Sunday, October 28, 2012

Bicycle Kick

You might have to know a bit about a soccer to understand the significance of this accomplishment!

Saturday, October 27, 2012



People (of European decent) say to me, "It's so cute; why don't you just leave it like that?" 
Because the maintenance of such a hairstyle would drive me to drinking. 
The complicated braids?  Much, much easier. 

Saturday, October 20, 2012


There's another story that has been unfolding ever since I went to meet Lily the very first time.  I haven't been able to tell you about it.  I am dying to tell you about it; in fact, I wrote an entire post last week, and when I was done, I realized that it was too much information and I still can't publish it.  Not yet. 

But I can tell you this: 

This little girl desperately wants a Mommy and Daddy.  She is almost seven years old, very smart, and knows all about adoption.

Our good friends desperately want to adopt her.  But this is a very tricky, complicated, unprecedented case.  And it all depends on the decision of one man, and he will be making that decision any day now.

This is her last chance.  If this does not work, she will permanently be transferred to another orphanage, which will be her home for the rest of her childhood. 

Many are praying and fasting on their behalf.  Please join us! 

Friday, October 19, 2012

Our Haven

As I sit here, there's a breeze blowing through the house, birds singing, my kids playing on the trampoline outside.  I can hear the Call to Prayer in the distance, which is such a part of my life now that I don't even hear it unless I am sitting quietly. 

Peaceful.  Which is strange, really, because I know that this city is not peaceful right now.  So much so, that at 9:00 this morning, HOPAC's administration started calling every parent to tell that that school would close at noon instead of 2:20.  Because this city is not peaceful today, and they were worried about the safety of our students.

A week or two ago, in a far away part of the city, two teenage boys were having an argument over whether a Qur'an would turn into a snake if one urinated on it.  It was, perhaps, a Double-Dog-Dare.  But this was not little kids and a frozen flag pole.  And when the actual event did take place, far worse than the fire department showed up.  The foolish kid who happened to try it would have been beheaded had not the police intervened.  Rioting insued, including the vandalization of a few churches and some cars set on fire. 

Then we heard about rioting on Zanzibar (the predominantly Islamic island off the coast), which is sort of a normal thing for Zanzibar, and I really don't know if it had anything to do with the teenage boy incident.  But then today, there were reports of a large demonstration (rumors have said 100,000 people) starting this afternoon since some rioting-leaders had been imprisoned.  And apparently, if sources were right, Christian churches and institutions would bear the brunt of their anger. 

So.  Since HOPAC is one of those "Christian institutions," we sent the kids home early. 

To be honest, it's hard to even find out right now what is going on, but it sounds like police have essentially shut down the city.  And to be honest, I don't even know what the real reasons are for all this unrest.  But the truth is, the whole world is unrestful right now.  Unless you have your head in a hole, you've been able to see that. 

Tanzania has been proud of their reputation for being a peaceful country.  It has avoided war for 50 years, which is almost unprecedented in Africa.  And Dar es Salaam means Haven of Peace.  So the question is whether or not it will live up to its reputation. 

If you want to pray for our safety and that of HOPAC, then that's great and all, but really?  There are far more important things at stake right now.  Here.  In our world.  We don't just pray for peace, but for Peace.  And sometimes, it takes some riots and some anger and some churches being burned down, for people to start to recognize their need for Peace.  So be it.  To God be the glory.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

I Can't Compete

Gil put a black light in the bathroom, stuck glow stars all over the place, and gave the kids flourescent dry erase markers and let them draw on the tiled walls. 

This afternoon, while Gil was resting, I played Memory with the kids.  Then he came out and proceeded to make a Darth Vader costume for Josiah out of water bottles and cardboard. 
It's a good thing I am useful for things like nutrition and education. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Future Investments

Our Annual Executive Council Retreat was last weekend, and it was great.  This year:  5 girls, one guy.  4 Tanzanians, one German, one Korean. 
We spent 8 hours writing our vision statement and making a master plan for the school year, and the rest of the time, we had fun!  I wasn't feeling too well, so I had to miss out on some of the fun part, but it was still so well worth the time. 
I love the conversations we have with these kids.  Sure, they love movies and Facebook as much as the next teenager, but they are far more interesting than just that.  Last weekend, we talked about how body image is determined by culture, how superstition and animism is so much a part of African culture that it permeates Christianity in Tanzania, and what it is like to try to bridge two different ethnic backgrounds. 
I learn something new every time I talk to them.  
The team (right to left):  Kandy, Daniel, Diana, Rachel, Joanna, and Cynthia

They've got a great plan for this school year.  I am proud of their ambition and their love for their school.  Great things ahead! 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

His Movie, His World, His Gift

I'm sitting in the living room without the fans on, and am starting to get uncomfortable.  I wore my hair down last week for the last time of the season.  The sweat is returning for yet another year. 

One of the electricity phases in our house just went out, which means that 1/3 of our lights/fans/outlets aren't working.  Josiah just had a little tantrum over the fact that his own personal bed fan stopped working.  Sorry, Buster.  Ain't much I can do about that. 

Josiah got up this morning, stripped naked, and the very first thing he put on were his knee high, multi-colored Cars socks.  There isn't much in life that is more amusing than seeing a tiny naked little brown boy wearing nothing but socks.  After all, his socks are always the most important part of whatever ensemble he happens to choose for the day. 

This morning I was walking home from school and got caught in the rain.  It stopped as soon as I hit our driveway.  As it dripped off my eyelashes, I prayed for more.  The dams are emptying and the power cuts will soon start again.

I just got over three days of the stomach flu.  Nothing like laying on the bathroom floor that makes one really, really thankful for general health. 

Unfortunately the stomach trouble started during our Student Council leadership retreat.  But it was still a good weekend. 

I voted yesterday.  Today, after school, while my mom friends and I watched our kids on the playground, the topic turned to politics, as it has a lot recently.  One of my friends, who is simply amazingly interesting, admitted today that she read all 2000 pages of the Heathcare Bill.  I like politics, but she is my source of information.  Wish I could vote her into Congress.

Tomorrow I will go to the FedEx office and mail off the remainder of our documents for our adoption dossier.  The paperwork pregnancy will finally be out of my hands. 

This morning the doctor diagnosed Gil's toe pain as gout.  Apparently it isn't just a condition from Jane Austen novels. 

Our niece just got married last weekend and we missed it.  However, a teacher friend who we have known for 8 years is getting married in November in Kenya, and today I started planning her shower.  She and I gleefully laughed that it was recently discovered that a store at the mall does wedding registries.  They even have the little gun! she said. 

This year all of our students are going through Crazy Love by Francis Chan.  Today I looked for quotes from the book to put up on posters all throughout the school. 

In our world, where hundreds of things distract us from God, we have to intentionally and consistently remind ourselves of Him.
The point of your life is to point to Him. Whatever you are doing, God wants to be glorified, because this whole thing is His. It is His movie, His world, His gift.

His art, His handiwork, and His creation all echo the truth that He is glorious. There is no other like Him. He is the King of Kings, the Beginning and the End, the One who was and is and is to come.