Saturday, June 28, 2008

Amazing! The kitchen floor is actually level!

View from the kitchen.

Kitchen is drywalled and dining room on the way!

We got the kitchen drywalled in and Kevin is working on finishing up the dining room.

Kitchen Cabinets fill the rooms...

The living room and dining room are full of the boxes holding our new kitchen cabinets.

Mel back from Kaseke (Kuh-say-kay)

Here is the latest email from Melissa. Please continue to pray for her and the team as they travel to the villages and share the gospel.

Okay, so we just got back from Kaseke (Kuh-say-kay) about two hours ago, and now have about an hour and a half to send emails. (Right when we got home, we had to pack up our stuff, as we are staying in Harold and Coni's house and are moving in with one of the nationals, and then we had to do laundry...we got so dirty!) So, here are some of the details I can remember off hand, as I forgot to bring my journal here with me.

*We got to Kaseke and set up our camp with about two hundred kids and adults watching. Pretty much the entire outreach was amazing because sooooo many people came to know Christ! With us putting on the Kids Club, painting the girls nails, crocheting with the older girls (sp?), playing soccer and other games (including some carnival games!), having a medical clinic set up that pretty much ran nonstop from 9:00am to 7:00pm, the villagers were really prepared to hear what we came there for. Thursday night we played "The Jesus Film" in Swahili, and then Friday night we played "The Passion" in which one of our nationals, Gabriel, translated and added commentary in Swahili. The number of people who came to Christ these two nights was incredible!!! I pretty much hung out with this other intern, Jason, the whole time during the movies and we were able to answer some pretty deep questions to some villagers that would come up to us during the movie. One woman wanted help in understanding the trinity so she could better explain it to her Muslim friends. It was awesome! God did so much work there. Unfortunately, on the other hand, the poverty and illness/diseases that were there were overwhelming. Despite the fact that almost all of the people are wearing clothes that they have probably worn for days, maybe months, most have sicknesses or possibly worse diseases, and that they probably don't all get to eat everyday, they had more joy than so many that I've seen in America. It really was a beautiful depiction of what joy is.

*Tonight we're going to the Youth Night at the Bible College. All of the other interns went last Saturday, but since I wasn't in until Sunday, this will be my first time going on that. Tomorrow the "Team" gets here. On Wednesday, we leave for another village outreach. I can't remember the name of it...Ululu???. Anyway, we will be gone for 9 days. I'm so glad that we were able to go on this short one to better prepare us for it. Seriously, we were dirty! It took a long time before the shower water ran clean :)

Okay, I think that is it for now. My time is running short, but I love you all and miss you and I'm praying for you! Please continue to pray that God would be glorified in all that we are doing out here. That our time would not be in vain!!!


p.s. if you could send this out to anyone who might want to read it, that would be super!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Mel chased, killed, plucked and cooked a chicken!

Here is the most recent email from Melissa. It sounds like she is have a full experience! She did not take this picture but this is where she will be headed tomorrow.


Wow, so i have a lot to tell you about life out here, but I only have 25 minutes left on the timer, so I will send this to a couple of you and if you could send it out to anyone who you think would be interested that would be awesome! First, though, Eric!! Thank you so much for all of your detailed emails. I love it here, and you helped to spark so much of that before I even got here!!! Second, Moqqi...I'm going to try to answer all the questions from your email, but if i don't I will soon :)

Okay, here are some bullet points in case you don't want to read a lot of detail:

* flight was only 3 1/2 hours late, so i didn't have to sleep in Dar. I got to Kigoma around 4 in the afternoon and then went with Coni and Dr. Len (another missionary out here) to pick up a nurse and her client and baby from the bus stop. The coolest part was when we took them home, I was able to see a real African welcome. All the sisters were screaming and dancing and singing. It was incredible! AFter, i went and met the other 7 interns at the beach where we ate hotdogs and pringles. It was great! (my action packer got here today, so I have my shoes again!)

*Yesterday morning we went on "An Amazing Race" in groups of two to get to know the city. My team basically tied for last place, but that was okay. It was still fun and everyone was "winners" so we all get the prize of eating dinner with Harold and Coni out!

*I chased, caught, killed, and cooked a chicken for dinner last night...and got pictures :) I'm sure everyone would have been proud. (more details below)

*Today we basically spent learning a drama to perform in the villages...we go out tomorrow!!! Please pray for us!


Okay, so here the more detailed part. I went into a lot of detail above for the first bullet point, so the only thing that I will mention now is that there were monkeys all around us!!! Probably ten feet away at the closest. They wanted our food, but we kept it sealed and guarded. (I got pics) We watched one of the most beautiful sunsets I think I've ever seen.

For the "Amazing Race," we had about 15 destinations around the town to find. My partner, Josh, and i only found about 8, and then one of them was wrong anyway. The bummer for us was that we took a cab for 14,000 shillings ($14), and we only had 15,000 to spend. We weren't able to buy the supplies we needed or take cabs or buses to the other places. Oh well...I think that we will hit them all up sometime on the trip :)

THE CHICKEN!!! After the race, we were told that we would spend the rest of the day as if we lived in Tanzania...women would cook, men would either work or sit around and pretty much not do anything. Well, all the guys chose to work, but they were watching and laughing at me and the other two girls for a long time as well. Basically, there are three girls and our job was to catch a chicken. Once all five were caught, we killed them (i'll spare details can see pics if you choose when i'm at home). AFter killing them, we had to boil them in hot water so the feathers were easier to pluck. Well, they weren't boiled enough because the feathers didn't come out all that easy. After this, we put them on the griller, so they wouldn't go bad. We were supposed to cut and gut them, but we were taking too long and not doing it good enough, so thankfully the cook took over and did it for us :) I really didn't want to do this part. So, now I can say that I have prepared a chicken from scratch...literally.

The drama that we learned all day today is called "Redeemer" and its the one that the church did in Kauai...with a few changes. I think its going to be good, and prayerfully it will reach the people we show it to.

I think that is all for now. i only have a few minutes left. We go into a village tomorrow, i think it's Kaseki (Eric, you would know better than me) and don't get back until Saturday morning. I don't know when I can email next, but I'm sure I'll have a lot to say :)


Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Kneppers, Jono's parents who run The Hope of the Nations in Kigoma

Here is a video of The Hope of the Nations in Kigoma, TZ where Melissa is. Harold and Coni Knepper are Jono's parents and they run it. This video shows interns and the Kneppers and some of the work that they do.

Kigoma, Tanzania Hope of the Nations Medical Outreach

This is the medical outreach that Hope of the Nations is doing in Kigoma.

Kigomo, Tanzania Hope of the Nations Kids Club

Mel should be helping with the kids club. Here's a video showing what kinds of things she and the other interns will be doing.

A Jeremy Camp Video

This Man (Live Video) - Jeremy Camp

I just listened to this song for the first time. Jeremy Camp has such a gift.

Daddy and Hudson headed for home after a big night at the fair.

Because Hudson is such a "Big Boy" now he can walk to the apartment rather than ride in a stroller. (Strollers are for babies.) He's holding Daddy's hand so Daddy doesn't get lost.

Hudson has his eye on the Funnel Cake!

Hudson went his mom and dad to the fair in Honolulu and got his first eyeful of a Funnel Cake! He's just waiting for them to have their guard down and grab some!

Smiles after the game!

The Angels lost 6-9 (I think) but we still left with smiles. It's always nice to go to the game.

Take me out to the ballgame!

On Monday night we had the Lucas and Mercier season tickets to the NY Mets vs the Angels baseball game so the four of us went. This was Judith's first time at Angel Stadium. It was a perfect night for a hot dog and a game. Too bad the Angels lost, but we still had fun.

Dad and Judith wish Melissa well.

Admist all the hustle and bustle of getting Melissa ready for her trip and the craziness of the last two weeks of the school year, Dad and Judith came out for a visit. We have had this planned for a year. Kevin and Dad both were volunteers at the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines. Dad worked in the Merchandise tent and Kevin worked in the Volunteer Hospitality tent. The first week that Dad and Judith were in town was litterally 24/7 golf it seemed like. But I do think it was the most exciting tournament that I've ever seen. Judith and I both went on Friday afternoon and then Judith also went on Saturday. Dad was there every day.

Last night Dad and Judith decided not to make the 4 hour round-trip drive up to LAX because Dad wasn't feeling so hot. (Bad toothache in need of a root canal) So they said there goodbyes as we loaded to car up.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Hudson's at the fair!

While I was still up and working on the computer hoping to hear more from Melissa I got a great text message from Caila! They are at the fair in Hawaii. She sent the cutest picture of Hudson that I just had to share with everyone. I love his two front teeth. He's going to have the most gorgeous smile!!!!

Map of Tanzania

So that you can get an idea of where Melissa is....she landed in Dar Es Salaam on the coast on the right and is flying to Kigoma on the coast on the left. I believe the Kigoma area in Tanzania is where Jane Goodall did her work with the chimpanzees. I have been reading other blogs on the internet and all mention that there are a lot of monkeys and chimpanzees about Kigoma.

Melissa is in Dar Es Salaam - Her first email...

Here is Melissa's first email from Tanzania....I was on the computer when her email came through...

Hey moqqi!

I am in Dar es Salem right now waiting for my flight to Kigoma. So far, so good...just a lot of flying. I think that in total, after this flight to Kigoma, I will have spent a full 24 hours in the air. But, the good thing is that most of it was at night, so sleeping was easy. Also, in both planes I had a personal dvd player, so I was able to watch a movie if not reading or sleeping.

There's not a lot to write about yet. The weather's not too hot, it is humid, though. I saw some pretty cool lightning storms while we were flying over Egypt somewhere. The only bummer about flying at night is that I wasn't able to see Africa...but today I should. Hopefully I will get a window seat.

Okay, I think that is all for now. Tell dad, Brian, Caila, and Hudson (and everyone else) that I love them and will send more emails as I can.

Love you!

London and Starbucks Iced Soy Chai with an extra pump of Chai!

After about 9 1/2 hours of flying time Melissa arrived in London Heathrow and low and behold we found out that we're able to text message back and forth! Of course this made Kevin and I very happy to know she landed safely after the first leg of her trip. Then shortly afterward Melissa sent a picture to us! Eureka, a Starbucks in the Heathrow airport! God was so sweet to let her have her last little bit of yumminess before she graduates to "Bush Tea"!!

She's in the air right now on her way to Dar Es Salaam. We aren't sure if she'll be able to text from there, but who knows? Once she arrives in Dar Es Salaam she will change planes again and get on a Precision Air plane to fly the rest of the way into Kigoma, Tanzania. From what we understand it can probably be equivalent to an "E Ticket" ride at Disneyland...all you old timers will understand. And she was advised that when she was offered a snack...she might want to politely say, "No thank you." But, he wouldn't tell her what the snack was, just that he's had it and his wife never has!! Hmmmmm, wonder what it is?

Her chariot awates.....

Kevin and I went upstairs at the Bradley Terminal. They have a great set-up of shops and restaurants that you can go to. We were able to see her plane waiting at her gate. It wound up taking off 137 minutes late! So in all actuality she was there with LOTS of time to spare!

Bye, bye, bye.....

Melissa with her Wall.E pillow head for the British Airways departure gate.

With a relieved smile on her face!

The lines moved quick and before we knew it Melissa had her boarding passes and was ready to go through the security checkpoint - with an hour to spare.

Getting the Boarding Passes

In front of us in line was a family of four that were traveling to Egypt. They hadn't been there for 10 years and were really looking forward to their trip. They had 3 rolling luggage carts, each carrying 3 very large suitcases. Then each one of them had a rolling carry-on suitcase and a backpack. It was a mountain of luggage and looked like it would take a long time for them to check in! I asked them if they were going to be gone long, the wife said 2 weeks! We just couldn't imagine what they would have in all that luggage, maybe gifts for family or something.

Melissa finally made it up to the check-in counter to get her boarding passes. One of the British Airways customer service people had told her that she didn't need to worry, she had plenty of time.

In line to check in at Bradley Terminal

She was supposed to be at Bradley Terminal 3 hours prior to her flight taking off to go through the check in process. Well we got there 2 hours prior and the lines were crazy long! She was a bit stressed out wondering whether or not there would be enough time for her to get checked in and through security before her flight took off.

Melissa begins her mission trip to Kigoma, TZ

Last night, Friday night (6/20th) Kevin and I drove Melissa up to LAX so she could catch her British Airways flight to begin her mission trip. She flew from LAX to London Heathrow and there she changed planes and took another British Airways flight to Dar Es Salaam, TZ. She's on that flight in the air right now as I type. She will land in Dar Es Salaam at 7:00 a.m. their time and then will catch another small plane (Precision Air) to get to Kigoma. I'm not sure how long that flight will be.

What an adventure so far! She has been preparing for months for this trip and she had everything that she needs (we think) but 15 minutes into our drive to LAX she realized that she'd left her glasses in her home... So we debated whether to turn around and get them or not. We were in the middle of Camp Pendleton with only one exit to turn around possible before we were completely stuck. So, we turned around. We all decided it was important for her to be able to see while she is in Africa. Now the race was on because we had already left a little later than we would have liked to.