Wednesday, April 29, 2009

My Trip to Tanzania...

The group heading out at 4am... Shonduri, Grace, Joseph, Mercy, Bob, Lewis, Josh, and Blessings

My Tanzanian Experience.....
Over Easter break I had the opportunity to take six of my ABC students and Josh Ketchum on a two week mission’s trip to Tanzania. Most of these students have never even left their own country let alone their own village or city. So, this was an amazing opportunity for them. This would be like travelling to Europe for most of us Americans. Before leaving, these students had to apply for a passport, which only a few people in Malawi can actually get. When they got their passports, they could not believe would have thought they had just received $10,000.00.
So driving to Tanzania took forever.

On the way overlooking Lake Malawi

Just driving through we saw giraffes, water buffalo, zebras, and antelopes.. Our own personal safari... God's amazing kingdom!

We travelled by car 15 hours the first day and 15 hours the second day. Two thousand kilometres later we arrived in Arusha, Tanzania. The students were in culture shock. They had never been in a place where people spoke a different language and where everything was totally different. To them their world was being blown apart. What was interesting is that Josh and I were not really affected by all these differences. It was normal for us to not know the language or the culture. For Americans, there is little difference between the village in Malawi and the village in Tanzania.....village is village to us. It was not like we were going from 1st world to 3rd world or vice versa, but we were going from 3rd world to 3rd world. For the students though, it was like two different worlds. They were looking out the windows like they were on a safari.
We spent eight days in Arusha working together with the Maranatha Christian Center. Pastor Eric Mukwenda is the pastor of this church and is also a very good friend of mine. I have known Pastor Erik for 12 years now. Pastor Eric kept us very busy with construction projects, outreaches, preaching, teaching, evangelism, etc. I was so proud of my students because the only way they could talk with the Tanzanians was through English. When they were teaching or preaching, they had to do it in English while someone else translated it into Swahili. They did great! What was interesting is that these students picked up the Swahili language so quick. I have been to Tanzania five times now and I have learned a lot of Swahili, yet in just eight days, these students knew twice as much. This amazed me at how fast they can learn languages. Most Africans know at least three to five languages, so their brains are accustomed to learning languages, while most of us Americans only know one language. It is very difficult for me to learn much of anything in eight days, let alone a language.

Grace teaching the students at Maranatha Christian School

The team performing for the church

After we said our “goodbyes” to the pastor and to the rest of our Tanzanian friends, we got back into the car and headed for “home”. It was interesting because I was actually looking forward to getting back to Malawi. Malawi had become a second home to me. It was now familiar, comfortable. So, we finally got to the border of Malawi, cleared customs and then drove through the gate. The students let out a loud cheer and were singing and clapping. They were experiencing the sweetness of coming home after being in a foreign land for 8 days. The familiarity and the comfort overwhelmed them. The students were on cloud nine. Although I was excited to be in Malawi after our 8 days in Tanzania, I knew I would be even more excited to come home to America, after being in Africa for several years. The students got to feel in Tanzania a little bit what Americans feel all the time in Africa.
Looking back on our journey, I can see that God did a mighty work in the lives of my students. God used them in powerful ways and we saw his faithfulness in everything we did. God protected us on our journey and brought us safely home. It was a privilege for me to be a part of such a great team. I am so blessed because I am much closer to these Malawian students as a result of this trip,
Thank you so much for taking the time to read this....

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

B: Thanks for the update. Glad that all went well and the Lord blessed you and the students with a rich time in sharing your lives with others. We also look forward to your trip here in about six weeks. We will be praying for your time in class and prep for US. Love you-dad warrick=)