Happy New Year!! Welcome to our beautiful ‘new’ blog! After five and a half years, I decided it was time for an updated look. We spent our New Years Day at the pool soaking up the summer sun.
I will admit that even after five years of celebrating the holidays in the southern hemisphere I still struggle with a sweaty Christmas. Christmas and New Years are finally behind us, a fact I feel like celebrating. In Tanzania, time in December is slower than a pregnant sloth. We came back from the States on November 30th all pumped up and ready to go, only to run headfirst into the December slump. People here take that month very seriously, doing the bare minimum of work. I feel like I have been twiddling my thumbs slowly watching the days tick by until we can tackle new projects in January. Ironically, my word for the year is “Settle”, but more on that later.
This was our first year to celebrate the holidays with the Walk In Love staff. We had tons of fun hosting parties for both centers and giving the staff generous bonuses. It has been an honor to work with them for the past year, and exciting to bless them during the holiday season. Both centers prepared a feast of fried chicken, chips (French fries), rice with veggies, and fruit. Of course, there was soda, because it is not a party in Tanzania unless you have soda for everyone!
We decorated, danced, and played games. At the Market Center I organized a scavenger hunt for the staff to find their bonuses. You have never seen a more competitive, hilarious group of women running all over the property to find the clues. We were all laughing until our sides hurt. I do not think the kids really knew what to think about all the chaos, but they were certainly not shy about eating as much chicken as possible!
Camille and Tabitha did a Christmas craft with the kids at the Kisongo Center. Both girls were nervous about teaching the activity, but then really got into it and did an awesome job! I was so very proud of their sweet spirits, and willingness to work with the kids. I think they were surprised at how much they enjoyed the experience.
The two centers were closed for Christmas, the day after Christmas, and New Years Day. Many of the parents assumed that we would be closed for two weeks in December, following the local school calendar. Our schedule succeeded in differentiating a daycare center from a school, which has been a challenge. People are still trying to figure out what a daycare is. It was a fantastic opportunity for us to support families, especially single parent families, by being open during one of the busiest times of the year. I hope you were able to follow along with our Facebook page during the last few weeks of December. The page focused on highlighting many of the success stories Walk In Love experienced in 2018. Kelly Mollel and I are endeavoring to increase our expertise in videos and Facebook outreach. It is our goal to be more proactive and professional with our internet presence. Doing marketing work is not my strength. However, I am passionate about sharing what we are accomplishing, and I know social media is the best way to do that. If you have not had chance, please click here to visit and like the Walk In Love Facebook page. We are only a few likes shy of 800! You will not want to miss all of the new content coming in 2019.
Over the past few weeks I have been putting a great deal of thought into my goals for 2019. I am a firm believer in making resolutions and setting a word for the year. This time of self-definition has helped me in the past and I anticipate it with joy every year. My word for this year is “Settle”. Finding my word is normally a process of prayer, and waiting for God to reveal to me what His direction is for this season. Throughout 2017 the word He gave me was “Move”. I received that word three months before everything in our life was turned upside down, and we ended up with a complete restructuring. Having the word “Move” on my heart before everything hit the fan was deeply comforting to me. It assured me that He already knew what was coming and had been preparing me all along. The idea of “Settle” has been on my heart for many months and is a concept that sparks deep discomfort in my soul. I am a Do’er, a mover and shaker, a lover of change. To Settle into the life that He has undoubtedly placed me goes against everything in my (Type 8) personality. However, I feel the call for Settle in my inner person on a daily basis. It is a call to lower my intensity level, and appreciate the now.
How Settle manifests can take many different forms. Settle could range from having a meal plan so that I am not stressing every night over dinner, to finally putting some personal touches on our house because we might just stick around, to working on wholeness because I have done all the things and still feel empty inside. I think Settle might look quite a bit like trust. Trust in God, trust in the process, trust in my family, trust in my place in life right now. Trust feels terrifyingly close to letting go of control. Be still my anxious heart. It is going to be a year of growth, but I am ready. I would love to hear what your goals and plans are for 2019. Do you pick a word, or make resolutions? Writing them down and making them public is always a good way to increase your commitment!
I am going to end with some of our current prayer requests. We constantly need to have committed support through prayer. Thank you for supporting us in this way.
- Pray that we will have the favor of the government in all aspects of our life and ministry. There is quite a bit of unrest in this area and conditions can change quickly. Please pray that we will be sustained through favor.
- Pray for friends for Camille and Tabitha. We continue to feel that homeschooling is the right option for our family, but that means that the girls are more isolated than I would like. Also, pray that I can find music lessons for Camille.
- Pray for wisdom in leading Walk In Love, especially in starting up some of the new projects we are planning for this year. To see more on those plans, check out this sweet video. https://www.facebook.com/walkinloveTZ/videos/297074024275971/
- Pray for guidance as we attempt to register our current centers with the government.
- Pray that God will bring us a manager for the new center that we hope to open in the coming months. This woman needs to have a good mind for business, be honest, fair and hard working.