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Sunday kiddos.jpg

Tanzania 2016

And that's a Wrap

One of the most important ministries at Mountaintop is a ministry called WRAP.  People choose to "wrap" around a family (either a family with foster children or a family with a child with special or serious medical needs) and support them with words of encouragement, acts of service, prayer, and general support. The amazing thing about the ministry is that while it is intended to bless the families who are wrapped around, it is just as much of a blessing to the people who are doing the wrapping......

This is what happened in Tanzania over the last week:

  • 12 ordinary people answered God's call to WRAP around precious people in a tiny village in Tanzania.
  • 12 ordinary people served alongside 12 Tanzanian doctors, nurses, ministers and interpreters to show God's love to this village.
  • 12 ordinary people encouraged, prayed with, trained, and medically cared for the village of Dihombo.
  • 12 ordinary people hugged on children, laughed and cried with people, and served people.
  • 12 ordinary people went to be a blessing....

.And found that they were blessed far more than they could ever imagined.

  • 12 ordinary people were blessed to see what true hospitality looks like as we were welcomed with open arms and hearts.
  • 12 ordinary people were blessed to see what true community looks- instead of living isolated, individualized lives, the people in the village do life together.
  • 12 ordinary people were blessed to see what true gratitude looks like when a pastor who received a bicycle wept with tears of joy and thankfulness. Through God's provision, he no longer has to travel on foot .
  • 12 ordinary people were blessed to see what true hope looks like as a woman with a sick baby traveled 3 hours on foot with a sick baby- to the medical clinic, believing God would heal her baby.

2 Chronicles 16:9 says that "For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him".  When God came to earth, he chose 12 ordinary people to experience life with Him, to commit to his way, and they were forever changed.

That same God is still looking for ordinary people- people like you and me- to commit to his extraordinary way of life and share that life with others....and- as 12 ordinary people experienced over the last week- when we seek to BE a blessing, we will realize that WE are the ones who are phenomenally, humbly, and beyond imagination blessed in the process. And that- as they say- is a wrap.

 Perfection

Perfection

 I wonder what she is thinking

I wonder what she is thinking

 Helpers come in all shapes and sizes

Helpers come in all shapes and sizes

 A game of Simon Says had the kiddos acting like giraffes

A game of Simon Says had the kiddos acting like giraffes

 The village kitchen where gracious hands fed us all week

The village kitchen where gracious hands fed us all week

 There are few people better with children than Chris Martin

There are few people better with children than Chris Martin

 Dr. Elizabeth and Dr. Mcharro came from Dar Es Salaam to help care for the villagers. Clayton's happy place is in Tanzania!

Dr. Elizabeth and Dr. Mcharro came from Dar Es Salaam to help care for the villagers. Clayton's happy place is in Tanzania!

 Samuel was incredible in every way, and Fred made sure the clinic ran smoothly

Samuel was incredible in every way, and Fred made sure the clinic ran smoothly

 Medicine helps, but Jesus heals

Medicine helps, but Jesus heals

 Cathey's warm and friendly demeanor made the patients feel comfortable

Cathey's warm and friendly demeanor made the patients feel comfortable

 Our team caring for each other before they cared for others

Our team caring for each other before they cared for others

 Jerrie is one of the kindest, most compassionate souls ever

Jerrie is one of the kindest, most compassionate souls ever

 Seeing well for the first time

Seeing well for the first time

 Pastor Vomo interpreted and expanded on Mari Beth's teaching. Life works best when we work together.

Pastor Vomo interpreted and expanded on Mari Beth's teaching. Life works best when we work together.

 The women loved learning from Shae

The women loved learning from Shae

 Pastor Elizabeth receiving her bicycle

Pastor Elizabeth receiving her bicycle

 Sam and Matt became best friends

Sam and Matt became best friends

 Partners in the Gospel

Partners in the Gospel

 Special thanks to Joel and Hilda Rugano whose ministry in Tanzania makes it possible for us to minister in Tanzania

Special thanks to Joel and Hilda Rugano whose ministry in Tanzania makes it possible for us to minister in Tanzania

 A beautiful American was more exciting to little kiddos than animals on a safari!

A beautiful American was more exciting to little kiddos than animals on a safari!

 What a week!

What a week!

 

what we love about Tanzania from A to Z

  • Asante (Thank you in Tanzania)
  • Blessings (beyond our wildest dreams)
  • Coke Light (best drink ever according to Brooke and MB)
  • Dream Team (seriously one of the best teams I have ever had the privilege of leading)
  • Elephants (no explanation needed, and a shameless Roll Tide)
  • Fun doctors (pic below shows why)
  • Giggling little children
  • Hyena dung (it's white due to the bones they eat= gross/cool)
  • Interpreters (Moses, Mussa, and Augustine)
  • Joel and Hilda (our fabulous hosts)
  • Kassim (the kind pastor who welcomed us into his village and church
  • Love
  • Mountains (in front of us every day)
  • Nashera (our hotel)
  • Omelets (crazy good eggs)
  • People
  • Questions asked and answered (in the pharmacy, by the pastors, by the team)
  • Rx (our pharmacy which gave meds to help heal sick people)
  • Sam (a little boy who became our team fave)
  • Traffic (there are just no words...)
  • Unity (our team is American and Tanzanian)
  • Vomo (the Pastor who interpreted during the pastoral training- his impact was huge)
  • Wives of pastors and Pastors (who are hungry to learn)
  • Xactly where we are supposed to be (this has been a week to remember)
  • Yesu ("Jesus" in Swahili who moved in mighty ways this week)
  • Zenus (our bus driver extraordinaire)

jesus, giraffes, and jambo- the church has left the building

On Wednesday, August 31, 12 people took a step out of their comfort zones and into an incredible adventure. That’s the way it works with God. We give him the ordinary, and he turns it into the extraordinary. We give him the mundane, and he turns it into the spectacular. We let go of control, and he gives us the experience of a lifetime. Over the last 6 days, we have seen God:

  •  In the friendships, conversations, laughter and fun among 12 people who are a united team for the glory of God
  • In the details of his amazing creation (land and animals) on a safari
  • In the eyes of children who laughed and played with us (and thought we were far more interesting than animals on the safari)
  • People getting healed spiritually as they were being treated physically
  • Through open arms and welcome (which is translated Jambo in Swahili!) hearts of the people in the Dihombo village who find joy in the simplest of things, celebrate differences and engage with us fearlessly.
  • Protect us as we drive in traffic that can only be described as...special
  • In translators who are giving up their week to help us interpret a message to people hungry for hope

Though our circumstances are very different from the beautiful people we are meeting, we face the same emotions. We deal with the same internal struggles. We all struggle with feeling "not enough". And the best part is- the Gospel, the Good News that Jesus loves us- is available to all of us. What a message. What a God.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so enjoy.

 Dream team and our extended Tanzanian family

Dream team and our extended Tanzanian family

 The wonder of God's perfect creation. How often do you get to take a picture of a giraffe drinking water?

The wonder of God's perfect creation. How often do you get to take a picture of a giraffe drinking water?

 Two of the beautiful children of Dihombo

Two of the beautiful children of Dihombo

 Sam is our team favorite

Sam is our team favorite

 The girls love Shae

The girls love Shae

 Julie's compassion for the sick villagers

Julie's compassion for the sick villagers

 Part of ministering to the people spiritually is helping them physically, and Brooke was incredible

Part of ministering to the people spiritually is helping them physically, and Brooke was incredible

 Jerrie gave sight to people who couldn't see

Jerrie gave sight to people who couldn't see

 Mari Beth has the privilege of training rural pastors on vision and discipleship

Mari Beth has the privilege of training rural pastors on vision and discipleship

 Matt and nurse Monica filling prescriptions

Matt and nurse Monica filling prescriptions

 We start the day with these smiles...and end the day with these smiles

We start the day with these smiles...and end the day with these smiles