Wednesday, June 6, 2012

To Tanzania She Goes

Today my Mom will board an airplane and head miles and miles across the ocean, to a far off, dusty land…

This is a trip in which my Mom is allowing her faith to guide her completely out of her comfort zone. I cannot even tell you how going on this trip is SO NOT something my Mom would normally do. Going to Africa. With a group of strangers. 2 ½ weeks far, far away from home. To comfort, hold and care for the sick - the modern day ‘untouchables’ - the least of these - the down trodden – the abandoned – the suffering – the oppressed. Her courage to go on this trip is the evidence of a mighty God working inside of her – teaching her to rely on Him, and proving to her heart that He can do POWERFUL things through her if she rises up and says, “Yes, Lord! Use me! I will be Your hands and feet here in this broken and fallen world.”
You can read about how this trip came up for my mom in my words here and in her words here. She is traveling as part of a medical missions team with an organization named STEMM which stands for Siouxland Tanzania Educational Medical Ministries ( My mom did not have the money to go on this expensive missions trip. But, as we trusted He would, the Lord provided every single penny she needed by way of fundraising. It was more proof that yes, God desires His followers to reach out to the nations, in His name, and He will do what is needed to make it happen.
Here are some details of her trip itinerary:
-June 6 leave Minneapolis to Amsterdam to Kilimanjaro. Tanzania is 8 hours ahead of Iowa time.
-One of the team’s first projects will be market shopping to buy ‘groceries’ in order to cook for about 250 Compassion International children.
-The team will also lead bible study, and play with the children. The team will be working out of the Arusha Lutheran Medical Centre’, ALMC Hospital. Children in the community suffer from both congenital problems like club foot and acquired deformities such as skeletal fluorosis. In this area, fluoride comes down out of the mountains into their drinking water, and leaches the calcium out of their bones making them soft. Other skeletal trauma is common from burns as a consequence of open fire cooking among the Maasai children. This is one of the reasons that STEMM was founded in this area of Arusha by an orthopedic surgeon. The team will hold ortho clinics (assessments for the patients pre and post surgery), some team members will help the surgeon in the operating room during surgery, they will visit the plaster house (where the children live after surgery if they have a cast – they don’t go home until they are healed – they live at the plaster house until the casts come off), and they will also be going on hospice home visits in the surrounding villages to administer hands-on nursing.
-Since STEMM began its ministry in 1997, they were only aware of what at that time was a relatively small orphan problem. Little did they know that within the next five years, the orphan population would explode through Africa due to the widespread HIV/AIDS epidemic. The experiences in the local orphanages prompted STEMM to build their own orphanage, Stemm’s Children’s Village (SCV), to be run like a home. They are in the early phases of building this village and when filled to capacity it will house 180 children. This orphanage will not only save children from starvation, exploitation and death but also will provide a Christian environment for them to thrive. My mom’s team will be spending much time at the children’s village: interacting, playing and doing bible studies and worship time with the kids, and also doing more hands-on nursing like administering worm medication. They will also be gifting the orphanage with children's bible stories in their native Swahili language. :)
-Other general activities: The team will regularly be purchasing food and cooking meals for various orphanages in the area, they will administer growth and development assessments on children at the orphanages, lead bible studies with the children, and will lead worship at church services.
-For 3 days, June 16, 17, 18, the team will take a break and be on Safari, seeing a few of these sights: Tarangire National Park, walk through farms to see agriculture, Masaai village, Mivaleni lake and waterfall. This is their time as a group, to decompress and grow as a team before they head back to Arusha on Monday 6/18 to complete their remaining days of work.
In one of her recent blog posts, my mom laid out the most perfect prayer request heading into the trip….in her words….
We are the Lord’s servant every day and moment of our lives. Although on our trip we think we are going to the ‘multitudes’ I’m reminded not to miss the ‘one’ along the way, for whom Jesus also died. My prayer is to surrender my agenda and needs so that I don’t miss what God wants me to do each day. Help me to see the ‘one’ here and there. Each of you can recite the same message…as you serve each day and moment of your life. The one, for me, is Edward, who came right up to me and grabbed my hand. He is a little boy living in Cape Coast, Ghana, Africa and I think about him every day. Because I missed the ‘one’ along the way. So for Edward, I will be hugging more and reading more and sitting down to hold more children.
I can just picture the dark chocolate eyes and little brown faces that will capture my mom’s heart. :) This trip will be woven with such intimate workings of the Holy Spirit – I can’t wait for my Mom to experience those personal moments in which it seems as if Jesus is right there – disguised as a child.
Dear Mom ~ I cannot think of any better encouraging words to send you off on, than those found in the lyrics of this song…..
We are the change
the world is waiting for
We’ve got a love
the world is desperate for
We will lead
and take to your streets
Now’s the time for us to rise
and carry hope and let love shine
and show this world that mercy is alive
Now’s the time for us to rise
and carry hope to hopeless eyes
and show this world that mercy is alive
We’re not afraid
we will abandon all
to hear your name
on lips across the world
we will run
in the wake of your love
Fill our hearts with your compassion
let our love be active here
We will go
where you tell us to go
We will speak of your very Word
We will move
when you tell us to move
We are yours

(The Church by Elevation Worship)

Therefore, go, and be a light unto these people....

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