It contains several of my best pics from our recent mission trip to Tanzania.
So, what did we accomplish? Well, the girls did some good personal ministry, and helped out Joy in the Harvest in various ways. I talked some serious church politics with missionaries and local church leaders.
But I think the two biggest things we did were these.
1. We came back. Lots of groups hit the mission field, and many do good work. Few return, though they may continue to be involved in supporting the work in the field. Nevertheless, Africans set great store by personal relationships; the fact that Amber and I came back (with others) sent a profound message to the Tanzanian United Methodists that we want to be in a long-term relationship with them.
We saw lots of cool things we had a hand in from before: the satellite dish in Kigoma that connects the whole missionary community there to back home; the church house in Dar; the sewing machine Deanne donated that is used by the local pastors' wives in Dar; the pre-school in Dar we helped found. We renewed acquaintances with leaders like the Wertzes, Mwenge Muyombi, Pastors Umba and Mutwale, and with 2001 Seminar participants including Mattheus, Amani, Moses, and Mary.
2. We scouted the trail ahead. I had my eye out for future projects. Joy in the Harvest has some cool things doing, and the work in Morogoro inspires me no end. Tanner Valley UMC will, I hope, continue to be in relation with the Tanzanian churches; Amber's church, Mt. Sinai UMC, will stay involved, I hope. And I will carry proposals and possibilities to Ellettsville UMC and other places.
Some things we can help with money, some with materiel, some with moral support. And I went out on a limb and said to Umba what I have long felt in my heart: when I retire, I want to go back to Tanzania about every other year and teach Local Pastors School at his training-center-to-be. I joked that, like David Livingstone, I had left a part of myself in Tanzania.*
I imagine all four of us will be back some day, though probably not all on the same trip(s). And we will bring others. The UMC in Tanzania is young, but it's growing and doing great things. I want to be part of its ministry.
By wise use of resources, we got home with some $300 in leftover funds. Since Venture Crew 699 is closing down its account, we agreed to send all of that to Morogoro for their school(s).
*Livingstone died on the Zambia border, and his four servants disemboweled his body, burying his heart and innards there and preserving his body as best they could; then they carried it to the coast, hundreds of miles away. Livingstone was finally buried in Westminster Abbey.