North America, Africa · 10 Days · 42 Moments · August 2017

Joyce's adventure in Tanzania

20 August 2017

And I'm home!! Arrived in GR just after 5. Lots of extra security measures getting on to US bound planes in Amsterdam (3 security checks) and then customs and additional security checks once I arrived in Detroit. Coming home start to finish took 32 hours. But everything went smoothly though a head cold and stomach issues kept me from sleeping. Oh well, catching up is what this weeks vacation is for. Thanks for all your prayers!!

18 August 2017

Last images of Tanzania. Its been good. I've learned a lot and hopefully taught something too.
On the way to the airport...we were packed in pretty good!!
What I won't miss...
Check out this slug!! You need to look at the 2nd pic ☺
What I'll miss...the people...the beauty
Saying goodbye
Final worship, celebrating TEAs 5th anniversary, and some children who were attending.

17 August 2017

Visited the university's cultural arts center this afternoon which is almost complete. Along with training music educators and church musicians it has as its mission to record traditional African music, archive it, and teach it. One building is shaped as a drum. There is also a performance hall with open sides shaped like a Masai shield.
Walking to the centre, a home across the field, and some woman at work.
Pray for my back. Its not very happy at the moment and we have several long flights starting tomorrow night.
Walking to the classroom...and a picture of my class, at least most of them they kept leaving to take their own pics so I don't think the person taking it could ever get them to stand still long enough to get them all. The last class went well, its been a privilege to lead them in their study of worship.

16 August 2017

A concern I have for both Africa and North America has to do with an over-reliance on technology in worship especially amplification. For example Sunday's worship took place in a small acoustically live room with 50 people, yet everything was amplified. I used a Mic to preach even though I could have been easily heard without it. Also the volume here is so loud that everything is the volume is turned up even more. There also seems to be a belief at least in practice that the Holy Spirit is more fully present if the music is loud and that praise only happens at loud volumes.
So what am I learning? Here are some random reflections: -gratitude: people in Africa have the spiritual discipline of gratitude -women have a significant place in leadership and are respected but language is male focused and men are still seen as holding ultimate authority -very little respect for creation and care for personal property that is not related to lack of funds -They have a greater awareness of the spiritual world and a fuller developed theology and practice -the west has much to learn from them -where it is happening well (such as Tanzania) there is much to be learned about how to get along with different people groups -they have a wonderful way of embodying worship; worshiping with the full body Something I'm reflecting on: I wasn't a fan of the idea of taking western musical education for worship to Africa BUT Africans are using western music and instruments without the knowledge of them...
Jeff Weima teaching on hermeneutics.
View from the classroom. Class went well again, great discussions.
Opening worship led by Scott Christian Evangelistic Choir
One of my roommates 😏

15 August 2017

But...I am glad to be here. I was able to get a few pages photocopied and my sessions will work without the book... Julise, a new friend from Kenya took me to a 'store' that is just outside the university's walls and I was able to buy water for the next few days...the worship is loud but spiritfilled and I can sit in the back...I brought protein bars and juice packets so they are carrying me over...Annalise seems to be doing well and I'm grateful to those who are caring for her...everything else is just life here and I'm adapting. Looking forward to teaching again tomorrow. Pray that I remain healthy and can keep the extrovert energy going.
Lest I give everyone the impression that the last days have been one immense ball of fun I think its good to share the hard parts of this trip too. Cleanliness is not next to godliness here...bed is very hard and my back is feeling it...showers are barely warm...doors don't close on the bathroom or shower...we eat the same rice meal every lunch and stomach isn't handling that much rice...the only drinkable water is served semiwarm with meals/I can't drink with meals...I am getting dehydrated and feeling the effects...not adjusted to the time change and I'm tired...books I was expecting to use for my session didn't leave the US...the worship is so very loud it actually physically hurts my ears...can only get on Wi-Fi on occasion and then it likes to kick me out mid email (though I'm starting to learn what times it works best)...I miss being able to talk on the phone with Annalise...
First session of my class. Here they are in small groups discussing their church's vertical habits. They are a great group, engaged in the material and eager to participate. We might be from different parts of the world but we have much in common.
Opening worship today
Yesterday was DAY 1. Here are some pics from the opening session.
Michelle Loyd Paige leading us in worship

14 August 2017

Beautiful flowering trees on campus including poinsettias...who knew they were actually bushes.
Banana trees abound! Cranes sitting atop trees, and plants that grow outside here but are considered 'house plants' to us.
The chapel
Walked out of my room this morning and heard the tree branches shaking, looked up and saw monkeys! So many of them traveling atop the trees. Hard to find one sitting still enough to take a pic but caught a few of them. This morning there is nothing scheduled so I plan to take a walk around campus and write a short article. The conference starts after lunch with my first workshop tomorrow morning.

13 August 2017

And some of my new older friends. Starting from the left: First two ladies are from the church and joined the pic. The 3rd woman in red isa the senior pastors wife. The man next to her is Elder Paul; he led much of the service except for the music which others took turns leading. Then Mary from Zambia, a retired nurse and an attendee at the conference. Finally, Stanley Barnabas, my translator who worked so very hard today both translating what others were saying but also everything we said. He is studying to be an engineer. Then Mary
With some of my new young friends.
We first had breakfast of tea and bread in the pastors house. Mary from Zambia came with me. She also didn't speak Swahili so all communication was in English. The second photo is of the youngest Sunday School class. Last photo is of the inside of the church.
This is the church I preached at this morning. The service was 3 1/2 hours all in Swahili except for my sermon (On Rev. 7)

12 August 2017

Found out at dinner that I'm scheduled to preach tomorrow. Please pray for the Spirit's presence and guidance in the words I bring as God's servant and for those God brings to hear them. Together may we be blessed to worship in God's house.
Pics from today's visit to the city, Arusha.
Walking to meet the others this morning. A change of times meant Sheila and I have missed breakfast but someone gave us some Peanut Butter crackers

11 August 2017

Arrived safely ☺
Our greeter and driver did a great job loading all our luggage on top of the van. We then drove a 1/2 hour to the University, had some dinner, found our rooms, and connected to Wi-Fi. Tomorrow we need to leave at 7:30 am which will be 12:30 at night your time. Good thing I'm tired and ready to call it a day. Pray that I sleep well and have lots of energy for tomorrow. (Gord, no problems getting the books/instruments through customs for any in this group.)
We arrived safely in Tanzania. It was already dark so I couldn't see anything as we landed. It was a beautiful evening which was good because we needed to wait for quite awhile outside. At the Grand Rapids airport I overheard a gentleman tell someone he was going to a conference in Tanzania. The TEA conference I asked...well yes. So I met John and his son-in-law Aaron in GR. At Schipol we ran into Sheila Holmes, John Algera, Stafford M(?), and Gary Bekker. So it was quite the crew that arrived together. Customs wasn't a problem at all but it probably took 1 1/2 hours till we all met up again outside the terminal where you are greeted by a crowd of folks holding up signs for people they are picking up.
Taking off from Schipol
If Canada is my motherland I must be in my 'grandmother land' ☺...ok didn't sleep at all on this flight. I have about a 2 hour layover here in Amsterdam which means I could stop and pick up drop!! Yum!

10 August 2017

Sometimes God has a sense of humor! When I was a student at RBC/Kuyper there was a man who use to come for lunch about once a week. He would find a table and place a centerpiece with flags from around the world on it. I would always sit as far away from that table as possible because I didn't want God to call me to go overseas. Fast forward a few years...I join a small group at Brookside and who is in it but that same man, Gord Buys. Now a few years later...who is bringing me to the airport as I travel overseas. Yep, Gord of course!! Thanks for the ride and prayer Gord! I think God got a chuckle out of this one.