Saturday, August 16, 2008

Coming Home

Well, we have our things in the courtyard ready to go. It seems so long ago that we departed from Concord and now we are departing from Arusha! The mission portion of this trip has been so enlightening. WE have enjoyed the relationships we made at Haven of Peace church in Dar and with the Delaughters in Arusha. Our third week allowed us the opportunity to be more of tourists. We saw some of the national parks, finally saw my giraffe (hundreds to be exact)and better understand the culture of the tribes which call Tanzania home! Bob and I celebrated our 32nd wedding anniversary by staying at the Arusha hotel. Wow, what a change from the Njiro Resort across the street from Delaughters! As we sat enjoying a delicious breakfast buffet in such a beautiful hotel we observed all the tourists coming and going. We commented that if "this - the Arusha Hotel" is what they see of Africa...they have missed so much of this amazing country. We thanked God for the opportunity to experience it ALL!

Thanks to our families for all the support and encouragement for this trip. We are excited to return and serve more faithfully in His service. We can't wait to see you all and share our 5000+ pictures!!! (ha ha). See you sometime on Sunday.

remembrances and goodbyes from Daryl

Wow, three weeks seems like such a long time when coming over, yet it went by so fast. What a trip we have had. We have been able to receive so many blessings from the people and church of Haven of Peace in Dar Es Salaam, we have learned so much from the DeLaughters and what the mission field is like and let's not even talk about that climb up Kilimanjaro. What an experience it has all been. Here we are all packed and ready to go, wrapping up as a team for the last time and back home to our families. Let me say a SPECIAL Thanks to my beautiful wife for allowing me to go and my awesome kids for being big helpers to Mommy while I was away. I love each of you so much (Paula, Nickolas and Miranda) you guys are my world. If anyone out there has never been on any type of mission trip, local or otherwise, I truly encourage you to go as soon as you can, it really helps open your eyes to what God is doing in this world. Thanks so much to Bob and Cheri Wallace for putting this together, it takes large amounts of work and they were dedicated to pull this off. The team did a great job of working together to make it happen. Pray for a safe return and we will see you soon.

On a side note, Byron, Dad wants you to know that after that post you made with the remarks about him, he is writing you out of his will. Neal and I are his favorites now. Just wanted to let you know. Bob Wallace is now working on him to take your place.

Farwell from Affrica

Well it's the last morning and I have to say I ready to leave. I miss my family so much! Please keep us in your prayers as we are going to try and get an earlier flight. Neil is trying to change his flight to TX. I pray that our luggage is not too heavy. I will miss the Delaughters as they have been such gracious hoists. This will be a lifetime trip, both as a change of life for me, and so many wonderful memories. Yesterday was a shopping day, Nickki I have your stuff and you owe me $18.
For all those who wrote on the blog, thank you. It was wonderful to have notes from home. I pray we planted seeds here, so God can grow His kingdom. Bwana Asafiwi (Praise God)

Ready for home

With the last minute flurry of packing and weighing spinning around me, I can't help but think of home and the happy faces we will see. The anticipation of seeing my daughter, son-in-law, and three grandkids grows with each passing moment. But there is also a part of me that doesn't want to leave. I have fallen for the Africans here and the need for them to know Jesus. In the last few weeks, I've gotten to be a part of discussions of what it takes to be a church, help baptize 33 Masai villagers, preached, led some seminars on leadership, watched teammates teach practical applications from Scriptures, build lasting friendships, work together to build a water tower, see lots of paint hit the walls of an office (hopefully it hit the wall), take part in the planning of planting a new church in a local community, and have had a small part in mentoring a new pastor and praying for him with friends. What incredibly humbling experiences! To think that this team has had a part in the spreading of the Gospel to people who are so far away. . . amazing. I have loved working with the team God put together for this trip. Everyone worked hard at the projects, but more importantly in building relationships with the African people. They made themselves vulnerable and opened their hearts to make new friends that will last for the rest of their lives. We grew closer together as a team and as brothers and sisters in Christ. I am excited about how we will continue to work together to spread the Gospel at home. I know that our hearts have been changed by God and am thankful that He put this particular team together for this particular time. The team has been a shining reflection of Christ to a people who so desperately need to see Him. There is so much deception and untruth here. False teachings abound. We will continue to pray for Haven of Peace Christian Church, Alphonce and the elders there, Billy and Leah DeLaughter (missionaries in Arusha), Prosper (the new church plant minister) and the new church in Arusha, and the African people. I pray that God will allow us to return and see what he has accomplished through our humble efforts to serve our mighty God and loving Savior Jesus. I will be ever grateful to the team for allowing me to share in their experiences of service.


Thursday, August 14, 2008

Reflections from Mary Pat

Mary Pat King wrote:

I know it's been several days since my last post. It is amazing how fast time fly's here. I think I need a couple of more months here, ok David? We went on a safari to Arusha National park on Saturday. We went with Billy and Leaha, the missionaries we are staying with. We took a walking tour and got really close to the Buffalo, in fact I know several were thinking, MMMMMMM lunch is severed. Then we walked over to where the giraffe were and boy what beautiful animals they are. There were old ones new ones, pregnant ones. The whole trip was wonderful, beautiful, and amazing! Sunday we had church in Billy's home and Prosper (the new pastor Billy is menteroing) and a lady that will be joining his church. Please pray in that area, because they have a place maybe, to hold services. However the building is empty. This is a brand new church!
Sunday afternoon was a tragic day. We had gone to pic-and-pay to buy some water (we go through a lot of water here and we have to purchase it because the Arusha's water is toxic). As we left, Leigha was involved in a accident. The whole experience was scary! First a CROWD of people surrounded the car, all talking Swahili and the car was full of Mazongu (white people)! Leigha was scared and was talking to Billy, he was still at the house, Bobby and I went back to the pic-and-pay to get the store manager to call the police. Well if I knew then what I know now, that never would have happened. You see if they take you to the police station, there is a chance you will end up spending the night in jail. That was not going to happen. A police man got in the car and Leigha was trying to tell him we had to pick up her husband, and he kept saying no: go to station. I know how these people view the old people so I said: Old man, must go home. I was talking about Daryle Huffmans dad. He owes me one for that. Anyway the police changed his mine and we were able to pick up Billy and drop off Bobby. After all said and done, Billy had to pay the guy $100, even though it was the other guys fault. This is such a corrupt nation! Now Billy has to get his car fixed as power steering fluid is leaking from his car. Please pray for the mechanic to be just and not corrupt.
On Monday Cheri, Bobby, and myself went to Marangu. This is a higher altitude, and we toured the rain forest. We also went to the base camp for one of the trails up to Kilimanjaro. We stayed at a little house converted to rooms to sleep. Now you have to understand and that there is NO heat, a toilet that didn't flush, and I shower there was no way I was using. Hot water was not readily available. You had to wait till the owner turned on the water heater, and then you get warm water, maybe. NO problem though as my standards are so less. The scenery was so worth it. We got to see two beautiful waterfalls. On the smaller one a guy jumped in from a cliff. The bigger one had a statue of "Mother Africa" at the top. At both falls I was in the water, as I am a fish and love water. Adnon our tour guide, does not like it when his clients are in semi-dangerous situations. Any way on the larger fall, I was across the water to the other side, in no time. I laid out on two rocks and fell asleep. David we are so retiring bye a lake! Carson and Casey you would have loved this place, it's better than Gattlingburg. I wanted to build a rock formation like we did there. I miss all of you sooo much. Back to the story, we left there on Tuesday and hung around Marango waiting for Kilimanjaro to get out of the clouds, needless to say we never got to see it. We came back to Billy's to find out wonderful news, Leigha is pregnant! Wednesday we went into town for grocery shopping at Shoperite. (David does Delhaize own this?) We went to a home made chocolate place and I was in heaven. After indulging in some sweets, we left to go back "home" because the climbers were due back. It was great to see them again but boy did they stink. All the boys had scraggy beards and Deanna looked like I've had enough let me die now. After they all cleaned up we went to dinner at Stinkys and got to hear all about their climb. It was so amazing to listen to all the tales. I'm glad I did not go! So today Thursday, we are all getting massage's at $6.00 for one hour. Wow David I could get one a week at that cost. Glenna do you think Theresa will lower her cost?? Today after massages, we are going into town to do some shopping, David don't freak out. I'm looking for Tanzanight! Love to all and please keep us in your prayers. There are two Muslim family's we are trying to minister to, and prayer always helps.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Monday morning in Arusha

Just a quick note to fill you in on our happenings. As most know, half our team left on Thursday afternoon. They arrived home safely. I'm sure some of them might fill in this blog to give you some of their experiences. On Friday morning, Bob, Daryl, Neal and Deanna started their climb up Kilimanjaro. We heard from them on Friday night with a text message that all was well and that it was "incredible". That is the last communication we have had from them. Last evening (Sunday), our tour planner, Adnaan called me. He began his discussion with "Bob has had a bit of a problem with his ?????????" My heart sank, I told him I couldn't hear what he said. He repeated, "Bob has had a bit of a problem with his PHONE". You can imagine my relief! He said all were doing well. They had arrived at the climatization camp. They will spend quite a few hours "resting" and adjusting to the altitude. This is an important stop to ensure summit. They will leave at midnight tonight (5pm Eastern time), traveling rather quickly so as to summit at dawn. Then they will stay only a few minutes and begin their descent. They will not stop hiking till dinner, Tuesday, arriving at a safe altitude for rest. This will be their killer day - so keep them in your prayers.

The rest of of have a much easier time of it! On Saturday we traveled with the Delaughters (missionaries here in Arusha) to the Arusha game park. It is very different than Ngorongoro crater. This new park was in the rain forest and is very green and lush. The beauty of this park is that it has GIRAFFES! That was my goal for this trip and it was so amazing to see them. I have MANY pictures to share with you!!! Sunday was church with Prosper and his new church. It was great. Alphonce, pastor with Haven of Peace Christian Church in Dar is arriving today to help Prosper with his church plant. I'm sure Alphonce will be a wonderful support to Prosper and will be able to describe the "church" from the native perspective. We are excited to see what God has planned for them.

After church we went to do a little shopping and had quite the experience. Leah was driving with just us and we had a little fender bender coming out of "pick and pay". Suddenly, there was quite a crowd that appeared around the "mzungu" (white people) car. That naturally! They tried to help, all with a hand out! We couldn't get Billy, Nafisa or Juzer to answer the phone. We ran back into the "pick and pay" and asked the muslim owner to come (they have become friends with the Delaughters). He did so with no hesitation and helped to argue our battle. The police came and one of them was going to ride with us to the police station. We requested that we needed to return to the house to get Billy, but he refused. Finally, Mary Pat insisted that Bob Huffman (Daryl's dad) needed to return to the house! They have an enormous amount of respect for their elders and we are learning to use that...obviously to our advantage. Once we returned, Mary Pat and Bob went in to stay with the children. I went with Billy, Leah and police to the station. While traveling, Leah texted EVERYONE she knew for prayers. Once we arrived, they talked about impounding the car until it could be "inspected", which could take several days. Billy said he wasn't comfortable leaving his car - those there looked like they truly been "inspected" - stripped! The police officer said to walk with him and look at the damage to the other car, that was a sign that we might be able to negotiate! Billy asked what he could do to avoid leaving his vehicle and they agreed that if he paid the other party $100, it could all be avoided. So it was! Trust me that the other party had much more than $100 damage to his vehicle, but it still was driveable so he would surely pocket the $100 (less what he paid to the police officer)! All was quite an that we will not soon forget. We returned to the house a little shaken but relieved to have our car! Mary Pat was busy making brownies to drown our woes in chocolate. Nafisa arrived quickly - sorry that she had missed all our calls of panic. She painted our hands with henna, enjoyed brownies and ice cream and popcorn. Not a very healthy dinner but quite comforting!!! Then we played PIT!

Today we are leaving for an overnight trip to the Marangu base camp (Kilimanjaro) to experience a little of the mountain and its people. We will be staying in a hotel unlike the hikers in their tents!! But, we will hike to the waterfalls and caves. I'm sure the Delaughters will be glad for a little down-time with us gone for one night. They have been so welcoming to us!

We will post when we return. Love you all.

Sunday, August 10, 2008


Nikki Rainey Wrote:- It is soo bitter sweet being home. I loved being able to take a 20 min hot shower, sleeping in my own bed, eatting greasy food, and watching the Olympics. But I miss Africa. It will take a while to to get back into the swing of things, I pray that it takes a long time- as to not forget.
A few of us will post our 'closing thoughts' once we get setteled in, but by popular demand, I am posting a few pictures I have.:) If you want more, e-mail me (

And sorry Bob- but I thought everyone should share in the laughter :)

Friday, August 8, 2008

From Mary Pat

I know it’s been many days since I wrote on the blog so I will try to catch up on all I have experienced. It’s Thursday 7th and part of our team are leaving to go home. It will be very hard when it’s my time to go. Since the last time I have been on a Safari! We stayed at a hotel that did not have heat and let me tell you it’s really cold b/c we are about 7000 ft. The hotel had two very very very good things going for it 1) The beds were very nice, we’ve been sleeping on wooden slates and our air mattress 2) HOT WATER!!!!!! I’ve got to tell you hot water is something I will not take for granted anymore. Actually I not going to take a lot of things for granted anymore. Anyway back on subject, the Safari was so awesome. We saw all kinds of animals but my favorite was the lions eating their kill of zebra. My second was the elephant. It was an older one and they leave the pack when they are older to go off and die. It was worth the cold for sure. We also had buffalo in the courtyard of the hotel at night, can’t get that back home.

Pictures are coming!

We apologize that it has been almost impossible to load pictures to our blog. However, the first half of our team has an entire DVD of pictures that they will upload when they get home. They should arrive into Washington DC on Friday morning. They currently have a confirmed flight to Charlotte on Friday evening and we are hopeful that they can get an earlier flight during the day. Please continue to pray for them as they travel home.

Heading for Kilimanjaro

It is Friday morning and a bus just left with approximately 15 people (guides, cooks, porters etc.) to take our team up the mountain. Bob, Daryl, Neal and Deanna were so excited as they boarded the bus for this amazing experience! Please keep them in your prayers over the next 6 days...especially Monday as that is the very long day of ascent and summit. They will return to us on Wednesday and we are hopeful that they will all have reached the top!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Closing Night with the Mohamedali's

  We had such a great closing evening with Juzer & Nafisa Mohamedali and their family. Half of our team leaves tomorrow afternoon. They will arrive home to Charlotte on Friday evening. Please keep them in your prayers as they travel! We have so much to share with you - we can't wait to see you all.

"Reflections from our team" - Wednesday morning

Bob Huffman wrote:
We came to Arusha Friday, August 1, 2008 from Dar es Salaam. Arusha is a very beautiful area with lots of pretty flowers, lots of people (700K plus), lots of cars, lots of bicycles, carts, cows, goats and donkeys and probably a few other things. There are many poor with a host of needs. Went on a prayer walk with a group yesterday, talked to several people (mostly women) and they shared their needs with the group. Several had sons or husbands with alcohol problems. Christ was shared with each one through an interpreter and they all seemed to be receptive. Met Pastor Prospers mother. She went ga ga over me, they really respect age here, she started to chant (eutelating) which is a native thing where they roll their tongue and kind of holler at the same time. It is a sign of showing excitement and similar to them saying Praise Jesus. She did this as she shook my hand and kissed it several times and also planted one on my cheek, she was so happy to see an elder. She was about 65 and looked 80, life is hard over here. She was such a joy and gave us all a true reception from God. About half our group of 12 ministered to a school for needy children, about 35 kids who all desire attention and affection.
Bill DeLaughter and his wife Leah (local missionaries) cooked lasagna for about 20 of us last night and it was just like being at home, very good.
Lots of opportunitites for ministry here. A Big Hello to all my Titusville, FL encouragers and my prayer warriors
Because of Christ
Bob H.
Deanna writes: Dear family,
The time here has gone so quickly. We’ve all had a wonderful mission journey, but we do dearly miss everyone back home! It’s so difficult to put into words the experiences we have had, so I’ll wait to share them with you in person.
Part of the team will be returning tomorrow, and then our Kilimanjaro team leaves on Friday morning. Please be praying for our climb, since one of the college interns here just had a dream about the mountains exploding!
I love and miss you all so very much and look forward to seeing you soon!
P.S. Zeke and Sidney have still not arrived. Hope the handling charges are not going to be too extensive.
Love, Hugs and Kisses to John, Jonathan, Jennifer, and Gabe

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

"Reflections from our team" - Tuesday

Nancy Gibson wrote:
As our time draws near I have very mixed feelings. I would really like to sleep in my own bed, drive my car, and eat lucky charms. On the other hand, I will miss this place when I am gone. I’ve grown used to everyone staring, and everywhere you look you see someone working hard. However, the children and our friends here are the best part of the entire experience. They have such bright spirits and my heart goes out to them. I really wish we could go back to Dar es Salaam, if even for just a few minutes because I just love those people. As for stuff we have done, the safari was unforgettable, and we spent all day with the kids at a local school. This school is run by a man named Amos, and he gives underprivileged children an education for very cheap price. He was a wonderful man and the children seemed very happy. We played games with them and fed them and taught them the Good Samaritan story. Tomorrow is dedicated to buying some stuff and dinner at the Muhammadali’s house. It should be lovely. The bad thing about shopping is the bargaining. You would think it would be fun, but it’s not. It is a huge hassle especially when the people are pushy and you don’t want to pay the price they are asking but then again you don’t know how much it is worth and maybe you should pay that much. Ahh. Daryl has discovered the trick though, if they let you walk away because of the price you are asking you are really not offering enough for them to make a profit. Then you go back. 
Neal Huffman wrote:
We have spent a great 4 days in Arusha. We arrived on Friday from Dar es Salaam and drove to Arusha which is about 30 miles from Kilimanjaro National Airport. Billy and Lea DeLaughter (sp?) are our hosts and have done an outstanding job getting us integrated into their Arusha connections. We traveled to Ngorongoro on Sunday for a one day safari into the 12 mile crater. This crater is about 600m deep and is home to a host of exotic African animals. We were able to see lions, tigers and bears. Okay, maybe not tigers and bears but we did see elephants, lions, zebras, gazelles, wildebeests, serats, hippos, and a whole lot more. What an amazing display of God’s creation. We spent today working with Prosper (a local Arushan) who is starting a church. We did a prayer walk around the area where he is ministering and talked and prayed with the locals. The poverty is extreme and most people have needs for food, shelter, and money. We then spent the afternoon playing soccer with about 100 children that were anywhere from 6 to 12 years old. I spent most of the time close to our goal so that I didn’t have to run all over the field. My team actually scored a goal so technically we won.  Part of our team is leaving tomorrow to return to the USA and we will be sad to see them go.

Nikki Rainey wrote:
Wow it only feels like we have been in Arusha for a little while, but as time draws near to leavening, I have realized we have been here for 4 days. Saturday we all piled into the Dali Dali (bus) and drove out to Moshi- about 1 hr away. We went to the Light in Africa Orphanage to see the work Mama Lynn was doing. It was very hard to see all the babies, and young children that were just cast aside because no one wanted them, so Mama Lynn took them in. Some had physical disabilities, others were just not wanted. That was very hard to see and not try to take one home with us!!!! After the orphanage on our way back home, we went to the base of Kilimanjaro so we could say we ‘hiked’ it 
Sunday morning we got up bright and early for church, and then headed out for our Safari to Ngorongoro crater. WOW. It is over 8000 feet at the rim, and it was cold! We spent the evening at Rhino lodge, which was a posh hotel compared  they did not have any electricity, or fire places… and they told us to not walk around at night b/c of the animals! We headed down into the crater bright and early and saw just about every animal on ‘our list’. I can’t believe we are in Africa!!!
This morning we went with Lindsey Huffman to meet our Compassion children. She sponsored a 4 yr old girl and we had a 6 yr old boy named Luther. I wasn’t really sure what to expect about the met, and had mixed nervous emotions. They arrived and were quiet and shy at first, but then the bouncy balls came out  Luther loved playing with them and his soccer ball. It was so precious seeing his smile. It is hard working in situations like this because you never know if you really are making a difference. But with Luther, we know we are. $32 a month pays for all his food, medical supplies and education. What amounts to change for American’s truly makes an impact on this child’s life. His father came with him, and we could only speak a few words to each other, we knew the love and compassion we had for each other and Luther. What a wonderful wonderful experience. For those who are stateside and reading this now, if you do not sponsor a child- please sign up today. You will not regret it!
Lindsey Huffman wrote:
Nikki totally stole my thunder because I was going to write about my Compassion International visit! What an incredible experience!! My boyfriend Grant and I have been sponsoring a little girl named Asha for about 10 months or so now. She just turned 4 in June and is absolutely adorable! I wondered how the visit was going to work out and if she would open up to me, considering she is so young. Immediately when she arrived Asha reached to hold my hand. She came with her mom and younger brother Abdul. The trip was about 340 kilometers (not sure what that amounts to in miles) but the time it took to travel was 9 hours! The reason it takes so long is because the roads are so terrible to drive on. They are extremely bumpy (as our team has witnessed)! I cannot believe the three of them were willing to travel so far just to meet me for a few hours. I brought Asha several presents that Grant and I had purchased and she just loved them! The smile and giggles from her mouth were priceless! We played ball together for awhile, and then Asha tended to the baby dolls I brought her. She mimicked her mother when she wrapped the baby on her back with a conga. She even wanted to feed her! It was precious. She had the most contagious giggle and a beautiful smile! Typically, people sponsor their children until they are 18 years of age, so knowing that Asha will hopefully be apart of my life for the next 14 years is quite exciting. It was great to actually see her in person and know that my money and letters are actually going to her.
Our safari ended yesterday and it was great! We got to see lions eating a zebra which was really cool. It was like we were watching Discovery Channel! What a treat to see African animals in the wild! We leave to go home on Thursday, and I must say I am ready to get back. This experience was incredible, but I miss my family and the creature comforts of home.
Mom and Dad – I cannot wait to get back to you. I probably will not call again until we land in North Carolina, so I look forward to talking to you then. I love you both and miss you like crazy! Love you too Grant and Eric!! 

Daryl Huffman wrote:
Well, since all the others have done such a great job at detailing all the wonders we have seen and all the things that we have done, I am going to change it up a little. First of all, David King, I thought the sweetheart thing was for me…..
Paula, Nick, Miranda and Sassy I truly miss you guys and will be excited to see you. I hope your week at the beach goes well with Nanny and you have fun. I pray for you guys and your safety. I love each and every one of you and will be home in less than two weeks.
I will say the prayer walk was rewarding and I need to pray for God to help me do that in the USA as well, was an awesome experience and all of these people have such basic needs like Job, food, health and so many prayers for husbands, fathers, sons that were having problems with alcohol.
The other group is leaving on Thursday and I know they are anxious to get home but we will miss them, part of the team is leaving and it will leave a gap, for those of us remaining we will be home soon.
I am anxiously excited about the 19,340 foot climb with Bob, Deanna and Neal and will welcome any prayers when you have time. I hope that 30 minutes I spent at the YMCA pays off.
Joni Wood, I know you won’t read this because it involves technology, I almost thought I found a church over here, was a truly awesome experience of worship, praise and sermon. But, then I met the preacher’s wife and she is nothing like you so I am coming back. I know you hear that all the time.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

"Reflections from our team" - Saturday

Lindsey Huffman wrote:
ERIC! I’m so sorry I didn’t include you in my posts. I didn’t know you had the address to the blog site. But I DEFINITELY love and miss you too! If it makes you feel any better, you are the first person I bought a present for!! 
It’s chilly here in Arusha! Who would have thought that Africa ever got cold? It’s very overcast and kind of misty this morning. We got to eat omelets this morning which was quite a treat compared to having chewy toast every morning. Our sleeping arrangements are VERY different to the situation we had in Dar es Salaam. Our rooms are equipped with mosquito nets draped over the beds, and the bed consists of a wooden frame with a thin piece of foam for the mattress. I think we all had quite a difficult time sleeping last night. The walls are quite thin so even the slightest bit of noise echoes throughout the compound. I’m looking forward to my warm, cozy bed back home! The Kilimanjaro hiker team is headed to work out some last minute details right now, and then we are off to the baby orphanage after that. I miss and love you Mom, Dad, Grant and ERIC!!

From Bob and Cheri
What a great time we are having. This is such an amazing place! We thought it was fantastic in 2006 and it is even better in 2008. Today we went to Mama Lynn's nursery orphanage. She does amazing work there with all the children. Her testimony was so impressive.

We love you family...I pray you got home from Guatemala, Scott and Sophie. Juli, we hope you did okay by yourself this week, we have been praying for you. Aaron, we're sure you had a GREAT time on your mission trip. Eli, Lucy and Lily, we held some babies today and missed you so much. We can't wait to spend time with all of you. Extended family...thanks for all your prayers - we love you all and miss you!! Church family...keep praying for us - we can't wait to share our experiences with you all! Love, Bob and Cheri

Friday, August 1, 2008

"Reflections from our team" - Friday

Daryl Huffman wrote:
Friday, the week in Dar es Salaam has come to an end, how fast it went. Last night was an emotional time as they had a farewell ceremony for us and showered us with gifts. Even though there is a language barrier, there are still laughs, hugs, tears and plenty of laughter as they send us on our way. One of the awesome things to be a part of is their prayer session. When they pray for us as team, they all stand opposite of us and hold out their hands with palms facing the team, they will then all start praying out loud, each individual person lifting up their prayer to God in their passionate Swahilli. It is hard to say goodbye knowing that we may never see these people again here on earth. If it is Gods will for any of us to come back that is my prayer. They are so loving and trusting with us Mazungu’s (white people) in such a short amount of time, they open their arms and hearts and welcome (kiramu) us to their village and homes. The team is awesome and working together for the greater good of the mission.

Neal Huffman wrote:
What an amazing week! We have been blessed by being here in Dar Es Salaam working side by side with church members from Haven of Peace Christian Church. They have all been so welcoming and loving to us each and every day. We went shopping at a local craft area yesterday (Thursday) where the shops are very small and packed with items made by African hands. The wood carvings and paintings are truly beautiful and prices seem very low compared to what something of comparable value would be in the US. One of the local store owners commented to me that he goes outside the city and hires workers to spend up to two days working on a piece of art and then sells it for several thousand Tanzanian schillings ($3 to $5 dollars). He commented how bad they need the money and you are able to see what he means as you drive the streets of Dar. There is poverty everywhere you look. The streets are very dirty and trash is plentiful.
We had a time of praying and singing with Haven of Peace last night as they prepared to send us on to our next assignment in Arusha. We began the evening with a meal of rice and beans and bananas. It was very tasty and we didn’t seem to tire of this as this is what they eat for lunch and dinner each day. Pastor Alphonse and his church had the whole mission team sit up in front of the church. Remember that the church is a tin roof pole barn type structure with open sides. As we sat in front of the church facing the members, Pastor Alphonse prayed and his congregation prayed for us collectively as we prayed for them. What an amazing site to behold and an experience to feel. One interesting thing to note is that there is a muslim mosque just down the dirt road that Haven of Peace resides on. The mosque has a loud speaker that blares out muslim rhetoric several times a day. Well, as we were praying and singing last night, the mosque started its loud and annoying racket. I was sitting on the outside of the group and closer to the mosque noise when it suddenly just stopped. The announcements ceased and the speaker began emitting a squelching noise which then stopped altogether. Coincidence? I think not.  Praise God!

Nikki Rainey wrote:
What a wonderful and blessed experience here in Dar es Salam. I really wish we had more time here to spend with the people at Haven of Peace. I truly pray that everyone would have the opportunity to experience what we have.
Yesterday, we spent the morning in the Wood Carvers- an open air market square. I think almost everyone purchased everything. And even thought the prices are very cheap- we all spent more money than we thought In the afternoon, we went back to the Indian Ocean where 3 more Masai were baptized. After that , we were invited to the home of the preschool teacher Dorothy. She has been a widow for 8 years, and has 4 children, 2 grandchildren, and 1 orphaned niece living with her in a home her husband had built. Her home was much larger in size, but had begun to have stress fractures in the structure. Her oldest child was in the hospital with Malaria, but my understanding is that the hospital is too far away for Dorothy to visit. But instead of being depressed with her daily struggles of life, she was soo excited that we would visit her home- she considered it an honor. David, James, Charles, Able, Paul, James and Ravina went with us, and Dorothy purchased soft drinks for everyone… not just our team. As we said our goodbyes, she began to cry because she could not give us more. She gave us more, and blessed us in ways that we can never repay. God bless her!!!
Mary Pat Wrote:
When I opened the letter my husband sent for today, it said to not spend so much money! God working or what! Shopping was a negotiable on everything. My mother taught me the art of negotiating and boy did it come in handy. Deanna would come to me when she wanted to buy something so the negotiating worked wonderfully. But that was not the best part of the day. The bye bye ceremony they gave us was more than my heart could stand. I have formed close personal relationships with so many people here and when they presented us with gifts, some worth more than a month’s salary!! Imagine giving your whole months pay for people you just met, would you? Just having extra clothes seems excessive to me now. I have gladly given all shoes except the ones I am wearing. As I was saying goodbye to Charles, a teenager who I’ve formed a relationship with, he cried in my arms. I now have 3: Charles, Abel,(the pastors sons) and James (Tootsie from Rwanda) sons. This experience will never leave me the same, I am a changed person. Please include Haven of Peace church in your daily prayers.

Deanna writes:
Dear John, Have had a very wonderful and spiritually uplifting time in Dar es Salaam. We’re leaving today for Arusha. The dogs never arrived; please forward to Arusha. Love and miss you!

Mickey Wrote:
Suzie, Zoie, Piper, Miss you bunches, see you soon, Love Mickey and Dad. Daryl is the best roommate I have ever had, he is so awesome, what a cool guy. Suzie, Daryl says thanks for all the notes you have written him.

Nancy Gibson wrote:
Well that was the most amazing week ever. I love those people so much. More than my friends at home (sorry guys, you don’t even begin to compare) Last night they did this big ceremony for us where they gave us presents. They gave us so much! Khangas (which are the wrap around skirts), jewelry, Tanzania Olympic team jerseys, and james gave me a video cd full of wonderful songs which I am watching now on the plane to Kilimanjaro. [The computer died after I typed this sentence] Now we are in Arusha at the home of Billy and Leah. Our guest house is across the street, and it is closer to the picture I had in my head of where we would be staying than the hotel we have just left. We have mosquito nets here and have been warned to spray our beds down with deet before sleeping. We are more out in the country now, as opposed to being in the city, but somehow I feel a little less safe. Haha. From the airport to Billy’s house we passed many banana tree fields and coffee beans and crazy African looking trees. Im excited about the safari and seeing the animals, but my heart hurts because of our friends that we left this morning. I think we are going to the orphanage tomorrow. It should be good. As for now I am tired and I have decided I don’t like flying, because every flight we have been on since day one has made me very nauseous in the head. But on the brighter side none of the food has made me sick. Well, not literally sick but perhaps sick of eating rice and beans for every meal. We had chicken tonight. I am so tired, but I feel like we didn’t do anything today. Hey if anybody wants something specific for me to bring back to them, please leave a comment because im having a hard time shopping for you guys. Ok well my brain cant think anymore. Nakupenda.

Lindsey Huffman wrote:
The “bye-bye-ceremony” was something else. Members of the church, pastors from other churches, and other people showered us with gifts, thanking us for what we had done the past week. I feel as if we have barely done anything. The Africans do all the work while we just stand there and try to help. I suppose the concept is “we provide the money, they provide the work.” They have done SO much for us this past week, and then they want to thanks US for what we did for them. Some of the gifts included jewelry, material for wraps, Tanzanian jerseys, and bandanas. As mentioned earlier in someone else’s post, these people make very little money, yet gave all they had to us. The cokes that Ravina and her husband James purchased for us cost a week’s salary. I can’t imagine how much it cost them to provide 12 people with jewelry and congas (material you wrap around you). The Africans truly know what it means to give. I had refrained from crying this whole trip so far (which is very unlike me), but today as we drove away in the bus from Haven of Peace Church, tears ran down my face as I watched the children smile the biggest smiles and wave goodbye. It was then that I realized we weren’t coming back. I’m excited to be here in Arusha in a new environment with new faces. We will be visiting an orphanage tomorrow, which I know will be heart-wrenching. On Tuesday, Nikki, James and I get to visit the children that we sponsor through Compassion International. I am so excited to finally meet the little girl that came into my life last year. I miss and love you Mom, Dad and Grant. I cannot wait to get home and share this experience with you.