Family / Updates

From The Other Side Of The World

If I could pick one word to summarize my feelings for the year 2013, it would be OVERWHELMED, but not in the way you might think. There have definitely been some overwhelming moments trying to hack through our out-of-control to-do list, but mostly the feeling of being overwhelmed has been of the incredible blessings of God and the indescribable generosity of my family and friends and the community of Christ.
If you are reading this blog, you probably know our story, the fact that we felt called to Africa in January but did not actually start fund-raising until September after our scouting trip. We had several well-meaning friends tell us to lower our expectations, because most people have to fund-raise for a year or more to be able to raise enough support to survive on the mission field. We listened to their words, but knew that we needed to be in Africa by December, and trusted God to supply for what we felt was his plan and timing. Many months prior, God had shown me that I was not to trust in the sale of our house, but to trust that He would indeed provide, and that He would do so by stirring the hearts of people to support us. I am OVERWHELMED by the amazing generosity that my family has experienced. We walked on the airplane last Tuesday with full confidence that all of our monthly needs will be met and we would be able to furnish our new home.
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Our travels were incredibly smooth and blessed. Tabitha slept for seven hours and Camille five hours on our thirteen hour flight over the Atlantic to Doha, Qatar. We then had a sixteen hour layover in Qatar complete with fancy hotel and delicious Mediterranean food, compliments of Qatar Airlines. We flew from Doha to Arusha, another eight hours on the plane. Flying into Arusha was an amazing experience, knowing that I was looking down on the land that was to become our families new home. Camille loved every minute on the plane because she got unfettered access to kids movies. When we landed in Arusha, after 21 hours of flying, she asked if she could stay on the airplane to finish the movie she was watching!
We walked through immigration with barely a second glance from the official. I praise God for allowing our visas to come through in the nick of time! Amazingly, all eight of our bags and two car seats arrived with us in Tanzania! I was amazed that none of our bags were lost. When I unpacked the only casualty was my french press, which broke into a million shards in my clothes bag, boohoo! We were stopped at customs and one guy pulled out many items to tax because they were still in their original boxes. However, after pulling out the items, he went to a different room and did not return and another guy came by and put all the items back in the bags, so we did not have to pay any import taxes.
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The girls were amazed by all the flowers and people at the airport. Tabitha fell fast asleep on the ride from the airport to Neema House, but Camille was glued to the window, watching in awe and asking a million questions. I cannot even imagine what was going through her head as she saw a culture so different from our own. She definitely noticed that she had become the minority in this new land. She was also fascinated by watching the women carry huge loads on their heads with NO HANDS, but most of all she could not get over how many flowers were everywhere.
When we arrived at Neema House we received a fantastic greeting! Camille walked in and through all the rooms, her curious nature wanting to see exactly what everything looked like. She talked to the Nannies easily and answered their questions about her age and name. The Swahili language does not have a double L sound or a ‘th’ sound, so both Camille and Tabitha are quite the tongue twisters for the nannies. Tabitha was still sound asleep when we arrived and had difficulty waking up and was very unwilling to be engaged by anyone. The nannies fluttered around her saying poor baby, poor baby in Swahili. I could not believe how much each of the babies had changed and grown since I had seen them in September. We quickly got settled in the upstairs apartment at Neema House, had dinner and passed out from exhaustion.
We are so glad to be in Africa! We are glad to be done talking about what we want to do at and for Neema House and get busy doing it! I am so grateful to everyone who has and will support us in this work, we would not be here without your generosity. I cannot wait to share with you in this journey as God does great things here.

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12/18/2013 at 7:26 am

addyson enjoyed listening to me read this blog this morning and seeing the pictures of the girls!

12/18/2013 at 1:45 pm

Thank you. I couldn’t wait for your post. I was only sad when I came to the end. I bought my ticket and waiting to get the details on the flight. Love, love, love no matter how far.

12/18/2013 at 2:26 pm

I’m so glad to hear from you and to hear how God is providing for your family this week. I love you!

Marion Smithsmith2012@gmail.comwettsmith
12/18/2013 at 4:09 pm

That was so thrilling to read your story! I admire you for giving of yourself to help these people! Best of everything is my prayer for all of you!!!

Judy Coneby
12/18/2013 at 7:35 pm

So happy to hear from you all! We pray for you and are so inspired by your lives. I know that the Lord will do much through you and with you as you serve Him. Tell Camille and Tabitha that their picture is on my refrigerator and I love them and think of them often. I would love to hear what Camille is thinking about – have her tell you and write it down!! Maybe she can start a blog ha ha Hugs from Texas!

12/19/2013 at 12:31 pm

I LOVE the idea of Camille having a blog! Tell the girls Aunt Reba loves them so much and to have so much fun on their new adventure!

auntie June
12/20/2013 at 4:59 pm

PRAISE GOD for your smooth entry into Africa….Don’t you wish we could see behind the scenes the supernatural orchestrations??? What a wondrous sight it must be….

Christie Cockrell
12/22/2013 at 7:47 am

praise God for your blessings and safe trip! I’m going to miss you like crazy! So proud of you for following your heart and listening to God’s word!

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