And so here she was...

“You told me to come, and now I am here.”

Second chances

Violet had all the potential of being a great student. I first met her five years ago in our intensive English course that we offer for all of the kids when they finish primary school – in three months we teach them enough English so they can have a fighting chance in secondary school. Violet certainly was bright, and she was eager, and she was just sixteen years old. She was a great kid to have in school.

Then one day she didn’t show up for class.

The next day she wasn’t there either.

He has given me this chance

I know I should just go to bed, but Godfrey & Emmanueli are driving tonight coming back from their long two weeks in the Rukwa region, and the part of me that is like a dad wants to wait up and make sure that they make it home safely. I’ve had such a wonderful evening, such an inspirational evening, and a part of me also just doesn’t want the evening to end.

In the next 27 days

This week we have made the momentous decision to send word into the villages that we have approved opening four more new schools. People still have a tremendous amount of work to do in the next 27 days and yet we feel that it will not only encourage them but it is also reasonable to aim to open these schools. I am reminded of the woman who stood up in one village not long ago and prayed to God to give us strength when we get tired, to not let this opportunity slip through our fingers, that the day might come soon that the children of our village might go to school.

Profound acts of worship

I was out visiting people when I stopped by the house where Nache lived. It was clear that we needed to get this kid to the hospital in the city, and that meant we needed money for transport for him and for his mom. But I didn’t have any money on me that day, there wasn’t any cash at the house, Steve & Godfrey & Emmanueli were traveling, and here I was in the land of no ATM machines. But just down the road was a church, and so I took off in shot to quickly see them. “They aren’t members of our church; we can’t help them.” I was devastated. More than devastated.

And they said they would reserve an additional ten tests for me the next day!

It was getting dark and we were still out on the search for all of our HIV moms with newborns and infants. The wonderful news had come that morning that the Mudabulo Hospital had received a supply of the special infant HIV tests and that they were willing to reserve 10 of them for me for children in our villages. What a blessing to have true friends willing to help!

A lot of those buckets will only be half full

Godfrey and Emmanueli dropped me off at the Chinese restaurant in town and they were off hunting for spare parts for our vehicles. They left me there because I would be nothing but a liability – not simply because I know nothing about spare parts – but because my very presence would make it harder to get a good price. It wasn’t anywhere near lunch time, but I figured I could plug in my computer and work and wait for them to show up and then we’d splurge and have a treat.

She wanted everyone to stand

Quite a lot of what I do here in Tanzania I truly enjoy doing. Some of what I have to do is “less than fun” and a lot of what I have to do every day is hardly anything that people would find interesting, nothing as they say that’s worth “writing home to mom about”. Work is work, and work has to get done. But there is a part of my life here that I truly look forward to and love doing: I get a tremendous amount of joy out of traveling with Godfrey and Emmanueli to new villages where we have been invited to start new schools.

Even in death

He had just bought a new set of teeth. Oh and was he proud of that beautiful smile! But Garus was beautiful even without teeth. His face was simply so kind, probably because always wore a big toothless smile. When he was four months old, his mother, who was drunk at the time, rolled him into the fire and that is how he lost his foot. Growing up, he lost his teeth from falling so much. To make matters worse, Garus had severe asthma. I remember our first meeting six years ago – that was when I tried to teach him how to use my son Joshua’s inhaler as he gasp for air on my front porch.

Crying out to God

“Lord, I cannot do this without You. I’m depending on You.”