Pictures of Clark

Last week my two year old son Clark broke his leg while jumping on our trampoline.  It’s been a long week, but tonight I took some great pictures of Clark’s awesome smile.  Anyway, hope everyone is having a great week! Enjoy the pictures…Mike

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Labels=Division & Christ=Unity

This is a great interview of Rob Bell. I would strongly encourage each of you to watch the clip. It’s a great example of how labels can divide the body of Christ. He talks about his church in Michigan and what unites them.

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Know Sweat Wednesday, June 25

This morning we woke up, and went to breakfast. We had biscuts and gravy…YUM!!! Then we did our devotions, and headed out to our job site. Today was a long and exhausting day, especially for the girls because this was our first all-day work day. All we did was paint, that way we can work inside all day tomorrow. When we got back to campus us girls were still having a shower crisis. The water is FREEZING!!! So we borrowed someones showers. Thank you guys for all your support, and efforts to get us here. I LOVE IT!!!

Blog Entry By Brittany Sutton

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Know Sweat Tuesday, June 24

We woke up this morning to Emily jumping up and yelling IT’S 6:00AM WAKE UP! The problem there was a thunderstorm. So for our first day we got to scrape in the rain. After the rain we taped primed, and painted but while we took a lunch break the rain decided to fall again and wouldn’t let up this so the girls went back to the dorms around 1:30pm while the guys worked on the inside flooring. There was a problem when we got back to the dorms there was no hot water, so we all got to take freezing cold showers. The next thing we do is go to Calvary Christian Church for connection (our evening worship). So, that was our day!

Blog entry by Michelle Paine

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Know Sweat Day At The Zoo

Today our team spent the day at the Omaha Zoo. We had a great time and the pictures show it all! Check out the pictures and feel free to leave some comments. Tonight we are going to the evening session for worship and group prayer time. Our team is looking forward to start working Tuesday morning.

Peace, Mike

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Tanzania & A Different Kind Of Rich

The last few weeks has been an overwhelming experience. Our visit to Tanzania was an exhausting journey filled with great joy. From the first day I arrived I noticed something obviously different than America. In Tanzania I came across poverty at it’s worst. The kind of poverty you rarey if ever see in the United States. I expected to see poverty…I expected to see injustice, but I didn’t expect to see relationships. In the states we have a great deal of wealth, but many are starving for strong long lasting relationships. I am not exactly sure why, but it has seemed very evident during my two weeks that relationship are rich in Tanzania.

During the two weeks spent in Africa I have made some life lasting relationships. It seems like everyday I came in contact with someone that amazed me. To hear the stories of what God is doing in Arusha and the surrounding villages has been a blessing.

While in Africa our team worked with Steve and Marty McFarland of Key Connection Ministries. Steve and Marty have been using relationships as a core value to reach and teach others about Christ. By making relationships a foundation of their ministry they have seen God work in great ways. Also with these relationship they have meet many pastors and leaders which has brought about great work for the Kingdom. These relationships have help start churches in remote areas of the Massai bush. These churches are preaching the message of Christ to people who have never heard the Gospel message.

I have seen awesome overwhelming things during my stay in Tanzania. Many things I will forget, but I will never forget the relationships. They’re relationships centered around Christ and this journey we call grace. I have found some brothers and sisters in Christ I will never forget. The church sent us off to Tanzania to encourage, but I was strongly encouraged. I thought I would go and make a difference, but I am the one whom came back a different person. The people I meet in Tanzania may not be rich with possessions, but are rich in deep relationships.

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Tanzania from the Front Lines

Wow. What pressure. There is so much to tell and it is so hard to explain. I will try and hit the high points…atleast MY high points. On Monday we went to the Muslim slum and did a VBS for the kids there. We arrived in the morning after sanding benches that we would build later on in the day, and then Chuck and I were thrown into teaching the preschoolers a lesson. We got pretty creative explaining the Parable of the Sower with boxes of soil to match the four different areas of ground that Jesus described. Of course, it’s always more difficult when you have to work through an interpreter, but Apenetu did a great job with helping the kids understand. Then, we went to work on putting together benches for the VBS later that day. We had prepared a puppet show using a recording by Skola and Hilda (the housekeepers) from a script that Jess and I worked on writing, then Chuck helped the kids learn a memory verse about courage, and then all of the 200 KIDS were split into 3 groups: games, crafts, or snacks. It was tiring and exciting all at the same time. One specific girl, Fatma, tugged on my heartstrings. She was an older girl who lived just down the block and she would always hold my hand or smooth my skirt or give me a hug. I love that girl. She introduced me to her mother, and then later in the evening her mom came over to the church and asked Debi if should would be willing to take a picture of her and me. It was really sweet. At dark (6:30 every night all year round), Steve played a video from Good News Productions for the community from a projector that we set up outside. I got to meet so many people, and of course I’m just a poor mzungu (white person) who can only understand “how are you?” or “welcome.” But with God’s help I could communicate in other ways with the people.

On Tuesday, we woke up bright and early and met up with Asnath who took us to a couple villages in the bush to visit the churches and see how the work was going with the Proclaimer. We arrived at the first village, Karao, and were greeted with joyful praise to God. I don’t think I’ve ever heard anything so beautiful. There building was just some logs that had been put into the ground and a few benches made from spare logs. The pastor said that normally they put a cover over the people to protect them from the sun, but “today God has provided a cover for us” (the clouds). Chuck had prepared a short sermon for the listening groups about God’s guidance and how we need to trust in Him. When we were getting ready to leave, we were asked to stand up at the front because the people had a gift for us. (I have to admit I was kinda scared to find out what it was.) The women of the village came up to the us and presented each of us with some type of jewelry that they had made. It was so touching, and because they speak Ma (language of the Maasai) the only word I could give them was Asha (thank you), although it just could not express how touched I was. Ngoswak was the second village, and when the van pulled up there the people were all jumping and singing. Again, what a beautiful sight. I’m sure God was smiling. The people did not have a building, but instead they met “between the trees.” I wish we would do that in the States. We went through the same routine, and then while we were handing out toothbrushes and oranges, the younger people of the village sang for us. You just can’t imagine how gorgeous it sounded. Chuck presented two goats to a widow who was blind. There’s a funny story to go along with the goats, but you will have to see the video to understand. We got to see some of the huts of the people of Ngoswak, and I do not understand how they can stand the heat and the flies. Marty calls them “Maasai flies” because they are relentless, and they always rest on your face. The kids would have flies crawling over their lip or their eye and wouldn’t even notice. It was something I had to get used to. When we went inside the hut, they had a fire going with the sun already beating down, and they served us hot tea. I was burning up, but that is just their way of life. The people were so thankful to us. The kids wanted to hold our hands…the adults wanted to hug us…and you could see the hope of Christ in their eyes. There are beautiful people here in Tanzania.

On Wednesday we did some shopping around town, so there is not much to tell there. But here are some highlights of our safari.

Only in Africa could I say we had to stop to let the giraffe cross the road and an elephant passed us. When we were headed to Lake Manyara a giraffe went right across the main paved road! And then…an elephant passed not even a foot away from our jeep. I could have reached out my hand and touched it. We saw so many animals, and I’m sure Chuck or David could list them all off. I loved the zebras, giraffes, and elephants the most. It was also AMAZING when we saw two cheetahs getting ready to hunt a gazelle. God sure does make some beautiful animals, although I’m not real sure how the hyena and the warthog fit into that description. We also got to see a rhino from afar and a BUNCH of hippos. There were also some pretty aggressive baboons who stole some bananas out of a van at the entrance into Ngorongoro Crater, and then scared Mike half to death by running toward him. I never got tired of hearing our driver, Freddy, say “Be sure to close your doors and windows so the baboons don’t get in.” Only in Africa.

As far as our team goes, my leg started hurting really bad on Tuesday morning, and just started feeling better today. Debi got a sore throat, but with the help of some allergy medicine, I think she is feeling better. Mike is taking pictures like crazy at every turn. Chuck is already thinking about coming back next year with the help of Marty’s careful planning. Jess is still taking over the front seat to keep away her upset stomach, and David is still on security. Tomorrow we will be wrapping things up and preparing the leave on Sunday. It’s too soon. I feel like I’m finally getting my bearings in Tanzania. I will miss the people we have met…I will miss Steve, Marty and Rachel…I will miss being with our team…I will miss Arusha. I’m excited to share our stories with you when we are back in the States. We have sad stories, funny stories, and humbling stories…stories of the amazing power of God…stories of our struggles…and just stories of the people here.

Sorry this is so long.

With love–Jill

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