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The Follow Up…

I meant to thank everyone, and let you know how things were going sooner, but those things kept changing. Sorry to be dramatic and then keep everyone in suspense. Many thoughts have been going through my mind the last week. So here goes.

Thank you everyone for your kind responses! They have been meaningful to me, and it really makes me miss everyone. Gaining perspective is an interesting experience, and not one that is easy to describe. New perspective shapes not just your view of the present and future, but also the past. I have come to a better understanding of my past, which has helped me to understand my current situation and struggles. It is difficult to gain perspective. It is difficult to grapple with the past, present and future. The good thing is that perspective helps you to be able to function better in the present. The bad thing is that gaining perspective causes sleepless nights and much stress. I have gone back and forth, round and round, trying to figure things out. Sometimes I come to a consensus, and sometimes I just get tired. This happens on a regular basis.  I will admit that I don’t quite have things worked out in my mind yet. However I think I’m starting to see the light, and I would like to share it with you.

Kelly and I have a strong sense of justice. That is not a highly valued character trait around here. Before coming to Tanzania, I had the feeling that I could help make amends for how badly many African countries have been exploited. It is definitely true that Africa has been exploited by many countries. What I have been disappointed to find is that local officials are happy to sell out their own people for pennies on the dollar. Closer to home, they don’t mind exploiting local orphanages that  are saving their children. The biggest part of what I have realized, is that I have let the few negative people really weigh on me, while not embracing the many positive comments from people locally and around the world. Now granted, those few negative influences can cause serious trouble for us, but I know that is only fear. We have pondered faith and fear in our safety, and I should have known better than to let fear get a hold of our future. I can see what has been troubling me for a long time now, and I know my heavenly Father is watching out for me.

The highlight for me, of our trip to the Masai village was visiting with Memusi’s grandmother. Memusi is the baby who came to Neema House just days after we moved here. Her mother had died after child birth, and Memusi was not well. The next couple of nights we kept Memusi in our room. She has grown well and is very healthy. At our visit we had a translator, and we talked about Memusi’s future. In the end, her grandmother wanted her to stay with us to get an education. This was relieving to me personally. It’s trendy to glamorize foreign cultures’s. However sometimes a culture still practices female circumcision, or wife beating, or giving young girls (not old enough to get pregnant) as a temporary reward to some man they intend to honor. When we asked about her being circumcised, the answer was, “We can talk about that.” Hmmm… I think Memusi staying with us is a great idea. We have made arrangements for the grandmother to make regular visits.

As I was processing that trip (Kelly has written more about it), we received another child from social welfare. He is about 2 years old, but his mother has been deemed unfit to care for him. The hard part is that I sat down to play with this healthy, intelligent little boy, and he was engaged, laughing, and didn’t seem to have a problem in the world. Is there really a problem with the mother, or is there something else? We are happy to care for him, or course.

Finally, we had Beulah go home. It was short notice, but her father had re-married and was also moving away. There is no doubt her father loves her. Her three siblings are excited to have her near, and her new mother was very kind. They had been visiting and Beulah was comfortable with them. Beulah is fun, has a great smile, and can work up an incredible nose full of snot. We are missing her, but we feel confident she will be happy and well cared for with her family. It was also incredible to watch the nannies say goodbye to Beulah. They really, truly loved her, and grieved her leaving Neema House. They cried for joy, but they also cried because she is part of our family, and we had to say goodbye. Even happy goodbyes are not easy.

There is a lot to take in here. The babies at Neema, the staff at Neema, my wife at Neema, and my kids… wait where are my kids? Oh there they are playing in the mud. But seriously, all is well. God has richly blessed me. If you know me, you know I don’t use cliches lightly. We followed the right call, and we are doing the right thing. I just can’t get pulled down into the narrow view of those who think a little money and power are most important.

Thank you again for your support! Our struggles would be much more difficult without you.

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09/24/2014 at 2:31 pm

Thank you matt for taking such good care of all there at NEEMA extra thanks for your love and care of 3 we know and love so much I know you are watching over them and God is watching over you all know I pray for you every day as do others With love

Linda Zikes
09/24/2014 at 3:03 pm

When you are worried or down, take it all to God. He’s always there. Also, you were called by God, not to please anyone in Africa or make up for things others did. You have to do what God asks, and let Him judge the ones that don’t. You have many, many people praying for you and your family and for Neema House. May God guide you and protect you!

Margie mcloud
09/24/2014 at 8:29 pm

So glad to find you in a better place….I am envious of you and Kelly for your faith and courage in following God’s leading to Africa…. To go and do great good where there is great need has always been a dream of mine but not one I’ve ever had the courage and faith to take up my bed and follow…..I am so in awe of you and your family for what you are doing and I love reading your blogs….just remember there are many people lifting you and your ministry up in prayer….may God continue to hold you in his palm and richly bless you and those whose lives you touch….

Joy Erdman
09/24/2014 at 10:00 pm

Many times a day I think of you and pray for you. I have no doubt that angels have hovered over you, protected you and ministered to all 4 of you. I’m so proud of you for getting out there and doing what God told you to do. There is no way any of us here in the USA can even begin to understand what that means, but we know we can pray and give to help you and we’re doing that as much and as often as we can! We share your blogs with our friends and family and have had so many people comment about how nice it is that you are so open about how you feel and what you need. That is so refreshing. I hope you always stay real and give us the straight talk that keeps us informed and able to feel along with you in this amazing adventure. Every single child you have spared has a life with purpose in God’s plan. We have no idea what that will mean in the grand scheme of things when you consider the impact your ministry will have on families, villages and the whole continent. Only God knows the scope of it. And we’ll leave it up to Him because at the end of the day – it’s really all His work! May God bless you! I love you so much!

09/25/2014 at 9:31 am


Audrey Ihnen
09/25/2014 at 10:04 pm

Dear Matt and Kelly,thank you for keeping us informed and let us know your concerns and struggles. On the other side you share your praises and faith with us. I feel blessed to have a part of your ministry! I pray as Paul greated the churches, that you will be Blessed, have the peace of God, and be encouraged! We love you! Hug your beautiful girls for me! Audrey

auntie June
09/26/2014 at 12:28 pm

Hey Matt…….Gosh have I been praying for you in this time of challenge??? You betcha Bubba !! God sent you all to Africa cuz’ He knew before you were born you could do it….Stand strong and where you can’t go on….He carries you on…….the “snotty nose” was a real knee slapper….love all 4 of you, auntie June…..Aurora, Colorado.

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