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2013 Mission to Tanzania

The Mission

The 10th Hebron overseas mission and the 5th one to Tanzania, Africa is underway. 18 Year 11 & 12 students, the Principal and two teachers along with two parents left for Tanzania on Wednesday 10th July.

The Team

Team (650)
Bach Row: Geoff Matthews, Joshua Poon, Siniki Muli, Paora Allen, Jason Clague, Jonathan Sellar, Tabu Taboru, Colin Marshall
Middle Row: Margaret Sellar, Annalise Schnell, Brooklyn Wilson, Jahziel Carr, Elise Miller, Sarah Airey, Kerri Ross, Natasha Brooking
Friont Row: Bethany Oram, Samantha Buchan, Arushi Nandy, Hannah Kwon, Amy Calder & Genevieve Ross

Wednesday 10th July

A large group of parents, siblings, relatives and friends turned up at Auckland Airport to farewell the mission team. The boys' haka at the departure gate was stirring and the loudest ever! Then it was hugs and kisses and off to the aeroplane. Team director, Geoff Matthews was very disappointed to hear that the new portable PA system would not be loaded on the plane because it contained batteries. (The company that sold them, who had assured them they were "plane-safe" has since agreed to fly them up to Tanzania without batteries and should arrive early next week). The flights to Sydney and then Sydney-Dubai were uneventful but the students were very excited and loved the entertainment technology on the new Airbus 380 planes.Dubai

Thursday 11th July

We arrived in Dubai about 5:30am (local time) looking like zombies and spent 5 hours in the amazing Dubai Airport killing time. Then it was off to Africa with a 8hr flight to Dar es Salaam, touching down on African soil about 4pm. Immigration processes in Africa are extremely slow and chaotic but after about an hour, we were duly processed and then had to wait longer for our baggage to appear! Everything arrived safely and no one's luggage was checked which was helpful.

Outside the airport, we met Josephine Shoo, Glorious' wife, The students were made to introduce themselves to the welcome party in Swahili (Jina lungu ni NAME....) and there were lots of "Karibus" and "Jambos" all round.



The decision was then made to bring all the suitcases up to Moshi by truck and only take cabin luggage on the plane to save baggage costs. The scene outside the airport was hilarious as everyone dived into their suitcases to extract pyjamas, underwear, change of clothes, toothbrushes, etc.

We then boarded an internal flight at 7:40pm and arrived at Kilimanjaro Airport at 8:55pm. This time we were met by familiar faces again.. Pastor Glorious Shoo, Esther Msangi (well known to Hebron community when she and husband studied at the Childrens' Bible Ministry for 4 months) and child sponsor organiser Evelyne Mpinda.and her husband Joseph).

Then it was off to our guest house, the Stella Maris Hotel, a non-profit hotel dedicated to funding the Stella maris school for orphaned and impoverished children in Moshi. (see website: http://stellamarislodge.com/ )  where we were allocated rooms then had a quick dinner and off for a long-awaited sleep...and sleep-in! Everyone is very happy, happy they joined the team and really happy to serve the Lord in Africa,

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The Stella Maris Hotel The team enjoying a late dinner before heading off to bed

 Friday 12th July

We all woke up refreshed and ready to begin our mission in Africa! A lovely breakfast of fresh fruit, pancakes and scrambled/boiled eggs awaited us in the dining room. Then it was off to the conference room where I (Geoff Matthews) shared about the love of God lavished upon us (1 Jn 3;1) and the reason for it...to share it among our neighbours and among the hurting and needy people. After a time of thanksgiving and prayer, the student then undertook their own bible study then gathered in their groups for discussion and sharing.

IMG 0589After lunch, it was time to prepare for the NLF (New Life Foundation) welcome. We travelled to the orphanage by bus, a 7 minute journey from the hotel, where upon alighting from the bus, were met by about 20 NLF staff dancing and singing songs of welcome. A group of NLF children put on an indigenous dance after which they presented cards and a rose to each Hebron team member.

We then sat on a stage in front of the assembled children and teachers and join them in praise and worship led by the secondary students. Pastor Glorious then invited me to introduce the team and bring a message. I reminded everyone of the the amazing and unintended way our two organisations have connected with each other and the blessing the union has created for both parties. The staff and children were delighted to hear of the great success of the Nakupenda Tanzania fundraising activity and the way it raised over $21,000 for the orphanage.

The NLF students then sang E Te Ariki, a song they had learnt from the previous mission team. Then followed their version of the haka which was thoroughly enjoyed by all. IMG 0603 After the welcome ceremony, the Hebron students mixed with the NLF students, looking through their classrooms and dormitories, playing games and enjoying one another's company. (The photo shows Joshua sharing his photo book with the boys). It was quite a struggle to part them, get them on the bus and back to the hotel for a 6pm dinner.   So, another thoroughly enjoyable day in Tanzania. The team remain joyful, healthy and happy; looking forward to further exploits in the Tanzanian nation.

Saturday 13th July

The team returned to the Fountain of Hope (NLF school) during the morning to perform items to the primary children. Three NLF girls led the most beautiful worship after which two young children gave their testimonies on how they were living in poverty and abuse, in an outlying region in West Tanzania where young girls are traditionally sexually violated and usually are pregnant by the age of twelve or thirteen, but New Life Foundation staff rescued them from these horrendous situations, took them to the orphanage, clothed and fed them, schooled them and taught them about the Lord Jesus and his plan for their lives.

IMG 0610The Hebron puppet team set up the puppet theatre and mimicked 3 Christian songs after which the girls performed their dance to the song 10,000 Reasons and the children all enjoyed this immensely (check out a short video clip on the Hebron Facebook page.  Then it was the drama team's turn, performing the mime The Tale of Two Kingdoms. We then returned to the Stella Maris hotel for lunch.

The team returned to the Fountain of Hope in the afternoon to perform to the secondary students. While waiting to set things up, our more musically talented students including Siniki Muli and Joshua Poon joined in with the NLF worship team for a bit of a musical gig. The girls performed their dance again and then it was the turn of every student to deliver their object lesson. Mr Matthews then showed the NLF students a beautiful "We Miss You" card made by our current Year 13 students, participants in the 2011 mission. The NLF students were very touched by this card and there was a tear or two in the eyes of many.

We met after the evening meal for a time of praise & worship and were very blessed to hear the testimony of Jane Dominic, now a 20-year old student who was found by the NLF staff 12 years ago living with her grandmother because her insane mother couldn't care for her and there was no father on the scene (we visited Jane's grandmother in 2011 but she sadly died last month). Jane glorified God for coming to her rescue, spiritually saving her and allowing her to study in a loving Christian environment. She plans to begin her teacher training very soon. Seven students and teachers then gathered around Jane and prayed great blessing on her life.
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The girls "10,000 Reasons" dance  The Tale of Two Kingdoms mime

Today was another successful and fulfilling day in Africa, sharing the love of God with the most needy children on earth! The team are working well and are very united. We know we are privileged people to be doing the work we are doing and know God is blessing the efforts of His people. Praise the Lord! God is good...all the time!

Click here for our photolog (18 pages of PDF photolog for your enjoyment).

Sunday 14th July

Today we attended Pastor Glorious Shoo's International Christian Church (ICC) where we performed in the 7:30am and 10:00am services. The students and staff new to Africa were "blown away" with the praise and worship. It was loud, joyful, very sincere and definitely toe-tapping! The choir was beautiful to listen to and could they sing!!! The worship leader was a student from the NLF secondary school with an amazing ability to sing and lead worship. The church responded with much enthusiasm and Spirit-filled singing and worship. The team performed kapahaka items and the drama in the first service and kapahaka in the second service. Team leader Colin Marshall preached at both services and his messages were attentively listened to by the congregation.

Compliance Without Force

After lunch and a short rest, we attended and performed in a most amazing and history-making event entitled "Compliance Without Force". An open air meeting attended  by hundreds of people launched a 50-year "covenant" between the Tanzanian Police Force and the Pentecostal Churches of Tanzania where the two groups would work closely together to reduce crime in the nation.How did this come about? The police had discovered that strong Christian communities had extremely low or negligible crime rates and communities without a strong Christian presence had higher rates. So the police want to help Christian communities to spread the good news and get people saved and discipled. The Tanzanian Police Commissioner who is also a Muslim spoke at the rally and urged the Christian pastors to do the job well and preach the Gospel wherever they liked and were exempt from having to gain a permit to preach in the streets and byways. They even agreed to supply police for security at these events. Now how cool is that? So it was the little 'ld team from the back of the earth who were chosen to perform at this very significant event, namely our kapahaka and the girls' dance...both thoroughly enjoyed by the crowd and invited VIPs (MPs,  local councillors, Police heirarchy, local and national Pentecostal pastors, bishops, etc) Much applause and verbal encouragement followed.About 60 people came forward to receive salvation and a similar crowd cam forward for healing prayer with testimonies following.
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Seekers on the left are prayed for by pastors & church leaders Pastor Glorious Shoo with assembled clerics and VIPs

A lovely time of praise and thanksgiving followed our evening meal with students commenting on the way Africa has impacted on their lives.Then it was off to bed for a well-earned rest.

Click here for today's photo-log.

Monday 15th July

Today was a day for travelling.  After a later start than usual we spent the morning at our hotel meeting as a team for a debrief and team meeting.  This was followed by lunch.  A small detour took us to the NFL Primary to collect some gear and then we hit the road to Tanga.  All in all the trip took six and a half hours as much of the road is being dug up and rebuilt.  We are now at Tanga having had dinner and meeting briefly with the evangelism leaders that we will be working with over the next week.  They assured us that there has been a very positive response to the Christian work in this area including form Moslem leaders who have endorsed the Christian outreach.  There is a tradition of religious groups working in a harmonious manner in this region that all want to maintain.  Tomorrow will see an early start and our first opportunity to work as part of an international team in Africa.

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Meals tend to be enjoyable times for all                                                                           .... and the food pretty healthy too.

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Our bus was loaded with us and tonnes of baggage on top.                 We passed through open spaces with many unusual mountains.

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Some of the trees are unusual.                                                                    And road rules are difficult if not impossible to recognize.

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The scenery is sometimes stark and at other times stunning....           even if we seemed to be forever stuck behind one of these.

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But an awesome team has made it in good spirits and most are now really keen to hit the sack so we're ready for tomorrow

Tuesday 16th July

What an exciting day!  We started with breakfast in our accommodation.  While the breakfast was ok, the facilities had their challenges and there were quite a few colonies of mosquitoes that seemed keen to visit us inside our mosquito nets.  Fortunately we were well prepared.  After breakfast we joined the international team with whom we will be ministering this week.  People from Sweden, Norway, Iraq, USA, Egypt, and us.  As their available dance and drama items were not quite ready they were very pleased to see the Kiwi's and the items we had prepared.  After a team briefing (and we were given red team tee-shirts to wear) it was off to the streets of Tanga in two teams with the Kiwis split as well.  The day was spent giving short performances and going in smaller teams inviting the people of the area to the festival, which starts tomorrow afternoon.  Our two smaller teams really stepped up and they certainly attracted the crowds.  Given the permits that had been arranged with local authorities do not allow the use of speaker systems until tomorrow the team's efforts were even more impressive (unplugged as it were). The senior team leaders were absolutely thrilled with the NZ contribution and the impact we have had already.  Coming back we had another surprise.  Pastor Shoo had arrived in Tanga and wasn't happy with our accommodation either (not having been able to view it beforehand).  He has since moved us to a really nice beach-side hotel like all of the other international teams - wow! At the evening debriefing we heard that 65 people had given their lives to the Lord and a number had been healed including one man with a badly broken knee whose healing was captured on film.   After dinner it will be off to bed preparing for a busy day tomorrow that sees us on the road by 7:30 for more small street performances and the start of the festival proper.  Praise the Lord for a great day!

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The Hebron team meets and prays with the international Tanga Festival team.  We begin our evangelism on the streets of Tanga.

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The team's efforts were very well received.                                                 This afternoon saw a change of accommodation arrangements.

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The team in our international team's Tanga Festival colours (which match the local soccer teams colours which is pretty cool thinking!).

Wednesday 17th July

Today was the first full day of outreach and the start of the Signs and Wonders Festival. We met with all the Swedish, American & Norwegian groups supporting the Festival (about 40 in total) at 8am and after an encouraging word and prayer by an American pastor, prepared ourselves to go out into the streets of Tanga. Our Hebron group divided into 2 groups, the drama group and the puppet group. The drama group set up outside some small shops in one area of the city and began performing the Tale of Two Kingdoms. The group leader then preached a short message and people came forward for celebration and prayer for healing. A Ugandan pastor then gave his testimony of breaking free from witchcraft at the age of 14 years and living full out for God. He has now started 18 churches and leads 600 pastors in his country ( he has also invited the Hebron team to Unganda!). The puppet team set up beside a school and children flocked to see the puppet show and preaching, despite glitches with the sound system. A large number came forward for salvation.

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The drama team perfoming to a crowd of locals Our AK-47-armed police who came on the outreaches with us

After enjoying lunch with all the Festival supporters, we headed back to our hotel and rested before travelling to the Festival event at 3pm. A huge stage and video screen had been erected on the field and a choir had begun singing with an audience of a couple of  thousand. Within an hour there were approx 12,000 people assembled and they were joining in the singing and dance. At approx. Johannes Amritzer, the Mission SOS Swedish evangelist came on the stage and started his delivery in a powerful and exciting manner. He called for people to accept Christ as their Lord and Saviour and 2,000 responded. Once these were processed, we lined up in front of the stage to prepare to pray for the sick. Johannes called all the blind, deaf and dumb to the stage area along with peple who were crippled or diseased in any way. About 200 people responded and that was when we sprung into action...yes every Hebron adult and teacher began laying hands on these sick people praying for their healing and deliverance. I was so impressed with their eagerness to pray in faith. A hearing-impaired boy that Siniki prayed for received healing and could hear better. A blind girl began to see and could repeat the hand movements of Johannes on the stage. A lady paralysed down her left side gained total feeling and movement and another deaf boy responded to claps behind his back.

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Hebron students singing and dancing with the multitudes Swedish Evangelist Johannes Amritzer in full swing

Straight after the prayer for the sick, Johannes delivered a word for the New Zealand students in the crowd saying God was going to use them in a greater way, their faith would grow and they would see miracles and that they were a real role model to others. Wow...12,000 people want these hebron students to pray for them! (It had already come to our notice that the Americans and Swedes have become really impressed with our team and greatly value our input into the Festival).

The students and adults were all on a high as we travelled back to the hotel - sharing stories of the prayers, deliverances, salvations and healings. They are really enthusiatic about going out on street outreach tomorrow and participating in further meetings on Thursday and and Friday nights. And what a privilege for me, the principal a Christian school working with these fine students, to see them hungering for the all that God has for them, sold out for Jesus and going into the world and preaching the good news. Roll on Thursday.

Thursday 18th July

Into the second day of the festival proper we are getting into the swing of things.  The "puppet team" has renamed itself the "bendys" as they feel that being flexible and adaptable around here is critical - and it is.  One cannot rely on power supplies, or the backup generators, sound boards or electronic devices.  Frequently, and by necessity, our Kiwi teams have had to lead the way drawing people in without electronic support.  All credit to the students, Mrs Sellar & Miss Brooking on a very effective set of Kapahaka items!  Today the team was divided in two again for outreach ministry in a number of suburban regions, joining together for lunch and then going together to Usangara for the primary festival outreach.

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The childrens eyes appeal to us, let alone they way they talk.                 The mama's gather to listen enthusiastically to the Word of God.

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The drama team hard at work in the market-place in the midday heat.      Bethany, Sarah and Elise (& our team) love joining in the lively worship.


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Each day it seems that the crowd grows as word spreads.                     Prayer for the sick is a vital part of the ministry.

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The girls dance team take the main stage and wow the audience with their colours and movement.

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The guys managed to make the whole stage shake with their Haka.         The girls wait outside the back entrance to the main stage.

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Annalise enjoys dancing with the children in the crowd.                          Well over 12, maybe 15,000 people attended tonight's festival.  

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Mr Matthews & Mr Marshall with a senior Ugandan pastor.                      The increased security at all our events continues to be very obvious,

Friday 19th July

Today is the last day that the team will be ministering in Tanga on this trip as tomorrow we head back to Moshi.  The day started as it has with the International Team meeting together at 8 am for devotions and prayer.  Following this we broke into two teams again with the Drama team going to Ohura Park to perform and the 'Bendies' team going 11 km out of Tanga to a village called Punguwei. In both places the ministry was very successful and Miss Brooking had her first experience of open-air preaching.  She did very well and while she was nervous at first, once she got going there was no stopping her.  Between the two teams we saw some 230 people responded to the gospel call.  

Once back and lunch was over we were asked if the NZ team could present the kapahaka in full for the international team to see.  With three teams and different duties, no one had seen the whole NZ team together and the full version of the kapahaka.  The team carried it off superbly and received a standing ovation. Then it was soon off back to Usangara Park for the Friday night festival. Each day sees the crowd a few thousand larger than the day before.  Following a further great evangelical exhortation by SOS leader and preacher Johannes Amritzer, a large group (over 2000) came forward to commit their lives to following Jesus and a further group came forward for healing.  Great stuff.  A number of the physical miracles were powerful testimonies to God's power, especially an older man whose sight was restored and another who was unable to move because of a stroke getting a full range of movement back.  

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Muslim Girls 370 Preaching in the market places attracted a varied crowd from small children through to the very elderly.  At one event today the local school principal came along and told all the children to return to school.  Apparently they had heard our songs and at morning tea simply left school to come and see what was happening!  

The variety of situations we find ourselves in is a good experience for the students and adults alike.  We have a good team of interpreters travelling with us so it means that meaningful conversations, sharing and ministry can take place.
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Part of the 25,000+ crowd Elese in full ministry mode

Back at the hotel and after dinner we celebrated, to his great surprise, Jason's 16th birthday. We had a somewhat spectacular cake for him and the Swedish team decided to share a Swedish tradition of throwing the birthday celebrant in the air.  As it was almost pitch black the photo below is a bit blurred but it gives you an idea of just how high they went.  Jason was concerned that the tradition ended with them not catching him on the final throw - fortunately for him it didn't! Tomorrow calls for an early start as we head back on the long drive to Moshi.
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Jason receives prayer on his 16th birthday ...and then a flying lesson!

Saturday 20th July

Today was a day on the road! We left Tanga about 9:30am hoping to be back in Moshi for a 2pm lunch but that wasn’t to be. The main highway between Tanga and Moshi is being re-constructed in places necessitating driving on a parallel dirt road (track). About half way home a large hump in the road caused the back left spring support under the bus to break in half. The drivers tied the end of the springs to the chassis and we crawled to the nearest town where we all drank soda (soft drinks) at a nearby restaurant while the part was removed, welded together and put back on the bus. After giving the drivers a cheer, we resumed our trip arriving at our hotel at 7pm. We unpacked our luggage while the dinner was re-heated then sat down for an enjoyable meal.
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The damage is spotted and temporarily repaired    The local welder repaired the support just like new!
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The girls relaxing waiting for the bus The boys organised games during the wait

At our after-dinner-debrief, many students thanked God for the exciting and fruitful time we had in Tanga. They thanked God for the thousands of people saved and whose name is now written in the Lambs Book of Life. They thanked God for the many people healed miraculously. They thanked God for the people, adults and children, delivered from demons while they writhed on the ground screaming and grunting (often seen in cultured with close ties to witchcraft). They thanked God for the wonderful relationships with the Swedish and American folk supporting the Missions SOS Festival of Signs and Wonders.
I read out an email I received today from one of the Festival organisers who said, Geoff, I’m sitting here at the morning team meeting…our team looks so small without Team NZ! We are all commenting on how much we miss you guys!!! It was wonderful meeting you, Colin, Margaret & the team. Thanks so much for partnering with us Geoff. I look forward to seeing what God does with this relationship in the future! Blessings, Lance Stoddart.
Tomorrow morning (Sunday), the team will perform at two services at the El Shaddai Church. This is the church Glorious Shoo pastored when we first came to Tanzania in 2005. It is now pastored by Elisha Mahene, husband of Mary Mahene who came to New Zealand on a Hebron teaching scholarship.

Sunday 21st July

Sunday morning saw us up bright and early to head to the El Shaddai church that Pastor Glorious and Josephine Shoo had established when they were in their twenties.  When we first visited eight years ago Pastor Shoo was still working there.  We have visited the El Shaddai on every mission trip since then.  The students performed the kapahaka and dance at both services with Geoff preaching at the seven thirty am service and Colin at the 10 am service.  That said, the services both ran late and we didn't get around to lunch until bout 2 pm.  After lunch we went to have a look in town which was pretty much shut down being Sunday.  One of our regular curiosity shops was open (to some people's relief it seems) and some retail therapy was undertaken with a degree of gusto in some departments.  This evening we have had a wonderful team time together sharing experiences and having words of encouragement for each other.  The unity, love and working together of this team has been outstanding and has been a feature commented on by a number of people.  Tomorrow morning we head off on the safari component of our trip so we may be out of contact for a while - however as communications in Tanzania have improved enormously over the last two years we will have to see.
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Lively worship at El Shaddai. Wonderful dances were performed by various church groups.
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Geoff preaching at the 7:30am service on "Speaking". Colin preaching at the 10am service on "Listening: Peter's Examples"
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Monday 22nd & Tuesday 23rd July - Safari

Monday and Tuesday's promised excitement of the Safari trip lived up to expectations as the team had close encounters with animals of all shapes and sizes.  Travel to the safari region and visits to two national parks at Tarangire and Ngorogoro took the entire two days with a sleepover at a lodge in between.  For a full photo-log of the Safari click here.
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Wednesday 24th July - Visiting

Today was a day we were all really looking forward to: devotions with the primary school, a visit to the infants orphanage (the Fountain of Zoe) and social visits to two families of New Life Foundation primary school pupils.  In each case the visits lived up to expectations and challenged the team to recognise what privileged lives we lead in New Zealand. Click here to see the full photo-log for today.
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Mixing and mingling at the Fountain of Hope Primary. Sarah shares her object lesson.
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The Fountain of Hope Primary buildings. Annalise holding one of the Fountain of Zoe children.
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The team outside Mattias and Esther's home after morning tea. Our first family social visit.

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A blind pastor lives by faith and has built a congregation of ten in a non-Christian region.

Thursday 25th July

The day started off early with the team attending the secondary school morning devotions at 7:30am. After praise and worship, mission director, Geoff Matthews, introduced the team to the assembled students and  then Mrs Sellar spoke of the importance of kapahaka in New Zealand and prompted the team to begin their songs followed by  a rousing haka. Mr Matthews then presented a "We Miss You" card made by the 2011 Mission team students. The NLF secondary students were really quite touched by this and the card was quickly stapled to the school noticeboard.  It was then the turn of various students to give their object lessons followed by a short sermon from Siniki Muli where he talked of the importance of family.
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Again the kapahaka items were loved by the Tanzanian students The 2011 Mission Team "We Miss You" card was handed over
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Annalise presents her object lesson to the students Siniki delivered a mini sermon on "The Importance of Family"

Then it was off to the "Nursery" where the 3-6 year olds live and are schooled. The puppet teams gave a wonderful performance and the young boys and girls loved the various songs presented. The children were very affectionate and loved being picked up and held. The mothers on the team, Mrs Sellar and Mrs Ross, wanted to take about 6 of them home to New Zealand!
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The Nursery children loved the puppets Siniki befriends one of the orphan boys
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Tabu finds a friend Ringa-ringa Rosie with Mrs Sellar?

After leaving the nursery, the team headed for the juvenile detention centre where young offenders wait for their sentencing. 15 teenage boys and 2 girls greeted us when we arrived and were a little suspicious of the team to begin with. After watching the kapahaka, 4 or 5 object lessons, the drama "The Tail of Two Kingdoms" was introduced and explained to the 17 young people. After the drama, Mr Matthews followed up with a short sermon and invited the young people to believe in the Lord Jesus and followed His word all of their life. 15 of the 17 students responded by putting up his/her hand. After the issuing of a pamphlet and a sinners' prayer, the Hebron students mixed with the boys and girls and show them their photo books. The centre staff appreciated the visit by caring people.
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The haka certainly got attention of our audience The songs and the drama opened up the hearts of these children to the gospel message
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Adult team member, Colin Marshall, during this time, ran a workshop of over 50 pastors and about 6 bishops in a large inner city church. He spoke about the armour of God, and by all accounts, it was very informative and well-received the assembled church ministers. 
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After another short shopping expedition to an African curio shop, the team returned to the hotel for lunch then it was back to the secondary department for some testimonies and sharing with one another. From there it was straight to the house of Glorious and Josephine Shoo who laid on a beautiful dinner for us.The girls all wore their recently purchased  "Harem" pants for the outing  but we can assure you all there is NO harem around here!We finally returned to our hotel at 9pm, ready to jump into the shower and hit the sack.

The last two days of the mission will involve the team attending the New Life Foundation International Conference where they will perform on two occasions and the activities of the NLF(NZ) Trust will be discuss.

Friday 26th July - Visiting

With a slightly later start than we have been used to the entire team was up early and roaring to go.  Today and tomorrow are essentially focused around the New Life Foundation International Conference which is being held at a local hotel.  The biennial conferences celebrate what God has been doing in the New Life Foundation children and students, their successes and the results of the organisation's international relationships.  With the high international commitment to the Tanga outreach the Conference is slightly smaller than in the past. A number of items were presented by New Life Foundation students including a rendition of the ribbon dance performed and taught by the girls of our last mission team in 2011. The guest speaker of the conference was the Deputy Minister for Internal Affairs and Local Government for Tanzania the Hon, Aggrey Mwanry.  While our guest was late arriving, due to unexpected Ministerial duties, his speech here, following on from his address at the Moshi Festival at the beginning of our trip was inspirational.  Here we saw a senior politician who has been in the house some ten years, absolutely committed to the Lord Jesus and whose integrity and positive actions against corruption have made him a household name.  He not only spoke glowingly of the impact of the New Life Foundation but also led us in impromptu worship with some three or more songs.  On behalf of the Tanzanian Government the Hon. Aggrey Mwanry welcomed the Hebron Christian College Mission Team to Tanzania and thanked Hebron for the long term contribution that has been made, not just to the NLF, but to Tanzania as a whole.  After the Conference was over for the day it was back to our hotel to pack our bags for road delivery to Dar Es Salaam; they will be travelling by road overnight.  Just before we had dinner the students decided to do the kapahaka for the hotel staff that have been looking after us.  It was very warmly received.Tomorrow evening, after the Conference, we fly to Dar Es Salaam and, God willing, we will find our bags already there.  
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The students performed kapahaka items at the NLF Conference. The Fountain of Hope students led worship wonderfully.
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The team joins in worship. The Hon Aggrey Mwanny is serious when speaking.
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And passionate in worship. The ribbon dance was strangely familiar!
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The poi dance is wonderful to watch.

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A haka for the hotel staff...

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... and something a bit more gentle. Pray for Government and the Deputy Minister.
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Amy and the students were introduced one by one. Our host Bishop Glorious Shoo.

Sunday 28th July

The last day in Africa arrived today and all of us wondered how the time had flown so fast. We had flown down to Dar es Salaam on Saturday night as there were no flights from Kilimanjaro Airport to Dar es Salaam Airport on Sunday. We drove to the Greenlight Hotel, about half an hour from the airport, arriving around 11pm. Thankfully all our luggage had arrived at the hotel by land transport and nothing was missing this time! Then it was straight to bed for a 6am rise, breakfast and a performance at the Dar es Salaam Calvary Temple where Pastor Glorious' brother attends and the pastor was the interpreter at the Tanga Festival meetings.

The church was in full worship mode when we arrived at 7:30am. Soon after the team were invited to the stage where they performed kapahaka items after which the drama team performed their mime, The Tale of Two Kingdoms. Both items received thunderous applause. Pastor Glorious spoke after the Hebron items about persevering and not quitting. After a morning tea break it was back into the large church building for the second service starting at 10am. This time, the drama team performed before the main message given by team parent Colin Marshall. Colin spoke on the need to be born again. At the end of his message, the team had to leave the service to get their luggage from the hotel and head off to the airport for their flight out of Africa at 4:45pm.
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The team worship this morning in the Dar es Salaam Calvary temple The kapahaka was always enjoyed by every audience
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Singing in the second service The Tanzanian babies are absolutely adorable
Glorious & Geoff
There were a few wet eyes as the team farewelled Pastor Glorious and myself (I am staying another week in Tanzania to help Pastor Glorious host a visit by World Fashion designer Denise L'Estrange-Corbet and a South Island donor. This trip, like the previous four Africa tours, has been highly successful and spiritually productive.for the following reasons:
* The team acted in unity and common purpose
* It was birth and surrounded by prayer from many quarters
* The prepared items were very appealing to the thousands of people who viewed them
* The team members, including adults, rose to new spiritual heights to meet the many needs around them
*  The students acted responsibly and maturely in a variety of situations - sometimes fighting tiredness and fatigue
*  The joy of the Lord was upon the team. Their laughter and contentment was very noticeable.
*  The team members were generous with their giving of time, money and effort
*  Our hosts, the New Life Foundation staff, were so hospitable and keen to accommodate all our needs
*  The lord blesses those who are a blessing to others. We knew the Lord was with us!

Hebron Board Chairman and team adult helper, Colin Marshall, will write up the next two night's website reports on the team's activities in Dubai. I will also  continue to post info on my exploits in Tanzania.

Monday 29th July

The starkness of the contrast between Tanzania and Dubai has certainly been evident today.  After a later start than normal, due to our very late arrival, we went for a walk around the local area to get used to the environment and the heat (around 37 degrees this morning).  We had lunch at the hotel and then took the train to visit two malls - the Mall of the Emirates and the Dubai Mall (the largest mall in the world).  The affluence and the stunning size of these places, particularly that later which has had millions spent on it in the last two years, is something to behold.  I'd have to say the speed of environmental transition by our shoppers was nothing short of astounding.  This evening in our closing team talk and prayers it was worth reflecting on the contrasts when one considers our social visits of a few days ago.
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The female contingent were ready to go and not a male in sight! Travel by train and high speed escalator was fun and easy.
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The malls were massive - now that's what we can call a fish tank! And your typical ice-rink in the mall.
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The shopping seemed to be piling up. But it was an easy trip back to our accommodation by train and foot.
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These guys seemed pretty casual about shopping and train rides. But some of the team seemed for more serious.  

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The tallest building in the world ...                                                      and an interesting purchase?
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A happy team that deserve some downtime after a sustained period of hard work and important ministry.  They have really put themselves out in service and it was a real joy to see them enjoying themselves and relaxing.  Tomorrow we're off to the pools (and in heat going in excess of 40 degrees that's a good thing!) and to the desert Safari.  Praise the Lord for times of relaxation and fun.


Tuesday 30th July

The last activities day of our Mission Trip featured a visit to the Wild Wadi water theme park, a trip into the sand dunes of Dubai and an Arab themed dinner and entertainment.  Along the way the team had options of trialing some quad bikes and/or a camel.  The heat stayed in the late thirties to early forties so it wasn't to bad as we'd started to acclimatize already - however coming home might be a bit of a shock ...  The Lord has blessed us with wonderful conditions over here so it was a wonderful way to spend out last day together as a team (although we are missing Geoff who is such a good sport with all the things we get up to...).
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Back on the bus again most of the team fell asleep! One of the many mosques dotted everywhere.
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Herd of camels? We saw lots of sand and dunes ...
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And they were ... heaps of fun!
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Some of the guys found something else to try ... ... and the ladies tried their hand at something else.
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Annalise and Bethany found camel riding had its ups and downs. While Joshua and Poara just got on with it.
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We shared a nice sunset dinner. seated on cushions on he sand ...
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with plenty of drinks in the heat ... and an interesting Arabic dancer as the sunlight disappeared quickly.
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Although one of our team was hard to recognise ... we we knew he wasn't the dancer!
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We are now back at the hotel and off to sleep ready for an early start tomorrow to fly back to NZ.  Our Emerites flight is no. EK406 and arrives at Auckland airport at 12:45pm (lunchtime).  You can expect to see a tired but happy team coming back with lots of stories and adventures.  Praise the Lord that He gives us so many opportunities for good, and to grow as individuals, and as a community.  The Lord is good - all the time!