in the African curio shops, buying gifts for family back in New Zealand. During the morning, our mission dad, Mr Pesa Wilson, a professional roofer, and ably helped by Bronson and Abhijit, spent the morning (as they had
already done on Tuesday), nailing new corrugated iron on the new secondary school building being built not far from FoH. The job was not finished because the rafters and purlins had not been fully erected but the New Life Foundation staff were very appreciative of the work done by these Hebron mission members.
After lunch we drove to Old Moshi Secondary Boys School. Here we performed the Maori kapahaka, the New Zealand National Anthem, the girls' dance and Leah played her violin.
Mr Rodd Jacques then preached a short sermon on the prodigal son and called the boys forward to give their lives to Christ. Eleven boys responded, prayed the sinner's prayer and confessed Jesus as Lord and Saviour. Again, the team were thrilled with the response knowing their work was not in vain.
After the evening meal, we bussed to the FoH, set up our laptop and data projector and showed the highlights of our 2007 mission then screened the film "Shrek 2" which they absolutely loved. Then it was off to the guest house for a good night's sleep.
Saturday 18th July
The last full day in Tanzania started off with a visit to the Fountain of Joy, the New Life Foundation department which looks after wayward and/or pregnant teenage girls. The 17 girls are cared for by a dynamic young lady, Mary Gerald, who teaches the girls mothercraft, sewing and craft skills along with providing spiritually guidance and oversight. The products the girls make is sold to help with expense and the skills learnt help the girls to gain employment outside the centre.
At 10:00am, the Fountain of Hope farewelled the team in a formal function on the school field. They sang to us, they performed the haka and Maori songs we had taught them (our team provided a suitable reply), gave speeches and presented each team member with a gift. I thanked the children, the staff and directors for a wonderful welcome and all the friendship they had given us. After the formal part of the meeting was over there were lots of "Good-byes" and many hugs.
After lunch we visited a juvenile home for young, minor offenders made up of approx. 204 boys and girls. While performing our spiritual warfare haka, a young man fell to the ground, writhing and grunting and was quickly carried away by other boys. Mr Wilson and Mr Jacques and I followed him into a private room and began to deliver him of demonic activity while he continued to wriggle around the concrete floor on his stomach, growling like an animal and spitting at whoever he could. After concentrated deliverance ministry by the three of us, the boy became quiet and coherent, began acting normally and sat upright. Upon being asked to accept Jesus as his Lord and Saviour, he replied positively and we lead him to Jesus. We then prayed for the filling of God's spirit. Another victory in Christ!
We then headed up to another crusade on the slopes of Mt.Kilimanjaro. We only had time to perform the National Anthem and Maori items before travelling back to the guest house. Our last night was spent at an Indian & Italian Restaurant enjoying a pizza meal shouted by Glorious Shoo. Each student and adult received a
card from the NLF and also an African shirt presented by the El Shaddai church. Then it was off to the guest house for suitcase packing, showers and bed for a very early rising, 4am, to board the bus for the 9.5 hour bus trip to Nairobi Airport for our flight to Dubai. I can't write any more...I'm extremely tired and need sleep. There will be no Sunday report as we won't get to our church accommodation until late Sunday night.
Sunday 19th JULY & Monday 20th July
Sunday was our last day in Africa and the team was very sad to leave the continent and the many friends each member had made at the New Life Foundation over the previous two week. But it was time to move on and return home to family, get back into school & NCEA, etc. We woke at 4am knowing we had to start early because of the dreadful state of the Moshi-Nairobi highway and the need to be at the airport by 2pm. The journey took less time than expected because it was Sunday and there were very few trucks on the road. Upon arriving, Pastors Glorious and Josephine Shoo prayed for us all before entering the terminal and challenged each student to continue to go all out for God and, Lord willing, come back to Africa to continue to serve the poor and needy in the future some time.
We left a moderately warm Kenya and arrived in a boiling hot Dubai at 11pm - 35 degrees - like stepping into an oven! And the new Dubai Airport is opulent - the very opposite to Nairobi Airport. Dubai Airport staff were efficient and fast - the very opposite to Nairobi staff. Thankfully, the bus John Wilson (Pesa Wilson's nephew living in Dubai) ordered was large and air-conditioned! We arrived at our "guest house", the Dubai Evangelical Christian Centre at midnight and quickly pumped up our air beds and attempted to catch up on some lost sleep.
We arose around 8am, had showers and breakfast and headed off to Ibn Battuta Mall, the world's largest themed shopping mall designed to celebrate the travels of the famous Arabic explorer Ibn Battuta. After buying family gifts and some clothing (with some like Ahbijit & Michael deciding to go the Arab way), we headed off to Wild Wadi, the water park famous for its huge and high water slide and circuits where rafts are propelled uphill by powerful jets of water. After 3 hours of water and heat, we were all ready to hit another air-conditioned mall…the Mall of the Emirates which includes the first and only "Snow Planet" in the Middle East. Then it was off to church for an early night and 1 more day in Dubai before heading to good ol' NZ.
Tuesday 21st July
Today we woke to a scorching hot morning - 85% humidity and temperature around 43 degrees. Dust blowing from the North and originally from Syria and Saudi Arabia gave everything a hazy look and reduced visibility considerably.
We spent the early part of the morning on
debriefing - recording and discussing the mission and the impact it had on all our lives and the lives of the people we interacted with. Some major points that came out were:
Poor people can be, and often are happy - rich people can be unhappy (I reminded them that Jesus said, "Life does not consist in the abundance of things owned"
African people are much friendlier than New Zealanders. They openly greet strangers.
The mission has been a golden opportunity to grow in Christ - we must endeavour to continue to grow after arriving back in NZ
The culture of New Zealand is very anti-Christian (TV, music, immoral legislation, etc) and if we immerse ourselves in it, we will spiritually wilt. (Again, Jesus said, The cares of this life, the deceitfulness of riches and the lust of other things will choke out the Word)
The young children in the NLF were very spiritually mature, more than NZ children of the same age.
Mission members will endeavour to reach out to their non-Christian friends
Students and adults had the last opportunity to shop at one of the Dubai malls and after having lunch at the food court, we headed off to J Beach for a swim in the Persian Gulf. Before we had even walked over the white sand, some of us had blisters on our feet from the heat. The seawater was warm...like getting into a bath…certainly no "take-your-breath-away stuff that you have when you go swimming in NZ! It was also very salty allowing one to float on one's back quite easily. Drying oneself after the swim was quite easy - just stand doing nothing and the "hair dryer" effect from the hot breeze takes over! But then its back to perspiring and the need to seek out an air conditioned house/shop/car.
After returning to our accommodation, we prepared for our 4 x 4 wheel Safari. Four Toyota Land Cruisers turned up to take us into the desert for some exciting driving on the sand dunes. After tyre air pressure was reduced to 15psi, we took off and were basically surfing the sand dunes. Once again, for completely unknown reasons, I ended up as the only male (apart from the driver) in a vehicle of screaming frenetic females, namely Angel Liu, Jacky Turner, Valentina Carceres, Johanna Holzke and Kirsten Whittington. We finally arrived at the banqueting venue where camel rides were on offer. The getting up and sitting down of the camel offered the best photos as you will see below.
Before eating,the students all gained a henna (ink drawings that look like tattoos) on various parts of their body while others bought Arab objects and bags. After a sumptuous feast, we were entertained by a belly dancer - very much looking like a slightly overweight blonde Westerner. She seem to know what she was doing even if we were a little bleary-eyed but the routine did become a little monotonous after a while until she called members of the audience up on the stage. Mr Jacques, Mr Wilson and I were reluctant participants although Mr Jacques "let his hair down very quickly when the belly dancer gave him some suggestions and Mr Wilson attempted a cross between the Twist and a Samoan War Dance! It was all a lot of fun and the students had a good laugh.
We then headed home to prepare for the big flight back to New Zealand. We are all looking forward to meeting our family members again and we know you are looking forward to seeing us. So we hope to see you all at Auckland International Airport on Thursday 12:45pm, Flight EK406.